It seems clear that easier doesn't always mean better. This has been proven to be true with the malware headaches Windows users have experienced over the years. Yet rather than realize that clicking on every forwarded file sent to them via email might be a bad idea, the end-user instead blames the OS or the software that failed to protect them from their own foolishness. Maybe the key here is that it just takes a certain kind of person to use Linux over other operating systems?
Linux on the desktop is for brainiacs
Is it possible that only "genetically engineered super-geeks" have the ability to run a Linux desktop successfully? If the complaints seen with many of the articles out there exclaiming that Linux is too difficult to use are an indicator, then I suppose I must be a super-geek myself.
I happen to believe the truth behind what keeps people from working through Linux desktop challenges stems more from the convenience than necessity. Again, as stated above there are some workplace exceptions. However, for most computer end users, there are three simple reasons not to switch.
--They rely on legacy software unavailable for the Linux desktop. Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, among other titles.
--They were curious about Linux, but baulked at relying heavily on something not familiar to them.
--They own made for Windows laptop/desktop hardware that isn't Linux compatible. Rather than replace the components with something Linux friendly, they opt to stick with the OS that is supported.
Any one of the reasons above are generally perceived as being valid for not switching to Linux. Yet none of them are unavoidable obstacles either. In fact, all the above obstacles can simply be overcome if the end-user so chooses.
Oddly enough, these same people will hold tight to their reasons as if they will die if they try to work around these challenges. To me, this is a really limited way to live one's life. Talk about a boring existence!
Putting aside excuses and finding solutions
Rather than leave this article off on a negative note, I'd like to share some simple ways the typical obstacles can be overcome by anyone willing to take a chance and willing to learn something new.
Obstacle #1- Legacy software for Windows. In many instances, dual-booting or even running a virtual machine is a fix here. Why bother? Because if you're using the Windows installation for non-Internet based software needs, you're greatly reducing your risk for malware exposure. If Linux is good enough for the U.S. Department of Defense, then clearly it's worth giving a second thought for regular users.
Obstacle #2 – Desktop familiarity. Unless you're someone who has a health issue that prevents them from learning something new, I'd suggest getting over yourself. The worst-case scenario is you hate the Linux experience. At least after trying the Linux desktop experience for more than an hour, you will be qualified to dislike Linux-based on an experience rather than acting like someone who fears change. Who knows, perhaps you'll discover a new open source program that's also available for your Windows desktop!
Obstacle #3 – Your PC hardware that isn't Linux compatible. Even an issue such as this one can be overcome. Wireless doesn't work? Ask the Linux community about compatible wireless dongles. Video card and sound card woes? If you're running a desktop PC, buy a new card. If a laptop, consider selling it for one with Linux pre-installed.
Obviously these ideas can be cost prohibitive for some people. However, most of us can choose to let this stop us or instead, put money aside for our next PC that is compatible with Linux. Wrong or right, it's still a choice we all make ourselves.
So what is your holdup?
Are you reading this from a Windows desktop? Do you have a second computer lying around not doing anything worthwhile? Then might I suggest installing Linux and allowing your mind to expand a bit while you learn something new?
Remember, to use Linux or not to is a personal choice. Nothing is stopping you. If it makes you feel any better, consider it a challenge in trying something new, even if only to discard the very idea later on.
Using Linux on your desktop in 2011 isn't rocket science. Anyone claiming it is hasn't spent much time with modern distributions. It has been my long-standing belief that the biggest hurdle facing Linux adoption is interest in switching or the willingness to try something that isn't familiar.
Many of you may disagree, and that is fine. But based on my experience, most of what stops someone who wants to switch to Linux from making the change stems from personal choice.