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Why Do People Switch To Linux?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the many-reasons dept.

Linux 746

tadelste writes "During the last month, Lxer.com conducted a survey of readers who use Linux. They asked readers why they switched to Linux and received a plethora of answers. Surprisingly, anti-Microsoft sentiment had less to do with the choice than one might imagine. Linux stands on its own merits. Anti-Microsoft sentiment comes from Microsoft's paranoia, which results in quotes like the one that had Bill Gates saying he'd put Linux in the Computer museum like he has other competitors." A respondent quote from the article: "It took me about a year to switch from W2K to Linux. The timing in the development of all of the Desktop elements has obviously been critical. If I'd tried any sooner, the whole thing would never have come together. Improved hardware support and equivalent apps have been a big part of the successful transition, and, I owe thanks to many in the Linux community for making that happen at an astounding rate and giving me my functional Desktop OS." Why do you think folks switch?

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746 comments

LaTeX (4, Informative)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896709)

The ability to typeset sublime mathematics and papers based not on WYSIWYG, but form and content [latex-project.org]; both of which may be possible under MiKTeX [miktex.org], but it seemed most natural to migrate, if not to whose nativity, then to the least hostile environment for work.

Re:LaTeX (5, Insightful)

aconbere (802137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896842)

This is an excelent reason to move over, I find latex support in windows to be abismal, and only slightly better in OS X. But most of the people I know have moved to Linux becuase it's easier (for us). It's easier to install applications, easier to keep them update, and easier to make changes than in Windows. I also got fed up with breaking things in windows and having no way to figure out what had happened or how to fix it. I've found that everytime I break something in linux I can head to my favorite IRC channel, or Forum and have a clear answer in a couple hours if not minutes.

Clearly this isn't the case for everyone, but Linux/Unix just clicked with me, all the way to make config changes the applications and the underlying architecture. And this is not to expound upon the fun I have tinkering which just isn't available in the windows platform.

~Anders

Re:LaTeX (1)

graemecoates (592009) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896886)

Not sure how this was modded offtopic... LaTeX is far, far easier to use in linux than Windows - which is a valid reason to switch, which is entirely related to the topic of the post...

Simple answer... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896712)

They're not smart enough to download a copy of XP from Usenet.

I kid, I kid!

I'm surprised (1)

$mooth (855695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896718)

I'm surprised they say that hating Windows isn't the #1 reason people switch. If I ask anyone I know why they switched to Linux, it's always "Because Windows sucks. I hate Windows. Bill Gates sucks". It certainly gets old.

Simple answer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896725)

THEY DON'T!!!!!!

Mod up (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896873)

This is actually an insightful response. Linux's total real end-user marketshare has not increased since ~1998. The number of people using Linux to browse the internet seems to have actually declined since Windows XP came out. The truth is that no more than 1% of home users use Linux on the desktop, and only a tiny minority don't dual-boot with Windows.

The few people who do 'convert' to Linux, imho, often do so because they want to run Unixy applications, not because they prefer it as a desktop environment. Infact, I'd venture so far to as that many who use it either grudgingly tolerate or even hate its inadequacies, but still use it as a tool to access the apps they want like they do with Windows XP.

I always wondered (2, Interesting)

cjkinniburgh (915605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896728)

How many people switched because they were told it was simply 'cool' or '1337' or that it would help them 'h4x05 their friendz b0x', and then moved on from that but sticked with Linux.

Re:I always wondered (5, Interesting)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896783)

I switched because I was bored with Windows. I like trying new distros for fun. I enjoy learning something new because I feel it adds to some imaginary tool box of "things I can do and might need someday." I didn't do it to be cool because just about everyone I know has no clue what Linux is other than that it looks different than Windows. I've been using it exclusively for well over a year now. I keep a dual boot in case I ever need to do something in Windows, which is a rarity these days. I've gotten used to it and Windows seems foreign at this point so there's no "comfort" reason to switch back as there was when I started using it in the first place.

Re:I always wondered (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896826)

I moved over in about 96, found it rather obtuse, and have since waffled back and forth several times. I'd say I'm mid-migration now, with linux as a dual boot option on most of my machines.
BTW, anyone have a good recovery utility for a fubar'd EXT3 drive?
-nB

The Answer is... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896803)

They DON'T.

