Reasons to Switch from OS X or Windows to Ubuntu

Geek!This is PrivateVoid’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

All too often, popular tech-blogs engage in the old and tired debate about why you should switch to OS X or stay with Windows. The argument has boiled down to one hip ‘Mac’ guy making fun of a ‘PC’ guy or Seinfeld talking with Gates about the proper fit of a pair of conquistadors. I would like to advert your attention to the following salient points just in case watching insipid ads is not enough to make you consider the other alternative. The other alternative, the one that both Microsoft and Apple are afraid to mention, is GNU/Linux.

Reason 1: Freedom

Apple and OS X offers freedom from choice. Microsoft and Windows offers you freedom of hardware choice. Ubuntu and GNU/Linux offer you total freedom. You can choose the graphical interface of your OS and are not stuck with what the denizens Redmond or Cupertino chose for you. With Ubuntu, you can choose the default look and feel of Gnome, KDE or Xfce. If the default style is not to your liking can customize your desktop. You can make it look just like OS X, Windows XP or Windows Vista. The choice is yours, not theirs! Beyond the look and feel you also have the freedom to choose between thousands of programs.

Reason 2: Secure

Despite the bleating noise coming from Cupertino about OS X not having any exploits and the daydreams of Redmond that Vista is now truly secure, neither solution offers the security of Ubuntu and GNU/Linux. The greatest threats to computer security are no longer viruses or worms. They are trojan horses delivered through clever social engineering attacks. Such attacks often depend on a user to run an install or agree to a pop-up. Windows XP had no built-in security to defend against these exploits. The security of OS X and Vista are similar, but still only require a user to agree to running the application. The ease of doing so results in most users hitting the OK button before they engage their brain. With Linux you often have to mark files as executable and you have to know that you want to run them with administrative rights before you launch them. While it is still possible to fool a Linux user into running malware, the likelihood is greatly diminished due to the number of steps it takes. For OS X and Vista the user experience still trumps security.

Reason 3: Lower Cost

To get OS X, you must purchase hardware that in most cases is $400 – $500 more than comparable non-Apple hardware. To run Windows Vista, you have to buy more expensive hardware due to the high system requirements. The system requirements for Ubuntu are the following:

Xubuntu requires 128 MB of RAM and 1.9 GB of hard disk space. Ubuntu requires 256 MB of RAM and 4GB of hard drive space.

Compare that to those for Windows Vista, which requires a 1Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM, a graphics card that supports DirectX 9 and has a 128 MB of RAM, a 40 GB hard drive with 15 GB of space.

Or with OS X, which requires an 867Mhz processor, 512 MB of RAM (1 GB of RAM if you want to use the developer tools) and 9GB of disk space.

While both Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X come with a nice selection of included software, neither can beat the vast software library available in the Ubuntu repositories.

Reason 4: Community

The Ubuntu community is a thriving global community that uses, supports and contributes to GNU/Linux. There are copious amounts of documentation on-line and thousands of people willing to assist with any problems you encounter or questions you have. When you elect to use Ubuntu, you join that community. When you buy OS X or Microsoft Windows, you become a faceless unimportant customer to a large company that will often treat you like cattle. Ubuntu has local community groups in all fifty states and over one hundred countries including Uruguay, Iran, Luxembourg, Georgia, Estonia, Norway, Belgium and Chile.

Reason 5: Ease of Installation

Contrary to popular opinion, Ubuntu is easy to install. You simply download the appropriate ISO and burn it to a CD or you can order an Ubuntu CD from Once you have the CD, you simply boot your computer using the CD and follow the simple instructions in the graphical installer. For most users, the process takes roughly 15-20 minutes and when it is done you are greeted with a fully functioning computer complete with productivity applications. The installation is much faster and when it is complete you will not spend the next two hours installing patches, drivers and applications like you would with Windows.

In the end, the choice of which OS to choose is yours. I hope that this quick top five article has opened your eyes to the very powerful alternative of Ubuntu and GNU/Linux.

