Friday, 16 July 2010

10 Myths About Linux

I have been using Linux alongside Windows as a dual boot setup before deciding to migrate fully to Linux. This decision was prompted not only by the fact that I got tired of managing viruses but also because Linux has evolved to be an easier platform to use. Now the problem I face is when Windows users see me using Linux as my main OS. To my surprise some of them feel offended and often ask why I chose to use an OS that is not user friendly. The interesting thing is that most of them are people that have never used any non-Microsoft operating system. My question is, if you've never tasted a fruit how would you know whether it's sweet, sour or bitter? In reality most of these people have believed and often propagated myths they have heard and believed about Linux. I list ten of such myths and answers for those that believe them.

1- On Linux, you have to use the command line: Nope, you don't have to. Linux have several mature graphical environments that have been found to be more usable than the Windows desktop. Ever heard of GNOME or K.D.E ?

2- Linux is strictly for geeks: The One Laptop Per Child project uses Linux and targets kids and not geeks. Most of the target children have never used a computer before in their lives.

3- It's only good for servers: No, there are many distributions for desktops. One of the most popular is Ubuntu.

4- Linux is safe and virus free because it's not widely used: It's safe because it's well designed and viruses will find it difficult to cause much harm.

5- Hardware support is poor: Every printer I have plugged into my Linux system has worked right away without requiring any driver installation. The only time I installed a driver is to get a certain scanner working.

6- It's Insecure because the source code is available: This argument is caused by ignorance of software building process. Some people think that the Linux source code is available in it's raw form on every Linux system and mistakingly changing a line or a dot will render the system useless. Wrong, the code is built into a binary form for it to run.

7- Free means bad for business: It has fetched RedHat $653 million in 2009. It provides your business good software at no monetary cost.

8- Few applications are available for Linux: Thousands of software are available and a great number of them free of charge.

9- Poor support, hackers and hobbyist are in charge: If you want paid support, then companies like RedHat, Canonical, Novell, Oracle and many more are there for you. Those names don't sound like hobbyists' names.

10- Poor quality because it's developed by amateurs and hackers working across the globe: The open and distributed nature of Linux development means more eyes are there to spot problems and more brains are there to contribute great ideas.

So, don't make any assumption on any software whether proprietary or open source. Get a first hand experience with it first instead of just believing the myths.

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