Ubuntu is pretty good, but sometimes something goes opaquely wrong and it brings your whole day to a halt.
Case in point: I installed a system monitoring utility called
indicator-multiload today. It's a little applet that shows graphs of current CPU/memory/network usage. From a web search I gathered that it was relatively popular, and it installed without any issue. About 20 seconds after launching it for the first time, the Ubuntu froze and logged me out. Subsequent attempts to log back in were unsuccessful.
A bit of searching uncovered some inscrutable incompatibility between Ubuntu 18.04's GUI and indicator-multiload. I'm still not sure what it is.
The solution was to boot into the CLI (by hitting
Shift repeatedly on boot) and uninstall
indicator-multiload entirely. Once uninstalled, Ubuntu booted up without a problem.
Ubuntu is great like 95% of the time—but when something goes wrong, the fix requires arcane knowledge of search engines and a stout heart for the command line. On macOS, most issues can be fixed with a restart.
Further reading: What desktop Linux needs to succeed in the mainstream, from Drew Devault