The REAL reason we use Linux

by Vlad Dolezal on March 15, 2008

We tell people we use Linux because it’s secure. Or because it’s free, because it’s customizable, because it’s free (the other meaning), because it has excellent community support…

But all of that is just marketing bullshit. We tell that to non-Linuxers because they wouldn’t understand the real reason. And when we say those false reasons enough, we might even start to believe them ourselves.

But deep underneath, the real reason remains.

We use Linux because it’s fun!

It’s fun to tinker with your system. It’s fun to change all the settings, break the system, then have to go to recovery mode to repair it. It’s fun to have over a hundred distros to choose from. It’s fun to use the command line.

Let me say that again. It’s fun to use the command line.

No wonder non-Linuxers wouldn’t understand.

The point with us Linux fans is – we use Linux for its own sake. Sure, we like to get work done. Sure, we like to be secure from viruses. Sure, we like to save money. But those are only the side-effects. What we really like is playing with the system, poking around, and discovering completely pointless yet fascinating facts about the OS.

There are three main reasons Linux is so much fun:

1. Linux gives you complete control

Ever tried stopping a process in Windows and the OS wouldn’t let you? Ever tried deleting a file – and you couldn’t? Even though you had admin rights?

Linux lets you do anything. That’s the great benefit of usually logging in as user. If you login as the root, the OS assumes you know what you’re doing. Once you become root, everything is allowed.

2. Linux isn’t widely used

This is a paradox. We often complain Linux isn’t more widely used. But that’s one of the reasons we use it. It gives us a feeling of being a special clique. Like we’re better than “those ignorant masses”.

If Linux becomes widely used, we’ll probably switch to something else. Or at least develop an obscure distro that only we will use. Because, let’s face it, we want to feel special.

3. Linux is free (as-in-speech)

We can get the source code for all our applications. If we want to know how a certain part of the OS works, we can. This lets us tweak and play with our systems. And we absolutely loo-o-o-ve tweaking our system.

Of course we can’t tell non-Linuxers we use Linux because it’s fun – they’d stick us into a mental asylum quicker than you can say “antidisestablishmentarianism”. So we’ll keep telling them the false yet plausible reasons for using Linux. But deep inside, we’ll know the real reason we use Linux.

And maybe, just maybe, next time someone asks me why I use Linux, I’ll flash a huge smile and answer: “Because using Linux is FUN!”

{ 289 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul March 17, 2008 at 20:39

Fun? FUN? What recovering the system etc? You people are lucky to have such time to waste. I just want this effing computer to work – first time every time – that’s enough isn’t it?

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Anonymous April 5, 2012 at 04:16

Then buy a mac

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fuck anon June 13, 2012 at 04:55

buy a windows computer

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Anonymous October 18, 2012 at 02:07

fuck anon start for fuck anonymus? lol the famous windowss/mac war!

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richard March 25, 2014 at 09:23

I agree with this post that Linux is fun, but that does not mean that we have to tinker with it, until it breaks. If you don’t over tinker it is more reliable than even Mac. And still much more fun. As for MS-Windows Professional that is usable, but frustrating. As for Windows Vista and 8, they are like some one has been over tinkering with them, and even a full reinstall will not fix them. I have not even covered home editions.

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Dequesto October 29, 2013 at 08:51

If you’re simple user, you don’t know how much fun you can get from linux! Linux is fully customisable!!! I’m computer guy, and i know how much fun is learning system recover etc! It’s a fun experience!

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Anonymous March 17, 2008 at 20:58

Yup, … some of us ultimate Linux geeks use a LFS type distro (I use Gentoo) so they can sit around and watch the system compiling … then we wait a couple days … update the system sources and watch the system compiling.

Emerging beats the stuff on TV.

Bash scripts !!! … try that on Windows.

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Anonymous October 25, 2011 at 12:09

Same over here!

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MNiles March 17, 2008 at 21:00

It’s “fun” in the way that building a car from a kit, or changing out a transmission is fun. Are we going to convince the folks who lease a new Ford Taurus every 2 years that it’s fun? No. Do we want to? No.

Will we still keep using Linux? HELL YEAH!

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alizard March 17, 2008 at 21:25

hey, Paul

If you really have a Windows setup that works “first time, every time”, contact Microsoft and let them know how you did it. You’ll probably be able to pick up a few thousand in consulting fees, given that you’ve done something with Windows (presumably by accident) that they can’t do.

If you think running Windows means you never have to back up your computer, you’ve been very, very lucky.

I assume that you don’t make a living with your computer. I make one with mine and I literally can’t afford significant downtime.

I have had my hard drive go down as a Linux user. I was back up in a few minutes with the backup hard drive… and I didn’t have to fight with WGA to get it to run. A few minutes later, I had a warranty claim in with Maxtor.

