Back in early 2005 I started playing around with RedHat Linux 7.3 because the “Tech Guy”, Leo LaPorte, had talked about it on his radio show. What he had said about Linux intrigued me.
RedHat Linux 7.3 was on a CD in the back of a book on Linux. After a while I played around with RedHat Enterprise Linux, which I was naïve enough to buy and then – SuSE Linux (Novell), which I also bought. Naïve because all but a few Linux Distros are free!
My dream then was to run Linux on a laptop for immunity to MalWare. That and the challenge of using an Operating System that has been described by some as “experimental” and/or “hobbyist”
It took me a while but I finally succeeded in getting UBUNTU 6.04 running with WiFi on my Dell Inspiron 3200. It was difficult as I had to use a Windows Driver to use my WiFi card – no Linux driver for it. There is a program called ndiswrapper that “wraps” the Windows Driver in a emulation of Windows that allows WiFi hardware without Linux drivers to be used with Linux by providing a windows like “shell”
Since then I have used later versions of UBUNTU on both my home desktop system and my laptops. My newest laptop, an IBM ThinkPad T-42 is running Ubuntu 10.04 and – I’m writing this on that laptop. Linux has improved – 99% of the hardware on my T-42 “just worked” with the minor exception of the accelerometer chip (parks the harddrive when laptop is bumped)
Three reasons why am I staying with Linux:
It is a very efficient system for serious work with the multiple desktops and many excellent applications.
There are 1,057,938+ reasons (and counting) that Windows is not secure – virus, Trojans and spyware
My “beer” Budget – I’m not rich. I’d prefer using free Open Source software and spend the money instead on hardware upgrades. I need new toys periodically.
“The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys”
— Author Unknown
Isn’t Linux hard to use? No – It’s different. There is a learning curve, but no heavy lifting to use Linux. The things you already know, like working with windows, pointing devices (the mouse) and menus are all familiar so you already start knowing quite a bit.
Linux has one very big advantage over Windows (besides being much more secure) – choice. There are different Desktop Managers. That’s the Interface with the Desktop, Keyboard and Mouse that you see on the screen. With Windows you only have one – Windows.
There are versions of Linux Desktop that’s much like the Macintosh. Several like Windows. A few that are unlike either. Some that are even very seriously Unix-like
Choice is good.
Linux is much more configurable than Windows of any flavor ever thought of being. The kernel and supporting software functions (equivalent to the Windows DLL) all are script configured. Much of the supporting software functions are scripts that tell the kernel how to do some task.
I modified the scripts that configure the bootloader on my systems (GRUB) to put the Microsoft Windows selection at the top of the list with the default being the second item in the list – Ubuntu Linux. To boot into Windows all I have to do is hit the Up Arrow key.
I also modified the script that mounts drive partitions to Auto-Mount my Data drive on the desktop like a Macintosh would do.
Both these modifications involved just editing scripts – text files that control the kernel and the supporting software functions.
One other thing about Linux that’s really nice. “Live CDs”. You can “testdrive” a version of Linux on your system to see if you like it. Try all those versions of the Linux Desktop. And do so without being a Linux Geek or changing your system at all.
With the latest releases of Linux I have the opinion that it has arrived. A serious contender in the world of Operating Systems that just keep getting better.
Since I wrote this a new Linux has become a most popular Operating system for mobile devices (smart phones & tablets).