Some Reasons Why I Choose Ubuntu over Windows

6 07 2007

I grew up with Microsoft operating systems. I’ve been through MS-DOS 5.0, Win 3.1, Windows 95, 98, Millenium Edition, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP. Notice how I stopped there. After over a decade of Windows, I decided to give Ubuntu a try and now have no reason to install Vista. Here are ten reasons why I chose Ubuntu:

1. Performance

I think its pretty ridiculous to require at least 1GB of RAM, a dedicated graphics card (Aero), and additional USB thumb drives (ReadyBoast) to be able to run an operating system. Vista I’m looking at you. Ubuntu simply runs faster and does not demand that much hardware to do so – thats the beauty of the Linux kernel.

2. Applications out of the Box

The Windows’ application set is pretty weak right after a fresh install. You get a calculator, notepad and other archaic remnants of software developed in 1995 when Windows 95 was released. Ubuntu comes with Open Office, The Gimp (image editor), GAIM (instant messaging), and RhythymBox (music organizer) just to name a few.

3. Package Manager

When I do need to install software, I can search for whatever I want from the Universal Repository in Ubuntu. I can install or remove batches of programs in a single run. Not only this, but all my software updates automatically because Ubuntu (or Linux in general) uses the concepts of packages. In Windows, installing removing, and updating programs is painful and a lengthy process. A package manager makes things quick and smooth – not to mention software in the universal repository has been tested by the community to not break your system. You can’t garauntee that in Windows when you’re downloading executables from anywhere on the net.

4. Security

I don’t have to worry about viruses or spyware. Yes this sounds like an Apple fanboy thing to say, but its true. Linux is a derivative of UNIX which was built on the foundation of robustness and security. I’m not going to get into the details as to why it is more secure unless you want an operating systems lecture – but not having to run additional scanning software I get my beloved CPU cycles back, giving me better performance =D.

5. A Real Terminal

Use bash, the default terminal in Ubuntu for five minutes and you’ll see just how powerful it is compared to the Command Prompt. In fact the command prompt can’t really do much except for launch applications without having to install perl or other GNU libraries on top of it. With Bash I can write scripts gallore to extend the functionality of Ubuntu and make my life easier.

5. Restarting Your Computer Sucks Part 1

Ubuntu hardly ever requires a restart, but in the case you do need to restart its usually not the kernel that froze but your window manager. In Ubuntu I can restart my window manager without restarting my entire machine by pressing CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE. This is about a three second process. What happens when your screen freezes in Windows? You warm up a bowl of Easy Mac while you wait while Windows restarts.

6. Restarting Your Computer Sucks Part 2

Updates are a good thing, they patch up holes in software and make things run smoother. Whats bad is having to restart your computer when you have to make an update, ahem – Windows. In Ubuntu you can receive thousands of updates without having to restart your computer, in fact you can even download a new kernel and still be running the previous one. This is what software engineers dub “robustness.”

7. Six Month Release Cycle

Ubuntu is released with better features every 6 months. I would be pretty disappointed to have waited 5 years for Vista to see that its merely a dumbed down version of XP with a skirt.

8. No Pirating Necessary

With Ubuntu I don’t have to pirate my operating system. Its free. So is the included software. Even if you don’t pirate Windows you still feel the backlash from Microsoft because you are forced to download spyware such as Microsoft Genuine Advantage which verifies that your software is legit. Even if you’re the good guy you’re stuck paying over $200 for an operating system with spyware installed by default.

9. Choice

The Linux philosophy is about freedom. I have a choice between which window manager I want to use, I can extend any part of my operating system, I can tweak it to perform and look the way I want. Ubuntu is a reflection of me. In Windows you’re pretty much stuck with one interface, and no individuality. Maybe this was acceptable for older folks, but for those of us who are Generation Y – self expression are our strengths.

10. Community

Ubuntu stands for humanity to others. The Ubuntu community can help me answer any questions I have or solve any problems within one day. Thats a very quick response time, and the amount of knowledge in the forums, wiki’s, and blogosphere is astounding. I learn more and more every day. Granted, there are lots of Windows help on the internet, but nowhere is it as close to being streamlined as the Ubuntu team.

