Why Switch to Linux?

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 29, 2008

In an interesting post on Lifehacker, the editors ask the readers "Why did you switch to Linux?" The question drew quite a lot of interesting responses, including some very offbeat reasons for why people made the switch. If you're under the impression that people switch solely for rebellious or "fight the man" reasons, here are some of the more interesting responses and trends that they point to.

USB Drives. I myself have become very enamored of my 8GB USB thumb drive, which contains lots of open source applications. In response to the Lifehacker poll, reader urmston says: "I was originally enamored with the idea of using a USB drive to hold an entire OS so I gave it a go with Ubuntu. After about a week, I started dual-booting and within another week, I realized that I wasn't using Windows at all and made the switch completely." USB thumb drives have moved beyond just being conveniences. They change the way people work.

Dual-Booting. Many, many respondents, in addition to the one above, used Linux in conjunction with another OS, then dumped the original OS.

Old Hardware. This came up in many responses. AJ.Hidel writes: "What else can run so smoothly on old hardware?"

Clusters. Clusters are a popular trend, and Linux is often favored for putting them together. Severnclay says: "I got interested in parallel computing, and realized that its much easier to build a cluster in Linux than in Windows."

Why Did You Climb Everest? Quite a few respondents gave the classic answer to the Everest question. "Because it's there," was one response, and Ender15 followed up with: "I was bored." Curiosity was frequently cited.

Privacy and Security. Quite a few respondents cited switching to Linux because it is where the hackers are not.

Divorcing the Redmond Giant. Well, truth be told, some people do switch to Linux for "fight the man" reasons. Bodybybuddha writes succinctly: "Had to break out of my abusive relationship with Microsoft." In other cases it gets a bit more complicated. BruceBates writes: "I don't get FREEDOM with Windows. With GNU/Linux, I can compile the kernel especially for my system, and select ONLY those apps which are required." Quite a few respondents specifically cited Windows Genuine Advantage as the final straw from Redmond.

It's Free. Hey, don't underestimate this. Shadowfirebird writes: "I was broke, Windows sucked, I had a bunch of supposedly dead computer equipment lying around." 'Nuff said.