Why should you migrate to Linux?

accordion00bLinux is being adopted at an increasing rate by government agencies, educational institutions, businesses, all sorts of organizations, groups and ordinary individuals around the world, to replace  Microsoft Windows and other computer operating systems.

There are many reasons for this, including:

1. Best Security & Privacy

accordion01In the light of revelations from Edward Snowden and others before him, it has now become common knowledge that all our electronic communications are being monitored.  The existence of hidden “back-doors” in  proprietary (commercial) software which was suspected by security experts for many years, is now an accepted fact. (A back-door is a secret method covertly inserted by software developers for obtaining remote access to a computer without the user's knowledge). Unlike proprietary software where the code is secret and locked, Linux is open source and therefore a back-door would easily be recognised. As long as all the installed software is fully open source, there is no need to fear that a computer has been frequented by government agencies, and even worse by criminal underground groups. The web-cam, local pc/laptop microphone and confidential files cannot be hijacked by uninvited guests from the outside when using Linux in order to snoop on you. More than half of Britons have at some time been victims of online cybercrimes including hacking, according to a recent poll. If privacy and security is recognised as essential, the strength and reliability of Linux alone should be a decider.

2. Virus-free Zone

accordion02A short visit to www.linux.com website will inform new Linux users that an anti-virus solution is unnecessary (even though they are free and available for anyone to download if desired). Symantec lists over 24 million (24,157,239) Virus Definitions for the MS Windows environment which are in constant circulation and destructive. In contrast Linux has only encountered a few dozen viruses of a low potency to which it is no longer vulnerable due to updates. With a few simple guidelines, as long-term users' experience shows, you can easily keep your PC virus free.

3. Many Applications

accordion03The number and variety of application programs for Linux are already large and it is continuing to increase rapidly as more and more developers are creating programs for Linux. Almost all Linux applications are also free software (including nearly all of the most popular ones such as Office packages or video/graphical editing utilities), and many have features and performance equal or superior to those of comparable applications for use with Microsoft Windows. In fact, users often find that all the applications that they want are freely available on the Internet and that it is no longer necessary to purchase any commercial software.

4. Profitable Upgrades

accordion04Linux reduces the need to upgrade or replace hardware when updating to a newer operation system. This is because its code is very efficient and compact, thus allowing it to work effectively on older computers that are not suitable for the newest versions of Microsoft Windows. Also, there are no forced upgrades for Linux users. This is because older versions continue to be supported (e.g., with the development of new security patches and device drivers) and because newer versions, if desired, are available and are typically highly compatible with older versions. The developers of proprietary software, however, have strong financial incentives to engage in planned obsolescence, in order to push users of earlier versions to spend money to buy or lease new versions.

5. Quality Support

accordion05No-cost high quality support for Linux is available on the Internet, including in newsgroups and other forums. Users claim that this support is at least as good as that provided for proprietary (i.e., commercial) operating systems for a fee. Linux support can also be purchased on a commercial basis if desired.

6. True Compatibility

accordion06Linux features a high degree of compatibility with other operating systems. For example, it can read, write, copy, erase and otherwise manipulate data that resides on Microsoft Windows partitions on the same hard disk drive (HDD), act as a Windows server for a network containing Windows clients, format disks for use with Windows, and even run Windows programs directly if necessary. In contrast, the Microsoft Windows operating systems cannot access HDD partitions that contain other operating systems, cannot format disks for other operating systems, etc.

7. Total Flexibility

accordion07Linux features a high degree of flexibility of configuration, and a great deal of customization can be accomplished very easily, without having to modify the source code. The appearance and behaviour of the desktop, including icons and menus, can be configured in an almost infinite number of ways, according to user tastes or requirements. They can even be made to resemble Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac's OS X. Should this not be enough, the ability to freely access, revise and recompile the source code allows virtually unlimited flexibility of configuration.

8. Highest Performance

accordion08aLinux is generally faster for a given set of hardware specifications. This is due to greater optimization of the source code, including far less code bloat. Linux is highly resistant to system crashes and rarely needs rebooting (i.e., restarting). This can be very important for large organizations for which even a few minutes of down time can result in substantial cost. The reason is that Linux has been designed from the ground up, to be an extremely stable and robust operating system, incorporating all that has been learned about attaining these goals from more than 35 years of history of Unix-like operating systems.

9. No Licensing Fees

accordion09bShould a user decide to upgrade to a newer version of Linux, there are no licensing fees. Linux has no onerous requirements for keeping track of licenses because they are offered free of charge to all users. In a Windows setting, a company with hundreds of computers requires a number of full time personnel just to make sure that all of the computers in use are in compliance with the complex licensing terms of the EULAs (end user license agreements) for Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and other proprietary software. However, for Linux users there is no fear of surprise audits by the BSA (Business Software Alliance), with possible severe penalties for minor license violations.

