In theory I’m good with technology. I grew up in a family that has really good relationship with it. My parents were playing video games in a ZX Spectrum with rubber keyboard before I was born. My mother was on the phone with me yesterday about creating and setting automatically created table of contents in Word. She couldn’t remember how to do it. I started using Windows 3.1 and moved through all versions of Windows. The only reason I still haven’t installed Windows 7 is because I’m only using Linux at home now. I formatted my laptop in November when Ubuntu 9.10 was released and I have only that installed. It’s been three months now and I can say that I ‘m very pleased with them.
In general I really like Linux. There are so many different distributions that there must be one out there to fill your needs. I’m not that experienced in them but I am happily now getting to start to know them. What of course is their major advantage is the fact that you can get them for free. Yes, for free... After Leopard or Windows it is really a pleasure to have an OS (operation system) free of charge. I do not know about Leopard (I never owned a Mac) but Windows Vista had so many problems that it was ridiculous!
You can simply visit their website and download them. You might only get charged if you order CDs or DVDs delivered to your place. What I also found very interesting is the fact that for most Linux distributions, you can create a live bootable CD that can allow you to boot into the OS without making any permanent changes to your PC.
That is how, out of pure curiosity, I first tested Ubuntu 8.4 and OpenSUSE 10.0. I am not a core programmer and the only differences I could primarily see where according to their User Interface. The first is using by default Gnome and the second is using KDE. What made me select Ubuntu though was the fact that it was able to find my wireless connection and get automatically and easily connected to the internet. OpenSUSE couldn’t see my wireless adaptor.
Having internet connection a whole new world of applications are open for you to explore. You can just as easily download almost everything from games, design tools, photo editing software and video players without even visiting their websites. You can have displayed a whole list of software packages to simply choose from.
Most people believe that Linux is very complicated and only programmers can use it. I think that Linux can be as complicated as you want to make them. Modern Linux now are quite Windows-lookalike and you will not have to open and use command lines often. Of course there can be some issues with hardware drivers (although I didn’t have any problem with them) and some command lines might have to be written manually, but to be honest, that seldom happens. Also, there are so many Linux users now and many forums to check for solutions.
What can be irritating is that not all Windows software work on Linux. You are able to find equivalent software working on Linux or you could have ‘Wine’ that ‘emulates’ and runs Windows programs, but not all of them work. If you are a hard core gamer, you will not like Linux since most new games will not load. Most of older games do work in Linux though. I am happily playing ‘Morrowind’ at the moment, without any issues. Also, if you want to work on a specific software package like AutoCAD or ArcGIS then you might also encounter problems. If you are an everyday user like me at home, just browsing the internet, playing some games and using OpenOffice a bit, then Linux is an OS for you, even if it can be slightly rough at the edges…
Ok, maybe my analysis so far was a bit simplistic or even childish but I strongly believe that open source software is the future. You can check on today’s news that Symbian is giving away billions of dollars of code by going ‘open source’. Do you think they do not know what they are doing? Also Google’s new OS called Chrome OS is based on Linux.