What is the coolest thing you can do using Linux that you can’t do with Windows or on a Mac?

Someone asked me this recently. I don’t have just one answer. I compiled a list of things I thought of and emailed it to my friend…then I thought I would post it here for future reference. Feel free to add to the list! There is also a forums thread on the same topic, that I remembered as I complied my thoughts, so I stole some of the ideas posted there.

1. Upgrade to the newest version legally and without paying money
2. Have the latest version of the operating system run faster than the previous version on the same hardware
3. Easily install and run different graphical interfaces if I don’t like the default setup
4. Install twenty programs with one command
5. Have the system automatically update all my installed programs for me.
6. Install the same copy of my OS (Ubuntu) on multiple computers without worrying about license restrictions or activation keys
7. Give away copies of the operating system and other programs that run on it without breaking any laws, governmental or ethical or moral, because it was all intended to be used this way
8. Have full control over my computer hardware and know that there are no secret back doors in my software, put there by malicious software companies or governments
9. Run without using a virus scanner, adware/spyware protection, and not reboot my computer for months, even when I do keep up with all of the latest security updates
10. Run my computer without needing to defragment my hard drive, ever
11. Try out software, decide I don’t like it, uninstall it, and know that it didn’t leave little bits of stuff in a registry that can build up and slow down my machine
12. Make a major mistake that requires a complete reinstallation and be able to do it in less than an hour, because I put all of my data on a separate partition from the operating system and program files
13. Boot into a desktop with flash and effects as cool as Windows Vista on a three year old computer…in less than 40 seconds, including the time it takes me to type my username and password to login
14. Customize anything I want, legally, including my favorite programs. I can even track down the software developers to ask them questions, contribute ideas, and get involved in the actual design/software writing process if I want to
15. Have 4+ word processor windows open working on papers, listen to music, play with flashy desktop effects, have contact with a largely happy community and have firefox, instant messaging, and email clients all open at the same time, without ever having had to beg someone for a code to make my os work, and without the system running so slow it is useless
16. Use the command “dpkg –get-selections > pkg.list” to make a full, detailed list of all software I have installed, backup my /etc and /home directories on a separate partition, and you are able to recover your system any time, easily
17. Run multiple desktops simultaneously, or even allow multiple users to log in and use the computer simultaneously
18. Resize a hard disk partition without having to delete it and without losing the data on it
19. Use the same hardware for more than 5 years before it really needs to be replaced…I have some hardware that is nearly 10 years old, running Linux, and still useful
20. Browse the web while the OS is being installed!
21. Use almost any hardware and have a driver for it included with the operating system…eliminating the need to scour the internet to find the hardware manufacturer’s website to locate one
22. Get the source code for almost anything, including the OS kernel and most of my applications

I could go on, but that’s long enough. 🙂

EDIT on 11 March 2010: This post is now quite old. My friend Popey has a newer post with more current thoughts at http://popey.com/blog/2010/03/11/why-ubuntu-is-better-than-windows/

190 thoughts on “What is the coolest thing you can do using Linux that you can’t do with Windows or on a Mac?

  1. great list

    I just love X11Forwarding
    ssh -X -C1 mydesktopIP -l username
    means I can run any app on my new EeePC that’s installed on my desktop and it will open/save on my desktop.
    Don’t even type a password if you use "ssh-keygen -t rsa". So if I lose my laptop I wont lose any important data.

    Also great documentation with the man command.

  2. manfred, it’s hysterical that you decided to post that. I’m truly amused. You always were a joker!

