Skip to comments.Make 2013 the year you switch to Linux
Posted on 01/03/2013 6:52:26 AM PST by ShadowAce
For many PC users, the prospect of switching away from Mac or Windows and onto Linux can be a nerve-wracking one.
After all, Linux holds only a minority share of the desktop market, and not all of us know people who are already using it. The idea of making the switch can often feel like taking a blind leap into the unknown.
On the other hand, those of us on Windows are now facing the prospect of Windows 8, which by most accounts is not a happy one. Will it be more painful to jump into Modern UI, with all its attendant quirks and learning curve, or to move to a Linux distribution and at least have a choice of desktop interfaces and experiences?
I'd like to make the case for the latter.
Linux today has at least caught up with Windows for most purposes; in many areas, it's actually overtaken it. And now, with the transition required by Windows 8, it can be a whole lot less painful getting used to a Linux distribution that's at least based on conventions you're used to.
Need more convincing? Here are five reasons why I think there's never been a better time to switch to Linux.
1. Windows 8
For years Windows users have been able to coast along contentedly in a familiar paradigm, but with Windows 8 that's all changed. A mobile-style interface without a Start button is now the reality facing Windows users who upgrade, and it's not necessarily an easy transition.
2. Flavors for every taste
3. Superior security
4. Modest requirements
5. Open and free
Last but certainly not least is that Linux is totally free and unencumbered by license restrictions.
(Excerpt) Read more at pcworld.com ...
For me 2012 was the year when I cut the cord. So 2013 won’t be. :)
However, it really does take an investment of time, a passion for doing it, and a certain amount of knowledge or willingness to use Google and try different things.
It does take some time, but I'd rather spend the time than the cash.
This has come along like clockwork. Every year since 1999: “This is the year of Linux on the desktop!!”
No, its not. Linux is a server OS. On the desktop, it appeals to hobbyists. Without real software developers like Adobe and Microsoft, it has no appeal to ordinary users. (Don’t tell me that there are Linux substitutes for popular mainstream applications, because they are junk.”
I’ve been using Windows 8 full time since the RTM came out in the summer. Windows 8 leapfrogs over Apple and Linux offerings in terms of innovation, functionality, and beauty. Its the best OS I’ve ever used.
Let me know when I can play games like Skyrim and others on Linux. Pardon me if I don’t hold my breath.
If you are suggesting Windows 8 is superior to OSX, then I suggest that you have never used the latter.
You actually like that mess of a Start Screen?
I do all of my “real” work on Linux, but I have to keep Windows around because:
1. Some games I want to play don’t run on Linux.
2. Multi-media support on Linux is fragmented and unstable.
In a world where media is starting to be ruled by streaming content that Linux can’t play, it’s just not going to be an end-user OS.
Can you provide an example?
“Windows 8 leapfrogs over Apple and Linux offerings in terms of innovation, functionality, and beauty. Its the best OS Ive ever used.”
You obviously don’t work in a business or technical environment.
For someone who has never used Linux, how difficult is the switch over from a windows platform? My wife is having all kinds of problems with Windows 7. She has the original Windows 7 installation disk and her computer keeps telling her that she is not licensed to use Windows 7. She has an HP Desktop computer. She has called Windows support and they said they would charge her $100 to fix her system. They waved the fee after she complained that she can’t use their licensed product. They did a remote fix which took a couple of hours. Her computer worked for awhile (Days) and now it is doing the same thing over again - says she is not licensed to use 7!
Except for a few games and Windows 7 itself, there is nothing running on my PC which requires any user payment or licensing agreement.
How about Microsoft Flight Simulator X, using all features of an Nvidia GTX 670 card which are supported by the game?
Linux: by geeks, for geeks.
It’s improving, but still has a core requirement that the user be able to deal with “oops, oh, just type this obscure incantation...”
I keep trying to like it, and keep giving up. As a programmer for 35 years, this does not bode well for the average user. I can make it work, but the unrelenting brokenness and tinkering just means its not ready for the general public.
I’ve used Debian as my primary OS on my desktop machine for many years. My desktop is KDE, and has been since the 90s.
