Some people have asked me if they should upgrade to Vista. I usually suggest that they instead switch operating systems completely. Especially if they are the types that use their computer for web browsing and email. Here are ten reasons why I think all Windows users should at least think about Linux this time instead of Vista.
- Digital Rights Management - Why cripple your computer and yourself with DRM when you can just use Linux?
- Security - No more worms, viruses (look at this very short list of Linux viruses), virus scanners, spyware, pestware.
- Beryl - Totally kick-ass effects and Mac OS X expose-like feature. Compared to Microsoft's Aero product, it is a lot better and is getting better all the time.
- Ubuntu - I would be reluctant to recommend Linux to the general public if it were not for Ubuntu. It has truly made the "Linux Desktop" a reality.
- Google - Google has given us the best mail application, a decent word processor and spreadsheet application, a feed reader, a Calendar, and so much more, all over the web so not only are these applications not tied to any particular computer, they also don't tie you to any particular OS. (Also, Google ported Picasa, the best photo management software to Linux recently).
- Firefox - How could one use all those applications from Google and others if it were not for Firefox, the cross-platform IE-killer?
- OpenOffice - For all your old Microsoft Office documents and new documents, this does the job. No need to be tied to Windows and Microsoft Office anymore.
- Software choice - Tons more applications. Linux has a huge variety of choice when it comes to applications. There is even choice when it comes to your desktop environment (KDE, Gnome, etc...).
- Cost - Linux is free, Windows is expensive. As hardware prices have come down (while the price of Windows hasn't), this expense is becoming a larger percentage cost.
- Linux (no matter what flavour you get) is updated multiple times per year with the latest and greatest. With distributions like Ubuntu these updates can be installed seamlessly, never needing a clean install again. Don't settle for crap from Microsoft, a company that took 5.5 years to deliver a marginally better OS than the last one.
Ok, clearly 10 isn't enough, here are some more...
- Software Installation - With Linux with the press of a button you can install a program and all its dependencies. Not only that but smart package managers like apt-get can remove dependencies that are no longer required by any other program.
- Stability - There is no such thing as the blue screen of death in Linux. Actually the blue screen is now a rare occurrence in XP but I saw it happen twice on two different machines in the past month, so it is definitely still there. Linux users are known to brag about their computer's "uptime" -- the amount of time their computer has been turned on since the last reboot. Linux lock-ups or crashes can occur but it is generally agreed that these are far less likely to occur than with Windows.
- Minimal Hardware Requirements - You can run Linux on almost anything. I run it on a 500MHz laptop with 256MB RAM just fine. I just chose a lighter desktop manager. If you are running Windows XP right now, your computer will only get slower with Vista. Switching to Linux might allow you to keep the hardware you have now for another few years comfortably.
(Update 2007/02/23) Wow, my first time on digg. A lot of the comments on digg were pretty negative but at least 88 people dugg it (actual number was higher since surely some people buried it). The audience was not really techies but more people like my grandma, parents, sister people who would actually learn something from the article and can mostly understand the gist of it. So I don't really care if some geeks are pulling their hair out. Someone even insulted my website, another took a jab at my credibility because I blogged about the new Canada Food Guide. Another had some comments about my resume which is at least 4 or 5 years out of date. Anyways, this says way more about the digg readership or at least a vocal minority of it. It was fun to get on digg though in a significant way.