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38 responses

6 07 2007
jd

I completely agree with you on every single point. I’ve been using Windows since about 1995 and i only fully made the switch to linux full-time on all my systems in either January of this year or December of last year and i have to say, i’m loving it. Everything you said is completely correct and really good reasons people should stop using windows. Just as an example, I got my 55 year old dad to start using linux full-time on both of his computers.

6 07 2007
vijay03

Good points! I was gonna blog something in pretty much the same theme, now i`ll just link to your blog :)

7 07 2007
syalam

jd – kudos to getting your dad to use Linux fulltime! I’m about to setup a box for my family as well. Its great to see Ubuntu making strides in the desktop world.

vijay – thanks for your comments. Glad to hear that Ubuntu is serving you well, it’s only getting better from here.

7 07 2007
Senthil Kumar

Hi! I am a fan of Microsoft. I admire the company for changing our lives and making computing for millions easy. Yet, I agree with you that Vista was a big let down and was a mockery for those who waited for it eagerly for five years. But about Ubuntu, I am a bit confused. I mean, is it for people like me? I am a students studying business management. Is it easy to switch to linux from Windows? What all would I miss or have to learn to live without if I chose to use linux. Maybe you can tell me in your next post

Thanx!

7 07 2007
Ibod Catooga

I would use Ubuntu full-time, if the font support were not so terrible. Yes, I have loaded the MS fonts, and have followed numerous guides to get the fonts to be Windows-like (I prefer that to the Mac rendering method) — however, Linux font rendering is still extremely shoddy compared to Windows, at least on my 23″ Cinema Display.

Anyone have any tips?

It’s the only thing keeping me from switching.

7 07 2007
Ugly American

Security, security, security.

First, MS denied Vista spied on users.

Then it was documented with a packet sniffer.

Then MS explained that it’s down in the EULA you click yes to when you install.

People found addresses of the banks and brokerages they connected to being send to MS. Not just warez sites.

No thank you.

7 07 2007
syalam

Ibod – font rendering is very important to me as well. When I first ran Ubuntu I was almost about to switch back to Windows for the very reason fonts weren’t rendered correctly. I may have a solution for you, which gives me crystal clear fonts on my laptop.

System > Preferences > Font > Check Subpixel Smoothing

This is similar to ClearType rendering that Microsoft uses. My font of choice is Bitsteam Vera Sans, it’s very clean. I’m unfamiliar with OS X so I can’t give you a comparison there. I hope this helps!

7 07 2007
syalam

Senthil – you’re right about Microsoft’s presence in our computing world today. There is no denying the fact that they have made the computer that was once a hobbyist device to an easy to use machine.

Ubuntu is easy to use, even for the non-techie. Using software in Ubuntu is no different from using software in Windows. For every software in Windows there is a Linux equivalent. As a business management student I’m assuming you will be using office applications a lot where Open Office will have you covered. You want project management – there are plenty of applications in the repository for your choosing.

From a usability perspective I find Ubuntu easy to use because everything is intuitively placed – no navigating through tons of menus. If you want Ubuntu to feel like Windows, KDE is a window manager which resembles this.

The power of Linux is that you have the CHOICE of going above and beyond the typical experience and taking command of what you really want to do which is something Windows may lack. I can go and on but the best way to find out for yourself is to try Ubuntu. You can pop in a LiveCD and play with it without having to install it on your hard-drive.

Look for a post on some features Ubuntu is lacking coming soon – I want to keep things honest here.

7 07 2007
Gary Ratliff Sr.

Like the originator, I have been using Windows since it started. Actually I have been using computers since a Commodore PET in 1978. Prior to that a mainframe via computer courses in Fortran IV. I wrote several computer articles in Dr. Dobbs’ Journal, kilobaudMICROCOMPUTIng, COMPUTE! All before the into of the IBM PC. Then in 1981 the magazines started sending reject slips as they all seemed to want to read about the PC!!!! So I vowed I wouldn’t touch one with a ten foot pole.

