Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Will I Go Back?

Filed under
Microsoft
Ubuntu

I'm using the Linux distribution Ubuntu for over a year now – I hopped on the train with version 8.04 LTS. Although I still 'need' Windows for a number of things, like vector editing for example, – no vector drawing software in Linux satisfies my needs – I am more than pleased with this operating system. OK, I've never tried another distro since, but why should I? It runs perfectly – almost, that is.

Before this I was, like most people, using Windows XP. I didn't cross over to the Linux-side out of grudge against Microsoft. Hell no: Windows XP is a great OS, no matter what anyone claims. To me it was just as stable as Linux – and I must say: it caused less driver issues than its free competitor. Anyhow, the things that led me to give Ubuntu a try were the following.

I was just getting tired of Windows XP. It held little or no secrets anymore so it became kind of, well, 'boring' to use. I was in need of a new challenge and at the time Linux was the way to go for me. Another reason was that open source software is, in fact, free – in a sense that the user doesn't need to pay in order to get it. Whether using Linux as an OS costs nothing is the subject of perhaps another article.

Friends asked me why I didn't consider Apple to be an option. The answer for me is quite simple: I want my computer to by my computer. I remember a funny video that's still very popular on the web. The guy in the video calls using a Mac as 'tricking it into what you'd like it to do'. I couldn't agree more. It just doesn't provide the freedom that Window and Linux have to offer.

For a heavy computer minded person as myself the two reasons mentioned above were more than sufficient to consider leap into the realms of the Linux-world. But why would anyone use Ubuntu as main OS? Or keep using it in the first place? I can only speak for myself, but all of my attempts to install Ubuntu, on several computers, were successful. I admit that not everything worked out of the box and some hardware caused problems that I couldn't solve. My home computer on the other hand seems to be extremely Ubuntu-friendly since everything worked out of the box.

A downside of the story is that Ubuntu, like other distributions, lacks a real device manager. The device manager of Windows XP is everything a device manager should be. You plug in hardware, you select the correct driver and off you go. Of course there are also advantages about the way that drivers are handled in Linux, and I do not wish to start a discussion about which driver type had a better performance in use (although I my opinion Linux-drivers perform better – if they work as they ought to). The advantage of driver handling in Windows is that it's comprehensible to most users and that it allows the OS to support virtually any hardware.

So, why do I keep using Linux, or more specific, Ubuntu? Or: why do I prefer to use Ubuntu rather than Windows XP? Here are three reasons why.

1. Out of principle. Ubuntu is free and therefore I don't have to convince a major corporation every once and a while that I really do own a license. Besides, I can try another distro if I like, without charge. You cannot download a live CD of Windows just to give it a try.

2. Out of ease. A fresh install of Ubuntu costs me about an hour. If I'd like to set up a clean Window-install then I lose half a day. I especially like the fact that program setting are stored in the home directory; put it on a separate partition and previous settings will be automatically restored upon reinstalling the software. Awesome, isn't it? Also the support of usb storage devices works like a charm, unlike in Windows XP. In a way you could say that Linux is more plug and play than Windows, but unfortunately you would be only half right. But the biggest advantage is that my Ubuntu system doesn't really need any maintenance, whereas when I was using Windows computer maintenance was on my monthly to do list.

3. Out of coolness. Ubuntu provides a desktop environment that I find to be superior to that of Windows of OS X – although there's still plenty of room for improvement. With a nice graphic card and enabled desktop effect you can get the smoothest eye candy ever. And again: my desktop is my desktop, Linux desktop managers in general are far more adjustable then their colleagues. On top of that customizing the Ubuntu-desktop doesn't stress cpu nor memory as much. To skin Windows XP to your satisfaction you will need external utilities – as WindowBlinds – since the internal skinning capabilities are quite limited.

Sometimes, however, doubt crosses my mind. There do exist some reasons to go back to the Windows-world. For myself the three most important ones are the following.

1. Hardware support. Windows XP offers a kind of consumer freedom that doesn't exist in the Linux- of Apple-world. I can go to a computer shop and buy any hardware I like, it will work with Windows since the package contains drivers for it. Although companies sometimes also provide Linux-drivers for the hardware they sell, you don't get any guarantee that they will do the trick flawlessly. This 'different' kind of consumer freedom can be just as important when choosing an OS, in my opinion.

2. Available software. There exists plenty of free software on Windows. On top of that the choice in commercial software is immense, so if you really need a program to do a certain task you can buy it, because more than likely it will be available. Not so in Linux.

