Break free!

Ever since I started computing at around the age of 11-12, I’ve been using MS Windows. At that time, the computer topped a pre-teen’s wish list. I reigned over the PC, triggering missile launches, racing obnoxiously-fast cars, maneuvering fighter planes; even plundering aliens. I felt like Neo himself with my own cyber identity; logging in and out of the Internet ‘Matrix‘, rescuing the world from satanic villains… I didn’t realize I was inexorably and inseparably being trapped into Microsoft’s own matrix! I would snub out the slightest talk about alternative O/Ses. Mac was too hi-fi for me, GNU/Linux was too anti-user and was no match to Windows even with all Stallman‘s “free-world” philosophy backing it. Perhaps the fact that Mr William H Gates III shares my birthday added brownie points to my perception about Windows!

Only if I could realize how DUMB I was then!

They say, age moulds a man’s brain progressively. And yes, I learned it the hard way, after losing Gigabytes of music, photos and personal documents to a vicious virus attack in mid-2006. Thankfully, I had backed up most of the data, but fate it is, I lost a lion’s share of my documents! Ever since, I’ve been skeptical about Windows. Later that year, I got my first taste of Linux when I joined GEC Barton Hill, which loquaciously promoted Open Source. The shift to RedHat Entreprise Linux, though bumpy proved fine. I was amazed by the sheer scalablity of the O/S: it ran perfectly even on drastically-outphased PII systems! The user interface wasn’t as bad as hear-say. Gradually, I grew more used to GNU/Linux and started contemplating being an active Linux user.

Well-researched articles by the celebrity-blogger pR@tz acted as the final catalyst. After some research on my own, duly assisted (indirectly) by subz3ro I chose Ubuntu and ordered the 8.04 Hardy Hernon disc in late April. The CD arrived by mid-May, and in no time; I became the 473947th GNU/Linux user in the cyberspace! Installation was a breeze and it took me hardly fifteen minutes, even with my run-of-the-mill P4 system with a measly 512 Megabytes of differentially-speeded RAM.

My Ubuntu GNOME Desktop

No, I’m don’t intend to diss Windows with this post… Windows still owns more than 90% of the Desktop User’s market with its repertoire of memory-hogging but user friendly O/Ses thanks to aggressive marketing and the first-comer advantage. But I must admit that hardly a week after Ubuntu, I feel extremely elated at the computing experience. Though I had initial hiccups including non-availablity of codecs and Internet connectivity issues, I managed to tide over them with the help of Linux geeks. The feel of the O/S is simply mind-blowing. Gnome almost matches Windows with its user friendly features. And yeah, there was a whole lot of bundled applications; from a bundle of cheeky games to a full-fledged torrent manager! The image editor Gimp actually renders effects that are at par with Photoshop. Of course, there was the latest edition of OpenOffice which has all the flexblity and features of MS Office, minus its memory-hogging ones.

All in all, I actually feel reluctant to use the scroll keys of my keyboard to select Windows in the O/S choice menu while booting my system these days! Ubuntu scores way better in answering my day to day needs like music, movies, internet, and coding. The sluggish drawl of the ever-damned Windows applications was a far by-gone thing. Besides, the ever-essential “anti virus” is now redundant! To top it all, there’s the Free Software Philosophy which reaffirms that I’m not violating any copyright when I download free software from the internet.

So here are five reasons why I think you should embrace GNU/Linux (if you aren’t a Linux buff already) 🙂

1) Linux is fast.
2) It’s reliable and safe, so say good bye to viruses!
3) Distros like Debian are utmost scalable (which means they’ll work even on low-end systems)
4) If you’re a coder, you can tweak Linux to your liking.
5) You’ll end up having more fun than the average Windows user! Of course, you’ll miss those mad-graphics games, and a plethora of apps. But life sans viruses, worms and spyware has its merits, no? 🙂

[This blog post was conceived in a system that uses Ubuntu. Join the Ubuntu community at]

By hari

A twenty-something support engineer, web developer, blogger and journalist who makes the web a better place for a living, at Automattic. Immensely passionate about WordPress! Also loves books, music, movies, and drinking hot cups of coffee on rainy evenings. Dreams of writing a book, someday.


  1. tch tch.. another GNOME user? try KUBUNTU man!

    More things to add…
    –> Linux is rock solid> I’ve been using this OS for three eyars now and the thing hasnt crashed EVEN ONCE! And we all know how Micro$oft uses us as its crash test dummies 🙂
    –> Debian is very very scalable as you said.. and that is why I still get alteast four visitors a day to this post
    And no, I’m not a mad graphics gamer… last time I logged in to Windows was like two months ago 😀

    Now I’m on Kubuntu Gutsy.

  2. @ Sriram
    Gut feeling it maybe, but I knew you’d be the first person to comment in this post!

    I’ve read that post before, but someone (a Linux maestro) keeps telling me that Kubuntu Gutsy will murder my system. That’s precisely why I chose GNOME. Well, I’m ordering a KDE right away!

    I envy you for your early enlightenement!! 🙁

  3. ah well, both KDE and GNOME have their own huge and loyal fans.. thats what open source is about anyway.. FREEDOM to choose 🙂 I do have read about how new Kubuntu releases keep getting hungrier for memory… but I think 512 megs ought to be enough.. there’s no harm in trying! Well I’m just a normal user, so dont take my word for it 😀

    And yes, the first comment was indeed mine, but I accidentally posted it from my ma’s ID(gmail) – she hadn’t logged out!

    Lastly, your post did me a good inspiration for my latest post!

