Five reasons you should switch to Linux right now

Jack Wallen
Apr 26, 2009
Updated • Dec 28, 2012

Over the last few years I have seen the general public go from a general ignorance of the existence of Linux to a general knowledge of it being an option on their computers. Over those same years I have seen the momentum building to this point...this point being the perfect time to make the switch from your current operating system to Linux.

Why, you ask, is this the perfect time to make the switch? I have five good reasons why. Read on to find out.

1. The tide is only going to continue to rise. The Linux movement is only going to continue to grow. I predict that in the next five years Linux is going to have grown to the point that it will start becoming an option even in big-box retail stores. As IT professionals, programmers, or even geeks-in-general you are going to want to have a solid understanding of Linux when this happens. If you don't, you will be left behind. Instead, embrace the open source flagship now and, by the time Linux has risen to power, you will have a better grasp of the operating system than your competition.

2. Economy. In my recent article "Five good reasons to switch to Linux" I made it fairly clear why the cost of Linux makes sense. But let me make this point a bit more immediate. The economy across the globe is quite bad. It will eventually find prosperity and companies will finally rise above the water to breathe again. This less-than-prosperous period is the perfect time to make the switch to Linux. Why? Job security. If you are the head of an IT department, how do you think the board of directors or the CEO is going to look upon you when you bring to them the figures showing how much you have saved them in software licenses? You're going to look quite the genius and it might save you from getting that fateful call to HR to hand your your pink slip.

Add to that the savings over time and, when you do float back above water, you will have saved enough money to put towards some new hires, or some new iron.

3. Microsoft is making up for another mistake. How many times are you going to read that sentence? The reports and reviews for Windows 7 are pretty much all positive. Isn't that to be expected after Vista? With the exception of Windows ME, Vista was the worst operating system Microsoft has released. They knew they had to recover from that with a hit. If they didn't, they were doomed. But is this going to be the last time? No. Because Vista is so bad, now is the perfect time to make the switch to show your users what a real operating system, with real power, is. Once they see the stability and speed of, say, Ubuntu over Vista they will welcome it with open arms. No more slowing down, no more UAC.

4. Ubuntu 9.04. I will be writing up a review of this newest release of Ubuntu very soon. But I can safely say, after less than 24 hours of use, that this release might well be the slickest operating system release I have ever seen. Introducting new users to this particular version of Linux will not only prove to them that Linux is a viable solution, they might finally see that Linux is the BEST solution. Ubuntu 9.04 is really that good.

5. What's the next big virus? Can you answer that question? If not, can you say, with 100% certainty, your anti-virus software will protect you and your data from whatever is about to come down the pipeline? If you were using Linux that certainty would certainly be much closer to 100% than it is now with Windows. And you're willing to risk that mission-critical data why? Malware, spyware, viruses, worms, trojans - they are only going to continue coming. And every time they do you have to hope the makers of your protection have pushed the definitions out to your machine to keep you safe. With Linux you're not going to have to worry about that right now. But the longer you wait to make the change, the greater your chances that you will be the next victim of whatever malicious code is next in line.

So, what are you waiting for? Games? Photoshop? Linux is here and it's only going to continue to grow. Now is the perfect time to either make the switch or add Linux to your arsenal of tools. Don't get left behind.


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  1. DHarvell said on February 21, 2010 at 4:15 am

    I ran Ubuntu for 2 years and was quite satisfied. Well… let me qualify that. I was satisfied with the OS. It was (yes – WAS) fast, relatively light weight, and pretty safe. However, with each update, I noticed that my Ubuntu install was getting slower. It seemed more and more bogged down. Eventually, I literally could not even turn the computer on without the thing locking up on me. Combine that with the increasingly unfriendly error message (“…you need to fork!” – what does THAT mean to a basic user???), and the fact that my photography was looking amateur, due to the fact that GIMP is definitely NOT Photoshop, I had to go back to the world of Windows. With Windows 7, I have not experienced a single lock up, absolutely no viruses/spyware/malware issues (I have a good grasp of how to stay secure, online), haven’t had a single BSOD, and my computer is as fast today as it was the day I installed Windows 7.

    Oh yeah… and Photoshop runs on it, meaning that my photography has taken on a new dimension.

    I love what Zim said about this. Linux needs a version of Photoshop that runs native – none of this virtualization or WINE stuff. After, WINE tends to be less stable than just running Windows, in the first place.