3. Compatibility. Most people use Windows and Microsoft Office so exchanging document is a burden. Reading the text of a document isn't much of a problem, but keeping the formatting and the lay-out seems impossible. One time a friend came to me with a Word 2007-document for printing, because she was out of ink. OpenOffice totally screwed the lay-out so the only remaining option was to go back home and convert the document to pdf. OK, I guess she should of converted it in pdf anyway, since this is the only way to keep the lay-out safe, but unfortunately that's not how most people expect it to be. They made a document and they want to print it, that's all.

All I've written here I wrote from an end user perspective. I my opinion the arguments mentioned above are the ones that will attract new users or push them away. Among friends I keep promoting and advocating Ubuntu – I advise people to give it a try. Unfortunately, few stick to Ubuntu and after some time they are drawn back to the Windows environment. They don't care that Ubuntu is safer, more reliable, performs better and faster. They want to stick to the things they know, they don't need a new challenge like I did.

Steven Van Landeghem (Belgium)

Try VirtualBox ?

Hi.

I have many friends who know absolutely nothing about computers - i.e not even windows, many have had virus, malware, spyware on their Windows machines (one had over £100 phone bill due to malware dailing a premuim rate number).

I have replaced Windows with Linux (always Ubuntu) for at least 6 people over the last 2 years (one did get Mandriva but that did crash) none of them have had any problems at all. I installed all codecs, dvdcss, etc for them and I have never had any issues from them at all (except one girl who ran out of space ..) - every single person has said their computer was much faster after installing ubuntu (helped by the fact that virus's are not using up memory/CPU cycles)

I personally do not run Ubuntu (I find it too slow) Now a proud Archer...

For you however why not try running Virtualbox - the new version can also run Dx9 (3D) games...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Openwashing: Zenko (Dual), Kong (Mere API) and Blackboard (Proprietary and Malicious)

Games: Descenders, War Thunder’s “The Valkyries”

Kernel: Virtme, 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference and Linux Foundation Articles

  • Virtme: The kernel developers' best friend
    When working on the Linux Kernel, testing via QEMU is pretty common. Many virtual drivers have been recently merged, useful either to test the kernel core code, or your application. These virtual drivers make QEMU even more attractive.
  • 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference
    As in previous years we’re trying to organize an audio miniconference so we can get together and talk through issues, especially design decisons, face to face. This year’s event will be held on Sunday October 21st in Edinburgh, the day before ELC Europe starts there.
  • How Writing Can Expand Your Skills and Grow Your Career [Ed: Linux Foundation article]
    At the recent Open Source Summit in Vancouver, I participated in a panel discussion called How Writing can Change Your Career for the Better (Even if You don't Identify as a Writer. The panel was moderated by Rikki Endsley, Community Manager and Editor for Opensource.com, and it included VM (Vicky) Brasseur, Open Source Strategy Consultant; Alex Williams, Founder, Editor in Chief, The New Stack; and Dawn Foster, Consultant, The Scale Factory.
  • At the Crossroads of Open Source and Open Standards [Ed: Another Linux Foundation article]
    A new crop of high-value open source software projects stands ready to make a big impact in enterprise production, but structural issues like governance, IPR, and long-term maintenance plague OSS communities at every turn. Meanwhile, facing significant pressures from open source software and the industry groups that support them, standards development organizations are fighting harder than ever to retain members and publish innovative standards. What can these two vastly different philosophies learn from each other, and can they do it in time to ensure they remain relevant for the next 10 years?

Red Hat: PodCTL, Security Embargos at Red Hat and Energy Sector

  • [Podcast] PodCTL #50 – Listener Mailbag Questions
    As the community around PodCTL has grown (~8000 weekly listeners) we’ve constantly asked them to give us feedback on topics to discuss and areas where they want to learn. This week we discussed and answered a number of questions about big data and analytics, application deployments, routing security, and storage deployment models.
  • Security Embargos at Red Hat
    The software security industry uses the term Embargo to describe the period of time that a security flaw is known privately, prior to a deadline, after which time the details become known to the public. There are no concrete rules for handling embargoed security flaws, but Red Hat uses some industry standard guidelines on how we handle them. When an issue is under embargo, Red Hat cannot share information about that issue prior to it becoming public after an agreed upon deadline. It is likely that any software project will have to deal with an embargoed security flaw at some point, and this is often the case for Red Hat.
  • Transforming oil & gas: Exploration and production will reap the rewards
    Through advanced technologies based on open standards, Red Hat deliver solutions that can support oil and gas companies as they modernize their IT infrastructures and build a framework to meet market and technology challenges. Taking advantage of modern, open architectures can help oil and gas providers attract new customers and provide entry into markets where these kinds of services were technologically impossible a decade ago.