Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why have you switched to GNU/Linux?

A long time ago when I was using Windows I realized that many applications were trying to constrain me from doing certain tasks. I was unable to play a certain format or had to install applications that I did not want on my system. I started to think critically as to why I am using Windows and if there is some kind of alternative that I could use instead. Prior to this, I used Mac OS but I knew that both operating systems are proprietary and want to limit the end user. I got tired of being manipulated to use a particular application and having bloatware already pre-installed on my computer. After searching the Internet for alternatives to Mac OS and Windows I found this really cool concept that is called Linux. I didn't know much about the OS but gave it a shot. I played around with several distributions till I found one that fit my needs. When I started using Linux, which was more than a decade ago it was still relatively hard to use and it was mostly for hobbyists. However, it was the concept of open source that kept me intrigued. I loved the fact that no single company such as Microsoft or Apple had any of their applications installed on my computer. I had the power for the first time to modify my system as thoroughly as I wanted, from little tweaks to major changes that required know-how. Today, I am happy that I switched to Linux full time. My system is fast, reliable and very stable. Linux enables the end user to finally have a lot of power. Over the years I have seen Linux mature and evolve. It has developed from something basic and geeky to a full featured operating system that anyone can use. The Linux operating system is ready for anyone who is searching for an alternative to expensive and proprietary software.

Everyone has a different story why they switched to Linux. I would like to hear your story and why you made the switch. Was it financial, political, technical or other? Are you using Linux on a Server, Desktop, Netbook or another device? Please leave your comments below.

61 comments:

  1. I use GNU/Linux on my laptop as it's my primary machine, dual boot on my desktop as I game there. I love the flexibility it provides more than anything. I like being able to boot up to my tiling wm with just what I need running. I also love the deeper understanding of my system I gain using it. As a programmer, it's unbeatable. Oh, and all these reasons are minor compared to package management.

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  2. there is no alternative:

    windows - no way, bad service, bad software, bad security
    mac - even worse - horrible customer support, overpriced software and overpriced shiny hardware

    if you think about it - if you like to have at least minimal control over your hardware - there is no alternative other than linux

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  3. Because I was fed up with Microsoft. Desktop only.

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  4. Well, at the previous Anonymous, there are other free operating systems which may interest you, see the BSDs, Haiku, etc. Though GNU/Linux is the main stream one.

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  5. To the guy above me: wishful thinking.

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  6. The majority of the time it's because I can't afford the high prices of a modern OS. I've converted a lot of people to linux over the years because they come to me with a dead machine that they bought maybe 1-2 years ago and the vendor didn't think they needed a full fledged OS install disk. These machines are still very capable with years of life left in them. What Linux offers them is a set of free tools that will keep them connected with the world and up to date for a long, long time. When I can take a machine thats 10 years old and revitalize back into service I know I've discovered a great and wonderful thing.

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  7. Flexibility. The windows-black-box world offers little by way of growth as a professional. I manage internet connects worth about a million dollars a day, and have to maintain PCI/HIPAA/ISO9001 compliance. What the closed source world offers is support contracts. What the open source world offers is an environment that both fosters mental development and a vital marketplace of ideas to meet professional and organizational needs.

    We have support contracts with microsoft, oracle, sun, cisco, citrix, and number of other vendors. However, no matter how good the support contract, the first response to any critical situation is an understanding of how things work. Support contracts don't help with that. Closed source software doesn't help with that. One commercial entity trying to coral the free market of ideas doesn't help with that.

    I've seen commercial software dependence reduce people to little more that monkeys who know which checkboxes to click to stay in compliance with licensing needs. Over dependence on the idea that some company has 'rocket scientists' writing its software and can do no wrong seems to result in idiocy and inflexibility.

    Software is the most tractable of all mediums that can create function. I use GNU/Linux for its flexibility, and the ease and speed that effective solutions can be implemented.

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  8. Basically, 13 years ago I was an unsatisfied Visual Basic programmer which found accidentally a RedHat CD. After installing it I've noticed I could perform all things I needed and I abandoned Windows. Linux may not be glamorous as Windows and OSX but it works well and you can get it for free and invest the money you would expend on software licenses in a better hardware.

