I began My Linux Experience back at the end of February and over the past five months I've managed to spend a fair bit of time dabbling and experimenting with a variety of Linux distros. Over these months I've learned a lot - a lot about Linux, a lot about the Linux community and a lot about myself and how I look at and interact with PCs.
The five month mark seems like as good a time as any to put some of these thoughts, feelings and finding out into the wild for comment and discussion.
So here, in no particular order, are some of the things that I've learned from using Linux ...
- That I don't have to pay money to get my hands on a credible operating system.
- There are far more Linux distros available that I have time to try them out.
- Switching to Linux does not mean trouble-free computing.
- Whenever you ask a Linux user which is the best distro, invariably the answer you'll get is the name of the distro that they're using.
- In my opinion, the best Linux distro is Ubuntu.
- No matter how much I like a GUI, and no matter how lazy years of using Windows made me, there's a lot to be said for using a command line.
- Linux does crash.
- The lack of a decent line-up of games for Linux sucks.
- Without a doubt, you need lower system requirements to run a Linux distro such as Ubuntu compared to Vista.
- No matter what Linux fans tell me, I still believe that Wine is far from perfect.
- Installing Linux is far easier than installing Windows.
- I still haven't found the killer app for Linux.
- Arguing, or even trying to enter into any kind of sensible discussion with a Linux fanboy is pointless. Any opinions you have will be trampled on, dismissed out of hand and their own opinion substituted in its place as fact.
- Try as I might, I can't drum up enthusiasm for RedHat or SuSE.
- The LiveCD really does mean that anyone who can burn and boot up off a CD can take Linux for a spin.
- Linux's main weak point when it comes to hardware support is WiFi. If there's one area that the development community need to address urgently, it's this.
- There are legal alternatives to illegal codecs ... but you have to know where to look.
- Steer clear of proprietary file formats such as WMA and WMV and you avoid 99% of codec hassles.
- A Linux distro with Beryl installed makes Vista's Aero look lame.
- Open Office can do 90% of what I use Microsoft Office for ...
- ... however, Open Office has some serious speed issues.
- The key to success with Linux has nothing to do with being good with computers, it's about being good with Google and having one heck of a sense of adventure.
- I still don't understand the deal with Gobuntu.
- Setting up a Windows/Linux dual boot machine is simple.
- The Linux bootloader is very versatile.
- While Michael Dell might like Automatix, I'm not all that thrilled with it.
- The more I use Linux, the less I want to buy into the Mac ecosystem.
- I really don't care whether the software I use on Linux is open-source or closed-source.
- The more I use Linux distros, the more OS agnostic I find myself becoming.
- No matter how jazzed I feel about Linux, I'm 100% certain that desktop Linux distros represent no threat to the dominance of Windows - at least in the short to medium term.
Oh, and how could I leave off the final thing I've learned:
- Using Linux gives me a satisfying sense of "sticking it to the man," although at times I get the feeling that the person I'm sticking it to ends up being me.