I’d love to run Linux. I’m ready for Linux. But Linux isn’t quite ready for me. Or perhaps even you. But it’s getting closer.
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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article that discussed my problems activating a copy of
Windows XP Home.
A common response has been to ask me why I even bothered? Why didn’t I just
I want to be very clear about something: I love Linux, I really do. For
example the servers that host Ask Leo! have run Linux for several years now.
I’m extremely comfortable using Linux.
And I do keep looking for an excuse to run it as my primary machine.
But I can’t. I’ve tried several times, and each time I give up, returning to
The problem I keep running into is simply this: I don’t use my computer in
isolation. I keep needing to interact, either directly or indirectly, with
other machines running Windows and with other people running Windows. I need to
run applications that are available only on Windows. And even when alternatives are
available, they’re frequently not compatible alternatives – meaning that
seamless or even near-seamless interchange of data between Windows and Linux is
difficult at best, and in many cases simply not available. And those that claim
compatibility often have small flaws and differences that render them either
frustrating or effectively useless for my purposes.
But I’ll try again sometime in the near future, probably when I get a new
machine. No, the new machine will run Windows – like I said, I have too many
critical dependencies on Windows – and I believe that’s true for many people.
but it’s a great opportunity to try it again on the old machine as I migrate
Perhaps I’ll be able to restrict what I do on that machine to a Linux
In a podcast a couple of weeks ago I also asked the somewhat rhetorical
question: What do
normal people do?
As bad as it might be for Windows users, the situation is still worse for
Linux. For most “normal people”, Linux is still too much of a conceptual leap
with little to no support to fall back on. And while I absolutely recognize
that there are many support forums and resources out on the internet, my claim
is that’s actually not enough. Until there’s a family member or a local
computer store, or even a major manufacturer that’s willing to truly support
Linux, it’s not something I can yet recommend for the average user.
For anyone who likes to experiment, absolutely, it’s worth a try and if it
fits your needs, then by all means go for it.
It’s getting better, but recognize that it still has the feeling of a “do it
yourself” operating system.
And no, that doesn’t minimize any of the issues that folks have with Windows
– it just makes Linux less of an alternative than we might want it to be.
At least for now.
I’d love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.net and enter 12311 in the go
to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me
a comment. While you’re there, browse the hundreds of technical questions and
answers on the site.
Till next time, I’m Leo Notenboom, for askleo.net.