Jump into the next generation of desktops.

You have been impressed by the 3D and transparency possibilities first introduced in Windows Vista, and decided that these unique capabilities were worth a few hundred dollars? You even bought a new computer so that you could meet Vista’s (very high) requirements? Fooled you: Linux can do better, for free, and with much less demanding hardware requirements.




Does your digital life seem fragmented?

If you already know what fragmentation is, and are already used to defragmenting your disk every month or so, here is the short version : Linux doesn’t need defragmenting.

Now imagine your hard disk is a huge file cabinet, with millions of drawers (thanks to Roberto Di Cosmo for this comparison). Each drawer can only contain a fixed amount of data. Therefore, files that are larger than what such a drawer can contain need to be split up. Some files are so large that they need thousands of drawers. And of course, accessing these files is much easier when the drawers they occupy are close to one another in the file cabinet.

Now imagine you’re the owner of this file cabinet, but you don’t have time to take care of it, and you want to hire someone to take care of it for you. Two people come for the job, a woman and a man.

  • The man has the following strategy : he just empties the drawers when a file is removed, splits up any new file into smaller pieces the size of a drawer, and randomly stuffs each piece into the first available empty drawer. When you mention that this makes it rather difficult to find all the pieces of a particular file, the response is that a dozen boys must be hired every weekend to put the chest back in order.
  • The woman has a different technique : she keeps track, on a piece of paper, of contiguous empty drawers. When a new file arrives, she searches this list for a sufficiently long row of empty drawers, and this is where the file is placed. In this way, provided there is enough activity, the file cabinet is always tidy.

Without a doubt, you should hire the woman (you should have known it, women are much better organized 🙂 ). Well, Windows uses the first method ; Linux uses the second one. The more you use Windows, the slower it is to access files ; the more you use Linux, the faster it is. The choice is up to you!



Choose what your desktop looks like.

If you’re a Windows user, your desktop environment probably isn’t very far from this:

Pretty much all Windows users have the same desktop. You can still change your wallpaper, or the color of your windows decorations (default is blue), but basically you’ll still end up with the usual Windows interface.

With Linux, choice has been brought back to you. You’re no longer forced to accept the one-and-only way to manage multiple windows: you can choose among many programs, which are called “window managers”. But don’t worry, you won’t need to worry about that, since you’ll have a pretty good default window manager. The point is you can change it if you wish.

So if you like a simple, efficient and easy-to-use desktop environment, you’ll probably like this one:

If you like a more modern and glossy look, you might want to switch to this one:

Or you could try this one, simple and fast:

Or even this one, if you love to completely customize your desktop environment:

As you can see, with Linux you decide what your desktop looks like. And you don’t even need to decide once and for all : you can switch to any of these desktop styles whenever you log into your computer.



Why does your Windows get slower day after day?

Windows has a number of design flaws, resulting in it becoming slower and slower and not lasting very long. You’ve probably heard more than once someone say “My computer is getting sluggish, I’m gonna reinstall”. Reinstalling Windows solves the problem… until next time.

You may think this is just how computers work: they’re very new technology, and not really stable yet. Well, try Linux and you’ll be surprised. Five years from now, your system will be just as fast and responsive as the day you installed it, not to mention that you won’t have any viruses, adware, trojans, worms, etc., that would force you to reinstall anyway.

I have managed to convince many people to switch to Linux, while keeping Windows on their hard disk, because they needed to use some piece of software that Linux doesn’t have (eg Autocad), so they use both systems. Since the day they switched, most of them have reinstalled Windows about once in a year or two; but Linux didn’t let them down, and is still running perfectly well and is still snappy today.

Linux lets you spend more time working, less time reinstalling over and over again.



Thanks to Franz Bourlet for the idea

How can Linux be different from Windows when it comes to environment, you might ask? After all, they’re both just pieces of software with little impact on pollution or climate change. Well, choosing Linux can actually have an influence on the environment:

  • Windows and Mac OS are sold in boxes. This means that massive amounts of paper and plastic need to be manufactured before the boxes get to your nearby store’s shelves (and be disposed of after you buy them). Linux is freely downloadable from the Internet; no amount of plastic or paper is involved.
  • Proprietary applications for Windows or Mac OS are also, most of the time, sold in local stores, in boxes, whereas you can download the vast majority of software for Linux from the Internet, for free (again, a whole lot of saved paper and plastic!).
  • As the hardware requirements for Windows or Mac OS get higher and higher, a lot of computers are made obsolete, and would need to be disposed of… but since Linux runs pretty well even on very old machines, they can be recycled for various purposes (storage, internet access, multimedia box, etc.) instead of being thrown out!
  • Millions of CDs are pressed to hold Windows or Mac OS boxes and are sold to customers. Linux also needs to be burnt on a CD before installation (in most cases at least — installation from the network or from a hard disk is also quite common). However, most people choose to burn it on a rewritable CD (“CD-RW”), which can be reused for other purposes after the installation is over (unlike proprietary operating systems, you don’t need to keep the CD around after you’ve installed the software, you can always download it again later).





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