I use Linux, I also use Windows. I see the merits of the two, as they are different. Most people don’t see this distinction, that although the two OSes do many of the same functions, they remain lightyears apart. I have to admit I preach Linux to the hilt, I shouldn’t, but I do. I get skeptical Windows users who ask me what Linux does better, and I am stuck for an answer, as it does a lot of tasks better.
For example, half life of Windows vs. Ubuntu (My Distro of Choice), Ubuntu wins hands down. Its the way that its very hard to install stuff to decrease system speed, yet on Windows it is terrifingly easy. I am on my cousins computer at the moment, sure enough its at the year stage and takes ages to load anything. Its got the usual bloatware, such as a very bulky antivirus/firewall, they own an iPod which starts iTunes and Quicktime, Use MSN & Skype and other stuff that start automatically, which is why Windows is crippled, they all have the computers resources for breakfast! I get one of two answers, either A) Sure I use all of them, thats convienience! or B) Sure you can switch it off in the programs preferences. My answer to A) No it isn’t, you try run a game, or office suite, you soon find you won’t be able to listen to that song in the background on iTunes, or watch that movie on Quicktime, or message those friends of yours on MSN, you soon find you can’t do any of them, and to B) Most users don’t want the hassle to turn it off, why can’t their computer “Just Work”, like Windows users are fond of pointing out?
My issue with Microsoft, is that, in the course to make software accessible, they left security and their morals at the door. In Linux, we have a permissions system, you don’t have permission to modify a file, though. On Windows every user gets equal access, but this means so does every Virus and piece of spyware. What good is the Banking document if the whole world knows its contents? What Linux does best is it focuses on Software, and quality is the bottom line. If a feature isn’t ready, it will not be released to the public, full stop.
Still I get Windows people that refuse to budge, even though concerns are well documented. I havesome things to say to them, it doesn’t matter what you think, let me illustrate this to be clear: Their are 900 Million pc’s in the world, of which 90% use Windows. In India and China, lie 1/3 of this earths population ( 2 Billion ), most popular OS? Linux. Give it twenty years, when wealth increases, this will be reflected when Windows share dwindles. Case in Point: South America: the Brazilian Govt. has switched totally to Linux, now the countries most popular OS, this trend is continuing across South America, buoyed by Anti-Americanism. Also Africa, the worlds poorest continent is set to see huge influxes of Linux wind up laptops. This continues to the developed world albeit at a much slower pace, with most European countries registering a decent linux percentage and even the European commision talking about Europe wide Open Source intiatives.
Who Will Win? The average computer user, as software gets cheaper, choices and competition become more apparent.Even if your a loyal Windows user, I argue you try and encourage Linux developement, as in the end it will force Microsoft to be more competitive and make better software. Computing is not a luxury any more, it is an essential way of life, and its due to change more lives this century than ever before.