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Why I Use Linux

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  • User profile image
    sysrpl

    I don't, or actually I don't use it as my primary work computer. I do enjoy *playing* with Linux though and feel it has some aspects which are superior to Windows. Windows also has some great features, but it's not a black and white world. There are things I enjoy and dislike about each OS. Here is a list of some of the things I like about Linux I think Windows could stand to borrow.

    Customization

    I really like how customizable Gnome and Kde are. I mostly stick with Gnome, but I believe this applys to Kde as well. You can load new visual themes in Linux that not only change the way widgets are drawn, but also change a lot of the system metrics, and also replace most all of the standard icons used by programs system wide.

    On the topic of icons, I think it's a really great idea to allow the OS to hold the icon theme for your application. I know Windows has image lists, and of course there is the shell image list, but those are either geared towards your own private images, or images related to the shell and not common action images (such as copy, cut, paste, play, stop, etc).

    Another tidbit about Linux icons, they tend to be pngs (with an alpha channel) and also scalable (svg). Sure Windows now has IImageList to support 32bpp images, but it would be nice if ImageList also supported both raster and scalable image formats.

    While themes were greatly appreciated with Windows, it's never been satifactorily explained to me why Microsoft choose to lock down the theme system so that only they could provide the theme files. My guess has been Microsoft did this to protect themselves from allowing people to skin their OS to look like their next version. After all, a big criticism of each OS they put out is that it is little beyond the old OS, but with a new layer of gloss. If people could easily and safely download and install new skins, Microsoft's would be giving people even less incentive to upgrade.

    Desktop Compositing

    In my opinion, again Linux gets hardware compositing through Compiz done right, or at least it's better than Windows. This point is related to the last in that the desktop compositing is open to customization. I see a lot of interesting and useful plugins brought into the mix by individuals, whereas in I haven't seen any third party making interesting use of the Windows compositing pipeline.

    Here are some of the Linux Compiz plugins I really think add to the UX: Desktop zoom, desktop lock, switch desktop, move window to another desktop, scale window to screen, arrange windows to grid, etc

    I also like how I can easily bind my own keys to system functions including keys to initiate the above commands.

    Application and Library Repository

    It's quite refreshing to be able to type "apt-get install monodevelop", or to launch the add programs dialog and search through a lot of community rated software.

    Organization and Security

    I like the way organization and security work in Linux more than UAC. I have my own home folder, and everything specific to me is palced above that. I can install apps to a folder off my home directory, or place downloads in a folder off my desktop. I don't have a lot of nutty folders of my root folder like both "My Documents" and "Documents". The whole "My" prefix was silly to begin with. Also, since the names of folders are based off your login name, you don't have to fiddle with dealing with the locatization of special folder names.

    Speed and Memory Usage

    My Linux system can run with 256MB of ram and still run ultra smooth with all the effects on, with absolutely delays related no page swapping. The overhead of Linux is quite small not like with Windows. I can encode an MP4 using HandBrake, have two PDFs open, browse with Firefox, and still have memory and CPU cycles left over.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    I am infatuated with Linux, adore Apple and am besotted with Windows. I'm like a child in a candy store. Some days this child says they don't want rasberry sweets, the next day the same kid wants three. Ahhhh....computers!

    First and foremost I am developer, I love the code, languages and technologies used to procure these magnificent accompliments

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    I've have a linux install on my hdd I use occasionaly and I've been using it for the past few days.

    Do you know what the first thing I noticed when i came back to Windows was?

    Disk activity - Linux, I'm not doing something - it sits there doing nothing. Windows - Disk access (not constant thrashing, but probably a couple of times a minute).

    (note, not and entirely fair comparison as my windows install is used far more than my linux and has a large detritus of software installed on it (inc. the stuff I have in the sys tray).

    The other thing I notice: not having wobbly Windows... makes Windows feel so old

    (except my graphics drivers aren't properly supported by the latest version of the kernel so no compiz for me Sad)

     

  • User profile image
    matthews

    GoddersUK said:

    I've have a linux install on my hdd I use occasionaly and I've been using it for the past few days.

    Do you know what the first thing I noticed when i came back to Windows was?

    Disk activity - Linux, I'm not doing something - it sits there doing nothing. Windows - Disk access (not constant thrashing, but probably a couple of times a minute).

    (note, not and entirely fair comparison as my windows install is used far more than my linux and has a large detritus of software installed on it (inc. the stuff I have in the sys tray).

