A Linux switcher doesn't miss Apple or Microsoft

In today's open source roundup: Dan Gillmor leaves Microsoft and Apple behind, and couldn't be happier with his switch to Linux. Plus: Arch Linux moves to Linux Kernel 4.3. And DistroWatch reviews paldo GNU/Linux

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A Linux switcher doesn't miss Apple or Microsoft

Linux has much to offer any user, including journalists. One writer at Medium switched to Linux and said goodbye to Apple and Microsoft. He's never been happier with his computer and shared his thoughts in a long and detailed post.

Dan Gillmor reports at Medium:

On a spring day in 2012, I shut down my MacBook Air for the last time. From then on, my primary computing environment  --  at least on a laptop computer  --  was GNU/Linux. I was abandoning, as much as possible, the proprietary, control-freakish environments that Apple and Microsoft have increasingly foisted on users of personal computers.

Almost four years later, here I am, writing this piece on a laptop computer running the Linux* operating system and LibreOffice Writer, not on a Mac or Windows machine using Microsoft Word. All is well.

No, better than that  --  everything's terrific.

I'd recommend this move to lots of folks  --  not everyone, by any means, but to anyone who isn't afraid to ask some occasional questions, and especially anyone who gives some thought to the trajectory of technology and communications in the 21st Century. Most of all, to people who care about freedom.

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Dan's readers at Medium responded with their own thoughts in the comments below his article:

Steve Rummel: "Linux is my desktop of choice when executing work for my clients  --  I have more powerful tools that are easier to obtain and maintain and are of equal or greater quality with lower licensing restrictions than their non-free counterparts. R, MySql, Python, Ruby, Apache, and the general ability of Linux to support older hardware makes my work life extremely pleasant. The available GUI layers (Gnome or Cinnamon) have come a long way over the last decade, while the big players have done little to make things better in terms of the end user interface."

David Blythin: "A lot of people get hung up on perceived limitations of native applications. For example GIMP isn't an exact replacement for Photoshop, nor is it intended to be, but I've yet to find anything I can't do in GIMP that I actually want to do. Sure - PS proponents can come up with a list of stuff that GIMP can't do, but none of them are fatal errors as far as I'm concerned."

Andrew Nikolic: "So who is Linux really for? To me the hassles don't stack up against the “advantages".

I can see the argument that Apple's walled garden environment does not suit some peoples needs. However a balanced comparison should be inclusive of OS X, which is not restricted to the App Store and is traditionally a competitor of desktop operating systems like Windows and Linux. The iPad Pro and iOS angle seems out of place in this opinion piece.

Also, while data privacy concerns in Windows is worth mentioning, it's also overplayed. The reality is people should be more concerned about online data breaches, malware and management of online accounts. You don't have to look hard to find out how many consumer records are breached each year  --  it's staggering. But these breaches are the precursors to cyber-fraud and what people should be diligent about. Linux is not the answer here.

I'm not sold on the advantages of the “freedom" Linux provides, other than using it as a platform to learn and tinker."

Joe: "You're writing about freedom. Linux always runs on Windows Hardware. Have you ever revised the specifications of future Microsoft Hardware? For instance TPM/UEFI/Secureboot? Why does Purism still sell Hardware with TPM?

Freedom for me is however not based on any signing by someone allowing me to boot OS I'd like to boot.

Sorry, mate. I think your so called freedom is an illusion."

Scott Wilson: "Between Microsoft trying to force everyone to Windows 10 and their creepy spying, to Apple topping the most vulnerable operating systems list with both OSX and iOS two years in a row, the only choice left is Linux. Chrome OS (linux) if you have simple needs, or a good distro if need to do more complicated things. I love Fedora, but Ubuntu, Arch, CentOS, RHEL, SuSe, they are all pretty great now."

Abiatha Swelter: "I've been using Mint on a laptop for a couple of years now and have been pretty happy with it. The main sticking point with getting off Mac entirely is Adobe CS; there's no good Linux equivalent. My laptop is a Mythlogic/Clevo unit that I was able to get supplied with no OS, which was a nice benefit. It's a solid unit, if a bit heavy by comparison with macbooks."

Spooky Action: "Cool article, welcome to the party. I've been experimenting with and using Linux on the desktop since 1998. MkLinux running on a Powermac 8100 was the first Linux distro I cut my teeth on before discovering Debian in 1999, which I still use now. Linux has come a long way and it's awesome to see people switching to open source alternatives. BSD too! Also, if your not familiar with it, check out the Wine project. You'd be surprised how many Windows apps run on Linux now. :D"

Walton Pantland: "Good piece, but moving to Linux is way simpler than he makes it appear. I am not at all technical, but I switched 10 years ago, and it transformed my computing experience. Learning to type “sudo apt-get update" is not at all difficult, and helps you learn how your computer works.

I run Debian, and it's as straightforward as proprietary systems, even for a non-technical user like me."

Luis Anaya: "I have used Linux for many years, being the first time when I downloaded the Slakware floppies to install in a i486 system to play at work. Although I had a Linux system available throughout the years, usually as a spare system at home or work, I never ventured for it to be my desktop system 100% of the time until this year in which I now use a Xeon workstation running Debian Jessie. The reason can be summarized as follows: Windows 10 was the stroke that broke the camel's back because I just do not care for my computer to rat out on me to the manufacturer.

Thankfully, there were very few applications that I really needed on Windows, but those that I could not find a suitable Linux native substitute I manage to use them through the means of a Virtual Box running XP or through the use of Wine being that programs like Play on Linux makes it very convenient to use Wine.

Nowadays there are very few Windows exclusive programs that I use being that most of the work I do is developing a Linux software, so running all the tools for compiling and troubleshooting our system on a single platform makes it very handy."

Rhy O'drinnan: "Great article! I have two thoughts: I use GTK record my desktop constantly. What is it lacking that camtasia has? Secondly, DUDE. Try Linux Mint. It's just so much nicer than Ubuntu all the way around. I especially like the Mate version and Mate menu, and personally favor the debian edition, as it's a rolling release, and I'm a lazy server admin. The latest Mint comes with Compiz working out of the box and really pushes graphics better by default than any other OS I've used, with the possible exception of Android. Speaking of Android, I buy devices that can be formatted with Cyanogenmod and get rid of all google stuff, and only use the excellent open source market F Droid. It has most of what I need (mail, browser, music players, solitaire, etc..). Good luck to you sir!"

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