I back up 3x a week. All I have to do to run my backup is to pop in the backup drive, a customized Knoppix CD boot disk and double-click a couple of times once the computer has booted… and come back in 15 minutes.

For Linux users – this is how to set up mobile rack mirror drive backup or archive to DVD:
http://linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/tutorials/6391/4/
http://linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/tutorials/6391/1/

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Scott March 17, 2008 at 22:36

The only reason I take exception to is that nobody is using it.

I wish everyone were. Linux would be better as a result.

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Dequesto October 29, 2013 at 08:53

You’re wrong!

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RatchetWrench January 31, 2014 at 12:19

I have to agree with you, Dequesto. If Linux becomes as popular as M$ Windows and Crapple, then we wont have the upper-hand anymore. I like the way things are right now. We can easily opt-out of the OS wars. We go un-noticed. Most of my friends will point to my laptop with tons of compiz effects enabled and go “how do I get that?” then they say “whats a ‘Linux?” Childsplay I say. But the more popular it becomes, the more vulnerable it gets aswell. It would be irritating having all the 13 year old punk “know-it-all’s” running a system so secure and robust as this without taking a second thought. although it would be entertaining to see kiddies on the playground arguing which distro is the best. Just my two cents though.

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daniel1992 March 17, 2008 at 23:36

Wow, that is quite possibly the best explanation for our using Linux I’ve ever heard. Be assured I will be showing this article to many friends.

Daniel

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Chacon March 18, 2008 at 03:05

Hi! Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC5uEe5OzNQ you will see a linux box running with beryl at really full throttle, in real overdrive and smooth and nice! I hope you enjoy it as I did and do!

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Anonymous March 18, 2008 at 10:14

Hi,

of course it’s fun tinkering with your system. Though this is no privilege of Linux. After using Free Software for so many years now, these things are not just fun — they are a habit. Nowadays, if someone asks me to run “his” proprietary programme on my system, I merely can answer with a sceptical face. The idea of doing this has become so strange by now for me:) Unbelievable it was so common some years ago.

I mean, c’mon, someone expects me to let my machine execute his commands instructions and I can’t have any insight or the opportunity to change them to my needs? Ridiculous.


Thanks to all contributors of Free Software for raising such awareness

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bert800 March 18, 2008 at 11:31

i loved game computers like c64 amiga and the likes, but early 1990 i had to opt for intel/dos based machines to get a job. There was not much fun in that. 5 years later i ran my first slackware2 distro on a 486. The prison bars of windows gone, the network where it supposed to be, back to fun and doing whatever you want with your machine whenever you want it.
If microsoft were to produce cars, we would see an east-germany like situation with everybody driving in a Trabant, often at the side of the road.

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Anonymous March 18, 2008 at 13:21

this is GNU/Linux, not Linux.
GNU and Free Software Movement made and makes it what is today.

The Greatest of the Great is FSM.

that is what can make GNU/Linux so superb; no other thing can compete with a such thing.

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Anonymous March 18, 2008 at 14:17

same reason i ride a fixed gear bike.

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raran2099 March 18, 2008 at 14:48

The comments were as fun to read as the original post. As a long-time MCSE (oh hush, a man has to make a living) the one comment that has really stuck out is ‘if the GUI can’t do what the command line can, the GUI is not good enough”. Amen. I had a heathkit in the Army 25 years ago. Linux takes me back to those days. Once I bought a trash=80, heaven. Standing on the shoulders of giants…

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Anonymous March 18, 2008 at 17:14

Linux IS the perfect geek toy. Believe me I’ve got plenty of them myself and plan to build more. But I think one of my second biggest reasons (it may actually by my biggest) is that it’s not MS.

I strongly feel that the geek/tech crowd gets a heady sense of ‘rebellious’ accomplishment in NOT conforming to the MS model and still coming up with something that performs as well if not better than the “commercial standard”. There’s something about the fact that MS can no longer force us to do things
their way that just feels good.

“The man” might have billions of dollars in the bank, but we’re sticking it to him anyway.

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Anonymous March 18, 2008 at 18:11

While I use WinXP at work, I also use Ubuntu on a second computer. It’s as reliable as XP, and allows me the flexibility to do things I can’t easily (or freely) do on Windows.

A big part of why I use Linux is that the applications are free, and easily installed or removed. Windows seems to accumulate “cruft” that slows down the system over time. Linux doesn’t seem to have that problem. I can surf without worrying about malware drive-by installs on Linux. Though I have an install disk for XP, I also like the fact that Linux installs are straightforward, and don’t require “authorization” or approval from any third party. I can install it on any PC I want, as many times as I want, without any guilt at all.

At home, it’s Linux for me, though my wife still prefers XP, because she doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of “different”. My daughter is happy with Linux, but still wishes it would run iTunes.

