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I switched because I got an old computer with a screwed installation of windows me and didn't have a windows disk at the time, so I thought I'd use linux (RH9) until I got round to installing windows. I kept linux because it did everything I needed (except commercial games), was much more customisable and was usually faster.
I made the permanent change about 3 years ago for eye candy, actually. I wanted alpha channel transparency on the desktop and had gone as far as I could go in customization with 98SE. Refused to move to XP because I was in IT then and had too many junked machines I swapped components between to go batty with M$ activation schemes. While googling eye candy sites I hit kde-look.org and went hmmmm... Linux
So first I tried out Lindows, then Knoppix hd installed. Moved to a superior spinoff, Kanotix and now to Debian Etch and Sidux (debian Sid). All my computers are all linux or dual boot and have at least one debian install. I did finally have to migrate one machine to XP for a game (sigh)that I love that won't work with Wine or Cedega.
I had previously been exposed to Linux back around Y2K in a work environment. I had to use some form of it to convince an NT laptop with a corrupt install of Access that my desktop was mamaship and to cough up its database there to save the day. The linux was on a floppy, no idea what it was and I was guided the whole way by a Unix admin. I did take floppy home and had a go awhile later (maybe years?) at installing whatever it was with cribnotes but failed miserably at generating mode lines or such for my monitor to get X. Didn't try again until Lindows and wow, saw that it had come a long way
OK linux isn't for everyone even though some of us think it should be.
Windows on the other hand is meant to be for everyone, supposedly easier to install and use. Maybe so, but it starts right out costing you hundreds of dollars, and it has always been released "half-baked," full of security holes and other inadequacies that need to be repaired. Therefore, we are forced to give up control of our computers to Microsoft so that they can continually download their "automatic updates" to us. We are also obliged to pay subscription fees to third-party companies ,installing their products to protect us from the ever-growing list of viruses, worms and other unwanted intrusions. Most windows applications are pretty costly as well. So we pay, and pay, and pay... and all the while, almost everything is closed source: no matter how much computer knowledge we have we will never be allowed to really know what is going on inside our machines. Everything is a "trade secret" so that companies can protect their precious intellectual property. And the only thing most people ever get to know about how their computers are configured is that they have clicked on next, next, next, and finish.
With linux we are offered more freedom of choice. We can choose a distribution backed by a company that will provide easy support and upgrades, similar to Microsoft's support of Windows, or if we are "do-it-yourselfers" we have the opportunity to really get to know the details of the inner workings of our computer. The number of applications that run on a linux platform is now huge, and most of them are open-source as well. You can pay a computer-savvy friend handsomely to help you set up your machine and still wind up spending less than all of those pricey windows applications would cost: you might even have some money left over to make a donation to the authors of your favorite open-source projects.
A modern linux system is more stable, more secure, and just as easy to use as Windows.
You also bypass the legal and moral issues of software pirating, which is a rampant phenomenon in the windows world.
Distribution: Debian amd64 with 32bit libs and Debian 32 bit laptop
Originally Posted by nemestrinus
supposedly easier to install
no it is not
any partition that is not M$ is called free space even if it is ext3, and it cant be installed if you installed Gnu/Linux first since it will wipe the MBR without asking. The icing to the cake is that some of the OME disks will format you disk without asking
I learned the hard way and in the case of the MBR you can use Gnu/Linux to fix it
OK linux isn't for everyone even though some of us think it should be.
Windows on the other hand is meant to be for everyone,
History shows us differently though. Microsoft created an OS for the "Home PC market" with the first version of MS DOS. It was after that when people started putting those home pc's into businesses that MS Dos/Windows became the standard.
A computer is like any other tool, be it a drill, screwdriver, hammer, etc. If your a homeowner and need to hang pictures then that Chinese made Hammer/drill/screwdriver will do fine since your not using it hard. If your a contractor/handyman/whatever then you need better quality tools so you buy the more expensive tools that are designed to last when used all day long.
Your computer and OS are the same way. Windows is the home/ameture grade OS and the various unix's are the professional grade. Even windows servers still have severe limitations when compared to professional/enterprise grade OS's.
So what happens is you or I start playing with computers as a hobby and the Windows OS works fine. Then you start to rely on it and you need to move up to a better OS. Same as the handy homeowner who starts out just doing hobbies then people start asking him to do work for them and all of a sudden you have a business and rely on your tools, you then need to get better tools that won't let you down.
Maybe I'm different .. maybe I'm just weird .. but several years ago I started using Linux almost full-time but I didn't "switch." Over time, I acquired a current Macintosh OS/X machine, and then-current Windows machines, and wound up using them all. Still do.
Maybe that is what is most important: "I still use 'em all."
It's important because that is what I set out to do: to create an environment that is a whole lot like what businesses do; what the web servers do. Namely, a mix of machines and technologies. I intentionally experimented with networking these machines together, with using the Linux box as a firewall or a DNS server, and with running an Apache server or a MySQL server on a Linux box. I've even experimented with Kerberos.
And I made a very studious effort to understand all three of the systems that were now rattling around my office at "more than a cursory" level of understanding.
I really think that if you are "in the computer business" and you are still "futzing around with desktops," you are .. still futzing around.
Probably the most amazing thing about Linux and all this stuff is that, now that computers are so darned cheap, you can re-create the exact same software configuration that's used on the Internet, say, right in your own den.
Realistically, you aren't going to change the type of operating system that any particular company runs. But you can make sure that, no matter what your employer or your client runs, you're prepared.
On that note, one of the things Linux does better than windows is run virtual machines. I have been able to rid myself of all my old pc's that were running various windows server versions as test labs and move to vmware on my laptop. I was able to clean up my "server room" and cut down on my electric bill as well.
I don't know about this linux isn't for everyone stuff.... and windows is. Even over-priviledged babies with handicaps (like myself) can benefit much more from a bulky fully-featured distro like ubuntu. For Grandma... as long as she has a friend that knows what they are doing to set things straight every once in a while.... she also can get a lot more out of an ubuntu.
What about a Malaysian University..... they have a lot of people and skill, perhaps not much capital.... should they set their 30 P4 Cluster to Windows with Office and Commercial math software etc at $15,000 or should they look at Debian?
Who are these people for whom linux is not fit but Windows is?