Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why have you switched to GNU/Linux?

There are many reasons to switch to GNU/Linux. When I started out with computers Microsoft Windows already came pre-installed. I was not aware that another platform was possible. I used Windows but later on I started questioning it. A lot of the applications that came with Windows were a 30 day trial that expired or required me to purchase a full version just to use something that I though was basic. Also, I couldn't use certain files that I wanted to. I searched for alternatives and I installed Openoffice.org, VLC media player, GIMP later on Firefox and additional free and open source software. I was amazed how good these applications were. I questioned how come these applications didn't come pre-installed on my desktop? Why does Microsoft Windows bombard you with all these things you don't want or need? It seems like Microsoft was using their monopoly to push you into a certain product or direction. I was happy with my new software and learned about open source. I wanted other people to know about these alternatives and that they are available to them. However, even though I replaced a lot of the software to free and open source the platform I was still using was Microsoft Windows. I started to search for an alternative. I looked into Mac's but they were not for me. Then, I stumbled upon GNU/Linux and thought the idea of an open source operating system was amazing. I tried out several distributions and was impressed. It took me a while to understand how things work but then I liked the fact that I learned so much about computers. For the last seven years I have been using Linux and am very happy with it. I like the freedom it gives me and that I can modify almost anything on it. I am free from Microsoft Windows and I get to choose which software I want to install on my computer.

I would like this article to be more interactive and hear your opinion as to why you have switched to GNU/Linux. Did you do it for politics, cost, freedom, open source or other? How did you come to learn about Linux and what is your impression of it? Would you recommend it to other people? Let us know in the comments section below.

53 comments:

  1. I switched to Ubuntu when 9.04 came out. It wasn't because of 9.04's great features, it was because I got a virus on my fully patched and virus protected Windows Vista machine. It really pissed me off that Windows security is so s#!tty.

    I've found that is an open source program for most of the apps I used on Windows. I still use Windows for a few things, but day to day I'm on Linux 90% of the time.

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  2. First I started using it because it was fun. So I played with lots of Slackware/Debian/Gentoo/Arch.

    But that's more a personal opinion.

    Then I used it because it allowed me to save some old hardware and have it working for a couple more years.

    Then I simply installed an Ubuntu 8.04 on a USB key. And ran on my actual PC.
    It was so fast and convenient, it allowed me to do what I usually do with a pc (that will be internet and movies) much better.

    Since I didn't feel the need for win anymore, I just stuck with it. It feels good not to have to crack software anyore.

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  3. "Did you do it for politics, cost, freedom, open source"

    All of the above. I also find it way more intuitive.

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  4. I started using Fedora Core 1 back in 2003 as a replacement for Win98 when I built my first file server. A few years ago, I slowly weened myself off WinXP on my desktop to Fedora as well, and then the girlfriend finally pushed me to go Gentoo. I've been using that for maybe 5 months and have not looked back. it's more stable, rarely requires a reboot, and everything I need that is Windows-exclusive (with the exception of games), runs beautifully with Wine

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  5. I switched because I was looking for alt to Vista in 2006, I found Ubuntu. Now I use Fedora 10. The stability is why I love Linux.

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  6. I have been running various linux servers at work for a few years and decided to make the switch for a number of reasons. Security; Performance; I was becoming familiar with bash and how powerful it was; Access to bleeding edge software; To simply increase my general computing knowledge / skill set.

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  7. Sept. 2008 my XP laptop caught a really nasty rootkit botnet critter of some sort. Three days chasing it left me exhausted and horrified to realize it could happen again. Oh hell no. Downloaded Ubuntu Dapper despite zero Unix-family experience, went "cold turkey", never looked back, never natively booted Windows on any computer I own, period. (I do use VirtualBox to do an XP VM now and again.)

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  8. I switched because it is easy to automate things under Linux.

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  9. because I thought it was "cool" ?

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  10. The freedom from viruses when I have to transfer data using removable media like USB drives

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  11. I first tried Ubuntu 8.04 after getting a virus on my PC. I installed and EVERYTHING worked on a FRESH INSTALL on my ANCIENT laptop with no tweaks necessary.

