June 28, 2011

What do You Love: Linux


My Linux Mint 10 Julia Desktop :)

I love Linux. I feel proud to be a Linux user. I am also a Linux preacher.

And here I am going to maunder why I love Linux and why you should try it too. But before I move forward, I should tell you that if you are happy with using whatever OS you are currently using (most likely to be Windows), then probably this blog post may not be so much useful to you (if you still decide to read it, thanks :)

I am going to divide this blog post into 2 parts. In first part, I will give (only some of) the reasons why I liked Linux *before* using it regularly, and in second part *after* I became a regular user.

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*Before*

1. Linux is not Windows
Well this is one of the chief reasons I liked Linux and wanted to use it. That it was not a product of MSFT. Not long ago, I simply despised everything related to M'Soft. I thought by using its products we were becoming its slaves ('Don't have MS Office, Notepad, IE? You are doomed'). And this led to 2nd reason.

2. Linux is Free
Here Free as in 'Freedom'. Freedom from using M'Soft products. Linux gave me a choice. And there was no single Linux. There were thousands of distros to choose from. You can even make one of your own if you wish (which I even did along with group mates during a college project).

3. Linux is Free (at least I think so :)
And here Free as in 'Free Coffee' (I would have said 'Free Beer' but I am a non-alcoholic :). While I have indulged in piracy in some form (shh.. don't tell anyone, I can get arrested. No, I am serious :), I have always believed that one should avoid it, if possible. Linux gave me chance to ditch my pirated Windows copy (other pirated softwares inside it) (buying was not an option) and the guilt associated with it.

4. Linux is Free
And here, Free as in virus-free, spyware-free, crapware-free, and mostly maintenance-free. And it is only after you use it and find out that you don't need to be afraid of opening an attachment or even an infected copy of a flash drive, you realize what that means. Of course, if you just don't give a damn about your security and are hell bent to screw yourself then even Linux (or God or even next God) can't save you!

5. Desire to be in Minority (an exclusive group)
If I use Windows, I would be another one of those 90+% of PC owners using Windows. If I use Linux I would be in an exclusive group of less than 2% Linux users. I also wanted to see if I really can do without Windows. And now I can safely say that (mostly) I don't need Windows to use my computer (just like I do not need mobile and Facebook to live ;)


*After*

While the above mentioned reasons do remain valid, ever since (last 1 year or so) I started using Linux as a primary full time OS, I have got a lot more reasons to like it:

1. Linux is NOT perfect
Before actually using it properly, I thought Linux was a silver bullet to all the problems that exists in the computer world. I was wrong, and I am glad I was. Because it again validates my thinking that "Nothing is perfect", but you can always strive towards perfection, getting better all the time. Anyways, the problems that I encountered have always motivated me to find solutions/alternatives to it.


2. Linux taught me to use Windows again
It may come as a surprise, but after using Linux full time for a period of time (even forcing my brothers to do it, by locking Windows :), I realised some things were better done in Windows (playing games, or using some 'Windows-only' softwares like PS). So, I was happy to go back to Windows and rediscover it all over again (I am a happy Windows 7 user now).
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3. Linux gives you alternative
Not only is Linux an alternative OS, it gives you a whole new world of alternative softwares. I have discovered so many apps (all free mind you) inside Linux, that are so simple, useful and enjoyable to use, that now I try and run them on Windows also if possible!

4. Linux gives a sense of community
You may have heard about it; it feels just nice to hear. But if you see 2 regular Linux users, you can see them bonding big time (sometimes fighting too, over their choice of distro and softwares, but that's democracy you know :). They feel connected by something (at least I have felt it). Now, how many times have you seen the same for Windows users (OK, probably when they discuss OS problems :) Of course, there is also a real online community out there, that is quite comprehensive and useful and will be happy to provide you solutions to any kind of problem you are facing.

5. Linux is Fun!
And I can't emphasize on this well enough. I mean, what's the point of using something if you can't have fun using it? I can use Linux for the sheer fun of it (tinkering with it for hours, without doing any real work). May be that's just a geek inside me. But don't take my words, use any modern Linux distro and you will realize that it actually is fun to use.


You may be thinking, I am being a jerk here by boasting about being a super-Linux user and all. Well you are probably right :) But:
1. I am not a super-user and I have years of Linux usage remaining before I can think of calling myself one.
 2. The real reason I wrote this is to motivate someone to at least give Linux a try (an honest try with open mind).

Goto any of the popular Linux distro sites like thisthis or that, and grab one of their Live CDs, have fun using it and decide if you want to use it in future or not.

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If this post can make at least one person, even a secondary Linux user, its purpose will be served. Preaching about Linux is my way of giving back something to this wonderful OS. After all, love and affection are better served 2-way, isn't it? :)