One of the developers on Facebook recently asked me why I was using Linux (Ubuntu here) on the desktop if I’m not a developer.
I hadn’t really thought about this in some time so it took me a few seconds to come up with a reply. For me it’s about having the freedom to do whatever I want with the system. Linux provides me with a full feeling of ownership which I have never had with with Windows.
On top of that there’s the ‘feel good’ factor that I am using something that is free and open. So why do i use Linux ?
I’m working towards becoming a developer, but I’m not there until people start calling me that. So here are my reasons.
- Free. I’m a starving student. And paradoxically I don’t like pirating software. Everyone deserves the meals they earn. Linux allows me to have my software and feel ethical about it too.
- Easy setup – Sure Windows isn’t hard to install. But the BS of re-downloading drivers and finding all the application exe’s is a pain in the ass in comparison to Linux, where the drivers are there and the software is an apt-get, zypper, or yum away.
- community support (and free upgrades). It’s pretty easy to ask for help or find solutions through the Google god. It’s also nice to always have the latest system and a system you don’t have to pay extra to get all the features (I’m looking at you, Windows 7 Ultimate)
- Sane updates. I swear to god If I had a dollar for every time windows has forced me to update when I need to get up and leave (RAGE), I wouldn’t be on crappy computers.
- UI. I actually like Linux UIs more than Windows. I’ve had friends disagree, but since the hell that was put upon us by early KDE 4 and early GNOME 3, the interfaces have become really good again.
- Hardware longevity. When I found a PC for my dad it was running XP (Dual core, 2GB of RAM). XP is nearing its end of life, and I wanted my dad to have a well supported OS. I’ve been running the latest Mint on it with no problems, and I expect it to work as a perfect computer solution for him for a number of years to come.
- Choice and Control. In line with the above story, I have a lot of control to administer my dad’s computer, and so the amount of support I’ve had to do has dropped considerably from when he was running XP. I can also tweak and control MY system to how I please.
- Privacy and Freedom. The older I get, the important issues like privacy and freedom have become to me. I want to use my system and be absolutely sure it’s mine, and not spying on me.
GNU/Linux is my only system, and I use it because it has no restrictions other than technical. If I want to put it on a thumb drive I can. If I reinstall, I don’t have to worry about having my system blessed by a central authority. And package management.
In Depth Freedom & Options
Freedom and options.
I can (and have):
- Boot a Ubuntu live disc through DriveDroid on any Android phone on a customer’s computer, and reset the password.
- Boot over the network to test hardware if I’m feeling really lazy
- Run a fully fledged server in my home, that manages all Ubuntu updates
- Change the way anything acts – (GNOME/KDE/LXDE etc)
- Customise it to a grain of sand – my kernel is a shitton smaller than the default one.
- Run complete backups and complicated partition management
- Run pretty much anything without rebooting
- Update pretty much anything without rebooting
- Logs are SANE – “error – unknown codepage cp4387″ vs “contact your system administrator”
- Does some windows stuff better than windows – I have had hard drives refuse to come up in expensive data recovery programs in windows, only for them to come up near instantly after plugging them into my PC
- Configuration is SANE – plain text files vs various UI-themed dialog boxes
- Symbolic links – much better than shortcuts, easier to use than NTFS links
- Direct data management – dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb to securely wipe a drive
- Moderately easy to fix – Got Inaccessible boot device on windows xp? You are buggered. Linux? Check with a live disc and boot with that kernel.
- Hardware management is SANE – I don’t have to wait 20 seconds for a thumbdrive to work the first time in Linux. Also, I can pull my hard drive out of my laptop and boot it in almost any other recent machine, given that I use a stock kernel.
- Not friggin retarded console – I can use one of any size, and can be fairly sure that the program will follow certain standards.
- Diversity – I can use a 700MiB distro, or a 10MiB one.
- Full disk encryption – Haven’t tried this, but looking into it.
All of this I have not paid a cent for (other than hardware).
Joe Blow average user would call that insane, though. He wants something where he can navigate by screenshots and not have to do a week of reading just to change how long it takes for his laptop to turn off the screen when it’s on battery. Let’s not play that bullshit game of preferences – and if you bring up the damned windows registry, I’ll remind you that we’ve got one of our own – thank the GNOME devs for the steaming pile of shit that is gconf.
Let’s keep in mind, not everything we do is exactly right. There’s a lot of awesome things that Linux does, and there’s a bunch that are downright stupid. I have yet to have sleep work on my own devices at all without causing severe problems with ACPI and thermal management, which is a “it just works” moment in windows. I can have a much quicker boot in Linux, sure, but why not put the device to sleep? It has its upsides…but it also has some significant downsides.
When I tell my Linux system to do something it just does it. If I want to reboot and 20 different programs are open, it just reboots right away no questions asked.
TL;DR – Linux doesn’t treat me like a retarded idiot
There’s probably more, but the above is a start.
So what are your Reasons for Using Linux ? Hit me up in the Comments :)