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daemox April 26, 2011 at 20:04

iTunes runs quite well under CrossOver Office, probably Wine as well. Though, there are better alternatives at this point. :) Amazon’s MP3 store comes to mind.

With that said, I saw excerpts from this post from here: http://i.imgur.com/jqIcv.jpg and just had to find the original author. Really well said sir! I’ll likely be doing a news article about this post in the not too distant future.

Take care!
daemox´s last post ..Sick Beard Install- Setup- &amp Configuration Guide for Ubuntu &amp Linux Mint!

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Anonymous March 18, 2008 at 18:31

This rings true, and whats worse, I’ve actually tried to convince people of this fact. They look at me like I’m insane.

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tatica March 18, 2008 at 19:17

that’s my case too…!! adoro ser usuaria linux… I love to be a linux user… in fact you should add “if you are a girl… you are even more special” :D
great post!

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Anonymous March 18, 2008 at 19:40

“Linux goes out of it’s way to get our of your way. Windows goes out of it’s way to be Windows and enforce the Windows way.”

^^ That’s why I use Linux.

Although the tweaking part is 2nd only by a VERY narrow margin.

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shawn March 18, 2008 at 19:42

you know i was going to leave some long rant, but all i am going to say now is….command lines woot!

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mrrain March 18, 2008 at 21:29

I use it because it makes me feel free..
Nothing that dictates what I can do and not, I can do just anything!

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Wokm4n March 19, 2008 at 00:46

dude that’s just awesome. You’re absolutely right IMHO

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Vyder March 19, 2008 at 05:26

Hear hear!

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Chad March 19, 2008 at 06:33

We use linux at LogicWeb for our web hosting servers. It is indeed secure and a great o/s, especially for server production environment. I use Ubuntu and occasionally Open Suse at home. It is indeed fun to tinker with.
***
LogicWeb…http://www.logicweb.com

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Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 06:53

A few questions for you Linux fans:

Out of 100 computer users, how many have the skills, time and desire to tweak a system using command lines?

Out of 100 linux users, how many own a dual boot to Windows machine or other computer with a Win OS?

Out of the 200+ posts here, how many came from a machine running linux?

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Anonymous May 2, 2012 at 01:03

Command line is fast, but hard to use in the begining.. If you know the commands, you don’t have to look around at the menus, it’s fast.
I’m a linux only user (archlinux), I have everything here.

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Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 07:27

A few questions for Linux evangelists:

What % of computer users have the skills, knowledge, time and desire to tweak configuration files and read man pages to get a system running?

What % of Linux users also own a Windows system – either dual boot or standalone?

What % of posters here did so from a linux box?

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Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 09:40

What % of posters here did so from a linux box?

This is the only question where you can hope to get an reproducible answer here. Ask Vlad if he can send you the server logfiles. Then chart them and post your outcomings here to discuss.

—-
s.g.

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Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 11:00

>>We use Linux because we fucks!
fixed

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Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 11:01

>>We use Linux because we fucks!
fixed

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leila March 19, 2008 at 16:15

I’m a Danish woman of nearly 68
- years old and I use Linux. No geek or nerd but I just love it. The Evolution is a much better mail system than Microsoft and the Mozilla is also better.

Another wonderful thing is, that it is so much faster when opening my pc. Microsoft just takes forever. The picture program Gimp is very simple to use.

Have a happy Easter.

Leila

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twobitvision March 20, 2008 at 04:28

All I can say is CHEERS!

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Anonymous March 21, 2008 at 22:26

If everobody will use Linux some will switch to open-sourced Windows… ;)

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Anonymous March 22, 2008 at 05:50

/standing ovation

They say the console is not GUI, but what do I see? That window bar right there: “
“jeff@~/”.

Console = Power = Fun

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Djo March 24, 2008 at 21:58

Tell it, brother !
:D

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Anonymous March 26, 2008 at 02:26

I could not agree more, an excellent article. Linux IS fun, I tinker with it just like I used to do with my old jalopy in college (unfortunately we can’t do that with our “modern” autos, maybe we need a linux based car next!). Thanks for the good read . ;-) Bob

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Anonymous March 26, 2008 at 03:01

I myself enjoy tinking with linux, i am still very much a noob and have became very interested in the chmod and chown commands which i used at one point to kill the system by changing owners ship of a few core files :p. Orignially though i got into linux because there was free and secure distros and am currently focusing on Kubuntu.

Unfortuantely I can’t go full linux yet as i still need windows to run 3Ds Max 8 and adobe photoshop CS3. Those i can’t seek alternatives to seeing as my current classes in college focus specificaly on them. Be co0l if Cedega 6.0 or wine could run them. (not sure with Cedega yet but wine don’t currently.).