Then I used an Atari 1040ST for my into to GUI operating systems. There was a program for that called PC Ditto which allowed my machine to emulate a PC. This led to the ability to use BBS which seemed to be only for PC users! I introduced my company to the use of computers in 1981 purchasing a Comodore 1832 for them and a Commodore SuperPET for me. I really wanted the many languages and that prompted my intro to Linux.

Going into the QC lab and getting on the net broke my vow. The PC was just a computer after all. My experience showed early Windows to be far inferior. Of course Gem and the early Apple Lisa, and MAC gui operating systems were superior in every way.

I purchased an PC in 1995 with Windows 95, and a Gemulator card allowing my to run all my Atari software. The package also included the Walnut Grove CP/M and Slackware Linux CDs. The first thing I learned about windows was how to get the hell out of it. No mousing around for me.

Now I did not develope the 80 or so floppies to get the first Linux instaled. To the rescue was Mandrake 7.0 and later Mandrake 8.0. Here I had the gcc compiler and c, and c++, a firm in England offered a free APL for linux users and forth, basic etc were soom installed on my system. Then I went to Suse and later came across Ubuntu 6.06 LTS. This stayed but I wanted to experience Beryl which I’d heard about so much on “The Linux Action Show!!” The ATI built in video would not do 3d on the current setup. So I bought an Nvidia 3d Fusion with 256 megs. This was installed to my box. All my systems have been able to support at least two different operating systems.

However, booting into Ubuntu was now impossible as the xorg.conf was set to use the ATI card not there anymore. I reinstaled Ubuntu and still did not have the right driver from nv to allow using beryl. Nor could I get automatix2 to be installed which would easy my efforts to get the nvidia card set up.

I am a junkie for live distros and I routinely purchase three linux mags from the UK which offer a flow of the very latest distros. So I tried PCLINUX OS 2007 and found a free magazine with an article of how to set up beryl. This worked and I finally learned what all the fuss was about.

I followed the advise of another article in the same magazine and did not devote the entire 45 gigs to just one Linux but subdivided. So having learned hiw to get the propritery driver directly from Nvidia. I will be setting up Ubuntu as one of several distros which will boot up. Ubuntu does its best and keeps updating my system . So I miss Ubuntu and will soon get it back. However, PCLINUX OS 2007 is really great. The are rpm based on Mandrivia but they use apt and synaptic. Any comments about why automatix is non functional would be appreciated.

7 07 2007
s6mue1

I have just started using Ubuntu for the past one month. I think I am beginning to love it. Why? Your ten points almost covered all the likes I have for it except its handling of vcd movies. May be I haven’t found the correct software for the vcd yet. Once I got through this hurdle I may make a complete switch to Ubuntu and say bye bye to Windows XP.

7 07 2007
syalam

Gary – your history of computing goes way back! It must be amazing to witness the evolution of technology over the years.

I’m not exactly quite sure why Automatix2 did not work for you – however if you still need ATI drivers I suggest you install Feisty Fawn (Ubuntu 7.04) as it has a feature called the Restricted Drivers Manager. It should automatically detect your ATI card and will allow you to download drivers for it.

If you just want to go straight for the kill the package is in the universe and its called:

linux-restricted-modules-2.6.20

Hope this helps.

7 07 2007
syalam

s6mue1 – I have good news for you. If you would like to play VCD files or virtually any other media format I suggest you grab VLC. It’s in the universal repositories. You won’t be disappointed.

7 07 2007
Ubuntu or Windows XP

[…] post contains more information. Any reader interested to know more can read about it by clicking here. Happy […]

7 07 2007
Berges

I truly agree with you…… there’s nothin like (K)Ubuntu been using it for the last 5 weeks and every day i learn something new i even wrote a article on it in the Bombay Times last Saturday (link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/City_Supplements/Bombay_Times/Time_for_a_switch_/articleshow/2162152.cms )
I think very soon every1’s gonna realize that all Windows’s does is it makes money! I do use window’s but out of compulsion as there are a few applications i need that run only on windows otherwise i am a full-time linux guy! ;)

7 07 2007
syalam

Berges – I liked your article in the India Times!

