Why Switch to Linux?

In short, Linux is largely free of corporate bullcrap that Windows and OS X suffer from.  It’s designed for YOU.

What that means in terms of user experience is:

  • You can control and stop all the annoying little “features” and pop-ups that show up in a Linux distribution, whereas you often have little control over them in Windows or OS X.
  • You get point and click access to thousands of useful software applications like LibreOffice, Inkscape, and VLC without being shepherded to unnecessarily expensive proprietary alternatives.
  • You can upgrade to a new version for free, whenever you like.
  • You can choose a user interface that suits your personal preferences.



Common misconceptions about Linux:

There are a lot of misconceptions about Linux distributions that have been perpetuated throughout the years, and while some may have once had truth-value, they don’t usually describe the modern day situation.

  • Linux requires using the command line (like the DOS prompt).
This is less and less the case, some distributions such as Linux Mint and Ubuntu are designed for users to completely work without the command line.  The truth is however that many Linux Users personally prefer working with the command line because of the power and flexibility it offers.  In general, using it is a choice the user him or herself gets to decide.

  • Linux is for advanced or power users.
Linux is for anyone.  Included within that are advanced users, power users, e-mail checkers, web browsers, programmers, scientists, engineers, students, teachers, and anyone else.
  • Using Linux will break my system.
Linux can be dual-booted alongside other operating systems.  Whenever installing any operating system or upgrade it’s best to back-up your data to an external disk, hard drive, or server somewhere.  There is always a chance of data loss, but if you follow the guides you should have no problems with your system breaking.
  • My hardware doesn’t run Linux.

That’s unlikely.  Linux is extremely versatile and can be installed on hundreds of different machines from toasters to super computers and everything in between.


Some Inconvenient Truths about Linux

I’m not going to lie to you, there are a few negatives to using Linux, but that’s true about any system.
  • Proprietary software support for Linux is limited.
 Some software will run fine on Linux, some may require a compatibility layer like Wine.  Others can run in virtual machines under another OS.  Some software doesn’t work well, and some doesn’t work at all.  The most predominant complaint I hear personally is centered around game software.  Proprietary games are just like other software in that their support varies, but is often less than satisfactory.
On the otherhand, you might be surprised at how often there are open source alternatives available for the software you want to use that can read and write to the file formats you need compatability with.  Only for very specialized cases is there no compatability for a file format.  Most office documents, images, videos, and music can be run without issue on Linux.
  • There is no one overarching authority for Linux Distributions

You sometimes won’t know where to go to get a question answered or to take a complaint.  This is simultaneously a difficulty and a blessing.  Because there is no single authority, users ultimately have complete control over their systems.  What this results in is a need to rely on the community of users to get support.  Within that community of users are the developers, this is a unique feature of the Linux ecosystem.  The makers are among the users, and they encourage you to become a maker too if you have the interest.  Joining the community will benefit you on several levels, you will find the answers to your questions more easily, you will get your desired features implemented more easily, and you get the opportunity to help others and bring a smile to someone else’s face as well.

Questions about Switching?

Feel free to ask me, I’d be happy to answer your questions or requests for advice.


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Filed under issues, linux, technology

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