Response to 10 Reasons Why You Should Switch To Linux From Windows XP

This blog post is a response to the article posted here: http://itsfoss.com/reasons-switch-linux-windows-xp/. I mean no disrespect to the author of this article with my replies.

My responses are in purple and direct quotes from the article are in red.

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1. It’s free

Microsoft will force you to upgrade to Windows 8.1 which mean you’ll have to spend around $120 just for the OS.

Linux OS on the other hand is completely free. If you choose to switch to Linux, you save at least hundred bucks. Sounds good enough a reason, ain’t it?

Technically Microsoft is not forcing anyone to upgrade their OS. People can still use Windows XP if they choose to, but it is recommended to upgrade to a supported OS now.

Remember not every OS is going to be supported forever. There will come a time when an OS will be end-of-life.

Also, Linux is not really free to anyone. It still takes time and money to develop it (why do you think Linux organizations ask for donations?).

Plus, if most average computer users switch to Linux, how would the openness of Linux really be a benefit to them, since a lot of them would not know how to program and probably will not want to ever learn?

2. More Secure, no need of any antivirus

In Windows you cannot live without an antivirus. Even with an antivirus product, your system is continuously at risk of catching virus. If you had a premium antivirus, it would keep on alerting you of a possible threat detection.

In Linux you don’t need an antivirus. Virus and malware are alien to Linux world. Linux is known for its security features. Switching to Linux will save you some more as you won’t have to buy an antivirus.

With all due respect, this reason is really silly and gives people a false sense of security. The idea that Linux does not get viruses is a myth. Windows may have more malware, but that does not mean that Windows is guaranteed to get a virus, nor is Windows necessarily easier to infect.

If you open e-mail attachments from people you do not know, run programs without scanning them first, setting insecure root password on your computer, no amount of Windows or Linux can help you there! :)

Linux can get viruses just like Windows (http://scalibq.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/hand-of-thief-commercial-linux-malware-kit/).

Remember since most of the world uses Windows, the hackers are going to target the most used OS (Windows). If it were the other way around, Linux would have the same problem, and worse, so many people would be feeling secure “because they use Linux” (a false sense of security), that it would probably be easier for hackers to infect the most popular Linux distributions out there.

3. Compatible with lower end hardware

A good reason why you have been running Windows XP for such a long time could be hardware constraints. Upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 requires at least 1GB of RAM. Running Windows 7/8 on the minimum configuration will be a real painful experience as it will be extremely slow and almost unusable. And if your system configuration doesn’t meet the minimum criteria you will have no option other than buying a new PC.

Welcome to Linux world. There is a Linux OS for everyone. Most of the Linux OS does not require a heavyweight computer system. But even if your system is one of those of late 90′s or early 2000′s, there are plenty of extreme lightweight Linux distributions. In other words, hardware is no constraint for Linux OS.

Really to do anything effective on Windows XP (other than check e-mail, browse, watch videos, etc.) you really need 1 GB of RAM. I can run Windows 7 on a slow netbook (about 4-5 years old) decently. It has 2 GB of RAM.

True, Linux can work well on older computer systems. However I would argue that if somebody was going to do serious work with their computer system, they would already have a fast system, and not be using a 1999 desktop.

4. Ease of use

The one misconception about Linux is that it is “geeks only” and one needs to be computer genius and command line ninja to use Linux. No, it is not true. It is not late 90′s where Linux was a complicated operating system. These days desktop Linux OSes run out of the box, have GUI tools and have all the functionality that you look for in Windows.

True, Linux has become much more user-friendly than it was 10 years ago. However, Linux is still not yet as user-friendly as Windows or MacOS X is. Things in Linux are not uniform and organized (e.g. 50+ Linux distributions available to the public who has no idea of which one to choose, graphics support on Linux is bad when compared to Windows, etc.)

5. Drivers included

As a Windows user, you must have struggled with drivers. Finding the correct driver for your system was a difficult task. I remember, I had several drivers folder in my external backup disk as I did not want to waste time looking for the audio, video or wireless drivers. But with Linux, most of these drivers are supported directly by the Linux kernel. Which means its more like plug and play for Linux, no struggling with drivers, largely.

