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Windows 8: The most important reason to switch to Linux

As somebody who fully embraces the Free Software principle, I have no need for Windows 8 in my environment. Never used any version of Windows, and never will.

Previous versions of Windows were bad enough, but Windows 8, with its Restricted Boot requirements, have made dual-booting a Linux distribution with Windows 8 on store-bought computers a royal pain in the rear end.

Since we don’t have the political clout to bribe (lobby) our elected officials to break the unholy alliance between Microsoft and hardware vendors, educating Windows users on the benefits of using Linux is the best we can do – for now.

Most of my Windows-using friends have refused to upgrade to Windows 8. The few that have, are not very happy with it. I wage a personal campaign, using dual-booting as the gateway. To make it easier to convince your friends to “Close Windows and open doors,” the Free Software Foundation has set up a Web page that you can send to your friends. The message is simple, but effective. Upgrade from Windows 8.

We frown upon drinking and driving, and texting and driving. Add using Windows 8 to that list. Note that trying to get your friends to quit cold-turkey is not the best way. Getting them to test-drive your favorite Linux distribution from a CD or USB stick is much better.
Windows 8 switch to Linux

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51 Comments

  1. susi says:

    help! i live in canada and need a new laptop! i canlt afford the mac! i use windows xp, and i want a laptop i can use ‘light’prosumer video editing, etc as well as the standard web, word processing, etc…i came acorss this webste and it addresses what i have been feeling- that i am held hostage by windows and now with windows 8! what do you recommend????- i know NOTHING about coomputers bascially—-i NEED a new laptop. can you help me? remember i live in canada and it seems that what we get sucks. ( i asked a store if they build laptops and they said no, just desktops)……….?

    • finid says:

      Find a store that still carries Windows 7 machines and buy one. Not the store, the computer.

      With Windows 8 machines around, those tend to be older models and they cost less than the Windows 8 ones. If you can’t find a store that still carries those, search online. eBay, Amazon or any other etailer. Evem Walmart should carry them.

      When you find one, come back here and let’s help you load a good Linux distro on it.

  2. GNU FOO says:

    Windows 7 broke the glass so they left it out in Windows 8, so now they copy Gnome the pastel colors of yonder years. Perhaps they finally learned a lesson, perhaps they embraced the dark side of the force who knows.

    That and the NSA spying on us thing like yaw!

  3. Confused says:

    I planning to but a dell laptop online,

    finalised on the below mentioned, have to choose
    3rd gen ci3 /4gb /500gb hdd/wins 8 Rs.31,500/-
    3rd gen ci5 /4gb /500gb hdd/linux Rs.32,000/-

    1st one is core i3 and 2nd one is core i5.

    i5 option is good but the problem is that i never encountered linux os. dont know how it might be, from all the RnD regarding linux, linux might be good, but till now i have used only windows. most of them are mentioning linux does not have a desktop, i dont understand what does that mean.

    If i go for linux os, its 64 bit system, & incase if i feel i should go for windows as i am not tech savvy can i install a pirated version of windows on 64 bit system.

    kindly reply it would be helpful.

    regards
    mr.confused…

    • finid says:

      Well, a Linux distribution will run on any of the computers you listed. As a matter of fat, it will run on any computer you can buy, provided the Vendor has not done something fancy with Secure Boot.

      Whoever is saying that Linux does not have a desktop is lying to you. Don’t ever listen to what that person has to say. I’m writing this reply from a Linux desktop, and this article was written on a Linux desktop.

      Hope that clear any confusion you have about Linux.

  4. John Morris says:

    No. Those arguments are weak and that fist is right outta OWS or some marxist May Day rally. Lemme throw some out that might work better.

    Attack in steps. First you need to demonstrate WHY the current closed source model is so bad. Thankfully Microsoft is happy to oblige with a good example. :)

    Most people don’t realize why source is a good thing, open or otherwise. And Open Source/Free Software is confusing as well. Start by breaking jump into smaller bits.

    Source, open or copyrighted is good and should be the only thing copyrightable in its own right. Binaries should only be protectable as derived works. After all copyright (US) is explicitly to “Promote progress in science and the useful arts” so just like patents must disclose a copyright should disclose, so that others can study and learn.

    That argument seems to work fairly reliably. And it then sets up the kicker….

