Windows vs. Linux

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have decided that it was about time for me to write up a rather lengthy essay about the reasons why I chose to use linux over windows. Now I have here and there mentioned a couple of reasons but I have never delved really deep to uncover the majority of the reasons why I use linux. Since I have been using it now for over three years and I plan to continue using it in the future I suppose I have to have some concrete reasons on why I chose to use linux over windows. I figure nothing short of an essay would do. Now before I continue I want to strees the fact that use my comptuer for common tasks. So this writing is not intened some some really advanced computer users who know every nuke and crany of their systems. This piece is intended for I suppose the average guy who is interested in computers and is looking for ways to improve his computer use. Sure I am a script kiddie so in that respect I use the comptuer for other reasons and intentions than common people do but in reality those few activities really do not affect my decisions on why I chose to use linux over windows. Sure linux is better suited for hackers because some programs that we script kiddies use are specifically written for linux users. However, none of that directlly affects my decisions why I use linux predominanetly. I am sure that I have mentioned at least some of the reaons before at least once. Now I want to be sure to cover a good portion of them in this lengthy writing. Like I have said I am going to approach the problem from the perspective of a common user. So I am going to be desribing stuff that the common person would most likely encounter.

I do not intend to offend windows creators or the window users. I just merely want to state the cons and pros of each operating system the way that I see it. In fact I advocate the use of both operating systems. As long as a user knows the weaknesses and strengths of each and uses both accordingly to those strengths. For instance windows is great at playing games and linux for basically everything else. I my self am a gamer and I like to play games so I have no other option than to use windows. On my laptop I set dual boot so that I can boot into windows if I want to play games or into linux if I want to surf the net. That is a neat feature about linux. With Ubuntu it is really simple to set dual boot and one can have both windows and linux on the same computer. In fact you can install as many operating systems as you like. I once installed windows XP, OpenSuse and Ubuntu on my lappy. It all worked. I also tried dual booting with OpenSolaris but that did not work because as I realized after that the ubuntu grub does not recognize OpenSolaris while OpneSolaris gurb is going to recognize Ubuntu. So I made a simple mistake of chosing the right order. I should have first installed Ubuntu and after that OpenSolaris. Next time I am going to get it right. It is all good because I like to expmeriment and try out new things any how. That way I am gaining valuable experience.

Linux as they say is all about choice. For instance lets take the file browser. Windows has only one file browser and that is the windows explorer. Linux on the other hand has multiple file browsers to chose from. I remember I set out one day to look at all the file browsers that linux has to offer. Even before that day I was already thinking about maybe chaning the file browser and testing a whole range of them. Just thinking about it was giving me positvie vibes over a good period of time. I was mentaly preparing my self to start doing some serious testing. After all I do usually the same stuff on my comptuer over and over again so when I get a chance to do some thing new I am in a good mood. I like to change things make them better I suppose that is what hacking is all about. One definition of a hacker is to figure out how some thing works and make it better. I figured out how linux works and now I was trying to make it work better for my self. So I found my self looking at various websites to find information about these file browsers. That is what happens when I use linux. I regularly surf of to various websites determening whether the file browser, or the graphical interface or a certain program that I am using is really the best option for me. That is the beauty of linux. Some one as my self who may be determined to improving the desktop experience finds that linux is the gateway to all these adventures just waiting to happen and this is one of the main reasons in my oppinion that linux defeats windows by a huge margin.

Just the other day I was looking at some graphical interfaces. I wanted to find some thing similar to ion3 which is now no longer updated and I found several similar ones. I browsed their websites and I realized what a neat website the awsome website that is home of the awsome graphical interface is. I was deciding whether ion is really the best possible graphical interface or would some other one be more suited for me or more to my liking. It was just one of those moments that in combination with everything else that linux has to ofer makes it all worth wile. In the end I realized that nautilus is good and I stayed with it. However, one day some one might develop a better file browser for linux and I might use that one or I am just going to decide one day to use my linux desktop with out X11 and just go for midnigh commander. I have never had a similar experience on windows. That is why some times if feels dull working on windows. In fact some times it just feels mind numbing. There is no way to change any thing so there is no point in looking for a way to change any thing. There is just one hack that I know of which allows one to change the name of the start button and I have tried that once and I failed. It is not an easy or straight foreward process. You need to use another program to do that. For a moment there I felt good about my self because I was determening what I was going to use for my self.