    Of course performance, stability, security and independence are also things which influenced on the decision.

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  9. Debian, does my answer need explanation?

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  10. I realized that M$ did not respect its customers. Despite dominating the OS market, despite building their billions up using using basic CD keys to validate ownership, M$ had decided to treat their customers as potential thieves by using an intrusive online activation system. That tries to lock a customer out of the OS they paid for whenever they update so much as a video card and hard drive. That was the last straw. The GUI of Ubuntu allows me and my family a relatively simple way to interact reliably with linux to get day to day tasks done. While still allowing me to use advanced features of the OS. I feel like I own my copy and can do anything to it my skill level allows. It is awesome!

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  11. I love GNU/Linux, and I've been using it for a while, but I wish I didn't run into situations like this so often...
    http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=508524

    I'm not saying GNU/Linux is to blame in cases like this, but the stuff you wrote about how "many applications were trying to constrain me from doing certain tasks" sort of sounded familiar, and I haven't run Windows in a long time.

    I'll keep on using Linux most of the time (I also have a Mac), but it's not without little speed bumps here and there.

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  12. I switched 8years ago after I realized there was an alternative to the popular 2 (Windows, OSX). No good reason for me to dip my toes into Linux besides curiosity at the time, but I've never looked back. I see now that MAC and Microsoft produce good OS's, but there is no comparison, Linux comes out on top when you compare features. And bonus, you get a open-source OS.

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  13. This was a while ago, but: Windows Vista

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  14. I switched around 2000 fully to Linux as I got bored of Windows making me jumps through Microsoft's loops in order to get anything done in my system and paying huge amounts of money for even the basic applications.

    Some of those applications that were available back then in quite simplistic versions have evolved on the way to be in many cases even better than those available on Mac & Windows commercially.

    I only have Windows on one of my 6 machines to play games that run badly still on wine or don't have a native Linux version available. Most of those games that I have been playing on Windows also are getting old and are not much of interest to myself soon so that Windows could potentially be deleted away from my machine any day now and I wouldn't come to miss it at all.

    Additionally to those machines both of my mobile phones run Linux (Android and maemo) also.

    I use Linux also daily while working and have no need of the bloated Windows to do any of my work.

    Personally I see no point in installing an additional Windows on any more of my machines and now that Audible is available on Android (still a beta but works nicely) I got rid of the last issue I've had with getting rid of running Windows in addition to those games.

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  15. I was on Win2K and the same here: that I couldn't do what I want the way I wanted it irked me big time. "This computer is mine, buddy," was I saying in my head to Bill Gates, "and that you control it instead of me, I don't like it one bit!" I looked over at MacOS, but when I realized I'd pay big bucks for a system that would yet again control me instead of me it, I said "Yeah, right!" So I came to Linux, Ubuntu 8.10, the Intrepid Ibex, the most recent at the time, and I never looked back. Freedom, power, pleasure, efficiency, security, versatility, stability, that's what Linux is about.

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  16. Well the first thing that attracted me to Lunux was how great the desktop on my friends machine looked (It was KDE but I didn't know that yet back then). And then she showed me how customizable and flexible it was. She told me this is Linux and that I can freely download it without being a pirate/criminal. I didn't believe this but the next day I did search for Linux on the internet and downloaded Ubuntu, which with the help of the friend over phone I managed to install. At first I was a bit dissapointed since I didn't get what I saw on my friends computer. What I had was an old looking desktop and only later I found out that there are several desktops available and that what I had was GNOME and not KDE which I was looking for. So after some more download time I had PCLinux OS with KDE installed. Well that is how it started. So in short the great look of KDE and customizability is what attracted me to Linux and after about a year I also very much appreciate its other qualities which are in essence even more important as I later realized: that it is free as in freedom and open-source.

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  17. I started using Linux almost by chance.

    Like you my first OS was Mac Os 9, then my Powerbook was stolen. I bought my first PC 3 years after that. After few weeks Windows Xp started behaving weird, I had to use it in "temporary mode" (can't remember what's the exact name) for a whole month and a half while seeking for help on my problem. When I finally found out what the problem was I had already decided to give this "Linux that I heard of" a go.