    Application installs are very easy and straight forward using apt-get, synaptic, or add-remove.

    I have no need for antivirus

    I have all the applications I could/would ever need and more and they are all free.

    I was highly impressed and have not used a Windows OS for my personal PC since.

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  12. My Atari ST was becoming too slow for the stuff I wanted to do, so it was time to get a new computer. I also had a copy of Windows95 on my first intel machine, but never used it much. I had played around with unix tools on the ST before and also got exposed to IRIX at university, so Linux was just the natural next step.

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  13. I switched in 1996, from MS-DOS 6 (and Microsoft Windows 3.1). I was in university, and I was fascinated with the Unix computers in the lab in the math department where I worked. Then, I heard that not only could I get Unix to run on my Pentium, but it was completely legal to tinker and copy. At the time, it was all upside.

    I stayed 13 years for the freedom. Any time I use anything proprietary, I might find something sexy, but I always end up feeling helpless in the end, when I find something that I can't fix or change.

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  14. I never really switched. I was introduced to redhat in the mid 90's by a friend. My family didn't have much money and neither did the school systems. He was gracious enough to give me an old pc as his parents had just gotten him a pentium. It came with a redhat for dummies book with a distro included and proceeded to make much use of that(still have both the book and cd). Later on I started developing for a company that was entirely windows oriented. I didn't care for windows much, but it's what they used and so did I. Quit that job because of poor management and they had to make spending cuts. Now that I look back on it .. it's funny to think that a company would rather spend large amounts of money on MS software then keep valuable employees around. Things changed a ton when ubuntu was introduced. My first disc was ~ 5.x and the desktop was very clean and everything really worked well - not the usual process for a linux system. I've kept some form of debian since then but have also moved on to arch and bsd systems since that's what most of the development I do now revolves around. Still have friends who are die hard MS fans though and I don't really hassle them about it but have still managed to convert most of my family including my computer illiterate mom over to ubuntu. She's awesome and I wish some of my clients were as easy to teach as she was.

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  15. I've introduced Linux to people and they like it because it is so much faster on their machine than Windows. Me personally, I didn't like paying for an inferior OS.

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  16. For the 30th time in a year, I got a virus on my up-to-date, virus protected WinXP laptop and had to reload. By this time, I'd gotten good at it using Ghost and an image saved on a separate partition. I then switched to Ubuntu904 and put XP where it belongs, in a VM. My computer runs sooo much faster without having to run a anti-virus 24/7. I've found free/better equivalents of all the programs I used (except VS2008, hence, I keep my XP VM). I also love the fact that I've used several programs that were missing something I wanted in them. So I'd DL the source and submit my own patch, which is a big ego boost for me. :D

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  17. I started using Debian in late 1996/early 1997 for no particular reason other than it was a Unix-like OS and I was bored of Slackware.

    Financial constraints forced me to use something free and I am more than glad I did.

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  18. I got fedup with the ms$ policy of you never stop buying the same stuff over and over. Every time they have a new OS its buying all over again - hw, sw and apps. So I looked a Linux and started working on a dual boot machine and later on xp virtualised in Linux. Then I build a new box just for Linux, wiped xp off my other 2 older machines and now I can do much more without it costing me a dime, just time and I love every moment of it.

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  19. I tried to switch once in 2006 when, after years of telling me how much better PowerPC chips were, Apple switched to Intel.

    I switched for good with my first netbook -- the built-in Xandros didn't work with my WiFi set-up, so I've been distro-hopping ever since! 8-)

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  20. [from reddit]

    My father has always made a prefrence of UNIX like systems over MS. I used MS because I was used to it and I am a gamer. I learned that linux was pretty much no different, to possibily much better than windows early on, but it was a bit until I actually used linux everyday, and as my main OS. I tried out many distros and had a double boot most of the time, The most persistant distro was Ubuntu. After deciding to try some new distros I experimented until I ended up with Arch. I also was going to be learning a lot about UNIX so I thought it was a good idea.

