Over the years I have spoken with many folks about using alternatives to Microsoft operating systems (a.k.a. Windows). Since I found and began advocating Linux distributions I have been asked many times “Why …?” and “Who uses it?”. I have also gotten statements that “Everyone uses Windows.”. Well, not everyone, I do not. Here is a URL with some answers as to “Who” and “Why”:
Note specifically these Linux users from the above URL: U.S. Army, U.S. Federal Courts, U.S. Postal Service.
Edit Tue Oct 14 19:12:09 UTC 2008: The URL above is rather old and out of date. The URL posted in the Edit below is more up to date.
Why I personally use and advocate using a Linux distribution. It is very stable and I never have a “crash” where I have to reboot my operating system. Once I got a decent printer the printing always works. I do not have to worry about running software to protect my PC from viruses, adware, spyware and other malicious software (a.k.a. mal-ware). It has a choice of GUI (Graphical User Interface) on top of the operating system where I can pick the one I like best. Most Windows users would be comfortable with the KDE GUI (http://www.kde.org/screenshots/). Linux is “free”, the applications I use on it are “free” and my only cost is in hardware and my time learning the new system. In my case I want and need to know the configuration and maintenance internals of the system so I spend more time in the “guts” of the system than most people would.
However, I could today just buy a PC with a major Linux distribution already installed and never have to know the internal “stuff”. Then if I had a problem I could get in touch with someone to support me. This is what most people do with Microsoft operating systems. They do not know internals and they call someone (usually a technical person like me) when they have a problem.
Where would I get a personal computer with Linux installed? Well, most of you who know me personally know I build and sell personal computers preloaded with Linux in my small business. But what about major personal computer retailers … ever hear of Dell? Then check out http://linux.dell.com/ to see what Dell is doing. Go to Dell PCs Featuring Ubuntu to see the computers Dell offers with the Ubuntu Linux distribution preloaded.
I am decidedly a computer hobbyist and love to tinker with personal computers. I know most people are not and want to just get stuff done on the computer. The bottom line for me is answering this question, “Must I use Microsoft products to get done what I want to get done on my personal computer?”. I found that I can get done everything I want to get done on my personal computer for my small business and for my personal use by running a Linux distribution. Creating documents and spreadsheets (OpenOffice.org – also available for Microsoft systems), browsing the world wide web safely (Konqueror, (Firefox, Opera – also available for Microsoft systems)), handling e-mail (Kmail), managing personal and business contacts (KAddressbook), personal and small business accounting (GNUCash), games (too many to list) and more. All this software is “free”. In my opinion spending a lot of (or any) money to do the same things on a Microsoft based personal computer is really unnecessary with the choices available today for a Linux based personal computer.
Can one find reasons to not switch to Linux? Sure one can. But I can state with certainty that there are very few reasons now and those reasons are fewer and fewer as time goes on.
Please feel free to reply with your comments about this post. I look forward to hearing from you.