Ramblings of a Professional Computer Geek

October 13, 2010

10 Reasons Not To Use Linux?

I was browsing Linux news sites, and ran into this:
10 Reasons Not to Use Linux (Reflexion).

I started to write a comment, but it grew to the point I decided to just post it here, instead.

1. Because the operating system I use now satisfies me

That is a very good reason, in and of itself, to not switch.  However, on a Windows machine, you had also better be running an anti-virus scanner at a minimum.  Preferably other anti-malware tools, as well.  Probably more of your computing power is being taken up by assorted processes intended to protect you from “nasties” than is being consumed by the processes you are really using.  And that is only because Windows is a malware magnet, by design.  They are aware of many more security holes in their products than they tell you about.  They are perfectly willing to let you/your system be abused, without telling you about it, until they have a patch ready for it.  And, periodically, instead of a free patch, the “fix” is “Give us more money to upgrade your OS.  We fixed the problem there.”

2. Because I do not need know how to ride a car to drive it piece by piece

You don’t need to know more about your computer to use Linux than you do to use Windows.  At least for the basic stuff you mention in your first reason.  Heck, you don’t even need to know how to install it.  You can buy Linux preloaded on a system from Dell, Zareason, System76, and others.  Most peripherals you buy will just plug right in, and work out of the box.  If you own some seriously locked-down peripheral, like an iPod, or worse, a Zune, then, yeah, you will need some help getting it going.  Most Linux users avoid  non-free junk like that.

3. Not to be a freak

Be honest.  How many non-computer geeks talk about their OS, anyway?  And any real geek knows about Linux, even if they don’t like it.  Besides, when all your ‘friends’ are moaning about, “I got hit by virus-X yesterday, and I had to re-install my entire system as a result”, you can just smile and say, “Really?  I haven’t had any problem.”  They might just end up asking you to help them become more secure.

4. Too much, but what about quality?

I haven’t found any application geared for the average home user that is any better quality in Windows than in Linux.  Indeed, the absolute best, bar none, CD/DVD recorder I have ever used is K3B, only available in Linux.  When I used Windows, I paid for and used a number of commercial offerings.  None measured up to what K3B could do for me.

For mail, I prefer web-based mail, so that is the same in all OSes.  But I find KMail works better for me as a local client than Outlook ever did.  My preferred chat, irc, and websurfing apps are all cross-platform, so you might bet a bye on that, except if Open-source didn’t exist, they would never have been written!  For music/video, virtually anything in Linux beats Windows Media Player hands down.

There are, admittedly, some niche markets where a Windows app is better than any competing Linux offering.  For example, for certain esoteric graphic uses, Photoshop is still the king.  Yet many professionals have no trouble working with the Gimp if they don’t need those specific tools.

Most legal and medical software is still written for Windows only.  I don’t know about you, but I still shudder to think that my very LIFE is in the hands of a Windows box.  The other day I was at the dentist, and his system went down.  He was unable to check my X-Rays.  Fortunately, he was just wanting to verify what he was looking at in my mouth, so it wasn’t too serious.  But what happens when the surgeon’s monitor blue-screens in the operating room?

5. The terminal is the antichrist and want to destroy us

So who uses the terminal these days?  Any of the major modern distros these days can do pretty much anything and everything from a point-and-click GUI.  I know I could administer my PCLinuxOS box completely with the GUI tools.  I don’t do that, because I’m a “UNIX neckbeard”, and I find the command line much more useful, informative, and faster.

If you have a problem with your system, and ask for help online, it is not uncommon to be asked to open a terminal and type in some “exotic” strings of characters/commands, and post the resulting output.  Or to enter some particular commands to fix the problem.  This is because the underlying system is well-known, and the folks who know how to diagnose and repair the problems can get a better idea of what is wrong, and what needs to be done from this ‘lower level’.  Besides, it is a lot quicker to say “type in this command, and it will fix your problem,” than it is to say “If you are using toolX, open it, click this button, go to the second tab, enter this string, click that button, etc., or, if you are using toolY, open it, enter this in the first textbox, click the OK button, check the next dialog box to see if…..”

6. Because it running smoothly is an odyssey

Right.  Like booting my laptop up and having everything work fine is an “odyssey”.  The only problem I’ve had is when my built-in Atheros wifi card died (it wouldn’t work in Windows, either), and I tried replacing it with a brand-new USB wifi adapter.  The new adapter had a bleeding-edge chipset in it, that didn’t have a working Linux driver, yet.  I could have futzed with it and made it work, but it was easier to just pick up a slightly older adapter, and have it work out of the box.  I have more problems with my wife’s Win7 netbook.  Now THAT has been an odyssey….

7. Because if it breaks you no one will help

I started with Mandrake/Mandriva.  The community there was always helpful and supportive.  I switched to PCLinuxOS a few years ago.  I have NEVER seen a single person, who politely asked for help, be turned away or ridiculed for their lack of knowledge.  I have heard that there are places on the internet where “newbies” are told to RTFM, but I won’t be a party to such stupidity.  We were all “newbies” once.

