Making the case for the non-techie to jump into Linux | Opensource.com

Making the case for the non-techie to jump into Linux

Posted 18 Feb 2014 by 

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Are you an XP user looking for a similar alternative? Is your PC aging but you don't care for the Windows 8 Metro interface?

I suggest you take a look at Linux. Why? Because Linux can serve your basic computing needs well enough that the experience is comparable to your previous operating system of choice.

Let's take a look at some of these basic computing needs in more detail. Below is a list of computing tasks users commonly perform on their PCs. This is a list I've compiled based on my own experience and research.  

TYPE TASK
Research Web surfing
Office Revising and creating documents
Performing calculations on a spreadsheet
Creating and revising presentations
Printing
Publishing
Programming
Revising and creating images.
Creating 2d images in vector format
Creating 3d images in vector format
Edit videos
Checking and sending emails from multiple email accounts
Reading and collecting RSS newsfeeds
Syncing calendar with on-line calendars (I.e. Google Calendar) and mobile devices
Syncing files with Cloud storage providers
Backup OS
Entertainment Reading eBooks (Kindle)
Maintaining, organizing and playing music collection
Syncing music and video files with mobile devices
Play Movie and Video Files
Play Music Files
Play Video Games
Communication Social Networking
Video Chatting (Conferencing)
Making Webcam videos

 

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Notice how these tasks are grouped together by "Type" of task. Do you realize that subsets of these tasks are performed by mobile devices? For example, tasks classified as "Entertainment" are primarily performed on a tablet whereas "Communication" type tasks are performed on smartphones.

This is why the consumer PC market has shrunk dramatically. When people are using computing devices at home or for personal use, they are primarily executing "Entertainment" and "Communication" tasks. This leaves the "Production" tasks which require heavy processing power to be executed by the PC. The question then becomes, how many people need to do "Production" tasks at home? After all, if they work for a company usually the company supplies them with a work PC and more than likely that work PC is a "Windows PC". So, the question now becomes if you already have Windows PC that you have to use for work, why does your home PC need to be a Windows PC? If I can show you that Linux can do every task you perform on a Windows PC, why should you settle for a Windows PC interface that doesn't appeal to you?

When you stop to consider how software providers today are distributing their applications, you'll come to the realization that platform doesn't matter. With the evolution of software vendors shifting from distributing their software via storage media (i.e. Discs) in retail outlets to downloads and Software as a Service apps from the clouds, does platform really matter anymore. In my opinion, no. What matters more is whether the browser you are using can execute the tasks from apps on-line.

Therefore, if you are in the market for a new PC, chances are high that you are purchasing it for production-related tasks. If you are using it for work, the transition to Linux may be a bit more challenging than if you are using it for home use but it's not impossible to overcome.

Corporate or enterprise use

If you work at a company that relies heavily on Microsoft products like Outlook, Sharepoint, and MS Office, obviously you will have to stay with a Windows PC. Platform matters more for those using specialized software and those entrenched with Microsoft products in the Enterprise. However, if your company gives you the option to use your personal PC to remotely connect to your Windows PC at work, you don't necessarily have to have a Windows PC at home. There are free and commercial programs which allow you to connect to your Windows PC at work from home using a VPN program. You can find out from your company's IT staff whether you can use their VPN program on your Linux PC. If you own a small business and frequently use your computers at work, you can install a VNC Server on both the Windows PC at work you are connecting to and the Linux PC at home. This will enable you to work on your Windows PC from home using your Linux PC. Since Microsoft is trying to emulate Google's Cloud services model, you should also be able to use Office 365 to perform tasks using MS Office on your Linux PC if you are a subscriber to Microsoft products.

For personal or home use

If you are using a PC for home, you need to ask yourself the following questions before migrating to Linux:

  1. Is there any application or task that you absolutely must have a Windows PC to use?  If so, how often do you perform this task?
  2. Do you have an old Windows PC that you can perform those important tasks on?