    I had a good Guru in the forum I frequented at the time who gave me an advice on where/how to start.

    My first Linux Love has been the Knoppix boot process, when I saw those colored scrolling lines I fell in Love and said to myself "this is fantastic, I want to use Linux!".


    After the live cd experience (which is a GREAT thing) I chose the hard way: gentoo. Coming from nothing much than less than an average user (download, chat, games) I spent days trying installing but I eventually succeeded.

    Long story short: it was December 2003, I was a noob in Love, I learned loads of things and now I work with it as a Linux Sysadmin ;)

    Linux it's just GREAT

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  18. so far i like compiz and other stuff. i like that linux is free, that it can boot from a live CD, that it runs so fast on my old computer, etc.

    do i neeed to mention what i don't like? no. certain things that i currently like i didn't neccesarily liked in the past. for example the live CD thing. i didn't like that, gave me the false feeling that linux is a little stupid os that can do nothing. ofcourse i didn't know by then what it takes to install windows and to make it work. now the fact that it runs from a liveCD impresses me.
    i only named a few things that i like. there certainly are things that i don't like but these probably have to with the fact that i didn't invest that much time in learning how to use it. for example i found out that alsa runs better on my machine that pulseaudio (it's probably cuz my pc is so old).
    the reason why i try to switch has to do with the things i mentioned above i like about linux. you may find other reasons, so why not give linux a try?

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  19. I came for the nerd points and stayed for the freedom

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  20. I use linux cause im cheap. LOL

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  21. Let me think... ...only mistake i could fix with linux> bought a 64bit HP AMD laptop with vista.... nuf said!

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  22. I's using Linux on my primary workstation.It is much more efficient than windows in term of memory usage, can allocate up to 64 gigs of ram in 32bit mode, much less bloated.
    Now i only use windows for games :)

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  23. Something like 12 years ago I couldn't afford Windows demands of hardware (it hanged up a lot) and I needed to set up CPU-server. I figure out it should be easier with Linux. So gradually I switched to Linux.

    Today, with all my experience, I think Linux is equivalent to struggle. Everything is possible for sure, but the amount of time spent to do this... However one huge advantage over Windows is... bash. It is so well integrated with system, that in nicely manner it helps automating repetitive tasks. The best solutions would be probably having two laptops: linux, daily basic work (mail, usenet) and the second with windows for being creative (because of the existence of all possible software) plus CPU server with linux.

    My profile: I am developer, C++/C#, databases, AI.

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  24. I was like most average computer users. I went to my local retailer, bought a boxed system with Windows XP installed, and started years of struggling with virus/spyware issues and system crashes. After a few years it became so bloated and slow it was almost unusable. A hardware failure forced me to rebuild the system with parts and expertise from caring friends. Unfortunately, upon installing XP from my original disk, Windows Genuine Advantage would not allow me to authenticate. Calling Microsoft only got me an offer to buy a copy of XP Pro for over $150.

    A friend gave me a live cd of Linux Mint 7 (I know it's not "GNU Linux") and I'll never go back to Windows. Installation was easy, all of my hardware was found and worked perfectly. With XP I had to search online for drivers for some of my replacement hardware. This system is solid, secure, and has all of the applications most users would ever need. As I learn more about Linux I may try some other distributions. As I said, I'm not going back.

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  25. Actually, there are other open source operating systems. Like FreeBSD (and it's derivatives; i.e. PCBSD), OpenBSD and NetBSD.

    There is OpenSolaris but it's fate is a bit wobbly since the Oracle acquisition. Also, there is Minix, but it is an educational platform, not really a desktop OS.

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  26. I also first tried out GNU/Linux a little over ten years ago. My motivation at that time was stability. I experimented with a wide variety of applications and dabbled some in development and really grew weary of BSODs. I was doing clean installs every 2-3 months just to restore my Windows box to normal functionality.

    As you noted, GNU/Linux was a bit more difficult, and limited, in those early days, but what really attracted me to it was the philosophy behind it, specifically the GPL and the FSF. That kept me going until I was comfortable enough to finally ditch Windows as my primary OS a couple years later.