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Anonymous March 26, 2008 at 23:13

I like FreeBSD, use it everywhere and my laptop uses PCBSD the nearest thing to a Linux-like ready-to-run ‘distro’ for FreeBSD. Give PCBSD a try, folks!

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Christopher April 7, 2008 at 00:42

So true. When I screw something up, it pisses me off but it’s still the most fun I ever have with my computer. Errors in Windows make me feel emasculated, errors involving unix-based systems are more adventurous and let me be my computer’s hero.
I also love to oogle the zoo of different distros being developed for different reasons. I like the idea of OS diversity. Shouldn’t there be different operating systems for different uses and different people? I love seeing Linux for pen drives, Linux to mimic Windows, Linux to learn, Linux for “usability.”(as defined by that particular team) Keep em coming, I say.

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Victor Zamanian April 9, 2008 at 10:26

Ever tried stopping a process in Windows and the OS wouldn’t let you?

Hell yeah! But I’ve also run into that problem a lot on Linux, but of course less frequently (although not a lot less).

Amen to what you said about using the command-line though. Boy is it ever fun! And to automate tiresome processess with bash scripts!

[ $bashScripting = "rules" ] && echo “Hell yeah it rules! || echo “You’re dead to me.”

:D

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r000n April 13, 2008 at 10:39

Excellent. Translated into russian

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Stufkan April 16, 2008 at 16:07

You are sooooo right :)

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Anonymous April 19, 2008 at 17:47

Conceptual Integrity. It does what you expect, the way you expect it to.

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Anonymous May 2, 2008 at 12:13

you know the funny thing is im a non linuxer… yet since ubuntu came out i cant get my mind off getting my hands on it. in my opinion the reason people don’t readily switch to linux can be related to the facts spread about it just as much as to what it actually is. people are afraid of change and when they hear that lunx is all about change they just seem to shy away from it. i get it from a lot of people.. why dont you use linux i ask.. because theres too much to learn..
if they do dig into windows they’ll find that what is there to be learned in linux is simply there in windows as well.. the OS fundamentals remain the same. just the way to get there is a little different. people are simply lazy to get out there and i think its safe to blame Windows for that as well(i just had to do that :P)
in my case i don’t have Ubuntu simply because i have been sharing my pc with my sister who is getting married and heading out in a few months which means i’ll be having the entire PC to myself. time for a format and a new OS.. :)

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Jhon May 8, 2008 at 05:04

That is very nice article.This provides very good information about linux.Sometimes we loss our linux data because deleted accidentally or due to software malfunction or virus attack and you can’t access the particular file. I have linux data recovery software that provides easy and powerful data recovery solutions.

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Amaroq May 11, 2008 at 10:04

A friend of mine pressured me into installing Windows again so we could game together. I begrudgingly agreed in the end, but I dual booted linux and windows XP, rather than full on windows.

Of course, I’ve got an old IBM Netvista with i815 onboard graphics. No wonder I’m getting 0.5 frames per second on WoW under WinE. I can at least get 3 frames peer second on Windows.

I tried to stand up to the pressure though with a defense of Linux. But I couldn’t think of anything to say. Windows could play the game better. There’s no way to defend that.

That was Ubuntu though. Now my dual boot is Windows XP and Gentoo. I tried compiling my own kernel, but I get a kernel panic. I must have missed a kernel module I needed or something.

Oh well. I’m building my own computer! Did the research on every part myself and it’s all being shipped right now. I’ll probably do another dual boot on that one, and this time my kernel will work because I’ll understand the computer’s hardware as well as its software.

Anyway, I will refer this article to my friend in any future windows vs linux debates. It’s just fun like that. Just like building your own computer is fun as well.

I’ve broken my Ubuntu and fixed it on three or four occasions. Nothing more satisfying than knowing you fixed your own system.

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tefiri June 3, 2008 at 18:10

using linux is like watching porn hahaha.

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Dirk Deimeke July 6, 2008 at 19:36

Nice text.

I translated it to German.

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kllvql December 24, 2008 at 08:16

I have to say, I read this article several months ago, laughed, and thought that those were all horrible reasons for using an impossibly frustrating OS. Well, soon after, I started using Ubuntu, and in the past few months, I have had at least 20 separate distros on my computer. I can’t even count the number of partitioning schemes I’ve tried, and I cannot use windows solely based on the fact that bash is so much better than dos prompt. I just want to say, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Thanks for doing what you do.

