Still using XP? Here’s 7 reasons why you should consider Ubuntu

January 21st, 2007

Open office on Ubuntu
Open office running on Ubuntu

This post is generally aimed at people who still use only Microsoft Operating systems (e.g. XP, Vista, Win98) etc.

In this article I am talking about Ubuntu, which is a linux distro (distribution - think of it as a ‘version’ or ‘flavor’ of linux), however most of the points below could be applied to any modern stable Linux distro.

So, why should you consider Ubuntu (or another Linux distro)

  1. It’s safer: Right now, thousands of people are busy writing viruses, trojans, spyware, and malware aimed specifically at people who use Microsoft Operating systems. i.e. You. As if that’s not bad enough, millions of compromised machines (bots) are busy trying to hack and replicate into Microsoft PCs (like your PC). By switching to Ubuntu (or any Linux) you are removing this target off your head, and removing 99% of the threats your PC faces.
  2. It’s cheaper: If you have access to Internet, you can download it for just the cost of the Internet connection. Or, you could request a free CD be mailed to you, not only that, it costs less to run over the long run (see next few points for more information)
  3. It’s more efficient:Ubuntu is a more efficient OS - due to this it has less hardware requirements than Windows XP for example - i.e. it will run easily with less ram, a slower CPU, etc., compared to XP. So, running a PC with Ubuntu to achieve comparable performance as an XP equipped PC would reqiure less electricity, use less resources, contribute less to global warming, carbon etc. etc.
  4. It’s easier to install : Ubuntu usually includes most necessary drivers and can function with most hardware - in my experiments, it identified all hardware in all the machines I used it on, and it’s hardware support was better than XP (for example, it installed the relevant audio drivers for a PC, where XP was unable to install audio).
  5. It’s more stable: Ubuntu is very very stable. It rarely ever has problems/crashes. This is because it (and Linux which underlies it) is developped by a community of thousands of people who test and fix problems - therefore the software is much more heavily tested compared to Windows.
  6. It’s open source: Ubuntu is an open source operating system: what that means is the code which powers it is open source - i.e. it is available for anyone to download and examine. That means that thousands of people examine virtually all code and ensure there are no bugs, spyware, rootkits, backdoors etc. Now let’s take Microsoft Windows. Do you know what it’s source code contains? No? well neither do most people. Except for Microsoft Staff, nobody has a clue of what’s really inside XP.

    Think of open source like a restaurant where you can see the staff preparing your meal - you can see what ingredients they use, how they prepare it, etc - so you KNOW that your meal is safe, nobody spat in it (or worse) and it doesnt contain anything poisonous.

  7. It’s easy to use: Ubuntu works via a GUI (Graphical user interface). I.e. if you have used Windows you should be able to easily install Ubuntu, as well as use it for most simple day to day tasks.

Pre Ubuntu FAQ:

  1. Q: I don’t have the time to install it just yet - is there a way I can test Ubuntu without modifying my PC?
    A: Ubuntu’s installation disk functions as a live CD - what this means is: if you boot off it, your PC can run off the disk, and load and run Ubuntu! It will be a bit slower than if it were on your hard disk, but it includes most of the features of a proper installation.

    A live CD (IMO) is a masterpiece of engineering. How they managed to make an entire OS function off a CD on diverse hardware is simply amazing, but I digress…

  2. Q: Cool, but I’m not yet willing to switch my main PC to an Ubuntu?

    A: Here’s an idea - take a PC you no longer use, and set it up with Ubuntu and a net connection - then you can use it to try out Ubuntu (e.g. for surfing), and as time goes you can slowly switch over tasks you do on your Windows PC, to your Ubuntu PC. If you don’t have an extra PC you can easily pick a cheap used P3 for about $50.

    OR You could install Ubuntu on your PC in a multi boot configuration - i.e. both XP and Ubuntu can coexist on the same PC!!

FAQ on ME:

  1. Q: So, you are an Ubuntu Fanboy?:
    A: I’m not an anything Fanboy. I just find Ubuntu vastly superior to any Microsoft offering. My only regret is I did not try it earlier - I now want to convince people to give Ubuntu a try. If after you try Ubuntu you decide it (and/or linux) is not for you, that’s fine but you owe it to yourself to give Ubuntu a try and see the difference
  2. Q: Why Ubuntu? Why not another Linux distro?

