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Switched over to Ubuntu Linux from Windows

by KO on December 25th, 2008

I have a home pc, which used to run Windows XP.

So, to continue the story of this pc running windows, the PC had WinXP SP3, Antivirus, Anti Spyware and what not running, but thanks to a guest with a USB stick got infected with a virus/malware/rootkit which not only disabled all the anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, it also blocked access to their websites! Even after downloading the antirootkit and antispyware software onto another pc, it refused to install on the infected pc.

So after doing some research on how to get rid of the viruses, I gave up after wasting two hours of my life on trying to clean up yet another virus infestation. The PC had a number of root kits and god knows what all installed on it, and after a couple of hours I went with the nuclear option - getting rid of Windows alltogether.
I thought: even if I fixed the Windows installation, it was just going to get infected again (and again), as random visitors use this particular PC.  For a moment I was tempted to install a hacked version of OSX on the pc, as it was a bog standard Intel Core2Duo machine, but that install would have lead to maintenance issues over time, as updates would bork the machine again.

Linux was the thinking man’s option - free, easily updatable, and virus free.  I backed up all my data onto a NTFS partition, downloaded Ubuntu 8.10 (bittorrent, of course!) and booted. From the beginning it was a breeze to install - I deleted the windows partition and installed Ubuntu there, and unlike XP it installed right away without asking any stupid questions every 4 minutes or rebooting 10 times - and within 10-12m minutes I was done, looking at a Ubuntu desktop. OpenOffice, Firefox, and a myriad other programs were already installed and running -

The most pleasant part was that unlike a Windows install I was already done - all the basics were already installed, like Firefox, OpenOffice and a ton of other software. There was no setup files to run, no software cds to fumble around with, no license keys to enter - and in the best news of all, no drivers to hunt for.

There wasn’t a single driver to install, everything from the Internet to a various USB devices to the LCD moniter was detected properly and working right out of the box! Everything, and I mean everything, from the sound to the internet to the graphics at the right resolution worked straight away. The only thing which Ubuntu did was inform me of some software updates - I clicked OK and it started downloading them in the background.

A typical Windows install takes days and more reboots than I care to think of. Dive into Mark has listed some of the steps:

My Windows XP installation has reached its half-life. (You do know that Windows has a half-life, don’t you? Every installation of Windows naturally degrades along a logarithmic curve until it becomes annoying, then unbearable, then unusable. Each successive revision of Windows has featured a slightly longer half-life. Back in the day, Windows 95 would last me about 3 months, while my copy of Windows XP has lasted me almost 9. I’m not bitter; when you realize that you’re measuring on a logarithmic scale, a factor of 3 improvement is really quite impressive.)

Still, the fact remains that my Windows XP laptop can no longer (a) print, (b) sleep, or (c) change network settings without crashing. This is not multiple choice; it can’t do any of those things. It’s time for a clean re-install.

Windows XP is no longer fit to be used, especially for normal users. Ubuntu 8.10 blows it away in just every respect. Vista - I have a licensed version of that too in fact! and it blows. I also put Ubuntu on a laptop, which too had a licensed version of Windows XP - and once again everything, including the Wireless internet just worked straight out of the box.

Going back to the Ubuntu install - It just works. The primary programs I use on this PC are available for Linux - programs like Picasa 3, Google Earth, Office (though OpenOffice, not MS Office), and games like Chess and Solitare too!

About the only software which still isn’t quite there on Linux is video editing - but every other use was covered. The fact that so much has moved into the “cloud” anyways means that Mozilla Firefox and a DSL connection takes care of 90 percent of most people’s needs anyways.

I’ve been using Linux on and off for years, but for me 2008 was the year of desktop linux - I’ve stopped using windows altogether, and from now on it’s Linux all the way. I had hopes for Vista, I knew it would be about a lot slower than XP but it should have been more secure - but it’s just as bug ridden and virus prone as XP. Windows 7 is promising, but it’s too little, too late. Mac OSX is decent, but far too expensive - I just built a PC faster than a Mac Pro at 1/3 the cost!

To sum things up:

  • Windows is for dummies who like to stare at their screens for days on end and frantically try to get it to work
  • Macs are for dummies with a lot of money. In the long run, Macs are a evolutionary dead end anyways, so might as well use a better Operating System from the get go.
  • Linux is for human beings, who just want to use their PC to get stuff done and get on with life.