  3. "9. Run without using a virus scanner, adware/spyware protection, and not reboot my computer for months, even when I do keep up with all of the latest security updates"

    It was recently revealed that a large portion of the Storm botnet is running on rooted Ubuntu boxes. Good luck…

  4. Windows runs for months on end without reboots, and I have not found an adware, virus, or other malware in over 5 years. All of my programs, even expensive corporate editions, are updated automatically all by themselves the instant an update is available. I could, of course, download a free program to do it like Linux, but that’s slow and illogical. Multiple desktops, multiple simultaneous users, easy as pie. Run live from pendrive? Yep. Delete software without a trace left behind? Of course. There is a free Windows program to do everything you have ever done on linux – Plus 500,000 programs you can never have. Basically, your list comes down only to the fact that Linux is free. If it was as stable, useful, and enjoyable to use as Windows, you’d have a good point. Does Linux automatically move particular files from any location to the location of your choosing? How about move files to another partition is it gets crowded? Can you buy any piece of hardware, electronics, or software in the free world and use it right out of the box with no help from anyone? If Linux os so wonderful, why is it that (a) most people who try it (like me) can’t find a reason to keep it, (b) in 15 years of constant use, it’s still nearly unused by the public and business, and (c) you have to keep making these pages to promote it?

  5. I’m sure Linux is a fantastic OS deserving much praise, but from your list… at least these, and probably others, are also possible on a Mac: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 21

  6. Don’t forget cron. It is just the greatest. Oh by the way Dwindle. You are talking to people who have run Windows for years, and I am insulted that you think I could believe that drivel.

  7. Dwindle
    Many of your points are true, There is a huge base of software and devices that run on windows. This is a result of the dominance Windows has had in the market place. But I think you have to admit that Linux and BSD have come a long way without the money machine Microsoft and the tactics used to make it the dominate OS.

    I will argue the point with you that software never deletes from Windows cleanly and if you are the type of user who likes to try and delete you are doomed to restoring the OS in a short period of time.

    Over the years many of the things that Linux thought was once in just their domain has moved into the windows domain and I think that is from the driving force of Linux and the OpenSource movement.

    In my opinion and only in my opinion I feel there is more freeware Opesource programs for Linux than for windows. The quality is a tad better on linux as well. But your point the boat load of COTS is in the windows ring.

    As you point out, FREE is the key. While linux is "free" to use and share and do what you want, many people know that we often "pay" for a version of Linux so we can get some support, like RedHat, Suse and Mandriva. I pay for mine and I think the cost of $60.00 is a lot better then the cost of Windows.

    Your comment of "it’s still nearly unused by the public and business" is dead wrong. You can find that every enterprise ready application runs on linux and you can not find a single fortune 1000 company not running linux to some degree. I work for a large software company (5B revenue) with 17K employees and I can assure you we are moving all windows and Unix applications to Linux where it can. Sure we are not going to replace our AD with Linux (yet) but 90% of our datacenter applications can run on Linux as the vendor supports them there and that is where we are headed. The money we spend to the Linux Distro we use is pennies on the dollar to the cost of Windows servers. Support contracts are cheaper as well and the amount of knowledge found in the pubic domain really helps drive the support issues to the point where we can not ignore that linux has moved into the Datacenter and it will also slowly drive to be a place on the desktop. But I do admit that the desktop is a much harder area to get a foothold and will be a challenge.

    But I believe if you look at Linux over the past 5-10 years you will have to admit it sure has come a long way and is growing up FAST. windows is already an old dog that Bill is try to teach new tricks to. Oh sure, it will be here for a long time, but do not poo-poo linux to the side lines.

    Robert

  8. Dwindle: "I have not found an adware, virus, or other malware in over 5 years." – Bullshit. Unless you paid VAST sums for expensive anti-virus etc, In Linux you just don’t think about such things…

    Multiple desktops – Since when? Vista? Enough said…

    "Delete software without a trace left behind? Of course." – Bullshit again. Some may not leave any trace but plenty do.