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  27. Doing Unix for 22years, and Linux for 12 years, and knowing Windows very well, I can only state the points:
    -Stability, stability, stability
    -Open
    -Versatility (hardware just works without tinkering)
    -Efficiency
    -Usability
    -Free choice and Freedom
    -Fair community licensing
    -No vendor lock-in
    -1st class for programmers
    -worldwide community support every-time
    Why do people still bother to spend money on crap software and OSs? Do what universities do: use Linux.

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  28. I switched because I began teaching with PCs in my classroom. I had tolerated buggy software for years for personal use but for my students, I wanted better. We ran for six months without a fault after I put GNU/Linux on five machines in my classroom. I have been a believer ever since and use GNU/Linux at home and at work. My present employer will be about 95% GNU/Linux next year. We are at 90% today.

    Since I migrated I discovered many more reasons to use GNU/Linux other than reliability: cost, flexibility, ease of installation, ease of adding devices, easy maintenance of hundreds of machines and I have not found any task I could not do with GNU/Linux.

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  29. I dualboot my desktop : Win xp and Mint 8
    my laptop is mint 8 only.

    I switch from window because too many viruses also windows system seem degrading over time something related with the way they handle registry.

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  30. I grew up using BSD as my father was an electrical engineer and brought a BSD machine home from work. It was my first computer. Once LInux gained more software and hardware support, I switched to it. I used Windows in college for certain classes. But my own machines ran Linux. I used a Mac for a while, and didn't like the forced use of quartz and cocoa.

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  31. Innocent ByStanderJune 27, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    In Jan 2008, my company was among those hit by the virus Conflicker. We lost 1 to 2 days for cleaning up all our computers. I was outraged by the fact that we were so vulnerable - in spite of our protection - against the malware. I decided to checkout Linux to see if its security model is better. Why Linux and not MacOS? Because of Open Source and b/c it can run on all the hardware I had: old and new computers including Virtual Machines.

    I had quite a learning curve to clear, roughly 6 months to get used to Linux concept. Now we are a family 100% Linux. We still need Windows (work and sometime to communicate with people using Office document format). In these case we use VirtualBox to run a Windows VM.

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  32. I moved to Linux first of all because i was sick of buying windows and not getting what i paid for an os that just plain works. without having to spend even more money to keep it safe. Secondly wanted an os i control not an os that controlled me. thirdly from the first time i thought of getting a computer i had always liked being able to teach myself how it all worked. linux has given me what i have wanted. I do still use windows only because my worldgroup server will not run on Linux.

    I'd also like to point out i have no HS degree never even got to HS was booted out of the school district. When i was 16. So if i can find my way round the ins and outs of Linux not many people have a good excuse for not at least trying it. The main beauty too of Linux is the fact it can be used without even installing it to an HD.

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  33. I no longer wanted to rely on proprietary software vendors who were slow in fixing their bugs of software, "because they were the only game in town". Now when I use free software, the "mission critical" software I use gets updated faster than I could have ever hoped.

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  34. A natural choice, old machine Interactive/AT&T UNIX SVR3.1, next machine 2003 Linux.

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  35. I think you mean GNU/Linux.

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  36. For me.. Three little letters. WGA.

    As soon as it became compulsory, I decided Linux needed a really good try, so I built a box from mostly leftovers, and played with that.
    I realised I had switched when I found out I hadn't used Windows for over a month when a neighbour needed to do something in Windows and the Windows box hadn't got a power supply.

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  37. I work on windows all day long in a support capacity. I have been playing with Linux since about 1998 and about 4 years ago it occurred to me that I didn't need to put anything near the same level of maintenance into Linux that I did for my windows partition. I've since assembled a live CD to support windows issues at my job.

    I work in Linux, I work on windows.

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  38. Started using Linux in late 2006, at the urging of a couple friends who though I'd dig it. I had used Windows, and MSDOS before that, for many years, but had never been a huge fan of MS. I still have a vintage floppy from sometime in the 90s lying around here somewhere, labelled "Mr. Gates Godawful OS Startup Disk"... this was long before I had used or likely even heard of Linux or any other alternatives except for Apple, which I was not at all interested in. XP, while in my opinion being better from a usability standpoint that the 9x series, had brought things to a new low with such lovely "features" as Windows Product Activation and the hilariously named Windows Genuine Advantage (doubleplus good duckspeak, that). It is so good to be treated as a thief after paying top-dollar.

