The CNET Lounge forum

General discussion

Would you consider using Linux instead of Windows or Mac OS?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 8, 2007 2:33 AM PST

-- Yes (What's holding you back?)
-- No (Why?)
-- Maybe (What's holding you back?)
-- I already do (How do you like it?)
-- I don't know (Why not?)

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Would you consider using Linux instead of Windows or Mac OS?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Would you consider using Linux instead of Windows or Mac OS?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
In fact I'm on PCLinuxOS 2007 RC1 right now.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 8, 2007 2:45 AM PST

But I can't switch entirely because my software and income is hitched to Windows. That's not a bad thing.

The problem I see is that while the "distros" are getting better some areas such as Nvidia's driver policy stops big distros from including it. And the install of said driver is not a "click here" proposition.


Collapse -
Video Cards
by fliptail / February 9, 2007 11:23 AM PST

Nvidia and ATI are fully supported on SuSeOSS with installs right off the program mamangement. Both ATI and Nvidia make drivers for Linux now so you need to check the latest support. Since you do not state which distro you are using I am sure if you go to Nvidia site there are now Linux drivers.

Collapse -
Already do for most things
by 3rdalbum / February 8, 2007 6:36 PM PST

I originally started using Linux as a replacement for Mac OS on PPC, then I bought an x86 computer and used Linux as a replacement for Windows.

I'm using the Ubuntu distro, but I think PCLinuxOS is quite good.

It's great to use Ubuntu on the internet and feel completely invulnerable - viruses, spyware, trojans and worms can't touch me when I'm booted into Linux. And there are so many exciting developments in the Linux desktop that you can try out whenever you want. I've only been using Linux for a year, but 12 months ago the Linux desktop was much less fancy.

I've only ever experienced Windows' instability on other peoples' computers (I keep my Windows offline), but I can tell you right now that Linux is much more efficient. Its multitasking capability is amazing, even intelligent. It rarely needs rebooting (generally only after massive security updates, which are fairly rare), always provides you with enough information to troubleshoot any problem, and lets you customise the system to use as few or as many services as you want.

And, although many people say that Linux is hard, I actually find Windows to be difficult to use.

Unfortunately, I need a couple of programs that aren't available on Linux and don't run through WINE, but that doesn't stop me from doing most of my stuff in Linux. It shouldn't stop you either.

Collapse -
Would you consider using Linux instead of Windows?
by Radio_Flyer / February 8, 2007 8:00 PM PST

I attempted to use Linux Red Hat about 4 years ago and I could not find enough drivers to get my system working. Back then there were many versions to choose from so it was just a guess as to the one I wanted. There wasn't nearly the support then, as there is now. So I switched back to Windows and decided to wait for a better time. Is this the time? Which ver. is best?

Collapse -
Linux has come a very long way
by NICU28 / February 9, 2007 12:09 AM PST

I wanted to give a message to everyone that Linux has come a very long way in the last few years, even in the past 6 months. If you tried Linux a year or two ago then you do not understand how far they've come with the help of OpenSUSE and Ubuntu. These two distrobutions are easier to install and use than Windows XP. I have been using Ubuntu at home for over a year now and its gotten easier with each release.

If you have heard horror stories from years ago you have to realize that it has changed a ton and with Ubuntu's Live CD you can test out Linux without changing a thing on your PC.

Collapse -
I gave up on Linux two years ago
by martinbe / February 8, 2007 8:22 PM PST

Hello everybody

I tried two distributions of Linux (Red Hat and Suse) in various versions until two years ago I experienced a total loss of data with Suse. An install procedure ran wild and destroyed the file system. This was a decisive moment for me. I never encountered anything like that with Windows. The only other time something like that happend when a harddisk failed.

Drivers have been a permanent issue. I understand that the situation has improved a lot in the past years, but back then the simple task of setting up a printer could take some time even with standard products. I decided that I donot want an operating system that requires that much tweaking and twiddling.

Windows XP is running fine on my machine and I can do everything I want to do without thinking much about the OS. I will just stay with it until some rational reason comes up to go for Vista.


Collapse -
Would I use Linux. No!
by moronblue / February 8, 2007 8:36 PM PST

I set up Suse on a spare Hard Drive and later Ubuntu as a second
O/S on m usual one. Both presented me with significant problems with drivers and setting up. What made me give up on both was the sheer arrogance of the zealots on help forums. Most don't want to help you and consider Linux is exclusivley their domain, even the moderaters telling you how to spell instead of offering their know how.
Good luck if you want to try it but allow yourself three months minimum learning curve before you're likely to be halfway proficient and if you're not a techie the much longer. I'll go on lining Mr Gates pockets if that's what it takes. Computing should be made simpler by the day. Linux doesn't do that!

