Once in a while you will find someone who is a Linux geek and claims that he hates windows and loves Linux. A lot many times I have found people who say so give vague reasons for the bias or probably because hating windows and using Linux makes them appear more geeky. Honestly I was not a Linux lover but I have really started using Linux because I think I was constantly being pushed to a corner by Windows and its allies (read antivirus, cd burning softwares, flash et al.). Today I thought to just list what really pushed me to a corner and how Linux solves a lot of my problems.
10 Reasons for Hating Windows:
1. Windows updates: Every once in a while Windows starts downloading updates, without asking the user, and hence utilizing all the network bandwidth, just when you need it. Even if you have a genuine Windows installation, windows update is a painful process. In comparison, Linux also have security and other updates available and similar notification manager on many distros but it
- Doesn’t nag you repeatedly
- You can update your installation when you are not using it, say in the night when you are sleeping
2. Windows without Antivirus is useless: I guess that explains it all. Even if you have ‘genuine’ Windows installation, it is a dead rat, without an antivirus software. Very soon your Windows will get infected even if you don’t download pirated softwares either from bittorrent clients or from various other sites. This is because sooner or later one tends to use USB drives for transferring data to and from other computers, owned by others, which are already infected. The other reason is that most of the times, windows installation has softwares downloaded from all over the internet, some of them pre infected with malware, trojans etc. In contrast on Linux, say Debian, there are standard repositories from where you would download the required softwares and most of these repositories are authentic places to download Linux packages from.
3. Windows with Antivirus is even more useless: The reason is that most of the times, the antivirus softwares tend to hog the CPU and other system resources so much that no matter whatever processing power you have gets utilized in either scanning the system, downloads, sites, mails etc. The remaining CPU time is utilized in downloading updates for Antivirus and Windows updates. Updates for Antivirus sometimes are so big that it takes quite a while on broadband currently in India to update them.
4. Other useful and general purpose apps are not installed on Windows by default: Most of the times, you would need a PDF reader/ writer, CD-DVD Writing Software, Office apps like Word processor, Presentation and Spreadsheet, Text Editor, Video player for playing various videos in variety of formats with inbuilt / standard codecs pre-installed, bittorrent client, Iso Image mounting software, Image manipulation program, etc. These are required even by most people who are not computer geeks and it sounds really silly to pay again for these utilities which should be part of OS. For a lay man what good is an OS, if it cannot do some simple task like playing of videos, music, viewing and manipulating pictures etc. If Windows provides utilities for these by default, I think it would definitely boost the number of people who would want to buy Windows.
Office Apps like Word, Spreadsheet and presentation are a must for most people and I believe if Windows starts installing these apps by default as part of Windows installation, of course without extra charge on the licence, there would be more people willing to buy ‘genuine’ windows copy. Some would say that so is the case with Linux but I think Linux model is completely different. There is no default. Softwares are installed based on what distribution you are choosing and for that distribution, what are the softwares that get installed as part of OS installation. I call this Linux model is WYWIWYG i.e. What You Want Is What You Get. 🙂 More on Office apps later in the article.
5. Default browser, i.e. Internet Explorer is shit: I find the features and overall usability of IE way behind what other browsers in particular Firefox provides. Though it is a personal preference but IE is still trying to catch up with Firefox. In comparison Firefox provides so many features and plugins using which one can enhance the usability and features of Firefox and customize it to his needs. For example I am yet to find a good downloader with IE. It is the same old downloader with IE that in case of interruption has to start all over again. I know I can give many other reasons as well but let us just consider this to be a personal preference for now.
6. It is a fashion to update softwares now: It appears now that these days it is a fashion to update every software installed on the system. On Windows most of the times, there are lots of icons in the ‘tray’ i.e. at the right most, bottom most corner of the display. Let me count some most common softwares requiring update and IMHO the most pestering ones:,
1. Windows update
2. Antivirus update
3. Nero update
4. Java update
5. Adobe Flash update
7. Windows booting till the point it becomes usable, is too slow: The reason is that even after Windows get booted up, there are lots of default startup services and startup softwares showing up in status bar, which need to be initialized before the system becomes usable.
8. No Good command line interface for power users: The default command line interface on Windows is ‘cmd’ which is really stupid. There are not many commands supported on ‘cmd’. In contrast, even on a MacOS, there is a terminal which almost has all the features of a shell on a Linux system. This is useful in those cases where a user doesn’t want to use GUI but wants to use command line interface which is specially useful during programming.
