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switching to linux, part one

Posted on by Wess Foreman

part one - the downside


I started using Linux as my primary operating system about two months ago, installing Ubuntu in a dual boot configuration with Windows XP. I had actually set that up several months before when I was still toying with the idea of switching, wanting first to test the waters a bit. There came a time, though, when I decided to make the switch. I had started booting into Linux during the day while my wife was at work, and I honestly felt much more creative and much more productive during that time. Part of this was probably the novelty of it. A totally free operating system with open software and plenty of things to configure (actually, everything to configure). But mostly, it was the freedom of it, I think.250px-ubuntu_logosvg.png

I'll start with the three things I still "need" Windows for (and these glitches apply mainly to my own present setup and could be overcome if I didn't already have Windows installed), in other words, the downside:

1) Scanning - my present scanner has no driver for Linux, so until I'm ready to purchase a new scanner, I'll keep Windows around for that. Incidentally, a little bit of online research will reveal plenty of choices of scanners that work fine under Linux.

2) Recording in Audacity - actually Audacity is working fine, it's just that my microphone, when plugged in, refuses to mute, so I get feedback from the speakers . . . and the only time I need the microphone is when recording in Audacity, so I just reboot into Windows for the time being. This is a problem with a definite solution . . . that I have yet to find. Grrr.

3) Gaming - Linux would play these games just fine if they were only written for linux. Grrr. There are several big 3d games available for linux, of course, but I've got a handful of Windows games already installed that I may still want to play (not that I've wanted to play them since switching, I'm just not ready to part with them yet).

Linux on the desktop is not for everyone, I'll be the first to admit. But it is definitely on par with Windows and Mac machines on most fronts [managing even to outpace Windows and Mac on many other fronts]. This is the only other downside I can think of: it isn't for everyone. If you are not a geek at heart and don't have a geek-on-call to "tend" to your Linux box from time to time, you might want to stick with another operating system. For the most part, Linux doesn't do hand-holding. [On this point, I should stress "For the most part," because there are several Linux distributions that do focus on the new Linux user] Oh, I just thought of another minor downside, and that is the negative press it seems to often get in the media (if it gets any press at all).

That's it. That's all the downsides I can think of. If you have used Linux or have an opinion or a question about Linux, go ahead and leave a comment. Maybe you can help me remember another downside? More to come -

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