  4. celebrity-blogger :O ….

    and its pR@tz (note the uppercase R) 😉 …

    I was a big fan of GNOME, but after using Kubuntu (the KDE of Ubuntu) I don’t use GNOME much as Kubuntu worked much faster than the GNOME, I should also add that my system has less than 256 MB RAM and I have the LATEST GNU/Linux distro in my system working perfectly….

    I have also installed Debian on a system with less than 128 MB RAM, 1.7 GHz P4 proc, that system is still being used by a Btech student who is another GNU/Linux geek… and he is using the CLI to counter the low RAM in that system … he had also compiled a driver for a thermocouple!!!! (I can only dream about such things)

    If you’re a coder, you can tweak Linux to your liking.

    Not exactly, I don’t know much coding, but was able to re-compile the kernel (with the help of manuals from net). Compiling the kernel is not at all a complex task, give a search for it in google, you will get hell lot of manuals… you can add required modules and remove unnecessary moduels, tweak the kernel to your needs….. 🙂

  5. and happy news to gamers….

    with the release of first stable release of wine, it is possible to run most windows games in a gnu/linux computer without much hassle. See the list of applications/games for Windows that work in GNU/Linux through wine without much problems….

  6. Well i’ll say in the matter of games Linux has a lotta catching up to do! Other than that, for the basic computer guy u hav everythng u need in linux; movies, music, internet, downloads, messengers et al! Hope the popularity of OSSW doesn’t fade and attains gr8 heights!

  7. @ Sriram
    I’ve ordered the CD. Will see for myself as soon as I can lay my hands on it! And yeah, I’d seen your comment coz I get E-Mail alerts about the comments…

    Forgot to comment in your new post, though I’d read it just after you’d posted it. I’ve done it now.

    @ pR@tz
    Mistake corrected.

    Kubuntu’s faster than GNOME? Wow! That was a revelation. 🙂 Dying to lay my hands on the CD. Just ordered it!

    About tweaking Linux
    My mistake! I just meant Linux can be customized. Didn’t know a non-coder user can tweak it to his liking…

    @ ā´žā´žā´¨āĩâ€
    But It’s been over three years since I played games!

    @ Abhi
    Yeah, you’re right! OSSW is here to rule!!

  8. i actually prefer gnome. which is why i downloaded ubuntu and not kubuntu. i haven’t installed it yet. waiting to get a 20 pack of dvds so i can free up most of my disk space. lotsa movies to be burned 🙂

  9. Heh. Good for you, sire. I backup my system every month; so my movies are up-to-date.

    And yeah, backing up is one tiresome job! Whew!

  10. Though i use Win on both my PCs, me too in favour of opensource…(reason : one is old enuf to die if there is a change in O/S and other has partitioned orgl O/S and am reluctant to part with it)…

    Hoping that my 3rd system will hv an O/S

  11. @viajero

    well bro, there is a difference between opensurce and free software …. opensource doesn’t talk about the freedom, whereas free softwares does……

    “all free softwares are open source but not all open source softwares are free!!!”

  12. @ viajero
    Make it a point to install OpenSource in your new pc. And yeah, do try installind Debian in your old system. It’ll work just fine, God forbid! 🙂

    @ pR@tz

  13. oh! please don’t use free software and opensource interchangeably… its just like calling naxalites, CPM and vice versa…. FSF prioritizes freedom and opensource, doesn’t bother about the freedom to use, but just the development model….

  14. @ pR@tz
    Comparing Naxalites and CPM?! LOL!! 😀

    Well, matter of fact, I didn’t know about the distinction until you just commented in this post! 😀

  15. despite all the fossmeets and all the evangelising i do, im sorry to say that i still stick onto windows more often than my debian boot.. its really pitiful.. hmm uve given me more reason to do so this vacation itself..

    yup, i agree with all the facts, and with abhi in that linux has got catching up to do wrt games, but ‘njaan’s revelation on ‘wine’ is really heartening..

    btw u want to contribute to localisation of linuz softwares? its pretty wasy to do, esp now that u have a mal font installed..

  16. @hari vishnu

    would like to know what prevents you from using Debian

    off topic:

    @ hari vishnu

    aaraade shaani 😉 😛 …..

  17. one more off-topic…. excuse me hari shankar….

    are you that Hari who was the coordinator of FOSS’08 NITC?…. IEEE something of your college?

  18. @ hari vishnu
    Hehe… True. Actually, I’m a hardcore Linux supporter myself these days & ā´žā´žā´¨āĩâ€ has an important role to play in that!

    @ ā´žā´žā´¨āĩâ€
    Ew. You’re confusing things! Lemme make it clear. Hari Vishnu, an active IEEE member of NITC (the guy who commented above) was the coordinator of FOSS Meet. I didn’t have anything to play in it. My plans to attend FOSS were spoiled by a class tour, actually! 😀

  19. @Hari Shankar

    I am not confused… 🙂 … what I meant was excuse me Hari Shanker (the blog owner) I am going to post an off-topic….


    are you that Hari (Hari Vishnu – IEEE, NITC,…..) …….

    I have been to that FOSS meet at NITC last april… 🙂

    Its GNU/Linux …. not verum Linux :p

  20. hmm…i ve got 2 of those free ubuntu CDs at home…too reluctant to let go of windows u c…but the way u ve literally marketed it, i’m tempted to try it out for once;)

  21. @ thinking-of-a-pen-name
    C’mon, the term ‘marketing’ is a misnomer in the context. Anyhow, I STRONGLY recommend you to try out Ubuntu! 🙂 It’ll literally change the way you look at computers!

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