When I was little, I had only briefly heard about linux, from my dad, who was a bit of a techie in his day. I was the kid who asked to see linux, when I heard about it,well he said he’d show me and never got around to it, until after i discovered it for myself. I use to be something set up for servers and use only by IT and other highly paid dwebs who lived in their mother’s basement and considered coding to be a perfectly fine way to spend a Friday night. Now, due in part to Microsoft Vista, and the lousy economic conditions, linux has become mainstream.
Microsoft Vista was the worse thing ever to happen to computers, worse than most super-viruses. It redefined computing, and also redefined what users would allow companies to get away with.
With the introduction of Vista, users gave up their rights to do whatever they want with their own computers, brought to use like a assistant bringing an arrow to a bowman, by UAC, User Account Control.
The name even sounds menacing, user account control, and what it does is even worse. Effectively it prevents users from controlling their own computers, no through controlling it, with a VNC like feature, but rather, by locking users from doing normal tasks without special permission, even for a computer administrator. Hell, I can’t even delete a shortcut ( In the Start Menu) to Pandora that comes on my computer, without permission. That’s pretty messed up, I can’t even delete a shortcut without permission?! It’s just another way to take away control from users. Installs all need administrator privileges, even single .exe programs need the user to be an administrator to run them. vista was never widely adopted by businesses because of the several restrictions set on it, and the lack of comparability with many specialized programs often used for businesses, which just won’t run with UAC on, or won’t run at all. Even turning UAC off causes annoyances, like a ubiquitous pop-up that will never cease annoying you, reminding you to reactive UAC to further “protect your computer” The small protection is offers is not worth the annoyances it causes, for even the simplest of tasks.
Enough ranting on vista, there’s other reasons why the average person is now using linux.
With the bad economy, netbooks are becoming popular for everyday users, but also for students who need a fast light notebook with a long battery life, to take to class. These so called netbooks are just that, small enough to fit in a handbag, and some of them in your pocket, light enough that you don’t mind taking it to class along with your books, and with of them having a near 10 hour battery life. But to have all this, something has to give, that is processing power. Most of these netbooks have a Intel Atom processor, which runs around 1.6ghz.
Now that isn’t slow by any means, but it’s not a kick ass multimedia box. Windows by itself takes up a decent amount of that 1.6ghz and usually 1 gig or ram, sometimes paired with a solid state drive, doesn’t leave windows with much room to work. That opened up the door for linux netbook, and they took the opportunity and ran with it.
Linux inherently runs lighter and faster than windows. It was built on security and then given the GUI and other features for a desktop user, later in it’s life. It’s also made for multitasking, and uses less power than windows computers, even running the same software and power settings. This makes linux perfect for netbooks, and once a user gets over their initial fear of linux, most don’t have any problems running and using linux in their everyday life.
The hardest part is the initial switch, and getting the consumer to buy the linux netbooks. A lot of consumers switch, just because of the price difference, usually well over 100 USD. Others see the power saving or better processor use and are willing to give it a try. And most like it, Linux netbooks have about 2/3 of the return rate, of the windows netbooks. Hmm now that’s saying something, possible that linux is not just for dwebs anymore.