Related link: http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/18462/
During the last month, we conducted a survey of readers who use Linux. We asked them why they switched to Linux and received a plethora of answers. Surprisingly, anti-Microsoft sentiment had less to do with the choice than one might imagine.
Could the pundits have it all wrong? Is it possible that Linux stands on its own merits? Most Linux users would yes. Use of Linux does not represent a rebellion against Microsoft and Linux stands on its own as a user preference.
In this article, we will look at excerpts from the survey and see why people have adopted Linux. You might find the reasons interesting, maybe fascinating and probably not what you thought.
First, let’s clear the air about this so-called anti-Microsoft sentiment.
From Where Does the Anti-Microsoft Sentiment Originate?
Linux users consider Microsoft’s paranoia a threat. When a monopolistic powerhouse says that they will crush you under their boot because you use a competing product, you might find yourself annoyed. Imagine General Motors saying that they will put your car in a museum so people will remember someone built it once.
A media factor comes into play also. Imagine you like using Linux and you read articles stating you’re a FANATIC. Then imagine lots of writers implyng Microsoft will crush you under their boot. When threatened, people become defensive.
When someone threatens another, it makes the latter angry. Is it logical that you’ll win someone over by thretening them? The only reason one would ask such a rhetorical question lies in the fact that some people believe a threat will endear others to them.
We conducted the survey on-line informally, so people could freely express themselves. I’ll provide a link to the thread a little later in this article. First, I have some random excerpts:
* I was at work one day and one of the sys admins said, dial out to my box at home. I did and was greeted by something that smelled a lot like System V “What is it?”, I asked, expecting that he had gotten hold of “free” copy of UnixWare or something (which was probably about $1500-2000 at the time). He said, “It’s Linux.”
* I converted to Linux (from NetBSD) because of two factors:
1. Price - I got a 1 GHz Duron PC from Walmart for $300
2. All the cool software - User mode linux, Reiserfs,
although NetBSD is pretty posix-compliant.
* I like Linux because it’s unix, it’s cheap and for a scientist it’s a pleasure to use on the desktop.
* I first touched a computer when I was 6 (and that was 23 years ago, when the PC 1512 was still a new thing!). My primary school was the first in France to give computer classes to pupils.
When I took up high scientific studies, I came in a university-like school with a computer network… The computers we used were Windows (95 and 98), but the network itself was handled by a Linux server. I first heard of Linux because I became romantically involved with one of the maintainers of the network.
Then four years ago I got my first job, just fresh out of University. I moved to the Netherlands, and got the possibility to buy a computer, partly paid by my employer…It took me a while but I finally (installed) it last summer… All in all, I feel I have been naturally evolving towards GNU/Linux, and that it is just the right thing for me.
* The challenge to try and alternative (and sticking with it)…had enough off computers troubles (but hey let’s try that Red Hat Linux CD out of curiosity)…forced up by a Linux enthusiast (husband, wife, brother, etc) and after years got too accustomed to it…comes from a strong UNIX background…financial reasons, cutting budget, etc…. moral reasons (rare)…governmental reasons or desktop at workplace.
I chose Linux simply because I thought the mascot looked cute enough.
* Linux gives me the pretty (and convenient) graphics plus all of the tools I can eat…Cut my teeth on an Alpha Micro AM-100 (PDP-11 clone(ish)) at the University Computer Club at the University of Western Australia in 1980 running AMOS.
* I was not unhappy with Microsoft or Windows, but I was motivated to learn more about Unix…When the first betas of KDE came out, I installed it. From that point, I began spending more time on the Linux box — especially after StarOffice was made gratis — and less on the Windows PC.
As I went on, I began trying things that I couldn’t do with Windows. I added boxes to the network, I started doing graphics with the Gimp. I experimented with apache and postgresql, all manner of things…Now, Linux is my primary platform.
* I just wanted to try something different back in 1996, got an install of Slackware 2.0 from Lasermoon in the UK came on about 25+ floppies, bought a copy of Dr.Linux from them as well and on I went.
* because my best friend was a Gentoo-fan, he set up Gentoo for me. First I didn’t like it, because everything just worked as it should in only one day (compare that to OpenBSD!) But when I got to know portage I was convinced I would be using this from now on. It (Gentoo) was also ideal for studying for my LPIC level 1.