    Now imagine a world where Windows had to come with the source code. It would still be just as copyrighted, still licensed by the seat, etc.. But if Microsoft fell down on the job you could hire anyone to create a security patch, Now Windows XP goes unsupported next April and 40% of current corporate desktops are still running it. Imagine how expensive that upgrade is going to be. Now imagine how much cheaper it would be to just buy 3rd party security errata support instead… if it were possible.

    Windows 8 is a nightmare with Microsoft refusing to allow a normal desktop experience. Imagine how impossible it would be for them to enforce such an unpopular decision if everyone and their dog had access to the source.

    Source is what levels the playing field between the vendor and the user, even if is commercial software. Source keeps em honest.

    Until you get people to understand that point it is pretty pointless to go on about Free Software, except in the free download sense and good luck distinguishing the difference between free download, shareware, tons of grey areas in between and what we understand as Free Software; or why they should even care.

    • Brandon N. says:

      I stopped reading after you said, “Marxist” (and misspelled it at that). Anyone who would equate using an Open Source operating system with Marxism isn’t someone whose ideas are even worth listening to.

  5. Francis says:

    I tested Windows 8 about year ago i found it a terrible OS with very stupid UI. It underlines the intellectual collapse of Microsoft and the main message which is : YOU DON’T NEED MICROSOFT WINDOWS ECOSYSTEM.

  6. Tarun says:

    Guys who ever is saying linux is good or bad, just know that Android a strong competitor is based on linux.
    The only reason linux is not popular because it is not pre-installed on machines. I can’t expect people to wake up one day and install linux. Not everyone in this world love to be geek, there are people who use computer for some very basic things. They don’t care whether its windows, OS X or Linux. As far as they are able to check mails, news and few other stuffs they are fine. OS X is also based on Unix (though Jobs did a great job in making is such a good OS).
    Also those who think that OS X is great and Open source community is not doing a fine job, just look at the latest release of Ubuntu (13.04). Its fast, snappy and I installed it on macbook and it is performing better than OS X :)

  7. Kim Yeung says:

    No matter how bad Windows 8 you suggest, you cannot make Desktop Linux anyway better.

  8. Bernard Swiss says:

    What’s with all the anti-Linux trolls?

    They usually hang out at places like ZDNet, not sites that tend to substantial and informed Linux/FOSS content.

    Maybe it’s the simple, infographic format?

    PS: Don’t worry, Microsoft devotees and Windows fanboys — if Vista wasn’t enough to drive off the masses, Windows 8 won’t cause you to suffer unbearable losses, either.

    I’m afraid that we Linux types will have to be satisfied with winning over just some of the smarter and more flexible computer users. And that’s arguably a Good Thing.

  9. mario bosio says:

    unfortunately windows has the software and linux doesn’t.

    come on guys i use ubuntu but every blessed time i need something more than chatting and checking for the latest news i face the fact that linux doesn’t have “that” software that makes a difference.
    apple learned that lesson long ago and made deals with software companies to get some exclusive pieces of stuff.
    why can’t the linux world do the same instead of arguing over which OS is better?

    • GaAsP says:

      Linux has more software than Windows. Name the Windows software you’re complaining about.

      • Madmike says:

        I built a media centre a year ago. I really tried to make it work with linux.

        I ended up with Windows because there’s no blue ray support and alot of websites use silverlight.

        • Pedro says:

          True there is no silverlight, but you can play blu ray through the latest releases of VLC

          • Madmike says:

            Well, seems things are getting better.

            Thanks Pedro, maybe I’ll have another go.

            As regards Silverlight, I did find Moonlight, but at the time it was an abandoned project.

          • finid says:

            Just a comment about Silverlight: The few websites that switched to it did so after some sweet deals from MS, not because it is better than what they replaced it with. And some of them have since switched back.

      • Madmike says:

        No argument, then.

        • Ben says:

          Hey guys, I don’t know if anyone will still scroll down to read this, but I hope the word will start to be spread. Linux can handle Silverlight fine, just install Wine, download the Windows version of Firefox (and set up your plug ins accordingly, of course) and there you have it. I actually use PC BSD, but I use Wine on it to watch Netflix regularly so I’m sure there would be no problem doing it on Linux as well.

    • Fast Edi says:

      It’s not about which OS is better, it’s about freedom…
      This includes the freedom to choose if someone uses restricted software or not…

    • Amit says:

      its not lack of softwears in linux its lack of your knowledge tell me one work which is not done by linux.

