Linux is clearly the superior operating system

Linux is clearly the superior operating system
31 comments, Saturday, September 7th, 2013, by Josh Wartena, in Featured, Opinions

With all due respect, my colleagues are wrong. Linux is hand-down the best option for computing. It isn’t even a competition. Neal Stephenson said: “Macs are hermetically-sealed sedans that look great and have a lot of advertsing. Windows machines are big SUVs that break often, but they’re everywhere and everyone knows how to use them. Linux computers are free tanks that go 90 mph in swamps, get 100 mpg and never break down.”

I’ve been using Linux for years now and don’t ever plan on switching. We can’t explore all the reasons for its superiority, but here are my main points. I’m assuming you know what an operating system is and that Macintosh, Windows and Linux are all different options.

 

Price

 

Most people buy a computer with the operating system already installed. This is convenient, especially since installing an OS can be a pain and ridiculously expensive. The problem is Windows and Macintosh operating systems are closed source. This means the companies are the only ones able to modify the systems and sell them. That’s why if you go buy Windows 8 or OSX the disk is expensive.

Since its conception, Linux has been open-source, free. The files necessary to install the operating system are easy to download onto a CD or flash drive. The installation process is incredibly simple and can be put on a computer without removing the already-existing Mac or Windows OS. This is called dual-booting, since you have the option of using either OS.

The most popular Linux systems come ready to go with everything you need. Just put in the CD, install and you’re in business.

 

Availability

 

Macintosh and Windows systems are pretty cut-and-dry. There’s one option, and that’s it. You can’t change the system and even adding peripherals is difficult. There isn’t too much personalizing you can do outside of the out-of-the-box options.

There are dozens of versions, called flavors, of Linux. Because it’s open-source, Linux code has gone through hundreds of modifications, developments, and personalizations. The result is a plethora of different-looking operating systems, all with specific purposes. Obviously, some are more popular than others. Ubuntu is the most widely used and (debatable) user-friendly. KDE is also popular for users looking for something more bare bones.

Every Linux flavor is downloadable, and the files aren’t five-CD monsters full of manufacturer garbage you don’t need slowing down the computer. It’s free too, have I already mentioned that?

 

Maintenance and Repair

 

This goes hand in hand with availability. Once again, the closed-sourced Macintosh and Windows often require professional maintenance. You go to the Apple Store or Best Buy and pay the technicians to figure out what’s wrong, and then you pay to fix it. You quickly learn not to trouble-shoot anything difficult, as you will most likely break it.

You will never take a computer running Linux to a computer store, and you will never spend a dime on repairs. First, since you add your own software and decide the extras from day one, you don’t have to worry about a random driver breaking down, or a required update glitching. You, the user, are in control of your computer. If you do mess something up or have an issue, you can easily fix it. The open-source nature of Linux means you can get anywhere in your computer and change anything.

“But I don’t want to get in the files; I don’t know anything!” No worries, if you get an error, Google it. I guarantee there are instructions from another Linux user detailing exactly how to fix it. Thousands of Linux users who know what they’re doing are more than happy to help you out. I’ve never had a problem I couldn’t fix in less than half an hour, even if I had no idea what the problem was at first. Even better, you’ll get a better idea of how your computer works. Because of how it’s made, viruses are literally impossible in Linux. Mac friends, they lied to you on that point; you probably have a virus on your shiny Apple laptop right now and just don’t know it.

 

Software and Updates

 

Once again, all Linux software is free and downloadable. Don’t worry about your favorite game or web browser not being available. I’ve never had a problem with any software. Steam, Netflix, and all web browsers are Linux-compatible. If you do happen to have a program that isn’t compatible, there is a program called Wine; it allows all your software to work on Linux. Most of the time, I find a better program free that does just what I want.

You probably think updates are awful. Macintosh users, you see an update and are expected to pay for it. Windows users, you have no idea what the updates are for, and downloading is going to take a few hours, after which the computer will need to configure them. Linux people, we see an update and think, “Cool, more free stuff that I asked to be updated when I downloaded that program.” There really isn’t a comparison here.

That’s a very brief introduction to Linux, and why it’s the best. Apple fanboys, we welcome you. Unix is Linux’s sister; you’re so close! I understand you want to be with the prettiest and popular, but they’re just using you for money. Windows friends, I understand your desire for ease of use and comfort with what you know, but I guarantee you’ll be happier over here; it’s even easier than your Windows. Get out of that abusive relationship and come where you’ll be loved.