  2. MJKTRASH said on January 24, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but until an OS other than MS(hit) supports CAD programs (in my specific case, SolidWorks…) I have no chance of using ANY open source OS…

    I wish it wasn’t the case, but I’m stuck with Bill Gates for what seems to be the rest of my life…


  3. Lenny said on December 27, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Well, I’m building a little box for my 70 year old in-laws to surf the web and play solitaire. I run Win7 and Ubuntu 9.10 at home. Ubuntu isn’t there yet for mainstream users. Seems there is an update almost everyday. Mainstream users don’t want that. They want to set it and forget it.

    Until Ubuntu can’t even play an MP3 without entering your password and installing additional software.

    Just make it work! Chrome is coming.

  4. Geoff White said on December 27, 2009 at 1:54 am

    I use Ubuntu 9.04 (tried 9.10 but it stuffed up machine) … also have computers running Vista and 1 running Windows 7.
    Out of all I prefer Vista. As most programs works good, most drivers work and not as “hungry” as 7.
    Regards costs, well all programs and operating systems are free to me, so the free status of Linux means nothing.
    The thing that “rules” me is ease of use, programs it uses and system resources/styles requires.
    Sorry, but most of Linux programs are rather old style. Open-office (Linux) is like going back to using Ms Office 2002 …. but I use Office 2007, so why go backwards ?
    The command line (terminal) crap that is required when setting up Linux stuff is just no good for average users, and wastes so much time for people like myself that aren’t used to using it.
    I am all for knocking Microsoft off it’s perch (as they have made their fortune by corning the market on 2nd rate operating systems/programs) but they have us by the short & curlies because of the .DLL files. And all the programs we use/need require .DLL files to run.
    (don’t mention Linux Wine add-on – it’s like trying to use Win95 – only crashes more often)
    Until an operating system that can be easy to install and update, no terminal line code required, good up-to-date programs and games + looks good and like linux is totally virus free … is made, these type of forum/chats is basically useless.

    I have to use Windows for most of my work & play. Linux just doesn’t have the software.

  5. factotum218 said on October 16, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Apple at work, Vista at home, Debian on the go. Trouble free for me. But of course your mileage may vary, depending on your habits.

  6. syn said on July 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    “What games can you play on Linux?, not very many!
    Windows 7 is much better then Linux!”

    I literally lol’d at this post.

    How many games can YOU play on your Blue Screen of Death?

    Having games doesn’t mean your Windows 7 is better than my Fedora 11. It just means more companies put out software for your crappy OS. That would be the logical fallacy of ignoratio elenchi.

    Let’s have logical discussions that actually make sense, mmm?

    1. Badger said on April 18, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      Syn, it would seem that your language skills are such that you did not quite understand the post you foolishly criticized. When the previous commenter wrote:
      “What games can you play on Linux?, not very many!
      Windows 7 is much better then Linux!”
      … should have been very apparent that the metric he was using for the the utility of an OS was its ability to run games. That might not be *your* metric but you know what? If he wants to run games, then it is a valid metric for *him* and for anyone else who wants to run games.

      Your BSOD remark was stupid. If Windows any version of Windows from XP onwards blue screens more than extremely rarely, it means that either there is an NVidia driver installed, or there is a hardware problem. But then again, I am sure that most people realize that it was just a remark typically made by ignorant LInux users, which lost its relevance, like most things in the FOSS world, about a decade ago.

    2. alexk232 said on October 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm

      Well, I cant answer for “me”, but the fact that developers don’t make games for the linux platform seems like a pretty logical excuse to use Windows to me, especially if you’re a pc gamer.

      Besides, I haven’t had a bluescreen on my computer in at least 5 years, if not more.

  7. Shannon VanWagner said on May 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Great post! I dugg it here:

    I’ve been using GNU/Linux at home and at work for nearly two years now and it’s been a very rewarding experience indeed.

    I was at the store with my Son the other day and we saw some people poring over an “antivirus” solution software — it was very funny (but sad), we just looked at each other with that quizzical look..

    Go GNU/Linux, Freedom Rocks!

    Also checkout


    Shannon VanWagner
    humans enabled

    1. Badger said on April 18, 2010 at 8:55 pm


      If your son is being brought up to equate “free of cost to the end-user” with “freedom”, then you are raising a useless and worthless human being. But then again, isn’t that the highest aspiration of the penny-pinching bourgeois – to get something for free – even it is is financed by a consortium of multi-billion dollar multinational corporations, outsourcing much of their programming, not to India or even China, or to any other place where workers would have to be actually paid, but to “mom’s basements” all over the country, where basement-dwelling FOSS-tards considers IBM and Google to be charity enterprises, to which he donates his efforts.