  10. wotcumsround says:

    You people with your 50inch plasma, LCD and LED TV’s, through them away mow and move into the future with a brilliant 14inch black and white analogue set.
    We wont be forced to watch stuff in colour or in brilliant sharpness and great resolutions, no we want a true viewing experience. We want real TV, ghosting and snow, something where you need to twiddle with the knobs all the time because the picture keeps degenerating. Change now, don’t be the last person on earth to be at those colour bullies mercy.
    Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, although it what we keep hearing from linux fanboys, or at least the last remnants of them.

    • Gavin says:

      Hmm…

      I am using a 30″ monitor, and I have 25 virtual desktops. I run Fedora Linux.

      In year 10 my son used a Microsoft laptop that was mandated by School, this year he has a laptop running Ubuntu Linux. He has a phone which runs Android Linux.

      Linux is a kernel, add desk top environments & other stuff and you get a Linux distribution, such as: Android, Fedora, & Ubuntu.

      In the mobile and embedded device markets, Microsoft is losing badly to both Apple & Linux. Of the top 500 supercomputers more than 90% run Linux, the rest run a version of Unix – sometimes a couple of ‘Microsoft’ machines creep into the top 500.

      Microsoft fanbois are in heavy denial!

    • Pedro says:

      seriously stupid mate, never go full retard

  11. Stefan says:

    In my opinion windows is like food in restaurant. You will it what they will offer. But, if you want good food you will cook for your self, thats means, learn to cook, learn the ingedients, know what you it, what you like to it, learn to make time for yourself to cook and it good food, made by you. That is linux, gnu, bsd, etc. You can choose the food, not the restaurant. You can choose the ingredients. I think, it is to learn to live better to coose what you like, not what like the most people. It’s not easy, but, it’s worth. You can try.

  12. chris_clay says:

    Even Windows 7 is a good reason to dump Windows in to the trash can. Windows 7 is still bloated more than ever, and I become very tired of watching the hard drive thrash away even though I have adequate RAM. GNU/Linux runs with great efficiency so there is no disk thrashing, and is my primary OS of choice hands down. It’s great for casual computer usage to advanced development, all of the tools are there.

    • Rob says:

      Yeah, not many people will admit it. But, Windows 7 was really not that big of a step up from Vista. It does perform better, but it is still a hog on resources, unless you have a top of the line system with ssd disks and a lot of RAM.

      • Gavin says:

        An amusing Java bug that supports your point:

        http://bugs.sun.com/view_bug.do?bug_id=6819886
        [...]
        A DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM :
        The name of the operating system is reported by System.getProperty (“os.version”) as “Windows Vista” but it must be “Windows 7″.
        [...]
        EVALUATION

        Need to examine minor version to distinguish Vista from Windows 7 (ie: 6.0 = Vista, 6.1 = Windows 7).
        [...]

    • mein says:

      i have figured out the best way to run my laptop. it has windows7 (for which i had already paid) installed for occassionally running those programs which must require windows. i have also installed puppy linux (frugal through its exe file) inside windows. now at boot it ask for puppy or windows, and i can select which one to boot through grub menu….. puppy linux completely loads into RAM and my laptop is running 99% of time on puppy linux. by the way i am a linux newbie

  13. xenn says:

    >free from corporate control
    Except for when RedHat forces a change like systemd on the entire community.

    • Sum Yung Gai says:

      Red Hat doesn’t “force” anything on the community. Remember, it’s Free Software, with Free formats and protocols, which means you are free to choose whatever distro you want. I personally use Slackware (my favorite), CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu. My apps work on every one of these. As the KDE 3.5.x and GNOME 2 folks have demonstrated, as have the FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD projects (all forks from 4.4BSDLite), you are free to take the code and maintain it if you wish. If you’re not a developer, you can hire folks to do that for you, as we did at a previous employer with a GPL’d software package. You don’t even HAVE that option with Microsoft or Apple.

      –SYG

  14. ud says:

    yet heavy crippled windows8 desktop is still million times more usable than any sad and idiotic ui used by linux distros totaly misleadingly called desktop…. Inconsistent, incompact, no sane graphics tools to actually manage my hardware, os, files, network shares etc, no logic, no work flow, nothing but frustration and vain. So stop talking madness and wake up….