About Josh Wartena

Joshua Wartena is a senior studying Journalism and Spanish at UVU and will graduate in Fall 2014. He is hoping to work as a middle-east correspondent or long-form magazine writer in South America. Josh is currently living in Orem and is the Opinions Section Editor

31 comments

  1. Abrax
    September 8th, 2013 2:16

    This article is completely biased. When I was 6 years old I got a mac and I’ve used it since then. I’ve never had a problem with it and I have learned to fix anything else. I don’t think macs are perfect and even less innovative after Steve Jobs died. However, I have also used Linux and while they are free, and “easy to use,” they are clearly not the superior system, or at least not yet. It all depends on what you need a computer for. I use photoshop, illustrator and other similar software and I work more efficiently with a Mac. I do think Linux distros are awesome and I recommend every person to check some of them out, they might be a great fit for you, but it all depends.

    Reply

    • Leopard
      September 10th, 2013 7:52

      Yeah, Adobe software is better with a Mac. The free Linux programs (ie, Gimp) are pretty good, but if you’re doing professional work they might not do what you need.

      Reply

  2. Mo
    September 8th, 2013 2:20

    “You will never take a computer running Linux to a computer store, and you will never spend a dime on repairs. ”

    If your problem is hardware, you will. And with Linux on it they might be put off.

    “Windows friends, I understand your desire for ease of use and comfort with what you know, but I guarantee you’ll be happier over here; it’s even easier than your Windows.”

    Easier/on par until you have to compile obscure programs and find ways of applying drivers that aren’t found under PnP.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used desktop Linux OSs and there are fair strong points but it is not ever going to be for most people the way it stands.

    Reply

  3. Aaron
    September 8th, 2013 6:44

    I’m not sure if this is tongue and cheek or sincere. But, it is certainly a ridiculous misrepresentation of Linux and doesn’t do the OS or its users any favors.

    Reply

  4. September 8th, 2013 8:12

    This is a terrible misleading article:

    Quote:
    “This is convenient, especially since installing an OS can be a pain and ridiculously expensive.”

    Yet you are recommending users download and install Linux. Considering that both Mac OS X and Windows are commercial operating systems that have been tested and refined over the years, what makes it less easier to install than Linux, which by the way is not that easy to install? Taking into account Windows 7 is running on over 700 million PC’s and a large swat of these are from users who purchased an upgrade license and upgraded their existing PC’s running older versions of Windows (XP, Vista) and did clean installs, it would obviously suggest Windows must be easier to install.

    I tried dual booting Ubuntu with Windows 7 which is said to be the easiest distro to use and it refused to even acknowledge the blank partition I created…

    Reply

    • Abhishek Dabholkar
      November 20th, 2013 23:07

      According to what Andre Da Costa said, Ubuntu is a pain to dual boot. Well why don’t you install ubuntu first and then get windows to dual boot? Got the author’s point? Linux is better then windows. Case closed

      Reply

  5. Caleb
    September 8th, 2013 18:21

    Nicely written article for inspiring non-converts to give Linux a shot :)

    I hope you won’t mind, however, if I note a couple of inaccuracies. Not *all* Linux software is free; plenty of commercial applications for Linux are out there. That being said, it *is* accurate to say that there is a *lot* of free software for Linux, including very well-made alternatives to commercial software.

    Also, I think KDE was a mistake in the paragraph about distributions, as it is neither a distribution (it is a desktop environment package that can run on most distributions) nor is it “bare bones” :)

    Reply

    • Mark
      September 10th, 2013 7:49

      Agreed, it’s a nice, quick summary of points. I think he’s trying to give a basic overview of what’s available. I can see people getting confused between “distribution” and “desktop environment package.”

      Reply

  6. Paul
    September 9th, 2013 10:26

    The article is biased and does not address all users. There are a majority of computer users who really are clueless and also do not have the time to troubleshoot. Therefore, they will pay to fix problems. However, if you are just a ittle computer savvy Linux is the way to go because it is free and much better than Windows imo. As for Mac, if you are dealing with graphics you probably need one. Other than that there OS is based on Linux so it’s not half bad but wayyyyyyyyyyyyy overpriced imo.

    Reply

    • Bob Robertson
      September 10th, 2013 12:18

      Ah, sorry, Mac is not based on Linux. MacOS is based on BSD.

      If you don’t know the difference, you should not be commenting on computer OSs.

