Why Linux UX sucks

Recently, I stumbled across an interesting StackExchange question: Use path bar and address bar in Nautilus. Nautilus is the Ubuntu equivalent of Windows Explorer. It displays folders and files in a very similar way and in the top area of the window, there is the path bar. In Nautilus, this path bar consists of buttons by default. You can only navigate by clicking either on a button in the path bar or on a folder. No manual path input by keyboard is possible - unless you know that you have to press CTRL+L to turn the path bar into a text input box. I have forgotten this shortcut more times than I care to admit. It is a nuisance. Every single time I have to look it up again since I don't use Nautilus often.

Anyway, in this question, the user wants to be able to use both of these modes at the same time. Now, the answer is simple. It starts with "No, it is not possible to do so." Authoritative. Confident. Is accepted with a big green tick, has 19 upvotes and got a +300 community reward. We are dealing with a professional here. It goes on: "The reasoning of "is it really not possible to do so" might be uninteresting, but I can say something about why it isn't, and probably shouldn't be, possible." I see! It is uninteresting, despite the question attracting quite a bit of attention. Aha! It shouldn't be like this anyway. My preference is wrong, but Nautilus' design is right. What follows are a few completely arbitrary reasons. It takes too much space. It is not aesthetic. You can press CTRL+L anyway.

Community seal of approval: Your preferences are worthless and wrong. Deal with it, idiot.

Compare this with Windows Explorer. They just did it right. They didn't go on and on about how it's impossible for uninteresting reasons, and how it is a big design question only they can solve. They didn't patronise us. No, they just solved the problem. There you go, the perfect path bar: It has buttons by default, but turns into a textbox if you click into it.

This StackExchange discussion is the archetypal example of why Linux user experience still sucks so much. And there are many more such discussions, especially about Unity UI, but Ubuntu is far from the only affected distro. Instead of addressing the grievance, the user is told that they are wrong and that they are better off with the status quo. Well, I am a user. I have very, very good reasons for wanting what I want. I have very, very specific tasks I must do and I must optimise them. I want to expend as few clicks and key presses as possible, and I want to remember as few keyboard shortcuts as possible. Don't patronise me. Don't talk down to me. But most of all: Don't tell me I don't want what I want. Whatever reasons you have, they apply to you, not me. I hope this message reaches people who work in UI design.

And don't even get me started on moving and editing files that are owned by the root account. It annoys me every single time. It just tells me I can't do that. Why don't you open up an authentication box and let me type my password to edit those files nonetheless?! Is it really this complicated? And if I open Nautilus with sudo, such that it has root rights, it causes all kinds of breakage as it launches! Come on! Are all the skilled people kernel engineers who don't bother with user interfaces? It certainly looks like it!

This is the sad reason why Linux is mostly used as a server OS and just cannot establish itself as a widespread desktop OS. Linux still has incredible potential, but it's never going to be unlocked with a user experience that lags a decade or two behind Windows.

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