About two years ago I switch to a Linux operating system distribution. I went away from Windows OS (Vista) because of all the time it took to keep it virus free, it’s registry clean, and slow boot time. I was constantly loosing files and the frustration was irksome. What intrigued me was the Windows Geeks who actually thought they were of higher cognitive reasoning when they stated, and I kid you not, “To keep Windows running smoothly, you should reformat and reinstall your OS frequently!”. WOW, they actually said that???? Amazing. That is like a car guy telling you, “To keep your car running smoothly, you should take your engine out and rebuild it every 4000 miles!”
I recommend Ubuntu for first time users. (A warning to those that have not used Linux, in the Linux world there are those who act like Mac users, snobbery at it’s finest! It is funny really, I could link to page after page on which distribution is the best and all the conniption fits that go on with it, but I don’t want to expend the energy required!) Most of the distributions will fit on a single CDR which you can plug into your drive and load it and try it without changing your OS. I did this for about an hour. The problem is it is slow, but it was fun. After an hour I decided to install it. You first need to shrink down your windows system on your hard drive, to gain some room. Then place the cd back into your drive and click to install onto your hard drive (total install time takes about 45 minutes), the install will have a hard drive partitioner, if you can get about 10 gbs that would be good, you will want to have at least 2 Linux partitions, one for your OS and one for swap. You should partition the Linux with ext4, which is very fast. (you can google any of these terms for a full explanation.) Once you have it installed, you will reboot. When your machine starts, it will give you the choice between Ubuntu and Windows.
I used Ubuntu for about 6 months, then decided to give other distro’s a try. I went thru various distributions, liked some, hated others. There are many desktop environments that you can use as well. Ubuntu uses gnome, it is more bloated than most, (but nowhere near as bloated as Windows, that would be a ladybug compared to a freight train), but is pretty user friendly and has all well most of the software that you will ever need pre-installed. You have the K environment, meant to be more Windows like (although I thought it was more difficult to use, but the graphics were pretty.) There are dozens of them from very powerful to bear bones. I have finally settled on the enlightenment environment. I tried MoonOS and like the fact it was light AND powerful, but the was not as sharp as it could potentially be. I now have gone to ELive, which also has the enlightenment environment, but is much more polished. The most stable version requires a stipend to download, however you can download the next version that is being worked on for free. That is what I chose to do. It has a nice look and feel, has a dock similar to Mac, but you will have to download some programs such as Open Office which can open MS Office files and seems to me to be much better, I think they will be coming out with a whole new software package soon. It already blows MS Office out of the water, I can’t wait till the new one comes out, oh yeah, did I mention it is free? All of the linux stuff I have been talking about excepting the stable version of ELive is free.
BTW, about every 6 months, each of the distributions put out an upgrade which is easy to do. Unlike having to switch from say XP to Vista upgrade, you don’t have to pay $$$ for it. Every upgrade is free.
So what are the advantages? No viruses ever, no registry cleaning (it doesn’t have a registry), no having to completely wipe your system every 6 months to do a fresh reinstall, EASY to install, use and upgrade, and $$$$$’s of dollars worth of software, and all of this is free.
You will have to learn to burn an ISO CD. So look it up.
One final thought, the neat thing about Linux is this, if you ever run into a problem, all you have to do is google it with “Linux” in the search, and the answer is right there for you. Oh yeah, did I mention, 45 second boot time, every time?
I hope you decide to move away from the expensive, bloated, virus vulnerable windows OS that you are using, you will be glad you did. (If you have an older windows machine, there is a modern Linux OS waiting for you as well, check out Puppy Linux or one of it’s variants (called puplets), very nice!
Next time: Men, Get Back To Your Wild Side!
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