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Hello all. I just have a question of opinion. I am a, what I call, "moderately aggressive" computer user. By that I mean that I have my moments of interest where I probe deep into the workings and inerds of computing. (I.E. networking, programming, switching from Windows to Linux "For the fun of it") but most of the time it is just general usage. I recently purchased RedHat 9 and have installed it without a hitch. Or at least no hitches getting it onto my machine. From that point on, it has been pretty cumbersome. I installed Linux on my older laptop and my up to date desktop. Immediately I hit problems with modems, network cards, and basic folder navigation. I have pushed my through most of these problems (although most remain unresolved) and I am now at my "Question of Opinion."
I am well aware (having interned as an assistant network admin) of the security and stability that Linux leads the industry in. My question though is this: What advantage does an "everyday" user have in switching from say WinXP over to Linux and is the process worth the gain?
I would appreciate any opinions on this. I would though request that the opinions be serious opinions and not just propaganda. (I have heard it from both sides, and to be honest, the stuff against Windows is much more entertaining but I want honest answers. )
Thanks everyone who contributes seriously, I appreciate it.
It really depends on the users themselves. My parents have recently discovered the internet (thanks to yours truly) and are slowly getting to grips with it. They currently run W2k, but I have had them surfing from my Mandy box, and they both say that they really wouldn't care which OS they had on the computer, so long as the damn thing worked. Grantedly my Mum does have the accounts saved on there (in Excel format), but it's simple arithmatics, so I'm sure OOCalc or Gnumeric would cope with them fine. The only reason that I have not switched then over yet is because of their damn modem, which I can't be bothered to change (yet).
My Bro, on the other hand, would not change over to Linux. He runs an *ahem* version of XP and has a stupid amount of Uni-based proprietary (sp?) programs running on it. He is busy on a quite large program at the moment and if he switched to Linux, he would find it quite a pain with the other 'developers'. I have nagged him constantly, and he does now finally have Knoppix around to play with - he already has a Linux router, but he doesn't play with that - and I think it is growing on him. Perhaps when he has finished this project, and his PhD, he will look into it a bit more.
I, however, am quite comfortable not using Windows at all. I have found that a gradual change has allowed me to discover all the different 'equivalents' in Linux, so it hasn't been a short-sharp shock, which is I believe, one of the problems facing people making the switch from a system they are already familiar with.
On a side note - I did a little personal study where I asked my parents all sorts of nasty questions about the programs they were running: IE and Outlook. They are effectively completely blank pages as they have never used the internet/email before (sort of). And, not to my surprise, they found that Outlook was actually quite difficult to use. So, 'intuitive' my arse.
Windows XP is a decent product, no doubts to that. But you also hand over any rights to privacy, and also usage, as that is strictly controlled by your eula's. You see, the industry has taken advantage of the consumer's lazyness to even read through those things, and you would be shocked at what they contain.
So, privacy for one, and no hidden tricks, no gimmicks, no back you in to a corner and get screwed without lube. Lower cost of owenrship, and usage. Way lower cost, as figure this. $200 for xp pro, $300 and up for ms office just for startting out, and dont forget all the eula's again, to make all of your software and hardware to work in harmony together.
Then comes one of my pet peeves... Like p2p? We all do. Well enjoy the nasty little trojans ands virii all abound the networks, as they love windows, any version too. Oddly, the same infected file bears no effect at all on my linux box. (I tested this, and I swear for the 8 malicous coded bastads, none affected my box)
Support, I have found more free support for my linux issues (granted none is gauarenteed at all unless your purchase it, rather cheaply next to xp I might add) than any $25 call to microsoft. (Unless you bought xp from a store, for $200 and up, then you get some kind of limited free support, I think either 2 issues, or a short time limit)
Once I have my p2p going under linux, that seals Microsofts fate from within my life, period. Sure you dont have as big a game selection, however Im willing to let go of that. Also, if you look at all the ploys to keep microsoft number one, its almost evil. Did you know, as an ex best buy manager, there entire computer product and software line is engineered to manipulate popularity and use? I kid you not, even down to there dvd burners.
I like freedom, privacy, and to have a choice. I love linux because it accomadates my needs, as well as my privacy and control concerns. Is linux a one size fits all? Well, actually almost. Mandrake 9.1 is pretty impresive for a free os, as is redhat and some others. Given some time, maybe 10-20 years, I see linux owning a nice % of us home based pc's. I plan to help facilitate and accelerate this as much as possible, as I have firm belief behind the values that linux reprisents.
ATM I would say there are not many. Desktop Linux is still very much a work in progress. However, you might have fun helping us build it.
There are advantages of the Linux desktop over Windows, however they are generally outweighed by the disadvantages (lack of compatability, difficulty of software installs, broken stuff etc). But not long now.....
Thymox - I agree with what you wrote. I think I might have gone a little gung-ho with the whole transition. I had heard how great linux could be, but I didn't realize the learning curve would hit me so hard. I am now probably going to switch over to a dual boot and use Linux for learning and XP for, well, getting stuff done until I am comfortable enough to try to truly migrate my work over. (I am just glad I back up everything from XP)
Xodustrance - Yah, I'm totally with you. I use to work for CompUSA. The reasons that you listed were also a big motivation for me wanting to move over. Granted, I might never feel the harsh effects of the EULA's, the thought that someone could hold something like that over my head really bothers me.
Thanks everyone for you great posts. Keep em comin!
Originally posted by mhearn ATM I would say there are not many. Desktop Linux is still very much a work in progress.
Surely this depends on your definition of the 'desktop'. For some, the 'desktop' involved surfing the internet, sending emails and chatting online (msn, yahoo, aim, etc). For others, the 'desktop' will involve some serious DTP and video editing. Now, I appreciate that these are two extremes, but I feel that the term 'desktop' is overused and often poorly expressed.
For my part, I consider 'desktop' use to be internet surfing, email, chatting online, and some light office works - nothing heavy, and certainly nothing to do with databases or dtp. Having 'tested' my parents (who are newbies to computers, not just to Linux), I would say that it is ready for the desktop.
If you are an everyday user that doesn't care that much about game, it has alot of advantages.
1- It's free or very low cost ($40 us for Red Hat)
2- Don't have to worry about viruses
3- Free office suites (OpenOffice rocks)
4- No need for most propietary apps. You can get apps to replace Office to AutoCAD
5- If you really get into it, you will learn alot
6- stability, stability, stability! This is the reason that I switched. I get tired of having to reboot my XP laptop, Win NT/2000 servers at work all the time. Windows does some strange things. Non of them can stay up for more that a week or two without having to reboot them. Also there is a big problem with replication on different versions of Exchange.
7- Last but not least there is linusquestions.org to help you out.