Simple Linux

From time to time I come across people who have Microsoft systems which are doing all the usual things. I suggest that they switch to Linux. Invariably they tell me they cannot because Linux is too complicated and it will not do what they want (usually they have never seen a Linux system). This astounds me as these days Linux is simple, and for the most part will do everything a typical user wants without any issues. There is a brainwashing element involved here. Ordinary people have been led to believe that Microsoft is the only system in town, and the best. For the record I was using a nice desktop system in the eighties, a long time before anything as capable was available from Microsoft.

Here are some observations on the differences between a Microsoft and Linux system (to be accurate Linux is just a kernel, so as with many I am misusing the term in applying it to a system which has a Linux kernel and oodles of other software as well).

Microsoft is proprietary. You pay for a licence. This licence is included in the cost of purchase, and can be high. You have many restrictions as to what you can do, break the rules and you may face legal consequences. You have limited choice and you need to pay for upgrades.

Linux is free as in freedom, and free as in beer. You can do with it as you choose, you can install it as you choose, you can look at the code if you want, you get the full uncrippled version. You have lots of choice. The ethos of linux is freedom. You have full control.

Software:

For a Microsoft system you get what you are given, plus maybe some adware and other “gifts”. If you want more you usually have to pay for it, more features cost more money. If you want to install something else you have to try to find a reputable source and pray that it has no malware or other issues. Commercial software can be expensive.

For a typical Linux system all your software is uncrippled and free. It will be in your software centre. Those looking after the distribution will check the software, and when you download from the designated source it will be checked via a checksum to ensure it is valid. Malware and other unpleasantness is not tolerated, and all software is the full version. A Linux system will do everything a Microsoft system will do (without the issues), although the programme names may differ. For example the equivalent of MS Office is Libre Office. It does the same job and will read and save into Microsoft formats if you wish.

The key feature of linux systems is choice. You have abundant choices such a an array of different desktops (the bit you look at). Some are very simple, some very complicated. It is down to you as to what you like and use. Linux will not get in your way or not allow you to do what you want to.

Security:

Microsoft systems are getting better, although it is recommended that you have current anti virus and malware installed. You need to take care where you obtain software from, avoid clicking on unknown web links and strange emails. If you get infected you have a problem. Items may mysteriously install themselves, and can be hard to get rid of.

Linux is a unix like system and is tough. There are various add ons to make it even stronger which for most are not necessary. A typical linux system is tough and resilient out of the box. You do not need anti virus or anti malware. Such things are not in the wild and in any event are not tolerated in the linux community. Any entity putting something bad in a programme will be blacklisted. There are always issues with any computer system. Linux tends to patch problems quickly.

Ease of use:

There are only so many ways to do the same thing. Most computer systems work in much the same way. For Microsoft users you have what you receive. Windows 7 is different from Windows 8. With Linux systems you use what you choose to use, you have choice and freedom. My personal preference is for Linux which I find easier to use over a Microsoft system.

For Linux you can try it out by running it as a “live” system on a cd/dvd or usb. If you like it and it agrees with your system you can choose to install it. It will play nicely with anything else, whereas Microsoft is intolerant of anything else.

Community:

If you have a problem on a Microsoft system you probably have to turn to your local computer repair centre who will sort out your system for a price. If you are lucky you may find a solution to your problem online.

If you have an issue with your Linux system you can turn to your distributions online community for a fix and advice. Most Linux communities are friendly and will be pleased to help. Most issues are fixable.

My personal choice is to use PClinuxOS on my systems (Linux Mint is my second choice). For more information on migrating to Linux from Microsoft I refer you to PClinixOS magazine, several nice articles for you.

http://pclosmag.com/index.html

Chezphil Emporium