    • finid says:

      Like any other OS, Linux or GNU/Linux has its faults, but “no sane graphics tools to actually manage my hardware, os, files, network shares”?

      From under what pebble did you just crawl out from?

    • Arup says:

      Yes thats why there is Kylin in China and rest of the world is waking up and using Linux on their laptops and desktops, ASUS, HP, DELL now offer OEM linux for their laptops. You need to take some serious dose of caffeine.

      • ud says:

        Read you two fanboys
        http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/is-the-linux-desktop-becoming-extinct–1146963

        There is no desktop on linux just few idiotic UI’s which does not provide even basic desktop functionality. That is simple fact no matter how big fanboys you are. There is only viable distro that could make a difference but they don’t give shit about desktop since now is “year of mobile”….

        BTW i am big fan of opensource as a fundamental approach but strong critique of its many results which is only sober angle of view imo.

        • finid says:

          If pointing to an inane article that suggests that the Linux desktop is going extinct is the best you can do, then you’ve have nothing to offer.

          Do you know how badly Windows 8 is doing in the marketplace? Very bad. Do you even know how much the much-hyped UI that MS spend years (and millions of dollars) developing is despised?

          That aside, every desktop OS is taking a hit, but that has very little to do with UIs. It just that everyday computing is moving to a different platform. And in case you just came out of hibernation, that platform is mobile, where Linux rules.

          Yep, Linux distributions dominate mobile computing, where Windows mobile is barely hanging onto a very distant and insignificant 4th place.

          A point you seem to have missed is that every attempt that has been made to redefine the desktop UI has failed or has led people to look elsewhere or led to efforts to bring back the old UIs. GNOME Shell is a mess. Unity sucks like crazy, and Windows 8 “metro” is a bust. The next update to Windows will bring back the Start menu.

          • ud says:

            Well we will see what will unfold further for linux regarding this point. Personally i resigned on linux desktop around time mint14 came out and i realized that they are not going to make “their” OS to an extent i would be able to utilize on daily basis. Maybe guys at SolusOS will create something sane but i cannot afford to wait years for linux desktop to appear regardless of distro it may bring it up. One thing it will take is abandon compatibility with other distros as there are even fundamentals like file and share permissions to be recreated in some usable manner for example, together with almost all other aspects of OS. Till then, there will be no linux desktop even remotely in my view. I can believe that for some guys current state is ok but for my setup even at home it just can’t cut it. So i still have to deal with antivirus and other windows “bells and whistles” on my workstations or home computer. At least i can utilize linux on my servers where it s doing good job.

          • Gavin says:

            I used to be a loyal ‘GNOME 2′ user. ‘GNOME 3′ (a triumph of Fashion over Functionality) forced me to flee to the ‘xfce’ desktop environment, now I am migrating to the ‘mate’ desktop environment (2 of my 3 Linux boxen use mate, the oldest still runs xfce).

            There are several other alternative desktop environments one can choose, when you have a Linux box.

            With Linux you get a real choice, with Microsoft you don’t.

          • finid says:

            “a triumph of Fashion over Functionality.”

            That’s the best description that I’ve come across. Very nice.

        • chris says:

          From the last paragraph of your link, dude:

          “So is the Linux desktop dead? Not by a long shot. It continues to thrive on the Enterprise desktop, and with a bit more vendor involvement could really break through on the consumer desktop as well.”

        • Jeannie says:

          You’re an idiotic troll, there are many highly configurable desktop environments available for Linux (KDE; MATE, XFCE, LXDE, Consort, Ubuntu Unity, Trinity, Gnome, Cinnamon, Pantehon, Elementary) plus more than a dozen of window mangers. So go and continue to use Windows modern and stop telling lies.
          J.

    • Sum Yung Gai says:

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! You make me laugh with this one! Thanks, ’cause I needed a good laugh today. :-)

      And for everyone else….

      MCSE ALERT! MCSE ALERT!

    • Kurosan says:

      Hmm…smells just like astroturf

    • Gavin says:

      I am a software developer, I am far more productive with a desktop environment using a Linux distribution than I ever was using a Microsoft O/S – having done commercial development in both environments.

      I have a friend who has 20+ years development experience in the Microsoft environment, and still earns his salary there – at home he only uses Linux.

  15. FYI says:

    Linux is a kernel, GNU/Linux is the operating system.

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