It is December 2018 and my love affair with Linux is several years older than 10. However, 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 would revert to Windows to get something done.
Like most people who come from where I’m from, my early exposure to computers was mostly through Windows and that brought with it its frustrations. Whilst at university, I discovered Linux and was instantly drawn to it.
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 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 first 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 Terminal: 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 Terminal.
The Linux Terminal 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” alert, but this was irresistibly appealing to me when I started using Linux.
I really haven’t had much exposure to Apple Macs, so my reference point is at this point Microsoft 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 would suddenly turn 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 critical 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, contrary to what happens with Windows.
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 downloading and ongoing, the computer is completely unusable.
What is even more annoying is that, you do not get a detailed indication of what is going behind the scenes, or 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 several hours!
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 am often amused, when I hear people talk about viruses and antivirus software for 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 to do almost anything in your Linux software repository, without having to spend any money.
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 developer, all my tools are Open Source as well as free, and I would not trade them for the commercial alternatives any day.
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 versions 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 over Windows.
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