If your answer to the #1 was yes and it's a task you perform often, you might want to keep a spare old Windows PC just in case. That's what I did because I was paranoid about encountering "what if" scenarios which would require a Windows PC. I kept that spare laptop with Windows 7 on it for 9 months until I realized it was gathering dust sitting idle so I converted it eventually to Linux.

If it's not a task performed often, you may want to consider dual booting Windows and Linux. The only time I ran into a situation where I needed to use a Windows PC was filling out an on-line survey for a job. However, I managed to work around the situation by first installing Playonlinux on Ubuntu 12.04. Then I used Playonlinux to install the latest Firefox browser on the Windows virtual directory created by Playonlinux. I had no problems successfully completing the survey as the on-line survey thought my OS was Windows 7 with the latest Firefox browser. Problem solved!

If your answer to #1 was no, you are a prime candidate for migrating to Linux. After all, if you are using your mobile devices for most of your computing tasks why not try something different for your Production PC when you're not tied down to any one vendor's ecosystem of applications. With Linux, you won't have to defrag your PC nor install an Anti-Virus software annually. Nor will you have to deal with a Blue Screen of Death although you may encounter your Window freezing on you occasionally if dealing with Graphics intensive processing. With Linux you'll have less system maintenance over time which means your PC will last longer.

Areas where you may require additional assistance may include connecting the PC to older Printer devices, Voice Recorder devices, smartphones, tablets and iPods. There are resources to help you install and configure extra packages to make these devices work with your Linux PC. However, on the first go round you're probably better off having a Linux expert walk you through these installations.

After you get over hurdles like above you'll find it interesting and exciting to use your new Linux OS. With Linux, you can install any program that appeals to you or appears to meet your specific demands. You'll be happy to know that these programs are free. For some distributions, there are some programs which are already pre-installed with their OS, ready for you to start using such as LibreOffice. You'll be amazed to find how much LibreOffice can do as compared with MS Office. For a comprehensive list of recommended applications for basic computing tasks, check out this link.

Your options for trying out Linux are the following:

  1. You can run a live USB or DVD plugged into your PC to do a test drive of a distribution before you install it. For those of you who are new to Linux, Linux has many distributions (distros) to choose from tailored to specific types of users. For example, Elementary OS is targeted to people who want a simplistic OS.
  2. You can dual boot Windows with Linux easily on PC's which don't have UEFI on them.  Usually, this will be Windows 7 PC's or earlier.
  3. You can buy a new Windows 8 PC and replace Windows 8 with Ubuntu, Fedora or OpenSuse. (These are the only distros which can be installed on UEFI PC's without too much hassle. It is recommended to have a Linux expert execute this task for you.)
  4. You can buy a new Linux PC from Linux Friendly vendors.
  5. You can buy a bare install PC and install Linux yourself.

For anyone trying out Linux for the first time, whether techie or non-techie I suggest you execute option #1 first and take your distro of choice for a test drive. Once you've settled on a distro that appeals to you, determine how you are going to handle your old documents, music and video files. Are you going to use a different application or service to handle your Library? For example, are you going to move your music collection from iTunes to Amazon Cloud Player. If so, then you should make sure every file in your Library is converted to a format that is compatible with your new Linux distro.

If you don't have a Linux techie friend to help you out, you are better off with option #4, buying a new Linux PC from Linux Friendly vendors. Linux PC's do cost a little bit more than a Windows PC. However, over time when you factor in not having to purchase an annual Anti-Virus subscription, MS Office or commercial applications, you will find your TCO (total cost of ownership) will be less than purchasing a Windows PC.

More importantly, you won't be locked into buying applications from any one Vendor. You will also become more knowledgeable about a technology which helps power the majority of websites, enterprise applications, databases, supercomputers, embedded systems, routers and the Android OS. Whatever distro you choose will also enable you to participate in the community supporting that distro. This means you will be able to help shape future designs and functionalities of your distro besides getting technical help from the community.

If you're an artist, this can really stir your creative juices because you can submit artwork for icons or background images which can showcase your work. If you're looking toward a career in business or are already in a business career, the probability is very high that Linux is already impacting your life. So, even if you're not a geek, learning Linux will put you at an advantage over other people making business decisions about technology because Linux gives you more "freedom of choice."

