Several years ago, when I acquired my first computer and began to learn more and more about them, I did not dream that I would be using one as much as I do today. Even though I have worked in the automotive service industry for over ten years, (the first part of it was actually in the shop), I basically use the computer skills I have learned to provide for my family. When I first started using a computer, Windows 3.1 was all I knew about and then I moved on to Windows 95, Windows 98, and then Windows XP. I suppose I am insatiably curious about new things, because I am not happy until I know everything there is to know about something new. That is probably what led me to where I am now.
Over the years, I had grown tired of the way Windows operated. I was always having to update my operating system and keep everything locked down with antivirus and spyware prevention software. All of this just to make sure the computer would work the way it should work. Not only that, but Windows itself and the way it operates just seemed to get on my nerves. It does things like changing drive letters on a USB drive for no apparent reason. For that matter, a lot of things Windows does is for no apparent reason. That gets very old, very quick.
Around Christmas of last year, my brother convinced me to try a completely different kind of operating system. I know a lot of people have heard of Linux. There are a lot of different distros or versions of Linux. I know very little about them, but Sidux, the Debian based distro is the one my brother had settled on, after using several different versions. Since he had the installation CD for Sidux, that is the one I installed as well.
The beauty of Sidux, as with a lot of other Linux distros, is that you can use what is called a live CD to try it out, without actually installing it on your hard drive. That gives you a chance to try it out and make sure it will operate on your system. It also gives you a chance to get a feel for how it operates and how it is different than Windows. You can then install the full version, if you decide you want to use it. You can also set it up to have Windows and Linux on the same computer. A boot menu will come up and ask which operating system you want to use. I use this feature because my wife wants to use Windows XP. It keeps us both happy.
One of the first things I noticed about Linux is how it handles multiple tasks so much better than Windows XP, in my honest opinion. I have an older system with a AMD 950 processor and Linux runs a lot smoother on it than does Windows XP. It also comes with just about any kind of software you could ever need. Sidux comes pre-loaded with Open Office, which is a open source office program that rivals anything Microsoft can come up with. Did I mention it is free? It also has the internet browser Opera and Iceweasel (Firefox) and Icedove (Thunderbird). I was using this software on Windows XP and the transition from XP to Linux was quick and painless.
Another thing about Linux is the complete lack of a need for antivirus or spyware prevention software. Most viruses and spyware are written for Windows and Linux is just not vulnerable to them like Windows. That would be reason enough to switch to Linux.
Linux is also very customizable, both in the look of the software, ie. eyecandy and the feel of the software. You can change the way it looks and the way it works with no trouble at all. Try doing that in Windows and you will have a headache very quickly. Where Windows seems to fight you at every turn when you try to change the way it looks and feels, Linux just points the way and leads you through the door. It is very easy to operate and to make it do what you want it to do.
Overall, I am very pleased with the way Linux operates. The only drawback I have found is it’s inability to play some videos that require Windows Media Player and to play some live feeds, such as CNN News. Other than that, it is working great. I hardly ever log into Windows XP, just when I need to view on of the live video feeds for my coverage of the Presidential election. If you aren’t afraid of trying something new and would like a fresh change from Windows, give Sidux and Linux a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
PS: If you are already using Linux, take time to comment about it in the comment section. I would be interested in knowing about your experience with Linux.
That’s my take!