What is keeping me from switching to Linux
Lately I have been thinking a lot about my complete lack of intention to
install Linux at home. It may appear that I am a perfect target for another
successful conversion of tech-savvy Windows user to the free new world.
Most certainly I can follow all steps
in the installation guide (if I don't fall asleep following all the instructions
in a 140-page
PDF guide). I might even enjoy the (reported) two weeks it
takes to completely configure my new OS. I guess I will not have any problem
installing kernel patches, security patches, drivers, modem, graphic card,
speakers and USB drive. From time to time I might feel the urge to write
a missing driver to share it with the community. I would install all the
cross-platform open-source software, my own web and mail servers. In general,
life could be very good.
So, why am I not there? Why am I not a part of the free new world? Why
I am still tied to the old leaky raft that has been called by so many
nicknames that all end in soft? Well, the answer is simple - why
The opponents of Windows give me two seemingly good reasons to abandon it.
First, it's closed source. Second, it's full of bugs. All I
can say is - so? Indeed it is closed source. But what real value do
I get installing an open-source operating system? I am not going to read
its code, I am not going to contribute to its development, all I am going
to do is download patches and hope they come in time. I get the same thing
from Windows. You may say - it takes ages to fix bugs in Windows, while
some are never fixed at all. It is true, and it may be very damaging to
average Joe the plumber at home. Well, I am not a plumber. I have an
anti-virus and firewall installed, I use web mail
account and most importantly, I use Firefox. I had never have (known to me)
attack on my computer, the anti-spyware and anti-adware programs find nothing
except cookies when I run them, the only time I have seen a blue screen in the
last 7 years was when I got defect RAM sticks and it takes 30 seconds to reboot
my computer six months after I bought it. It can be completely different thing
for average Joe the plumber, but I am not him.
And now about the bugs. I can proudly say that I have never written
a function longer than 5 lines that was free of bugs in its initial version.
Why proudly? Because it's an integral part of the profession. Java
listed bugs on its site,
being Swing related (good luck, Joshua).
Firefox lists 6783
open bugs, Eclipse lists 13793
open bugs, Oracle's JDeveloper is strewn
a study by a single firm has discovered 985
bugs in Linux kernel and packages. Bugs in Linux and other open source projects are found
on daily basis. It gets
even worse when the bugs are security related. Mozilla line
reported problems, Apache's "secure" alternative to IIS was not so secure in 1.3 version,
and it didn't get better in 2.0.
Linus keeps his security bugs a secret
and security flaws in various Linux distributions are found
on daily basis. A free
new world, they promised. Well, it is free, I guess. According
not so new.
And now the real answer to the question. Why am I not moving to Linux?
It's really simple - I don't want the OS to stand in my way.
I immensely enjoy new "bleeding edge" Java-related technologies and
try to use them in my home projects. Do I really need to install the
kernel patches for that one? I am perfectly at ease with Windows
Update Manager. Whatever it brings to me, let it install the stuff.
Do I really need the source code for them? Couldn't care less. All
I need is to bring up the Eclipse or IntelliJ and start working.
New JDK? Give me an installer that asks as little information as
possible. Why? Because I know that the default options are fine;
I rely on Sun's engineers. Bought a new USB drive? I just want to
plug it in and start working. I will most certainly not enjoy hunting
the web for the drivers. I get my excitement developing applications,
not installing drivers. Those who prefer Mac because of
the icons or
Linux because it gives them full control over the operating system - nice try,
but Windows will have to get much worse before I join you.