Most likely due to brain damage... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896730)

resulting from a violent ass-pounding while at a Mac users group meeting.

Because... (0, Redundant)

FosterKanig (645454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896732)

I was tired of being the smelliest person at the MS user group meetings. I figured my odor wouldn't stand out so much at Linux user group meetings.

For freedom (4, Interesting)

statusbar (314703) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896737)

for the freedom to modify and fix problems instead of being at the whim of any other vendor.

Jeff

Re:For freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896770)

For some reason i can't see this being a reason most people would switch over unless of course your implying only programmers use linux...

Re:For freedom (2)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896898)

for the freedom to modify and fix problems instead of being at the whim of any other vendor.

<a**hole> Right, then you're just at the whim of bulletin boards, lack of documentation, lack of drivers, lack of vendor support... </a**hole>

I don't mean to sound like an ass, but freedom I think is probaby the least of it. At this point, servers are moved to Linux for the software offerings and stability. Desktop users switch for curiosity and the freedom to dabble. I think that "freedom to modify and fix problems" is more related to those of us who actually understand to a certain degree the underpinnings of an OS and are able to get into the guts of the Linux OS. As for the actual "fixing" - that's limited to an even smaller group of coders.

At this point, Linux is for the computer-compitent-curious, and that's all, I think. (Please pardon my inability to spell.)

Disclaimer: I run Linux and OSX.

Re:For freedom (-1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896926)

"for the freedom to modify and fix problems instead of being at the whim of any other vendor."

For improving your karma on Slashdot!

Tired of pirating? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896739)

Who really WANTS to pirate software? I know that the more properly licensed software I use, the better I feel.

Right?

My story. (5, Interesting)

XorNand (517466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896742)

I'm a long time IT guy. When I first played with Linux a decade or so ago, I couldn't get my Matrox video card to work with X Windows using a Slackware distro. So, I gave it up. Some time later, I gave Red Hat a shot. It installed this time, but then I just sat there and twidled my thumbs. Now what? I couldn't find anything practical to do with it. Windows did everything I needed it to. Years later I tried again, this time with Gentoo. I could get things to compile, so I gave up again.

This week I just installed Open SuSe 10.0. Why again? Because I really wanted to run Asterisk. I'm a total Linux moron, but it only took me a day or so to install the OS and compile and configured Asterisk. A few hours later, I had a full featured PBX system working and soon to be rolled into production for my small business, for free.

I was amazed at how easy both the OS and Asterisk were to install and configure. I really think that the usability of modern distros has improved dramatically. That isn't really what's keeping adoption down. In my case, and I suspect many others, it was internia. I didn't really want to use Linux until I found something it did that Windows didn't do, Asterisk.

I think it's time that many OSS developers stop trying to play catchup with MS; you're already there. If you don't set the bar any higher than trying to reinvent the functionality already present in Windows, the masses will never take notice. There seems to be this idea that people hate MS and/or Windows and are looking for any excuse to move to OSS (Lindows is a perfect example of this mentality). I don't think this is the case. I'm not looking for a reason to abandon Windows, I need a reason to move to Linux. And the best way to get my interest is offering me things that Windows can't.

I don't get it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896834)

So why do you need linux to read a comic book about a little French guy who likes to beat up Romans?

That makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever.

Re:It's the applications that make the difference (3, Insightful)

raju (225812) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896859)

No one switches for just the operating system. It is the applications that run atop it that make the difference. In your case it was Asterisk. Glad to hear that you have crossed the bridge.

Re:My story. (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896879)

There seems to be this idea that people hate MS and/or Windows and are looking for any excuse to move to OSS (Lindows is a perfect example of this mentality). I don't think this is the case. I'm not looking for a reason to abandon Windows, I need a reason to move to Linux.

Exactly. The only line of Linux advocacy that's less convincing than "It's not worse than Windows any more!" is "You have the source code so you can fix things yourself!" Sane computer users choose the software they want, not the software they don't hate.

Applications (5, Interesting)

QuaintRealist (905302) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896882)

I agree - this describes why many people (myself included) switch. To paraphrase James Carville, "it's the applications, stupid". After years of using OS/2 and Windows 9x, I watched my brother-in-law scroll through a list of free debian apps until he found what he needed to solve an engineering problem.

