Why should I?
1. Windows is enough for me, never had any problems with it, why bother?
2. Stuff doesn't work on Linux, I won't be able to do the stuff that I do on windows.
3. Linux is not user-friendly/easy to use. I'll end up spending all my time fixing problems with it.
4. How can software made by people for free even begin to compare with software made by big corporations?
5. I'll have to use the console to do everything, how do you expect me to remember all those commands?
6. Everything will be too alien, there's too much of a learning curve.
7. The installation is too painful.
Why do people?
1. They are fascinated by the concept of "Open Source" and its philosophy.
2. They like hacking code, and like playing around with code. Hence they like Open Source.
3. They have to work on Linux/Unix (Yes, most academic work is done on Unix/Linux).
4. They run servers (Linux/Unix/BSD are perfect for servers. I'll come to this later)
There are two more reasons which I will introduce later.
We(Navya) recently held our semester-ly Lecture Series. The lecture was opened by Ankit Rohatgi, where he talked about the philosophy of open source, free software and choice. After ~1/2 hour, I was on stage. I began my lecture (no ppt :P) with
Okay. I'm an engineer. I don't care about the boring philosophy of Open Source, its intricacies and the hype around it. I'm a simple engineer who has to work on Linux, for whatever reason, and hence has to use Linux. And I'm here to show you how you can do all that. And more.
I then started off with the basic things people do on Windows; listen to music, watch movies, use GTalk or Yahoo!, check mail, surf the web, etc and showed them that it could be done with the same ease on Linux as well. I then asked them what else they do on Windows, and then proceeded to show them how it works on Linux as well (and in some cases, better than windows).
The height of the lecture was when one guy asked me if we could use usb keys/music players on Linux. I whipped out Naresh's mp3 player (which I had borrowed from him) and plugged it into the usb port of the laptop I was using to give the lecture. An icon showed up on the desktop showing the usb drive and a window popped up with its contents. I then opened Rhythmbox, which had detected it as an mp3 player and proceeded to play music from it. Sound any different from Windows?
Some people wanted to know if one can play games on Linux. Here's a list of open source games for Linux. For other games, there's Wine and Cedega. All in all, unless you're a hardcore gamer, you will be able to play 90% of the games you play on windows on Linux.
For completeness, lets list it all out (for Ubuntu, the most popular flavour of Linux):
- Web Browsing ~ Firefox*#(default)
- Music ~ Rhythmbox#(default), Exaile
- Movies ~ Totem(default), MPlayer*#, VLC*
- IM ~ Pidgin*#(defacto standard), Gajim, Tapioca
- E-mail ~ Evolution(default), Thunderbird*#(most popular)
- Image editing ~ GIMP*#(default)
- CD-Burning ~ Nautilus(default), Gnomebaker, Brasero#
- Document Editing ~ OpenOffice*#(default, compatible with MS Office)
- PDF Reader ~ Evince(default), Acrobat Reader*#
- Photo Album management ~ Picasa*, F-Spot(default)
- p2p Software ~ Azureus*#, Linuxdcpp#
- Desktop Search ~ Beagle#, Tracker
- Desktop Applets ~ Gdesklets
- C/C++ Compiler ~ gcc#(default, the best in the world)
- Java Compiler ~ Sun-JDK*#(most popular), gcj(default)
- Integrated Desktop Environment ~ Eclipse*, Netbeans*, many more
- Vector Graphics Editor ~ Inkscape*#
- 3D-Modelling ~ Blender*#
- Computer Algebra Systems ~ Matlab*, Octave*#
- Non-Linear Video Editing ~ Avidemux*#, Cinelerra
- Non-Linear Audio Editing ~ Audacity*#
- Linear Video Editing ~ mencoder*#
- Many, many, many more.
# Used by me
"Default" means default in Ubuntu.
This obliterates Point no. 2 of "Why Should I?". I'll talk about Point no. 3 in my next post. About Point no. 4,
How many of you have used Firefox? Most of you probably use it everyday. Can you still say that Free Software is inferior to Proprietary Software? If you do, "Why Linux? - III" will elaborate how Free Software is superior to Proprietary Software.
1. I've listed this for Gnome, a desktop environment. Its not something an end-user needs to bother himself about, so I'll talk about desktop environments later.
2. Formerly called Gaim.
3. Nautilus isn't actually a CD-Burning software, its the file manager of Gnome. Similar to "Explorer" of Windows. You can use it to drag-drop and burn stuff.