      Reply

    • Abhishek Dabholkar
      November 20th, 2013 23:15

      Which person I know of hasn’t got the time to troubleshoot? Most solutions to Linux problems can be found by using Google. Oh yeah! Going to the service center, waiting in a queue, and then hearing the repair person say “Oh! I think we have to re-install windows!”, then spending time re-installing windows and getting everything back up, takes way more less time than a Google search. One reason why a problem with windows cannot be repaired and has to be re-installed, because it doesn’t know what problem it has faced. While in Linux(example from Ubuntu) it says “Sorry Ubuntu 13.10 has experienced an internal error”. Copy, paste the error in Google and you are likely to get a solution.

      Reply

  7. Bill
    September 9th, 2013 15:08

    I’d read this on my Linux box, but my Wi-Fi doesn’t work. (I’m not kidding.)

    Reply

    • ReliefAshama
      September 10th, 2013 7:40

      Put in the right password. I’m not kidding either. The kids and I fired-up a bunch of Linux distributions lately and every one of them offered wireless out of the box and it was always as simple as putting in the password. You may have no service or a busted nic card. Neither is the fault of Linux.

      Reply

    • Zach
      September 10th, 2013 9:55

      I had trouble with a broadcom card lately that connected at dropped randomly. It turned out it was a bad card. Replaced it with an Intel and I’ve had no problem since. Cards can be a little touchy, and you might want to try to reseat it.

      The only cards that I know of that don’t have Linux support are some of the new AC cards, and it is just a matter of updating your kernel. I havn’t had any driver problems since broadcom started supporting Linux.

      Reply

  8. Linux User
    September 9th, 2013 18:13

    But, people *NEED* to be stupid and helpless.
    That’s what makes the world go ’round.

    Reply

  9. tracyanne
    September 9th, 2013 21:58

    I have installed 1 new linux system a month since moving in to where I am currently located. I don’t advertise, as I’m retired. But I can state truthfully that 7 new linux users think Linux (Ubuntu) is the best operating system going.

    These Linux systems are running on a wide range of hardware, and they all work just fine, better, in fact than the Windows systems (XP, Vista and Windows 7) they replaced.

    Installation was simple, merely a matter of plugging in a USB stick and booting up. The hardest work was backing up the persons data before begining the install. All of the windows systems had viruses or malware of some description that was slowing the system down to a crawl.

    The great thing about upgrading these people to Linux, from my Point Of View is, as I’m the go to persons when there are computer problems, I get less work, because the Linux users aren’t running to…

    Reply

  10. Ally
    September 10th, 2013 10:13

    This article is biased. I have run Windows 7 for 3 years now it handles all my gaming needs, Is stable if you apply routine matienance for example malware scans. Virus scans then it’s not a problem. If you are smart you set the system up to how you want it and create a image which can be redeployed in about 15 minutes. All this talk about Windows being unstable what was the last version you ran 95? Get with the times seriously. As for drivers they are a breeze your arguments for Windows are heavily flawed it must be doing something right look at the market share and user base in comparison to Linux.

    I have alot of experience with Linux it is a great Operating System if you are willing to invest time into getting hands on and learning. But saying you don’t have to worry about configuring anything? :) that made me laugh if your making a transition from Windows things will appear…

    Reply

    • tracyanne
      September 10th, 2013 17:36

      @Ally, rather interestingly you just described exactly why my clients find windows both expensive and unstable.

      You see for them most of what you describe as remedial action, to keep Windows stable, is not something they are capable of doing, and must go to someone like me, or worse to someone who charges $80 to $100 minimum to do what you describe as 15 minutes work.

      This is why when they start using a Linux based operating system (usually Ubuntu or Linux Mint) they report having less problems, and I certainly see a lot less of them, except occassionally when I get kudos, as I did the other day when a brand new Linux user stopped me in the street to tell me how connecting his computer was even easier than it was on Windows.. His printer was of course an HP.

      Another thing I find is that they start using their computers more and start learning new things, as they discover the…

      Reply

    • tracyanne
      September 10th, 2013 17:37

      Free and no charge software that comes in the Software Repositories (App Stores to those post iphone computer users).

      Reply

    • Abhishek Dabholkar
      November 20th, 2013 23:22

      Gaming is not the end of the world! Well, could you point out what advantages windows has over Linux other than games. Though Linux is catching up in that department too. Look at the upcoming releases for steam. All contain a Linux version of the game. That aside, the market share and user base that Linux has represents the number of people who know how to use a computer and that number is quite small ;)

      Reply

  11. tracyanne
    September 10th, 2013 17:37

    Free and no charge software that comes in the Software Repositories (App Stores to those post iphone computer users).