For the last couple of years, my laptop that I take out in the field has been an 11” Mac Book Air. I’ve ordered a new 13” one, but have decided that it will be dual boot (Mac OS X/Debian).
For Windows stuff, I use a virtual machine.
I guess I am one that never fully transferred to Windows. I use Linux for many reasons the #1 reason is I can take a raw kernel and custom compile a system for a computer, strip out what I don’t need and add what I do thus I have a system custom made for that computer.
Example, I have an old Compaq Armada Titanium 3 gig hard drive 512 ram I custom compiled a kernel that runs like a dream on this old machine.
I have one old desktop that has 25 partitions and 25 different OS on it reading thru the grub list is like reading a book! This one was my old bug machine’s I installed different distro’s to try out and search for bugs never had a problem with it lmao!
Windows 7 was a reasonable OS, which minimized shortcomings.
Windows 8 is a solid OS with an atrocious UI. I don’t know how they got Metro past even preliminary user testing.
I haven't run into anything that Linux "can't play".
Can you provide an example?
Amazon streaming video can't be viewed on Linux, as far as I can tell. Hulu+, which I believe uses Silverlight or somesuch Microsoft nastiness is also not Linux-compatible. I was going to set up a media center around MythTV, but ran into that stumbling block. Since then, my PS/3 has gained the ability to play from these sources. Also, the next TV I buy will be able to play these things from its own Internet connection, so it's becoming less important for Linux to catch up.
I'd also like to run StarCraft II, am I'm not sure that can run on Linux, although I haven't looked into it.
Got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas. Mini-me Debian Linux, should be fun to play around with.
Linux is Far Superior to Windows in every aspect, if your wife wishes to have an easy useful experience with linux, I would suggest installing Ubuntu 10.04 first, or just run from the Live CD f1rst to try it out. and use it til you get used to it then maybe upgrade to 12.04 or 12.10 because they have different interfaces(desktop) and are a little more difficult to operate and get used to, however 10.04 will be as close to Windows as you could get as far as ease of operating and intuitiveness with regards to how it works, unlike WIN8. Switched to Linux YEARS ago and have never regretted it, you won’t either.
Mostly just learning the names for programs and some basic commands, you can set up a dual boot machine and run Windows and Linux very simple to do most Linux distro’s will do this automatically for you or you can boot up a live disc just to try it out! Go here and read up on some of them...
Here is an example from what the Linux community thinks is normal on the "Ubuntu Absolute Beginners Forum"
Now, I can do this sort of thing for my own computer as I've been running the DOS command line and compiling programs since the '80s.
But am I going to recommend Linux to my dozens of non-techie friends who are therefore going to call me to recompile their systems every time they plug in a new piece of unrecognized hardware? Not enough days in the year to mess with that......
Actually I am an Apple developer and beta tested OS X Mountain Lion a year ago, long before users got it. The only “innovations” in Mountain Lion are gimmicks to sell more iPhones. Apple has lost its creative edge. Microsoft found theirs again. I use whatever I decide is the best product. For a while, it was OS X. Now it is Windows 8. Nothing stays the same forever.
I like saving cash but what you get in the end is a MUCH better computing experience. It’s a bit like tinkering with a race car. You may spend a lot of time fiddling with the cams or the headers and I do mean a LOT of time, but when it’s finally done that bad boy will blow the doors off of a showroom car. And the driver of the race car will know a lot more about the machinery he’s driving than the dude who drove his off the showroom floor.
Having said that - it’s a fairly obvious fact that not everyone has the slightest desire to spend their weekends in the garage figuring out why the car is idling too slow or too fast, or the mixture is too lean or too rich. Or to have the skills or tools to do so.
Sounds like you have a real legitimate reason for compiling a custom kernel.
Most of the time, however, when I see “I have no desire to recompile my system (or my kernel)” it’s typically from people that want to sound sophisticated but really aren’t. As a pretty heavy linux user I do very little compiling (most of what I need I can get binaries for) and even if I do have to compile - then so what - the machine does all the work - I just have to type a few commands. But in the main, that’s why we have distros - so most things don’t have to be compiled.
