Sunday, November 2, 2014

Linux vs. Windows.

If you know me, and chances are you do, you know I'm a little nerdy. I also prefer to take the alternate way through, instead of going with the mainstream. This annoys some people, but fuck 'em.

I have a little netbook laptop computer that I keep on my coffee table; they don't really make these anymore, as the market has pushed people towards either a tablet or a cheap full-sized laptop. I personally think it's a good form-factor; I'm not gonna edit HD video on the thing, but I do enjoy having a keyboard, and it fits neatly in the front pocket of my carry-on.

It originally came with Windows 7 Starter on it, which started off fine, but it got progressively more and more sluggish (as everything Microsoft tends to do, over time). And, the original 250 GB hard drive was split into two roughly-equal partitions, and the second was empty... so, of course, what I did was delete that partition and install Linux on it (Xubuntu, if you're keeping score at home), and now it's a dual-booting beast.

I fire the thing up in Linux about 99.9% of the time, but occasionally I'll start it up in Windows so I can download any security or browser updates, and if I need a "real" copy of Word or Excel, I've got the starter versions of those on Windows.

But, every time I boot it up in Windows -- maybe once a month or so -- naturally, the thing starts downloading updates on its own, making the thing slow to a crawl as the hard drive chugs away, slogging through the Adobe updater, the Chrome updater, the XYZ Auto-Fast-Lightning Start Utility whatever-it-is-that-Samsung-preinstalled, nevermind the 44 or so Windows Security Extreme Crucial Updates that it feels it needs to install nownownow. To wit: about a month ago, I booted the thing up in Windows and, top to bottom, it took about two hours and three reboots to fully satisfy itself.

Compare that with Linux. It loads relatively quickly, and keeps track of all its software installs through one central program. It'll ping the server asking it for any updates -- you'll see about five seconds of hard drive activity -- and if there's something worth downloading, it flips an icon and lets you know. Then, while you download and install the updates -- a couple of minutes, tops, usually -- your computer doesn't really slow down much, unless it's doing something really processor-intensive (and that might only last for a few seconds).

Sure, Linux looks a bit different. And, you won't be able to play Murder The Hooker or Shoot The Infidel or whatever games are popular with the kids these days. But you'll be able to do pretty much anything else you want/need to, and your urge to kill won't rise up as often, I guarantee. I switched my brother's desktop, and my parents' desktop and laptop, to Linux -- and Norris knows they're not computer nerds.

It just works. Go ahead, give it a whirl.

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