    Reply

  12. Someone
    September 10th, 2013 20:22

    Two years ago I was one of the biggest Windows fanboys you ever remember.I used Windows when I was 6…(more like I clicked randomly until I got a virus lol :D) After 95, I got to XP, then upgraded to 7. I used it happily for 2 years. And then everything went upsidedown. My lovely 7 bricked my PC. Even today I don’t know what happened, something really bad with the bootloader I guess, but whatever. I remember how panicked was I “WHAT AM I GONNA DO NOW?!” The only help I could get without any computers then was go to the PC center a mile away and pay ?!?!?! and pay for repair… Soo, I just went in my room and started searching for help in PCWorld….I know, I could’ve Googled it but I didn’t have a smartphone and my parents were going to kill me… And then I found it. “Canonical has released Ubuntu 11.10 with the new Unity interface. What to expect from the most popular GNU/Linux…

    Reply

  13. Someone
    September 10th, 2013 20:48

    Basically Windows is for games(cuz all AAA run on Windows), Mac is for media production(recording, editing…), Linux is for everything else. Every OS fails in one thing- it tries to be used for everything. That’s why there arse “Distros”- “flavors” of Linux with different purposes. But basically have two computers in ur house- Mac and a dualbooted PC with Windows and Whatever-distro-fits-you-best. I’m sure there are online quizzes for choosing the distro that suits you best- simplicity, DE, software…

    Reply

    • tracyanne
      September 11th, 2013 14:45

      @Someone. I disagree about Linux not being for Media production. If it wasn’t for Linux based operating Systems like Ubuntu Studio I would not be able to record my band (myself playing all the instruments, actually) The Tracyannes https://plus.google.com/b/101084498144178405906/101084498144178405906/posts.

      I don’t have any computers with a Mac or Windows operating system. I’m retired, and on a fixed income, so expensive toys like Windows, and thwe expensive proprietary software that accompanies it, and Apple’s very expensive hardware with Mac OSX and the even more expensive proprietary software that accompanies it are not even a consideration.

      As for Games on Linux, well the AAs are begining to see a market there, and the more people who make it known they would prefer their games on Linux, the sooner they will all make the move, as several already have like Steam.

      Reply

      • Someone
        September 11th, 2013 21:44

        Don’t get me wrong, all OSs are good for media, games and usual work. Steam is a step forward, but for now, there aren’t many games for it. There’s of course L4D3, Amnesia, soon(if not already) even more. I watched a video from NixiePixel that Disney uses Linux for their animations, if you say hey do it in Hollywood, OK. OpenSource is the future, and the future starts with games! :D P.S. UbuntuStudio is gr8, but I don’t know why, haters tell me “FOR VIDEO EDITING MAC IS SUPREMEEEEE!!!!!!1″ and YouTubers use Macs, I don’t edit videos myself, but from many sources that Mac is only for video editing. It may not be 100% correct , but that’s what I hear. P.S.2 If you really want to be put in chains, make a Hackintosh! :D

        Reply

    • Abhishek Dabholkar
      November 20th, 2013 23:25

      Actually Windows is for games, Mac is for media production and Linux is encompasses everything :D

      Reply

  14. September 11th, 2013 23:53

    I started with Ubuntu around three years ago. I’ve used Fedora, Arch, Lubuntu, Puppy and a few other distros. I also use Windows and OSX. Ease of use hand down still goes to OSX. Questions? You can go to the Apple store if you can’t Google a solution to your problem. The Linux community tends NOT to be all that nice. That’s the truth no matter how people want to spin it. Windows 7 and 8 work well but Windows is susceptible to malware. Its often slower then Linux and OSX. This is more a problem on older systems and that’s where Linux shines. This is more true for light weight versions like Linux Lite or Lubuntu or the fun Elementary OS.

    People tend to use what they can buy in stores. That’s in part why so many users still have XP working. As easy as replacing your OS is many people don’t want to do it. Linux STILL has a reputation of being mostly…

    Reply

    • Abhishek Dabholkar
      November 20th, 2013 23:59

      Well the Linux community is quite friendly. Check out askubuntu.com! However we tend to be less friendly when someone asks, “I cannot install Ubuntu on my computer!” without providing any details. We do not have your computer in our hands hence we cannot know what the problem is. The arch linux community is friendly too. They tend to lose that however, when someone asks a question which has little or no information, or a question which indicated no research, for example, not even a google search. Well, and apple customer support is a joke. They do the googling for you :D

      Reply

  15. September 27th, 2013 20:28

    I use linux to run my server clusters. Before, we were running Windows Server. Openstack and MAAS is the way to go for sure, we have less software failures and hardware is monitored with ease. Most large companies are switching to linux for it’s security and performance. But I do agree, each OS has it’s place.

    Reply

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