7 07 2007
Features Ubuntu is Lacking « sheehantu

[…] my last post I mentioned why I chose Ubuntu over Windows. I stand by my comments, however I would like to shed some light where Ubuntu and Linux need a […]

7 07 2007
Berges

Thanks! am glad to note u liked it! i am doing my bit for Ubuntu and Linux as a whole!

7 07 2007
bjb_nyj101

ReadyBoost IS NOT neccessary to run Vista, nor is it required/needed. Its purpose is to give people with. Upgrading memory can be difficult and costly, and some machines have limited memory expansion capabilities, making it impossible to add RAM. You can use non-volatile flash memory, such as that on a universal serial bus (USB) flash drive, to improve performance without having to add additional memory.

7 07 2007
syalam

bjb_nyj101 – you are right about ReadyBoost not being necessary to run Vista, however I find many users needing it because they need that extra boast because Vista is running underpar. ReadyBoost is a good feature however, especially with Intel Turbo Memory being optionally added in new PC’s. 1GB of solid state cache should give Vista a performance spike however its performance still does not match that of Linux.

7 07 2007
Top Posts « WordPress.com

[…] Some Reasons Why I Choose Ubuntu over Windows [image] I grew up with Microsoft operating systems. I’ve been through MS-DOS 5.0, Win 3.1, Windows 95, 98, […] […]

7 07 2007
C733tus

Nice list. I agree with all of the points too. I stopped at 2000 though. Never did like XP.

Hey I submitted this to fsdaily.com for you. It’s like digg but just for free software.

Cheers

7 07 2007
Stephen Rees

You are right on every count about the superiority of Ubuntu over Windows.
My favourite comparison is the time it takes to get working after a cold boot: with Ubunto less than 2 minutes always. with Windows it can take five to ten minutes spending on how many program have put themselves in the auto startup – including the essential security software that Linux does not need sicne it is secure by design.

And for the poster who wanted fonts try this link

http://ubuntu.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/300-easily-installed-free-fonts-for-ubuntu/

And do you get two workspaces you can flip between with windows?

7 07 2007
shevin

hey nice article , guess what belive me or not I was writing the same article to publish in my blog, you mentioned many of the things which I have written in my draft exactly in the way I wanted to write…

but still I have writte addtional things but I dont know If I will publish it or not, may be I send it to you, so you add it to your own article.

nice blog ! I will link to you

7 07 2007
syalam

shevin – I would be more than welcome to hear your thoughts on your Ubuntu experience!

Stephen – I didn’t even mention workspaces, which is another handy feature. Ubuntu is so well designed that you get lost in all of its great features. Workspaces is definitately worth mentioning!

C733tus – thanks for the submission! I checked out FSDaily, and its exactly what I expect from the Linux/UNIX digg section =D, its bookmarked for me.

8 07 2007
Zaine Ridling

Although I don’t use Ubuntu, I am using Fedora 7 and SLED 10-SP1 (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop), and I am having a blast. Like Sheehan, I’ve been impressed and delighted by GNU/Linux, since every point he makes is true for other distros, and GNU/Linux in general. I have been deeply disappointed and discouraged by Vista and moreover, Microsoft’s hostile behavior toward its loyal customers like myself. Tired of being treated like a thief and unable to afford Windows software and the hardware it requires, GNU/Linux distros like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora 7, SLED 10 (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop), and PCLinuxOS offer a way out.

I’m even documenting my “switch” over at DonationCoder.com at:

http://www.donationcoder.com/Forums/bb/index.php?topic=8959.0

What I love about Canonical and Ubuntu is that it makes the switch so easy for Windows users like myself. I don’t have to know much of anything to get started — it just works. And among other reasons, GNU/Linux extends the life of my hardware, saving me a lot of money over time.

