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titanium_geek 10-31-2005 07:09 PM

why switch? NOT because it's not MS

During the last month, we conducted a survey of readers who use Linux. We asked them why they switched to Linux and received a plethora of answers. Surprisingly, anti-Microsoft sentiment had less to do with the choice than one might imagine.

Could the pundits have it all wrong? Is it possible that Linux stands on its own merits? Most Linux users would yes. Use of Linux does not represent a rebellion against Microsoft and Linux stands on its own as a user preference.

In this article, we will look at excerpts from the survey and see why people have adopted Linux. You might find the reasons interesting, maybe fascinating and probably not what you thought.

lots of user comments.


tomj88 11-01-2005 10:29 AM

Thats an interesting read, thanks. I wonder why most of the people here on lq switch?

I switched because I had heard alot about Linux when I was trying to install apache on my windows computer, and my friend had been going on about it. I would say my main reasons for installing Linux were curiosity, and the fact that it was free. I first installed Mandrake 10.1. Soon after I upgraded my hardware. Now, I have experimented with a couple of Distro's, and last week I upgraded to Debian Sid. I must admit though, I was at the time getting annoyed with Window's general instability, security weaknesses and slow speed. Now I only use Windows at school.

So why did you guys switch?

sundialsvcs 11-01-2005 11:34 AM

I would say that "the personal-computer industry is beginning to grow up." It is becoming a more mature market, and, as the hardware itself grows so-much more capable, it's outgrowing its original limited palette of system choices. There are, of course, many specialized devices (many masquerading as "cell phones" or "PDAs"), but even the traditional "desktop or laptop computer" is branching out to be much more than just an over-glorified expensive typewriter. Of all the OSes out there now, only Linux can be and has been adapted to all of them.

The Windows operating-system is struggling to keep up, partly because of the way in which it is developed: by a single corporation and its cadre of (of course, very talented and well trained) employees. Linux is growing faster because it is a community effort. I think we'll see a lot more adoption of that model as time goes on.

I don't think that people have "rebelled against Microsoft," but they do want real choices. The Linux environment gives them those choices ... but, before we simply sweep Windows out of the picture as a "has-been," maybe we should take a closer look at exactly what "the Linux environment" is. I observe that most of the components of it are not "Linux itself" (as in, the kernel), but rather the sattelite of other contributed-programs and libraries that orbit around it. Many of those could be made to orbit around "the Windows kernel" just as well!

So far, Microsoft Corporation may be the biggest hinderance to that, simply because they persist with the notion that "all of the planets in our solar system must come from us." That's the position that IBM used to have (and in the late 1990's, IBM laid-off a lot of people who gravitated to Microsoft, presumably taking their attitudes with them...). It's expensive, and it presents a fairly constant manpower-allocation problem. If they relax that position, and truly encourage the efforts of third-party developers, they could be much more competitive in a very short time. After all, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with the Windows-NT kernel. And, I would say, nothing intrinsically wrong with what Microsoft Corporation has built.

Cogar 11-01-2005 01:07 PM

Reading through the first half dozen or so responses, it seems that people become interested in Linux because they were exposed at work, and it piqued their curiosity. Still, I believe that as Microsoft becomes increasingly monopolistic and unethical that more and more people will get serious about using Linux. I know that is the case with me.

SlackerLX 11-01-2005 01:22 PM


Originally posted by tomj88
So why did you guys switch?
I didn't! The last time I used Windows was 1999. I had back then Win95 with fat32 support. Ever since have not seen it in my sight. 1999 I started with RH and it was apparent to me even then that RH already had superior logical layout and performance

hari_seldon99 11-01-2005 06:09 PM

Well I switched because of the security, OSS software availability and better performance, plus I need gcc for my numerical programming and didn't want the overhead from using cygwin in windows. Later on, I got a SCSI hdd with a controller that windoze installer does not natively support, so I have to install 3rd party drivers from a floppy during windoze install. Unfortunately, my floppy controller is fritzed, and my USB floppy drive is not detected in windoze. Installing windoze now is a whole lot more hassle-prone and complicated than installing mandrake, which supports my SCSI controller (among other things) right off of the box. Plus, I can run linux in my Sharp Zaurus and do things which that horrid piece of crap PocketPC can't, like firewalls, webserver, ssh server etc. Also, I built a mythtv PVR recently and it's more feature-rich than windoze-based PVR's.

tomj88 11-01-2005 06:23 PM

IMHO, Windows is a pain in the arse to install. I have only installed it once, alongside debian sarge on my friends pc. And I honestly believe that debian was easier to install than windows. Mandrake has probably the easiest to use installer, closely followed by fedora core. I would say Mandrake was one of the reasons why I have stuck with Linux, as it helped me learn to use Linux by not throwing me in the deep end. If I had tried something like debian or gentoo first, I think it would have all gone right over my head.