Written for Opensource.com's Beginners in Open Source Week. Also posted at My Linux Adventure.


 

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41 Comments

wbnevill
Open Source Evangelist

I think we may be shooting our Linux community in the foot by talking about learning or how easy it is to learn Linux. Note that MS doesn't talk about learning 8 if you've been using 7. You transition from one to the next. Learning sounds like hard work. Transitioning (or something similar) to Linux is much easier than learning Linux.

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

In my opinion, transitioning from Windows XP or Windows 7 to Linux Mint or Ubuntu will be much easier than transitioning to Windows 8 or 8.1. Let's see how the average OS user feels about that. When you transition, you are in the process of "learning" the ins and outs of the OS you are trying out.

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wbnevill
Open Source Evangelist

My point exactly. Transitioning is learning. Its about semantics and perception. Transitioning is easy and natural. Learning is drudgery.

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J Barringer

I agree. I'm a 4 month old baby newb, and if you're familiar with icons, windows and menus, there's not all that much you need to learn.

If you've had issues where you've had to reinstall Windows - especially an aging version with lot's of updates - you realize installing Windows itself is no piece of cake. While I've stuck to the newb-friendly versions of Linux, I do find these to USUALLY be faster and easier to install than Windows. Lately I've been experiencing cranky Ubuntu servers, which can really hurt an install experience. Dual booting is ideal for me.

I still find I need Windows for games, Netflix and HuluPlus - which is major. I guess others have had luck with WINE and PlayonLinux, but these don't seem to work well for me. I find I spend a lot of time trying to get something to work through these, but the best results I've had still were pretty buggy and far from ideal.

I find it gives me peace-of-mind, though, to have two OS's on my computers. Occasionally something will happen to the OS, and it's not so dire if you can just use the other one.

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wbnevill
Open Source Evangelist

Yes, Netflix is still a hold out, but huluplus will run on (Fedora) linux. Check the forums for your distro. That was the major hurdle I had to overcome--transitioning from passive help desk use to active searching of forums.

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walt c.

Cranky Ubuntu servers? Do tell more? I haven't had cranky ubuntu issues since 2010 or 2009. Wait, there was an issue they had when they regressed firmware RAID. But seriously, what sorts of issues are you referring to?

Walt

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Jim Barringer

Occasionally I'll attempt to update the software and it will hold up on the default Ubuntu servers.
But then I learned how to have the Ubuntu update manager search for a better set of servers, and that would fix the issue - I.e. the update would then run right away.
Now that I know how to do this it's not a problem, but if someone similarly newbyish as me has this issue, it could be a point of frustration.

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nouvo 09

article very too long and unreadable for newbies !

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

Just read the section "For personal or home use" and it won't be too long for newbies. Don't know what you mean by "unreadable". The grammar you are using indicates to me that "English" does not appear to be your primary language. Maybe it will be more readable to you if you use Google translator to translate the article into your native language. Just click on the website below "My Linux Adventure". You will also find the article on my website. On the upper right hand corner of my website, you can use Google translator and select your language of choice to translate to your language.

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Richard Rankin

I believe what is sorely needed is a book on setting up Linux for use as an office workstation. That would be the available software comparable to MS Office and email, printing, organizing documents, etc. The available documentation is too technical. Perhaps also a sys admin guide to doing this on a corporate scale.

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

Thanks for the input, Richard. Perhaps one of the members of this community who has experience setting Linux up as an office workstation would be so kind as to write an article that easily explains how to do it and share it here. I'm sure there are many who already have that experience. From my understanding on how that process works, once you've set up the ideal desktop with the necessary packages, it's just a matter of cloning it to the different desktops whether locally on the PC or using virtualization. I'll let the sys admins with the "experience" expand on this rather than myself. I can only speak from the perspective of personal/home use and me using my Linux desktop for work that I do.