      That’s pretty sick.

  8. web design studio said on May 5, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Well judging from the comments, looks like it’s not a good idea for me to install linux.

  9. mule said on April 28, 2009 at 5:51 am

    jack, i’m building a vm with kubuntu 8.10. will see how it goes.

  10. bob said on April 27, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Linux for server = Good Idea
    Linux for home use = Bad Idea

  11. eRIZ said on April 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t know, what did you mean about viruses. I’m using Windows XP with WU disabled, only SP2 and I never had any virus yet (periodically checked by online scanners).

    Why I won’t use PC on my desktop?
    – GTK/QT problems
    – wasting HDD space because of dependencies
    – lack of support for eg. Pentagram Quadpen without (re)compilling N-libraries
    – dependency, dependency and once again – dependency – I’m taking one .exe on Windows and there are 99% chances the app I found would start without problems. Linux? “install lib A, lib B, lib C” which I won’t ever use… 90 KiB app and 900 MiB of libraries, blah…

    Thank you, Linux, you’re good… but on the servers.

  12. Anders said on April 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Reason why I don’t want to switch (in order of priority):

    1. I play a lot of games on my spare time. Linux has very few.
    2. I have lots and lots of purchased software that run on Windows e.g. Acronis, Corel Draw etc.
    3. At my work I use Windows so having it at home is convenient
    4. Sorry but I find MS Office 2007 superior to OpenOffice, I have grown fond of Visio and OneNote.
    5. I actually like Visual Studio as a programming environment, I don’t want to install 5 OSS projects instead and still not have all the functionality from VS.
    6. I haven’t had a virus on my PC for several years, I have antivirus software and a firewall in the router. I don’t download random stuff from the internet.

    I really see no added value using Linux, at least in my case.

  13. maka said on April 27, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Hey Rush…
    The idiots you talk about is your mother, your father, the surgeon that will save your ass or your future daughter ass, the fire-man that takes you out of a pile of debris after an heartquake or the soldier taking bullets to evacuate civilians from an invaded country.

    Not every one can sit in front of a monitor playing with apps all day long like me and you.

    Stand up, go to the fridge and open it. If you find things in it is because there are millions of people around you that have no time to look at blinking dots of light changing color in front of a monitor (even if you order food via the internet).

    Good luck man. Because if you are right and every-one else that need intuitive easy-guiding OS are Idiots I hope it does not apply to your surgeon. I would not imagine what he would do to you on the operation table if he end-up spending the previous night fighting with a Linux installation.

  14. maka said on April 27, 2009 at 9:13 am

    No matter how many times I try to install Linux, year after year, version after version, it is always the same. There is always something hanging, something freezing from basic stuff, even running FireFox (and I am talking about the latest Ubuntu).
    Weakness and instability is part of the package. There is a current of thought about Linux users that are exited about which is the latest most stable version between releases, while in other OS like Apple OS, user get exited about new features.

    Large corporation do not always get the best people to work on their products and their concern to ship to market makes them more vulnerable to committing good software. But they are accountable and the profit and market shares make them even more accountable (Microsoft vs Apple). Linux is not competition is a play ground environment for geeks.

    Do not get me wrong, I have lots of respect in OpenSource programmers. They really rock. But Linux is an excellent platform for Universities and that is about it.

    What is worst is that Linux evangelists try to sell you the platform as the best product ever and when it crashes they said to you: “What do you expect, it is free!”

    It is not a professional service and it cannot be. BeOS was a much better attempt to make an alternative and unfotunately they did not make it.
    If the Linux people were serious they would use their skill to reinvent a new OS and enter the market with it.
    Unfortunately who want to push Linux are mostly the geek people that can make lots of money with services and fixing for you things that should work from the very beginning.

    1. Mr_Krol said on November 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      Since Linux Mint 10 came out few days ago I been using linux for 4 plus months. Microsoft has the monopoly because people let them have that power! I been using linux mint 10 now since it has been RC and guess what folks! I did not have any crashes or freezes for such a free program. I even installed a printer which did not come with Windows drivers. It is more plug ‘n play system than Windows.

  15. jack said on April 27, 2009 at 3:45 am

    mule: have you tried the regular ubuntu instead of the studio?

  16. mule said on April 27, 2009 at 3:41 am

    can’t get ubuntu 9.04 studio to recognize my ati radeon m in my mbpro under parallels. not squat of help anywhere to fix this. 1024 x 768 is not doable. this is a good experience?