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Serenity495 December 28, 2008 at 18:32

Wow. This is exactly what goes on in my head! The annoying part is that I have no idea how to tinker with my system, so every time I give in and start trying to customize my Ubuntu, it stops playing my videos or printing essays since I messed it up somehow. Then I bring my computer genius friend and he gets annoyed with me for tinkering with the system and fixes it after about a half hour of fuming. He then messes around with my system and does all the stuff I wanted to do in the first place. Oddly enough, watching him get angry at my stupidity (I used to use Windows XP but changed to Ubuntu due to the slowness and the viruses.) is somehow even more fun than messing around with Ubuntu in the first place! Thanks for the blog! It is somehow changing my mind from pessimistic (I will fail this test, I will lose the game, it’s no worth trying…) to optimistic (I’m not completely there yet.). Thanks again!

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Anonymous January 7, 2009 at 08:40

its so freaking true. its entertaining doing a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge sudo command and watching the programs fly onto your comp or typing fortune or apt get moo and all the other easter bugs hidden for my entertainment.

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why I love linux, but would buy a Mac. January 30, 2009 at 06:24

The first time I used Linux at College, the system actually froze on me. LoL. It was Fedora Core 5, I think. I do like Linux, but I can’t break from Windows. If one or two more programs were available on Linux I’d just move.
I’m thinking of gong to Mac next, it has a UNIX base now. And the command line we all *LOVE* so much. <3

I’m not moving to Vista or Windows 7. My reason for picking Mac is because I like to use iTunes. I have to have it. LoL! Its also got a Geek culture around it.
Windows is become TOO user friendly to the point of your needing to not know anything. How do you admin a computer that works with out a reason. No one wants to move to what is being advertised as an “Idiot proof OS”!

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lady_D March 30, 2009 at 06:24

absolutely agree!
:)
it was really fun after you know how to use it

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mlxvi April 7, 2009 at 02:14

Everything you say is true, however, it is not the reason I use Linux.

I came to Windows from Unix (which came after a long career starting with big iron and punched cards). After a change of jobs took away my Unix access (AT&T licenses were beyond expensive, and I could not justify one on my own) I attempted to make my peace with Windows.

It was like moving from a fine shop were all the tools you needed were not only available, but sharp and clean to a place where old cans of dry paint littered the workbenchs, where there were a few toolboxes filled with an odd assortment of rusty and filthy tools, and you could never find the size you needed.

It was like stepping out of a Lotus Elan S2 into a twenty year old taxicab.

Linux was–and is–my way back into the Unix world. It is stepping into a shop worthy of a craftsman, with every tool you need, plus hundreds–okay, thousands–of tools you may never need, but when you do need one or more of them, they are right at hand, and clean and sharp and ready to use.

It is like driving that clunker of a cab to the recycling center and departing in a Tesla with a full battery.

Yes, it is fun, but I am afraid that the word fun is really not up to the task of describing the feeling; it is the deeply satisfying feeling that comes when you are at one with your tools, and without thinking about it you are able to do an absolutely first class job.

*That* is why I am using Linux.

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Anonymous June 8, 2009 at 20:05

Especially the “breaking the system” part is true for me. After a depressing afternoon I instantly cheered up when X failed to run and I had to gleefully fiddle with the command line to move xorg.conf around.

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Placid Storm November 28, 2009 at 17:13

I am totally new to Linux and using Mandriva 2008. I just got to support the very true fact that I have more fun tweaking everything than I do actually using it. But with everything Linux can do why use windows at all? I mean there are ways to get your games to work in Linux along with every other Windows Program so just convert everyone. Now I am starting to make it sound like a religious cult. Anyway have fun and enjoy the true OS. An Operating System should operate the way you really want it to.

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vancou December 6, 2009 at 15:47

nice article… you speak from my heart :)

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Nacho Jordi April 12, 2010 at 13:12

I absolutely agree. Great points here. Only one single precision comes to my mind:
Linux is fun BECAUSE it is effective. That should be remarked. Would Linux be fun if it took 5 minutes to boot. Would it be fun to write a script with blue screens attacking you every all the time? Would it be fun to have a slow computer due to antiviruses and the like?
I recently saw Windows 7 in a shop and toyed around a little. Seemingly, everything has been changed of place. I could not even find the hard drive! In Linux everything is more transparent, which also contributes to fun.
…and yes, it is true, I also like to belong to the exclusive-club-of-those-who-know-the-secret… :)
.-= Nacho Jordi´s last blog ..A new way of being positive =-.

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Salem Guy April 22, 2010 at 00:17

Right on. I use Linux Mint 8, with an hp laptop. For two months i worked on getting sound to work in the speakers, and cannot express the satisfaction in solving such a small problem. Linux IS fun!

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Anonymous April 23, 2010 at 10:59

I think you might be on to something…
This migth be why I installed Arch-linux over Mint-linux last week…mint “just worked”…no more fun…
Arch just booted to a command-line…guaranteed weeks of fun :-)

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Yaro Kasear July 30, 2010 at 16:43

I dunno, a few of those reasons are legit for me.

I don’t use Linux because it’s free as in freedom, but free as in beer. I also use it because it really does kick Windows and OS X’s ass.