Disclaimer: For computer literate users, any of the above OS’s work. I’ve used windows for 15 odd years on my own PC, and it’s never crashed or caught a virus. It’s the computer illiterate users who face all the problems, and for them that Linux is a trillion, trillion, googol times better than Windows.

From → Software

  1. Wampyr permalink

    I absolutely agree with you. I can’t put any more words to what you have said in your article.

    Average time for an unprotected Windows to get hit by anything on internet is 20 minutes. As you mentioned, even with all protections (that can takes up to 20% ~ 50% of computer resources and slow down computer to crawling speed), still a Windows can get virus/rootkit which can ruin Windows into nothing more than a piece of junk with endless headache.

    Windows Vista with SP1 is little better but with high hardware requirements make it unattractive to many average Pakistani PC owners.

    As development of Windows 7 is progressing towards Beta, more and more news are coming in. Myths about Windows 7 are also blown away similar as was the case of Windows Vista. The so called MinWin, that suppose to be total rewrite of Windows Kernel is nothing more than Bigfoot myth. In fact, Windows 7 kernel has more threads than Windows Vista (which has more than Windows XP). It is still same age old NT kernel.

    Even Microsoft’s Windows head said on PDC that Windows 7 is what Windows Vista suppose to be.

    I agree with you that Windows 7 is too late and too little.

    I also have license copies of Windows XP and Windows Vista. Being user of Windows for 10+ years. Even though Microsoft tries to release patches when people starts to shout. But things are now getting out-of-hands of Microsoft. That’s why, on some PCs, I already switched to Linux.

    On the other hand, Linux-distros has proven a lot computer pandits wrong. I really like the philosophy of major Linux-distros, they at least release two major updates every year. Thus keeping OS up-to-date to new hardware and new challenges in real world. Where as, instead of increasing pace, Microsoft is lagging behind his own new-Windows-after-every-2-years-cycle.

    Linux is slowly but steadily replacing Windows in desktop world.

    I hope that some people might at least try any of Linux-distro after reading your article. Few more in, means users with no more headaches of junk Windows but more productivity.

  2. Man am thinking about that also .. but no doubt Ubuntu is awsome..

  3. Waqass permalink

    Well well another wrong approach to Linux. All the internet is full of Ubuntu or Linux lovers and no doubt it is good, despite all the errors of windows they all use it because its their only solution to compatibility and hassle free out of box installation of softwares. This post is too much in favour of linux. Viruses are not made for linux beacuse of the market share it has and as Windows accounts 80% of that so people write viruses for the thing(windows) which peoples use. Ubuntu is no doubt promising Linux distro but it stil has time to reach the level of windows.

  4. Najaf Haider permalink

    Man! That was a great thing to do!
    i have been using openSUSE for quite some time, and it is great!
    why dont you give opensuse a try? ;)

  5. dadabhoy hlimbhoy sikandar permalink

    bilkull sahih kaha idhar, ubuntu aik number ka daana hae, kiya kaha dada aik number ka daana hae.

  6. EzEe permalink

    Great article.I have been using ubuntu for like 2-3 years.I totally agree with waqaas and Wampyr . Because both are correct in their own respective points. Ubuntu has offered me more comfort as compared to Xp/Vista in the long run. It has all the major softwares pre installed in it. Any person who wants to do his professional work on their PCs can use ubuntu without a hassle. As most of the windows softwares can be run in ubuntu using wine etc. But the major drawback that I faced in ubuntu was regarding support for good gaming and video capturing (using TV tuner card). If you use wine to play games the performance inm not very good. So personally I still use windows to run games. Also most of the winmodems like USB external and internal PCI modems are not supported my ubuntu. I was glad the day I got my dsl connection and then downloaded all the updates I needed.

    But on the otherside due to it less market share or good coding (whatever the case may be) ubuntu and other linux distros are free of viruses and spyware and in the long run it is better than Xp windows.

  7. Hi, I have used Freespire, Ubuntu and OpenSuSE and found the OpenSuSE was the best in terms of applications and the GUI. Open SuSE has those GUI features which Vista is offering now, even more than that.

    Give it a try also.

