It Just Works

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-get away.  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.

View All


  1. I’m still waiting

    For my Ubuntu ditro CD’s to come in the mail. I’m not a power user. I know nothing about linux other than the last time I tried to install it onto a notebook it didn’t work. This whole thing about special things to do when downloading unbuntu via a windows machine is too much for me and I don’t have a CD burner. So I’ll wait until the CD’s come in the mail…

  2. mmm. Many of the reasons I’ve switched to Mac.

    1. As I’ve often said, my next machine will be a Mac. But depending on how well integrated and extensive things like Fink are, I may end up dual-booting.

    2. Yes, Apple is the Borg. . .you will be assimilated.

      I was.

  3. I’m with you. My next machine will be a Mac.

    For now, I am (mostly) happy with Linux. Everything works, except the wireless LAN card (in a laptop) and the CD burner (which *used* to work but stopped after an upgrade).

    But most things do work, and work reliably.

    At the office, I must use this virus-thing from Redmond. We have a team of people to support it, pushing updates and helping us solve problems. (And for the most part, they do an excellent job. We have virus scanning software, and reliable network connections, and things tend to work.)

    Odd, though, that the system that costs big buck requires the additional maintenance effort.

Comments are closed.