8. Because in my work all the world uses Windows

Right.  And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’m trying to sell.

Taken at face value, that means you work in one of those esoteric fields where everything is currently Windows-only.  And you actually do the very same stuff at home?

More likely, it is akin to my job.  The “Corporate Desktop” is Windows XP.  It’s what the bosses are familiar with.  Yet, most of the work in the company is done on the hundreds (thousands) of Linux boxes.  The bosses are aware of this.  That’s why, when they recently acquired a new company, they agreed that the first order of business was making they newly-acquired windows-only software work in Linux.

9. For an apple rather than a penguin cool

I can accept that Linux lacks glamor.  So what?  Apple appeals to the “cool crowd”.  Again, so what?  That stuff went out with high school.  The people whose opinions I DO care about either embrace Linux, or at least, don’t object to it.

Besides, have you looked at KDE 4.5.2?  Or e17?  Now THAT is ‘cool”.

10. For taking the opposite

Yep.  If you want to “buck the tide”, and stay locked in to a loser, stick with Windows.



  1. Superb post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Bless you!

    Comment by Lera Orona — March 27, 2011 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  2. Only now I discovered your ramblings … my eyes …

    Lovely written – but a long time ago. Love to read something fresh from you.



    Comment by tom Long — February 6, 2012 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

    • Thank you, Tom. 🙂

      Life has just been busy. It seems I hardly have time to post on the forums, even.

      Comment by Padma — February 6, 2012 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  3. lol. Just because something isn’t done the same way that you’re accustomed too doesn’t make it wrong or inferior. Common Linux argument, and it’s a two way street. There is no greater way to expose ones own weaknesses than in refusing to acknowledge the strengths of others. Linux has usability issues. Your K3B argument, and most like it, are just invalid at the core. I have used both, and guess what, I tend to use CDBurner Xp since quickburn went the way of, well, most linux apps. Not that k3B has even a hint of standardization involved. And it’s not like there are 50 similar, half broken apps in the *nix world. Linux is just the part underneath, I get that. What Linux doesn’t realize is that for 99.9% of users, it’s not what’s under the hood, but is instead the part they interact with. This is where linux doesn’t ever shine. Ever. Dysfunctional eye candy one time. Half working or ugly and (mostly) functioning. it is a hodgepodge, a mix and match with no unified standards for design or implementation. Linux can’t even decide on a single perl version, or if perl is what should be used. Half the games that come out, only work on one distro or another. Add to that the millions of people working on hundreds of distros. Linux is not worth the hassle, so you can make fun of people who want their machines to actually work, or you can get it together.

    I am a systems admin and IT manager, have been for a while.
    I see linux, I demand more money. End of story.

    Comment by Cecil — September 11, 2012 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

    • “Just because something isn’t done the same way that you’re accustomed too doesn’t make it wrong or inferior.”

      I couldn’t have said it better, myself. 😉

      And that applies to the bulk of your post, as well. You like CDBurner XP. I like K3B. K3B is STILL the best burner I have ever used. But I will admit I haven’t used a Windows burner in 7 – 8 years. So for all I know, CDBurner XP might be as good as K3B. But, since I hope to never run Windows at home ever again, that doesn’t make any difference to me. It does NOT invalidate my statement.

      As for Linux not shining at user interaction, that takes a 2-part response.

      First, in a server environment, nobody with any sense is going to waste the resources to run a GUI. The command line is very powerful, and the most efficient way to administer a server. Sure, different distros might ship with different tools, or different version of tools, but so what? If you work in a RHEL environment, you use Red Hat tools. If you work in a SuSE environment, youuse Sus\SE tools. And so on. As for perl, for instance, you can always install whatever version you want. But unless you need to use some fancy new feature only available in the latest version, why bother? Of the thousands of servers I interact with daily, all have perl 5.8.x. Some have 5.8.1, some 5.8.3, some 5.8.14, etc. Yet if I write my scripts to work with 5.8.1, they run on all my systems.

      Second, in the so-called “desktop” environment, where the average home user would interact, you’ve apparently not worked with KDE 4.8, e-17, or XFCE. These are my preferred desktop environments, in order of preference. The eye candy is certainly not dysfunctional, and all the apps work well, and work seamlessly together. Of course, a large part of this falls on the shoulders of the distribution maintainers. That is one reason I don’t use the *buntu family. Whenever I try them, something is always broken. (That’s my opinion – your mileage may vary.) As for games, while I am not a big gamer, I have yet to come across a Linux game that won’t install on my system. And that includes never having to do any “tweaking” of my system or the game to make it work.

      For me, Linux is worth the little hassle there is. Actually, the biggest hassle is dealing with Windows (or Apple) bigots.

      Comment by Padma — September 11, 2012 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

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