  17. jack said on April 27, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Igorz: You might want to check out a MODERN Linux distribution before you make such a claim. You could go the rest of your desktop Linux life with one of these and NEVER touch the command line.

  18. Igorz said on April 27, 2009 at 1:05 am

    This constant fawning over Linux is becoming tiresome.

    Bottom-line is that no operating system that requires typing cryptic series of characters in a command-line will EVER become mainstream in this day and age, nor should it.

    U R kidding yourselves if you think otherwise..

  19. Zim said on April 26, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I don’t need games, but I need Photoshop. GIMP is not the same. I want Photoshop, running as well as it does in Windows or Mac. It’s not enough with WINE or virtualization, we need a native version! (So I’ll stay using Windows many years more)

  20. Rush said on April 26, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I have always liked the general idea of Linux. I like free. Free is my favorite. Speech the most but I’ll take beer too.
    I tried Ubuntu on a previous build (although I can’t say I remember exactly which one), use Slax on a few sticks and most of my cd’s are built on it in one form or another. I’m used to windows but found Ubuntu familiar enough to use, generally. A little rough but I didn’t really get into tweaking it.
    My concern with it is security based. While the best software in the world can’t protect an idiot, it does give him a better chance. While I agree with point one, I would think that the more true that becomes, the less true point 5 is. The more common place Linux becomes, the threats to it will grow. Now, because windows is designed to be idiot friendly, it is the primary and easiest target. There is, however, no shortage of idiots. Right now it takes a little more expertise to use linux, if only in that the curve is breaking the windows mindset. The more distributed it becomes the higher percentage of inexperienced population, the higher value target it becomes.
    What worries me the most is that it is pushed as “safe”, which it may be (ish), for now. Security is a way of doing things and at times the devil you know is better than the devil you dont. Eventually, new devil’s always arise and it seems like this perception would put the Linux security movement behind the curve. The ranks of those on the black side is ever growing and self funding. How will Linux based security software compete as you are pitching point two to your bosses? (which mine would say: Good for you, what have you done today besides pat your self on the back?)
    The best A/V softwares update very frequently and are big business. If you take away their revenues, you will take away their motivation. In one form or another it is going to take money to provide security. Either the money you spend to develop it or the money that gets stolen because you don’t.
    I don’t mean to sound critical. Windows is a lot less secure, at this point, even with all the money.
    It is point four, however, that will cause me to give it another run. I like the idea of it as I said. I just don’t know that I’d trust it on my mom’s laptop.

  21. John Blake said on April 26, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    For casual home users: absolutely ridiculous.

  22. mrogi said on April 26, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Linux is Condoleeza Rice. Windows is Eva Mendes. Condi is smarter, efficient and better educated than Mendes. But the vast majority of men & women prefer to share a bed with Eva.

  23. Jeroen said on April 26, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    One reason why a lot of people can’t. OEM.

  24. Jim PROFIT said on April 26, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I have linux on some PC, and on my PS3.
    But, i don’t want Linux on all my PC. There is a lot of problem with Linux, that take a lot of hours to resolve.
    Average users haven’t the time to understand how many way there is to install programs!

    Maybe in 5 years….

  25. Paulus said on April 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Hoi Jack i totaly agree with you that Linux is the only operating system with a bright future. I am thinking this for years and years. And with any relase from Windows (starting up with windows 3.1) i am more sure about this. I use the work with unix but i am a littel bit one an dead trale with that. Only i have a quistion for you. I am still woried about security and Linux. Would you be so ferry kind to explain this a littel bit more. Maybay thrue a artikel or a short answer here. Which firewall and antivirus, spyware and trojan horses secruity programs options do i have with Linux. Do you know a web adres where i can get all that? Any succestions for what to choose.

    1. AILENE said on February 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

      I agree with you. Linux has brighter and BETTER future in IT computing than WIndows. The only problem was end users are not knowledgeable on the know how of Linux. But I guess, given the chance to explore Linux they will appreciate its use. I just want to say this: It only requires an experience for end users to know Linux better. Afterwards, charge it to exprience and have their own conclusion.

  26. me said on April 26, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    What games can you play on Linux?, not very many!
    Windows 7 is much better then Linux!

  27. bleno said on April 26, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    I’ll switch this PC to Linux when I’ll get a new PC with Seven.

    I need Office, Photoshop and games. That’s all.

  28. Kane said on April 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I should have said “viable Windows replacement for the mainstream.”

  29. Kane said on April 26, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Until the average user never has to go to the terminal window, it won’t be a viable Windows replacement. It will get there… but it’s not there yet.

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