    Cheers and welcome to Linux :)

  8. that is a coincidence… i actually tried to install ubuntu today… but before that i will ask around forum for instructions… my installation gave an error:(

  9. Adiel permalink

    I think its sort of a tradition to flame windows nowadays just becaause you got a virus and could’nt handle it. Linux or ubuntu or opensuse don’t have viruses because not many people use it, if ubuntu would have been as popular as windows is I am sure it will have lots of viruses too.
    I am using windows for about 10 years and frankly speaking even with all flaws I will go for it because most of the softwares are for windows and the amount of softwares I work with are only available for windows.
    I have seen a lots of bad trojans/viruses in windows but if you know about windows you can get rid of them without banging your head on the wall, for those who don’t know much about where they hide and what measures we should take to avoid them its difficult.
    But still windows is great in my opinion, I am using an OS that is so much customizable and has loads of softwares to choose from unlike ubuntu or opensuse which are nothing compared to the compatibility of windows with softwares.

    Calling windows users dummies is strange..since you could’nt remove that virus which is not so difficult for any tech user.

  10. Ezee permalink

    Bro with all that techiness of window users I can guarantee you that most of the time it is impossible to remove a trojan/virus/adware/worms because they integrate themselves so badly that you cant remove them. Otherwise I have spent more than 3 days to find methods to remove them and I mean manual methods no softwares involved. If so called techies could solves these problems than there would be tons of info on net about it. You can make your system more secure by preventing them to enter your system but you cant remove them ( the real bad ones I mean)once they get installed. The only solution is to clean install your windows and thats what most people hate. Plus does it matters if there are no viruses for linux cause its used less. we only need a virus free environment which is available so why not use it.

    P.S you can make your windows more secure by make your system offline forever. Only then will your system be more secure.

  11. adiel permalink

    Yes thats right..don’t get infected.that should be your first priority and believe me its not that diffcult. I am a software freak, install so many that an averag euser may have never used in his entire life. And everyone know sthat warez also brings loads of viruses. Plus I vist the darkest corners of internet where a user must prepare himself for the unknown invasion but still I have managed to stay clean..well most of the time and even if I did get infected I always managed to remove it without installing my windows again.
    Antiviruse and antispywares are not the only solution, nowadays HIPS programs like threatfire or malware defender are the best tools for security that no one can install anything on your system without your permission.

    So to sum it up if you know how to handle these is fine, a little adventure with viruses and trojans now and then is good for your own knowledge :-)

    Besides if you only want to browse internet, chat, listen to music and watch movies..then ubuntu or any other os like that should be fine..but if you want the best in everything, then windows is the answer.
    Learn how to defend yourself or use a less popular os with limited functionality..the choice is yours.

  12. Jahan Zeb Iqbal permalink

    Well, I do not agree that Ubuntu has limited functionality, as far as games are concerned then yes, but we all know that its not all about gaming, its about computing. The security which has been the trademark of Linux is not due to the limited share of Linux, infact if we totaly ignore the security threat, Ubuntu or any other Linux GUI is far better than Windows just because of its Kernel. Stability, long run, clean as whistle performance are the attributes of Linux and none of them can be associated to Windows. Some time back, People were hesitant to use any other browser than IE but now Firefox and even Chrome are snatching market shares from IE. Guys who always defend Windows, use Firefox because they are sick and tired of IE. Well this is the begining and people will similarly adopt Linux as their basic and prefered OS. Because Linux is for Human Beings.

  13. Adiel permalink

    As I stated earlier you only have to know how to defend yourself and windows is fine, if you say that not everyone knows how to defend his pc so windows is for not novice users then I can say that novice users will still prefer windows because its much easier. For tech users its a personal choice, its not only about gaming, what about music production??I am into music production..and windows wins hands down at this than linux or ubuntu, there are other things too where windows is far superior.
    But if you are in a corporate enviorment or just use your pc to watch movies and listen to music or surf the net then ubuntu or any other OS is fine…for everything else there is Windows :-)

  14. Ahsan permalink

    Ubuntu Linux is indeed a very very good operating system. My backup lappy runs it because of its mediocre hardware requirments.

    I however … still use Vista (TinyVISTA actually).

    Why ? Simple. Gaming!

    … if anything, the most I hate is dual boot. I tried a UBUNTU + WinXP combo to accomodate both things. It was a pain in the ***. Switch this swtich that … half the time I found myself stuck on XP after gaming instead of switching to Ubuntu for its intended use of everything but gaming!

  15. Salam
    I would like to run a combo of Win XP + Ubuntu Linux since there are softwares I use that I’m quite sure won’t work on Linux but still for browsing and my Internet work, I think I can use it. Do you think its workable ?

