Top 10 Reasons to Choose Linux over Vista

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.



yeah and with out DRM you can't play HDDVDs and Blu-Rays Discs

Ya see people are working on that.


The status of programs that circumvent DRM on HD DVD and Blu-ray would almost certainly be identical to that of DeCSS (which circumvents the DRM on DVDs). See

Generally speaking, this means that if you're in the US its considered naughty because of the DMCA ;)

Good list. I'm not sure that I would recommend Beryl to new Linux users though. It's alpha software and is probably going to frustrate users with it's buggyness.

I think Ubuntu would be smart to throw Beryl into it's next release but only enable a few plugins by default. That would reduce the buggyness.

4 of these reasons are invalid. Google Apps, Firefox, and Open Office are all available with Windows. There are NOT Linux centric packages in any way. Furthermore, there are thousands of free programs also available for Windows, with many open source programs having both a Linux and Windows port.

You totally missed my point.

Google Apps, Firefox, and OpenOffice are cross-platform as you pointed out.

Microsoft Office isn't, it needs Windows (ignoring Wine and VMWare).

The fact that there are cross-platform alternatives to Microsoft Office (one example only, however, it is one of the most used Windows programs) means that the choice of OS is irrelevant not for many people.

I agree, Google Apps, Firefox, and OpenOffice on their own are NOT really reasons to choose Ubuntu OVER Vista (because they are available on Windows too), but their existence enables many users to choose Ubuntu for the other reasons in the list.

I've tried to convince myself to go to Linux once again after about year out of the loop. The weird thing is that Vista is not slow at all on my system. I'm not saying I like it any more than XP, in fact I see it nothing more than XP with a new skin and a horrible user directory layout. As I've said in the past, it's not up to me, it's up to Adobe to start porting apps.

is all I have to say about that DRM bs, that's all anti-microsoft hysteria.
The researcher who Bruce Schneier cites who in turn is widely cited in the media as an expert on why Vista DRM is so evil actually admits to never actually even touching Windows Vista.

I've never had any problems running any of my music or video on VISTA, maybe it's because my music isn't the sucky popular american crap that people listen to nowdays. Vista 64 bit and server 08 are the best systems around. Code is much much cleaner than that apple crap, and so is hardware support and security. How would you like some paper weight after steve jobs shuts off all your apples and blows his head off with a shotgun cuz apple is losing customers and market share like a dope fiend hahah

Actually there is no valid **REASONS** in this page to choose linux over vista.. How about try to run the latest game releases in linux jaja lol


Please stop talking about Vista's compatibility with games, I have a host of games that ran beautifully on my XP machine with half the power than my Vista machine and really screwed up each and every one of them. Not one game ran well.

I have now traded in my Vista notebook for a lighter and much less resource hungry one, which runs Xubuntu. It truly is gift from god for Linux geeks like me!!

Vista made me really rethink my Linux strategy and Xubuntu has converted my system from a dual boot, (Windows + Linux) to single boot (Xubuntu only).

Thank you Windows Vista for opening my eyes to the wonderful world of Linux computing!!!

I am a web designer & programmer, I have run my laptop on linux for years, I don't ever need to reboot, It never locks up, I play games on it ( Americas Army, Open Arena and a few others some are windows working to there best using wine ) and i generally do not have any problems with it.

Windows always breaks for me, I always manage to break a windows OS. Garenteed that a clean install of windows will last me for about hmm lets say 2 weeks if that sometimes. I know linux inside out like many people do because of its simplicity. SSH is easy to learn and is an advantage if you atleast know the basics.

I have my laptop networked in with my very complex windows network consisting of 2 file servers & one domain controller, and my laptop is automatically backed up to my ubuntu server using rsync.

I generally feel that a laptop of my spec which is pretty low is much better off on something as lite as linux! It meets all of my needs, it comes with an amazing windows live messenger alternative ( pidgin ), FTP facility ( connect to server ) it comes with a great text editor with syntaxing ( gedit ) it comes with the greatest web browser of all time ( firefox ), and it comes with an amazing photoshop alternative ( gimp ). What more could i ask for? I wait 30 mins and everything i should ever need for my work is installed.

So anybody who wants to be negitive about linux need to go out and get a brian and provide a very good reason for it! What does windows have that linux doesn't?

Great Post Mate!

Thanks for listing these interesting reasons. I have been a fan of Linux for a very long time now. I just cant support the Vista operating system as it currently functions. Maybe solid improvements will be made but I don't see that. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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...).

Nice explanation about 10 reasons to work with linux.

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