Comment of the Day - November 12, 2005 - Why People Switch to Linux

Posted by tadelste on Nov 12, 2005 10:10 PM -Article; By cstura

Cstura writes about his experience with computers and why he chose Linux.

Related to the thread:
Why do people switch to Linux

First of all I want to applaud the second post in this forum which was from some guy who never used x86 machines which means he managed to stay away from windows. I suppose my background in some respects does not go that far back. I started using computers practically since I was born, well not actually but around when I was 8 years old. And since I am 26 that put DOS in my hands. I remember having to boot my computer from a stack of 5,12 floppy disks and my first operating system was good old DRDOS 2.0. I used DOS for quite some time and then just pretty much moved up the food chain.

DRDOS 2.0,3.3,4.0 - on a 286 8mhz (assembled by some guy from china -> I can't really remember who it was quite a while back).
I then moved to Windows 3.0 which was crap and didn't work very well so I never really used it but I do recall that I ran it on the same 286 on top of my DRDOS 4.
At some point in time my father who did research for scripts made and investment and changed our 286 with a 386 25mhz from AMD and the 286 naturally passed on to me. I continued my use of DOS primarily for Games and Programming -> I used to develop C,C++ and Pascal programs and then tried Windows 3.1 which was much better than 3.0, and so I started using that primary to write programs with GUI's because you didn't have to draw things with ASCII characters and you could do some interesting things with graphics since you could paint pixels lines and what not. (Now I know the same could have been done with DOS and some toolkit like Borland's CRT or their more advanced graphics library, but the Microsoft API's under windows were easier and you could add menu's and other sorts of graphical widgets easily). As I shifted my programming to windows instead of DOS my use of the computer was pretty much based on Windows, with a dos window constantly open to execute programs, compile things and do pretty much anything with the computer. GUI interfaces have never been very useful for doing things!!.

Now it wasn't until my father bought me my own computer (a Compaq Presario 486 with 4MB of memory) that I switched operating systems once again. I was attracted my OS/2 Warp the famous cross-roads when Windows 3.1 was dying and Windows 95 was about to be launched onto the consumer market. You say television adds from both IBM and Microsoft on pretty much every channel and the thing that got me to install OS/2 was "Preemptive Multitasking" (which we get on Linux now with kernel 2.6 (something or other)). What it means for the folks that are not computer or programming experts is that the computer actually does not slow down just because the processor is doing something else, so the operating system does a bunch of things to make your computer look like a multiprocessor system even when you only have one processor. I loved OS/2 which was nice looking had a wonderful GUI, good C,C++ tools, java support, if you used the Windows 3.1 disks you could run all of your windows 3.1 programs on it, never crashed, even ran the DOS games like Wing Commander and did pretty much anything I wanted without ever crashing. So I switched to Linux which I had dabbled with when I was looking at operating systems before using OS/2 (Linux Universe with Kernel 1.0 - which loaded but was very slow next to OS/2 but just about as fast as Windows 95), back to the switch.. I switched because I had just gotten out of high school was doing collage in Italy (where I now live) and didn't have enough money to upgrade my OS/2 Warp operating system to the newer 4.0 version plus I couldn't really find anybody in Italy that would sell it to me, plus I heard that IBM was fading out support for the Operating system and so I removed OS/2 from my Epson 486 laptop with an external keyboard and Installed Red Hat Linux 5.0. Which mind you I believe to be one of the most solid Linux distributions of all time.

Since then my use of the computer has practically been completely Linux asside from a job I had for 2 years from 1999 to 2001 where I used Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 to program Microsoft ASP in a Microsoft Based Company on Microsoft Servers (ok you get the picture). I did manage to introduce Java which they did not like but used because it worked better than the Microsoft Stuff.

Since I started working I have had various computers with linux.

- Citrix 586 400mhz with a Tyan Motherboard and 64MB of memory running Linux Red Hat 7.1 on my girlfriend and I wrote (
- AMD Athlon XP 1600+ which still works as a file server for one of my friends running Linux Mandrake 8.0
- AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2GB memory, Fujitsu SCSI 80GB 15k, etc. (a really nice computer) running various versions of Linux (Mandrake 8.1, 8.2, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2) I used the computer for many years, I then upgraded the computer to my current pc which is the same with 2,5GB of memory and an Asus AI Athlon 64 motherboard and an AMD 64 3000+ processor on a Mandrake LE2005 x86_64.

At work I have had various other pc's:
- Compaq persario - Pentium 3 733mhz - running Redhat 8.0 and Redhat 9.0

- Acer aspire 1300 Laptop - running Linux Mandrake 9.1,9.2,10.0
- DELL Inspiron 5150 Laptop - running Linux Mandrake 10.0,10.1,LE2005 and now 2006.
- AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (monster computer), 4GB of memory, Nvidia 6600 256MB - my development workstation for writing J2EE applications running Linux Mandrake LE2005.

Linux I believe is the future, as is all open source software. Linux is the foundation upon which computing can become accessible to everybody and writing programs can be much easier for those who have to write then and managing systems easier for those who have to manage them. Windows is Shit. It sucks. When I do my job which is writing web sites and developing database driven J2EE applications 99% of the problems I have are with Microsoft Internet Explorer and about 99% of the network problems have to do with Microsoft Windows XP and it's users.. which in my opinion should not use a computer as by doing so they would do everybody a favor.

I think that Linux users are good people who like to use computers and know enough about then to use them properly. Windows users are not the same class of people. They are people who don't know anything about computers don't know what they are, have problems finding the power button, they are -- in a word, technologically impaired and therefore in my opinion should not exist. There are so many other things one can do in life. Why must people spend there time, catching viruses, sending spam, etc... In a perfect world I would drop support for Windows completely, forget IE was ever made and get back to doing my job and not solving other peoples problems.

There is something curious I picked up at work.

A while back I got a lot of calls because of problems with Outlook Express. So I simply checked the status of our mail server to make sure everything was fine and then politely told my customer to request support from his software vendor as the problem was with his Windows Installation.

He said: so I should call the guy's that sold me the computer?
I said: no!. it is a problem with your software you have to call the software support center.
He said: So I should call DELL?
I said: no. DELL did not write (Microsoft Outlook Express) otherwise it would be called DELL Outlook Express.
He said: That is no help at all, Microsoft won't help me with my problem, are you crazy!.

I think that this dialog is important because of one of the biggest criticisms with Linux and that is support.

Do Linux Competitors offer support: On paper they do.., I am sure if you pay them enough $ they do but for the average joe, they don't and people know it. So this thing about support is a non issue. When people need help the go on the Internet and solve their own problems.

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