I recently attended Lugradio Live in Wolverhampton. During the live recording of the show they were discussing how things have changed since the started the show. Aq was saying that things are less interesting nowadays, as everything just works. I disagree that it's less interesting, not spending time compiling drivers for my video card means I can spend time on other things.

I bought another laptop this week, and so I can personally attest that the developers involved should be proud, all of the hardware was supported out of the box, with just a few minutes following instructions on a wiki page to get everything working properly. Also, all of those little tweaks won't be needed in a few months time, as the developers have fixed the problems.

However, I also disagree that everything just works. Even though it took me only a couple of hours to install and get all of the hardware working, I'm still setting up the laptop. Why do I have to spend ages configuring all of the applications, even though 90% of the settings will be the same as on my other laptop? I could copy across my dotfiles, but there could be more done to help me move just those that make sense to be on another machine. (I don't think I would want to copy the whole of .mozilla/)

There's more though. Though I have two laptops running linux next to each other, it's not that easy to move a file between them. Why do I have to enter details of my contacts more than once? Why isn't it trivial for me to send off an email to someone I am chatting to on IRC? I could go on.

The work on the kernel, drivers and installers that meant that it only took me a couple of hours to get up and running is a fantastic achievement; it's what allows us to ask questions like these. There is more that needs to be done in these areas, but we need to expand our ideas of what should just work.

I don't wish to discredit those that are working on this sort of problem, there should be more people helping them. We need other developers to appreciate the issues, and support those trying to tackle them.

If you agree with me then don't complain about it, fix it. Find a project working on a problem that you care about and support them however you can. I realise the irony inherent in telling everyone this at the end of a post like this, I hope you will forgive me.

-- This belongs to Lionel Richie