    Its really made me want to make my own distro. An arch for lazy people, be able to pick from popular configurations and be able to install larger 'packs' of software.

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  21. First I tried Fedora, found that a little too daunting and went to ubuntu! Now I'm using kUbuntu.. I'd never go back to windows. After you get used to all the alternatives to the programs you were used to you can enjoy completely free software, a computer that just runs! Never having to worry about virus's again! It's all just great! :D

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  22. I originally switched because my Windows box got a virus. So, I guess that's what pushed me here.

    What's kept me here is the constant updates for all my software (I'm admittedly addicted to bleeding edge new programs) as well as wanting to support both the Open Source Initiative and the GNU Foundation.

    So, no viruses, no money, and no restrictions.

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  23. All the above... plus, the Bible verse that greatly influenced Bertrand Russell: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil."

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  24. I got interested in free software after having found Richard Stallman's articles on copyright. For a year or so I have been reading up the free software philosophy and thinking it over. Eventually, I decided it IS the way to go. Having joined FSF as an associate member, it was time to install Linux and act on my beliefs.
    Problem is - I am a musician and Linux, as I thought, did not have much audio apps. So I installed Ubuntu 9.04 as a dual boot, expecting lots of problems to set up simple things like Internet and sound.
    Guys, I was amazed. Not only developed distros like Ubuntu give you all the freedom you want, they are also extremely user friendly. Linux is really a long term project, and as time goes by it becomes better and better. Internet worked by itself, including wi-fi. Sound, video - all that worked normally and with no problems. Any things I encountered I just went to Ubuntu forums which are very well maintained. Not a single problem I had took me more than 5 minutes to solve, thanks to the Ubuntu community.
    So far three weeks and I haven't booted Windows a single time. as soon as my fiancee gets used to linux, I will remove Windows completely.
    As for music programms, I started using LMMS. It is a very powerful app and the latest version suited my musical needs.

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  25. My windows box got a virus, and another about two days later after a full reinstall. One coworker asked me if I had heard of Linux; I had not, so I asked another coworker to buy SuSE 8.1 from eBay for me.

    June 2003, I installed SuSE with KDE. I've since moved on to Debian but all of the apps, for no cost, in SuSE amazed me, and KDE is what really made me stick with it. I tried a few other desktops but they were too... useless.

    I started on it for the stability and security, but the Free Software philosophy really has me hooked now. Six years later, I am doing Linux-based IT work and love it.

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  26. I switched to Linux because of my line of work. Then I started to use it at home.

    Now ? I am all pro-Linux.

    I started with Ubuntu 7.04 and Debian 4.0.

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  27. I am one of those people for whom Windows XP gave nothing but misery - as well as costing heaven and earth! Updating was always a risky business, never knowing when the equipment would "blue screen".

    I was a dual-booting XP/Ubuntu user till Vista came out. At that point, I took the plunge, wiped XP off the laptop and installed Linux Mint. Since then, my husband notes that I have barely shed a tear because of computer problems.

    Now that Apple has practically junked the iBook G4 PPC, it is now a dual-boot between Tiger OSX and Xubuntu for PPC. Setting up Xubuntu was pretty much a painless procedure, and I only keep the OSX partition to deal with equipment that doesn't recognize Linux (Canon scanner, I'm looking at you).

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  28. i started around the time Lycoris came out
    now i use Ubuntu

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  29. I use both platforms. Windows for work but ensnared in qemu-kvm running on 64bit arch :-)

    i started with debian. their repo is so big. many, many packages for miscellaneous purposes. but arch is more simple. very transparent. arch meet my needs. thanks to all him developers, becose this is the right way.

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  30. I've started using Debian back in December 2006, because I was gonna start studying Computer Science the next year, and needed something more challenging than just all that Windows crap.. so I've used Debian for a year and something.. then Slackware a little bit, and after that, I've been using Arch Linux and still am.. I don't need anything from Microsoft, I'm glad to say. Like some people said here: no more cracked apps, no more viruses!

