Top 7 reasons people quit Linux

I've heard a lot of excuses why people quit Linux, and return to Windows. I'm happy to say that the excuses are getting far less common nowadays. But I still hear 'em.

I've been writing Linux guidebooks for some time, and it's fair to say that most people who buy my books are Windows users looking to make the leap to Linux (or perhaps just wondering what the fuss is about).

Because of this, I've heard a lot of excuses why people quit Linux, and return to Windows. I'm happy to say that the excuses are getting far less common nowadays, compared to 2003, when I wrote my first book. But I still hear 'em.

Here are the top seven reasons I've come across. No doubt you've heard them too.

1. Linux doesn't run a program I use.

In this particular argument, people typically point out that Linux doesn't run one of the main Adobe products, such as Photoshop or Dreamweaver. They then point out that there's no swap-in replacement in the world of open source.

This is true. I can't argue.

The problem is that they're using specialized industrial tools. Most people neither know nor care what Dreamweaver is. It might seem otherwise in the circles in which that person moves, but out here in the real world it just ain't the case.

Much of the work that's gone into desktop Linux in recent times has been to make it better for the ordinary individual. Linux now has a top-notch browser and office suite, for example. But, so far, nobody has got around to recreating specialist toolsets such as high-level Web design software.

The solution is simple: If you need to use a particular industrial tool for your work, then you should keep using it. That means you'll have to keep using Windows. It's no big deal.

2. I installed Linux but some element of my hardware didn't work!

That's incredible because I installed Windows the other day and had the exact same experience! My graphics card didn't work, and wifi didn't either.

Might this just be the way PCs are?

But do you know what I did? I fixed everything. Maybe I'm lucky to be clever enough to do so, but if I wasn't, I could easily ask around for solutions. I know there are smart people out there who are willing to help.

If you do this, you might have to do some hard work, and step into unfamiliar territory. But there are lots of instructions out there on the web, and it only has to be done once. Plus, as you work through the solution, you'll be learning stuff about your new operating system. Treat it as an opportunity, rather than an ordeal.

Some people expand this complaint to point out that Linux can sap their precious time as they work through getting it setup the way they like. Again, this is as true of Linux as it is of Windows. It's just the way PCs are.

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Keir Thomas

PC World (US online)
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