Pluralsight blog Where devs, IT admins & creative pros go for news, tips, videos and more.
Pluralsight + Digital-Tutors - 3,000 tech & creative courses - starting at $29/month Get it now →
February 2, 2009

Out With The Slow, In With The Linux

By

Sick of Windows? Can’t afford a Mac?

Some of you may have some old computers lying around that just can’t run Vista or XP anymore. Or maybe you’re just like me and want to spice things up with a kinky new operating system. Why not try Linux?

Don’t get me wrong. There are reasons to stick with Windows or Macs. Especially if there is a certain program you just can’t live without or if you’re living through your World of Warcraft account (you gamers know what I’m talking about!).

But if you want an operating system that is reliable, efficient, virus free then continue reading my friend.

How Much Does Linux Cost?

That’s the best part about Linux. It’s free!

You heard me right. While distributors are charging you hundreds of dollars for the newest version of Windows there are numerous distributors out there that are offering Linux free of charge. Seriously! With a few clicks you can have Linux downloaded and installed within the hour.

How about that old computer you have lying around that is too slow to run on some of the newer operating systems out there. You all know I’m talking about. You buy a new computer that’s fresh off the market and a few years down the line you find yourself getting a cup of coffee while you wait for that internet explorer to load.


As newer operating systems are released so does the need for hardware requirements such as RAM, Processor Speed, etc. Linux will run on older computers that XP would probably refuse to install. While some people need the speed that comes with newer computers for work, hobby, and what have you, there are many people who just surf the internet, write papers, and email.

These are things that Linux will do very well on an old machine because the operating system won’t be sucking up all the resources.

But I Don’t Want To Learn A New OS!

Don’t think you can use it? Think again. The interface and usability is very easy to use.

If you’re familiar with Windows or a Mac then you are not far off. It’s like anything that is new. You just need a few runs to get warmed up.

Also, once you install Linux it comes with a bunch of great programs that you will use right off the bat such as OpenOffice. It’s a great application that is equivalent to Microsoft Office which costs over $150 dollars, yet OpenOffice is free. And you can interchange MS Office documents with OpenOffice.

There are other free programs like Gimp which is used to process digital graphics and photographs similar to Photoshop.

Maybe you’re a little more tech savvy? Well you’ll find an excess of open source development tools, compilers, interpreters, editors and even versioning tools. Imagine how much money you will save!

Sick Of Problems With Spyware, Malware, Viruses And The Like?

Spyware and Viruses are another reason why switching to Linux will benefit most people.

How many times has your Windows machine been affected by these things? While Linux is not 100% immune it is almost entirely unaffected by these things.

One reason is 90% of the market is dominated by Windows users followed by Mac users, and Linux finishes far behind. The people making the viruses are targeting the largest market trying to infect as many people as they can.

Another reason is anytime you or anyone (or anything) else tries to do something that affects the operating system, a password is required unlike in Windows which will allow almost anything done to the system.

Lastly, is the availability to the source code. Basically any programmer can go in and look inside the operating system and look for security flaws. Linux is a community based operating system, any problems or security holes are fixed quickly because people care about Linux, unlike Windows where your relying on a team of engineers to fix problems with the system and it takes months.

Anyway most Linux distros have Antivirus software included but you can still download ClamAV for free.

Hate having to defrag your machine? Ask anybody new to computers and they will look at you like you just stole their cupcake. It’s a pain to have to remember doing this every so often and the way the Linux operating system is built it makes it unnecessary to have to defrag.

Linux has a journaled file system meaning fragmentation does not occur and as a result the system is much more stable.

Yeah, But It’s Just Too Much Work!

Is installation a problem for you? Well, unlike the Windows OS which can take hours to install (not to mention all of the applications you need to add in like Office), Linux takes about a half hour to install with all the apps that you need.

Also there are no serial numbers to remember, no activation codes, and most of all no cd’s that you have to store and keep around just in case your operating system crashes. Which by the way, it never will!

The updates are a lot easier as well. First off you won’t get that annoying windows update icon that seems to pop up every 10 minutes and just won’t go away. In Ubuntu for example with one button you can update everything on your computer at once.

Sold?

Well alright then! There are a number of Linux Distributors out there and even though they all differ slightly they’re all free, reliable, and efficient.

The three that come to mind are Mandriva, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is a great starting point for you Windows users because it’s especially easy to install and like I said before, it comes prepackaged with everything ready to go. As stated above it’s a free download and comes as an ISO image so all you have to do is burn and install.

If you’re hesitant to convert you may want to consider creating a dual boot system so that you can switch back and forth between Windows and Linux until you are comfortable making the switch.

Either way you have options when it comes to choosing an Operating System that is right for you so don’t feel like all you have is Windows or Macs to choose from .

Good Luck & Godspeed!

About the Author

is the product of Western Illinois University’s prestigious academics programs. With a BS in Instructional Technology and a BA in Communications Roman has taken his education and applied it into the vast world of Information Technology. Roman currently works for Jack Morton Worldwide and is a Technical Administrator for the IBM training facility in the Chicago Loop. Roman has been working at Jack Morton for two years and is consistently engulfing himself in different technologies that IBM has to offer. While pursuing higher education through certifications such as A+ and Net + he also enjoys life outside of the computer world with ultimate frisbee, synchronized swimming, and fantasy football.


Discussion