My Free Choice to Move to Linux

14 06 2009
Win - Mac - Linux

Win -> Mac -> Linux

Like most people, I have been using Windows for the most part of my life.  I’ve used version 3.1, 95, 98, ME, XP and Vista.  Windows has definitely come a long way.  And it’s a decent operating system. It’s like an old pair of shoes a friend gave you ten years ago.  You would never have picked it up yourself, but you’ve gotten so used to it that it just fits.

However, about 2 years ago in late 2007, my Apple curiosity got the better of me.  After getting an iPod and an iPhone, I finally took the leap and got a 17″ Macbook Pro with Leopard.  I knew then that I was buying the so-called “Apple tax”.  Once you’ve decided you wanted to use Apple software, you had no choice but to continuously buy Apple hardware which have always carried a slight premium over their regular Windows PC counterparts.  But I jumped over the cliff anyway.  It was a worth a shot, I thought.  And like most other Apple computer users, I was impressed.  OS X was user-friendly and stable.  The Macbook Pro was beautiful.  And best of all, they just worked so well together!

Since then, I’ve been bouncing between a Windows notebook for my work and the Mac for my personal needs.  Office and work email went to my Vista Business notebook while photo organizing, video editing and personal email went to the Mac.  It was a pretty good tandem.

Until about 5 weeks ago.

I had suddenly felt the urge to drop Vista and stop using OS X.  And I did. Here were my reasons why:

  1. Macs are more expensive in the long-run. Sticking with OS X means sticking with premium-priced Apple hardware.  I know there are “hackintoshes” (e.g. ways to run OS X on non-Apple hardware), but I would not rely on those hackintoshes as my main machine.  I also understand the argument that one “saves on time”.  Conceptually, that makes sense.
  2. Vista is just slow. Resource-hog. Annoying pop-ups. I used Vista Business on my Lenovo Thinkpad X200 and while it was an decent experience, it was still too slow.  Especially compared to XP. And that’s already using ReadyBoost.
  3. Linux was interesting to try. Free software. Community-driven and supported. Great performance (at least that’s what I had read).  Stable software.

So I backed up all my personal and work files.  Sold off my Macbook Pro.  Installed Linux Mint (version Felicia) on my Thinkpad X200.  Moved my files into Linux with the intention of making my Linux-based Thinkpad as my sole productivity and personal machine.  I am not a computer programmer, engineer or software developer.  I am your everyday office professional–a marketer to be exact–who happens to like technology.

So my journey into the world of Open Source began.  And this blog intends to document my everyday experiences with open source.




9 responses

21 06 2009

I’m in the same boat – a DOS/Windows user for about 20 years. I currently use XP, have never used a Mac and never moved ‘up’ to Vista. I’m just starting to try out Ubuntu although I’m hearing good things about Linux Mint, especially for the Linux noob like me so I might try it out.

However, Windows 7 finally seems to be about to get Microsoft back on track again and I think a lot of folk are going to go from XP to Windows 7 rather than venture down the Linux route which is a shame.

Anyway good luck with Mint. I’m looking forward to hearing how you get on.

21 06 2009
Dirk Gently

Big leap. Your Linux is gonna take a bit more work to get it as you like it and Ubuntu is a great choice – very very good for the new user. Gratz. Working in Linux can be alot of fun. Been here for two years now and enjoying it. Might think about keeping Windows around though as their are a few programs that are hard to replicate.

22 06 2009

Mint, Mepis, and PCLinux are all good places to start. Try as many live CDs as you can.

22 06 2009

@djohnston – Thanks for the tip. But I’m neck-deep into Mint already and as you can tell from my blog, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

22 06 2009

Great to hear that people are moving towards open source.IMo its lack of info that makes people chose Windows .Moreover why we should pay when we can get it for free that too with great support 😉
Hope u have a great experience since Mint also support multimedia.

22 06 2009

Exactly why I decided to start a blog. I want to share my experience in transitioning into Open Source from a non-technical person’s POV.

Most folks would care less about technical details such as versions, betas, PPAs, and similar acronyms. They (WE!) just want something that works.

Something that works well enough to help us do our day-to-day computing tasks.

23 06 2009
David Gerard


Do you have that “just one Windows program I need” problem? If so, does Wine do the job to make it work under Linux?

23 06 2009

iTunes! Just because I have an iPod Touch. 🙂

23 06 2009
David Gerard

Heh. iTunes is one of the ones that doesn’t work well under Wine. Despite much effort (obviously it’ll be popular).

Though most Linux music player software (Rhythmbox, etc) talk to an iPod fine. You can’t buy music from the iTunes store though.

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