Switch from Windows to Linux

If you are considering switching from a Windows only or a Windows & Linux combination desktop, then this article may be of interest to you. I have gone from a Windows only to Windows + Linux to an only Linux laptop in about a year and a half and am now comfortably surviving without Windows at all. I am sure that other users like me can do this too without a problem.

What does “user like me” mean? This means that you use your computer for any or all of the below mentioned uses.

  • Watching movies in various formats (avi, mpeg, wmv etc)
  • Listening to music in various formats (mainly mp3, some .ogg)
  • Browsing the internet extensively for visiting sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and basically everything else.
  • Watching videos on the internet.
  • Playing flash games on the internet.
  • Chatting via instant messenger services like MSN, Yahoo, GTalk.
  • Constantly checking your email (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or others)
  • Storing and cataloging the photographs that you take with your digital cameras.
  • Editing images before you upload them to various online photo sites like Flickr, Picasa, JPGMag etc.
  • Downloading large files from the internet via torrents
  • Creating and maintaining one or more blogs.
  • A little bit of html, css, php code tweaking required to keep your blog looking nice.

I am usually doing one or more of these things when I am using my laptop. I thing I have covered most activities that are done by most computer users not counting people who use their computers for very specific functions.

Moving from a Windows only system to a Windows + Linux system was not a problem for me. I was comfortable with Windows and Linux, Windows for multimedia and Linux for everything else. However it is only recently that I have moved to a Linux only system and chucked my Windows Vista installation. All the tasks mentioned above I can now do on my Linux box and there is a lot more for me to discover in terms of the sheer number of apps that are available for a Linux system. The only thing that was making me retain my Windows Installation were the proprietary applications that came with things like my SLR Camera and also to some extent my Canon printer.

However these restrictions no longer hinder me as I have been able to replace proprietary applications with free open source ones and hardware manufacturers are also supplying Linux drivers for their systems more actively mainly due to the advent of Ubuntu in my opinion. I use Linux Mint which is also an Ubuntu derivative. The only hardware that I currently don’t have full support for on my Linux system is my Windows Mobile smart phone. However I am halfway there and it shouldn’t be too long before that is done too.

So if you were thinking that switching to a Linux only system but were concerned about how you would continue doing what you have been doing so far, you need not worry about that. Hey, you can even make your Linux installation look like a Windows installation if you want. I am quite sure that you really wouldn’t want to though.

As for the applications you can use for the tasks above, here are the ones I use.

  • Watching movies: Totem and VLC Media Player
  • Listening to music: Rhythmbox
  • All things on the internet: Firefox and Chrome Beta
  • Instant messaging: Pidgin which allows you to log into all networks at once
  • Email: Thunderbird
  • Photo storage and management: Picasa for Linux. There is also FSpot which is popular tool for this
  • Photo Editing: The GIMP in place of Photoshop, Phatch for batch editing
  • File sharing: Transmission
  • HTML/CSS: Bluefish Editor

3 Responses to “Switch from Windows to Linux”

  1. November 24, 2009 at 4:06 PM #

    Hello Abhilash,

    I actually did the opposite and switched from Linux to Windows about 8 years ago. The first OS I ever used in the year 1996 was Solaris 2.6 at school. I loved Solaris, but it being a commercial product, I opted for Slackware Linux <a href="http://(http://www.slackware.com/)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.slackware.com/) as it was the more UNIX like Linux distro. I am pretty sure it still is. I currently do not run Linux on any of my 3 computers. The last time, I used Linux was about 3 years ago. My last box was an old Proliant server running Slackware 10.0. It was my LAMP Server, and File Server at the time. Yes, I used to be into PHP also. I have now switched to ColdFusion, and Windows has become my main OS. I replaced that server with an IBM that runs Windows 2003, Exchange, and Railo 3.0 which is equivalent to ColdFusion 8. Railo is an open source version of ColdFusion similar to Open Blue Dragon the technology that powers the biggest ColdFusion application, MySpace.com. Switching from Linux to windows took me no time. Although, I installed Cygwin to help myself in the transition. Prior to that, I also used to play with a VMWare Virtual Machine running windows, under my Linux distros so maybe I was cheating. For me switching was a career choice though as opportunities open up for me in the Windows world. While I no longer use Linux anymore, I still use UNIX on a regular basis. When I need to get my UNIX fix, I turn on my Mac which runs BSD under the hood.

    I agree with what you are suggesting here, running Linux now days is as easy as running windows. Installing it as easy as inserting a CD on your CD-ROM tray and there are applications (sometimes the same as in Windows) for everything you need to do, including running Windows within Linux and even emulating it using WINE <a href="http://(http://www.winehq.org/)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.winehq.org/). Linux is very fast, you never have to worry about viruses or programs that scan for them and therefore slow you down. For a geek like myself, I love being able to look under the hood. As Abhilash suggested you can make Linux look and do whatever you want. I would add to you list Open Office, which replaces Microsoft Office under Linux for productivity. There is just so much to play with.

    Enjoy,

    Miguel Ulloa

  2. November 24, 2009 at 6:05 PM #

    @Miguel

    Thanks for your comment.

    Before Ubuntu came around and increased the usability and popularity of Linux bot very long ago, I too was an only Windows user and used linux very on and off as it demanded a lot of my time.

    I dont have to worry about that anymore since the recent releases of most distros are very easy to start using and get things done on.

  3. Randy
    November 20, 2011 at 3:54 AM #

    I did the same thing, like an idiot..should have gone straight to Linux. Now running Mint 11, and could care less about W 789101112131415,,,,,who cares?? Mint is about as good as it gets..if you do use it and like it, please make a donation, however small to help keep it going. I have had ZERO problems..

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