I always use linux to surf the net. One of the reaons is because linux has programs that are not common and hackers who are looking to hack into computer are more likely to have exploit codes for windows and window programs. I usually use firefox to surf the net although I have promised my self countelss of times to stop using it and try out some thing that fewer people use. Firefox is a very popular webbrowser and hackers are more likely to look for vularebilities in it than for instance some thing much less used like lynx. Lynx is a webbroser for linux and I can at any time install it. Another reason I do so is because linux is faster than windows when surfing the net. That is a well known fact and I do not want to go into the technical side of it right now. Besides that it is much safer to use linux to surf the net because by deafault you use a limited account and you need to give adminstrator privilages to install some thing. Unless you know windows well and you do not use an account with administrator privileges to surf the net you are on about equal footing.

Another reason why I see prefer linux over windows are the screen savers. That may sound odd to some because in essence I wanted to write this essay to document why linux is easier to work with than windows. In essence I want to go under the hood and take a look at the engine that drives each to determine why one is better than the other. However, the screen saver is in essence an important part of your desktop experience. Maybe some can quite easily ignore it but if you have been using a computer as long as I have a good screen saver is essential part or your computer work environment. I can not tell you how many times I just set there gazing at the computer thinking about what I should do next when the screen saver would appear and distracted me from some endless pondering. Well I hope you get the idea by now. So on linux one has an amazing set of screen savers. On most linux distros at least in gnome there are so many options to chose from that to this day I have not even browsed through 10% of them. I have used even less so I could go on using linux for the next decade before I can say I have seen the majority of the screen savers that come by default. It is really neat when I do not have to surf the net looking for a screen saver like I have to do on windows if I want one. I have not used many screen savers on windows but back in the days much of this software was paid. I do not know how it is now. I have not searched for a screen saver on the net for a long time. I figure it is a waste of time. So that is one more reason why I like linux over windows. All the screen savers I ever need come by default.

Many programs that I need come by default in linux. Unlike on windows I first of all need to install Firefox. I have not used IE for many years and I never intend to again. So to do just that takes about 10 minutes. That is because I delete IE and a whole bunch of other crap that comes by default on windows. I can not stand when some software that I installed opens up IE to show me some website. Usually it asks you to register the software, donate or whatever and it is always IE that it opens up. My blood pressure just spikes on such events. While on linux I do not have to deal with that. Firefox comes with most distributions except for debian but they have ice weasel. There are of course many other applications that come with linux by default and no further installation is needed. For instance Xhcat. My favorite IRC application comes with most linux distributions while on windows I had to get some cracked software. I remember looking for it and it took me a while to find some thing that worked. I remember being very frustrated over that. Because Xchat is a network application and connects to other computers it is vital that I have the latest version because some one could have released an exploit for a particular version that I could be using and my computer could get compromised. So on windows I would have to look for new cracked Xchat programs often while on linux each new distribution that is released comes with the latest xchat version. I do not even have to worry about that. If for some reason I become paranoid I could just look at the newest linux distro that has come out download it, burn it and install it. That way I would have all the latest applications.

I hate the default windows look. The start menu and all that. I hate those folders that come by default like my pictures, my videos, and my music. I hate all those little things that I have to do on windows to set it the way I can live with. I am not going to say the way that I like because with windows there is nothing to like from my point of view. Each and every time that I make those changes it is exactly the same way. You see I have never really used vista because I knew it was crap from the reviews I read. So I never bothered to download it nor install it. So I am not going to talk about any differences between XP and vista because vista does not deserve serious consideration. So in this review I am going to completely ignore vista as if it never happened. Now with linux that is not the case. Now each linux distro varies in the way you configure the basic stuff to the way it looks. Even though you use the gnome graphical interface there are differences to the look of the gnome desktop from distro to distro. For instance suse uses a nice stub much like windows menu bar but on suse it looks much better. While Ubuntu, Fedora and others use the classical gnome look. On top of that one can use a multitude of graphical interfaces on Linux. I have used over the three years a dozen at least. Some of them include: KDE, gnome, icewm, fluxbox, xfce, fvwm, ion,...just to mentione a few of them. So when ever I get tired of one I can change. Sure on windows you can change the default look but it just adds some eye candy and this software is all paid for. Sure you can get some cracked software and I have done that myself but you only have so much to chose from and there may be only one or two that you could live with the rest not really going far enough. Besides that you do not really know if the software you got does not have some really well hidden virus or Trojan horse.

