Thursday, May 21, 2009

About to dump M$ WindoZe once and for all!

A few years ago I dumped Windows and loaded Linux on my PC. I was sick of the hassles that accompany a Micro$oft WindoZe system -- the blue screen of death, pouring money into an endless pit called anti-virus software and its updates and the once a year (in a good year that is) obligatory computer crash, hard disk reformat and complete reinstall.
I loved Linux. It just worked. Plain and simple. I used it and spent my time accomplishing what I wanted rather than fart-arsing with crappy software. There were some programmes I missed, primarily Photoshop, but I managed with the earlier versions with Gimp and, in any case, only needed to do a bit of tweaking of my images.
Then I replaced my PC with a laptop and signed up for a data package with a mobile phone provider. The laptop came loaded with Windows XP and my new provider emphatically told me I would not be able to use Linux to connect to the internet on their network.
I sighed, shrugged my shoulders and accepted I'd once again have to make do with an inferior system.
Two years later, after much frustration, the removal of countless viruses -- despite having two, up-to-date anti-virus packages installed -- I'd had enough. In spades.
I wanted the freedom of Linux again but at the same time was afaraid, if I dumped Windows, I would not be able to access the Internet and may have problems getting my computer recognise my camera, printers and other peripherals.

Burning bridges

I wanted to dip my toes in the Linux waters again, without completely burning my bridges.
The solution was remarkably simple. I bought a Linux magazine that came with a free DVD containing a new version of Mint Linux. I believe it is based on Ubuntu which in turn is built on Debian. The beauty was, I could run it off the DVD without having to install it on my computer. That way I could test it completely before making any drastic changes.
To cut a long story short, running off the DVD, Mint Linux recognised all my hardware and seamlessly connected to my service provider's mobile network. I could even read files created in WindoZe!
There was no doubt. It was going to be installed but I still wanted a safety net, (is that not an oxymoron when talking about Windows?) so I decided to set up a dual-boot system where I could choose to run either Linux or Windows.
My new Linux distribution was up and running in about 20 minutes and was a completely automatic, painless and simple procedure that anyone can do.
For those who are not familiar with Linux, the beauty of it is it's not just an operating system but comes with thousands of absolutely free software packages. If you want an office suite, for example, there are three or four different suites to choose from and, because they are all free and available at the click of a mouse, you can try them all and see which you prefer.
Along with all the other bundled software, my Linux distro, included GIMP 2.6, Linux's equivalent of Photoshop. It's a wonderful programme that, as far as I am concerned, is the equal of Adobe's product -- with one major exception, the price! (Search my blog for a GIMP photographic tutorial.)
It's now been almost a month since I installed Mint Linux. I have since not booted Windows once, nor have I missed it. I also have not had a single crash, frozen screen or forced reboot. And, in addition, I have used 50% less data, by not having to download Windows updates, security patches or anti-virus updates.
I think the time has come to dump Microsoft once and for all!

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