Living with Linux

As you all know I am a Linux Lover. If you didn't know then you do now :) I use Linux at home, at work and I will blather on about it given half of a quarter of a chance. So what! You may think. Just another pot bellied four eyed long haired geek who still wishes he had his pocket protector. True, I am one of those people, although I never had a pocket protector and my belly is quite a bit larger than a pot :) I was the same sort of person when I was just as in love with windows as I now am with Linux. The person I am has not changed, except for domestication caused by marriage. Just the operating system.

I still do use windows occasionally for some things at work and for compiling the windows versions of my parts catalogue program. I use windows so little that it does not even deserve a separate partition on my hard drive. I run it under a virtual box session so I never need to reboot my computer, which runs 24/7. Even when I was a windows advocate my computer ran 24/7. Computers should run 24/7 so they can do work and plot with each other over the internet about how to take over the world :)

Right now I am not at my usual place typing this article. I am currently sitting in a house, over 400 kilometres away (you guys who have twelve fingers and toes can convert it yourselves :) typing this on my daughters laptop. This laptop is, of course, running Linux. It took a while but my daughter was finally fed up with the speed and virus infestations of her windows and asked for Linux to be installed.

There is also, next to me, another faster, newer shinier laptop which I can use. It runs windows. I have used it once to check my mail before I pulled this laptop out of the car. Only once and only for a very short time and I will explain why.

I was scared to use the windows laptop! It was a previously unseen machine and I had no idea what state it was in. As a computer professional and knowing the ways of windows I was understandably wary of what junk could be on that laptop. So what was the first thing I did? I checked the anti-virus program to make sure it was up to date and had no virus's. Somewhat assured I checked my mail and closed it down quickly. Even though I saw that the windows machine had been protected by a better than average user I still didn't trust it. When we pulled my daughters laptop out of the car I booted it up and did my banking work in a Linux environment that I knew I could trust.

Be assured that I am not trying to be a Linux is safe, windows is rotten campaigner. Not in this article anyway :) This is exactly how I felt and always feel when I come across a windows machine. This is not a good feeling and I really don't like it but it is there. This is what happens in real life. I don't want to plug in anything to, or use, a windows machine unless I have properly vetted the machine for virus's. Unfortunately I can't always do that and have been bitten.

This happened to me with a relatives windows computer. They appeared to be quite knowledgeable with computers and certainly were not a clueless (l)user. They even had antivirus running and I had also done a scan before plugging in my flip video camera (thanks ITtoolbox!). The antivirus program did not pick up any malware but that computer still infected my flip camera. As I found out when I plugged it back into my Linux system and saw the damage that virus had done. So, once bitten and twice shy as they say, I do not want to even touch a windows computer if I can help it. At least windows computers that I do not have complete control over.

In my life before Linux I also had the same feelings with other computers. It seems to be a part of knowledgeable windows users life to be unsure. Unsure if the computer has virus's, unsure if it has other malware or not. Unsure about their computer integrity and safe useage. It is a sad state of affairs but it is true, unless these people are using rose coloured glasses and refusing to see the danger.

When I am using Linux I have no worries about that sort of stuff. I am not scared to go and do my banking online. I feel that my computing integrity is not so easily compromised when I am on a Linux machine. I know that when I plug in my flip camera or memory stick I will not be left with a nasty present. For me, my life with Linux is comfortable, safe and secure. I feel sorry for those who cannot use their computers with the same sort of feeling. At least those who know about the dangers of computer malware. Yes I do know that there is malware and malicious users for Linux as well. I also know that I am ninety percent more likely to be shafted by a windows computer than a Linux one.

Yes, a properly looked after and protected windows computer is safe. As is a misconfigured Linux computer unsafe. What are the chances of coming across the former compared to the latter? What are the chances of being stung by a windows machine compared to a Linux one? You tell me in the comments. I already know what I think :)

"I get paid to support Windows, I use Linux to get work done."