    "Basically, your list comes down only to the fact that Linux is free." – So what if it does? That means I can afford to own a computer…

    "If it was as stable, useful, and enjoyable to use as Windows, you’d have a good point." – It is in fact MORE stable, useful and enjoyable than windows…

    "Does Linux automatically move particular files from any location to the location of your choosing? How about move files to another partition is it gets crowded?" – If that’s what you want, yes… Personally I don’t want that so mine doesn’t do that, but if I wanted it would…

    "Can you buy any piece of hardware, electronics, or software in the free world and use it right out of the box with no help from anyone?" – No. But neither can you with windows – I’ve had more trouble getting stuff to work in windows than I have in Linux.

    "If Linux os so wonderful, why is it that (a) most people who try it (like me) can’t find a reason to keep it, [EVERY single person I have convinced to TRY Linux has stuck with it, but then they can all use computers to start with…]
    (b) in 15 years of constant use, it’s still nearly unused by the public and business, [A simple matter of most people not knowing what it is, once I explain it to most people and let hem play with my Linux they’re pretty much converted…]
    and (c) you have to keep making these pages to promote it? [See b)]

    Well that’s dwindle dealt with… Next?!
    P.S. Dwindle, how did you miss the one shortfall of Linux?! Tip for next time: There’s not as many games 🙁

  9. One thing is sure with Windows:

    Failure is not an option, It’s built into the operating system.

    Long Live Linux.

  10. Sorry, Linux just doesn’t offer the compatibility I need for the software I enjoy.

    If it did, Windows wouldn’t be around, period.

  11. That’s a great list. My one addition is. You can get the software localized into your own language if you’re willing to do the work.
    For the indigenous and endangered languages need the most and MS and Apple are the unwilling to do it because there isn’t a market for it.

  12. Windows prevails because it’s not a steaming pile like Linux is.

    Sure, linux is good for some things, but time has told that it’s not the best operating system for the masses.

    Bottom line, if linux was as good as these douche fan-boys say it is, windows would have been out of commision YEARS ago… IT ISN’T.

    1million linux guys who hate windows and their shitty websites cant change that.

  13. @Neosapience:
    If Linux was superior in every way to Windows, Windows would still be here.

    Its Marketing, shitty products exist because their marketed better, more people hear about Windows and Macs and the few who do hear of Linux are bombarded with the stereotypes associated with it (Ever hear the joke about Linux users rate of getting laid?).

    If Windows is marketed to people as the best choice out there people are going to buy it.
    I myself think Macs are worse than Windows (I’m not arguing my point, its personal experience through Mac interface that make me despise it including other experiences.) but you try arguing with the people who buy into the Mac Marketing Campaign, its also like the Ipods, sure the Ipods are decent pieces of technology but their overpriced and not nearly the best out in that market, yet for Years now MP3 has meant Ipod to the general public, I’ve had people ask if my Creative Zen is one of those ‘Cheap Ipod MP3 knock-offs’.

    Also, great Article

  14. In This Discussion: Windows Fanboys who don’t understand how the real world works.

    Its like saying Mp3 players are superior to radios so why do radios exist still.

  15. Linux is for people who miss dos.. why would i wanna use a command prompt when I can click a damn icon to do something

  16. I tend to agree with dwindle on the point he raised about viruses. I have not had any adware, virus, or other malware since I changed to Firefox and Thunderbird over 18 months ago. I also do not execute programs that I am not completely sure are safe. I do not use any paid for anti-virus programs and regularly sweep with any number of free substitutes (although they never find anything). The main issue with viruses under windows is that the vast majority of the user base is not computer literate (for both valid and invalid reasons) and I am quite sure that if the Linux user base had the same demographics then the virus, malware problem under Linux would be significantly greater. Furthermore a lot of the advantages that are expoused require a considerable degree of knowledge ("dpkg –get-selections > pkg.list" and "ssh -X -C1 mydesktopIP -l username" are hardly intuitive).

    I buy windows because that is what I program and it has made me a lot of money over the years. How many real world programs have you written TwilightSerenade?

