I have been using Ubuntu Linux for about 3.5 years now. It has been quite a long process and I have had many difficulties on the way, but today I am sure it has been the right decision.
I have switched to Ubuntu « full time » for almost two years now, leaving behind Windows that I have been using since the first day I touched a computer (started with Windows 3.1). In this article I will try to explain what my reasons are for adopting this new operating system and why I think more people should follow.
The open source philosophy
I am a programmer and a general IT fanatic. I like to tweak my computer to make it do exactly what I want it to do and to make it look completely customized. The fact Ubuntu (and linux in general) is open source fits that aim exactly. Everything in the system is designed in a way that gives you full control and if you need to configure something that has not been done before, there are thousands of people ready to help you (the Ubuntu forums are the most active forums I have ever known). This is not a point “mainstream” consumers would notice, but it has made a world of difference to me.
Software at a grasp
I love the “Ubuntu software center”. It’s a program on your PC that helps you easily install any kind of software. You don’t have to browse the Internet to install application X or Y. You simply perform a search on your Ubuntu software center, it will tell you what application is most suited and you can then install it with 1 click. It doesn’t get any easier then that.
- I am looking for a PDF editing tool, I search “pdf edit”
- Ubuntu takes me to a list of applications able to edit PDFs
- I select the one that I think is best
- Ubuntu automatically installs the software
Controlling my own computer
I want to know that my computer does exactly what I tell it to do. Ubuntu really puts me in charge of my operating system and if I do not like the way something works, I can simply change it (either by using a patch someone else wrote or by tweaking the software myself).
Speed & hardware requirements
I currently own 3 computers : 1 at home, 1 at the office and 1 laptop I carry around with me 24/7. The laptop and office computer are pretty recent, but the home computer is not (1.8 Ghz single core… the old days :P). The fact that I can run Ubuntu on it without any problem is a big advantage to me. It has kept me from not having to buy another computer in the last 4 years. It still runs fast enough for me to comfortably do whatever I want to do on my Desktop.
My windows machine used to crash quite a lot. I am not saying it left me standing out cold every day, but it was enough to get annoying. With Ubuntu Linux, I do not have this problem anymore. I cannot say that it never gets stuck, but in 3.5 years time it has happened 3 or 4 times. The system is a lot more stable and does not crash if one of the running programs get stuck.
Learning more about your computer
This only applies to IT lovers, but using linux has shown me a lot more about how a computer works. By having the possibility (not the necessity) to use the command line tools available and trying them little-by-little, I got closer to my actual system and started to understand a lot about what makes my computer run. As an IT lover and programmer, this is something that has played a big role in keeping me on Ubuntu Linux.
This doesn’t really matter a lot to me, but to some it does. Buying a computer is one thing, but buying the software that comes with it is another. Windows and Office cost a lot of money. Ubuntu is free and being able to save that money always comes in handy.