Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

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41. Linux doesn’t reboot by itself! Automated software updates won’t force your computer to reboot if you leave it alone for a while. Don't you hate it when you're downloading a huge file and go to bed thinking it will be done when you get up just to find Windows sitting at the login prompt again with the cheery "Your computer was rebooted to apply important updates" message?

42. Linux can read well over a hundred different types of file system. You can use the FAT and NTFS standards that Windows uses but you can also choose a totally different file system which is far more efficient for your purposes. This shouldn’t be mocked as irrelevant; don’t forget Microsoft wanted to implement a new database-oriented file system in Windows Vista but it wasn’t ready for launch.

43. You have all the source code at your fingertips and you have the right to modify anything if you have the ability. Sure, this advantage probably isn’t used by the vast majority of users but there’s certainly no such thing as an abandoned Linux application. You won’t be stuck with legacy apps where the developer has closed down and nobody can update them.

44. Linux will happily install itself on any logical disk partition. You’re not restricted to primary partitions.

45. Linux can run from a CD without even having to affect what’s already on the hard disk of the computer.

46. You can use a live Linux CD for safe online banking without fear of virus or Trojan or spyware or malware problems.

47. You can use a live Linux CD to give Linux a complete test out on your hardware without having to worry at all about what to do if things don’t work. By contrast, if you’ve started upgrading to Windows Vista the process isn’t easily reversed in case of problem. There is absolutely no Windows equivalent to the Live CD concept.

48. Linux, and its UNIX heritage, is the most document operating system. These documents are well-written and explain computing concepts also.

49. Linux has excellent package management tools that make it dead simple to install and upgrade (and even remove) applications.

50. Linux has some truly excellent Linux-only games. Now, this may not be a huge selling point but the argument of Windows-only games arises often. Let’s note that it cuts both ways. There are games for Linux which you can’t get on Windows.

51. This includes educational games too. If you have pre-schoolers or primary school children you’ll really find GCompris to be a truly wonderful package. Under Linux you get a terrific suite with loads and loads of educational games. The Windows version isn’t as developed, and requires a license.

52. If you want, you can play Windows games under Linux too.

53. Linux has a highly usable 3D desktop environment. It’s easy to switch on and it lets you view multiple simultaneous desktops. It gives lots of eye candy too. Yet, it runs better and on less powerful hardware than the Vista Aero environment necessitates.

54. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a major buzzword with corporate. Yet Linux beats Windows hands down despite the FUD rhetoric to the contrary. Maybe a decade ago Linux was more arcane. Today you could roll it out to users and many would be hard-pressed to know the difference. Plus all your licensing costs have plummeted – desktop operating system, office suite, anti-virus product, server-side client-access licenses are all diminished.

55. Linux interoperates with everyone. It’ll talk to Windows, MacOS, other Linux distros, UNIX systems, OS/2 ... even Playstations! Without the help of third-party software Windows often just talks to, well ... Windows!

56. Also contrary to rumour, Linux supports a whole mess of hardware out-of-the-box. There are more drivers bundled with Linux than Windows. You don’t have to resort to finding the vendor’s site or using Windows Update to make things work.

57. Linux is simply easier to install. Here’s a nice blog entry where the number of steps required to install Windows XP, Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux have been documented in the form of side-by-side screenshots using all the default settings. Windows XP took 20 steps, Windows Vista 14 and Ubuntu 10. Of course, both Windows variants also needed an office suite installed afterwards – another seven steps for Microsoft Office. And then you have to add an anti-virus product too.

58. Speaking of anti-virus, Linux does come with a couple of free anti-virus products. There’s no subscription fee. However, the only reason you’d install anti-virus on Linux anyway is to help out your Windows friends.

59. You can make your own Linux distro if you want. Imagine “MyLinux” to give to all your friends and family for uber-geek street-cred? You can’t legally distribute your own customised version of Windows.



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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.