Why The Linux Desktop Still Rocks

Posted by moabi on Dec 20, 2011 11:10 AM
LXer Linux News; By Alfred 'vector' Moabi

LXer Feature: 20-Dec-2011

I needed that peace of mind that I never got with Windows, viruses always crashing my PC. I would have liked to get a Mac at some stage but the cost of it was a problem. Then I settled on Linux, and haven't looked back since.

For most of us in Africa, a feeling of owning a computer was always a fantasy. It seemed so far, and our wishes seemed impossible because Santa was a myth we only see in movies. The quick advancements in computing resulted in cheaper prices of computers, I got my first during my second year at the National University.

The feeling was captivating, I learned a few things and ultimately got to the point where I could install Window XP, but what about Linux? I did not hear of Linux until a year and half later and the worst part, I was misinformed about it. They said, "It is expensive and you cant get applications for Linux very easily", then about five years ago when I gave one of the Fedoras a try, it was weird but something I saw was worth exploring. Then I learned about Ubuntu and that is when the real exploration started.

I installed it without any audio or video, but I held on. I later got Real Player to work which allowed me to play some mp3s. That was one of my best days ever, doing something on my own without other people's intervention. From that day till now I have been distro hopping from one Ubuntu derivative to another and back. I can't believe I learned so much in so little time with such little resources.

Then a thought crossed my mind, "How about I install Ubuntu for few friends and see their reaction after few months". I did just that, and guess what? Most liked it and learned that regardless of what used to be4 said about Linux being unusable, it is. I set up their PCs to dual boot and one thing they all surprised me with was, that approximately 98% of them used the Ubuntu install more frequently that the Windows one (be it Win XP of 7). Some of them even showed me some tricks they learned on their own. They were very afraid of viruses and Linux finally gave them peace of mind.

At one stage, my hard disk got problems and I could not run Windows anymore. That was when I gave up using Windows on my PC. It was hard at first but I came to realize that it did me a great favour too. I am a programmer, though with little experience, and bash is indispensable, I wished for the same flexibility in Windows cmd, but was unfortunately out of luck.

I now have Qt Creator installed, Wingware IDE for Python, and IDLE too. Bluefish for HTML and CSS editing, codeblocks for C++, MySQL and PostgreSQL for my databases, and my tasks are even easier. Linux may look like it is for geeks, but with a fresh mind I think anybody can do it. Installation is easy with any Ubuntu based distro and after that, it boils down to what we call true exploration. I still install it from time to time for friends, and many have never looked back.

Some may say that the Linux Desktop is dead, but in my experience, in my country, the voyage is just beginning. Developers like me, code on Linux machines and mobile developers (symbian, android etc) use it too. All this makes me think, we don't need a big corporation to do it for us, we can do it ourselves, so "Can we develop for other operating systems and let our own die?" I don't think so! Yes, if you were talking about the mass adoption of Linux on the desktop, the may pace may be slow but surely we will get there.

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The quiet revolution continues herzeleid 21 1,778 Jan 3, 2012 5:30 PM

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