May 08, 2007

Linux vs. Windows, revisited

Here's a pretty good list of Things that I can do in Linux that I can't do in Windows. Excerpt:

  1. Update every single piece of software on my system with a single action. This is one of the main reasons I run Linux. Sure, Windows has Windows Update, but that only updates the operating system, Office, and a few other things. For every Linux distribution I've used (Gentoo, Red Hat, Suse, Ubuntu), updating is simple. When you update, you have every application, every library, every script - every single piece of software upgraded automatically for you. And on most of them, they will check for updates automatically and notify you. This is great for security, fixing bugs quickly, and getting the latest in features.

  2. Update nearly everything on my computer without a reboot. On Linux, there is only one thing that requires a reboot after updates. The kernel. And even then you can continue to run on the previous kernel. You just need to reboot to get the benefit of using the new kernel (say, if it has a bug fix or a new feature). In Windows, many of the updates to even non-critical software require reboots.
  3. Run an entire operating system for free without pirating software, and without breaking the law. Most Window's users seem to accept that breaking the law is okay, because it is pretty much required. Either you break the law, or spend countless thousands of dollars on the software you need. You may not think it is a big deal, but if you own a home like I do, you are putting it at risk. While unlikely, the potential is there for software companies to come after you just like the RIAA has come after countless people. With Linux, this isn't necessary. You can run the software you need without paying for it, and without breaking the law. I know I sleep better at night.

  4. Take my settings with me where ever I go. In Linux, all your personal settings are stored in your Home folder, most in folders that begin with a period (like .gaim). So, I can copy all these settings from one computer to another. I can put these settings on a USB drive. When I switched from Gentoo to Ubuntu, I kept all my settings. On Windows, some settings are under your home folder and some are in the registry. So your settings are not portable.
  5. Run thousands of great pieces of software that only run on Linux. Just like Windows, Linux has software that doesn't run on Windows. Great pieces of software like Amarok, Bluefish, Neverball, Gnumeric, K3B, Beryl, gdesklets, and MythTV. I know this is a chicken-and-egg point, where Windows has the exact same situation. Too often I hear "I can't switch to Linux because it doesn't run [insert Windows software]". My reason for pointing it out is just to make it clear that this is a two-way street.

  6. Learn about, support, and appreciate the value of free software. I believe free software is important to us all. Even if you use non-free software, the free software movement ensures checks and balances on non-free software by offering an alternative. By running a free operating system and becoming involved in the community, I've contributed to free software, even if only in a small way.

The whole article is worth reading.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:10 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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