Praise for Ubuntu Linux

By now, you know a lot of reasons to begin using Ubuntu Linux. We’ll wrap up the post by highlighting why is wise to stop using Windows and try Ubuntu Linux instead. Many of the topics touched on in this section have already been mentioned; now you have them all together in one place to help you argue with Windows die-hards.

Should I Stop Using Windows?

This question could be split into two smaller problems: why would I want to stop using Windows? And, is it a wise move? There are many reasons to stop using Windows, some of which are:

• It is insecure: Security is only a recent concern for Microsoft. And in spite of the many efforts the company claims it is making, new security flaws are detected each and every month, making “patch Tuesday” a nightmare for many system administrators. The lax security also necessitates expensive antivirus programs, which consume precious hardware resources.

• It is expensive: Although Windows often comes pre-installed on new computers, its cost is built into the computer price, and it may be in only a limited version. You have to pay more for the advanced versions, for upgrades when a new version is released, and for any additional software you want to install.

• It is full of bugs: In his 1999 essay “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” Eric S. Raymond, an open source advocate, stated Linus’ Law that goes like this: “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” This means that software is less likely to have bugs when more people can review its code. Microsoft Windows is closed source software, so only its own developers get to view the source code. When they overlook a bug, there is no way of detecting it until a problem actually happens. It is not that there are no bugs in open source software, but they are more likely to be found and corrected in a timely manner. You can try to find them yourself!

Now, is it wise to stop using Windows and start using Ubuntu? Let’s answer some of the most common questions regarding the move to Ubuntu Linux:

• I won’t be able to run my applications! This is true at some point, but it has three workarounds: first, you can use Windows applications with Wine, an implementation of the Windows API. Second, there are a lot of replacement applications that also happen to be free. And third, there is a strong tendency for applications to become web-based, so what’s important then is the web browser, not the API.

• I need to use Windows for my job! There are plenty of workarounds if you really can’t get away without using Windows from time to time. You could set up dual- booting and use both on one computer. You could use Ubuntu for your everyday tasks and Windows to keep yourself up-to-date with that technology, or you could install Windows in a virtual PC inside Ubuntu with VirtualBox. 17 This way you get the best of both worlds—but remember that you’ll need a valid Windows license for either of those scenarios.

• I will need to get help sometimes! We have already mentioned the Linux community. Think about it this way: Microsoft has a monopoly over Windows support. Because its source code is closed, they are the only ones that can help you at certain problems. And they are often unwilling to do so, maybe because your product is no longer supported, or because “your problem will be resolved with the next service pack.” And what would happen to your support if Microsoft went out of service?

There are many reasons to drop Windows, and there is no good reason to be afraid of doing so. It should be painless if you do it properly.

Ubuntu Linux and Its Strengths

“Okay, so I should stop using Windows. Why should I start using Ubuntu and not another operating system?” you might ask. Because:

• Ubuntu is the best Linux distribution for desktops: It is Linux, which means it is stable and secure; it is derived from Debian, so it is free, open source, and has a lot of applications available; and it is Ubuntu, a distribution oriented to human beings.

• It is beautiful: The aesthetic aspects of the interface are well polished, so your friends will be really surprised by its looks! It is a “wow” operating system.

• It will make your life easier: A lot of work has already been done for you. Applications have been catalogued and published. The interface has been tweaked. Hardware has been made compatible. Communities have been formed. All this social capital is there for you to take advantage of it. Wouldn’t it be foolish not to?

If we have convinced you to try Ubuntu Linux, let us be your guide on your first baby steps. On the journey, you will feel your strides growing stronger chapter after chapter. By the end of it, you should be able to stand by yourself and on your way to becoming a senior member of the community!