I just “upgraded” to Red Hat 8.0 on my dual-boot Windows machine. Linux on the desktop is still a long way away from matching Windows. Windows, of course, is about as klunky and confusing as you can get, but Linux is just trying to match it, warts and all. Gnome even uses Windows’ illogical Alt+F4 to close apps! And then it doesn’t use the Windows key to bring up the Start, ahem, Red Hat menu. Is anyone thinking? And my Palm V doesn’t work with it either, although it did work with Red Hat 7.2.

But the most frustrating thing was switching resolutions; Red Hat 7.2 did the “test” to make sure my monitor and video card actually worked before finalizing the new resolution, but 8.0 just says “okey dokey” and then the next time you reboot (or logout or restart the GUI) you’re left with a resolution you can’t use. I had to reinstall to fix this. Backwards.

On the bright side, it includes the great file manager Nautilus that, in my opinion, is even better than the Mac’s Finder (not surprising though, since Nautilus was built by Eazel, which was founded by ex-Apple people). And “BlueCurve” is not the ugliest thing in the world, definitely a step up from the grotesque Gnome GUI and you don’t feel like a 3-year old like you do with XP’s PlaySkool GUI. And it’s just jaw-dropping how much faster Linux is than Windows… on the same (600MHz PIII w/ 256MB RAM) machine, Windows XP chunks away at even the most trivial of tasks while everything pops up instantly on Linux.

I love Linux on the server, it simply can’t be beat there. But the Mac is still light years ahead of anything else on the desktop.