Testing Windows With Linux Eyes

We have read many accounts of how Windows users were disappointed by Linux. The EasyGeek is turning the tables this time. While as a Linux fan it is quite entertaining to read it, the biggest fact to accept is that both of them are different. Whether it is the desktop or the server line, Windows and Linux are terribly different not only in technology but philosophy as well.

However, there is a more basic question to answer. When to make a fair attempt at trying Linux? While I can try to coax you into using it as your new year resolution, I see the following scenarios for it:

  • You feel unproductive with your current setup.
  • You feel bound by what you have, you want more customisability and control over your setup.
  • You are running a pirated copy of a proprietary operating system.
  • You are using a computer for the first time.

But whenever you give it a try, do not expect it to be a clone of your existing system. It cannot be better unless it is different.

The catch is that you will have to learn some things. There are some excellent distributions, like Ubuntu, which do their best to hide the complexities, but you will have to know about them at sooner or later. This is true with Windows too. There are numerous suggestions on the Net which involves modifying the registry or going into the systems directory. It will be similar with Linux, but it will be easier to find information and get help, not from companies, but from communities with people like you.

Matt Assay feels that there still are usability problems with Linux. I think desktop Linux has crossed that chasm when distributions like Ubuntu are thinking more about stability than cutting edge technology. I do not think it is any less usable than Windows or OS X. But it is wrong to paint a picture that journey with Linux is smooth as butter.

Linux gives you benefits of open source, more choice and community. And this gives you a chance to customize and build a better solution for your problem. If you do try Linux, do it in context of what you want to do with it, instead of a feature to feature comparison.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. truefire(the EasyGeek) said:

    Hey Abhijit, thanks for mentioning my site in your blog.
    Yes, there is a learning curve with linux.
    However, I have found that the average user(Grandma, Pop, many teens)
    finds Ubuntu easier to use than Windows after they have gotten over the initial
    shock of the transition.

    The huge benefit of linux is that it is open-source.
    The open source community(those who build the software)
    know that there is room for improvement, and they
    make much faster progress at achieving their goals
    than Microsoft. To be honest, I’m not a Linux freak.
    However, I do believe in the power of an open,
    collaborative community.
    If proprietary industries yield some source (like Adobe Air)
    they will find their companies growing beyond their dreams.
    Industry needs a change in strategy: It’s name is open-source.

    These open-source standards of linux do not allow anyone
    to honestly say,”I hate this OS.” because it can be changed
    and will be changed for the better of the users.

  2. adam said:

    They have a good point! I’ve heard many accounts that once you switch over to Linux, Windows is the OS that looks overly-complicated and bloated.

    Adam @ TalkPHP.com – PHP Community

  3. Encephalosponge » Blog Archive » The shoe’s on the other foot said:

    […] Windows through the eyes of a Linux user (but don’t worry, it’s not overly-technical). Another article points out that it’s unfair to do a feature-to-feature […]

  4. S C said:

    The referenced article is now on the new EasyGeek site.

  5. Yaro said:

    “I think desktop Linux has crossed that chasm when distributions like Ubuntu are thinking more about stability than cutting edge technology.”

    I wouldn’t cite Ubuntu as much of an example of stability over technology, when Ubuntu basically spends more time getting new features as opposed to fixing bugs. Ubuntu 8.10 was a practice of fury and stupidity on their part. It had so many bugs I would have deemed them showstoppers if I were in charge. My experience so far is Arch is a lot higher quality than Ubuntu, faster, smaller, and much more stable.

    “The catch is that you will have to learn some things. ”

    I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware human beings were aware of how to use Windows or Mac OS from in the womb. You have to learn no matter what system you take.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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