30 things I've learned from using Linux ...

30 things I've learned from using Linux ...

Summary: 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.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Linux, Open Source
339

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 ...

  1. That I don't have to pay money to get my hands on a credible operating system.
  2. There are far more Linux distros available that I have time to try them out.
  3. Switching to Linux does not mean trouble-free computing.
  4. 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.
  5. In my opinion, the best Linux distro is Ubuntu.
  6. 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.
  7. Linux does crash.
  8. The lack of a decent line-up of games for Linux sucks.
  9. Without a doubt, you need lower system requirements to run a Linux distro such as Ubuntu compared to Vista.
  10. No matter what Linux fans tell me, I still believe that Wine is far from perfect.
  11. Installing Linux is far easier than installing Windows.
  12. I still haven't found the killer app for Linux.
  13. 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.
  14. Try as I might, I can't drum up enthusiasm for RedHat or SuSE.
  15. The LiveCD really does mean that anyone who can burn and boot up off a CD can take Linux for a spin.
  16. 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.
  17. There are legal alternatives to illegal codecs ... but you have to know where to look.
  18. Steer clear of proprietary file formats such as WMA and WMV and you avoid 99% of codec hassles.
  19. A Linux distro with Beryl installed makes Vista's Aero look lame.
  20. Open Office can do 90% of what I use Microsoft Office for ...
  21. ... however, Open Office has some serious speed issues.
  22. 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.
  23. I still don't understand the deal with Gobuntu.
  24. Setting up a Windows/Linux dual boot machine is simple.
  25. The Linux bootloader is very versatile.
  26. While Michael Dell might like Automatix, I'm not all that thrilled with it.
  27. The more I use Linux, the less I want to buy into the Mac ecosystem.
  28. I really don't care whether the software I use on Linux is open-source or closed-source.
  29. The more I use Linux distros, the more OS agnostic I find myself becoming.
  30. 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.

Thoughts?

Topics: Linux, Open Source

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

339 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The most interesting comment out of that lot is No. 27

    [i]"The more I use Linux, the less I want to buy into the Mac ecosystem."[/i]

    Adrian - would you care to expand on this? Do you mean that Linux is more of a threat to Apple in terms of general users not moving to OSX? By "general user" I mean non-publishing, non-design types.

    I find this interesting because Macs do seem to be portrayed as a full featured alternative to those p*ssed off with Windows.
    bportlock
    • Most likely this

      To use Apple one would need to buy Apple hardware. To use Linux you can use the PC you have right in front of you. No need to buy into the Mac Ecosystem if you find Linux does pretty much the same thing.

      That's my opinion anyways. For me buying a Mac would put me in the exact same place using Linux would, no games. So neither is a good option.
      voska
      • Well, then

        I better pull World of Warcraft off my Mac, because it obviously didn't get the memo from you that there are no games available for it.

        Apple (top selling games) is between Linux (no games) and Windows (all games)
        frgough
        • As if...

          Yes Apple has a few games but get real, the game situation for both Apple AND linux is lame. This is not in doubt by anyone.
          Antagonist
          • Games currently available for the Mac

            The SIMS
            The SIMS 2
            Call of Duty 2
            Quake 4
            Civilization II, III, IV
            Doom 3
            Rollercoast Tycoon 3
            Command & Conquer
            Lego Star Wars
            Tiger Woods PGA Tour
            CSI Crime Scene
            Tomb Raider The Last Revelation
            Return to Castle Wolfenstein
            Medal of Honor
            Indiana Jones and the Emperor's tomb
            Delta Force Black Hawk Down
            The Lord of the Rings
            Star Wars Jedi Academy, Knight of the Old Republic, Empire at War
            Homeworld 2
            Battlefield 1942
            Harry Potter Deluxe Edition
            Shrek 2
            Spider-man 2
            Medal of Honor
            Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3
            Zoo Tychoon
            Prey
            Enemy Territory Quake Wars
            Warcraft III
            World of WarCraft

            The idea that gaming on the Mac is pathetic is a myth perpetrated by Windows fanbois.

            Windows has more games, but the Mac is far from a lame gaming platform.
            frgough
          • The 80s called...

            they want their list of games back. :)

            [i]The idea that gaming on the Mac is pathetic is a myth perpetrated by Windows fanbois.[/i]

            If it is a myth, it is one you've just reinforced with that list. Zoo Tycoon? Seriously?
            NonZealot
          • The point

            Is that the Mac is between Linux and Windows. The original post claimed Mac and Linux were equivalent in games. That is patently false as demonstrated by the above partial list.
            frgough
          • No, OSX is worse than Linux

            Take Doom3 for instance. It was available on Linux months before it was available on OSX. Same with Neverwinter Nights. Oh, but you have Zoo Tycoon. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

            I won't stick firmly by the title of this post since no, OSX is not worse than Linux when it comes to game support. It is [b]certainly[/b] no better though. Even if it was better, it would be like telling the Corvette driver that the Civic you are driving is better than an Echo! It really isn't anything to be proud of!

            The other factor you conveniently leave out is that you have to first buy an overpriced Mac, none of which come with anything resembling a good gaming graphics card, then you need to buy a good graphics card, then you need to buy Windows, [b]then[/b] you can play Zoo Tycoon. The Linux guy just has to dual boot his existing computer that came with Windows, came with a fantastic graphics card, and he is done.
            NonZealot
          • RE: The 80s called ...

