Things I Can Do In Linux That I Can’t Do In Windows

In my online wanderings I came across this blog post: Things I can do in Linux that I can’t do in windows from dmartin.org. Here’s some of the list:

Update every single piece of software on my system with a single action.

Update nearly everything on my computer without a reboot.

Keep my system secure without software that consumes my system resources, requires my time, and frequently nags me.

Run an entire operating system for free without pirating software, and without breaking the law.

Learn about, support, and appreciate the value of free software.

There are more things on the list and there are heaps of comments from blog readers too, it’s worth a read.

dmartin also said:

When you learn closed-source proprietary software like Photoshop or Office, you have spent your time indenturing yourself to a lifetime of spending $700 every so many years. And the same goes for every company you work for that you insist you need Office or Photoshop. And if you don’t think that your company’s expenses affect your salary, think again.

Conversely, if you take the time to learn open and free systems like Linux, Gimp, or OpenOffice, you now have given yourself a lifetime of perpetually free software. The value of that is quite profound. No more worrying about installing Office on more than one computer and running into activation issues. I have OpenOffice installed on all 5 computers I own, and my flash drive where I can run it on any computer I wish.

I really like this statement, “if you take the time to learn open and free systems you now have given yourself a lifetime of perpetually free software.” This is the kind of argument I can use with my students when they say, “why should I learn this (Linux OS or particular program)?” If you take the time to learn it now you’re the one benefiting the most. You now have skills for using computers, regardless of how much money you’ve got in your pocket. You can also stay up to date with the latest operating system and the very latest software too without having to shell out lots of $$$. A lifetime of free software!

4 Comments

  1. Kevin

    While people can enjoy the ‘free’ as in ‘free beer’ of most free software, its worth noting what the difference is when you decide to ‘pay good money’ to enhance/support ‘free as in freedom’ software. When you or a company pays microsoft, you get the benefit of some of their R&D, their bought software companies and the need to buy new hardware to make it all work. With ‘free as in freedom’ software, you get the chance to pay folks to add your features, to support a local software economy, contribute to improving the software for every users and other things. So if any users can pay someone to work on free software, it’s not something that should be avoided even when most developers do volunteer work.

  2. Kylie

    Hi Kevin
    Thanks for your comment. Yes you’re right there are times to pay hackers and developers for their work. I guess the point I was trying to make was that for my adult students – homeless, low income etc. they can benefit from free software for a lifetime. If they continue to learn then maybe they can go on to contribute to the FOSS community.

    Actually one of my students has done just that because she’s now teaching and providing support for community people who have a Linux computer at home.

  3. Leon Brooks

    Should add… get to live without craven fear of viruses.

    My Missus does some security-crazy things on her (Mandriva Linux) machine, yet it was installed 07 Nov 2005 & there are files from her previous machine (blew up a PSU) dated 28 Oct 2003. Nary a virus!

    Yet I’ve repaired machine after machine which flew into the ground running ’Doze.

    I arrived at one client site where I had a Linux server installed alongside a Win2000 server & 28 WinXP desktops, to find that half an hour or so earlier, someone had stumbled over a hostile web site, picked up a virus & trashed his machine…

    Which went on to trash every other machine on the LAN, & the files on the Win2k server — but hadn’t been able to touch the files on the SaMBa shares on the Linux box.

    I found out later that this virus used an SMB trick to propagate & to trash net files. The wonders of Windows technology!

    I run across this kind of difference again and again.

    Even down to hardware. I’ve had several Linux servers live quite happily without a CPU fan, and one live without a PSU fan (the side-wash from the CPU fan drifted thru the PSU).

    It’s kind of like being a Christian: death doesn’t have the unreasonable terror it once carried. Still traumatic, yes, but not the finish.

  4. Kylie Willison

    Hi Leon
    My daughter Jessica’s computer is dual boot WinXP and Ubuntu Christian Edition. She’s not meant to go on the Internet in Windows but kept breaking this rule. Christmas Day last year she got spywared and virused!! I made her remove the nasties and then found a way to set it up so that she couldn’t access the Internet in Windows only Linux. I had to find a solution which she didn’t already know how to fix. She’s also not allowed on the Internet when I’m not home so I disable the ADSL router when I go out, if I’m going to be some time.

    I liked you analogy of fear of viruses too 🙂

    If you use Linux you don’t have the same fear of viruses as you would if you use Windows. If you’re a Christian you don’t have the same fear of death as you would if you weren’t. Cool!!!!

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