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Larry

We've been a "Linux shop" in our home since about 1997/98. Prior to that, we used NT, before that, Win 3.1, and before that, DOS. My wife is no computer-phile, and she does just FINE with KDE over CentOS.

What we know:
There remain NO applications that a business MUST have that run on Windows. The business can insist upon particular MS apps, but Linux alternatives exist for just about all.

That said, if you buy a Windows box, or a Mac, it comes preloaded with a relatively standard configuration. Similar computers with Linux preload genuinely licked should do just fine. Have seen examples not done well, though - thrust was economy, not a pleasant experience.

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

Good point, Larry. Under the section "Corporate and enterprise use" I did not address the fact that there are Linux alternatives for Microsoft products or other Proprietary products used in Corporations. That would be a whole new article which needs to be written. For example, LibreOffice could replace MS Office, Evolution or Thunderbird could replace Outlook, Egroupware could replace both Sharepoint and Outlook, Postgres SQL or Maria Db could replace SQL Server, Oracle or MS Access databases, etc.

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walt c.

There was a Google evangelist where I used to work that swore all of Outlook, Sharepoint, and Office, could be replaced with Google Apps. He swore by them. The main thing about LibreOffice for people to realize, that don't already know it, is it does a perfect job of reading Word docs and perfect job of saving in word doc docx, pptx etc even.
To reiterate what I mentioned on the other thread, What I did, years back as Evolution did not handle Outlook notifications well, is created a VM (I used VMWare Workstation but Virtual Box work work perfectly) and installed the corporate Windows in it which ran as a window (or full screen) on a second monitor and used Ubuntu (could be CentOS or Fedora) as the main OS. The only thing I used Windows for was Outlook, the ONLY thing I used it for. The other good news is now that Spice is ubiquitous, you could install Windows most anyway and simply have a Spice client running on CentOS, Fedora, Ubuntu etc. What is Spice? Spice is to User facing as KVM is to virtualization, it is now supported and owned by Red Hat and allows using full screen HD video and sharable USB to a back end VDI (virtualized desktop environment).

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Larry Bradley
Community Member

Have been using computers at work and at home since the early 80s. My current take is that 80% (conservatively) of people who use computers at work would not miss a beat at home if they went strictly Linux. Of course, my personal experience, as well as my fairly deep knowledge of at-worklevels of pc proficiency, presupposes Ubuntu Linux or Mint when I throw out the figure of 80%. The Ubuntu fork is far and away the easiest Linux OS and interface to use and maintain for the average consumer. I, my wife and my son have used Ubuntu Linux at home exclusively on four machines for the past three years. We rarely give Microsoft a thought, and when I have been forced to use it at work both my productivity and my cheery disposition have suffered greatly. The savings in time, frustration and money have been tremendous, and the OS simply works like it is supposed to without breaking or hanging up. I have Windows 8.1 on my work pc, further solidifying my love for Linux. What puzzles me is why the rest of the world does not wake up and smell the roses.

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

Larry, thanks for sharing with us your experiences in adapting to Linux. This supports one of the points I was trying to make to non-Linux PC users. If more households are using mobile devices more frequently to do most of their at home computing tasks, you will be using the PC for production tasks, which Linux can handle well. By using Linux on your PC, your PC will last longer because not only are you on it less frequently than your mobile devices but you will perform less system administration on it to maintain it at an optimal state than with Windows. You won't have to be paranoid at accidentally catching malware or viruses when web surfing or downloading software because of the inherent security of Linux architecture. Your computer won't slow down due to web surfing or defragmentation. You won't experience a "Blue Screen of Death" forcing you to re-install Windows or buy a new PC, which I've had to do several years ago. More than likely, you will be wearing out your mobile devices faster and replacing them more often than your PC.

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Larry Bradley
Community Member

Maricelle,

I think you just provided the basis for a great advertising / marketing campaign for Linux on the home desktop, if only someone would fund it and undertake it.