    My first Linux install was Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy). Since then I have used Ubuntu, Mint, Mandriva, PCLOS, and recently Arch, which seems to be my new love. I still have a WinXP dual-boot that on my main desktop rig (actually a triple-boot alongside Ubuntu 10.04 and Arch) for gaming and the odd bit of software that doesn't run well in wine or a VM, but every time I boot into it it seems that it's been a Patch Tuesday or two since the last time I was there. My netbook runs Ubuntu and my wife's old laptop that I inherited I have re-purposed to running Arch.

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  39. My computer background is with the Commodore 8-bit machines, UNIX (Solaris) machines, and WiNdOwS machines.
    While the Commodore's OS was fixed, it was still, to a great degree, open (especially with the memory maps available). And UNIX just *felt* right to me.

    WiNdOwS was a major painus in the anus, with BSOD, and randomized twitchyness of the OS.

    After struggling with WiNdOwS for a few years, I started dual-booting Linux/WiNdOwS around 1999, eventually using Linux exclusively in 2005.

    I've used Redhat (pre-RHEL), SUSE (before Novell bought it), Slackware, Ubuntu (for about 1 day), and eventually settled on Debian (testing branch with some unstable packages) in 2005. I will avoid using WiNdOwS if it is at all humanly possible. I even carry around at least one live distro on a USB, a CD, or a DVD rather than degrade myself by using WiNdOwS.

    (I am stuck using a Crapple at work, because the boss and the "IT-guy" won't let me throw Linux on the piece of Crapple)

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  40. I use GNU/Linux to be free. Why would i want to only lease an OS and set aside my rights? I own my GNU/Linux operating system and have not surrendered any rights.

    I'm always surprised when people call me a zealot over that. Like being free from someone elses control is somehow extremist.

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  41. Got hired to do some freelance mysql/perl web development in 1998, but only had dialup internet and one phone line, so to keep my wife happy I installed a copy of Red Hat a friend had given me onto a laptop dedicated for the project, so I could have a local test environment.

    Winmodem support was very sparse back in those days. Although I had a fair bit of experience using Unix, I was a complete newbie to Linux administration. To avoid the driver problem, I bought a nice external modem that needed no driver at all, the kind with LEDs on the front that blink during send and receive.

    Anyway, we had a lot of problems with the modem on our desktop disconnecting at inopportune times, and the new modem seemed faster and didn't disconnect as much. The external modem was newer and more expensive, so we chalked it up to that, but when my freelance laptop went back after the job was done, we connected that modem to our Windows 98 desktop.

    The first thing we noticed was that the transmit light which only blinked at expected times on Red Hat was blinking all the time on Win98. Did a clean install of Windows which helped a bit, but soon was as bad as ever.

    That prompted us to make a Linux partition. We dual booted for a year or so, then used Win4Lin for a few more years, and have been completely sans Windows ever since, changing to Mandrake, LFS, Gentoo, and now Ubuntu.

    So ironically, if Linux's modem driver support hadn't been so bad, I might never have switched to Linux, even though once I switched I found many more reasons to stay.

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  42. XPSP2 failed to meet my requirements for peaceful computing with poor reliability, hardware compatability, and windows compatability (yes, even with 95/98 comp turned on, Wine ran the windows software better than XP). After giving XP a year, I decided that I'd had enough! That was in 2004, and I respect my time too much to ever switch back; Linux has given me a lot of free time by me not having to worry about a system that constantly crashes. And, it wasn't crappy hardware, because Fedora ran sweetly on it!

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  43. I also was intrigued by the flexibility and power of Linux. more than ten years ago, even when I had to install ALSA source code drivers to get sound working on my humble Compaq desktop.

    In 2010 I am amazed and surprised at the progress and innovation that represents GNU/Linux today, since it appeared that most Americans would not readily embrace any software not created or controlled (via contracts/agreements) by Microsoft. It appears that reality played a part in this migration, which is the "key word" for my continued use up to now.

