Saturday, May 5, 2007

Three good reasons to switch from windows to linux

In the relatively brief time since that beautiful day that I finally switched, several differences between being a windows user and a linux user have really jumped out at me.

  1. Peace of mind. You don't have to worry about going to this or that website for fear of malicious code (programs that want to screw you), because that code is written for windows. It simply will not run on linux. This is a hard one for me to explain to my friends sometimes. Most people think that linux has some sort of blocker or something, but it doesn't. These malicious programs simply don't run properly (or at all) on any operating system that ISN'T windows. The only programs that run on a linux os are written FOR linux, so any virus that could potentially hurt your computer would have to be written FOR linux. Writing/creating a linux virus simply makes no sense when linux users are such a small and more educated (and therefore better protected) percentage of computer users. Why write something to break into 6% of computers on the web when you could write something to break into 80%?
  2. Ease of use. Linux looks and responds almost exactly the same way as windows. Distributions like ubuntu, MEPIS and linux mint all have utilities to manage the use of all of your SD cards, USB drives, CD's and DVD's. One of the other nice things that I never anticipated is the cleanliness and straightforwardness of open source applications (programs like gimp, amarok, etc.) because features are only added if they are useful and work properly. These program developers care more about having a functional application than trying to sell you something, and I can feel that as I use these applications. But everything I've said so far about this pales in comparison to the Package Manager. This program is a nice graphic-user-interface (GUI) that allows you to search repositories filled with debian packages. These packages contain everything you need to install a particular application on your computer. Say, for instance, you need an application to write music notation. It's as simple as opening the package manager, doing a search for "music notation", perusing the list of available applications, checking the box next to the one you want to install and clicking "Apply." Oh, and it's all free: any application to do any task you can imagine.
  3. Community and Support. Since I switched, I've really felt a part of a community that cares about one another. Many problems have been solved by a kind, more knowledgeable soul responding to a question I posted on one of the various linux user forums- usually within a few hours. I've even been able to help others that are dealing with a problem I've encountered, and it's been very satisfying. And it's all free. Free community support. I'd rather be a member of a supportive community than pay to suckle the teat of some huge corporation that cares about money above all else.

So there it is. You're thinking about switching now, aren't you... admit it.

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