Note: The frame rate of the above video is slow because it takes a very hefty system to record video while rendering a 3D desktop. The above machine is about three years old.
The bottom line for using Linux is that it will SAVE YOU MONEY. Not only because it's open-source, making it cost-free, but it is also much more stable and secure than Microsoft Windows. Over 90 percent of known computer viruses target Windows PCs. So it can be said that, from statistical point of view, choosing to use a PC with an operating system other than Microsoft Windows will provide you with a more stable and secure experience. More stability and security equals less of your valuable time wasted trying to repair the damage done by a virus. Additionally, open-source anti-virus and firewall software is available for free for Ubuntu Linux. In fact, Ubuntu has a firewall built right into the operating system that is already running when you turn your computer on for the first time.
There are several other big advantages gained by migrating from Windows to an Ubuntu Linux operating system, such as:
1. Update every single piece of software on your system with a single click.
This is one of the main reasons I run Linux. Sure, Windows has Windows Update, but that only updates the operating system, Office, and a few other things. For every Linux distribution (Gentoo, Red Hat, Suse, Ubuntu), updating is simple. When you update, you have every application, every library, every script - every single piece of software upgraded automatically for you. This is great for security, fixing bugs quickly, and getting the latest in features.
2. Update nearly everything on your computer without a reboot.
On Linux, there is only one thing that requires a reboot after update: The kernel. And even then you can continue to run on the previous kernel. You just need to reboot to get the benefit of using the new kernel (say, if it has a bug fix or a new feature). And these days Kernel related updates are rare. Otherwise, you will enjoy the convenience of running Ubuntu without disruption. In Windows, many of the updates to even non-critical software require reboots.
3.Keep your system secure without software that consumes your system resources, requires your time, and frequently nags you.
Basic requirement for a secure Windows box include:
1. Running antivirus protection. AV software consumes resources and requires routine scans.
2. A software firewall like ZoneAlarm or the one built into Vista that constantly asks you if you want to allow software to contact the Internet. More time on your part.
3. Running Adblock Adaware and/or Spybot Search & Destroy on a routine basis, consuming your time, and requiring your manual intervention. People often forget or don't "get around to it".
4. Never trusting software. You have to go through life assuming every bit of software and every web site on the Internet is out to do you harm. What a sorry state of affairs that is.
All of this requires your attention, slows your computer, and ruins the open experience of the Internet. None of this is necessary in Linux. You get your software through your distribution (such as Canonical Ltd. for Ubuntu and its software). As long as you can trust your distribution, you can trust the software available. Having a firewall is a good thing even in Linux, but most of us have a firewall built into our Cable and DSL modems, or our wi-fi router. A software firewall in windows is as much used to keep malware from calling out as it is to keep outside intrusions from coming in, and you don't have the same concerns in Linux (since, as I said, you can trust your software).
4. Run an entire operating system for free without pirating software, and without breaking the law.
This is simply the nature of open-source software and the GNU General Public License.
5. Take your settings with you where ever you go.
In Linux, all your personal settings are stored in your Home folder, most in folders that begin with a period (like .gaim). So, I can copy all these settings from one computer to another. I can put these settings on a USB drive and very easily copy them from one PC to another. This also makes recovery from a previous backup a snap. On Windows, some settings are under your home folder and some are in the registry. So your settings are not very portable.
6. Understand everything that is going on in your computer.
Using Windows is like working with a black box. You can see the outside, but you have no idea what is going on inside. If you hit snags, your only option is to hope Microsoft fixes it. Or, perhaps you can submit a bug report to Microsoft, spending your time improving software that a company makes billions from. Under Linux, you can look at the system logs, where you can see most issues. You can search for the log messages on Google, and can usually track the cause and often find a fix. A user could even go look at the source code to find the offending problem. Granted, most people aren't capable or don't have the time to look at the source code. But the fact that tens-of-thousands of geeks do is often very, very helpful. And if you do spend the time filling out a bug report, you are helping other people just like yourself, not contributing your time to a rich software company.
. Customize every aspect of your desktop.
In Windows, you are more or less stuck with what you are given. Sure, you can install buggy skinning engines, or you can pay Microsoft extra for the ability to put skins on your desktop. But even these aren't very adaptive. It's just a new coat of paint on the same desktop. Under Linux, I can choose the window manager, the desktop environment, the theme, the GTK engine, the icon theme, the special effects (see Beryl or Compiz), the file system browser, and so on. Nearly every aspect of the system has competitive options. If you look around the Internet at screen shots of various Linux desktops, you rarely see two that look the same.
8. Run thousands of great pieces of software that only run on Linux.
Just like Windows, Linux has software that doesn't run on Windows. Great pieces of software like Amarok, Bluefish, Neverball, Gnumeric, K3B, Beryl, and gdesklets.. I know this is a chicken-and-egg point, where Windows has the exact same situation. Too often I hear "I can't switch to Linux because it doesn't run [insert Windows software]". My reason for pointing it out is just to make it clear that this is a two-way street. In almost all circumstances, for every piece of software that only runs on Windows, there is an alternative piece of software that only runs on Linux. Often times the Linux versions are the same, except the software on the Linux side is free because it too is also open-source.
9. Learn about, support, and appreciate the value of free software.
I believe free software is important to us all. Even if you use non-free software, the free software movement ensures checks and balances on non-free software by offering an alternative. By running a free operating system and becoming involved in the community, I've contributed to free software, even if only in a small way.
10. Never again pay for the latest version of the operating system.
Every single update or upgrade is absolutely free and automatic, so you will always have the latest version of Ubuntu right away. No purchase necessary.
If you have a question about Ubuntu Linux that you would like to see answered here, please e-mail Dave with your question. Any opinions expressed in this FAQ are the sole opinions of the original author. All registered trademarks mentioned in this text are the property of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged.