Not a very long time ago, like the majority of computer users on the planet, I used to use Windows as my operating system. It was a by default choice since my PC came with windows and I learned, when I was a little boy, to use Windows thinking that this is how we use computers. for me, and for a lot of people, a computer is essentially powered by windows, MACs were not available in Algeria because of their high price.
When I was using Windows, I experienced many issues I thought they were normal at the time. When I discovered and began to use Linux, I found out that the problem was just that Windows is made this way, and other OSs are not.
My problem with Windows
Here I will develop 5 of the problems that I experienced on Windows that made me switch for good to Linux:
First of all, I had security problems. There are too many malicious programs out there targeting Windows machine. So we cannot risk plugging in a USB stick, a CD or connecting to the internet without having a working and up-to-date anti-virus application. In addition to that, living in Algeria, I couldn’t buy a legit version of a software, so I had to download it illegally from the internet in order to have a minimum security. This poses also a significant problem since many of the illegally downloaded software come with a malicious program on them.
The second problem was the lack of resources. with every Windows version upgrade, we have an increase in system requirements. In order to run the new version without any issues. So you have to buy a new computer or upgrade your old one in order to satisfy the demands of the new version. You will experience some slowness in the execution of some tasks and even crashes if your hardware happens to be a little bit too old. I remember when I upgraded from Windows XP to Windows Vista, experiencing a lot of crashes and slowness. Windows 7 was way more stable but the problem with it is… you know…, it was a Windows.
The third problem was with the very nature of Windows. When I needed a new software, like a lot of Windows users, I found it normal to go to the internet, search for it and download it. When the software is not free, I searched for a serial number or a patch because I couldn’t buy one like I said earlier. Then I install the software and activate it. When we don’t know anything else, we find this pretty normal, and it is. But you would discover that there are other ways to do things, easier ways to do it: the Linux/Unix way.
The forth problem that I had not thought of at the time, but it would be a real problem for me now, is the privacy problem. Microsoft just enjoys spying on its users. a great deal of spyware come with Windows when you install it. They share all kind of information about you with other firms and American intelligence agencies. for more information about this, search for the disclosures of Edward Snowden.
The fifth problem is not very important but still, it is good for my psyche. this problem was an aesthetic one: I just don’t like how Windows looks like. The desktop is really bad looking in my view. It doesn’t allow you to customize it unless you download a software that can change the style of the icons and change a color here and there, but the global feeling remains the same.
Then I discovered Linux
I discovered GNU/Linux by accident in a site where I was learning a programming language. I encountered the word “linux” a few times before I decided to google it and find out that it is an Operating System (OS), so I searched what OS means and I found that there is a bunch of OSs that we can use. I did a lot of research before I finally decide to install it in a dual boot with windows.
I first installed Ubuntu which was pretty cool at the time, then I moved to Debian (the Lenny version) just for exploration purposes. I became familiar with the GNU/Linux vocabulary and tested a lot of Desktop Managers (DM) which are more that simple themes. They are literally an ecosystem of software in some cases and a different way of interacting with the computer for each DM. I finally choose to run with KDE that I loved since I used it for the first time. It is so customizable, we can make look our desktop exactly how we want it to be. This is a real shock for the Windows user that I was.
I didn’t immediately switch into Linux at that time, but I kept it around and slowly learned how to use it by reading tutorials and just experiencing and discovering things by myself. Learning how to use the command line wasn’t as challenging as I thought. It was pretty easy. I wanted to learn it even if an average Linux user can use the system without knowing a thing about it. Nowadays, we can choose a “user-friendly Linux distribution” where you can do everything you want with the graphical interface. before the appearance of some of user-friendly distributions, Linux had a reputation of a difficult system, only reserved to experts. This is no longer the case.
At one time, I found myself not using my Windows partition because my Linux system was so complete that I hadn’t felt the need to log in into it. So I finally got rid of it and begun to use exclusively Linux distributions and free software. Since then, I developped a kind of allergy against Windows, and I cannot use it anymore.
In a future post, I will talk more thoroughly about my experience on Linux and why I enjoy working on it.