    A:I personally prefer Ubuntu as it is quite stable, reliable, and has a big community. There are many other popular Linux distributions which are just as good - visit distrowatch.com and select your favorite.
  3. OK, How do I get started?
    I’ve written a guide on how to install Ubuntu, also some Ubuntu tips and tricks

Entry Filed under: Linux, Ubuntu


13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bill Gates  |  January 21st, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    You can’t play games on Ubuntu. It’s really hard to find software for Ubuntu. People would think you’re a geek if you use Ubuntu. It looks uglier than Vista.

    Vista kicks ass.

  • 2. Nick  |  January 21st, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    AS much as I love Ubuntu, I find really misleading to say that it is easy to install. I am talking about installation of codecs and proprietary drivers for video and network. It’s just simply not as easy as installing drivers in WinXP. So please do not emphasize that Ubuntu is easier to install than WinXP. It’s easy enough, but at least give a full disclosure of the potential problems.

  • 3. Paul  |  January 21st, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    It’s safer: Right now, thousands of people are busy writing viruses, trojans, spyware, and malware aimed specifically at people who use Microsoft Operating systems. i.e. You. As if that’s not bad enough, millions of compromised machines (bots) are busy trying to hack and replicate into Microsoft PCs (like your PC). By switching to Ubuntu (or any Linux) you are removing this target off your head, and removing 99% of the threats your PC faces.

    I have to agree on this one, since installing Ubuntu the worry of getting a virus has pretty much gone, however I still have a good hardware firewall in place because nothing is 100%

  • 4. 4th guy  |  January 22nd, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Well Bill, your buddy Steve convinced people that the iPhone is good (by laughing at it). You’ve just convinced me Ubuntu is good.

  • 5. El Cerrajero  |  January 22nd, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    # Bill, Vista is better than Ubuntu plus Beryl? in your dreams

    # Nick, everything is about your repos. Which ones do you use? Ubuntu is easier, it’s just apt-get or similar ^_^

    # Paul, talking about security never is enough but deep inside Linux’s kernel you can find the best firewall: iptables.

  • 6. n#  |  January 23rd, 2007 at 1:49 am

    IMO, installing divx, DVD playback and other media codecs is quite easy..

  • 7. Joe  |  February 27th, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    # Paul, Sorry but a firewall alone does not stop viruses and other other bad things from happening. A firewall is one part of a security system, you need a good Anti-Virus engine. Popup blockers, phishing filters, these are also good to have. True the Linux platform is not as heavily targeted but it’s not totally safe at all. Your comment could be misleading for someone reading these comments.

  • 8. Johnny Faster  |  June 14th, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Linux Users are straight-up freaks. They lie and are completely delusional. There ought to be a special “Linux Ward” in every mental health care facility, and a special series of pharaceuticals to control them, to be subisidized by the Federal Bovernment to ensure this population is well-controled.

    No normal person EVER uses Ubuntu. Normal meaning people that just want the computer to work in the background doing what it does so that they can do what they do.

    If you are the OPPOSITE of that, and want to mess with the computer in every single aspect in order to someday MAYBE get the computer to do something, ANYTHING at all, then you are simple whacked-out and need medication, as well as being an ideal candidate for both Ubuntu and long-term mental health care.

  • 9. mocoy  |  August 12th, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    i just switched to linux a couple months ago and love it…i use sabayon a gentoo distro and use a kde desktop….my computer does everything it could do with windows xp with the exception of a very few things…mostly caused by M$ crap not having codecs or plugins and such ….but the things i do most i do so much easier and faster and more reliably with linux….installing software can bre harder then windows and some hardware is a bit harder to get to work but the pros far outweigh the cons in-my-not-so-very-humble-opinion

  • 10. Gareth  |  September 2nd, 2007 at 9:32 am

    I switched to Debian before XP came out and, after drifting between the various linux distros, settled on Ubuntu little more than a year ago.