            Beyond a doubt Windows has more games than Mac or Linux, but this is rapidly becoming moot because serious gamers are moving away from XP & VISTA to XBox and other game boxes.

            So, the ability to play games is rapidly becoming a non-issue when choosing an OS to operate a PC.
            GreyGeek
          • That's an interesting point!

            When I play games it is on a PC, however my 20 year old son and his friends all play games on Wii or PlayStations.

            It could be that the slow drift of games from the PC to gaming platforms, is a risk to Windows. Once the need for games is gone, Windows may have lost one of its greatest perceived advantages. Linux would then be able to play on a more level field.

            Won't happen soon, tho!
            I am Gorby
          • Console game lack

            The serious gamer know Consoles are out dated the second they are released. The hardware in an X-Box360 is old hardware. The serious gamer plays on the PC to play the latest and greatest in games. On the console you get games that are well, 2-3 years behind the times. Take Halo 3 for example. It's a new game and it's not even close to what current PC games are doing.

            Now don't get me wrong here. Halo 3 looks fun, no doubt. Most gamers have a console too. I'm big time gamer, upgrading my gaming machine every 3-6 months. I also have a console or two as well. There are games that just work better on the console same some game just work better on the PC. If there is one thing I can't stand it's a console game on the PC or the reverse. There are reasons 1st person shooters are better on the PC and reasons why racing games are better on the console.
            voska
          • I always figured as much...

            That 'non-zealot' (yeah right) was just a gamer. That and a professional zealot on
            these boards.
            comp_indiana
          • Certain games

            For the most part, the Macintosh does have the best games available for it. It missed out on some gems like Counter Strike and indeed Half-Life, as well as some really neat ones like the Elder Scrolls series. On the other hand, it plays Neverwinter Nights and Blizzard, maker of many great games, has long supported the Macintosh 100% equally to Windows. For those who want to play games on the Macintosh, there have always been and there should always be options available. And now that's Intel based, ya know, you can have a Mac and play everything anyway, even if it means dual-booting.
            ehwood
          • Out of that list

            I see a lot of older games (SIMS, IG:TET, Warcraft III) And overall on that list, I don't see a lot of games i would play. So NO, I would say it is not a myth perpetuated by the "Windows Fanbois" and the fact that list is MUCH tinier than games available to a Windows user, I would say games for Mac are very limited in amount.

            That is fine. NO ONE OPERATING SYSTEM CAN DO EVERYTHING. Thats the mantra i live by. Windows cant, Linux cant, and Mac cannot.
            ivanotter
          • The original point

            Is that Mac is as thin on games as Linux. My response was that the Mac lies between Linux and Windows for gaming.

            The reply to my reply was that I was full of B.S.

            I have factually demonstrated that the Mac is between Linux and Windows for gaming.

            I did not nor do I maintain the Mac is the equivalent to the Windows platform.

            Apparently, some are so blinded by their zealotry they lose their ability to read.
            frgough
          • re: The original point

            [i]Is that Mac is as thin on games as Linux. My response was that the Mac lies between Linux and Windows for gaming.[/i]

            I looked at the number of titles working on Linux through WINE and it appears at first glance to be about the same as your list. So in that resepct I disagree with you.

            However, the number written natively for Linux is extremely low. So in that sense you are correct.
            Badgered
          • Out of that list

            Hey ivanotter,

            >> That is fine. NO ONE OPERATING SYSTEM CAN DO EVERYTHING. Thats the mantra i live by. Windows cant, Linux cant, and Mac cannot. <<

            No offense intended, just curious. Could you name a few things that either Linux or OS/X can do that Windows can't? That was my issue when I looked at those two. I'm not talking about particular programs - I.E. Apple's Graphics Editor is better than Windows one ... I mean WHAT CAN YOU DO on an Apple or Linux machine that's YOU CAN'T DO on a Windows box?

            Thx,

            -CB
            CodeBubba
          • I can't speak for OS X but...

            Linux can utilise, 64 CPUS, 16 Terabyte filesystems, 4Terabytes of RAM, x86/X86_64/EM64T, MIPS, SPARC, Power5 and Power6, ARM and Cell, spread and dynamically resize partitions across separate physical drives in separate computers and read PDFs and PostScript natively.
            odubtaig
          • you just made his point

            I can list the games that run on Linux too. The fact that none of us can come up with a near complete list of Windows games makes it clear than, when it comes to gaming, you are really stuck with windows.

            However not all of us are gamers, i for once moved to Ubuntu because i do not do games enough to pay the money for Vista. I am content with OS-Office-Web packages-Multimedia. So i have moved to Linux and seldom use windows anymore.
            Macario Valle
          • Be serious now

            I'm a gamer. I use PC running Windows. Now are you telling me I'd be happier with a Mac? I don't think so. I might as well run Linux and spend the money I save on an X-box or PS3.

            I dislike Windows as much as the next guy so I'm no Windows Fanboy here. It's just that when I want to run the next episode of Half-Life 2 it won't be on a Mac.

            As for claim that Linux doesn't run games. Well that's false seeing as I can run about 4 times as many games as you list there. The amount of games I can run isn't the issue though. It's the games I want to run. So if Mac plays 30 and Linux Plays 100 games, and Windows plays 1000 games it's easy to see what a gamer would buy. You'd be a fool to buy anything else.

            Now if your primary goal with computer is other than games then Mac or Linux will work fine for you.

            Personally I'd like to see games on Linux. That way I don't have all the bloat of Windows eating up resources I could be using to play games with.
            voska