Posted by: reformedmusings | April 19, 2009

Ubuntu = time on my hands

<rant>After recently resurrecting several Windows computers back from the malware pit, an interesting thought occurred to me. I used to spend dedicated time each week on my old Windows box updating anti-spyware program signatures, scanning for virii, scanning for spyware, defragging the hard drive, cleaning up the Windows registry, and other miscellaneous Windows housekeeping chores.

<double rant>Then there were the regular Windows Autoupdates that broke something in my system. These never returned functionality even when uninstalled because they left the damage behind. Sometimes I could get the functionality back with workarounds, sometimes not. This happened with disturbing regularity. I’ve actually bought cards to replace motherboard functions lost to Microsoft updates.</doublerant>

<heavy sigh rant>Then there were the Windows Genuine Advantage nightmares. Don’t get me started on those. The only genuine advantage is to Microsoft’s cash flow at the users’ expense.</heavy sigh rant>

Here’s how Microsoft really feels about their users: Window 7 includes anti-idiot feature.

windows_protectoneself

Yeah, that was an April Fools joke, but I think that it accurately captures the Microsoft corporate mindset.

Then I had to seek out updates to all my individual Windows programs. Windows Autoupdater only handled OS updates. MS Office had a separate system, although I’ve seen evidence that they are trying to combine them. Each other application, however, had to be checked separately and I spent some time each week doing that.

Then when a need arose for a new capability, I spent hours scouring the freeware offerings trying to avoid spending even greater sums of money on top of my Microsoft system and office software. Windows freeware can be a dangerous thing in the current malware environment unless you deal exclusively through trusted websites, and even then malware could be introduced and distributed before it was discovered and withdrawn.

<resigned sigh>All of this took time, and still does for current Windows users. I do these things for our church, and it takes up a significant amount of time. (But, I’m working on getting the church to switch to Ubuntu.) The extensive time investment paid off because in decades of DOS and Windows computing, I never had a virus, adware, or spyware problem. But it wasn’t easy and ate up precious time.</resigned sigh></rant>

When I switched to Ubuntu Linux, there was an initial learning curve to be sure. But it wasn’t that bad and there is a lot of free help available on the Ubuntu forums. I have not had an issue to date which I couldn’t resolve searching either the forums or the web at large. Ubuntu is very well supported by its developers and friendly user base, as are most Linux distributions. Plus, every application in the repository, not just the operating system, is updated through the notification scheme. No hunting around for each one individually. If I need a new capability, I can text search the repository for multiple solutions. No need to scour the web for days.

The bottom line is that I have come to see that besides the security and financial advantages of Linux, I also recaptured a large chunk of time from routine Windows maintenance that Linux doesn’t require. I still occasionally get that restless feeling that I should be doing something to/for my computer. That’s quickly followed by a peaceful feeling of contentment, powered by Ubuntu and the knowledge that it didn’t cost me a penny.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

I’m free! I’m free! And freedom tastes of reality.

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