January 21st, 2007
This post is generally aimed at people who still use only Microsoft Operating systems (e.g. XP, Vista, Win98) etc.
In this article I am talking about Ubuntu, which is a linux distro (distribution - think of it as a ‘version’ or ‘flavor’ of linux), however most of the points below could be applied to any modern stable Linux distro.
So, why should you consider Ubuntu (or another Linux distro)
- It’s safer: Right now, thousands of people are busy writing viruses, trojans, spyware, and malware aimed specifically at people who use Microsoft Operating systems. i.e. You. As if that’s not bad enough, millions of compromised machines (bots) are busy trying to hack and replicate into Microsoft PCs (like your PC). By switching to Ubuntu (or any Linux) you are removing this target off your head, and removing 99% of the threats your PC faces.
- It’s cheaper: If you have access to Internet, you can download it for just the cost of the Internet connection. Or, you could request a free CD be mailed to you, not only that, it costs less to run over the long run (see next few points for more information)
- It’s more efficient:Ubuntu is a more efficient OS - due to this it has less hardware requirements than Windows XP for example - i.e. it will run easily with less ram, a slower CPU, etc., compared to XP. So, running a PC with Ubuntu to achieve comparable performance as an XP equipped PC would reqiure less electricity, use less resources, contribute less to global warming, carbon etc. etc.
- It’s easier to install : Ubuntu usually includes most necessary drivers and can function with most hardware - in my experiments, it identified all hardware in all the machines I used it on, and it’s hardware support was better than XP (for example, it installed the relevant audio drivers for a PC, where XP was unable to install audio).
- It’s more stable: Ubuntu is very very stable. It rarely ever has problems/crashes. This is because it (and Linux which underlies it) is developped by a community of thousands of people who test and fix problems - therefore the software is much more heavily tested compared to Windows.
- It’s open source: Ubuntu is an open source operating system: what that means is the code which powers it is open source - i.e. it is available for anyone to download and examine. That means that thousands of people examine virtually all code and ensure there are no bugs, spyware, rootkits, backdoors etc. Now let’s take Microsoft Windows. Do you know what it’s source code contains? No? well neither do most people. Except for Microsoft Staff, nobody has a clue of what’s really inside XP.
Think of open source like a restaurant where you can see the staff preparing your meal - you can see what ingredients they use, how they prepare it, etc - so you KNOW that your meal is safe, nobody spat in it (or worse) and it doesnt contain anything poisonous.
- It’s easy to use: Ubuntu works via a GUI (Graphical user interface). I.e. if you have used Windows you should be able to easily install Ubuntu, as well as use it for most simple day to day tasks.
Pre Ubuntu FAQ:
- Q: I don’t have the time to install it just yet - is there a way I can test Ubuntu without modifying my PC?
A: Ubuntu’s installation disk functions as a live CD - what this means is: if you boot off it, your PC can run off the disk, and load and run Ubuntu! It will be a bit slower than if it were on your hard disk, but it includes most of the features of a proper installation.
A live CD (IMO) is a masterpiece of engineering. How they managed to make an entire OS function off a CD on diverse hardware is simply amazing, but I digress…
- Q: Cool, but I’m not yet willing to switch my main PC to an Ubuntu?
A: Here’s an idea - take a PC you no longer use, and set it up with Ubuntu and a net connection - then you can use it to try out Ubuntu (e.g. for surfing), and as time goes you can slowly switch over tasks you do on your Windows PC, to your Ubuntu PC. If you don’t have an extra PC you can easily pick a cheap used P3 for about $50.
OR You could install Ubuntu on your PC in a multi boot configuration - i.e. both XP and Ubuntu can coexist on the same PC!!
FAQ on ME:
- Q: So, you are an Ubuntu Fanboy?:
A: I’m not an anything Fanboy. I just find Ubuntu vastly superior to any Microsoft offering. My only regret is I did not try it earlier - I now want to convince people to give Ubuntu a try. If after you try Ubuntu you decide it (and/or linux) is not for you, that’s fine but you owe it to yourself to give Ubuntu a try and see the difference
- Q: Why Ubuntu? Why not another Linux distro?
A:I personally prefer Ubuntu as it is quite stable, reliable, and has a big community. There are many other popular Linux distributions which are just as good - visit distrowatch.com and select your favorite.
- OK, How do I get started?
I’ve written a guide on how to install Ubuntu, also some Ubuntu tips and tricks