You can find the „100 Days of LotD“ mission statement [ here ].
The last day of the passing year. Time to sum up. And the sum total of my Linux on the Desktop or, more precisely, Linux on a semi-stationary laptop, is this:
- I have, so far, missed nothing in terms of functionality. This is strictly regarding my private computer use, i.e. no games, no Kerberos authentication to apps, no central management of any kind. But lots of email accounts, Twitter, internet forums, writing articles, working with my home lab (Microsoft / VMware / Citrix) and playing music and an occasional video.
- I like my Kubuntu laptop a lot. Like, it was a revelation how well it actually works. I will certainly be keeping it after the 100 days are over. The minor annoyances are just that, the biggest one being the automatic choice of Wi-Fi networks (the first one ever connected to is being always chosen if it’s in range, even if another network has a better signal and was selected manually during the last session).
This passing year had me working at my home office desk most of the time. This means: USB dock, external monitors, switching from private to work laptop on the fly, the whole WFH routine. And here, ladies & gentlemen, Linux s-u-c-k-s big time. I could totally live with instability. My Windows laptops will occasionally lose the dock as well (once every three days or so). While certainly annoying when it happens, it’s ultimately no big deal on Windows:
- Citrix HDX, VMware Blast and even RDP connections stay on or reconnect seamlessly. Have I just said ‚even RDP‘? Strike even, RDP is great if configured for the use case at hand!
- The sound in a Teams or Zoom call stays connected 99.9% of the time, video sometimes disconnects but also reconnects automatically (both headset and webcam are connected to the dock).
- Application windows usually end up on a wrong monitor after getting moved to the laptop screen on disconnect and reshuffled on reconnect.
- But nothing is ever lost, neither in terms of running processes nor in terms of unsaved data.
Not so on Linux. As far as I was able to understand the workings of the graphical userland, every app you open is dependent on Xorg. On every DisplayLink hiccup, Xorg dies and all your userland dies with it. Do not pass GO, do not save unsaved work, just bam! and everything’s gone. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any other manufacturer with a USB-to-dual-monitor chipset offering Linux support. To be honest, I wasn’t able to find any regardless of them offering Linux support. I went through a lot of computers in the last 30 years, and the last Windows OS where a peripheral would routinely crash the whole computer was Millenium Edition.
So, the verdict so far is: This is not gonna fly in the home office but great for the road or for the kitchen table. If you want Linux in a multi-monitor setup, my recommendation today would be to
- either get a ‚real‘ docking station – if your laptop model supports it, that is. HP’s G6 and older business laptops do, G7s don’t. A consumer grade laptop probably won’t have a docking port either.
- or get yourself a stationary computer with multiple DisplayPort and/or HDMI outputs.
Happy New Year!