45 thoughts on “Reasons to Switch from OS X or Windows to Ubuntu”

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  4. You make a compelling argument for people to at least give Ubuntu a test drive.I wish you would have expounded the virtues of package management and ease of updates.Neither alternative offers the ease and power that Ubuntu does in that regard.For me that was huge selling point in switching from one distro to another.For anyone thinking about trying linux out it’s huge, just point and click to search, install and update all the software at once.I’m not criticizing your entry at all since it’s more concise than I could be.Good luck! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  5. I am in the early stages of buying a new notebook, and was actually out earlier today shopping around. What a horrible experience it is! Best Buy has what seems like dozens of notebooks, with random information on the little information tags they use.
    I am currently use Ubuntu on an older (2005) low end Compaq (I think it was like $499 back then). I guess the decision on what to buy next is irritating me. I like the flexabliity of Ubuntu, but don’t like the shortage of applications. Yes, there are thousands of applications in the repo’s and more available by compiling from source, but it is often a tremendous amount of work to make them work, and making them work well is another story. Linux is also lacing in making the OS look really good.
    I am seriously considering a Macbook, but I don’t really like Apple. I don’t like highly proprietary systems, and think that Apple is not really a very customer friendly company. it’s Apple’s way or the highway. I don’t want a 13.3″ screen, and the only thing bigger is $2000. I don’t think I should have to pay $2K to get a 15″ screen. I also think that 90 days of support sucks. AppleCare is [email protected]@@@. I should not have to add another couple of hundred dollars for good service. It seems like the Apple tax is now at about $1300.

  6. I agree that Ubuntu is good. But there’s a but. Ubuntu is very poor for multimedia. It’s why when I wanna do video or music, I go on Windows. If I had a Mac I would be always on it. No more Windows on a computer, what a dream. No, I’m not trolling. It’s just because I do video editing and my hard drive always get fragmented and it’s very annoying. I love Linux though, I use it a lot and I appreciate it for its power when it comes to make software/websites with Ruby/Python/etc. It just makes a very god webserver, too. It’s why I like it. So there are many positive and negative points, and it’s why I have both of them in Dual-Boot on my PC ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. reply to chad:

    i am so sick of people calling Mac’s proprietary , Mac’s aren’t even in the same zip code as proprietary. They use the same hardware as your regular PC’s and leopard is 100% Unix/Linux compatible. I want to know what makes them Proprietary? M$ Windows is 100% Proprietary it has little to no compatibility with other operating systems. Mac’s can easily have Linux/UNIX apps ported to the mac with little or no recompiling. I like ubuntu, its my favorite Linux distro, what ever terminal task i do in ubuntu i can do on the mac in terminal, very cross compatible. Windows is just a huge bad of hurt. I gave windows a try for 14 years along side my macs, i never liked windoze at all. Well i got sick of the high unaffordable costs of macs so i built a PC running XP for 4 year steady, i used a old mac for my file storage (since i don’t trust windoze with important data since it is to prone to corruption and data loss, i have lost Gigs of data on win machines and only about 300MB on macs which was partly my fault) and email since the only email program i like is on mac only. Well i am dying to go back to Mac’s and now that we have Hackintosh i should be able to financially, since i am now disabled and will have a very very low income. Windoze XP wasn’t to bad but it lacked ease the mac had, like portability with it self. I had a B&W G3 mac running tiger, well the systems power supply died since it had very heavy use by the previous owner and then me, so i didnt want to put money in to the system so i got a PPC Mac mini. The hardware of those systems are completely different. I cloned the internal B&W G3 Hard drive to the Mini’s hard drive, restarted and i had a new computer running my original 1 and a half year install as if i did nothing to the system. I have tried this with windows dozens of times and you just cant do it. Portability like that is important, cause when you cant afford to have down time and your system dies you should be able to put your original hard drive in the new system and boot as if nothing happened. i need a system that i can depend and count on. I use my computers for EVERYTHING even TV, so if the system dies then i have to reset up everything, with a mac i don’t. Or Ubuntu. Windows is a joke.

    Thanks a bunch for reading and letting me vent.

  8. Freedom takes many forms. One way to tease out the different forms it takes is to divide it into “freedom to” and “freedom from”.

    PrivateVoid’s first point emphasizes the “freedom to” choose, to customize, to tinker. And what could be wrong with that? The essence of computing is that it is infinitely reconfigurable to suit the task, after all.

    But. There is a distinct appeal to being free from the requirement to tinker. Not everyone is or wants to be the kind of person PrivateVoid is, who enjoys tweaking every last little detail.

    But that’s a strength of Ubuntu and of many of the major components in its default configuration, like GNOME: The developers of these try to make good choices about default behaviors and settings so that someone who doesn’t want to tinker more than necessary don’t have to. They can be free from the need to tinker, at their discretion, without giving up the freedom to tinker if they find a need for it down the road.

  9. I’m convinced. ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact, I’m installing it as I type on my home desktop. Need to dual boot to get the others in family on board, but we’re taking baby steps. Your points about cost and community are important. Since we’re in the education realm I think that schools need to seriously consider these two facets in looking for cost cutting measures. My stepson is currently beginning a project to buid his own computer which shows the power of a low cost machine running Ubuntu with comparable software that his school is using. About the community piece… this is important because he is learning this on his own, it is his school project after all. He’s scouring Ubuntu forums and sites for help in building the hardware and comparable software. Without this large and accessible community, he wanders aimlessly into a world where he likely would give up.

    Low cost and community are two major reasons, at least in education, to make the switch. Thanks for the article and good luck!

  10. @ TheHenry
    “mac os 10 is still better than linux.”

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and you should use what works best for you, but for the sake of discussion, would you care to elaborate on how it is “better”? Every system has advantages and disadvantages, and we would like to hear your reasoning. Thanks.

  11. Reply to TheHenry – What most Mac users don’t realize is that their operating system is based on the open source OS – Open BSD. Granted it’s more unix like than Linux like.

    Another thing to mention is the Live capability of most Linux operating systems. Simply insert the CD/DVD or even an SD or USB Thumb drive and re-boot the computer. The OS will load and run as if it were installed.

    Try it out, see if you like the way it works on your hardware.

    When you’re done, take the disc/flash out and re-boot again. you’ll be right back to what was installed before the test drive.

    It’s also a great way to rescue files or work without leaving a trace of your activities since nothing is saved while running from a disc.

  12. alright, i find very amusing the strength of those arguments. You do not have to get in worn out discussions to point that linux is the way to go, not just ubuntu but OSS. If i were running windows still, i will be tempted to try linux. ๐Ÿ™‚ Greets!

  13. Great article, I would’ve had a hard time narrowing it down to just five reasons why to choose GNU/Linux. Along with the freedom to choose given by Linux, Ubuntu allows users to choose not to choose. A default installation works wonderfully for most people.

    Somewhere in there should have been something that has been discussed so many times in the past, and will continue to be discussed many times in the future: “familiar” is not “easy to use”. So many people complain that popular GNU/Linux distributions are not “easy to use” when they really mean these popular distributions are not “familiar”. Ask someone who is new to Ubuntu and someone who is new to Windows (they exist…try not using Windows XP since SP2 was released and then jumping into Vista for the first time) to try and do the same task. Assuming they both apply common sense and don’t give up, the GNU/Linux user will probably be done first!

  14. I’ve got Ubuntu installed as a Dual Boot OS on both of my computers with Windows. What frustrates me about Ubuntu is that my hardware doesn’t work properly “out of the box” and that there are 15 different ways I can try and fix the problem, none of which quite work. The second issue I have had is, when doing an “upgrade”, suddenly hardware that was working, stops working. I’ve never had to work so hard to get my OS to play nicely with my computer.

    Ubuntu is close though, really close, and if it works out of the box on your computer, then you should be fine for the future. The article is right about the ease of install, and the other points it brings up, but should mention the possibility of users having to configure their own operating system…

  15. Happy to see you use GNU/Linux, giving credit where credit is due.

    It’s also nice to see you mentioned the huge software library (thanks Debian!). You could add the equally great software (dpkg and APT) that let you install/update/remove packages in an organized fashion. That’s something neither Apple nor Microsoft can compete with because package management is so tied down to the freedom and community aspect of free software.

    You could also explicitly state how freedom is applicable even for people who don’t tinker. You give these reasons under the community section. You could connect community to the central idea of freedom.

    I think you stated the reasons far better than I could have. I really admire how you mentioned your points in a simplistic level without losing value in your argument — that’s what I call concise. The article is definitely something to discuss about with someone who has little knowledge of free software, GNU/Linux, or Ubuntu.

    I appreciated reading it!


    Proprietary referring to software (in contrast to free software) does not have the same meaning as proprietary referring to hardware (in contrast to standard hardware).

