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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Linux

I can't believe it's been almost a year already since I switched to Linux, Ubuntu specifically. I have to say, it's been one of the best times in my digital life. GNU/Linux is one of the best operating systems there is, and here's why.

1. Bullet-proof security

Linux is no doubt renowned for it's amazing security. But they never really tell how simple life becomes for the end user because of this: No need to constantly buy updates for Anti-virus software. No need to constantly scan for spyware and other malicious software. No worries that some vulnerability that hasn't been fixed for over 12 years might be used to turn my PC into a zombie. This takes us to the second point...

2. Easy-peasy updates

Modern Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, include a very complete packet management system like Apt which automatically updates ALL your software, not just the basic operating system. All your applications are kept easily up to date, from the Linux kernel to OpenOffice to the latest open-source game you installed the other day. And this adds even more force to point number 1, since updated applications = more security.

3. Awesome 3D graphics

Everyone who's even remotely into the open-source world has someway or another heard of Beryl and Compiz, the two compositing window managers that turn your desktop into a cube, amongst other things. But it's not just about the eye-candy: it's actually really, really useful. Managing multiple desktops is a breeze with the cube. This keeps individual desktops uncluttered and allows you to have, for example, a full-screen game on one desktop and OpenOffice Writer on another one.

4. No-brainer software installation

Let's walk through installing an app in Windows: 1. Search online for hours for the right program, 2. Download software, 3. Open installer, 4. Read 10-page long license, 5. Click next, 6. Repeat step 5 some ten times, 7. Click finish, 8. Restart computer. In modern Linux distros like Ubuntu, it goes like this: 1. Open packet manager, 2. Search for required program, 3. Check it, 4. Click OK. That's it. No need to go through dozens of steps in a wizard: it's all done by the packet manager. No need to browse online for hours: most of the software you'll ever need is available through the manager. No need to install. And best of all: most of these applications are completely free!

As a side note, if you use a Debian-based system like Ubuntu, installing apps is even easier by using the command line: just type "sudo apt-get install [appname]".

5. Helpful community

You might not get free corporate support, but Ubuntu's community support is amazing. The Ubuntu forums are full of people willing to help fellow users, and will most probably help you fix any problem you might have.

6. Shipit

A really nice thing Canonical has done is offer free CDs of Ubuntu shipped wherever you may be. You don't have to even pay for shipping! This is specially useful if you're still on dial-up and can't download the 700 MB CD image. So, head over to and order yours today.

7. Perfect out of the box

Now I'm starting to sound like one of those Get-a-Mac commercials. Windows comes with NO office suite included. Windows comes with NO good image editor included. What does Windows come with anyway? Oh, yes, garbageware like 50 different ISP subscriptions. Linux comes with only the software you need, and with all batteries packed. It usually includes the powerful OpenOffice suite, the near-pro level image editor The Gimp, the amazing web browser Firefox, and many other programs, for free!

8. Extremely customizable

One of the best things about Linux is its free spirit. You are completely free to modify your operating system as you want. This allows you to customize everything to fit your needs. Don't like having just one panel? Take two, or even three! Don't like the way your multimedia keys work? Arrange it how you want! Don't like XMMS? Try Amarok, or BMP, or Listen! Don't like Vim? Use Nano, or Emacs, or Gedit! There are literally millions of choices to tweak your system the precise way you want it to be.

9. Zero Cost

One of Linux's key selling features is its price, or rather its lack of it. Most Linux distros, including Ubuntu, are donated to the community and have no cost whatsoever, unlike Windows, whose crippled entry version, Home Basic, costs US$200, and its bloated one, Ultimate, costs US$400.

10. Completely Free, but as in Freedom

Apart from being completely free as in free beer, GNU/Linux is completely free, as in free speech. You can download it, copy it, give it to friends, copy it some more, and even modify it. Not only is this completely legal, but you are actually encouraged to do this. So go ahead! Spread the freedom! Use Linux! Use Open Source Software!