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Robynsveil
Open Enthusiast

With the "Imminent Demise" of WinXP and the proliferation of Linux-based devices (i.e., Android) there's never been a better time to introduce the non-tech people to the ease of use of distros such as Linux Mint or Robolinux.
An OS is there to enable users to do what they desire on a PC with a minimum of fuss and bother. A very basic install of Linux Mint (simply over-writing the existing OS) will create a simple, highly usable environment straight out of the box. All core programmes are installed and upgraded automatically and all concerns about side-loading malware vanishes.

So, for those who DON'T do a lot of messing with their system, it's ideal. For those who NEED WinXP, simply install VirtualBox and WinXP in that. If you elect to do internet stuff with VM-ed XP, not to worry: simply create an appliance once you've got everything installed that you need and configured, and save the .ova somewhere safe.
You get something nasty happening to XP then? just restore from your .ova and you're laughin'. :)

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

Robyn, thanks for the additional information you provided on distros and Windows. Maybe, I should have added a section on this article called "How to handle Windows computing tasks". Dual booting Linux with Windows, using Playonlinux/WINE and creating a virtual Windows partition using VirtualBox or VmWare would be the areas covered under that section.

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Robynsveil
Open Enthusiast

Great idea, Maricelle. I've been setting up exactly this sort of thing - gratis - for people with laptops running WinXP who, for one reason or another, don't want to give up using XP.
"One reason or another" is usually financial in nature: I think folks are just tired of paying-paying-paying for something that provides minutes of usability bordered by hours of frustration and cost. Think Anti-virus/anti-malware/defragmentation etc... all those aspects of Windows I've happily left behind.

But say that, I am still using Office 2000 Pro for Excel VBA in WindowsXP! No, it's not ideal, bit it's what's available at work (well, they have Office2003). Running XP in VBox, I'm able to be completely productive in an environment that will NOT change, neither the Windows nor the Linux one, and so I can focus on my work, as opposed to learning how to do the same task a different way, because the new version is so very different from the current one.
Some people have time for that, I guess.
I don't.

Whilst installing a Linux Distro - well, Mint, anyway - is reasonably easy, setting up VirtualBox correctly so that I'm able to connect inside of Windows in VBox was a bit more work. So, an article on avoiding common pitfalls would be well-received, indeed!

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

Robyn, great example about creating a "stable" computing environment that changes ONLY when you make it change. I agree about writing an article on setting up and using VirtualBox correctly would be very helpful.

I tried to use the Windows 7 system restore discs that came with my HP Pavillion but they don't work. Period. All it did was bring back awful memories of the tedium I experienced having to:
1.) Run the Anti-Virus software to update the virus definitions.
2.) Run the Anti-Virus scanning software.
3.) Back up Windows 7 at the current state.
4.) Restore Windows 7 from the last backup.
5.) Defrag hard disc.

There was a time period in 2009, where I caught some malware on my Toshiba Satellite, probably during surfing the Web, where I constantly had to do steps 1-4, because my laptop was working very slow

Then I finally got the Blue Screen of Death, which forced me to buy a new laptop, which is the HP Pavillion that I have now. The Toshiba Satellite, originally with Vista, I have recycled once again into my Production PC with Linux Mint 14 and Ubuntu 12.04. It's been running great. I do very little system maintenance on it. The HP is used to experiment with different distros/versions on.

Here's a link from a reader who did something similar as you to accomodate Windows software usage: http://www.creativevisionsenterprises.blogspot.com/2014/01/windows-xp-su...

It's very liberating not to have to do steps 1-5 constantly which definitely eat away hours/minutes of time that can be better spent on executing the computing tasks you love to do rather than administering your PC.

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walt c.

Maricelle,
I wouldn't advocate people (no techie people) even attempt dual boot and I couldn't advocate that for techie people either. Virtualization has matured so much there is little incentive to clutter a MBR.

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Jim Barringer

Walt:

As a point I education for newb like myself, can you explain why you don't recommend dual-booting?

I'm not technical, but started dual-booting Ubuntu and Windows 7 or 8 on 4 different PCs I have at home. I was inspired to try out Linux after twice catching a nasty virus from a seemingly innocent application (Supermemo) user group website.