  16. Re Chad: If you buy a MacBook they come with a 1 year warranty as with all of the computers. You have the option to buy a 3 year warranty, and if you are a student like me you get lots of discounts. The cost for 3 years of Apple Care is $183 off the top of my head, it may be $189. Geek Squad at Best Buy wants $300 for their service. No Thanks! I will beg to differ with you about their customer service. It is top notch. Anytime that I had to give them a call they went above and beyond the call of duty to get my problems resolved, some of which was user created. Apple has gone out of its way to help me several times. For that I thank them and will continue to use their products.

  17. I started using linux for the reasons so ably stated by PrivateVoid. The nice thing about linux is that it costs nothing but a bit of your time to try it out. And you can try it for as long as you want without charge, something even die-hard Mac and Windows supporters cannot legally do.

  18. I would also have mentioned something along the lines of no malware at all because almost all packages are handles by a repository that has too many people watching for malware to be placed into them.

    I really liked this line, “When you buy OS X or Microsoft Windows, you become a faceless unimportant customer to a large company that will often treat you like cattle.”

  19. Totally agree with all points made. At the end of the day, having a system that you know is almost completely free, and developed from such an awesome community of people is a great feeling.

  20. Hi there.
    If anybody decides to give Ubuntu a try, after reading this article, they should realize that Ubuntu is not Windows.
    You need time and patience to get used to a new OS.
    It’s called a learning curve, and some people learn faster than others. I’ve been using Ubuntu full time for more than two years now. Before that I dual booted with XP for over a year.
    I can safely say that Ubuntu is simply wonderful for me, but new users should bumps along the way, but again: The Community Forums make all the difference in the world to help newcomers overcome their obstacles.
    Ubuntu grew on me… Be prepared to get addicted!
    Thanks PrivateVoid for this very nice article.

  21. Great Article,
    I installed Windows Vista Ultimate 2 years ago in my laptop, it was a RTM version and I wiped my HDD 48 hour later, It was so slow that I hated, specially becz there’s a sticker that read “Windows Vista Capable”, since then , I’ve been running ubuntu as the only OS without any problem…
    Linux is finding its way to become a great OS!

  22. I agree with all your observations, but if I may …

    All too often these thing turn into debates or rants.

    Consider “softening” the title to :

    5 reasons to consider Ubuntu


    Why Ubuntu was right for me

    Hard to argue with the latter. Gets your message across with less potential flame wars.

  23. You could also use ShipIt to get free Ubuntu CDs straight from its corporate sponsor, Canonical, LTD. However there is an approximately 6-10 week delivery time from date of order.
    Also, “Reason 2: Security” implies that OS X isn’t secure, it is, Windows is inherently insecure. However, it depends on the user who set the OS up. If you know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t need to worry.

  24. I would take issue with Mac support – Phone support is top notch — even though you may have to pay for the service

    I would also like to point out that although installation of Ubuntu is easy, wireless drivers is a point of frustration for thousands of users. You have the freedom to use whatever wireless chipset you want to use (unlike OSX), however you also inherit the problems that come with the choice.

    I love tweaking the Ubuntu system, however its definitely for novices. Many would rather pay more to have a system that works reliably. Kernel upgrades often kill a working system or require reinstallation of wireless drives or video drivers.

  25. A very good point, bodhi.zazen. I agree.

    The anti-Windows focus of newer, younger converts to GNU/Linux often bemuses us Unix greybeards, who moved to Linux (or one of the BSDs) from propietary Linux. Obviously, we can’t ignore the fact that many people use Windows or MacOS machines, but because of our computing history, we don’t define ourselves in opposition to either one. We don’t, because for us, using Linux is a naturaly continuation of something that we used earlier, rather than a negative reaction against something we feel has treated us poorly.

    I’ve been struggling on how to make this point, and guess that even after I mention it, it goes over the heads of the Microsoft or Apple haters out there. I guess maybe the aspect of it that might most get their attention is pointing out that, by defining themselves in opposition to either one, they still let Microsoft or Apple control them to a very real and significant extent.

    If they want to be free of either, they must lose their negative attachment to either.

  26. I think that this article was very good for sparking someone’s interest in trying GNU/Linux. If you were to write ALL of the differences (read: advantages), you would end up with a novel.

    I know that before I discovered GNU/Linux, I felt like I was forced to use Windows. I was going to buy a highly-overpriced Mac- good thing I found Ubuntu!