I do agree about the command line. I find myself annoyed when Windows blogs say stuff like “and you don’t even have to open the command line!” You know… as if opening the command like was like stabbing your PC in the heart.

This is one of the many reasons why Linux will always be more useful as a server or supercomputer cluster than Windows. Windows is too busy growing and taking more RAM or space rather than actually improving itself.

1. Well, sometimes even root can’t do something. Usually only just in the case of some resource not actually under the control of the current machine. Your local root user likely won’t have much luck making changes to anything on a remote computer even if it’s accessible “natively” from the local computer. Think NFS for a second. The client machine’s root, despite the files being mounted as part of a local filesystem, CANNOT OPERATE ON THE FILESYSTEM UNRESTRICTED.

Also, SELinux is also effective at controlling root as well. Mandatory Access Control takes things beyond simple file ownership and brings it all the way up to actually asking if the current user should be allowed to do something. Even root can be restricted, though root still has full control over SELinux’s rules. SELinux operates from within the kernel itself, which goes beyond root.

2. Mostly I’m neutral on this one. I generally don’t give a shit if Linux is popular or not, since it has no effect on how well it works. However, I do try to get people to switch when an opportunity presents itself. I usually say to Mac users who say they escaped from problems that are purely Windows problems and not PC problems something along the lines of “you wasted over $1000 on a lesser solution to a problem you could have easily fixed for free AND kept your current computer.” In short, I tell them they committed an economically flawed solution to an expensive problem. However, some people don’t like Linux after trying it. So I switch them back to Windows.

3. Nope. I subscribe to the Linus Torvalds philosophy of open source: THERE IS NO REAL MORAL DILEMMA IN LICENSING OF SOFTWARE, I DO OPEN SOURCE BECAUSE IT IS SIMPLY SUPERIOR TO PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE. Get that? The only evil in proprietary software was invented by Richard Stallman to further his political movement. I don’t use Linux because it is GPL at all. I use it because it’s been made superior by lots of people because it’s source code is available to them. My sister doesn’t use Linux for this reason either. Most EVERYONE I’ve switched to Linux couldn’t give three shits about the philosophy behind the GPL. And as I said, Linus HIMSELF said he didn’t give three shits what RMS thinks about free software.

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Christopher August 13, 2010 at 10:35

What an entertaining read! Thanks Vlad. I am pleased to add my own happiness…

I, too, use Linux because … it’s FUN. It has made the computer fun again. In my 30 years of using computers, I have tried to have fun with them. Sure, it was fun in the beginning: VIC20, Commodore 64, CoCo, and a couple others. Then came the numbing, the PC and DOS, and the hard climb that was Windows, from the first versions right up to XP (the last version I would ever purchase, and subsequently give away). Finally, out of sheer frustration and curiousity, I made the move to Linux. Oh what a ride! You mean I can DO that? I can do that HOW many ways? ..and it’s OK? Really? Yippee!

It just makes me giddy when I think about how smoothly my systems operate now, and have for years on end, uninterrupted, no viruses, no fuss, and virtually no drivers to load myself. I haven’t seen a blue screen in my home for years. Linux has freed me from “the before”. I am now in the year 5 A.L. (After Linux). The blue in my windows is … real sky! (Not just a picture of sky)

When someone asks me, “Where is your Start button?” I just smile, giggle inside, and tell them: “I don’t suffer anymore. I don’t use that. You don’t have to use that either. I use Linux. You can use Linux too.” In fact: I use Linux for my servers. I use Linux for my desktops. I use Linux for my laptops. I use Linux for my routers. I use Linux for my home theatre. I even use Linux for my phones. Yes, my phones! Tee hee.

Just recently, I felt like the “King of Fun Times” when my wife said, with a voice of bold confidence: “I loaded Linux! I’m a Linux Girl!” I was so proud! She even played Freecell on the same computer WHILE loading it.

Oh, what fun and laughter there is, even when something goes horribly wrong. Last month I had a motherboard burn out. Yes, years ago I would have cringed, and worried about the downtime. I would have felt despair at the inevitable blue screen that reminds us of how the EULA has confined us, trapped inside a HAL locked with WGA. I’m still trying to understand how they justify that “A” part. I breathed a sigh of relief, and laughed out loud, for I am no longer a prisoner of duress. I said “Wheeeee!” and pulled out the faulty motherboard, put in the replacement, and booted up as easily as I had crashed. It was as if nothing had changed. “Woohoo!” My only downtime was the 5 minute trip to a local retailer to bring home the new board, and the 15 minutes it took to change it. I wasn’t even down for a single, complete hour. I didn’t have to reload my operating system. I didn’t have to type in my activation key … AGAIN. I didn’t have to brute about retrying activation only to see that it won’t work because it doesn’t recognize my network card automatically. I didn’t have to place a desperate phone call and listen to them say how much faster it is to activate over the internet when I couldn’t get there in the first place. And I certainly didn’t have to convince anyone that I wasn’t a software pirate. It just worked. Ahhhhh. Hey, I even saved money; since I didn’t have to buy Windows the last time, I used that budget money for the new board, and I’m ahead.