  16. @ Danish:
    yes you can. You will have to setup a Dual boot system

  17. Rashid permalink

    i havent got this problem, as i dont play video games!
    but i have bigger problem than this, as i do software business work on my pc so i have to have softwares used by majority of the clients.
    I am forced to use microsoft products! sigh!!!!

    salam alykum

  18. Well i like the article and most of the things are true in it. Though i disagree with the statement
    “Macs are for dummies with a lot of money. In the long run, Macs are a evolutionary dead end anyways, so might as well use a better Operating System from the get go.”
    Mac’s video and sound editing softwares are awesome and yes they are not for home users they are for professionals. All of our tv channels use mac’s machines for their designers. Anyways It will start out a whole new discussion about MAC.

  19. Adnan permalink

    I would like to know if i want to use windows programs in ubuntu is it possible to use them with all their features like in windows. programs like photoshop, illustrator, coral, inpage office etc, though i know that there are some softwares gimp etc. but my question remains the same.

  20. All you said is right about Ubuntu and other Linux distros, but still Linux cannot beat Microsoft in OS race, cause in our daily life we find little useful software’s made for windows, wine is also good idea to use those software’s but still Linux is less user friendly.

    I myself is not ready to adopt Linux, so how a common man can shift to any Linux distro ???

  21. Junaid permalink

    I installed Ubunto 8.10 on my laptop after being tired of Vista for its speed and problems but it did not detect the video card properly. It did not even show a basic low resolution version of desktop like windows when the right video card driver is not installed. So I had to install again and go back to Vista. Though I admit that after uninstall everything is back to how it was before install i.e. the uninstall was perfect. Did anyone else had such experience.

  22. I will not recommend Linux to everyone, If you are student then you may go for linux but for work purpose you have to learn lot of thing before properly use.
    I am great fan of linux but due to lack of time i am not going to install linux, last month i have downloaded three different linux distros suse, mandriva and fedora, but after little thinking i decided not to install any linux distro.

    Currently i am using winxp, but in my opinion Vista is terrific operating system.

  23. Hassan Shabbir permalink

    I am amazed why no one has not mentioned Compiz Fusion in this whole thread. GUI lovers who simply adore Vista’s glass effects will be totally blown away when they see Compiz Fusion in action. I have personally played with compiz and byrl and they both are awsome awsome awsome. I mean, Extendible, Customisable and fun to have on your PC. There have been numerous times when I have demonstrated Compiz to a friend and it has left them in AWE!! or WOW!! even WTF!! (talking about the burn effects). For free these things are a blessing for a person like me, who just loves to experiment.

  24. qaysy permalink

    hi guys,
    healthy discussion all the way. nice to read in fact.
    i want to check “UBUNTU” for some time before giving it place of xp or vista but i am stuck with a little hurdle. if any one of you techies can help me out. UBUNTU installed each and every thing but its hard for me to configure DSL. i am using PTCL BroadBand with ZTE blue Modem and my IP is
    looking for some serious help.

  25. Guyz!

    it was a very nice review and im itching to start using UBUNTU, but the worst part is that I dont have a CD right now and cant find proper guidance as to installing it through a USB.

    please guide me…my email address is [email protected]


  26. Arsalan permalink

    I have a windows xp installed for abot 2 and a half years now and it works as good as new. I only use two security programs, zonealarm and avira, and i am proud to say that i have never been seriously infected. I have a dsl connection and i download torrents all the time. No problem for me. Linux is hard to use, doesnt have any good games, doesnt support my favourite software like photoshop, corel, flash etc and it only has basic softwares. Linux is for computer geeks and nerds who blame their addiction of internet porn to windows

  27. Arsalan permalink


  28. Thank you for this useful information

  29. Ubaid Khan permalink

    Iam using MAC OS X(hackintosh), without any problem and I am dual booting that with Windows 7 RTM. You can try if you just search for “ideneb 1.6″ in torrent sites.

  30. Check out Wubi
    Now you can install Ubuntu as easy as it can ever get.

  31. salman permalink

    Can i play windows games with ubuntu

  32. Games wont run on ubuntu, thats a little downside! I still feel a little hesitant to keep ubuntu as the only OS on my pc, because something or the other makes you want to use windows…no matter how buggy it is!

  33. Unis Khan permalink

    switched over a while ago and loving it!!!!!!

  34. Well windows 7 is pretty good.

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