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  31. I m an "early" adopter of GNU/Linux , around 1999 . The first reason is the Philosophical model , and the respect of freedom, the participatory culture, the hacker way (in white hat sens ), the effect on society of using "good" computing , after that the second is technical reasons ( virus , trojan...) , and finally the Unix philosophy (read the Unix and Linux philosophy book that show difference of several system ) of using PC (I love the power of command line ).

    Finally every road lead me to GNU / Linux :)

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  32. My work demanded me using Fedora core 6. I had no prior experience with Linux but after a couple of months even the os on my personal laptop changed to ubuntu. Now its been more than 3 years. I think the shift just happens once u try GNU/Linux

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  33. I switched to Linux for two reasons:

    1. I was fed up with Windows and was looking for an alternative to replace it.

    2. I felt that at the time (late 2001 - early 2002) that Linux wasn't going away any time soon, and I thought it would be beneficial to me professionally to learn the ropes of Linux (since I work in IT).

    So far #1 has definitely been accomplished. I've been Linux only (no Windows) since 2003 now, and I'm certainly not looking back.

    My reason #2 has yet to be realized, though I can say that my hands-on immersion into Linux has made me much more adept at technology in general, so Linux has benefitted me indirectly in my profession, though I'd still love to find a job where I can manage a bunch of Linux desktops.

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  34. I didn't switch to GNU/Linux (Slackware), I started right away on PC with it. I switched Platforms (Amiga to PC) back in the 90ies and being used to a real UI, Multitasking and Filenames bigger than 8 chars using DOS and Win3.11 on PC really felt erm... ugly. So, when I tried Linux it was almost as being at home at once.

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  35. Got started after buying my first laptop with vista preinstalled - disaster! The machine got to be too slow after a couple of weeks and the final straw was the problems I found just trying to burn a dvd. After defragmenting the machine I don't know how many times, I pulled out the Ubuntu cd, wiped the hdd and never looked back!

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  36. "Why have you switched to GNU/Linux?"

    I haven't. I'm still using Linux.

    Can we please stop this silly 'GNU/Linux' nomenclature? And please don't take personal offense. This isn't an attack directed at anybody who uses that term. I'm just annoyed that zealots feel it necessary to point out the fact that this is an operating system that is part of the GNU project and that Linux is actually just the kernel. Yes, I understand that. But if Linux is to be taken seriously by the mainstream computer user as an alternative to Windows or OS X we've got to drop the 'GNU/Linux' thing. But that's just my 2 cents.

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  37. I grew up with old computers around. We had Z80 machines with BASIC interpreters when I was a kid (MSX and a Spectrum ZX clone), and later we had lots of PCs. I remember when Windows 95 came along, that was the day I think separates the "good old times" from the "modern trash".

    One of the reasons for the switch was because I felt the feeling of the old "micreiros" to which I identify very much still exists in the FOSS world, while uicrosopht users treat their machines more and more like a simple electrodomestic.

    My parents were old-school punch-card programmers, and my mother always told me there was this thing called Unix, and other "grownup" OSes that were much better than the toys we ran in our home desktops. When I found out we could have a free Unix system at a desktop, I went crazy looking for getting any. That was right at the time I decided to enhance my programming skills also. For some time I even used emacs and gcc on windows while I couldn't get any free POSIX distro to work.

    I started with FreeBSD, and eventually moved to Debian (suggested to me by RMS himself! :] ) and now I use mainly Debian ever since. It's been almost 10 years I got rid of Microsuffer in my life.

    I can say what moved me was first not just the quality of the product, but exactly WHAT it offers. It's a UNIX system where it's easy to develop using gcc, latex and emacs, and where we can ran many different window managers... The kinds of thing I do in Linux are much more difficult to do in windows, period. It's DIFFERENT, at least to me. So I was definitely not looking for just a "substitute" to Windows and Office and IE, etc. I don't use Linux because I'm "stubborn" or "cocky" as many wind0ls users think of me...

    In second place there is the political and moral aspect, to which I give a lot of attention, and the money problem is also part of the question.

