Switching to Linux – should I or should I not?

Should I install Linux? What distro if yes? Those are the questions that were bothering me for quite some time.

I had a conversation with one of my mates not long ago about  using Linux and why if changing my OS from Windows 7 to Linux will be good step ahead. As the conversation took place in the office my PM got involved asking me to not do it because of the “obvious” impact that action will have on the project and the whole team.

Listening to the gut (…and leap of faith)

Not sure what the outcome was but I was ready to put up few extra hours that night to give it a go and ended up with dual bot. I installed Ubuntu 12.10 quantal on my laptop.

Configuration (-1)

To make sure I am able to use linux for work following day I spent the whole night playing around with drivers and getting my head around what is located where. TI had to face many issues that solving wasn’t straight forward. Mostly related to drivers. I just wanted to take advantage of maximum performance I can potentially get without loosing battery in 40min.

I didn’t really sleep that night and next day wasn’t the 1st day of using Linux for work. It took me about 2 – 3 days in total to get to the stage where I felt comfortably and everything I needed was in place. Was it worth it? Read up.

Stability (+1)

Sincerely can’t remember last time I logged into Windows. Come to think of it I can’t even remember when was last time I had to do the restart or even switch off my machine.  Hold on! What was the command for that? oh yes… yes.. “uptime” displayed 22 days. Probably battery run out that day. (sigh*) Linux doesn’t crash, processes do, badly written apps do, users crash systems but Linux does not and I fuckin love it!

Command line (+1)

Remembering all “those” commands was one of the points my friend was making trying to persuade me to stay with Windows. I was a little apprehensive about the whole terminal thing. For number of years I have been staying away from the console and as an AS3 developer I didn’t really need that either. AWS changed that though. It is not possible to manage your servers without command line.

So how to remember them then? There are many commands and many more options for each of them. I guess it comes with practice. Use, use, use… True is more I do it more it makes me addicted, especially that nowadays I often find using terminal quicker way to get where I want to be or what I want to do.

No viruses (+1)

I never had massive issue with those using Windows.  However now and then, especially after letting someone else to use my machine for few days I could notice random activity in background. The worst experience I had was 5 – 6 years ago when virus killed my Master Boot Record. I lost a lot of data on my drive and remember my frustration trying to recover it. No such a thing will happen on Linux. I suppose it is possible to write one but what would be a point? System is design in a way that regular user doesn’t have rights to cause global damage.

Application manager (+1)

That is one of my favourite features. I really enjoy being able to add applications to the system like Lego blocks. That is one of those things I always missed on Windows where all software has to be downloaded from different sources.

Applications and tools (+1)

There is huge number of applications that come with the system and many more free apps that can be easily installed when needed. Some of them probably won’t match Windows or MacOS based tools but there are ones that are cross platform compatible. As I developer I have most I need including my favourite IDE InteliJ which is one of those things I wouldn’t be able to live without in Linux environment while performing my everyday tasks. I think I should mention that there are still programs I know can be run from my Xs but I still didn’t quite figure out how, ex.: Adobe CS5 or Outlook. I read on few forums that Wine can help with that but didn’t test that yet.

Community (+1)

Oh yes… forums. Man! I am telling you there is something amazing about Linux user community. Those guys are mostly (1) very smart, (2) usually very helpful and  most importantly (3)  happy to share experience with others. Most of my system related issues have been solved because of someone who had that problem before and decided to share it with the world. Open Source Baby! (+1)

Learning curve (-1)

Concluding the whole story must say I love my new OS. Already waiting for new Ubuntu distribution hoping that it will solve few issues and makes my experience even better.

From developer point of view Linux is far more stable and better than Windows. I could go on and on about the features and reasons why Linux is my 1st choice. The only thing to remember is that if you are new user, you will have to be patient. You will also have to be ready to put up hours to make sure you constantly improve your skills up to the point where you feel comfortable with using the system.

Hope that helps a bit!

Good luck!


Marek (admin)

Freelance developer, IT enthusiast, blogger with entrepreneurial spirit and passion for making games