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Reasons not to use Windows

When people buy a new computer, it tends to come with Windows preinstalled. Because of this, most people just use it – unaware that it would be much better for them to install Linux instead. Further, Linux is free.

Here is my list of the most important reasons to avoid Windows:

1. Windows is insecure.

There is a whole industry built on the paranoia, the fear of catching viruses, trojan horses and other exploits. Ask yourself this: How is it possible that the other operating systems (Linux and Mac OS X, as well as others) are much more secure, their users don’t worry, no antivirus software is needed, and things work well with rare exceptions? Antivirus software is constantly slowing down any Windows computer, checking every operation. It is just a very unfortunate thing to worry about...

And they want your money. Antivirus software is always intruding, showing to you that it is working for you, this way you will always remember it is useful, and you are more likely to pay for protection every year.

What is this like on Linux? No worries, no antivirus software is needed.

2. Windows is simply slower.

Because of the antivirus software constantly running in the background, there is no way a Windows system can compete with secure systems in terms of performance.

3. No unified update system

The user is constantly being bothered by one or another program (Windows itself, Java, antivirus software, web browsers etc. etc.) which wants to be updated. This could easily be so different!

What is this like on Linux? There is a single packaging system to install and update software programs. This means when you are informed of available updates, the information is comprehensive of all the software you have. On Linux you get interrupted much less.

Further, the software that comes with a Linux distribution is much more comprehensive than that which comes with Windows. For instance, on Linux it is very easy to get all the multimedia codecs installed, while on Windows there are many options for this, all of which feel unsafe.

4. Windows hardly respects our right to turn off the computer.

Windows thinks disconnection time is appropriate for installing software updates. (The process continues when the computer starts up again.) There is a way to turn off the computer without installing anything, but if you click on the OTHER way, then you can’t cancel it. This is absurd. Further, it takes forever – sometimes a whole hour – to install updates. No control over this is offered to the user.

What if I really have to go away, turn the computer off, catch my bus and go home? There is no option like “Stop after the current update no. 22 and leave the other 15 updates for later”... Instead, the screen prominently shows “Do not turn your computer off”. Excuse me, Microsoft...

What is this like on Linux? You are notified of new available updates. You choose when to download and install them. Most updates are applied quickly and take effect immediately. Only a few updates require a boot to take effect, and you are never really required to boot right now.

5. The desktop is extremely polluted in practice.

A new notebook tipically comes with at least 5 mostly useless icons in the system tray, in addition to the 3 necessary icons for sound level, network status and battery status. The 5 icons I am looking at now are:

  • one for configuring the touchpad,
  • one for configuring hardware graphic acceleration,
  • one for the antivirus,
  • one for “HP ProtectTools”,
  • one for “HP Quick Launch”.

The last two are certainly pointless and I would have them disabled. Actually as I wrote this, avast antivirus created a second icon (as if one weren’t enough to show off its work) and Windows created yet another to say it is downloading more updates... Total icons: 10.

Further, many applications we install under Windows like to add their own toolbars (unrelated to the reason you’re installing the app for) to web browsers, stealing screen space, confusing the user, who most likely never uses the toolbar... Applications add their own icons to the Start menu, to the desktop and to the Quick Launch buttons. The Start menu has its own selection of the most used apps. What a mess!

What is this like on Linux? Since applications are mostly free software – not proprietary –, and because the most important applications are part of the operating system as packaged by an organization, there is no conflict of interest leading to desktop pollution. In practice, the desktop feels simpler and better organized.

6. Too many difficult questions are asked.

Too many applications, and even Windows itself, are constantly demanding the user’s attention, as if saying “I need maintenance”... Countless misfeatures work this way; for instance, Windows offers to clean the desktop for you, hiding icons because you rarely use them. Of course this kind of thing steals your attention from the work you are actually doing, they are annoyances.

Windows users have developed a default reaction to difficult questions that pop up: without even thinking, they click on the X to close the window with the question. Needless to say, this is a pathological reaction to a sick situation. The question could be important, just closing the window could be like hiding a problem from yourself...

The simple fact is user’s aren’t bothered quite so much in other operating systems, these just don’t need any maintenance.

What is this like on Linux? No weird questions pop up, you just work without being interrupted, save from the software update question, which can have its periodicity configured (daily or weekly). Linux should not be installed by people who don’t know what they are doing – but once installed, using it is a breeze. For my grandmother, I installed Ubuntu Linux.

7. Did you initiate this action?

Windows Vista introduced a security misfeature that occurs when you are doing some simple change to the system configuration. A window pops up asking for your confirmation, after all, someone else (or a malicious program) could be trying to execute the configuration, and Windows cannot tell if it is the user...

The effect of this is that the user experience under Windows, as of 2012, is one of clicking much more to do the same configurations, than any of the other operating systems. I wonder, how do these manage to be much more secure, yet bother the user much less?

What is this like on Linux? This problem does not exist, it is just the result of Microsoft incompetence on Windows.

8. Windows does not make economic sense

Unless you really need to use software that is only available on the Windows platform – i.e. AutoCAD –, it makes no sense to pay for it. Linux comes with much more functionality and costs nothing.

For Adobe design software you have the option of using an Apple computer, which is not cheap, but does not suffer from insecurity or excess of difficult questions...

9. Microsoft is an immoral company

Microsoft does not deserve that you honor it with your preference, since it is known for immoral and illegal actions in the computer market, both against competitors and against consumers. I shall mention only one immoral practice against consumers which should be enough to convince you: the Starter Edition – a severely crippled operating system that prevents the user from opening more than 3 applications simultaneously, or storing more than 120 GB on their hard drive, or using more than 512 MB RAM... This is pure evil because in Brazil computers with this system preinstalled have been sold to unsuspecting customers, who then had to replace it.

10. Microsoft has been detrimental to the advancement of the web

After winning the browser wars, effectively driving Netscape Navigator out of the market, Microsoft didn’t work on its browser, Internet Explorer, for years and years, ignoring the cries of web developers against its hundreds of bugs. Microsoft only started improving this situation after a better browser, Mozilla Firefox, finally appeared to endanger IE.

Now Chrome is the most popular browser but IE still holds the web back to an extent, since it is still popular but lagging behind the other browsers in support for the newest web standards.

When you use Internet Explorer you help drive the statistics to its favour, which influences decisions that hold back the web. So don’t use it. This is a product that does not deserve your preference.