Wow!

So I set up debian on an old box, and proceeded to duplicate all of features I used in our medical practice. I was sold, and although I use Slackware now, could never go back to "I need $functionality, so I'll need to go spend more money to get it".

If I use software at work, I support the people who wrote it, too. Applications sell the OS, which has worked in Microsoft's favor for years. Increasingly, this is working for Linux

Why switch? (3, Informative)

siebzehn_msc (893545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896744)

I switched from Windows to Red Hat out of curiosity and because I was tired of BSODs. It's one of the best decisions I have ever made. The next "switches" have been between linux distros, until I found the one I love.

Why use Linux? (5, Informative)

Shads (4567) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896759)

Because it works flawlessly once installed.

We do alot of heavy duty database servers and the windows servers have a tendancy to start locking up anytime you patch something to close a security hole. The linux servers have no daemons running except for the database and ssh, there are times we go 6-12 months without needing a hotfix or patch. Even when they need patched it doesnt require a reboot, it doesn't take the machine down, and it doesn't change the day to day operation of the machine with new errors and new crashes. We use linux because it works.

End of story (I'm sure BSD would work as well, but our familiarity with a company is much stronger on the linux side of things.)

Re:Why use Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896907)

In my experiance neither operating system (Linux or Windows) is really much more reliable than the other, they're just reliable in completely different ways; Windows breaks constantly but when it breaks it usually only takes a restart to fix whatever happened, and if you're reasonably careful about virus' and adware you can go a long time without rebuilding a windows system; Linux, on the other hand, rarely brakes but when it does it breaks badly (time for a rebuild). Personally I find that bootable linux and a usb key for data is a good all around solution, when it matures more I may give up windows completely.

Here malware writer just try to damage my OS, it's on a non-writable CD!

Im probably going to switch because (2, Interesting)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896761)

it's just there. I just want to try something different. My view on life is to try and learn about everything I can. It's odd though. My university has Mac's, Windows, and Unix computers but as far as I know no Linux computers.

Curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896762)

For the free C compiler.

Linux isn't ready for the desktop though so I switched back.

Why I switched.. (5, Insightful)

Ride Jib (879374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896769)

I switched because of morals. I felt guilty stealing software that people were trying to sell. I can't afford much of the software I used in Windows, and I felt better about myself using free software in Linux. That and, well, the stability, customization, etc that comes with the territory.

Re:Why I switched.. (2, Interesting)

Bastian (66383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896884)

Hear hear. I started using Linux back in high school because it was "cool," but I moved to Linux being my primary desktop OS in college when I decided to be a software pirate.

Wintel is not a hospitable place for people who are neither rich nor unethical.

Re:Why I switched.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896934)

amen to that
i work in a university where an audit of the software on my machine would have landed me in serious trouble
now i use all open source software and do my (pathetically small) bit by submitting detailled bug reports

Re:Why I switched.. (3, Interesting)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896947)

That's what made me switch at home finally. I love Linux. I've used since I first started looking for cheap/free C programming tools back in 93/94. I would go searching for things like "free c compiler" or "free programming tools" and I kept getting hits for gcc and Linux. So I bit. I downloaded slackware and just started playing with it. I loved it then and still do. But I kept Windows too. Same as most I guess, I wanted to play games, had jobs creating crappy little office automation tools in Access and Visual Basic, have a family that I thought wouldn't adopt Linux well. After XP came out and validation became a necessity I started feeling worse and worse about running MSDN copies of Windows from work. Feelings about MS aside I don't like the idea of taking something for free if the developers of it doesn't want me to do that. I'm not much into the games anymore but my family still needs an easy to use OS so I took the plunge and put Ubuntu on my wife's PC and on the family PC. Looking back I probably could have done it even sooner but by now, with the sharp, user friendly interfaces people have built around X my family has no problem at all adapting to Linux. The best example is my daughter; she uses Word XP at school and AbiWord at home. She has never complained to me that something didn't format correctly when switching from program to program. Of course she's not embedding complex objects into her documents or making extensive use of tables. I know these things do cause issues for people but for the day to day user who is just typing a paper for school Linux does just fine and better in some cases. And last but not least my monthly sessions of removing all the crap of the family windows PC are just distant memories. :)

this is easy (5, Funny)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896775)

I switched for the games. I can play tetravex for hours (and I do).

Re:this is easy (1)

smindinvern (920345) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896925)

I switched for the games. I can play tetravex for hours (and I do).

wow, that's a new one, most people use _windows_ for the games
though, then again, I love tetravex too...

I don't think I'd call that a survey... (4, Insightful)

jejones (115979) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896781)

They posted the question in a forum and gathered the responses. So...you're talking self-selected responses, which pretty well guarantees a non-representative sample, even if the responses are interesting. I wish they'd done a real live survey.

My reason (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896782)

I've not switched and I see no reason to why I should. I use Windows mostly for Photoshop and browsing the internet. I do have Gentoo on the computer next to me, serving as a PHP/MySQL workstation.

I like what I've got there but as for anything beyond server usage, I don't want anything but Windows.

I could switch to Apple, of course, but then there's a zillion games I'd miss out on.

Reasons... (1)

bypedd (922626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896788)

I think a question like this will generate wildly different answers based on the people asked, but that those answers are unique to the group asked. As a programmer, Linux and Unix are Godsends because of the ease of editing, compiling, running and debugging with just a single terminal open. And for a group like slash dot, I wouldn't be surprised if things like the control over your own OS, and the bleeding edge appeal made it into the top answers.

But really, the question of why an average computer user would switch to Linux is less obvious. Applications being available that rival Windows is a big reason. What else are the reasons people switch?

Where do I start (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896789)

At the time I switched, the Win2k VM was driving me insane, making me wait for swap for minutes at a time with a gig of RAM and ~500MB resident. The explorer was just nuts. Delete a start menu entry and wait 5 minutes? And then there was the peerless combination of your POP mail client and norton antivirus, which at the time had a small fit and opened a window for each message it processed, as well as popping a dialog you had to click through every time it found a virus (so, about 100 times a day).

There were things like ogle, that let you skip to the DVD menu without waiting 5 minutes for the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, and 8 other movies to have their say first. And things like mplayer, which at that point was already better than WMP/Quicktime/Whatever-Else, especially as a browser plugin (hello... "save file as!").

But of course the thing that really sealed the deal was switching into 2.6 just as the new VM stuff was coming online, and seeing how incredibly responsive a computer can be under load...

Because they are disguting hippies. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896796)

Get a haircut, maybe then you can get a job and can afford a real operating system, you disgusting open sores cheap software GNU/hippie.

What a stupid survey. (1, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896797)

Sheesh, asking geeks who are already on a linux oriented site why they switched and trying to overlay their reasons on the general public?

Non-random surveys are just junk.

A better use of their readers and our time would be to ask why they didn't look at other alternatives to Linux, like Apple or even better, why they chose one paticular flavor of linux over another.

simple reasons... (1)

i7dude (473077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896798)

money...
curiosity...
previous experience with *nix...
the ability to tinker "under the hood" ...

for me its all 4..

dude.

kde (1)

ToddFFW (889756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896800)

I agree with an earlier poster. I switched because Linux did something Windows couldn't. Kontact is the best thing since sliced bread in my opinion. It does what Exchange does much better, without all of the bloat of Outlook and co$t.

The answer is so simple! (1)

dillpick6 (699618) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896802)

No matter what people tell you, they all do it for the same reason...

Chicks totally dig linux. We all did it for the babes!

How about a double switch? (1)

RoadWarriorX (522317) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896804)

I had to convince my wife to switch to a Mac so she would not throw her PC out of the second floor window. Her computer just would not stop blue-screening. She was actually going to do it, too. After rescuing the PC from the clutches of a sure death. I put switch out the OS for Linux. Now, it's living a long second life as a web server. She's happy with her Mac, and I am happy that I don't have to clean up silicon off of my driveway.

Why do my customers switch? (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896809)

Power is the biggest factor it seems. No, not speed. Power over the system, flexibility. For all that Windows is easy, it comes at the price of limiting your freedom to mess around with stuff.
When asked can I do blah with Linux, the answer's pretty much yes out of the box. With Windows the answer's yes if you buy X, Y and Z.

RE: Why Do people Switch ... (1)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896810)

"Surprisingly, anti-Microsoft sentiment had less to do with the choice than one might imagine."
Why is this surprising? You figure out exactly what you want to do, and you find the best tool towards accomplishing that goal. I am the head sysadmin for a legal consulting firm, and whenever I need a new server, I first lay out a clear list of what needs to be done, and then weigh that against the software available. Then, we factor in what makes the most sense against the budget. Increasingly, as Linux matures and both more software and drivers become available, I am finding less reason NOT to use it when going down the comparison list. If I were to try and ram it through specifically because of my own personal views of Microsoft, I would be doing my employer a great disservice and probably be considered bad at my job. For example, my employer still loves Microsoft SQL, it meets there needs quite well, so that comparison is easy, and Windows wins on that comparison. However, as the open source SQL flavors continue to mature on Linux, I (as well as our developers) will find less reason not to consider their usage in business critical applications.

I like Pain (2, Insightful)

8400_RPM (716968) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896812)

I've been using linux for a few years on my home laptop just to stay ahead of the curve. I'm a windows Sys Admin, and I want to be ready.

I'm not a huge fan though. I cant play half the videos I download, wireless in suse sucks. Fedora stoped loading KDE completely one day for no apparent reason.

IMO, linux is still 10 years behind microsoft.

Re:I like Pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896933)

Yeah, because wireless rocked in Wnidows ten years ago....

My story... (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896818)

At the time, I was still running 98SE. I had a rar'ed up DVD image that I wanted to play with, but it was just slightly over 4G, and thus, couldn't be uncompressed in 98, it would die at 99%. I knew that Linux could handle larger files, so I installed that. I was extremely impressed, and immediately got to playing with everything in sight, and never looked back. That was about 3 years ago now and I have absolutely zero interest in Windows.

Mac OS X is the place to switch to (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896822)

I don't know why somebody would switch to Linux with Mac OS X being so beautiful and having BSD underneat the hood.

my girlfriend and her daughter (1)

maryjanecapri (597594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896835)

are both going to switch over. not because i've provoked them but because they are so tired of the windows problems they've been having (malware, spyware, viruses, slowdowns due to malware and antivirus programs). my girlfriend is also happy that her kids won't be able to just randomly install various things on her computer. THAT is really the main reason she's excited about it. well that and being able to use quality software without having to dump a large amount of fundage into it.

two important respects (4, Funny)

styxlord (9897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896837)

Though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has a huge friendly penguin as its mascot.

Real reason I (partially) switched (1)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896844)

I really hate having to type a 24 digit product key number every time I install something.

Seriously, I still need XP for games and contract development work, although my back-end is entirely Linux based.

Didn't want to be tied down to... (4, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896845)

  • My Access Database and forced upgrades
  • Hated having to reinstall every 8 months for performance related issues when defragging and general cleanup didn't help
  • Hated the reinstalling process where upgrades take the better half of a day (I've just cleaned up some 2002 OEM machines that we have upgraded from and are selling to the public. The upgrade process DOES take a better half of a day)
  • Really liked learning another OS that didn't have 'hidden' features - (You have to buy a book on how to hack the registry and even books on the market aren't complete)
  • Uptime
  • Stability
  • Linux has the latest and greatest and experiemental stuff whereas Windows is at least 5 years behind (Windows still requires defragging of the hard drive, Mac and Linux don't)

They largely don't. (2, Insightful)

wangotango (711037) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896847)

Most users don't switch to Linux. Most users have never heard of Linux, and don't really care to have anyone tell them about it either.

Re:They largely don't. (1)

Shakes268 (856460) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896888)

You're so right. Most don't care, don't know nor do they want to know. When Linux can be the right choice for those people, it will be as bloated as any Microsoft software on the market with just as many problems.

My Reason For TRYING Linux (1)

RUFFyamahaRYDER (887557) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896849)

I'm with the people in the article... I didn't try Linux because I hate Billy or his Microsoft company. I switched because I got pretty good at Windows and wanted to see what else was out there. I wanted to see what all the talk was about for Linux. Back when I first tried it, Linux was a challenge just to install.

I didn't have enough time to really get into it and didn't make the complete switch, but I will probably give it a shot later on.

Cost and more (4, Insightful)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896850)

As a college student, funds are tight. Migrating to Linux I found a plethra of free software that was very useable and worked well. I also found Linux to be easily used on old hardware, which I have alot of. That, and the lack of viruses, and spyware helped in the migration. I don't have to worry about keeping virus definitions upto date, nor spyware definition. I don't even have to worry about a registry! All the tools that I need are available for Linux, and very customizable. Linux supports everything that I need and more. And then customizing the kernel, and compile flags. Linux is the way I want, not the way someone else wants.

Why? (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896851)

Why do people switch to Linux?

1. Chronic Nerdyness.
2. Windows BSODS.
3. They think that just because something is free it also costs nothing, or next to nothing, to operate it.
4. They are developing an embedded system and want complete freedom to recode the OS.
5. They have sat down, done the math and found out it makes sound business sense to do so.
... the list goes on ...
N. Masochism?

a quote from Intel (1)

igny (716218) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896856)

from Microsoft's paranoia, which results in quotes like the one that had Bill Gates saying he'd put Linux in the Computer museum like he has other competitors

"In the world without walls noone needs Windows or Gates."

Because they cant afford Mac OS X! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896862)

Because they cant afford Mac OS X!

Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896866)

I switched because I didn't like having pirated software on my machine. But my distro sucked (hardware problems) and I didn't have time to switch to other distros, so I switched back to Windows :(

Overheard at lxer.com HQ... (5, Funny)

chiller2 (35804) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896870)

Jefe> We have had many answers for the switch to Linux!
El Guapo> How many answers?
Jefe> Many answers, many!
El Guapo> Jefe, would you say we have a plethora of answers?
Jefe> Yes, El Guapo. You have a plethora.
El Guapo> Jefe, what is a plethora?

So they say (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896871)

This is a pretty naive conclusion. The reason a person will say they did something for, when asked, may be different from what really caused them to do it. Of course someone who believes in the Linux cause will say that they came over on the merits of the operating system. The real causes may have been much more political or emotional. Asking someone why they did something can only tell you what they want you (and maybe themself) to think.

it's not windows they hate (3, Interesting)

smindinvern (920345) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896874)

I switched to linux about 4 years ago. At the time, I was one of those l337 h4x0rZ all into windoze kind of people, I really didn't have any reason to switch to linux except that a friend recommended it to me. I don't think that the majority of people switch because they hate windows, or even the cost of it. I think it's a whole lot more common that someone hear about it, or something that it can do, or something that it supports, and their curious and try it out. Just my opinion, but that's the way it was for me, and most people who tell me about their 'conversion'.

Why would I want to switch to Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896877)

I started using 4.3BSD on a VAX. I did not have a desktop, I had a vt100 terminal. I used vi and ditroff with an HP LaserJet. I switched to SunOS 4.x on a Sun 3/60. I used vi/emacs/sc/xdvi/ghostscript and troff/LaTeX with an Apple LaserWriter (PostScript). I switched to BSDi on a Pentium 90. I used vi/emacs/LyX/Gnumeric/ghostview and LaTeX/HTML with an HP LJIIISi. I switched to RedHat Linux on a PIII. I switched to Debian Linux on a P4. I use Abiword and Kword and LyX and Gnumeric and Calc and OOo and Scribus and Inkscape and .... Why would I need to switch to Microsoft products?

Well, there's Linux, then there's Knoppix. (1)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896878)

The question is a bit too broad. Linux can mean a hell of a lot of things.
        Personally, I've helped many people kick Windows for Knoppix because once you walk them past the perceived limitations of a read-only OS, they get to a point and a light goes off and they're like --bling! Oh yeah, why do I want my personal files mixed in with all that OS crap anyway? It's not like you can't save files. You just don't have to worry about someone else's files screwing with your system. It's like condom for the Internet data orgy. Once your OS is read-only it's like yeah, bring it on. I'll click that pop-up. What-me-worry?
        A read-only OS is the ultimate answer for security and system maintenance. For most people those issues are what makes computing a drag. For most people coming from Windows, just having a working browser and a set of basic productivity tools that simply don't break is more than enough to convince them.

I Switched and Switched Back (5, Interesting)

Dink Paisy (823325) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896881)

I switched to Linux in 1998, and used it almost exclusively until 2002. Then I switched back to Windows.

I used Linux because it was more convenient. I was writing a lot of code that had to run on UNIX systems, and it was nice to be able to write and compile it on my home computer. I also had better connectivity; the Windows terminal programs I had at the time were quite lacking. I did use Windows for a while in the summer of 2000, when I had a job writing code for Windows and Macintosh.

Qualifying the reason I switched back is harder. I had an interview with Microsoft in 2001, and although I didn't accept their offer, I was quite impressed by the people I met while interviewing. So after I got frustrated with the distribution I had been trying in 2002, I decided to give Windows a try again. Windows certainly isn't perfect, but overall it has been a much less frustrating experience than Linux was. A big part of that is Cygwin, which has helped smooth out a lot of the rough edges that Windows has. My regular environment now includes the Windows port of Vim, Cygwin/X, and VNC, but I still find that Windows is more convenient than Linux is.

I no longer have Linux installed on either of my home computers, but I still use Linux almost every day at school. The biggest reason is that rebooting annoys me, so since I completed the switch back to Windows, I've rarely used Linux at home. I miss it at times, not so much since the connectivity of Windows to Linux is good, but there are still a few things I can do better with Linux. For example, gcc on Linux is more compatible with gcc on Linux than gcc on Cygwin. I'd really like a low cost virtualization option so that I could run Linux without rebooting.

Best of both worlds (1)

soikoban (152341) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896885)

Why switch? I use both, XP for gaming and Linux for all the other things at home. At work, we use XP on the desktop (reason being office, obviously) and Linux on some of our servers.

Because it's hard, because it's for devs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896890)

I'm finishing my Soft. Ing. degree.
For 5 years I've been a technician and purely operated in the Windows world. I've pretty much done all there is to do in this domain, I need a new field of expertise.

Now, I think that Unix skills are a must and do the necessary to learn them. For everything 'server', it can't be beat. Moreover, I'm a developper, so having the code handy is always a big plus.
Now, if I, as a user, make the switch, it doesnt mean much. What means much is when a professionnal entity makes the switch, because those needs professionnal support and that's where you can live off Open source software as a dev.

My clients switch because I recommend it. (1)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896893)

Usually it goes something like this:

1. Frustrated client calls me for the third time this year complaining of virus/spyware outbreak on their Windows computer.
2. I calmly suggest that I can solve the problem for good, and all the software I would use will cost them nothing. I also provide a reduced hourly rate for the first few hours after doing the switch from Windows to GNU/Linux.
3. While I'm installing the GNU/Linux system, I tell them about Free Software, and let them know how the new system is different from Windows.

Out of the dozen or so clients (mostly home users) that I've switched, only one of them has gone back to Windows. And that person still calls me to come fix spyware problems...

I occasionally get questions from the others about how to actually *use* their computer to do useful work, rather than how to *fix* their computer.

It's very refreshing for them and me.

Cash. (1)

isbhod (556556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896894)

Plain and simple; cold hard cash. I ain't gots it, and i needs it to use MS products (well at least i'm suposed too, but shhhhh), I don't needs it to use Linux. Therefore Linux wins.

Solid Servers (1)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896901)

I do telecom for a living and simply won't accept anything that's not solid. 24/7/365.25 is not just a requirement in telecom. It's standard business practice. We measure anual downtime in minutes. I can get that with Linux and solid hardware. End of Story.

Built in packaging (1)

DesiVideoGamer (863325) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896915)

I use Ubuntu. If I want to install a new package, all I have to do is type in the name of the package in to Synaptic and it takes care of the rest. Having the ability to browse though all available software is huge plus. It is also really nice to have all the updates to my software in just one place. That is the kind usability I found to be lacking in Windows so I switched.

I switched from Win2K to Fedora Core 4 x86_64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896918)

I choose Linux because:
- Tired of this Windows upgrade cycle (my big HDs >137GB needed WinXP with SP). Vista looming out there.
- SSH remotely into my box. Can't run a remote GUI over dialup like remote desktop in windows
- Apache / PHP / MySQL for my web pages (plus I could modify write on the same system that is the server)
- Lots of choices, not just 1 (Fedora or Debian or Ubuntu or Mandrake or ect vs WinXP)
- Wanted to really use my 64-bit CPU

Things I realized I really like that I didn't know about before the switch
- MPlayer (and mencoder) IS AWESOME. MPlayer > WMP
- MPlayer plugin for Firefox lets me save embedded streaming videos
- Don't need to reboot the machine. STABLE AS A ROCK.
- Great hardware auto-detection (the only driver I've installed was the NVidia one, otherwise it has supported my mobo, printer, etc with no additional drivers needed)
- Games for Linux are just as easy to install and play (like Quake, Doom, etc)
- Desktop background slideshow (kinda silly, but I like it, and I don't have it in Windows)
- KDevelop for hacking code
- Comes with most software I had to install (and reboot with) in Windows (CD Burner prog, Firefox, Open Office, IDE, IM client, Media Players, Gimp, etc)
- Never have to worry about the registry, disk defragging, system bogging down, etc
- The whole nerd satisfaction of using Linux over Windows
- Command line is awesome with history, autocomplete, grep, locate, etc
- Man pages (it comes with the documentation that you need)
- Wine for those apps I miss from Windows

I could go on and on. But the bing thing is that as I've grown into Linux, I find more and more things that it does that are superior to Windows, and Linux features that I miss in Windows (I still have to use Windows at work)

Gnome is why I switched. (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896921)

After using OS X extensively, I found myself constantly lost in the dizzying array of options. That's why I switched to a Linux distribution running Gnome. The elegant simplicity and elimination of all those confusing options.

girls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13896923)

I switched to Linux so I could get all the girls! girls dig linux geeks, right! right? oh someone please tell me I'm right about that....

I'm a long term Linux user... (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896929)

... and here's an odd story. My fiancee uses Windows XP, and I try and keep it up to date with the latest updates. One update (Outlook spam filter, and an Office patch IIRC) failed to work. That wasn't a surprise, sometimes this happens on many OS's. What was weird was that the error message was in two parts:

i) The error message said : "Install Failed due to Error Code 0x5F"
ii) When I looked up on KB what this meant it said: Unknown error. Try searching on the internet for help.

This amused me intensely. When I started with Linux 10 years ago, one of the jokes was that when programs failed, all you got was a cryptic message and an imprecation to ask on Usenet. Now, it seems, Microsoft have gone the same route for tech support.

(Found the solution: I had to install some Dev Kit and use it to deactivate error reporting. Took a fair while though -- God damn community supported OS's like Windows XP will never be reliable :) )

Still on windows (1)

Brad_sk (919670) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896940)

I am using Windows mainly because its available everywhere (school, work...). I would love to try Linux but I am little scared from the endless installation process involved (especially 'X' system). Also, I should say that I am bit disappointed after using Mozilla thunderbird. Hope other open source products keep up to their hype.

Quotes from the Article less than "Insightful" (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896942)

Ok, so why people switch according to the quotes from the Article:
I just wanted to try something different
Ok, curiousity, check
because my best friend was a Gentoo-fan, he set up Gentoo for me
Ok, crammed down throat, check
I changed to Linux because of the Fiddle factor
Ok, nerd factor (this would be my factor too mostly I guess), check
It took me about a year to switch from W2K to Linux
Ok, this is a how not a why.
I first tried Linux out of curiousity mainly
Curiosity, check-check
windows 3.1 on 286 what a nightmare... Saw QNX and wanted it for years ...Windows 95 (was) ok but lacked the ability I had on the VIC 20
Anti-Microsoft, check
Running a Windows enterprise was like working in the emergency room
Anti-Microsoft, check

Curiosity is a big factor, the tinkerability appeals to some, word of mouth (or in the quoted case force of hand) and of course "Microsoft is teh suck".

NOW, I've been reading /. since 1998 (and, yes, I am a Windork mostly because of work but also because of games) but even lowly I could have given you this list without even blinking.

The one post I'd like to see would be "I had to switch to Linux at work and turned out I love it and installed it at home".
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