    The other thing I notice: not having wobbly Windows... makes Windows feel so old

    (except my graphics drivers aren't properly supported by the latest version of the kernel so no compiz for me Sad)

     

    Vista and 7 aggressively fill a memory cache with hard drive pages during non-peak hard drive access in order to reduce hard drive access during peak access. The effect is more hard drive access overall but faster reads and writes.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    matthews said:
    GoddersUK said:
    *snip*

    Vista and 7 aggressively fill a memory cache with hard drive pages during non-peak hard drive access in order to reduce hard drive access during peak access. The effect is more hard drive access overall but faster reads and writes.

    That continue disk access that seems so prevalent in vista is near completely gone in Win7.

     

  • User profile image
    jamie

    PerfectPhase said:
    matthews said:
    *snip*

    That continue disk access that seems so prevalent in vista is near completely gone in Win7.

     

    im going to load ubuntu right now!

     

    sec... ubuntu.com ... screenshots....

     

    brown?

     

    pass.  (might as well be sea bream green...and black)

     

    hail blue and real green ... and real gravy!

  • User profile image
    Cannot​Resolve​Symbol

    jamie said:
    PerfectPhase said:
    *snip*

    im going to load ubuntu right now!

     

    sec... ubuntu.com ... screenshots....

     

    brown?

     

    pass.  (might as well be sea bream green...and black)

     

    hail blue and real green ... and real gravy!

    The wonderful thing about Ubuntu (and Linux window managers in general) is that the color scheme can easily be changed--  you're not stuck with the default brown and orange.  You can change it to blue, or black, or yellow, or hot pink, or whatever color suits your fancy.

    You can even make it look like Windows XP, if you want:

    Generic Forum Image

  • User profile image
    jamie

    CannotResolveSymbol said:
    jamie said:
    *snip*

    The wonderful thing about Ubuntu (and Linux window managers in general) is that the color scheme can easily be changed--  you're not stuck with the default brown and orange.  You can change it to blue, or black, or yellow, or hot pink, or whatever color suits your fancy.

    You can even make it look like Windows XP, if you want:

    Generic Forum Image

    windows 7 is growing on me...

    the only thing that bugs me is i keep making new windows out of everything... and i still dont get the new taskbar - although i like mouseing over it...

     

    seems before - i was somehow prevented from creating so many instances of windows (im sure this is just a setting i havent turned off or on) but now i end up with 50 explorer windows and 50 tabs in IE

     

    everything wants a new window (even though i always click "launch new in same window)

     

    so i guess ill have to figure it out.

     

     

    *maybe its just that cause its hidden from me - i never close anything

     

    so thats... good?

  • User profile image
    Bass

    I use Linux almost exclusively at home, and I work my work PC is a Linux workstation running Windows XP (and now a Windows 7) in VMs.


    I like Linux for basically the same reasons you stated. But I'll also add I feel it's much easier to work with source control systems on Linux. Before I set up my Linux workstation, I was mucking around for two full days trying to get a complicated CVS setup working. The company I work for uses CVS for source control, and there is a bunch of steps (plus tunnel through SSH) to get it to commit. I never got it work with Windows, it was throwing cryptic errors, and I couldn't find any good documentation with Tortiose or CVS-NT to resolve my issues. But under Ubuntu I got it working, and I am not kidding, in 5 minutes flat.

    Since I do .NET development and I use Visual Studio I just run Windows in a VM, and use the Linux host OS to run commits. It works great for me.

  • User profile image
    elmer

    I think that Unix/Linux is primarily a young-person’s thing, inquiring minds and all that.

    I did my “time” in the 70's and 80’s on PDP-11’s, VAX’s, SPARCs, Rx000s, etc... BSD and all the “proprietary” versions... before eventually becoming a VMS and then NT guy.

    I know it's a perfectly good O/S, but I no longer need the complication in my life.

    Every now and then I get the urge to play with Linux... but I find that if I wait a few minutes, it passes.

  • User profile image
    sysrpl

    elmer said:

    I think that Unix/Linux is primarily a young-person’s thing, inquiring minds and all that.

    I did my “time” in the 70's and 80’s on PDP-11’s, VAX’s, SPARCs, Rx000s, etc... BSD and all the “proprietary” versions... before eventually becoming a VMS and then NT guy.