10. Contribution Opportunities

accordion10Linux provides the opportunity for users to contribute to the advance of software technology because the source code is freely available to study, improve, extend and redistribute. In addition to giving back to the software community and being a virtue in itself, such contributions can have great public relations value.

11. Faster Development

accordion11Linux has not only caught up with, or in some cases surpassed, their proprietary counterparts, but they are also developing at a faster pace. This trend will accelerate as demand for such software continues to grow and more and more individuals and organizations become actively involved it its development.

12. Safest Formats

accordion12Linux uses open file formats. These are formats for word processing, spreadsheet and other file types that conform to industry-wide standards and which can be used by any developer of software to create compatible programs, in contrast to the closed formats commonly used by some proprietary software. This eliminates the problem of lock-in to proprietary standards, with the consequent difficulty and expense of switching to other software in the future. It allows the user to have complete control of its data, particularly in the event that at some future date the developer who originally created the software goes out of business or stops supporting its earlier software.

13. All Platforms

accordion13Linux is capable of operating on a wide variety of platforms (i.e., processor and system types), rather than just being limited to Intel-compatible processors and computers. It scales well and is well suited for use on a diverse array of equipment ranging from supercomputers to industrial robots to electronic medical equipment to cell phones/tablets (and can even run on a wristwatch).

14. Better Understanding

accordion14Linux is a superior choice for use in academic institutions with regard to the study of IT for a number of reasons. Among them is the fact that the source code is open to study (in sharp contrast to proprietary software), thereby providing students the opportunity to understand how computers really work rather than to just learn how to use them. Educators are convinced that it is far more important for students to study computer science fundamentals than to practice specific applications (such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint). One reason is that computer science fundamentals will still be valid many years from now, whereas the proprietary software is constantly changing and that which is currently in use will likely become obsolete in a few years.

15. No Fragmentation

accordion15With Linux, in contrast to the Microsoft Windows, there is no need to defragment hard disks (HD). Fragmentation, which is the spreading of data into non-contiguous locations on a HD drive, can reduce the efficiency of data storage and slow down computer operation. Defragmentation is not difficult, but it can be an annoyance to have to do it periodically, and it is unnecessary with a well-designed operating system.

16. Right Economy

accordion16Using and advocating Linux helps foster a healthy diversity and increased competition throughout the software industry. Such competition can promote technological advance, improve performance and lower costs for open source software and proprietary software alike. Both economic theory and hundreds of years of real-world experience clearly show that monopolies have little incentive to innovate, tend to produce shoddy products, charge inflated prices and tend to corrupt the political system.

17. Full Transparency

accordion17For governmental agencies, Linux and other free software allows for transparency of data because it stores the data in formats consistent with industry-wide standards. This is in contrast to the proprietary, closed formats characteristic of commercial software. Such transparency is important for maintaining effective democracy. Keeping non-secret data in standards-compliant formats allows anyone to access it without having to purchase expensive proprietary software. Also, storing secret data in standards-compliant formats is widely regarding as being more secure than keeping it in proprietary formats.

18. Correct Ethics

accordion18Very high ethical standards are maintained for Linux and other free software, in large part due to the very openness of their development process and the free availability of the source code. Linux has never been convicted in a Federal court of violation of antitrust laws or other crimes, nor has it had to pay penalties for the unauthorized copying of technology developed by other companies. Antitrust refers to government policy to regulate or break up monopolies in order to promote free competition and attain the benefits that such competition can provide to the economy and to society as a whole.

Final Thoughts

accordion19aLinux users stand on higher moral ground, and the encouragement of en masse migration to Linux is beneficial to the whole society. Not only will the technology be of better quality, cheaper and available to more people, but even the proprietary software developers will eventually make a move to the Linux platform. Also more applications will be developed for the open source OS, because of the growing need. With each passing year, digital technology is increasingly affecting our lives. Making a wrong decision in this regard, can be very costly later. Philosophically speaking, moving to Linux is a responsible moral decision and a right cause to join on many levels.

Linux already dominates everywhere else, from mobile phones and tablets (Android), super computers (over 97%), web servers, data centres, digital TV screens, watches, cars, refrigerators, world's stock exchanges, satellites etc. The take-over of the personal computer platform is next. Perhaps, at the end of this list, we should complete the full circle and return to the very first reason (privacy and security), and ask ourselves that essential question - is it still true that 'an Englishman's home is his castle'? And what can we do about it?