  17. Good list. I would add:

    – a powerful command line
    – a desktop and application translated in my favorite language: Esperanto

  18. I am a mac girl. I have watched my boy friend mess with linux over and over again {ubuntu}. Personally, I have seen him have more problems than I ever want to deal with. Firefox crashing all the time, MAJOR issues with flash and java, as well as the simple fact that there is a lot of software that is not released for Linux.

  19. I use Ubuntu exclusively. Great post, I do disagree with the hardware bit on point 21; that said, I buy hardware that I know is Linux compatible so its a non-issue.
    To those who claim they "know someone" who has trouble with Linux, yeah okay whatever, to those who think that a happy community that promotes this free and liberated OS some how diminishes its usefulness… no worries mates, go ahead and give MS all your money, I’ll spend mine on twin Nvidia 7950gt cards (hehe I did, and yes, it rocks).
    Anyway, great blog man.

  20. Well MrGrogg I just did a scan using Spybot (downloaded setupxv.exe and ran it). It said it picked up 188 viruses. Damn, looks you might be right!!! Fortunately closer inspection reveals 4 registry entries for GameSpyArcade (installed as part of a freeware game demo available for windows only 🙂 ) and 184 tracking cookies (which aren’t really and anyway I am not fussed about).

    This computer has been almost continually used to access the internet and is hardly ever switched off. I also have installed numerous prorams all of which probably have ports open to internet(includes MySQL, SQLServer and Apache).

    Do you really believe that you are the chosen one and that ALL windows users are incapable of accessing the internet without their machines becoming virus sodden book-ends? I wish I was that sure of myself.

    Discussion becoming boring.

    I think I might go and have a game of Oblivion.

    Bye.

  21. Nice list.

    I often get asked why I use Ubuntu/Linux and I find it difficult to articulate it quickly. Maybe we should get that list up to 52 and get a deck of cards made with these on the back. Then when people ask we can just give out one of the cards 🙂

    Hmmm, this comment has been fuelled by red wine. My apologies if it’s full of crack 🙂

  22. ummmm guys? are we forgetting that there are application layers that allow you to run Windows programs on Linux? so there goes another point for Linux. The fact that most business oriented servers, routers, and switches run Linux? I work at a restaraunt and know for a fact that their workstations use a version of linux. (to reitterate a couple business points up there) I’m currently learning the ins and outs of Linux and yes it is a bit stressful to have to learn a whole new OS but in the end it’s free, there’s A LOT of support (IRC is my favorite so far), If anything is worthwile it’s worth learning about. No we’re not bad-mouthing WIndows users (most if not all of us were one at one point or another, we’re just happier with Linux which is why we decide to share our opinion in the hopes that others would join us and learn that Windows and MAC are not the only choices for OSes out there. BTW Mac OSX was built off of a fork of Linux just so you know. It’s in wikipedia somewhere.
    (as a newbie user of Linux that’s just my 2 cents)

  23. I showed this to my girlfriend, who is new to Linux, and she understood every argument. This article is excellent and well written.

  24. games, too much of typing confusing terminal commands that i have no idea what they mean, and the fact that most people dont even know what a linux is, are the only reasons i duel boot my ubuntu with my windows XP. But the only thing i use my windows for now is games and photoshop. thats it.

  25. p.s. you people fight too much about this, but then again its amusing to see all the trolling that goes on XD lmfao at some of this stuff. its a computer, not a religious experience people

  26. Thanks for writing this article.

    I’ve been running linux for 4-5 years, and wouldn’t switch back.

    I’m sure a lot of the things I can do with linux can be done with windows, but when it comes to installing hardware/updates I have to reboot XP every time.

    I have a backup drive that uses rsync to hard link files, and every day it backs up every major portion of my drive in less than an hour, shoot usually 15 min.

    I know you can use rsync on windows, I know you can run apache, mysql, bind, and every other program I run on a .com -from home-

    It’s nice to know that you get all that power under the hood for free.

