Stuff that sucks
See the philosophy page about what applies to this page.
Bigger topics that suck: systemd, the web
These libraries are broken/considered harmful and should not be used if it's possible to avoid them. If you use them, consider looking for alternatives.
glib - implements C++ STL on top of C (because C++ sucks so much, let's reinvent it!), adding lots of useless data types for "portability" and "readability" reasons. even worse, it is not possible to write robust applications using glib, since it aborts in out-of-memory situations. glib usage is required to write gtk+ and gnome applications, but is also used when common functionality is needed (e.g. hashlists, base64 decoder, etc). it is not suited at all for static linking due to its huge size and the authors explicitly state that "static linking is not supported".
GMP - GNU's bignum/arbitrary precision library. Quite bloated, slow and calls abort() on failed malloc
Alternatives: libtommath, TomsFastMath, imath, libzahl (WIP), hebimath (WIP)
- cmake (written in C++) - so huge and bloated, compilation takes longer than compiling GCC (!). It's not even possible to create freestanding Makefiles, since the generated Makefiles call back into the cmake binary itself. Usage of cmake requires learning a new custom scripting language with very limited expressiveness. Its major selling point is the existence of a clicky-click GUI for windows users.
- waf and scons (both written in Python) - waf code is dropped into the compilee's build tree, so it does not benefit from updated versions and bugfixes.
As these build systems are often used to compile C programs, one has to set up a C++ compiler or Python interpreter respectively just in order to be able to build some C code.
Version Control Systems
- subversion - Teaches developers to think of version control in a harmful and terrible way, centralized, ugly code, conceptionally broken in a lot of terms. "Centralized" is said to be one of the main benefits for "enterprise" applications, however, there is no benefit at all compared to decentralized version control systems like git. There is no copy-on-write, branching essentially will create a 1:1 copy of the full tree you have under version control, making feature-branches and temporary changes to your code a painful mess. It is slow, encourages people to come up with weird workarounds just to get their work done, and the only thing enterprisey about it is that it just sucks.
There are many broken X programs. Go bug the developers of these broken programs to fix them. Here are some of the main causes of this brokenness:
- The program assumes a specific window management model, e.g. assumes you are using a WIMP-window manager like those found in KDE or Gnome. This assumption breaks the ICCCM conventions.
- The application uses a fixed size - this limitation does not fit into the world of tiling window managers very well, and can also be seen as breaking the ICCCM conventions, because a fixed sized window assumes a specific window management model as well (though the ICCCM does not forbid fixed-size windows). In any case, the ICCCM requests that clients accept any size the window manager proposes to them.
- The program is based on strange non-standard window manager hints that only work properly with a window manager supporting these extensions - this simply breaks the ICCCM as well. E.g. trash icon programs.
- The program does not conform to ICCCM due to some missing or improperly set hints.
If you still need some program which expects a floating WM, use it in floating mode.
Somewhen GNU tried to make the world a bit more miserable by inventing
texinfo. The result is that
in 2019 man pages are still used and the documentation of GNU tools
requires you to run
info $application. The info browser is awkward and
unintuitive and the reason why no one gets further than finding 'q' to
Look at GNU tools how to not handle documentation.
Talking about the suck in enforced HTML documentation, which forces you to open up a 1 Gb of RAM wasting web browser, just to see some eye-candy, which could have been described in the source with some easy way to jump to that line in the source code, is not worth the time.
The suckless way is to have a short usage and a descriptive manpage. The complete details are in the source.
Alternatives: roff, mdoc.
- GCC: as of 2016 it is now written in C++ and so complete suck. Why can't a compiler just be a simple binary doing its work instead of adding path dependencies deep into the system?
- Clang is written in C++. If you don't believe that it sucks, try to build clang by hand.
Alternatives: see the Compilers section of the /rocks/ page.
The list of harmful software at cat-v.org.