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  38. I have more or less completely switched over from Windows to Ubuntu.I sympathize with the idea of F(L)OSS. As far as I can see, Windows really only offer one advantage to Linux, that is the support from third parties. The only thing keeping me on dual-boot are some Adobe programs (ok, I like gaming too, but that I can live with).
    I believe that I am one of many professionals that would switch completely from Windows if our primary tools were available.
    Yes there are free options to Ps, Ai, and Id. Not anyone that's good enough though. If there were, then no problem.
    In the case of layout programs, there really are just two commercial options as well, InDesign and QuarkXpress. Neither available for Linux. The extra time and effort currently needed to do professional work in Scribus/The Gimp/Inkscape is not really cost-efficient, plus, you will have some problems with colour profiling and no official PMS support (The Gimp doesn't even give us good CMYK).
    I can really see only two solutions. Either Adobe, Quark or both starts building for Linux distros, or someone puts a lot of effort,know-how and possibly money into developing professional software that's not just going there, but already there.

    And yes, I am completely aware of the naming issue. Linux kernel, GNU tools, I get it...

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  39. Pretty much all of the above, Virus, Freedom, tired of limitations related to Windows. Really sick and tired of vendor lock-in dead ends with hardware and software. More memory left over for applications and not used up by the operating system. Less bloat related to auto updates. I can still low level format and control what gets put on my PC, that is no longer possible for Windows PC users. The bloat is back with the first forced upgrade.

    The #1 reason for me was control. I decide when and what to update, period.

    Nothing goes on my production machine unless I have tested it out on a test machine first, especially not updates, patches, fixes, etc... thus there is zero chance of down time related to someone else's mistake.

    I really do not care how rare that event may be, just the fact that it could happen at an inappropriate time is enough.

    I still use Windows and Macintosh for some work, primarily testing web / cloud type apps. But have been 100% Linux at home for a couple of years now and am loving it. Portability from Linux to other platforms for development is a huge plus.

    But the main reason is control Control when to update. Control what to install. Control what applications I run and when. Control of my total cost of ownership. My TCO is a heck of allot lower now! I will pay for innovation, not because a company wants to force me to upgrade.

    Hint to Windows users considering Linux; If you have to purchase a new PC, get one from either ZaReason or System76 that is built for Linux. You can always run Windows if you want, but the reverse is not always true. If you purchase a Windows PC from a big box store, there may be vendor locked-in hardware hassles to get Linux to run 100%. Granted this is less and less of an issue anymore. Thus if the Linux boot disk works on your system, you can be sure that all your hardware will work when you install a Linux distro.

    Better safe than sorry, purchase Linux first, add Windows later if you must.

    Who is in control of your PC and IT infrastructure you, or some other company? It should be you and only you.

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  40. I switched to linux because I'm lazy mostly, less pita to run linux day to day, less work on keeping the os clean, linux just works.
    Biggest work i do nowadays is to reinstall ubuntu on every new version, I do that mostly to get rid of old crust to save some hd-space, everything that i want to keep I backup the rest I forget :)

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  41. I was using SunOS (& later Solaris) at work which made sense, I installed OS/2 but it didn't have a lot of the stuff SunOS had. Someone suggested that I try this new thing called Linux & that, as they say, was that. The distro was Slackware on a 486. Oh and the kernel version number was 0.99. The cdrom didn't work with that version but version 1.0 worked a charm!

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  42. Because I kept having to do a "clean" install of Windows every so often to keep my computer running fast.

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  43. I switched to Linux because:
    #1 - I wanted to learn more about my PC from the inside out. Linux seemed like an OS I could dig into, roll-up my sleeves and learn.
    #2 - I can't afford the prices that are charged for software. I need good software that works (including the OS) but will not break my bank. Linux seemed like a good fit.
    #3 - The work I do involves developing applications that run on servers. My company moved to RHEL and it made sense to learn as much about the system as possible to stay current.

    Conclusion: I am so glad that I made the switch, I rarely touch my Windows OS and my system ROCKS with performance and capability!

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  44. At school, we had to use various UNIX systems (Solaris or Linux) to do our projects, so I eventually got sick of running Putty and Cygwin on Windows so I tried Linux out. I then discovered how awesome the penguin is!