* I changed to Linux because of the Fiddle factor… I like computers not only for what they can do but I like them intrinsically… I have build my own computers…It is a hobby. I try to wring as much performance out of what I have. It has nothing to do with bragging right but just a fun challenge to myself.
*It took me about a year to switch from W2K to Linux. The timing in the development of all of the Desktop elements has obviously been critical. If I’d tried any sooner, the whole thing would never have come together. Improved hardware support and equivalent apps have been a big part of the successful transition, and, I owe thanks to many in the Linux community for making that happen at an astounding rate and giving me my functional Desktop OS.
* I first tried Linux out of curiousity mainly. But after I’d tried it I was fascinated. Yeah, woody was much harder to install than Windows, but I didn’t feel solated/insulated from my computer any more. I welcomed the opportunity to learn. I wasn’t confined by the wizards that MS uses to “help” you work on your computer. I could play with the kernel. (Something I’d been wanting to do for a long time.) I could modify, customize, and learn to my hearts content. Linux was what I had always expected computing to be.
* Started with Vic 20 - 1983? then dos on a 286 then windows 3.1 on 286 what a nightmare… Saw QNX and wanted it for years …Windows 95 (was) ok but lacked the ability I had on the VIC 20…Lotus Notes / Domino Programmer on Windows and Unix…Still wanted QNX. Came across a CD from a friend - Lyrocis. BANG “Head ringing”…OH this love affair is not going away soon… As an IT Manager the TCO is the savings of the sanity of the IT staff.. They dont have to chase those pesky hidden bugs in MS.
* Running a Windows enterprise was like working in the emergency room of Cook County Memorial. Working on Linux was like being a Maytag repair man.
You can read the comments and add your own if you wish. The url is: http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/18462/
Who are My Readers?
They come from: United States, France, Europe, Germany, Australia, Canada, Great Britain(UK), Netherlands, Italy, Hong Kong, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Brazil, Switzerland, Poland, Finland, Japan, Portugal, Ireland, China, Belgium, Czech Republic, India, Singapore, Greece,Norway,Ukraine, New Zealand (Aotearoa),Slovenia, Mexico, Denmark, South Africa, Taiwan, Colombia, Romania, Hungary, Israel, Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Korea(South), United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Argentina, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Latvia, Slovak Republic, Venezuela, Chile, Turkey, Uruguay, Malaysia, Luxembourg, Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia (Hrvatska), Pakistan, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iceland, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, French Polynesia, Macedonia, Jamaica, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Peru, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Guatemala, Barbados, Malta, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, Tunisia, Qatar, Algeria, Belarus, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Kuwait, Lebanon, Trinidad and Tobago, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Nepal, El Salvador, Ecuador, Bahamas, Morocco, Paraguay, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Panama, Guam, Zimbabwe, Moldova, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Macau,Mongolia, Senegal, Oman, Andorra, Libya,Palestinian Territory, Tanzania, Cambodia, Ghana, Liechtenstein, Namibia, Monaco, Armenia,Cayman Islands, Faroe Islands, New Caledonia, Syria, Georgia, Albania, Maldives, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sudan,Togo, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Honduras, Anguilla, Myanma, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Guadeloupe, Gambia, Burkina Faso,Greenland, Virgin Islands (U.S.), Angola, Gabon, Guyana, Liberia, Mali, Vatican City State (Holy See), Cape Verde, Netherlands Antilles, Cameroon.
Linux users come from every part of the globe. Those who wish to crush Linux under their boot and put it in a museum may find that difficult. I also doubt that the boot crushers could muster up these kind of testimonials.
Why do people switch to Linux? Actually, I think having an alternative provides a small part of the answer. When I started using Linux, I really liked it. I remember installing Red Hat 5.0 back in 1998 and thinking it was really pretty cool.
Given what the media and many analysts say, I shouldn’t have liked Linux more than Windows because it did not have all the things they emphasize as important. I mean, fvwm wasn’t a great GUI desktop. Lots of hardware didn’t work. In fact, I had to hunt for older video cards to get X Windows to work.
Something about Linux though re-invigorates an interest in computers for many people, including me. It’s remarkable.