Collapse -
not that big of a learning curve...
by hersheys07 / February 9, 2007 5:27 AM PST
In reply to: Would I use Linux. No!

ok it doesn't take 3 months to become half-way proficient in linux, and people on forums DO offer help. Over the summer I successfully reconfigured my computer to be dual boot XP and Fedora 5 without any prior experience or help from friends, and without having to reinstall windows. Yes I did feel lost at first, but after a month or so of intermittent use I had learned my way around it and it was in a useful state. I could do word processing, surf the web using firefox with both flash and java, connect to a wireless network, access my windows partition, print and scan photos, play my music (except for that with content protection), and even play a couple simple games. It was also a life-saver that I had installed linux since a few weeks after installation Windows got a piece of stubborn malware that messed it up so badly that it was barely usable, and because I was in the middle of a semester at college, I didn't have time to reformat.

Collapse -
by shaz53 / February 8, 2007 8:38 PM PST

I have heard others talking about Linux and would consider it but I really don't know that much about it. I am frustrated with Windows and can't afford a Mac

Collapse -
by Dorvaldude1 / February 8, 2007 8:53 PM PST
In reply to: Linux

I've had Macs since 1987 and am waiting for OSX Leopard to come out to get a new iMac; this means I will have, in the same machine, the ability to run Vista, OSX and Linux. In fact, when I run on my G4, X11 is booted; I believe it is a Linux underlayer, but not sure...

In any case, the cost of Macs has come down to the point where, feature for feature, a Mac outperforms PCs when you add up everything. As for using Linux, I am too busy running websites and Photoshopping to sit down even longer at the computer to learn a system I don't really need. In fact, the only reason I presently use Virtual PC is to access the internet in XP mode to check the appearance (in IE) of the web pages I upload.

I'm leaving Linux to the tekkies.

Bob R

Collapse -
Mac makes me happy
by Larry Launstein Jr / February 8, 2007 9:19 PM PST
In reply to: Linux

I switched to a Mac Mini last summer, and I love it.

I use it to run both Mac and Windows programs using XP.

The real question here should be whether one would consider running Windows Vista instead of the Mac OS-X or Linux.

And there was a whole discussion about whether people wanted to upgrade to Vista. And my answer is not yet, because there are bugs and licensing issues that need to be sorted out.

Collapse -
by thelazer2003 / February 8, 2007 8:58 PM PST

If I didn't have the money for an OS, then I'd get a Linux OS. But, if I do have the money I'd definitely get xp or osx

Collapse -
Usining Linux less and less...
by beaulanger / February 8, 2007 9:09 PM PST

I've tried 5 boot CD distros and ended up installing Ubuntu. There was a learning curve for me but the forums are extremely helpful and supportive. There is also plenty of documentation online.

Many hardware manufacturers are reluctant to provide Linux drivers. My ATI graphics card has no drivers for Linux so I don't have 3D acceleration. ATI, wake up! Works fine otherwise though. My Canon iP300 printer isn't supported so I have to use some generic driver that is only good for text. My scanner is not recognized at all. To use my fairly recent 256mb ATI card, scanner, and color printer I have to reboot into Windows XP. Tis is a major hassle. I am not about to go out and buy all new hardware. I may be dumping Linux, unfortunately because I really really love it. In a few years when I get a new computer I will make sure it is compatible.

To all that are contemplating Linux download a few distros (distribution) like Ubuntu and Kbuntu and just boot with them. See how you like them and if your hardware is detected. If you decide to permanently install it is easy with the CD to make a partition for a duel boot system.

Collapse -
Was going to try BUT
by mcnea / February 10, 2007 3:17 PM PST

I was going to try linux on laptop we have sitting around the house, but after reading all the coments, no go !

Collapse -
there are lists of supported laptops
by scott_789 / February 10, 2007 10:52 PM PST
In reply to: Was going to try BUT
try this page, and this page.

It's usually the newest hardware that people have problems with from what I understand. I installed it on an Acer Aspire 3618 (which isn't all that old or all that new) and didn't have any hardware related problems whatsoever! (I have an Intel graphics card, which is more widely supported.) The only thing I had to do was search the forums for a way to disable the double-tap.

