It’s hard to hear about Linux in a truly neutral and educated tone on the outside of the Linux community. People are either saying it’s the best thing ever, or it’s complete trash because App X doesn’t work on it. You have to get deep into the community find reasoned debate about how to improve things and where the pitfalls lie.
I’m going to try and find that balanced midpoint today and show up some horrific writing that I’ve just seen. Some of the items are just plain incorrect, some are misguided and some don’t go anywhere near far enough to explain why something is better. The "article" is from Sizlopedia.com and I’m just quoting the points that need things adding.
No Viruses - Thats true! as Linux does not recognize Win32 Executables so the possibility of having a virus on-board is absolutely 0%
That’s true?! Since when? Linux, like any programmable platform has viruses. Viruses existed way before Win32 and they’ll exist way after it’s abandoned. If you see somebody making this argument, hit them or at least point out how stupid they are.
Linux does have a better security model that Windows is slowly adopting — but that doesn’t mean that a virus can’t live in or ruin your home directory.
Open Source - Unlike Windows, Linux distributions are open source and the source code can be edited and modified to the most to suit your needs.
So what? Given the last statement, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Dj Flush (the original writer) isn’t a programmer so why would he cream his pants over source code?
The reason source is good is because it lets anybody review the code. That means everybody has the ability to know what’s running and the NSA (et al) can’t go around sneaking backdoors into Linux as they have done with Microsoft’s encryption. It also means that people can fork the work into a new project or help improve it.
Better Learning - While Windows just teaches you how to install and run a program, Linux helps you do that using a Terminal. So if you fall in a situation where you dont have a GUI, you can operate things well.
Just remind me why having to use the terminal is a good thing? Learning? Yeah that’s really great.
Linux is good because you can do 99% of things from the terminal — something that is amazingly useful for writing scripts or doing complex batch tasks… But you shouldn’t have to.
Free Software - Every application and software on Linux is free and open source. You dont need to worry about licenses anymore and you can always find a better and free Linux alternative to a Windows application.
Every application? Like VMWare? No. Like the nvidia graphics drivers? No. It’s just a platform, not a open-source coo.
And you can always find a better alternative? Hell, I wish that was the case! Most of the Adobe toolset are best-of-breed applications (with the exception of Dreamweaver, perhaps). Their alternatives are miles behind.
Easy to Use - This point may seem ironic but is true to a lot of extent. Linux Ubuntu is one of the most user-friendly and easy to use Linux distribution which even beats Windows XP and Vista in usability and ease of use.
This conflicts with the statement whereby forcing users to use the terminal for some things, it makes them better people.
Ubuntu Community Help - Ubuntu has a very active support and help community where you can get answer to your questions and problems in minutes.
Unless they don’t know the issue of you’ve found a new bug. Help can be immediate but it can also take days/week/forever depending on the severity of your issue… But it’s still better than Windows support.
Please understand that this isn’t an attack on Linux — it’s an attack on idiots who get too excited about Linux and start spouting off about it. While they might not be doing direct harm, it is disinformation; something we could all do without.
About Oli: I’m a Django and Python programmer, occasional designer, Ubuntu member, Ask Ubuntu moderator and technical blogger. I occasionally like to rant about subjects I should probably learn more about but I usually mean well.