    It’s nice to know that when you get a 3 ghz machine you’re going to use 3ghz for whatever you’re doing, and not 1 ghz for whatever you’re doing because the other 2 ghz are busy scanning for viruses.

    A friend of mine once said, M$ may have the money, but they don’t have the talent – as far as coders.

    I feel in the end people doing the code for these open source projects are doing it because they love it. It’s a lot like eating a home cooked meal made out of love vs something from a restaurant. Both accomplish the same thing in the end, but the meal made with love is a little better if you ask me.

  27. Interesting post. I think people should concentrate less on the back-and-forth "fan-boy" nonsense and more on the basic idea of what the open-source movement is really about. I use Windows (XP pro & Server 2003), various Linux distros, as well as Mac OS’s (Tiger & Leopard). In all honesty, were it not for the MS monopoly, I would have little use for Windows personally–but as it stands, they maintain dominance in the market, which results in widespread use….keeping me gainfully employed maintaining system functionality and security for multiple departments. I run virtual Windows systems on Ubuntu for testing purposes, but I also got MS Streets & Trips for my b-day last year, which I used frequently, so I keep it around for that too. The power of marketing and "user friendly" interfaces have been MS strong points for a long time. The downside is they release an OS as what is essentially a "beta"….but it’s supposed to be the "stable" release….so we pay the big bucks for this "great new software", only to run into the inevitable bugs that result from pushing out a system with inadequate research and development. We as end users are forced to assume that role, forwarding our complaints to MS. They slowly apply patches and bug fixes over the years, and eventually you get the stable system you should have had years ago. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Windows–every OS has its strengths and weaknesses, and I’m a geek who plays with as many as I have time for. I just think in terms of giving and taking, that MS has done a better job taking customer dollars (and taking advantage of their market share by placing the burden of product development on its customers) than giving us what we paid for up front. Garrowolf made some good points. Open-source operating systems like Ubuntu are released as alpha & beta versions, revised, and when the stable versions come out, they are labeled as such. The point is, if you want to contribute, you download alpha & beta….if you just want the end product, you download the stable release, for free. While some here have indicated that Linux requires a vast knowledge of commands, or that it lacks a GUI, users of Linux systems know different….because they actually use it! The increasing demand for Linux and Unix admins isn’t because businesses "don’t use Linux" either, I assure you. I admit that although distributions like Ubuntu have made great strides in bridging the gap as far as ease of use is concerned, there is still work to be done–and they are hard at work (Hardy Heron alpha release)–but honestly, the average user has difficulty doing what many computer literate users deem trivial, so it’s no surprise that a great deal of ignorance and fear of Linux exists. If there was less OS bashing and more OS sharing, more people would be aware of what Linux is becoming; if more people began using Linux, SW manufacturers would target that market as well–then there’s no reason to argue about anything. Give a live cd to a friend this week, contribute when you can.

  28. @Dwindle:

    Why aren’t people using hydrogen-fueled cars, while they were already available in the seventies? The answer to this question is exactly the same: because of monopoly force of some companies (oil companies, Microsoft). Most people just can’t switch because they need one application that is only suited for Windows.

    Also; Linux IS already in business. Perhaps not on the places you are looking for, but Linux is used a lot on web servers; also look at companies like Adobe, they have some of their applications (Flash plugin and Adobe Reader) for Linux, and if you went to see the Shrek movies; well, they are entirely made on Linux (if you won’t believe me, take look at the extras on the dvd).

    I’m currently using 95% Linux since 1 year, the other 5% is Windows to get some high-end applications to work. So I know Linux first-hand. I also think little of this list: it mainly goes about how free it is, what the legal side of it is; but frankly: most people don’t care. Most people have used Windows and other programs from pirated copies. For propaganda, it’s even better to include some pictures; Windows/Mac side by side with KDE/Gnome. Most people don’t care to read such a long list; especially if it contains such a lot of non-interesting information (to most people).