The easiest way is to try a live CD and see if it works.

Try it!!! It's kinda fun.
Collapse -
by bryson01 / February 15, 2007 8:12 AM PST
In reply to: Was going to try BUT


Collapse -
by meisinscotland / February 8, 2007 9:12 PM PST

I once installed Linux on an old computer and it was nothing like they said it was in the magazine!! It was all...


Definitely sticking with Windows NT 5!!

Collapse -
Don't criticise XP if you didn't buy it!
by moronblue / February 10, 2007 10:41 AM PST
In reply to: Linux....

I posted a message earlier, post 7. I have followed the discussion with interest and my views remain the same. One very important point appears time and time again, problems with XP!!

May I say that I too had many problems with XP, that was when I was running a pirate copy! After many years of doing that I eventually decided to buy, which I did. For two years now I have used XP every day and I have never had a single problem. That's the truth. It's very clear that a high percentage of complainants with regard to XP are running pirated copies. Good luck to you, but don't complain about second hand goods when you don't know where the've been and you've got them on the cheap.

Any operating system should be simplicity to use, even grandma should be able to use it. Linux isn't simple, it isn't user friendly, it isn't intuitive,it isn't practical for the masses in it's present form.

Collapse -
Problems with purely legal copy
by Sith840 / February 10, 2007 11:35 AM PST

The problems people may have with XP are not from pirated copies; or, at least I can tell you I know plenty of people with problems that were not using pirated versions (including me). The problems have ranged from Spyware/Malware to driver issues. The problem has generally been due to updates that break things (especially service pack 2 when it 1st arrived), DirectX driver issues (when they rev direct X, it often causes problems with some drivers, and MS changes it without changing the numbering), conflicts between drivers, and crude attempts at security fixes (it takes MS about 3 revs on average to both fix the problem and not cause new ones).
Of course the number one XP problem that I have had to help people with was caused by McAfee and Symantec AV products. Those are worse than viruses in my view - they cause all sorts of problems that people cannot understand nor track.
That said, Linux is no walk in the park with regard to drivers and updates. If you have a known system for Linux, you are better off, just as with XP. But, over time, things can go wrong, just like XP. This comes from adding new HW and/or updating things and/or adding new applications that require an update (or force it).

Collapse -
I did buy XP - it was legal, and it came with my machine...
by meisinscotland / February 14, 2007 10:12 PM PST

But, it still never was as stable as a copied version of Windows 2000! XD

I also disagree with your theory a bit -- lemme just say why.

Running a friends Windows 2000 CD through a CD Burner isn't gonna cause loss of data, really, is it?

All it does is exactly replicate the little 1s and 0s and recopy them, right?

And besides this is a perfectly stable installation of Windows 2000 on both my computers and I shall be keeping it that way!

Have tried XP Pro and Home to no true satisfaction. Nice OS, sure, but not stable enough for me...

Collapse -
Linux instead of windows.
by kcbigbear / February 8, 2007 9:16 PM PST

a couple of years ago i bouth a new pc with linux but i couldn't figer out how too use it i called tech support and they couldn't help me so i took the pc back and got one with windows!

Collapse -
overriding reasons?
by nmharleyrider / February 8, 2007 9:37 PM PST

There is no overriding reason for anyone to switch form Windows to Linux unless they just want to go cheap. If you're happy with Windows stick with it. If you're not and can figure out which of a hundred different distributions of Linux is best for you, go with it.

Collapse -
No a chance
by Cythrawl / February 8, 2007 9:43 PM PST

I have tried several Linux distro's over the years with mixed results.
Ubunutu was the only one I remotely liked but again that didnt last too long. Nearly always I have driver and/or chipset issues/incompatibilites that always makes me ditch it and stick with Windows. NVRAID Install on Nforce 4 RAID arrays for example are such a huge pain the rear end that its really not worth the effort to get it working. And even when you do you still see stuff that fails. Ubunutu for example on Breezy Badger (If I remember right) would lock up booting into the GUI on logon. I had to boot back into windows and print a detailed instruction guide on how to fix it. It was the nVida VGA Drivers that was in the box on Ubunutu.

Also theres the Games. Until an OS (OSX or Linux) gets support for all the AAA games without recompiling, full support for the new hardware, etc etc etc then I will never fully switch. At best all of the non Windows OS's are installed as a cuirosity at the most. Even now I dont even Install them physically to the PC and use VMWare now instead.

