In my last post, I ranted about Microsoft and their decision to push advertising to the desktop, in this post I’m going to give the practical reasons I switched to Linux and I promise, no more ranting (at least in this post).
I work for a computer company that supports small businesses with servers, workstations and phone systems. Part of the daily grind is supporting operating systems, Windows, Apple OS X, Linux and a plethora of devices that run on Android, IOS and a myriad of other operating systems. One thing I have learned over the years is that there are dozens of operating systems to choose from, but only a few that can meet certain needs. Windows is a widely accepted, general purpose operating system, but this wide acceptance is also it’s downfall in regards to security and maintenance. Apple OS X is a sleek operating system that works well for the art and marketing community, yet it just doesn’t seem gain any traction, possibly due to the high cost of ownership (limited software and hardware). and then there is the ever mysterious Linux…
It is that mystery that drives me. The challenge of discovery and overcoming the supposedly complex. There is a certain art to understanding and running Linux on the desktop that gets my gears turning.
It’s not for those that want to run a business with easy to install and learn software, but there are plenty of alternative software choices. There is also Wine, a windows compatibility layer that can greatly enhance your ability to run windows specific software on Linux. It is possible to run Linux on the desktop in a business environment, but you really need someone on staff that can implement and troubleshoot it. If you choose to run your business on Linux, then kudos to you! If you don’t believe this is possible then just take a look at the C|Net interview on what guitar maker Ernie Ball did.
While I was a bit miffed about Windows 10, I had many more reasons to switch. I believe that Linux on the desktop has evolved to the point that it is becoming a viable operating system and it is certainly a great alternative for the home user that uses their computers for managing their online bank accounts, checking email and web surfing. Recently a lot games have been ported to Linux, a great example is Steam, who now supports over 700 games on Linux. There are a number of alternative applications available for Linux also, like Libre Office, The Gimp, and many others. A great resource for these alternatives is alternativeto.net, where you can find software that is either written specifically for or ported to Linux.
The main reason? I’m cheap! There was a time when I had to have the latest and greatest hardware and software, and I would pay through the nose for it. I’ve learned that all I got was outdated systems and an empty bank account. I’ve found that I can run Linux on minimal hardware and still get the performance I want without breaking the bank. I can certainly throw bigger badder hardware at it and it will take it like a champ, but there is a certain challenge in getting great performance out of older hardware. Besides that leaves me more money for my other hobbies.