Harry Disney 11-01-2005 06:59 PM

My only experience with computers was on a Mac abandoned by my son. Came to China (2001) to study the language with a Handspring Visor (plus Springboard modem) and purchased a PC here.

Basically, I made a lot of mistakes with PalmOS on Win98 and was impressed how I could always recover my stuff from the simple, stable, non-MicroSoft OS. When my son sent me SuSE 9.0 to dual boot, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven- so simple, so many fun things to experiment with, no more worries about viruses (my Chinese friends put stuff on that ol' Win98 that could really mess me up!) Linux was my territory from then on.

hackerarchangel 11-01-2005 11:38 PM

wowser, i switched because of the instability. The only reason whi i keep it it is becuase of games.

Orkie 11-02-2005 11:34 AM

I 'switched' because I simply wanted to try something different. I managed to go for about 4 months using only Gentoo, only booting into Windows to print things out (Tally Genicom paid somebody wrote Linux drivers for every model other than mine :().

Now, I must confess that I have gone back mostly to Windows because I'm using my computer for a lot of things that need to be printed out and it is just a pain to keep rebooting but when I buy a new printer at some time, I'll be able to use Linux again - it does everything I want it to (and in fact, I only ever use OSS programs on Windows anyway - OOo, Gaim and Firefox plus a few others).

raska 11-02-2005 01:51 PM

I 'switched' because of the curiosity and mainly because I learnt that I could do everything that I could on windoze (including the chat on the messenger service, pretty useful to me). And needed to install linux (any distro) with some basic network services for an university subjet.

I started with Mandrake ... 8, if I recall correctly. The easier to use, sure thing. After five or more tries of install without success I got desperate. I tried SCO linux server, it was not a proper system for a desktop so I dumped it, even that it could make it right for the university purposes. Someone offered me SuSE linux (I don't remember which version, nine point something) but I thought there were too many CD's to burn so I didn't even try it. I knew about a great linux distro called Red Hat, but didn't try it because someone told me in those days: "why don't you try Slackware Linux? I don't quite know all about it but I have been told 'If you know slackware, you know linux. If you know Red Hat, you only know Red Hat'". So I got a copy off Slackware 9 (just 1 CD!!!), installed and worked at the first try ... and loved it.

I hadn't erase a couple of windoze installations on my PC's mainly because of compatibility with some games I like, but I don't use it often (the other day I couldn't recall the damn password!!!)

bmk 11-02-2005 02:04 PM

I switched because I like poking under the hood and I don't like draconian, privacy violating EULA's.


texaudit 11-11-2005 06:13 AM

I haven't really switched, yet. I am still in a phase of learning Linux enough to switch. I was encourage to start learning Linux because it is becoming more common in the corporate environment, and because of the reputation MS has developed for instability and security holes.

efi 12-29-2005 03:39 PM

I switched because Windows became a real problem instead of being the answer to the problems.Linux was the answer I was looking for, and a very interesting one I must say.Now I am involved with Linux, I definitely want to learn everything about it and I will ,even if that means a lot of work.But if you love and appreciate a system that does everything you want ,you do not care about the effort.Actually,I find Linux amazing.

XavierP 12-29-2005 03:43 PM

I switched out of curiousity, then realised I preferred Linux. LQ has long said that we are not an anti-Microsoft site, but I believe that we all go through stages:
  • join LQ
  • post up how much we hate M$
  • insist on using M$ instead of Microsoft even though the joke wasn't funny 5 years ago
  • realise that Linux doesn't have all of the answers (yet)
  • feel sorry for people who still use the term M$
  • realise that they are the stage we were at and sigh

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