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  45. At the company I work for we use Cygwin as a make environment for embedded software. Richard Stallman would call this GNU/Windows :-)

    Anyway, I had some make related task and had to google a lot for sed tutorials. Somehow I ended up reading the online version of "The Art of Unix Programming" by Eric Steven Raymond. I did not know Unix, but this book summed up all my experience as a programmer.

    I realized Cygwin was a Unix. I wanted a Unix at home too. I installed Ubuntu 9.04 eventually as dual-boot with XP. Not that I use XP very much now. Just rarely to test programs I compile on Linux for Windows :-)

    I love that Ubuntu does not get the Blue Screen of Death every day. I love the freedom. And I love the fact that GNU/Linux is so much fun to hack.

    I also admire both Linus Thorvalds the machine code guru and Richard Stallman the philosopher.

    And I wonder why our company invests the huge amount of effort and money continually to maintain a MS-based IT-infrastructure. Just managing the licenses to avoid BSA is an incredible hassle!

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  46. Back in 2003 I tried Mandrake 9.1 on my old Toshiba Satellite and everything worked out of the box. The hardware, even the pcmcia lan card was instantly recognized (which wasn't the case with Win98/2k).

    Installing Mandrake was less time consuming than installing Windows with all the updates, necessary drivers and software.

    Since than I am stuck with Linux, moving from Mandrake to Fedora Core 1 and later with the Dell Inspiron to Mandrake 10.1. In 2006 I migrated to Ubuntu which I am still using.

    However, I agree with Anonymous that Adobe and Quark should release Linux-Versions of their programs. I know that there are oo-alternatives available but as long as clients and printers' shops are using Windows or Mac-Software, a full migration to Linux is only possible if commercial products are available for all platforms.

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  47. I switched over from Windows to Linux first in Jan 2009. I wanted the freedom to install any software the way I wanted... Unfortunately, the CD I burnt had a bug in initram fs. Due to that, my system started crashing and I had to move back to Windows XP. Once my exams were over, I thought of trying Fedora 11. I found out that Windows burning software(Nero, Sonic, etc.) could not burn the .iso image correctly. That's why I had the above issue.
    This time, I installed Fedora 11 using USB. It worked like a charm. Now, it's been 4 months since I have started using Fedora 11.
    I wanted the features that Windows 7 provides on my system without having to purchase it and also without the need to upgrade my system. That's when I found KDE does all that and much more. I believe that Microsoft copied these features from KDE.
    Using linux has never been so easier for a guy who was stuck with Windows GUI. The switch has been really easy.
    Since I do have projects on UNIX, it gives me an excellent opportunity to try out Linux. I am amazed by the speed of Linux and also the security it provides.
    Kudos to open source. Long live Open Source.

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  48. I never switched "to linux", as I've never used anything else - I've been using linux exclusively since kernel 0.99, and slackware distributed on masses of floppy disks.

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  49. It was curiosity to learn as a computer addict that made me choose Linux and the other thing was the magazine LINUX FOR YOU itz gr8 i love it and i love FOSS now wana spread it by any means i can FOSS ROcks!!

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  50. I've been using Arch for a while.

    As with most people, I started with Ubuntu a few years ago. However, I was quite interested in the core of Windows. I was so disappointed that I couldn't gain access to it. Then I saw that you could with Linux.

    I love Arch, and I'll never move away from it. NEVER!

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  51. I was a professional corporate software developer for many years, from 1989 on developed applications in Windows. I dreamed of the day when I could dump Windows crap software and never ever have to get waltzed past Microsoft's "innovative" software 'components" ever again when I went to a help file or web site (which move frequently) in order to look something up.
    I also got fed up with icons rearranging themselves, windows crashes, and sub standard security fixes.
    I also never liked Microsoft's policy of treating their paying customers as "objects". Freedom came a few years ago and I've used either debian or Fedora core, with great satisfaction ever since. And discovered a bunch of great open sourced apps that I never would have found or used in Blimpdoze.

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