10 reasons why I left Windows for Linux

1 – Security

These days we are all made aware on a near daily basis how flawed most software is when it comes to security, the news frequently contains stories of new vulnerabilities being discovered or some company being hacked, now Linux is of course not immune to this, indeed often multiple vulnerabilities are reported each day, the reason Linux is more secure than other operating system is down to multiple things that combined make Linux my first choice for security

The main reason why Linux is better for security is that the majority of software for Linux is open source, anyone can look at the code and find potential security problems, some may intend to exploit them but more often these problems are reported and usually get rapidly fixed, in addition this prevent intentional flaws being inserted in to the software, secondly Linux is well designed with security in mind giving robust control over user permissions, this can be enhanced even further with things like SELinux if security is a priority, finally Linux is far from Windows in terms of usage which deflects a lot of attention, although in terms of server usage Linux is number one.

Privacy was the ultimate reason though that finally got me to abandon Windows, as you should know by now Windows 10 is terrible when it comes to user privacy, with invasive data collection and other questionable practices making it the least private version of Windows to date by far, while there is plenty of third party software to disable most of this updates can bypass these tools making it somewhat unreliable.

2 – Updating

Even after using Windows for nearly two decades updating has always been something I have hated doing, even at the best of times it tends to be very slow, annoying and sometimes plain refuses to work, more often than not this has led to me simply disabling updates out of frustration, software updating is another poor area where you often have to manually check for updates if an automatic updater is not provided.

The difference between Linux and Windows when it comes to updates is like the difference between night and day, most distributions can update the system and practically all installed software with just a single action, this is usually done very quick and the vast majority of updates do not even require that you stop using the application, typically only a kernel update requires a restart and you can put it off as long as you need, this is how updates should be done.

KDE Discover
KDE Discover - One of many ways to install new applications

3 – Software Selection

Most Linux distributions have a huge range of software available, open source as well as freeware, shareware and some commercial software, more importantly finding and installing this is extremely simple, almost all distributions include some kind of package manager that lets you install in one click, in a way you could consider this to be the same as modern app stores, except the software in them is usually maintained by a person or persons other than the developer or publisher.

Traditionally Linux has been rather lacking in the gaming department, fortunately in recent years this has begun to change significantly with many commercial and free games available, as well as content platforms such as Steam, many Windows games can be run on Linux using the WINE compatibility layer, support of DirectX 9 games is generally very good but less so for DX10 and DX11, still it’s under very active development so it’s worth keeping a close eye on, this also applies to software as well as games.

4 – Customization

I like to have a nice productive workspace, at times it’s hard to achieve this in Windows since you’re limited for the most part to what Microsoft have provided you, if you can find software to enhance Windows it’s typically non-free and may not do exactly what you want, one good example of this is the multi-monitor support which I find to be atrocious even in the latest Windows 10, Windows has always been very behind when it comes to the user interface, it was not until Windows 10 that it finally got official virtual desktop support, despite being available in Linux desktops for over a decade, even Mac OS X didn’t get the feature until late 2007.

With Linux you can really go as far as you like with customization and there is a huge amount of software to help you do it, a wide range of different desktop environments such as GNOME or KDE, countless applications that allow for custom widgets and anything else you can imagine, if you don’t like the way something is chances are you can change it, if you put a little time in you can get some fantastic results whether it’s for productivity or simply looking good.

KDE Desktop
KDE - A popular desktop environment that should feel familiar to any Windows user

5 – Ease of use

Many distributions these days are very easy to use, even for someone who has never used Linux in their life, the environment in most cases is so similar that you can just sit down and use it without any trouble, even when it comes to things like updating and installing software many easy to use graphical applications are available, in fact aside from the rare case that something does go wrong there is absolutely no need to get down and dirty with the terminal or edit system files.

In many cases Linux is much more suitable for the less technically inclined than Windows, with the increased security and integrated software repositories it’s actually quite a challenge to break, at least if you’re not mucking around with something, as someone who is extremely knowledgeable about technology this doesn’t really apply to me but still it's a big factor I consider particularly if I’m helping someone, for example I consider Windows to be unsuitable for many older people who are likely to end up with a system infested with malware.

IRC Linux Support
Free realtime IRC support is available for most distributions

6 – Support

While Linux has a relatively small number of users, particularly when you take all the different distributions into account the community support is often fantastic, many of these users having years of experience, while you can get the same kind of support for Windows the experience for me has never even come close, this is provided you can follow basic instructions, I tend to find the support to be more reliable as well since Linux tends to attract more highly skilled users and the Linux ethos encourages supporting new users.

7 – Power

One thing that attracts many people is the power and versatility of Linux, there is such a huge range of software that is well integrated which makes Linux the perfect system for programmers, engineers, scientists, etc, many tasks can easily be accomplished that in Windows would take significant effort or require specialized software to accomplish, often not free of course, when it comes to things like complex file management Windows is not even worth considering, for power users Linux is something you really can’t live without once you learn how to use it effectively.

8 – Driver Support

Linux was and still is in many ways is a mixed bag when it comes to device drivers, but the same could be said of Windows, I typically find that Linux has far superior support when it comes to using older hardware, however some newer or less common things it may struggle with, many wifi adapters in particular are notorious for not working in Linux or requiring significant work, things have improved a lot though with most modern or semi-modern PC hardware being generally supported, sound support in particular has come a long way from the horror it used to be, more companies have begun to support Linux with official drivers, Nvidia, Intel and AMD being some notable examples, one thing that made me add this here though is how Linux handles drivers, in particular should a driver fail for whatever reason, in Windows this typically results in the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD), Linux in comparison is very reliable and in most cases will continue to run even with severe hardware faults, this can at times can lead to some humorous situations.

9 – The Linux Ethos

Linux has many different communities located all around the world, despite many differences the majority of users share the same ideals, most importantly freedom, the freedom to modify your software or system however you want, the freedom to keep your information secure, the freedom to contribute, no other operating system has produced such a diverse and strong following as Linux that it extends far beyond the operating system itself.

10 – Fun

When it comes down to it Linux is just plain fun to use, with such vast options for customization it’s hard to become bored with it, the ease with which many tasks can be accomplished makes it a joy to use, sure there are times where it can be frustrating but in my many years of experience this occurs far less often than Windows, the added security also makes life a lot easier as you don’t have to worry so much about viruses or malware, Windows in comparison is a pretty poor experience overall, the only thing I think of when Microsoft announces an update is "what have they screwed up this time?".


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