    I know it's a perfectly good O/S, but I no longer need the complication in my life.

    Every now and then I get the urge to play with Linux... but I find that if I wait a few minutes, it passes.

    Elmer,

    I'd say right now Linux is currently at the point where it's not that complicated. Using it to watch movies, browse the Internet, do email, and share files is quite simple. Even getting a wireless adapter working and connected is no longer a pain.

    But related to specific applications you might be using in Windows, yeah you're not going to find Photoshop or Movie Maker for Linux.

    Also, for development, I kind of am quite used to the WinAPI librarys and Linux isn't a homogeneous system like Linux, making developing GUI applications for it more difficult IMO. 

    If I were a java or php developer I'd probably use Linux as my main operating system.

  • User profile image
    Erisan

    In addition to easiness of usage, flexibilty and other reasons mentioned above, one reason I like Linux is that it doesn't feel like a huge black box. Opportunity to be part of a developing process is huge advantage and makes whole platform feels really interesting... at least if you are a developer.

    @Bass

    Do you use CVS or SVN on all your non-NET/Windows projects also? I recommend you to try GIT if you do.

    @sysrpl

    It seems that Compiz will not be supported on GNOME 3.0. GNOME 3.0 will be based on Clutter and Metacity (Mutter). As far as I know Compiz was meant just for testing purposes from the beginning.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Bass said:

    I use Linux almost exclusively at home, and I work my work PC is a Linux workstation running Windows XP (and now a Windows 7) in VMs.


    I like Linux for basically the same reasons you stated. But I'll also add I feel it's much easier to work with source control systems on Linux. Before I set up my Linux workstation, I was mucking around for two full days trying to get a complicated CVS setup working. The company I work for uses CVS for source control, and there is a bunch of steps (plus tunnel through SSH) to get it to commit. I never got it work with Windows, it was throwing cryptic errors, and I couldn't find any good documentation with Tortiose or CVS-NT to resolve my issues. But under Ubuntu I got it working, and I am not kidding, in 5 minutes flat.

    Since I do .NET development and I use Visual Studio I just run Windows in a VM, and use the Linux host OS to run commits. It works great for me.

    I use Subversion on Windows, it's not so difficult, though setting it up on Ubuntu is sure to be easier. I use Cygwin on the server side, and I use SSH passthough exclusively (so I don't need to have svnserve running on the server box). Setting up SSH with Cygwin is fairly easy, just run ssh-host-config and it'll create a host key, and optionally create an NT service and a special user account to run the service. It might complain about permissions on some directories, but it's easy to fix that and run it again.

    I use a simple trick to set the svn repository base directory. You can do this through the SSH configuration, but this effectively means you lose the ability to use SSH for anything else than svn with that user account. What I do instead is rename svnserve.exe to something else, and create a svnserve shell script instead that passes the appropriate directory to the renamed exe file. Works a charm, just be mindful to rename svnserve.exe again if you should update Cygwin (if it had an update for svn).

    On the client I use TortoiseSVN sporadically, but mainly AnkhSVN from Visual Studio. I use public key auth for SSH, and there's an unfortunately poorly documented trick to make this work with AnkhSVN. Actually, there's two ways: the first is to tell AnkhSVN to not use its own SSH client, but Cygwin's ssh.exe, which will then use the key in your Cygwin home directory. This feels like a hack though, and results in a few dozen command prompt windows showing up briefly whenever you do an SVN update or commit from Visual Studio.

    The better, and less easy to find out about, way is to use PuTTY and create a saved profile with the same name as the hostname of the SSH server you're connecting to. Set up this profile with the appropriate auto-login name and SSH key, and AnkhSVN's internal SSH client will automatically use this profile.

    And I also use Linux to access this Windows-based svn repository, which works fine in the usual way. Smiley

  • User profile image
    KevinB

    Sven Groot said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    I use Subversion on Windows, it's not so difficult, though setting it up on Ubuntu is sure to be easier. I use Cygwin on the server side, and I use SSH passthough exclusively (so I don't need to have svnserve running on the server box). Setting up SSH with Cygwin is fairly easy, just run ssh-host-config and it'll create a host key, and optionally create an NT service and a special user account to run the service. It might complain about permissions on some directories, but it's easy to fix that and run it again.