Collapse -
oriented towards the O/S, not the apps
by PromisedPlanet / February 8, 2007 9:50 PM PST

Like Unix and the Unix "support" community, the Linux world is oriented towards the O/S rather than the applications. Someone previously mentioned the arrogance of many longtime Linux users in answering technical questions for new Linux users; I found that to be the case as well. I think the entire mindset of the Linux community is that computing *shouldn't* be easy, and that people who only care about the applications are idiots (like "AOLers").

I recently attempted to install Red Hat Linux. I consider myself to be more technically savvy than most, but it was just a complete pain. The most frustrating thing was a lack of some central Internet repository for support information. Just because something is free doesn't mean it has to be disorganized.

I don't mind dealing with O/S issues when necessary, but I don't want to spend weeks/months dealing with them just so I can run my apps. Linux may be fine for techies, but it's not ready for the masses.

Collapse -
You hit it on the head
by DavidHimself / February 9, 2007 11:30 AM PST

I do use Linux, and I like it, but the apps just plain suck. The best claim any Linux app makes is to be somehow Microsoft compatible. OpenOffice, for example. (Come to think of it, that's about as much as any Mac app claims... And I use MacOS, too!)

Some Linux distros try to make things easier, but the free stuff is generally difficult to get going. Just try to install fonts on Fedora, or a new graphics card on OpenSUSE. Drive you to drink.

Collapse -
Not for Me, at Least Not Now
by arou42 / February 8, 2007 10:09 PM PST

A confirmed Mac user, I once mentioned to one of my CS professors that if I were to by a new machine, I'd like to create a partition so that I could play with Yellow Dog Linux. He, a Mac user from the solder-it-yourelf days, looked at me as though I'd just escaped from a mental hospital and asked "Why would you want to run Linux when you're already running UNIX?" I guessed he had me there, or at least I was unwilling to argue the point and when I bought a used Titanium book, I didn't create a Linux partition. As someone who has a separate OS 9 partition that she never uses, I have also to consider the likelihood that I wouldn't bother to use Linux; there's also the element of the time involved learning a new OS that would ultimately be less satisfying than OS X.
That said, if I were I PC user, I doubt I'd be running Windows and would definitely be a Linux user, if only because the whole open-source mentality is appealing. I always mean to start playing with it at school, as my colleagues who are actually CS majors run only Linux on their PC's, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

Collapse -
I just want to plug in and compute,
by coffeecan / February 8, 2007 10:37 PM PST

I don't like having to **** around with an OS to do my work.
I like to keep things simple. I would like it if the windows/apple folks would just give me a choice of not having so much junk cluttering up my system and just let it run fast and uncomplicated.
So if Linux is faster and less cluttered and I had more time to putter and diddle around learning the system. I would try it. Maybe I'm in the minority but I'm thankful that windows came along and standardized a lot of stuff in the computer industry. I remember too well when there were many different producers of products that were useless in many machines and barely worked in a few. Computing was a hit and miss world. Today's computing is so simple compared to those days. Almost anyone can just plug in and go about computing. I do like the fact though that there is someone out there challenging the big boys and forcing them to stay half way honest. So for that reason alone, I will try it as I find more time.

Collapse -
by 1957joe / February 8, 2007 10:41 PM PST

I'm to old to learn if this is good or bad, everytime I try something new i screw up my PC

Collapse -
by pajanai / February 8, 2007 10:43 PM PST

As the main article responses indicate, there need to be some strong reasons to migrate to Linux from Windows beyond the "I hate Microsoft" buzz. I don't use Linux currently because I have seen no compelling reasons *to* use linux. Moreover, the trend seems to be moving to creating distros with graphical interfaces over the old amber-on-black screen command line. I've used linux in the past and am genuinely excited to see so many new distros and the current hype that may bring linux into the more mainstream OS options. What I haven't yet seen enough of are discussions of the advantages of using one operating system over another. I don't think it's enough to say "it depends on what you want to do," when most users don't have a clue or don't really care as long as the OS allows them to do it.

Collapse -
we have it under study
by 46thchief / February 8, 2007 10:44 PM PST

My USERs group is conducting a study on Linux. If from this class I find it is a viable alternative then my next system will run it. I have severe concerns about Vista and Microsoft's Big brother attitude. I presently run XP and will keep it as long as I have this machine. It's th next one I'm concerned about. Either Linux or MAC?

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

CNET Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for great gifts under $100?

Trendy tech gifts don't require a hefty price tag. Choose from these CNET-recommended useful and high-quality gadgets.