Since then I've been enjoying playing around with several flavors of Linux, but decided to default to Ubuntu as it seems easiest. But I find I do need Windows for certain things - Netflix, games and the odd web service (notably, Turbotax), which I'd had problems using in Linux.

I've never used a VM and haven't seen a reason to do this when I get such dependable results from dual-booting.

Once I'd tried Ubuntu installed with WUBI (in the same partition as Windows) but Ubuntu was much less stable on the PCs (which are old, but in good shape, with SSDs and recent low-mid video cards). My impression from this - rightly or wrongly - was that it seems to work best with OS's running in their own dedicated partition.

But if there are good reasons for trying out virtual machines, I enjoy learning about this stuff.

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walt c.

Jim,
I apologize. I saw your request for clarification, tucked it away and poof. Why no dual boot.

1) I recently bought a new Dell 3.whatever GHz, 1TB of disk blah blah blah and it came with Windows 8. I blew away the WIndows 8 data partition and tried to add Linux such that I could always boot off the emergency partition. It also used UEFI which I ended up hating but grub installed with it. I could not do dual boot.

2) there was a time when Microsoft would battle with anything else over who owned the MBR. It wasn't a friendly coexistence.

3) I firmly believe in the end you either love Linux or love Windows. I know more in the love Linux camp. You can't learn how to ski on rollerskates. There is not problem Windows solves that Linux doesn't or can't. Ditto for Linux except, you have way more control over having a Linux solution available as there are more people with access to the code than trying to get Microsoft to make a change for you.

4) Its a little like having 2 girlfriends at the same time. You do yourself a huge favor by sticking with one of them only.
5) it doesn't take long at all to get completely comfortable in a Linux world. If, whenever you hit a speed bump you run back to Windows you'll never learn or appreciate Linux...and visa versa.

6) Linux is free, the development tools are free, neither is free in WIndows.

7) Having two OSs on your hard drive takes up twice the space. Do youself a favor and commit to one of them.

Walt

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Jim Barringer

Thanks Walt:

I have to say, since starting to play around with Linux, I like it a lot, but it hasn't been bump-free. I have successfully moved to 14.04 on one of my 4 computers (all of which I use - I find it great to multi-task with separate pcs), but have had great problems upgrading 3 of them. I have spent two weekends now on 14.04, with only one success, but moving back to 12.04 for 2 pcs and 13.10 for the last.
I understand and appreciate how helpful the Linux community is, and love the spirit of freedom and - frankly - selfless generosity that so many give to this community. But as a casual user with a family and kids, there's a limit to the time I can spend - even though I do like and favor Linux.
But so often I just need something to work. And, truth be told, the most dependable computer I have ever used is my current work-provided laptop, a little Lenovo T410 running Win 7. My home computers are far more finicky, but I find I have occasional out-of-the blue bug issues both with Windows 8 and Linux on my home PCs. Because of this, I find it good to use both.
But at this point, even though, at home I spend way more time on Linux, if I was forced to just use one OS and drop the other, I would have to go with Windows, because I don't always have the time or inclination to make things work in Linux.
That said, I am grateful for Linux and want to be supportive. And I appreciated your detailed note.

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Ben Lopes

Personally I am pretty satisfied with Win 8 running on my Laptop and XP over my old desktop (I don't care upgrading it).
Currently working with KiwiTech a mobile app development firm, I contacts with many developer and other technical/non-technical guys, they are either on Windows or Mac. Just because of the availability of software products.

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

I appreciate that you read the article and gave your opinion. So now I'm giving mine. For those users who are either unaware that there are viable and reliable desktop alternatives other than Windows and MAC or are disillusioned with Windows 8 or 8.1, read this article. Try a Linux distro because it's free and doesn't take much effort. You can decide for yourselves whether you want to make the tradeoff between more costly and more system maintenance intensive OS's versus Linux alternative OS's which are more reliable, less costly and more flexible. Besides, with the way computing is changing, software abundance on the tablet and smartphone is becoming more important than on the PC, especially for Home users. We know on that end Windows is a minority.

