Why I Use Linux

I read an article today on Slashdot that referenced an article on Oreillynet about why people switch to linux. Tom Adelstein conducted a survey and asked this question. There were many reasons as you can probably imagine. The interesting thing to me was the list of countries respondants were from. Man, Linux is seriously global. So, I got to thinking about how I hooked up with Linux and thought I should put my $0.02 in here. I have been using Linux on my main PC at home since I built my first PC in 1998.

Reasons I Switched To Linux

  1. Price – I started out using Redhat 5.2. I paid $20 for my first copy. I eventually switched to Debian. Upgrades for Debian cost the price of the bandwidth they consume by typing the command “apt-get dist-upgrade” without the quotes. Basically nothing.
  2. Stability – My power went out a few days ago, but prior to that my main PC had an uptime of around 150 days. For Windows people that means it has been running for 150 days without a reboot, during which time I updated approximately monthly. That means I updated/upgraded all of the applications without a reboot. Can an XP box do that?
  3. Desktop Choice – In Linux you have several different desktops to choose from. For Windows people, I am not saying the look is different, I am saying you have several completely different windowing environments to choose from. I really enjoy KDE, but in the past I have used fvwm, fvwm2, twm, Enlightenment/Gnome, afterstep, probably a few others. Switching between windowing environments is usually a mouse-click away. Having options is always nice.
  4. Documentation/Configuration – I have found that the documentation for most of the applications that I have used in Linux is excellent. Most applications are configured via editing a text file. To me, it is so much easier than trying to deal with some underdeveloped GUI configurator widget. I have had bad experiences trying to configure applications in Windows world (RSBizware being one of the worst, actually, Rockwell Software in general).
  5. Flexibility – Linux (actually, any *NIX) applications are generally built using the pipes and filters IO model that originated in the Unix terminal environment. It is usually very easy to chain applications together because of this. In Windows world, my experiences have been that it is not so easy to use applications together.

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