    Ubuntu does everything I want it to do and does it well. It’s biggest draws for me are its ease of use and stability. I feel the efficiency claim is overplayed however. Ubuntu is more efficient than XP (you’d have to really skew the meaning of efficient to contradict that statment) but this isn’t saying much, and I can’t say much for Ubuntu’s efficiency really.

    I’ve been called upon by friends and family many times to help them with their computers and am often surprised at how difficult XP is to use. I don’t feel I could migrate to XP from Ubuntu myself; I’d feel suffocated.

    So, to me, it is migration itself that is daunting; there’s so much to learn. It’s like moving home, who moves without a very good reason? The fact that there exists a significant number of people who are migrating to Ubuntu from XP suggests that Ubuntu is the better operating system. I doubt the same proportion of Ubuntu users will be migrating to XP this year.

  • 11. Samir Ribic  |  December 20th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Unfortunately claims 3 and 5 are not correct.

    About claim 3, resources and efficiency:

    Windows XP installer is designed for computers with 64 M RAM and do quite well with 256 M.

    Ubuntu ubiquity live installer is designed for computers with at least 256 megabytes, and booting CD in such environment is horribly slow. So, better prepare 512M for Ubuntu Feisty. (Of course, you can use older version of Ubuntu, with Debian Installer, and replace Gnome with IceWM, but then the claim 4 / easier to install/ is not correct).

    About stability (claim 5):

    I use dual boot XP and Ubuntu Feisty on the same computers in the lab. XP never locked up, but with Ubuntu the same computer locks up after 10 minutes and you need to push reset button (or at least kill GUI with Alt-Ctrl-Backspace). It seems that inclusion of Beryl is bad decision.

    I am not against Linux. Myself I prepared three “distros”: one tiny which takes half of floppy, one additional DVD for Debian Etch and one Ubuntu Ultimate based DVD with a lot of added software. I am one of rare teachers on my University who teach students how to use and customize Linux.

    What I am telling is that Linux is too broad area to give general conclusion. You can not transfer claims valid for some distros to be valid for every flavour of Linux. After my experience: Ubuntu is easier to install than XP but it is less stable and less efficient. Debian is more stable than XP but it is harder to install. Slackware is more efficient than both XP and Ubuntu but the installing is very hard. Finally, about price: Yes, Linux is free, Windows is expensive, but if your business rely on some software written for Windows (for example accounting program customized for your company) rewriting will cost you much more than license difference.

  • 12. factotum218  |  July 23rd, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    From time to time I still run across these entries when Vista was in its’ prime. Mostly dealing with the opinion of why GNU/Linux, Ubuntu especially (for some still reason still unknown to me), should be a good reason to back up your data, wipe your drive, throw away the majority of your software and start completely fresh with a new way of doing things overall. Forget about what you and the majority of people have been doing for the better part of the last decade. Random people, who you know nothing about are here to tell you about something you have never heard before! Whats better is there is no real need for you to do it…but do it anyay! It will make the author of the above post feel better.

    The truth is, I have been using variations of GNU and BSD licensed operating systems and software at home for around 9 years now. I was working at AT&T with UNIX when most bloggers where in diapers. The problem that I have seen grow is the end user mentality. Putting the means above the end. Don’t bother considering another OS as some “cause” to be joined.

  • 13. rothko  |  October 14th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for this clear, helpul article.
    my wife’s laptop came pre-crippled with vista.
    She couldn’t believe how well ubuntu ran off the live disc.
    better than MS Windows in every way. a month later we did the hard disk install and it ran three times better than the live disc

    i am a long-time slacker and have recently used pc-bsd as an easy way into the freebsd OS.

    i recommend newbies get a technical friend to help you install a couple of newbie friendly distributions side-by-side. give yourself a few months to decide which conveniences you like and which get in your way.

    your technical friend should show you how to pick and choose (and calibrate) features of the window manager and desktop environment.

    whilst using computers, we invariably imagine ‘better ways’ of carrying out tasks. *nix makes this possible.

    REMEMBER: the whole reason for the existence of free, open source software is that it can be made to serve YOU. therefore, go boldly forth and customise the heck out of it!

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