Why I switched to Linux
In 2015 Windows 10 was released. Two years earlier I had gained a Windows 8.1 laptop that I had a love-hate relationship with. I preferred using Windows 7 on the desktop because it was a more traditional desktop than what I had running on my laptop. Then, something magical happened. Windows 10 was announced. Details were sparse, but as an at-the-time Windows enthusiast I scoured every nook and cranny of the internet about the fabled operating system. I did not like the flat look, but Win 8 had that going on anyway. Eventually, it released. I downloaded it. It…sucked worse than 8.
Now here’s why it sucked: during the upgrade, windows presented me with two options. The first option was to wipe my laptop and install Windows 10 from scratch. The second was to keep my files and programs. Well, with lots of classic games on my hard drive, I did not want to lose my saves! I was new to computers, and backups were a foreign concept to me. I hit “keep my files.” After it installed I didn’t love it or hate it…until a week later. At the time I was studying Business Management at Paris Junior College. I had essays due for a couple of my classes, and like every red blooded American student I waited until the last minute to do so.
I finished one of my essays and hit save, then “x’ed” it out and planned on editing it after my next class. Big mistake. The essay was still there, but for some ungodly reason the start menu refused to work. I rebooted…and it seemed to work again. Later it happened again, and then again, and again. Each period of peace growing shorter and shorter. Eventually it got to the point where if I ran the computer for more than 30 minutes, the start menu would just crash and I would have to reboot. After consulting the Youth Pastor at my Church, who happened to be a tech junkie, he said it was because I opted to save my files instead of doing a clean install. To fix the bug I would need to reinstall Windows, at least according to him.
A needed change
That was enough…I decided that instead of messing with Windows, I would try something new. I heard of Linux and that the two most popular were Ubuntu and Mint. Mint had an user interface similar to Windows, so I opted for that. OH GLORY! OH LOVE! IT WAS MARVELOUS! My laptop had always been slow to boot even when I first got it. But with Linux Mint, it booted in half the time it normally would have. On top of that, it had a SOFTWARE STORE! WITH NOTHING BUT FREE SOFTWARE! I had not known about that before installing, and it was a dream come true for me.
The rest is history. Tinkering with computers got me into programming. That led me to changing my major from Business Management to Information Systems. I now write software as both a hobby and as a job. To think…if Microsoft wrote an upgrade system that worked, my life would probably look a lot different than it does right now.
Now here is what made me mad enough to make the switch. When I brought up that I used the option to keep my files, pretty much every tech junkie…both ones I knew online and in person…said that it was my fault for choosing that option. Eight years later and I still feel that this is incorrect. I currently use Fedora as my main operating system. They just released Fedora 38, and gave an option to upgrade. When I did this, all my files were safe. Backed up, like a good little techie should always do, but safe. nothing was corrupted, I ran across few if any bugs, and it certainly did not become unusable.
So my question is this…if Fedora…a much smaller company than Microsoft I might add…can write an upgrade system that doesn’t botch your system or your files, why can’t Microsoft? Microsoft is the world’s de-facto leader in operating system technology. For their faults, I still respect them. But WHY, oh WHY did the upgrade system suck so badly in Windows 10? I had no viruses. No worms, trojans, or any other kind of malware. I had antivirus and scanned for it. Nothing. It was the upgrade system that borked it all up. If anyone could write an upgrade system that worked, the company that charges over 100$ per OS license for billions of computers should be able to have the funding to write something that works.
Why I stick with Linux
Back when Windows 7 was a big deal, I was a Microsoft fanboy. The Aero themes, the backwards compatibility, the history of Bill Gates and the company’s founding, it really interested me despite the fact that all I knew about computers was how to write programs in LOGO^. So when 10 ended up being terrible, I was really let down. My view of Windows has not brightened at all. Recently a video about how much telemetry gets sent before you can even interact with the system was released. Its a lot. Like, really. A LOT. When Windows XP, or even Windows 7 was popular, it wasn’t that invasive. It would phone home to see if there were needed updates, but that was all.
With Linux, my computer is fully my own. Very little telemetry, if at all. It has high customization, and best of all it doesn’t require an account to use. Windows 10 or 11 cannot claim any of that. Right now, as I said before, I am using Fedora. It uses Gnome. Don’t like Gnome? Install KDE. Both of those too modern for you? Install GnuSTEP or IceWM. The options are limitless.
Windows just isn’t cool anymore. It is the Facebook of operating systems. The only reason anyone uses it, is because everyone else is using it. Personally, I choose to “think different.” To let my computer be truly my own. I decide what my computer does, not anyone else. If anything breaks I don’t get to blame the dev team…I broke it myself. That is freedom.
^Logo is a toy programming language, similar to Scratch. I learned it when I was 12, but didn’t learn any serious programming languages until I was 21.