    I use a simple trick to set the svn repository base directory. You can do this through the SSH configuration, but this effectively means you lose the ability to use SSH for anything else than svn with that user account. What I do instead is rename svnserve.exe to something else, and create a svnserve shell script instead that passes the appropriate directory to the renamed exe file. Works a charm, just be mindful to rename svnserve.exe again if you should update Cygwin (if it had an update for svn).

    On the client I use TortoiseSVN sporadically, but mainly AnkhSVN from Visual Studio. I use public key auth for SSH, and there's an unfortunately poorly documented trick to make this work with AnkhSVN. Actually, there's two ways: the first is to tell AnkhSVN to not use its own SSH client, but Cygwin's ssh.exe, which will then use the key in your Cygwin home directory. This feels like a hack though, and results in a few dozen command prompt windows showing up briefly whenever you do an SVN update or commit from Visual Studio.

    The better, and less easy to find out about, way is to use PuTTY and create a saved profile with the same name as the hostname of the SSH server you're connecting to. Set up this profile with the appropriate auto-login name and SSH key, and AnkhSVN's internal SSH client will automatically use this profile.

    And I also use Linux to access this Windows-based svn repository, which works fine in the usual way. Smiley

    I am curious, does this get you anything beyond say just using VisualSVN for Windows?

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    KevinB said:
    Sven Groot said:
    *snip*

    I am curious, does this get you anything beyond say just using VisualSVN for Windows?

    I don't suppose so. I already had Cygwin's sshd set up when I decided to go with svn, so it was the path of least resistance at the time.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Sven Groot said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    I use Subversion on Windows, it's not so difficult, though setting it up on Ubuntu is sure to be easier. I use Cygwin on the server side, and I use SSH passthough exclusively (so I don't need to have svnserve running on the server box). Setting up SSH with Cygwin is fairly easy, just run ssh-host-config and it'll create a host key, and optionally create an NT service and a special user account to run the service. It might complain about permissions on some directories, but it's easy to fix that and run it again.

    I use a simple trick to set the svn repository base directory. You can do this through the SSH configuration, but this effectively means you lose the ability to use SSH for anything else than svn with that user account. What I do instead is rename svnserve.exe to something else, and create a svnserve shell script instead that passes the appropriate directory to the renamed exe file. Works a charm, just be mindful to rename svnserve.exe again if you should update Cygwin (if it had an update for svn).

    On the client I use TortoiseSVN sporadically, but mainly AnkhSVN from Visual Studio. I use public key auth for SSH, and there's an unfortunately poorly documented trick to make this work with AnkhSVN. Actually, there's two ways: the first is to tell AnkhSVN to not use its own SSH client, but Cygwin's ssh.exe, which will then use the key in your Cygwin home directory. This feels like a hack though, and results in a few dozen command prompt windows showing up briefly whenever you do an SVN update or commit from Visual Studio.

    The better, and less easy to find out about, way is to use PuTTY and create a saved profile with the same name as the hostname of the SSH server you're connecting to. Set up this profile with the appropriate auto-login name and SSH key, and AnkhSVN's internal SSH client will automatically use this profile.

    And I also use Linux to access this Windows-based svn repository, which works fine in the usual way. Smiley

    This wasn't just CVS+SSH, there were other steps before the SSH server would come out from hiding under the firewall. Yes, hardcore security. Plus I think SVN is a bit more supported on Windows.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Erisan said:

    In addition to easiness of usage, flexibilty and other reasons mentioned above, one reason I like Linux is that it doesn't feel like a huge black box. Opportunity to be part of a developing process is huge advantage and makes whole platform feels really interesting... at least if you are a developer.

    @Bass

    Do you use CVS or SVN on all your non-NET/Windows projects also? I recommend you to try GIT if you do.

    @sysrpl

    It seems that Compiz will not be supported on GNOME 3.0. GNOME 3.0 will be based on Clutter and Metacity (Mutter). As far as I know Compiz was meant just for testing purposes from the beginning.

    I use GIT for personal projects, but the company I work for is using CVS. They are planning to migrate to GIT at some point, but it hasn't happened yet.

  • User profile image
    Erisan

    Bass said:
    Erisan said:
    *snip*

    I use GIT for personal projects, but the company I work for is using CVS. They are planning to migrate to GIT at some point, but it hasn't happened yet.

    Yeah ok. We are stuck with SVN on multi-platform projects. SVN is painful to use so I'm using GIT locally. That makes it much easier to handle different branches and do stuff.

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