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RobinBonCoeur

Well put, Maricelle. Whist established shops and IT people are resting on their laurels reckoning things will always remain status-quo, the world has been evolving around them. The big push is for Linux-savvy systems admins, who can pretty much write their own ticket (carte blanche).
People with only Windows skills are going to find themselves scrambling to improve their Unix skills just in order to stay current.

And how cheap it is to get in, too! Free distro? How good is this, then. Knowledge is power and knowing what the few know is powerful, indeed!

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artsytechlady
Open Minded

Thanks, Robin. You make some very good points as well about the demand for Linux talent now and in the future. Here's proof of how computing has evolved: http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/28/technology/mobile/mobile-apps-internet/

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walt c.

Great referenced link. What CNN didn't call out is that phenomenon has been true in India and Western Europe for far longer at far higher percentages. Once again, the US is nowhere need #1, or #2 or ......
And it grieves me to say that as I am an American high tech person. To rephrase, very good for the rest of the world, not so much for us.

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walt c.

nowhere near..I meant nowhere near

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Robynsveil
Open Enthusiast

double-post, for some reason - see above

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walt c.

As I recall, the entire country of Brazil tossed Microsoft out on its ears for unfair practices and, well, bad code and worse support. Microsoft has had an awful time in the EU for similar reasons and is spending millions to not get tossed out on their corporate ear there as well. In this country, too many politicians are for sale.

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Khürt Williams

Any interesting in writing an article about the other Open Source operating systems? E.g. OpenBSD, FreeBSD etc.

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walt c.

I have none. Those are very early ports of Unix to COTS hardware. I believe the kindest thing you can say about them is they are an 'also ran'.

But, to your point some people still use them. The three or four most popular are

RHEL (CentOS) Ubuntu (Mint) Fedora

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Larry Bradley
Community Member

I have been using Ubuntu Linux and various versions of Windows (currently 8.1) for three years now. I have three older pcs running 14.04 (between 2 and 4 gb memory) and one more up-to-date pc running Win8.1 (8 gb memory).. Hands-down, I prefer Ubuntu, even running on the older pc's. My Ubuntu "crashes," if you can call them that, are about 1 for every 50 windows crashes, including when I ran Windows 7. Network connections are much simpler and do not drop like they do with Windows. I could go on, but suffice it to say that if only there was a native Linux client for Google Drive, I would rarely use my Windows pc.

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wbnevill
Open Source Evangelist

I may be misunderstanding you need for native Linux app for Google drive, but have you tried googles chrome browser for accessing Drive?

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Larry Bradley
Community Member

Thank you for the suggestion, but using chrome and drive in a linux environment without a native linux client is not equivalent to using chrome and drive in a Windows environment with a native Windows client. In the latter, you can, among other things, drag and drop folders and files to any location on Drive as well as to all your machine folders. Can't do that on Linux.

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wbnevill
Open Source Evangelist

Ah, I see. I'm not an IT professional. Computing is more hobby than anything. I've been using Linux since about my second blue screen with Win 95.

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Walt
Open Enthusiast

Win95 blue screened? I thought it just kicked back to DOS, which is what it lived on top of. It still ran in real mode correct?

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wbnevill
Open Source Evangelist

(I'll be so damned glad when I can get new WiFi booster mounted--I live on a boat and currently limited to smart phone communication). Win 95 did blue screen, requiring CNTL/ALT/DEL . Yes. DOS CLI was available, but not after a crash. If I understand correctly, a DOS CLI is still available in 8.1, if you dig deeply enough.

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Maricelle Thomas has a MBA with a background in Engineering and IT. She started out as an Industrial Engineer and later moved into supporting and implementing ERP systems and Web Applications. A strong interest in the Arts and Creative fields led to her current gig as a Tech Blogger. Her deep experience in Business Analysis and various technologies enable her to provide her readers with a rich perspective on how technology can improve their daily lives. Check out her videos on YouTube or

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