    There was no practical or sane reason to move from IBM OS/2 in late 1990s to Windows, having experienced SunOS some years before and knew that the *NIX based operating systems were powerful and productive, even without an elegant GUI. Welcome KDE and GNOME, plus XFE that changed the reasoning for Linux choice in everyday use.

    Today, June 27th, 2010 there is little I cannot do faster, more reliably, more securely and with great aplomb with Windows - even Windows 7 that I installed fifteen time on business systems - than my GNU/Linux, or even PCBSD 8.0.

    Cheers to those who experience freedom, power and proficiency - via Linux.

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  44. When I was forced to buy XP because W95 wasn't working well any longer, I swore to never be screwed around by u$oft's business plans again...forced obsolescence, etc. I started with dual booting RH6 but rpm sucked in those days, then knoppix and kanotix followed by sidux with a lot of other experiments along the way. I loved sidux for its lean, clean speed but now find Mint more hassle-free and have both machines on the Fluxbox version. I see my friends struggling with trying to upgrade Wx on older but still competent hardware and just shake my head. Most are too addicted to the Redmond dope to break away but I have converted a few.

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  45. Been using linux on my desktop/home server for close to a decade now. I use it because its what I know.

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  46. I tried GNU/Linux several times before I finally ditched Windows. That finally happened when I installed Ubuntu 9.04. It worked for me. I loved apt-get and Compiz most of all (using several work-spaces was very cool and unusual experience).
    And also the fact, that my old scanner worked fine (I couldnt get it to work under WinXP).

    Now I'm quite happy with Debian stable on my desctop and Ubuntu on laptop.

    I see main advantage of GNU/Linux in that it makes you creative. You constantly learn something about your system, new applications, scripting languages. It's just so interesting to explore it.

    On the other hand, Windows is very dull.

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  47. Howdy, my road to GNU/Linux has been a bit long and windy. I've been playing with it on and off for the last 8 years or so. I don't really recall what even got me testing it originally, probably just wanting more nerd cred. But I originally messed around with Slackware and OpenBSD which both totally owned me at the time.

    Since then the frequency with which I've played around with Linux has increased, especially during the last two or three years. I've been distro hopping a lot between various flavors of X/K/Ubuntu, Debian, Sidux, Arch, Linux Mint, Fedora, Mandriva, and maybe one or two others.

    I tried to convert fully with Ubuntu 9.04 but it didn't quite take. Then, a while after I gave Linux Mint 8 a go and I was sold. It was the first time GNU/Linux was less work (for me) than Windows.

    And that's what it's all ultimately about, functionality and ease of use. I absolutely love the philosophy of freedom, open source, and so on but it has to work first and foremost. And Linux Mint 8 was that point for me.

    I am now running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on all my systems (including my fiancee's) and have converted my sister to it as well. This is my distro of choice and I plan to stick with it through all it's point releases until the next LTS is released (12.04).

    I recently setup a dual boot with Windows 7 for a job and absolutely despised it. Again, not from a philosophical point, but a pragmatic one. It took a ton of work to get what I get with a ~15 minute vanilla install of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (also, for some reason using Windows now feels like work whereas using GNU/Linux is more inspiring, dunno why exactly).

    Technically I'm now at the point where I'm very comfortable under Debian systems, and can, if need be, figure out systems like Arch and Fedora. I've worked in IT and as a call center tech supporting Windows and Macs professionally and I now recommend Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to any user who's sick of dealing with viruses, AV software, DRM, or anything of the like. There's definitely some things I wish GNU/Linux could do better (like play Blu-ray natively) but most, if not all, are symptoms of our current legal system and not actual failings on the part of this Operating System. And, with Steam coming to GNU/Linux sometime later this year the big mainsteram commercial gaming caveat will finally be dealt a huge blow.

    Anyway, a bit rambly but there you have it.

    Cheers!

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  48. I live in a world of "yes" instead of a world of "no" ... and that's a welcome change.

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  49. I was planning to upgrade from Windows 98 to Windows XP in late 2002 and was reading a book on Windows XP at a local Barnes & Noble one night when I ran across the part on the activation system. I'd had Windows since version 3.1, and I knew full well that Windows is NEVER satisfied with whatever amount of RAM you have and that that would cause Windows XP to tell you to your face that you're a criminal. Needless to say, I was very offended by the idea.