Oh! The joy! “sudo apt-get install vice” … and if I just happen to feel like it today “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade” … not to mention I can surf while doing it. La la la!

I have only used Linux, realistically, for about 5 years. It’s all Mark’s fault. When he told me that my file server could have a web server, mail server, DHCP server, DNS server, FTP server, and still do all the things it did before, and that it was all included without having to buy extra add-ons, and it would run for months or years at a time WITHOUT needing a restart, then I had to ask him to prove it and show me. That son-of-a-gun did too, he sure showed me. Finally, when “uptime” showed me 741 consecutive days, I sighed and powered off … to change a worn-out cooling fan. He was right. Grrrr.

I press the power button and wait a horrifying, unacceptable 25 whole seconds before I’m e-cursing Mark on Thunderbird for ever introducing me to Linux. Sarcasm? Why, yes, it is. When I’m done with my workstation for the day, I press the power button again, and laugh as I count down: 4, 3, 2, 1 … oh it’s off. Huh. 4 seconds? Huh. Perhaps I missed something? Nope, it’s off. Look at that! It shut down immediately after I told it to. Awww, but I miss getting stuck at “Please wait while your computer shuts down … installing update 1 of 34 …”. I like waiting for half an hour of updates when I want my computer to power off so I can leave, while my wife honks the horn because she’s tired of waiting in the car, getting hungry because I’m supposed to be out there taking her out for supper, all because I pressed “Shut Down” … not.

How many of my customers now have Linux servers? I stopped counting. How many of my customers have saved thousands in software purchases, licensing, and maintenance costs compared to previous years? I stopped counting.

And, happily, in answer to “Anonymous”
- I didn’t have to tweak config files to get up and running; it loaded with a few clicks
- I don’t own a Windows system, dual-boot OR stand-alone; quite thankfully
- when I posted this joyful note, I certainly DID so from a Linux box, didn’t you?
Why are you still suffering?

As I post tonight, having read all the comments of other happy Linux users, I smile and give a virtual wave. It’s comforting to know how many of us there are. It’s reassuring to know that the only windows in this house are made of glass.

I think I’ll fire up Rhythmbox and do the dance of joy.

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tom January 23, 2011 at 18:22

Independence!
Being dependent on a big company sucks. Even if I like their product (osx for example), I still HATE being dependent on them and at their mercy when it comes to compatibility issues.

It is REALLY NICE to have other options.

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labc October 24, 2011 at 08:55

so true!

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Dick Quinchia December 3, 2011 at 20:58

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Phyllis Sprain December 4, 2011 at 12:24

Many people will agree with this article whoever many other’s will not agree. Anyway I appreciate your work here.

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Freakie January 17, 2012 at 04:53

I can actually say antidisestablishmentarianism pretty fast…

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bugger February 4, 2012 at 02:03

Linux means nothing to me – if not Android…

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Anonymous March 20, 2012 at 03:12

Oh I LOVE this article.
Absolutely! :))

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mostafa May 3, 2012 at 20:54

Linux is not only a OS But is a culture.

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scribbler May 8, 2012 at 07:21

“What % of computer users have the skills, knowledge, time and desire to tweak configuration files and read man pages to get a system running?”

Well, at one point, all computer users did. Computer OS’s used to be insanely flexible, allowing for automation and scripting that made lengthy, repetetive tasks a breeze. No, not everyone was an ace programmer, but everyone knew how to get work done using commands and loopbacks. Yes, there were GUIs, but everyone knew that actions were merely visual representations of commands.

Now, Microsoft and its ilk have convinced millions of people that they’re stupid when it comes to computers and have fostered a sense of toxic co-dependency. People aren’t stupid or inept. The system is too complicated. I would suggest switching to Linux for so many people, but that comes with its own set of headaches because of pig-headed decisions to keep drivers closed to quell dissent.

I’m not an evangelist for any system. I only demand that users wake up and demand that hardware and software alike be set free.

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Anonymous August 6, 2012 at 07:37

I used to have a dual Linux/XP boot PC in my first days with Linux. Now, I don’t need Microsoft anymore. And yes, it’s true, using GNU/Linux is a lot fun.

