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Another Rant brought to you by Frustration

I've been a full-time Linux user since November '12 now, only using Windows for the only area where it beats Linux - gaming. 99% of the time I'm satisfied with Linux, but the 1% is really, really painful. I'm not saying solving problems in Windows is any simpler, but in my own experience, I've never had such major problems in Windows.

My new awesome laptop has two graphics cards. The i7 chip comes with integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, and while these graphics are good enough for most purposes, they aren't enough when you want to do some gaming. The laptop also comes with a dedicated nVIDIA GeForce GT635M GPU, which, I must say, does its job really well. It runs Minecraft with full settings at 80 fps, which is definitely enough. In Windows, switching to dedicated graphics is really simple — just right-click the program you want to run and choose nVIDIA. It works. Whether this is due to OEM "bloatware"... no idea. But the point is that they work.

In Linux, the story is a bit different. There's no simple right-click activation, but in theory, it's just matter of prefixing your commands with "primusrun" or "optirun". The keywords here are "in theory". Because it does definitely NOT work out of the box. I had to literally spend many hours of a precious Friday night to finally get it working with the help of a few diligent persons. After which it worked flawlessly. No big thing, but a few hours in front of a terminal to get something as basic as dual graphics working is, quite frankly, too much.

Okay so these things work great (I even had them as locked packages in YaST to prevent them from screwing up) until today. There was a kernel update that I had been postponing for a while just because there was a risk of Optimus screwing up. However, I guess it's not the best security practice to hold off kernel updates that fix vulnerabilities and whatnot, so I decided to just unlock the packages and perform the update. I made a huge mistake. After rebooting, Optimus was broken. How surprising. So, I reinstall everything nVIDIA related while praying (this is apparently an important step) to fix the thing, but nope. Nothing works; the only progress is a change in error messages. After a few hours of attempted fixing (with the help of awesome people and Google), my conclusion is: Shit just doesn't want to work.

I then submitted a bug to the Bumblebee GitHub page, and then decided to vent my frustration by writing this text.

Don't get me wrong, I like Linux. That's why I'm using it. It has its issues just like Windows has its own. This might be a biased claim since my support for Linux isn't exactly at the top for the time being, but the issues in Windows have so far been minor and usually easy to fix. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Linux. Usually fixing a seemingly simple issue can take hours in front of a terminal. This makes me very frustrated. If Linux wants to have any chance to compete in the desktop OS market, it needs to fix things like this. Dual graphics aren't exactly a new thing. I really didn't spend more than 2 minutes researching, but the 2nd generation Intel Core processors released 1.5 years ago had dual graphics. Linux needs a reputation as "just works". I'm using one of the largest Linux distros - OpenSUSE - but yet there's no support for dual graphics unless you install external package repos. Even then it doesn't work with ease.

I do realize Linux is mostly maintained by pure volunteers (the exception being Canonical/Ubuntu) and it's definitely not the devs' fault that there is no good support for dual graphics. I'm not sure how this issue could be solved, or why it even takes so long - Ubuntu has Canonical backing them and yet there doesn't seem to be support for Optimus. As long as the most basic things don't work out of the box, you can't expect Linux to be a serious competitor to Microsoft and Apple. There's no "year of the Linux desktop" before this is rectified.

Do I have a solution for increased hardware support? No, I don't. But this isn't okay for a huge Linux distro like OpenSUSE — let alone Ubuntu.