    However, I had remembered hearing something about Linux on a TV special back in 1998 -- but I didn't have access to a high-speed Internet connection back then, so I stayed with Windows 98 for the time being but decided I'd look at as much free software for Windows as I could get my hands on to slowly ease myself into the free software world.

    In 2004, I acquired a copy of Windows 2000 from the university where I was a student at the time. I also went with Win2K in order to have .NET (I needed it for a class I was taking) AND not have to deal with WGA.

    But after that semester was over, I soon began having trouble with Windows 2000 on my computer. I kept getting this error message every few minutes. It eventually became every few seconds, so I tried a clean re-install of Windows 2000. No dice -- I still kept getting those errors every 2-3 SECONDS.

    I therefore had enough and decided to go for broke and give those CD's I had burned of Mandrake Linux a try. I installed them -- and VOILA! -- no more errors! I did, however, find that it wouldn't boot into KDE (didn't know what KDE was at the time, of course) after a few weeks, so I switched to Mepis.

    I've used quite a few distributions and played around with quite a few desktop environments and window managers since that time in January of 2005 when I gave ol' Steve Ballmer the pink slip as far as my computer was concerned and I've never looked back. I currently use PC/OS and its default Xfce desktop, and I absolutely LOVE IT! B-)

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  50. Tried it to replace a broken DHCP service in a broken windows 2000 server. Linux worked flawlessly and gave me more control! Then slowly replaced all the others. Finally after only spending $900 on some older hardware, I returned the $$$$3000 Dell server we purchased (hardware alone) not including license fees.

    I waited and waited for the time I could switch my WinXP laptop to Linux. Finally with the release of Fedora 12, I gave into my hatred of windows. I was in the middle of a 10 minute long reboot of windows...just after it crashed yet again and I said OK THAT'S FRIGGIN IT! It took only a week to get used to the new way of file browsing and now can't believe I waited so long.

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  51. I was stationed at a Naval research facility. One of the projects was writing some training software for linux so soldiers could use a standard PC to do self-paced training. This was back when Linux came on 22+ floppies.

    Started using Slackware when it became available. Haven't switched since then.

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  52. About 5 years ago I read about Knoppix and decided to download it and give it a whirl. I immediately fell in love with what was in front of me and graduated to Kanotix when it was still based on Debian Sid. When Sidux branched off from Kanotix I ran that for quite awhile. Eventually I moved on to an Ubuntu based distro called artistX and that's what I've been running for the past couple of years as my home desktop and work laptop. I work in the post production biz and it fits perfectly.

    My Windows gaming box died on me about 4 months ago and I haven't bothered to fix it so I can officially say that I'm a pure Linux guy now. I don't hate or despise Windows or OSX as I use them when I need to (work) but Linux just works out better for me as I agree with the OS movement and the ideals that they espouse.

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  53. A lot of the above posts apply to me too as far a reasons for switching to and staying with (SimplyMEPIS) Linux. To summarise, the reason I stay switched is the freedom to make my home network perform the tasks I want it to with freely available and good, functional apps.

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  54. I was forced by a Linux Zealot, and had to comply.

    With hindsight, I am glad I jumped across to Linux, it has now been my principal OS for 3 years, and I don't even dual boot. I have 2 HD's and a hotswap HD rack. I still rely on Windows for my gaming, but for everything else there is Linux (mostly Ubuntu in my case)

    Olivierz

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  55. We had a computer in our high school library that had windows somehow break. A friend deleted Windows, installed Slackware and got Beryl up and running (back before it was Compiz Fusion). He gave me and a couple other friends the password to an account on there and we had our own machine to play with, and since it booted to console everyone else thought it was broken. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.

    A year later, my parents bought a new computer, and I got the old one. I played around with a few distros trying to get a feel for it, but without a network connection (router was full), I ended up not using that machine so much.

    Then I started University in CS, where we use Linux and Unix machines. I figured I'd better get used to it and used Linux and Windows roughly 50/50 for about a year and a half. Within the last 2 months or so I've moved almost exclusively to Linux as Windows 7 has been frustrating the hell out of me (it rebooted in the middle of the night for Windows update when I was using my computer as my morning alarm, it somehow made my USB HDD unusable with my Linux machine, it doesn't detect my phone half the time, when my Linux machine does without issue...). I now keep Windows solely for OneNote (my laptop is a convertible tablet) and for games I'm too lazy to get working with Wine.

