Sam Ruby writes about how GNU/Linux has gotten easier to use over the years, until finally it became easier for him to run Linux than to run Windows. He might as well be writing for me. His story almost exactly parallels mine, and explains in a nutshell why, for certain usage patterns, Linux is the simpler, easier way to go:
For years, I ran Windows as my desktop OS. Sure, I flirted briefly with Netscape when it came out, but I switched back to IE because frankly it was better.
A few years ago, I noticed something. IE was abandoned. I was abandoned. I didn’t like it. So I switched first to Mozilla, then to Firefox. Sure, tabs were nice. But even better was the support for standards. And the lack of pop-ups and spyware.
I understand it that IE now has blockers. And there is even a promise of a next release. But will I be abandoned again?
Then I had my registry go corrupt. At the same time I was being hassled for GenuineCheck and then a legitcheck when I simply wanted to download a security patch. I had already given up two hours of productivity a week to virus scans. I had enough. I switched to Ubuntu.
Ubuntu boots off of a CD. It comes with Graphics, Internet, and Office tools. Where I had once ran AIM with advertisements and could only connect to a single service, I now run GAIM with no ads, can connect to multiple services. And I even get spell check.
But I’m a developer. I want more. I want ruby. And subversion. And cvs. And build tools. Each is only an
apt-getaway. There even is a convenient GUI for this. Ray’s vision of the future, I have today. And whereas Windows Update kept the OS and selected Microsoft tools up to date, the Debian packaging manager keeps everything up to date and in synch. Without ever needing to reboot.
Like Sam, I’m a developer and a power-user. I like my toys. In an Ubuntu/Debian system I have thousands of toys to choose from, that are all a single command away, that can all be upgraded to the latest and greatest version with a single command, all without rebooting. While getting all my hardware to work is still a pain in the ass some times, when it comes to giving you tools and keeping them up to date, Debian/Ubutu stays out of my way and Just Works, where Windows required hours of tedious mucking about with installers and upgrades and registrations and licensing fees.