  27. Ubuntu is not Linux, and IMHO there are easier to use Linux distributions than Ubuntu …
    Take for example Mandriva :
    1. Freedom: Mandriva is Free, you have a 100% Free DVD edition, a One edition ( Live CD ), and also a commercial version (PowerPack )

    2. Security : take Linux security, and now add draksec ( a tool allowing to control security settings and send by email automatic reports about possibles vulnerabilities in your system ), drakfirewall ( easy firewall configuration ) or drakgw ( allow to share an internet connection with local DNS, transparent proxy cache, firewall based on shorewall ).

    3. Lower Cost: Mandriva have a community XFCE one release ( Live CD ), but also provide an even more lightweight desktop : LXDE.
    Please note that Mandriva is able to detect low specs hardware and so provide the corresponding package selection.

    4. Community : on this I have no numbers. Maybe Ubuntu community is stronger.

    5. Ease of Installation : Mandriva is easy to install, but also easy to configure. The Mandriva Control center allow to configure nearly every aspect of your system with graphical wizard. Some server stuff can even been done like this ( apache, FTP server, PXE server, DNS server, DHCP server, NIS server, NFS server, SAMBA server, … ).

  28. Good article, I would say that the package management in Ubuntu is HUGE. I was looking over the 5 reasons and I wouldn’t remove any of them so I guess it has to be 6 reasons to switch :^)

    I had Ubuntu on a laptop I don’t use very often and when I patched it back up it was 150 days since my last update and there were 160+ updates. Do you have any idea how long it would take me in Vista to check every app that I have available for updates much less download and install all of them?

    With Ubuntu I just select update and it’s taken care of.


  29. I think you have understated the importance of the community surrounding Ubuntu. Time and time again I read about users who have tried other Linux distributions, eventually stumbling across ubuntu. They think it is nothing different, until they run into a problem. Not expecting any real help, sometimes even expecting to be made fun of for posting such a simple question, they go to the Ubuntu forums. And then, lo and behold, the question is answered, in impressive time and by someone who actually wants to help.

    In other words, people come for the Ubuntu, but stay for the Ubuntu forums.

  30. Fantastic article, the top five list isn’t QUITE correct though. I’m a large proponent of Ubuntu myself but some of the things you mention aren’t entirely accurate.

    For example: “The installation is much faster and when it is complete you will not spend the next two hours installing patches, drivers and applications like you would with Windows.”

    Not true. Once you install a CD version you need to run apt-get update && apt-get upgrade (or use Synaptic, aptitude, etc) before you’re up to date. The files are all downloaded first, which may take ages, so you’re essentially taking the longest amount of time between installing the system and starting to patch it. In Vista you install and then the update manager pops up like GNOME Update Manager on the systray, the difference being that the updates are totally independent of one another (no broken dependencies!) and the updates themselves can be redistributed to a computer without an internet connection with no fear of running into dependency issues in GDebi. Also, the way APT currently does updates is redownloading the entire archive instead of the delta (change data, much like a diff). If that was changed, getting an up-to-date system out of the box would require downloading about 10% of what you currently have to, in some cases whole suites such as (a hundred or so megabytes) for a single security update which actually adds maybe 50kB of new code to each package.

    So, it’s far from optimal, but it’s better than Vista/OSX for a lot of reasons, probably the most prominent being the centralisation of updates, followed closely by less frequent restarts required and ease of removal of more common features you simply do not use (my examples are Bluetooth, graphics tablet and Palm/PDA support, which you couldn’t remove in Windows without making a custom install CD).

    If you want me to discuss more stuff, let me know, there’s a few more points I disagree with. It just takes way too long to write if you’re not actually going to read it.

  31. I’m one of those old greybeards who never used Windows for my
    computing platform, and I didn’t move from Unix – there are open
    distributions of real Unix systems, not “Not Unix” unix-like systems –
    to GNU/Linux. My desktop still run Unix, my Laptop runs Unix, and I
    quite happily converted my internal servers from Ubuntu to Unix about
    four months ago.

    Herewith, five reasons to consider running Unix instead of GNU/Linux:

    1) Freedom from package managers. Instead, BSD systems give you port
    managers that provide the same functionality, the same thousands of
    applications, and even the ability to install binaries if that’s
    what you want. But they also make it trivial to build variants
    customized to be exactly what you need. OS-X has no fewer than
    three such systems, most notably including the NetBSD pkgsrc system
    (which to be fair can also be used on some GNU/Linux systems).