Not really. All my current desktop hardware works out of the box on Windows 8.1! Windows and Linux are almost the same in regard to “plug and play”.

6. It’s sexy and I know it

When it comes to looks, desktop Linux rules over Windows. Be it Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome 3, KDE or even low end desktop environments like Xfce or Lxde, they are much more good looking than the Windows desktop. So if you think Linux desktop to be a plain boring and dull looking, you are definitely wrong. Best of all, you can choose a desktop flavor according to your choice.

Actually from using a little bit of GNOME, KDE, and Xfce, I really do like Windows’ interface much better (Windows 98’s interface I would prefer over one of these really).

7. Software repository

Most of the desktop Linux OS have their own ‘app store’ or ‘software repository’. You can look for any kind of application, libraries at one single place without the need of Googling all over the internet for it. Moreover, the software thus installed will be safe, compatible with your OS and will be getting automatic updates.

The software repositories will not necessarily have all the software that you need. Also, what if you installed something via RPM or DEB manually (compiled from source or not)? How would you get the package manager to automatically update the manually installed software?

8. Better updating process

Windows updates are real pain. First Windows will notify that you have system updates. When you install them, it will be configured at shutdown time at a pace that even a tortoise can beat. You will be told to “preparing to configure Windows, do not shutdown your system” and the wait is eternal. And that’s not the end. At the next boot, it will again be configuring the updates. Moreover, the software and applications installed in Windows provide their updates separately. Remember Java, Adobe or iTunes updates pop up?

Updates in Linux is a like a cool breeze. You will be regularly notified that updates are available. And these updates include not just system and security updates but available updates for different applications installed. Unlike Windows, you won’t have to wait at shutdown or start time. Updating in desktop Linux is a matter of one click.

Actually updating Windows is not all that bad. Also, as a note, Windows does not have updates “every single day”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patch_Tuesday).

Also, a typical Linux install which has a kernel update will need to be rebooted anyway. 

Switch from Windows to Linux just to save a reboot or two every month, is not worth it in my opinion.

9. Gaming on Linux

One of the major constraint one face while switching to Linux is gaming. While Linux had some native games, thanks to Steam, it has now a wide range of games available. GOG.com will also be bringing around 100 games by the year end. Apart from these, we always have PlayOnLinux, which lets you play ‘Windows only’ games on Linux.

Really, any serious gamer would either use Windows or a game console (I have three friends who use both Windows and game consoles to play games). Linux just is not a good OS to build games for (many distributions doing their own thing, not great video support, most of the world using something else (Windows and even MacOS X), etc.)

10. Community support

Probably the best thing about Linux is the Linux community. You will never feel alone in Linux world. Apart from numerous Linux how-to blogs, just drop by any forum for any kind of problem you are facing with your system, someone will always try to help you out. Such is the support of Linux community.

In my experience, a lot of Linux users feel elite and superior about using Linux. There is nothing wrong with liking (or disliking) an OS, but please do not exaggerate “facts” about Linux just to get people to switch to an OS that has no real support outside of a few companies and community boards that someone may or may not get help on.

A few years ago, I asked for help on a Linux forum. As far as I know, I never got a reply from anyone. How does that help me or someone else if that has happened to them as well?

I think that if the Linux community came together and built on one distribution, did not come across as elite, and made Linux user-friendly (just like Windows and MacOS X does), people (and companies) will take Linux much more seriously than they do now.

 

Think these 10 reasons are good enough for you to switch to Linux from Windows? If yes then you might be wondering which Linux OS is best for you. In a previous article I had written about best Linux OS to replace Windows XP, you may take a look at it.

I hope this post makes your decision of switching to Linux easier. Time to ditch Windows and embrace the freedom has come. Welcome to Linux.

Linux is only ‘freedom’ to people who know how to modify it and use it (e.g. computer programmers). If you are a casual computer user, Linux would not really give you any more freedom than Windows would.


Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems