Bentley Home PC Support - Articles - Should you switch to Linux?


<< Back to Articles

Should you switch to Linux? Possibly not.

In all my years as a computer scientist (yes, that's an actual thing!) I've never quite seen a level of angst similar to that present within the Linux developer community. In no small way this stems from its founder, Linus Torvald, and his aversion to anything resembling sane-and-sensible confrontation (which he has recently apologised for and, stepped down for the time being). He tended to invoke both shame and anger in his correspondents in equal measure, leading many to leave Linux development altogether, as they failed to see the benefit of being insulted or condescended to in exchange for their offerings of time.

This attitude has often been reflected in Linux development groups across the globe, and support communities; the idea that it doesn't matter how you deliver the message, so long as that message is in fact correct. Recently I asked a general question about a particular type of software in Linux, on a forum that wasn't specifically for Linux. Several forum members responded with outright hostility, as I'd dared to criticise their favourite play toy, but I was merely asking for information. Heaven help the more inexperienced users who might stumble into a support forum asking "stupid questions" like "why isn't my internet going?".

This is the principle reason I don't recommend Linux for the average user. Don't get me wrong; I use Linux regularly and I'm no Microsoft, or Apple fan. The actual problem with Linux isn't the software, but its userbase and support culture. There are as many flavours of Linux as there are colours in the world; but they all have, to varying degrees, the same problem of community and support. And at some point, you are going to need support, or a community to advise you how to proceed or make recommendations to you.

There is also the matter of usage statistics. Microsoft Windows may chew through system resources for no good reason, but when you have a problem, you can bet that somewhere, someone online has had that problem too. Currently 83% of all desktop/laptop computers worldwide run Windows and this makes it easier to find a solution to your problem. By contrast, if you've had an issue with Linux, with it's 1.45% marketshare, chances are you could be the only person who's ever had that problem. And even if you're not, applying the solution will require more-than-novice training.

Apple has roughly 12% marketshare on the desktop, but because there is no variance in hardware in apple computers, it makes it easier to find a solution to your problem. I should note that I personally use Linux for programming and don't have a problem with it; my personal favourite flavour of Linux is Xubuntu, a no-nonsense distribution which is readily understood by newcomers to Linux, as well as being quick. But so long as the Linus Torvalds clones are in charge, I am unlikely to recommend it to anyone less experienced with computers. Well, not if I like them at least.

- Matt Bentley, computer expert at Bentley Home PC Support.
Email info@homepcsupport.co.nz or phone 0211348576.

Click here to go back to the main page.

© 2019 Matthew Bentley. All Rights Reserved