    Overall, I've bounced around between a few distros before settling on Slackware (alongside Win7) for my laptop and Arch for my desktop, and I'm very happy with them.

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  56. I started with Mandrake 11 years ago by chance. I needed a replacement for some X terminals for Sun Servers so I started to tweak with Mandrake and eventually I succeeded to replace the X terminals for 1/10 of the price. I loved so much that I switched at home my PC and the one of my wife. I will never go Bach to Windows.

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  57. I always wanted to give Linux a shot and finally made the jump when we bought a Dell Mini 9 two years ago. We said we were going to use it for 6months before any talk of going back to XP. One month later, my wife said she couldnt stand the Ubuntu on it, it was more depressing than Win95.
    Luckily, my 13 yr old neighbour knew more about Linux than I did and he explained desktop options to me.
    Long story short: its two years later and KDE 4.4 is running on most of our machines.
    Two laptops, the Dell Mini, my big desktop which dual boots (windows only for PES2010 and Chessmaster) and we also have one P3 laptop and P4 desktop for the kids which run XCFE or other such light desktops.
    My folks are both nearing 80 and both their desktops run KDE (dad has read about Ubuntus flyboy so uses Kubuntu) while moms laptop runs PCLinuxOS.
    Btw, dad is an old hand at computers but mom used her first computer last year.
    Yes, after 12 months of using Linux I felt confident enough to switch them (I remember my first attempts, when things would go wrong, I would just reinstall since it was much quicker than on XP) and now my tech support is minimal.
    I am planning to add my inlaws and other relatives soon as well.

    I am a distro whore but without a doubt I would have never lasted with Linux without KDE. PCLinuxOS2007 was my first distro and it just worked. Since then my home distro has been Mandriva but Im not too hung up on distros: I think when switching someone, the desktop is really your first concern.

    Why did I switch ?
    Because i read about Linux and I think the free software methodology and the GPL's standing on the shoulder of giants mentality close to the ones found in the scientific community. I wanted to use Linux but up until 2-3 years ago, the deskto wasnt there yet.
    Because XP was coming to an end and I had decided that this was it after more than 2 decades of Microsoft since back in teh DOS days. I wasnt buying new harder to run a new OS (needless to say, Mac wasnt an option... and yes, I use it at work, so I know it pretty well. OS 10 is hundreds time better than the garbage that was 8 and 9 that fanbois kept claiming was great).
    Price. I love the freedom aspect of free software but with kids, family and tough economic times, free-gratis is very important too.
    We have managed to give new life to old hardware and all our computers get the latest desktops every 6months or so.

    Audio is still a hit and miss proposition with Linux but our family has been more than thrilled by the switch and my father's only question was: ""Why didnt we do this earlier?"
    My dad showed his friend who was having virus problems every 3 months what the 2nd hand laptop we bought my mom (150 bucksbut battery is shot so its no portable)
    could do but he preferred to listen to his son in law who got him to buy a MacBook Pro so he could send emails and surf the web, just like my mom. The thing is, my moms laptop cost almost nothing while his laptop
    cost 2400$ plus 400 for aftercare and another 200$ for software and throw in our 15% sales tax.... well, my father couldnt believe it.

    Right now the only thing keeping that XP partition is the fact that there are two games I like on it but in a house with a Wii and a recent PS3, the days of PC gaming are numbered in our house.

    Windows is but a distant memory in our house nowadays.

    Two years and counting and no intention of going back.
    The whole transition went better than I could have ever dreamed.

    Stavros

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  58. In my case, I'd say it was chance. I bought this cheap netbook with Linux on it. It was cool, but stiff, so I decided to put XP onto it. It didn't work (over 5 minutes to boot). So I looked for other Linux distros that allowed me to change the wallpaper, etc. After testing some, I picked one (Mandriva) and I have been using it ever since. You cannot compare the degree of control you get by running Linux! After this, I have helped others to change Windows (to Mint, Mepis, Pardus...)

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