    2) Freedom to use the latest technologies. The obvious ones are easy:
    ZFS and DTrace are simply incredibly, and once you’ve used them
    you’ll never want to go back. They’re both available for all the
    BSD-based Unices, OpenSolaris, and OS-X. On a broader note, the
    BSD-based systems don’t incorporate nearly as much software into
    their “base system” (see 3b below), meaning they port managers tend
    to have newer versions of most tools available sooner, as udpating
    them doesn’t disrupt the OS. So besides having the latest
    technologies, you tend to get a better selection of up-to-date
    tools to use on them.

    3a) Freedom from bloat. The system commands for Unix are designed to
    be parts of a system that work together and complement each
    other. The system commands for GNU/Linux come from different groups
    of people and seem to be struggling with each other for mind share,
    hence they have seemingly arbitrary extensions that often duplicate
    functionality found in other commands on the same system.

    3b) Freedeom from bloat. A “base system” install for GNU/Linux
    frequently includes many applications that you probably have no use
    for. Unix systems usually include an install variant that’s pretty
    much the bare minimum to get the system up on a modern network and
    let you install the parts you actually need. This really isn’t for
    the casual – or probably even common – user, but it’s a tweakers

    4) Freedom from downtime. Like most modern systems, you can upgrade an
    OpenSolaris system – kernel and all – with a few commands. Unlike
    most of them, you can do it while the system is up and running,
    providing services to users. You convert to the new system with a
    reboot, and can revert to the old one with one command and another
    reboot should there be problems with the new one.

    5) Freedom from “improvements” that aren’t. Unix systems tend to
    distribute applications set up the way the author provides
    them. GNU/Linux systems seem duty bound to set things up the way
    the distro maintainers want them, no matter what the end user
    wants. Nor do they worry about how these settings may screw up
    other systems (reminds me of Windows that way….). So not only do
    I find a typical GNU/Linux command line nearly unusable, but I find
    that logging into one from a Unix system adds injury to insult by
    screwing up the window managers on my Unix systems. Worst of all,
    in many cases these settings aren’t set in the default user setup –
    where they belong on any proper Unix system – but are in a
    system-wide setup that requires intimate knowledge of the
    application to undo, assuming it can be undone at all.

  32. Excellent article. For me the security issue was the number one reason to switch. I’ve since found the other benefits, but after having to run insane security suites just to have safe browsing, and slowing down the computer just to run those security suites! Ubuntu requires none of that, a default install of Ubuntu I find has better security than even a well protected Windows install.

  33. I didn’t know pirillo was such an ubuntu fanboy. Any of those reasons can be applied to other distros. They are not ubuntu-exclusive. It’s a shame the internet is covered in such spam.

  34. SO LOL! you megalo.. and quickly i would remember you ubuntu (conflict between their philo and their graphic drivers ;)) comes from debian (which is _the_ hole and _the_ generator of holes (see last certif generation pb).. talking about choice, you don’t have any in fact, X11 is the only graphic server alternative, and you have only the choice to use available wm for it (tty is not a graphic env..). etc…

  35. Your right. While Ubuntu can be daunting at first, it is worth switching. OS X is great but expensive, but Ubuntu is great and free. Windows… well, its windows…

  36. Haha, @Mike, all those extraneous hard rights are testament to the power of your computing platform!

    Seriously, your position takes you to the other end of the scale. I’ve seen nests of Solaris fanatics who would rather hold on to their gold-plated Sun “solutions” until they (and their jobs) are all replaced by Windows boxes (and by Windows consultants) rather than transition to GNU/Linux.

    And since you mention OS X, a comment about that and earlier mentions in defense of OS X as non-proprietary and “based” on free and open source software. Sure, it has some free and open source software in it, great big chunks of it, in fact. But, in the end, it’s riddled with unabashedly proprietary software like, for instance, the display layer Aqua. No small thing, that. And then there’s the that whole policy-du-jour, on again, off again rollercoaster with the licensing of their projects.

    It’s great that you find what you need, Unix-wise. But the appeal of GNU/Linux isn’t *just* that it’s like Unix. It’s also that it is free and open source. The rump of proprietary Unix that continues to survive does so due to legacy reasons or *despite* the fact that it is Unix, not because it is true-blue Unix.

