As a techie, changing over from Windows to Linux was something I was always going to do, but never got round to. I’d run up a few virtual machines every once in a while, played with them a bit, didn’t find a compelling reason to swap over to Linux, so it was never more than a plaything.

Then around the time I did my last laptop refresh, I was doing a bit of penetration testing and created a Linux partition on my hard drive to assist me in this. I resolved to use this for a while see how it went. I switched back to Windows a couple of times, but it was really starting to bug me.

There was the 100% disk utilisation thing that happens when you first log on. You can sort of fix this to a degree, but even when you do you find that in other ways it’s a resource pig. Once you have a few apps open you’re likely using a good chunk of your RAM. Once you load the apps you use, you’re probably looking at 100GB or more of bloatware soaking up space on your hard drive.

By comparison, right now, I am running Ubuntu 19.04. The install, including all of the sofware I use takes up 20GB. I am running a virtual machine, I have a VPN running, Viber,Skype,Firefox with 10 tabs open and this word processor open and my memory usage is running at 33%.

That, in my view is a very light footprint. That’s one advantage. For most people’s daily use, you need a lot less powerful machine to run Linux than Windows. For me, what this means is that I can’t find any practical reason to upgrade my laptop for quite some time. I know I’d like to, because an 8 core processor would be sweet, but fact is the machine I’m using now is doing what I use it for with ease, and it’s nice to step aside from the upgrade cycle that has been forced on users by the cabal of Microsoft and Intel for many years.

However, one thing that Microsoft knew years ago.. people go where the apps are. Apps have kept Microsoft at the top for years. The big two being Word and Excel. Well, it just so happens that every single piece of software I use on Windows has a viable free alternative on Linux.

In fact everything is free on Linux. The operating system is free, as opposed to the licensing fee you pay for Windows and Microsoft software. All software I use is legally free. No more sneakily finding cracks for software.

If I want to use Windows apps there is an emulation program called wine that I use. If I find an app that will only run on Windows, I can run up a Windows virtual machine. Thing is, I have yet to find one of those apps.

Appearance? looks smashing. Check out the image at the top of the page. That’s my desktop. If you like nice interfaces, it’s the one for you. That’s a photo from Bing daily wallpaper by the way. Gives my device a different look every day.

Installation? It’s actually quite easy to install. Of course the problem here is that most people purchase a PC with Windows pre-installed, so it’s something you have to do if you want to try Linux. For an install that is suitable for most people, the install process is no more difficult than installing Windows.

Could the average user make the switch? Hmmmm, good question. I don’t really know. What Microsoft and Apple have been really good at is creating systems that can be used by non technical users with relative ease. I personally find it easy to use and very polished these days, from the OS install to software installs. However, I think that if something goes wrong, I can fix it. I’m not sure it would be as easy for someone less technical. Bottom line I guess is try it, but only if you have a friend who is a computer wiz.

 

 

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Shaun

A computer specialist who has had a long and varied career in IT, starting with the days of Novell, progressing through Microsoft on the way to Cisco and network security. Now running Revolution Web Design, to provide customers with great Web Design, SEO and digital strategy advice.