9. Performance degrades over a period of time: My experience with Windows has been that mostly the performance of a windows installation degrades severely over a period of time and slowly it becomes completely unusable. I really don’t know the reason for this but my guess is that it could be due to many reasons:
1. Windows updates
2. Bloated registry due to too many installed softwares
3. Antivirus updates bloat
4. Viruses et. al.
5. Disk fragmentation
6. Some unknown and /or hidden reasons like Windows deliberately doing it so, so that you buy a new version of Windows with a new hardware, most probably Intel (together called as Wintel). Who knows it could be a hidden strategy of MS as the source code of the OS is not open.
10. Miscellaneous: Other things that I really dislike in Windows are: Registry mechanism: It is a really weird way of storing OS, applications and other settings. It is not easily readable or writable and you really have to be a Windows OS / driver developer to be able to edit / modify the settings in the registry. Also registry bloats over a period of time and affects the performance of OS. Environment variables: The Windows way of setting environment variables is really weird. I think Windows shouldn’t have had any feature like this, or if they wanted to have then they should have created a good shell inbuilt into windows, quite like Linux. Frequent Hangs: One thing that every windows user knows is how to ‘try to kill’ a hung process. You do CTRL-ATL-DELETE–> open task manager and kill a hung process. With this, either your system will stop responding, or wouldn’t do anything or kill the explorer process (which is quite like the Window Manager on Linux) as well. As a last resort, you end up doing hard reset.
10 Reasons for Loving Linux:
1. Linux OS updates are optional: Apart from regular security fixes, most updates are optional and even if you want to update your OS, you can schedule them when you are not going to use your PC.
2. Mostly no requirement of Antivirus: This is not because there cannot be Viruses for Linux, but most of the times, a person operates as a user and not root, the damage is restricted. Also there are so many flavors of Linux that it is hard to infect them. May be only a few. In comparison the primary user on Windows is mostly the administrator and thus viruses can infect easily. On Linux softwares are downloaded from standard repositories which are relatively safe and are community managed.
3. Most useful Apps are installed by default on most ‘standard’ installations of various Linux distributions. Office apps, CD/DVD writing softwares, image manipulation programs, bittorrent client, video and music player for almost all formats, text editors etc are pre-installed / or are readily available. Though some of them are not so easy to use, i.e their UI is either not so good or one has to read some man page to read the equivalent command line functioning, but nowadays Linux has really improved on a lot of UI and presentation aspects.
4. Default browser on most distros are pretty good: The default browser on various distros is usually Firefox or its variant. The only fallout is that the flash player does not work properly on some browsers. I think this requires some solution on Linux.
5. Boot time and logging time is very less: Since there are usually no apps to be started during login process, the boot and login time on Linux is really very less. Also one has a choice to modify what processes, services and daemons to start when Linux boots, which makes it really flexible. Based on one’s liking, one can choose how many such processes should be started during boot+login time, thus making Linux booting process really fast and flexible.
6. Good command line interface: Almost all distros have a good shell like bash pre-installed which is a real breeze to use, specially for power users. find, ls, grep, cat, less, more, pipe, echo etc. are so common utilities that they are a must on any OS.
7. No degradation in performance over time: There is usually no degradation in performance of a Linux OS. The system is as responsive and usable even if you have Linux running for a year. In comparison, Windows require some sort of reinstall, restore, recover in less than a year.
8. No nagging softwares: On Linux you will never be nagged by an installation of an app to update, buy, pop up or some such nuisances. If you know what I mean, then I guess you would have realized that how much painful the nagging can become.
- Option to recompile kernel to make the most out of your hardware. I will explain why this is needed some other time in a different article altogether.
- Programming is easy. Most compilers, editors, programming environments and utilities are free and are readily available. On windows this is really cumbersome. Even if you have to write a hello world program, you need to open some IDE like Visual studio, create a project and then do some settings to the project and then only you can start writing a small hello world program.
- Killing a process is quite quick.
- Permissions and security: Unlike Windows, rules for permissions, security etc, are very well-defined. On Windows I have problem accessing my external hard drive across different Windows machines. And I don’t really know why is that the case. It shows locks on certain directories and some are simply not accessible.
- Multiple virtual desktops (also available on windows but only through specialized softwares)
10. GNU/Linux is free: Last but not the least, GNU/Linux is free.
Over the years Linux has evolved a lot and a lot of hardware manufacturers contribute their drivers for their devices to be installed on Linux. UI and other regular features have also matured. I would rather write another article on what is it that has really come of age on Linux and what still requires rework, to completely replace Windows as an OS for an average user.
Currently I run a GNU/Linux Debian running Linux kernel 2.6.32 and I am really happy with the system. Comments and clarifications are most welcome 🙂