    As for bloat, sure. Ubuntu is bloated. But, that’s its target market, and it compares favorably in that regard with a full-blown install of either of its major full-blown proprietary desktop counterparts. On the other hand, with an Ubuntu server installation CD or, for example, a Debian install, one can install a very light, lean base install and then dribble in packages that one wants. But again, I don’t think that’s the context that’s relavent to this sort of discussion.

    I mean, if you think training the typical MacOS or Ubuntu Desktop user on ports is that tenable a proposition, I’ve got two words: Get real.

  37. We live in a world that is not bashful about its selfishness. People want everything and without effort, and as such, potentially superior products struggle in the face of another that has the edge NOW. Linux is constantly, and probably will be constantly, in this struggle.

    People have been led down the same path throughout history, forgetting the principles that they once fought for and instead selling out to what works now. Short-sightedness, it seems, robs us all of refinement in the long run.

    There are a host of reasons to at least try Linux, not the least of which is the principle. In the computer world, Linux is the equivalent of revolutionary wars of past, putting the user or citizen FIRST in all elements involved. But as the people have been slowly misled and robbed of their liberties, and in fact of their definition of liberty (in all countries), likewise people ignore the principle of Linux and indulge in the fruits of greed enjoyed by Microsoft and Apple.

    Despite this, many others as well as myself enjoy what the OS itself offers, independent of principle, as only a free entity can construct. Its base is stable, it offers multiple approaches to the manipulation of desktop, it can be configured in nearly any way, it is free to the end user, it can run a good portion of Windows applications with the proper software (WIne, Cedega), and is infinitely supported by a community with a respect for you and your choice.

    There has never been a better time to try Linux, for it surely is more capable than it ever has been, and will likely become more capable as time goes on. Most importantly, its development is governed by the user, with the users “rights” or freedoms at its design center.

  38. Great Article. I just recently converted over to ubuntu and have a virutalbox xp running inside just for those little programs that require xp at the moment. I still work with Microsoft office often for work so I must have that around, however I usually do all that work from my Vista Laptop. So when I do read my email from the WebMail in ubuntu Firefox from time to time I can still open the excel spread sheets and word docs in open office and see what I need to see. Since I do not have to edit and return to the sender or pass on to someone else I can safely stay in ubuntu. Unfortunately the conversion between open office and Microsoft office is not seamless. So until that day comes we will still have to have Microsoft office loaded.

  39. I would like to go linux, believer in oss and such but don’t have a clue where to start, can i put ubuntu on a 1.83ghz mac mini and get rid of osx? Macs are to expensive for me now and also have a non customizing desktop, which I want, sick of looking at aqua. also do i get a 32 or 64 bit version of ubuntu?

  40. OK! Your blog posting is very persuasive. I was wondering what happens to your previous files. Can you convert them to some type of open source office package?
    I suppose going online would be pretty easy. What browser do you use?

  41. I also converted to ubuntu recently.I basically agree. Once it’s running on your system it is as easy or easier to use than windows. It’s faster and more stable. It’s securer, because you don’t have to worry about hardware. Its for free…

    However, installation can be a pain at times, if certain hardware is not supported out of the box, in particular wifi and printer drivers! You should test that using a live CD, which runs ubuntu from RAM, without installation on the harddrive.

    The community really helped me fixing my problems. But, If you want to get ubuntu for your grandparents, you should get them a computer with preinstalled ubuntu.



  42. “The installation is much faster and when it is complete you will not spend
    the next two hours installing patches, drivers and applications like
    you would with Windows.”

    Excuse me, but you have to play around to find drivers in Ubuntu, if you’re lucky to have your machine supported. Nowadays, a lot of laptops do not support ubuntu and do not have the proper drivers. You might miss the bluetooth card, the wireless card, soundcard, videocard, etc.

    It IS one of the pains with Linux. Windows is much better in the sense that computers come with the drivers preinstalled on the system so no fooling around (well, nowadays it’s better than earlier). On OSX even more simple.

  43. Lol. So you can install custom skins, big deal. There’s a sheer lack of application support and its just a huge mess for productivity. I can’t tell you how many open source solutions I’ve tried before I rolled back to windows and Mac os.

    Linux is great and secure for running servers and the likes, but its nowhere near as good as Mac OS or windows for application support and optinization .

    P.S. don’t even mention wine.. that abomination of an emulator, Linux will always be behind with app compatibility.

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