Why I moved from Windows to Ubuntu Linux

I had a lot of problems with my hard disk which was playing up. I had to reload Windows many times before everything worked satisfactory. During this time I got an internal note saying I had loaded Windows too many times and had to phone Microsoft.

I needed their permission to reload MY PAID FOR Windows onto MY computer and was given a cross-examination which treated me like a criminal

Well, that did it for me. I was so furious with them that I decided to move over to Linux. I looked at the top distributions and very quickly chose Ubuntu. Having learned Zulu as a child I recognised the word as meaning “to share with others” and it appealed to me.

I was 69 on Saturday and, at my age, it is “not on” to have to go through a steep learning curb. Yes, that Microsoft lacky finally consented to my loading my program again, but being treated like a criminal was so distasteful I threw out everything Microsoft in my possession.

Fortunately I could do this as I had almost retired as an IT journalist and no longer needed to write for the mainstream media. I still write about Linux computer items but, from the mainstream media point of view, these are few and far between.

How am I getting on with Linux? OK, I tend to use my computer mainly for email, web surfing and writing.

Firefox is far superior to Internet Explorer and has literally hundreds and hundreds of add-ons which allow me to work the way I want. For example, I have an add-on that allows me to synchronise my bookmarks with all my computers including my Notebook via the web. Another bookmark has a left-hand column where I can view my add-ons, downloads, history, bookmarks and many other things including a four section notepad. Another add-on puts all the links when I Google something on the left-hand side of the screen, and if there is a Wikipedia page on the subject I am looking for, this loads on the right-hand part of the screen. These are just three of the forty odd add-ons I use with Firefox.

Evolution is my email program which is a lot like Outlook but more secure. I have Email, Contacts, Tasks, Memos and a calendar which allows me to synchronise with Google Calendars. The email section allows me to use IMAP as well as POP and is very customisable. In addition it has built in synchronisation for all the sections to my Palm TX.

OpenOffice allows me to write, build spreadsheets and make presentations. In addition, these will read from and write to most Microsoft documents. If you are unsure, OpenOffice has a Windows version so you can test before making the move.

In addition there are 18,000 free Linux programs and utilities all accessible on the Web. Plus a lot of graphical tools including a CorelDraw type program and an In-Design type program. Gimp will do almost all that Photoshop does, and Google Picasa now has a Linux version. There are a lot of cd ripping and cd burning programs. Also you can play any music and videos available. All free of charge.

If you download the Ubuntu ISO file and burn it onto a CD you can load Ubuntu into your memory and run it from the CD to play with it. If you decide you want to explore more but don’t want to lose your Windows just yet, you can load it as a program file (wubi) or, you can load it as a dual-boot operating system, this was my decision as I didn’t want to do anything I might have regretted afterwards. I ran both in a dual-boot situation of a month, then decided to go for Linux and removed Windows completely. If you take your CD and load Ubuntu onto 1,000,000 other computers, all the Ubuntu people will do is give you a medal!

I have not regretted the move and now my computer starts in a third of the time when I boot up. Everything else also seems to work faster although I cannot now compare with a stopwatch.

There are various companies offering free web based solutions such as Google and Zoho which enable me to run everything from the Web. Although this isn’t called “Cloud Computing” in the true sense, it is near enough like it for the ordinary home user. What it means is that I can have all my articles, letters and reports, my spreadsheets and presentations, my calendar, to-dos, and memos, my database, web conferencing, wiki, note taker, instant messaging and project management accessed from anywhere in the world. From a friend’s or company computer or internet café.

This is true freedom and means you can not only be free to choose your operating system, but won’t be treated like a criminal by Microsoft.

Why pay when you can have it free?

Yaa Boo Microsoft!

(ex) prisoner number GBRY-SDP3-WS59-SC4P-C7X9-XX9W

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