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Joe August 16, 2012 at 15:01

While terminal may be fun for the few of you that use Linux, trying to foist it upon the masses isn’t getting you anywhere. Those “stupid MS lemmings” are smarter than you think. As a Windows based developer switching to Rails on Ubuntu I find the setup process a comical joke. If my boss knew how much time it was taking to get the right packages and gems I might be fired (if it weren’t for his decision). To fix a problem I ended up on a Chinese website that had the command line I needed. I’m sorry, how is that faster? I haven’t even gotten to the point of doing actual work yet. One of my jobs is web design, GOOD web design which is all about GUI interfacing. A good UI abstracts out API cruft and exposes the functions in an intuitive visible interaction for humans. Going terminal is ignoring the powerful connection between the occipital lobe and frontal cortex. It’s like throwing away all the research on human machine interaction for the last 3 decades. It’s ignorant. Writing programs for developers, fine, but a terminal will NEVER be something people want when a visual representation exists. That’s not lazy, it’s the design of everyday things. Go RTFM. But feel free to ignore all of that and feel good about yourself because you can do something few other people can do. Nazis: your argument is invalid.

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Thomas August 22, 2012 at 09:34

Sure, visual perception is the most important route for humans to gain information. That is why GUIs are so powerful. But the human intellect also strongly depends on the ability to communicate via language. Complex communication is better done by using language than by using pictures. The terminal is a representation of this fact.

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MegaByte October 24, 2012 at 07:08

Superb

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konaya November 6, 2012 at 15:58

GNU/Linux is a great timesaver. I once had a pretty major disk crash where my system drive basically broke down, physically. Luckily, since it was a desktop computer my /home partition was on a drive of its own (basically, if one can afford and fit another drive for /home yet doesn’t, one’s an idiot.) Since I had plans on switching distros anyway, I ran down to the store, bought a new drive, popped it in, installed, put an entry for my /home drive in fstab, made myself a user with matching UID etc, and booted up. All my files, program settings, everything was right where it was moments before the crash. Firefox recovered my tabs, and I didn’t even time-out my session on my Internet bank! Definitely the smoothest disk crash I’ve ever had.

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Rob December 2, 2012 at 05:20

Linux is the Best OS i ever used if my life, if i was on life support hook up to a pc using linux i am in safe hands but if it had windows i prob be dead by now from malware and viruses slowing down the PC bottom line linux gets the job done!

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Paul March 9, 2013 at 04:02

Been on linux for about 5 years now! Best thing I ever did, sure there is a learning curve: remembering what you forgot from the early days.
I even have my Burmese maid using Fedora on her computer and she loves it! All she needs is to play music, chat, take photos and watch movies!
I distro hopped for a couple of years before I finally settled on Fedora as it just suits me.

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Robert Van April 1, 2013 at 23:32

I’m a fan of Linux because it is so much faster and more elegant than Windows. I’ve experimented with around 30 distros to date since 2003, ranging from tiny 10MB distros that boot in a second to specialized OSes built for low energy consumption. I’ve also built special silent computers just to run Linux, such those built on the ITX form factor. Again, the word “elegance” pops into my head. And, somehow Linux automatically adjusts to different hardware, so you can move your boot drive among machines (whether a USB drive, SATA drive etc). The only thing I really hate is that WINE and VirtualBox don’t always run everything I want, and the software libraries tend to be really shallow for the kinds of software I use. Contrary to public perception the LibreOffice and OpenOffice suites are not fully MS compatible, and I almost lost a job over what they did to my company’s spreadsheets. But still, any usability problem is really more me, not Linux. I’m an all-or-nothing type. I attempted to replace all my Windows machines with Linux in the home over a 2-year period and I just could not quite do everything in Linux. So I found I had to have mixed operating systems again, and at that point it just was not worth having Linux around and switching. But I miss Linux sooo badly. Someday, I will be running it again. Even Windows 7 with all its improvements is still annoying, and Windows 8 just makes me want to put my head in a hole like an ostrich.

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Robert Van April 1, 2013 at 23:37

I have a friend who somehow has the ill of luck to constantly get infected with virii despite repeated reloads and updates of AVG etc. I’ve tried to get him to run Linux for the extremely basic computing that he does, but in a panic, he refuses, saying “the buttons are shaped different” or “it will be hard to learn.” Sigh. If only I could get him using xPUD. It’s basically a tiny Ubuntu with a browser. Total size, about 55mb. Try virusing that!

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Matt behnken January 25, 2014 at 05:19

I use Linux Ubuntu on my new Chromebook because for college I have to use Eclipse to write Java ( i know, i know) I messed with Logmein and Team viewer and the like but after dual booting chrome os and Ubuntu I’ll never go back. Ha I thought I’d only be using Linux when I wanted to use Eclipse now I never switch back to Chrome OS!

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Radcliffe January 27, 2014 at 02:09

The only regret I have with using Gnu/Linux is I didn’t start doing this 20 years ago. If there was a “Like” button on this blog just about every comment would get one.

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