    The choice for Linux is one that every individual has to make for himself.

  29. I love Linux. I would never go back to just Windows. I can do nearly everything that I could do before better in windows in Linux. Linux is a more powerful system.

    The reason Linux has not replaced Windows yet is not because it wasn’t as good before. In many ways it wasn’t designed with everyday users in mind until the last few years. The reason that there is so much buzz about it now is because of some of the more user friendly distributions like Ubuntu have opened up the market to the average user. Until recently it was more a OS for programmers then for normal users.

    What is astonishing to me is that Linux has taken so much of the market share so quickly. It has had years of technical background but once it was installable and as easy to use for grandmothers as windows then it took off.

    I know that there are plenty of people out there that are afraid to try anything that isn’t the mainstream most common thing. Some people don’t want the choices and power of linux. That is why there is a Mac.

    There is nothing that Windows does that Linux doesn’t do better. HOWEVER not everything is ported over to Linux yet. The high end games companies haven’t created patches or version for Linux for all of those games yet. This will change in the next few years. This doesn’t mean that Windows is doing anything better or more correctly. It is just the default at this point. It is the Game Companies that are the focus of the game portability issues NOT Windows.

    That is like saying if a bunch of famous people lived in Siberia then Siberia would be the best place to live. The games are just living on Windows for the moment.

    Give it a little time and don’t be afraid of something new and different.

  30. @dwindle:

    "Windows runs for months on end without reboots",

    If that is true, why do my Windows servers insist on a reboot every month on patch Tuesday?

    "and I have not found an adware, virus, or other malware in over 5 years"
    Sorry, I find that hard to believe, unless you have no internet connection (maybe that is why windows never asks you to reboot?)
    We run an enterprise level AV and AS, which finds and destroys everything so far, unlike one of the better known (and more expensive) ones we used to use, which let us down quite badly about 4 years ago.

    "All of my programs, even expensive corporate editions, are updated automatically all by themselves the instant an update is available"
    and of course, they never ask you to reboot….
    And another missing entry on the list "update software WHILE IT IS RUNNING"

    Most companies websites, Amazon, Virgin, Google, etc,etc.run on Linux. 85% of the world’s supercomputers run Linux. Even the Toshiba photocopier in my office runs Linux!

    As for Linux not being a pleasure to use, I support a mixed Windows/Linux/Mac network, but at home, I, my wife and my 9 year old grandson all use Linux only and enjoy doing so, it is a breath of fresh air after troubleshooting windows problems all day
    (note:It is the windows part of the mix above that has the most problems)

  31. Ok,

    Windows is made by Microsoft, a multi-billion dollar international corporation with thousands of /paid/ programmers.

    GNU/Linux, made by volunteers all over the world, with the exception of a handful of paid programmers spread over the entire communtity.

    Linux /is/ better. If the same amount of effort that has gone into Windows, went into Linux, Linux would be perfect for anybody.

    But all of Linux’s problems are due to business, not technology.
    Games is a big issue that is raised quite often, well Unreal Tournament 2004 onwards is compatible with Linux. The market for gaming is the largest OS, therefore, until Linux can grab a bigger share, games wont take off for Linux.

    And from a server view, the only reason that there are /any/ Windows servers left is ASP. A rapidly declining language that is being push out of the market by… Linux.

    Yes, Microsoft’s web-child is being killed off by the open source movement. Including a semi-bloated open-source language (PHP). Any decent server is run by Linux. Go to Surf Speedy, one of the largest hosting companies in the world and see what servers they offer. Most will be Linux.

    I am happy using Linux for what I do. And is having the regular user being able to use a computer a /bad/ thing? I can use the terminal with ease. But to be honest, for what the rest of my family do (web, email, simple office stuff) everything is 1) installed 2) have a GUI. If you want to install more software, use the "Add/Remove" entry or synaptic package manager.