8 07 2007
Bleys

I like this little write-up. As a long-time user of many flavors of Linux and Windows (gotta love being a systems administrator), I’d like to add that Microsoft is finally starting to catch on that a powerful command line interface is a GoodThing, and released the first version of Windows PowerShell at the end of last year. It is available for free and more info is available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_PowerShell

The interesting thing about this release though is that it’s a very clear indicator that Microsoft is learning more from Free Software than vice versa, and I believe this trend will continue as more users shift to Free Software to solve their problems. The current major concern people have is with hardware support in Linux, but once usership reaches a critical mass Microsoft will lose the stranglehold it has upon hardware manufacturers. Dell starting to sell Ubuntu systems is a MASSIVE step in the right direction.

9 07 2007
David @ Be :: Several links :: July :: 2007

[…] This blogpost sums up some good points why to choose Ubuntu over Windows. […]

9 07 2007
freeatlast

Good article. Touches many of the basics of why GNU/Linux is superior to Windows. It’s only after running it for awhile and getting into the power of GNU/Linux that one can really appreciate its power over Windows. Here’s just a few additions off the top of my head:

1) Beryl – for a truly useful 3d desktop. Add AWN and screenlets and you have a desktop second to none in the personal computing world.

2) ssh – run a GUI app across a network or across the Internet. Your machine is now able to use the resources of servers throughout the world.

3) mounting of external resources – a directory sitting on some other machine is easily mounted via FTP and just becomes another directory on your local machine. Your computer again (like #2 above) gives you virtually unlimited expansion.

4) seems the BASH shell is unlimited in usefulness and expanding the power of your GNU/Linux box. This cannot be stressed enough, but is a learning curve. As one learns this, one realizes that as powerful as the GUI is on a GNU/Linux box, the hidden treasures of the CLI double that power again.

5) productivity can’t be stressed enough and the time one saves not having to constantly update virus definitions, defrag Sea Drives, reboot to load updates, etc. etc. makes one so much more productive.

6) excitement – nothing in the software world has proven to be as innovative as the open source paradigm. The stuff open source developers are providing us is mind boggling in its innovation and there appears no end in sight. One can’t even hope to keep up with what’s out there, let alone try it all. So to keep your computing experience exciting, install GNU/Linux and move into the future of computing.

10 07 2007
Ubuntu and Vista « Vijay Chidambaram

[…] ( which is one more reason to shift from stuffy Blogger to WordPress ) when i found this – Some Reasons Why I Choose Ubuntu over Window . People have been asking me why i use Feisty Fawn over windows and some of the answers are in […]

9 08 2007
Chris Norris

I totally agree with the author, I’ve been using and supporting Microsoft products for 18 years (since 1989). Recently I installed Vista as an evaluation on my home PC – it is the worst ever MS OS (including Windows ME!). Yes it’s pretty and some of the features are nifty – but come on.. MS have stepped way over the mark with the licencing, the pricing and the UAC which is the devils spawn but is a necessary evil bourne out of MS’s need to secure their OS not only against malicious hackers but the average user who will click on any link and open any attachment even if it’s obviously bad.
Microsoft, you are losing your grass root core, the long-termers who started with MSDOS on a 5 1/2 inch floppy.
I’ve installed Ubuntu and am totally happy with it – sorry but I can no longer recomment Windows as the OS of choice.

25 08 2007
Amado

Pretty Interesting.

6 10 2007
fearghal

I have read and digested the comments posted here. Some are pretty harsh words from long term MS users. I have to admint that, I like the other, have to use MS products as part of my daily toil, WORK. But out side of that environment I am, and have been for 8 years or so, a Mac man. I have a Mac for rock solid performance. All my bits and pieces are on ther that I need to operate my digital life, music, pictures etc. I also have a laptop that my daughter as using for MSN etc. It is only 800mhz P3 but I dumped a copy of Ubuntu on there and…its fast and lightweight on the cpu.. I tried a copy on a 2Ghz AMD. I wiped the drive and performed a clean install. For the last 6 months or so the Mac hardly gets a look in. Honestly I have the Ubuntu machine fired up constantly. I even went so far as to installing a LAMP server for development work. Bloodly fantastic. I really hope the driver development continues and we can see some better video software. The only thing I cant use at the moment is my digital camcorder. In reality the average household uses the PC for browsing the web, Bebo, MSN etc the whole MS price grab is a real con. I think if you sat down with a friend and showed the power of the Linux environment and asked him/her to show it to another friend, kind of pyramid style, you, me and friends could really make a difference. I have already cut a few discs and passed them on. Stress the live preview. I mean whats the harm in a live showing…

17 11 2007
Wallgod

Hi… gr8 post….
Just wanted to know how to network a windows machine to a ubuntu machine. I ve always had 2 machines… and also once manage to network the both of them but this time i m just not able to with all the help available online.

