The 12 steps of Windows anonymous

Saw this on the net somewhere and it made me grin so I thought I’d share…

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over Microsoft Windows and that our computers had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that an operating system greater than Microsoft Windows could restore us to greater productivity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our hardware and data over to the care of better software as we understood it.
  4. Made a fearless and searching inventory of our wrecked data, wasted time and thrashed hard drive.
  5. Admitted to our higher power, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of Microsoft Windows.
  6. Were entirely ready to have Linux remove all of these defects from our computers and from our working lives.
  7. Checked that our hardware was compatible with Linux.
  8. Made a backup of all files that Microsoft Windows had harmed.
  9. Corrected data to such files where possible, except where such corrections would harm other files.
  10. Humbly installed Linux onto our hard drives.
  11. Searched through man pages, HOWTOs , the Internet and Slashdot, to improve our understanding and use of Linux.
  12. Having had a productive awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to windowholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

Microsoft - How about a nice cup of fuck offFlippancy aside, once you make the switch to Linux, I’d say that it’s pretty unlikely that you’d ever willingly go back to running Windows as your main OS – because overall, and once you get used to it, Linux is simply better.

This isn’t to say that a *nix system will do you for absolutely everything – I still run a little MS Office in a Windows 7 virtual machine (via VirtualBox) because it makes life easier to be able to natively edit docx files and powerpoints for work, but that’s pretty much it. So I guess the message here doesn’t have to be abstinence but moderation. If you’ve got high-end Windows-only applications that you can’t live without and which require 3D hardware acceleration, then you’re pretty much stuck, but any other 2D Windows apps tend to work just fine under virtualisation (Flash, Photoshop, Office etc). The only thing that’s not so good under Linux is gaming (and this can be a deal breaker for many people), but if I want to game these days I just get on the 360 or PS3 anyways, and if PC gaming’s really your thing then you can always run a large number Windows games under Wine.

If you’re going to try out a *nix, most distros (Linux distributions i.e. flavours of Linux) allow you to try out the OS entirely from CD or DVD and make zero changes to your hard drive, and then you can install it later if you like, or not. Linux will also happily sit beside Windows in a dual-boot configuration so you can choose which OS to boot at startup. One thing to add though is that you shouldn’t judge the performance you get from a live distro instance as anywhere near the performance you’ll get from a proper install – running an OS from a disc (as opposed to hard drive) is really pretty slow and clunky, but the facility exists if you just want to have a look around, or take a Linux distro around with you. A better solution (even for trialling a distro) would be to find a USB stick which is a couple of GB in size, and then install the distro to that and boot it. If that appeals, then a list of USB compatible distros can be found here (Ubuntu’s included via the bundled usb-creator tool).

Microsoft Monopoly T-ShirtThe main problem with trying to convert people to *nix (apart from the whole zealotry thing, and that Windows users are commonly happy with their lot, as they [usually] don’t know how much better things can be) is that it’s different to Windows. The interface is different, things work a little differently, and if something doesn’t work perfectly out of the box then it can be tricky for newcomers to fix. Also, nobody likes change – so there’s definitely an inertia thing involved too. But if you stick with it, put in a little time and effort, and look up how to fix stuff on sites like UbuntuForums, you’ll be rewarded ten-fold with an OS that does exactly what you want, when you want it done, quickly and stably – for free!

There are stacks of distributions out there, geared towards things like multimedia, stability, security, flexibility or ease-of-use – why not have a look to see if there’s one there that speaks to you? I mean, what have you got to lose? If I had to recommend one, I’d have to say most standard to advanced users should be happy enough with either stock Ubuntu or Linux Mint (a customised version of Ubuntu with tweaks and improvements for eye-candy and ease-of-use).

Finally, if you want to see how people have customised their *nix desktops, check out UnixPorn (tagline: It’s not Porn, it’s Unix!) – I even have an old desktop up there ;)

Bonus Gubbins: That UnixPorn desktop was kinda old and Windows-y, so I’ve just posted my current desktop setup which uses Jix’s Artistic Wallpaper HD no logo along with Kouri1977’s Streets theme for conky (which uses the bring tha noize and the B.O.M.B fonts):

r3dux Desktop - June 2011
The CPU/RAM etc. counters along the bottom update at 1 second intervals - conky is sweet =D

Anyways, if you’re not already converted, are you maybe tempted? If not, why not? I’d love to know, and as always, comments/flames are always welcome =D