    People saying that drivers are an issue obviously have never used Linux. I installed Windows XP on my machine, had to install graphics drivers, network drivers, sound drivers. I installed Gutsy Gibbon, I get a warning about proprietary drivers, I enable the driver and reboot. There all drivers done.

  32. Hello all. I came to this page via "stumble". You know what you are talking about, I know what you’re talking about. Just about everyone else doesn’t. They don’t care either. They just want their computer to play games or run their office. They go into the shop, they tell the "man" what they want, they get windows, their game or whatever with their computer and thats the end of it. Blah Blah, yep fair enough, but the bottom line is that people just done care, they’re going to get the computer that does more stuff.

  33. Anybody who thinks they’ve run a Windows machine regularly for a year or more and hasn’t ever gotten any malware is simply dead wrong – they haven’t looked for it. I challenge anybody with a Windows machine that been running a year or more malware-free to go to http://www.safer-networking.org/ and download, install, and run Spybot Search & Destroy. I absolutely guarantee that if you’ve been using that box regularly for internet access, you’ll find a whole slew of junk installed on it that you had no idea was there.

  34. Oooh! A windows/linux flame fest! Me too!

    Whether or not "linux is better" really depends on what it is you are trying to do.

    A few inaccuracies in the list:
    2) "the operating system" does NOT run faster in the latest release if you include more than just the kernel. I really doubt that a default Gnome 2.x runs faster than a default Gnome 1.x on the same machine.

    3) Easily? Easily? Really? Configuring X is easy? (I know you meant Gnome/KDE/etc, but surely you see my point.)

    5) Only the ones it knows about.

    8) No, you don’t know this. (Unless you run Gentoo and do a full code review before each emerge).

    9) I end up rebooting my linux box much more than my wife reboots her vista.

    9) Only true because you know what you’re doing: stupid users on linux are still stupid. None of my windows machines run regular virus/adware checks; when I do, nothing is ever found.

    11) Again, only true because you know what you’re doing. I’ve had numerous linux programs litter my /etc and .* files with crap that does not get removed on "uninstall". Luckily I know how to remove them, and leftover windows junk.

    15) ? I’ve not noticed a difference on similar hardware for similar programs.

    16) Only if you only use debian packages. Any third party programs will not be found.

    21) Really? I usually have to do much detective work to get my various cameras working, sometimes patching the kernel even.

    *) Nearly everything on the list is far beyond regular users’ capabilities. So, they are not really advantages over windows for mere mortals.

    Note: I only use linux at home, and on nearly all machines at work. I do like linux better, but I understand that its "advantages" aren’t "advantages" for most people who just want to do some work. I can’t image some people I know EVER understanding why X won’t start (or what it is), or why twenty programs need to be installed (one of which fails because a file in /etc needs can’t be merged) when the only need 1 word processor (which doesn’t have all the features they need).

  35. MrGrogg: The malware detectors only ever find cookies on my work laptop (Windows XP). Malware comes from installing stupidly, period. I’ve also never had a virus because I update my software and don’t run every file that implores me to.

    (Note: longtime Linux user here, currently Kubuntu, previously Gentoo, previously etc, etc, etc).

  36. While I agree with most items, I also have the feeling most people just do not care. They use a computer as a tool, to get something done, and they are not the least interested in how it works. To reach these people, you need a short list, and you need to start with a strong argument.

    In fact, number 15, 14 and 11 pretty much cover it for these folks. Plus the point about viruses, but that is something you want your computer not to have, so it is a bit of a difficult argument.

  37. #17 is possible on windows XP.

    I think the real winner is that you can actually get involved with its progress, windows and mac are stuff from companies to consumers, instead Linux and GNU, gnome, KDE are projects from the community for the community, it is our project, remember.

  38. I was just about to translate this post to Arabic when I remembered that trolls will always try to find exceptions and special cases to erect and argue about, I stopped 🙁

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