July 30, 2008, the day I decided to completely scrap off Windows XP and switched to linux as my only operating system. Now, after a successful transition from the proprietary to the open source, I am all happy and a lot more secure and satisfied :-), for the world of linux provides complete relief from the hassles of spyware, viruses and usual breakdowns of windows.
For those who don’t know about linux, it is an operating system platform which is free and open (in the sense that you can see its code, modify it, distribute it and do a lot more). Operating Systems based on linux platform are called linux distributions (or distros in short). There are numerous distros (aka flavors of linux) available, some of them are free e.g. Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, etc and some are paid (usually meant for businesses and enterprises) e.g. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). For more info on linux refer to its Wikipedia entry.
Well, it’s not very easy to deviate from the path of windows with which most of us are so attached as we have been using it since we first put our hands on computers. First you have to choose a linux distro from hundreds of alternatives to suit your taste. Then you have to download the ISO image from the net as they (I mean the latest ones) are not easily available in the local market, they are approx. 700 MB in size for a full desktop variant and are a hassle to download if you don’t have a high speed connection with big bandwidth. Then comes the part of burning the ISO image on a CD and finally the installation part.
The installation part is easy save the step that involves partitioning of the hard disk. :!: This step is so dangerous that it can wipe whole of your precious data from the disk if not performed carefully. But if you want to try linux, :idea: don’t worry I will soon publish my guide to installing Ubuntu (my favorite distro) without any risks to your data or your windows installation.
Then comes the problem of your favorite software not running on linux. Linux is a different world from windows and software written for windows cannot run on linux natively. But there are alternatives (sometimes even better than what you have been using) and workarounds that can put you out of trouble.
So what all of this means to you
As I said before linux is available for free. Even the software that runs on linux is mostly free. This means that you don’t have to invest in costly Microsoft software any more. Or if you have been like me using the pirated version of XP or any other windows version that came with your locally assembled Desktop PC pre-installed you can get rid of that nasty feeling of guilt by switching to linux. Also, you will get rid of the problems you face again and again using windows like viruses, spyware, adware, malware, frequent crashes and slow downs which can sometimes just drive you mad with anger at your PC.
I don’t recommend anybody who hasn’t used linux before to just go and format your Windows XP installation and use linux. Learning linux takes time and you can also do a dual installation of windows and linux on the same computer.
Promise to publish a guide on safely installing Ubuntu on your PC very soon.
(Please provide your valuable feedback by writing comments on this or any other of my posts.)