Machine 1 has Ubuntu 7.04 (and Windows) and Machine 2 has WIndows XP. The first machine has the internet on it and the other machine shares it without issues if i login thru windows in both the machines but when i get into Ubuntu…. well…

I ve made both the workgroups to WORKGROUP and installed Samba but still no luck on sharing the internet nor any files….

ANy help in this direction will be much appreciated as this is the only reason why i cant totally shift to Ubuntu on the first machine.

Thanks in advance.

15 12 2007
Idetrorce

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
Idetrorce

31 05 2008
installing xp over vista

[…] stopped there. After over a decade of Windows, I decided to give Ubuntu a try and now have no reasonhttp://sheehantu.wordpress.com/2007/07/06/9-reasons-why-i-choose-ubuntu-over-windows/Tips N Tricks collection: Installing XP over VistaInstalling XP over Vista. If you have installed, […]

15 10 2009
jackie

Thank you for all the articles. We switched from Windows to Mac a few years ago on the advice of my son and we’ve never looked back. Since we are traveling more often now, we have decided to buy a mini laptop for email and the web while on the road and leave the mac pro at home with all our files, etc. I’d hate to buy another windows machine after already escaping MS’s clutches and mac air is too expensive for our purposes. I see that Dell is selling a mini 10 with Ubuntu 8.04. I’ve been reading up on Linux and believe Ubuntu is the answer.
Having never used it or even heard of it before I’m left with a few questions though –
I see that Ubuntu allows or requires scripts and commands, but as a point and click girl will I be required to learn a new language in order to just simply use it??
Also Dell offers a 16 GB Solid State Drive as an upgrade to the 160 GB HD but I see that Ubuntu requires 8 GB to install (I assume that since Dell is packaging this up for me that I don’t need to worry about capacity) but does anyone else see a potential problem? We don’t expect to use this for any long term storage. The SSD is supposed to be faster and not generate the heat that a standard HD creates, which would be nice.
Lastly, since the mini 10 doesn’t have a CD drive, is there any particular reason I would want one when using Ubuntu? Is there a recovery disc that can be put on a USB or SSD device?
I’m thinking that this little unit with SSD and running Ubuntu may be perfect if I can keep pointing and clicking, there isn’t a capacity issue and all I need can be downloaded. Can anyone advise me? Thank you!

24 11 2009
Riell

So, I’m soon going to be making the switch from XP to Ubuntu – anything I should know?

Just to say, you /can/ slightly customize Windows XP by going to http://www.xpthemes.com.

Just sayin’, and I’m still switching. ^_^

23 12 2009
Kelly

Hi everyone. I just wanted to leave a comment to represent the “average joe”…err, gurl using Ubuntu and a Linux system. My Sony Vaio crashed last year from major virus takeover. I used it as a coaster for about 6 months. I couldn’t wipe it clean because I didn’t have the disks and didn’t want to spend $400 for it to get fixed. I was considering buying a new computer when my brother asked to take it with him and mess with it, since it was a coaster… why not! He put Linux and Ubuntu on it and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I had a Mac laptop before this one and he made it look a lot like my old system OS X. I use it for everything and I’m in grad school. I can use Blackboard fine and all my applications that are comparable to Windows XP or Vista are much better. It’s easy to use, I don’t worry about viruses and don’t have to pay for virus protection. I’ve done PPT presentations for class and created them in Ubuntu and saved it as a Windows format and then put it on a thumbdrive to take to class… worked great.

I will NEVER go back to Windows. My school is near the Microsoft Campus as I live in Seattle. Every time I study at a Starbucks a Microsoftee leans over and asks me why I choose to use Ubuntu on my PC. My response? A very polite: I like it better. :)

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