This statement indicates that you pretty much do not know what you are talking about.
My then-9-year-son installed Ubuntu on his computer while I was out of town. He's 18 now and still using the same installation, over the course of several upgrades.
He's a music major. I have *never* provided him any support.
What she is worried about is that she has programs that run some peripheral equipment such as her embroidery machines and a paper cutting machine. These programs were designed to run on a Windows computer and the computer controls the machines using the drivers supplied by the equipment manufactures. She also uses Firefox. What does Linux use to access the internet?
I am an OSX, Android, iOS, Linux, and occasional Windows developer. I am mystified by your kudos for Windows 8. Would you please be specific and technical about what you perceive as technical superiorities of Windows 8? You cannot possibly be talking about the UI, so I presume you are referring to the kernel...
Why not have both Linux and Windows?.. easy to do..
Its Windows thats so picky about where to install..
Right. And I’ll make 2013 the year I switch my ride to a Trabant, too.
I’ll stick with my Mac ecosystem — it just works beautifully. I don’t want to have open my toaster and modify or repair the guts every time I want to toast some bread. I want my information appliances to be as simple to use as my toaster.
If you’re asking which browsers you can use, you may use Firefox, Chrome, or whatever you prefer (except IE).
What version of Windows do the machines’ control software require? You could run Windows in a VM on Linux and have a much more secure setup.
Firefox is Linux, as far as special machines, you never know til you try it. My experience with Linux has been, almost everything works right out of the box without doing anything special, however you could always run windows in virtualbox in Linux for those programs you need windows for, or you could just download the Win7 loader and use it instead of continually trying to activate and register your legit copy. Personally I would give Ubuntu a shot.
I agree. I am mostly a Distro user but I like to keep my hands dirty just so I can remember stuff!
I like to tell people if you mostly use a computer to email surf the net or watch movies go with Linux but it will also do much more sometimes you have to find the right program.
Sure--I don't really care if you want to send you hard-earned money to liberals.
dont want to have open my toaster and modify or repair the guts every time I want to toast some bread. I want my information appliances to be as simple to use as my toaster.
Same here--that's why I use Linux.
Gotcha on the keeping the hand dirty. Skills not used are mostly skills that need to be relearned!
Ack as well on just emailing and surfing. But ... then someone sends you a link to a youtube video or a PDF document or a music clip from Soundcloud or .....
Now you need to set up your browser so that the plugins work with each multimedia type. On the pay OS’s, it’s somebody’s job to make sure all this works or at worst you get a button that says “Push here in order to make this work”. On Linux, it doesn’t quite work this way. Points being:
1. Email and Surfing quickly descends/devolves into multimedia consumption.
2. Multimedia consumption (particularly if you wish to never leave the browser environment) requires some knowledge and sophistication regarding browser plugins, codecs, third party software and the like.
Well I moved to Chrome OS last year, which is sort of the same thing, right?
I agree. I used Linux years ago, but finally switched back to XP. I'd like to use Linux again and give it a try every year, but end up disappointed for the reasons you mention (plus one of the Redhat "spins" tried to steal my email password last year). Usability and compatibility are still terrible in the Linux world, and the Linux fanbois are hostile to anyone who points that out. I'm jumping straight to Win 8 this year. For $40 it can't be beat and it's easy enough to make the interface behave like Win 7 or XP.
A Linux live cd still makes a great rescue disk, though.
I used to run this distro a lot it did everything I think I even used it for Netflix that uses silver light.
But since I do not like Google, I don't use it either :)
I have used half a dozen distros on mostly Dells for the past four years and never compiled anything.
There are a few things that I wish Linux did, but I am still happy with it
It would be an interesting experiment to see if the drivers work through a VM.
She started with XP on a laptop to run the programs that control her various machines. She keeps that laptop exclusively XP and uses it when she has to, but is slow. She also has a dell inspiron Duo (net book) that came with windows 7 that will run the programs. The Windows support person said that the mother board in her HP desktop was not made to run win7. The desktop starts up with a screen that says the windows 7 she is running is not genuine. She can close that pop up and run programs for a few mins. then it crashes to a blue screen of death.