10 Years Of Linux and I Haven't Looked Back
My love affair with Linux is several years older than 10 but it has been for the past 10 years that I have used Linux as my operating system of choice almost exclusively. I say almost exclusively because there are rare occasions when I might have to revert to Windows to get something done.
Like most people who come from where I’m from, my introduction to computers was through Windows and that brought with it its frustrations. Whilst at university, I discovered Linux and was instantly drawn to it.
The Linux Appeal
Few people tend to think twice about the computer operating system they are using. To them what they are currently using is just the normal order of the day and they are not even aware that there are alternatives.
Even though most people face the frustrations with their operating system, few go out to try and find something that works better.
In my case however, it wasn’t the frustrations with Windows that drew me to Linux. It was a certain kind of appeal that came with using Linux that had an irresistible draw.
There was something about the Linux console - how you had so much control over your computer by typing in a few commands. I mean the command prompt in Windows has nothing on the Linux console.
The Linux console is comprehensive and very expressive. It gives you more control than using the Graphical User Interface. Besides it made you look really cool using it. I know, you are probably thinking “nerd” or “geek” but this was irresistibly appealing to me when I started using Linux.
Operating System Stability
I really haven’t had much exposure to Apple Macs so my reference point is always Windows when making a comparison with Linux. Even though I was drawn to Linux for its “Cool” factor, I quickly discovered how superior it was to Windows from a system stability standpoint.
I always hated the “Blue Screen of Death” on Windows. What usually would happen is that your screen turns suddenly blue and you get a cryptic message which makes no effort to clearly let you know what went wrong. Obviously by then you would have lost all your work.
Linux is surprisingly stable. When something happens you are notified exactly what went wrong so that you can go about fixing the problem and this rarely happens. Furthermore your computer can run for days without slowing down as is the case with Windows.
Intuitive Update System
Like I mentioned, I occasionally use Windows when I happen to have a certain software application or type of application that is not available on Linux. In the rare moments that I get to do this I am faced with an update nightmare.
It is an understatement to say that I hate Windows update with a passion. In Windows, updates interfere with your entire workflow. When Windows updates the system, you are forced to go through a series of restarts and whilst the updates are ongoing, the computer is unusable.
What is even more annoying is that you do not get a detailed indication of what is going on and how long it is going to take apart from the notice that Windows is updating. I once had a Windows update session that ran for more than an hour!
With Linux on the other hand, updates safely run in the background and you can continue working whilst they are ongoing. Unlike in Windows, you also have the option of choosing the updates you want to run instead of having everything forced on you.
I often am amused when I hear people talk about viruses and antiviruses on their computer. As a Linux user, this is not a concern. The concept of viruses is simply redundant on a Linux system due to its secure architecture.
Avoiding the headaches that come from viruses and the whole antivirus ecosystem on Windows is definitely a plus for a Linux user.
There are antivirus software for Linux but their purpose is not to secure the Linux computer but to eliminate viruses that may be transmitted when sharing files between Linux and Windows computers thereby protecting Windows users.
What I love most about a Linux computer is the idea of Open Source. You can find software that does almost anything in your Linux software repository without having to spend anything.
Call me cheap if you like but I think this serves me better than having to pirate software in a Windows environment. If you ask around, most people on Windows get their software illegally without paying for it.
It’s not only a question of cost but also a wide selection of software that is of high quality that comes from the open source community. As a web developer, all my tools are Open Source as well as free and I would not trade them any day for the commercial alternatives.
Sticking To Linux
In my journey as a Linux user, I have only used 3 distributions. That is another aspect of Linux that can cause confusion for newbies- there are so many distributions or version available. However, I don’t think the many choices should be a problem if you just stick to the mainstream distributions, unless your objective is to explore.
I started with Suse Linux, moved to Ubuntu and now I have been with Linux Mint for a very long time. Are there limitations that I face as a Linux user when interacting with Windows users? Definitely.
Are these limitations enough to have me switch back to Windows? Definitely not. The nature of software is that it is always evolving and I see Linux growing in leaps and bounds in the foreseeable future that I do not for once regret my choice to go with Linux and I am never looking back.