Another reason why I like Linux better than windows is how it handles USB keys and other external media. Every one knows the process of safely removing a USB key in windows. In Linux it is much easier. All you have to do is left click on the device and a menu appears. From the menu you chose, “unmount” and you are done. It is easy as that. It is just another one of those little things in Linux that makes it all worth wile. In fact if you do not want to do it that way there is another way to safely remove an USB key in Linux. In nautilus the common Linux file browser there is a side panel where all the devices are listed. Next to the device there is a small arrow and if you click it the device gets unmounted or safely removed. It comes really hand if you have several USB keys plugged in and you want to safely remove one of them because it is easy to tell which one it is while that is not always the case in windows. I get regularly confused when I am safely removing one of my USB keys from the computer in windows. It is not a straight forward process as it is in Linux.

One more reason why I find Linux to be better than windows is how you install things. With windows there is just one way to install some thing. There is an executable file which you double click and you follow the instructions. In linux things are quite different. Linux has some thing called the packet manager. There is nothing like this in windows and unfortunately it took me a while to learn how to use it. That is because I never read any tutorials beforehand. I just went into it armed with only an open mind, curiosity and love for tinkering. In short the package manager is going to install any program you want from a list of programs just by clicking the check box. You can install multiple programs at a time. To me this whole concept seemed like a world away from how I was used to doing things on windows. In fact I believe that was the first time I really experienced linux. All along I was using linux just to browse the net and work with files. It really was not at all that different in the beginning. Sure it looked different a bit but in reality I did not think of that much at all. Just installing linux did not seem to me to be a very big step. It was not difficult and besides that every thing seemed to work out of the box. So in reality I did not really experience linux until later when I first started to use the package manager. That is when I really started to think about linux and why it works differently than windows. Now after three years of experimenting and toying with linux it has become such an integral part of my life that windows never came close to and probably never will.

Another way to install programs is from source. Basically you open up a bash shell and you use several commands to install a program. The first thing that struck me when installing this way was how specific you need to be. You have to tell the bash shell where the file you want to install is first of all. I really felt like I was in control. It was not like on windows where the installer does all the work. Here I was doing the work of the installer basically and I felt like this was a really hands on approach which I really liked. It felt good for some reason. The only problem with this is that it does takes time and some times you run into problems which you have to resolve. Because I do not have that much time I rather stick to the package manager but nevertheles this is a very good approach to installing programs.

The last reason why I find Linux to be better than windows is that Linux is much more stable. I have a lot of faith in Linux. I know that it wont let me down while I can not say the same for windows. I always get some explorer.exe while I am in the middle of some thing and it really angers me. It is not just that it annoys me but it really angers me. That is one of the main reasons why it became for me so difficult to work on windows and as a result I moved on to Linux. It at one point became almost unberablle to work on windows. I just started to hate windows. Any way I have talked about this before. In fact it is one of the most talked about issues regarding the difference between windows and linux. I hear people many times talking about how unstable windows is and I do not just mean windows XP or any other desktop windows. I have even tested out windows 2003 which is supposed to be for servers and I never managed to get it running for a couple of days without rebooting. It just restarts it self for no reason. I was actually really looking forward to have windows server box where I could run all sorts of GUI applications that I usually can not under linux but nothing came out of that. For a while I did but like I have said it was not stable and I gave up then on the idea of running windows as a server.

So there you have it folks. I have finally documented most of the reasons why I prefer to use linux over windows. I have talked about stability before and that still is the main reason why I prefer to use linux over windows but I have not talked about it in such detail before. I believe that writing this is important for me because I do use linux a lot and I figure I need to state the reasons why I do so. If not for any one else than at least for my self. Maybe I am going to browse back at this document and remember why is it that I am using linux instead of windows. Because I do intend to use linux for the rest of my life. I doubt that windows is ever going to become as good as linux. I recognize that widows has its benefits and some times I need to resort to windows but for most of the time I use linux. Even after all this time linux is still an adventure for me. There is always some new distro that I can try out or graphical interface. I think that it is going to take a while longer before I can say that I have looked tested pretty much everything that linux has got to offer. It is difficult for me to say how far along I actually am but I think there is still quite a lot for me to see. So I am happy about that because I really like using linux and everything that it has to offer.

4 comments:

loosebit said...

You can use more paragraphs..

lyecdevf said...

Some times I find text editing in blogger a bit tricky some times. Most of time I just copy and paste stuff because the box where you are supposed to write your blog entry is kind of small to do any lengthy writing. A while ago I really messed up something while I copied some text in and there was this huge amount of empty space left at the top. I could not believe I experienced some serious issues with fixing that. Any way I think maybe you are going to like it better now.

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lyecdevf said...

Indeed a very nice place to go to. Lol, why did I publish this?!