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Have you ever had a problem with Windows? Ever become frustrated with Microsoft’s “unique” approach to privacy? Ever wondered why Windows doesn’t want to play nicely with your brand new peripheral?
You need to use Linux instead. At least, that’s what you might believe if you spend any time browsing online forums (or even our very own comments section).
However, nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re thinking about making the switch to a Linux-based operating system, stop right now. Read this article, then tell me it’s still a sensible decision.
Here are 10 reasons why you’re better off not using Linux. Long live Windows.
1. Lack of Software
What do you look for in an operating system? For most people, the answer is probably ease of use and compatibility. I’ll look at ease of use shortly. For now, let’s focus on compatibility.
Make a list of the programs you use every day. Done? Great. Now compare them to this list of software that’s not natively available on Linux systems:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Microsoft Office
- Final Cut Pro
I could go on, but I won’t. I’m sure you get the point. Linux users simply don’t have access to some of the most widely-used apps on the planet. Yes, in certain instances you’ll be able to find workarounds or use software like Wine, but it’s frequently buggy and unreliable. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re lying.
If you value the “everything works” side of Windows, don’t switch.
2. Software Updates
Even in cases where Linux software is available, it often lags behind its Windows counterpart.
Why? Consider this: Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10 combined account for almost 85 percent of desktop computers in the world today. And Linux? A little over one percent.
As such, companies primarily pour their resources into updating the Windows (and Mac) releases first and foremost. Sure, the very biggest companies can dedicate R&D money into Linux at a similar rate as Windows, but medium size companies (or individual developers) simply cannot keep up.
If you’re in the market for a new Windows machine, you have one choice: Windows 10. Sure, there are a couple of slight variations, such as Pro, S, and Enterprise, but they are all essentially the same product.
But if you’re a first-time user looking for a new Linux machine? It’s time to go back to school. There are well over 250 different Linux distros you can choose from.
You’ll need to study a decent number of them before you can make an informed choice. To make matters harder, some of them are night and day in terms of features, user interface, and ease of use.
I’m not arguing against choice per se, but the bottom line is that Linux’s fragmentation is highly confusing, and thus inaccessible, for a large majority of people.
Yes, I know, Windows is far from perfect. The operating system has bugs, and since Microsoft transformed Windows 10 into something resembling a perma-beta release, the issues are arguably worse than ever.
But look at it this way: Windows 10 is now running on half a billion devices. The silent majority don’t experience any problems.
Why not? Because Microsoft has a phenomenal budget and employs hundreds of people whose only job is to test and refine the operating system. Linux doesn’t. Even the most widely-used distros are operated by what is essentially a group of enthusiasts operating on a shoestring budget.
For technically skilled people, the bugs might not be a problem; they have enough knowledge to self-diagnose and fix the problems themselves. For regular casual users, having to troubleshoot Linux would be a disaster.
If you made 85 percent of the world start using a Linux-based desktop computer tomorrow, I guarantee you’d see infinitely more posts complaining about things not working than you do for Windows.
If something does go drastically wrong with your Windows machine, you have several avenues open to you. Microsoft itself offers live text chat and telephone support, while every PC repair shop technician in the country is familiar with the operating system and how it works.
If you use Linux, you’re limited to a few specialist companies and the dedicated online forums. And in case you’re not aware, the forums are not easy places to get help if you’re a “noob”.
Windows typically gets new drivers first, closely followed by macOS. Linux-based systems are lucky if they receive any drivers. The upshot is the Linux community develops open-source drivers that ship with Linux distros.
I’m not knocking the people that work on such drivers; they’re largely doing a great job. But the truth is they’re often incomplete or lacking features. And because they don’t have the parent company’s official support, they won’t receive any help if they can’t make something work.
Again, for Linux fanatics, it’s not a problem — it’s all part of the fun. But for regular home users who just want a PC that works, it’s an untenable situation.
This is probably the most oft-repeated anti-Linux argument, and with good reason. Many games never make it to Linux for the same reason a lot of software never crosses the divide: it’s not worth the developers’ time.
The situation is getting better. Steam has been working hard to port games to Linux, but it’s still a long way behind Windows.
A hardcore gamer would find life on Linux insufferable.
This is closely linked to the issues surrounding gaming. Even if you can get your favorite games up and running, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to control the on-screen action using your existing peripherals. In a best-case situation, a Linux developer will have reverse-engineered support for them.
The peripherals problem also extends way beyond gaming. Even something as essential as your Wi-Fi card might give you problems when you first install a distro. Do you really want to spend hours fiddling with commands, repos, and sources, just to get online? Again, for most people, the answer is no.
Linux is complicated. Don’t say it’s not. It is! And I’m not just talking about the layout of the desktop or where to find various settings — a new user can get up to speed on that stuff in a few days.
I’m talking about using the operating system day-to-day. If you’ve run Linux for 20 years, then sure it seems simple. For someone coming from the plug-and-play world of Windows, even something as simple as installing a program requires research. It’s not intuitive.
A true Linux operating system is never finished, things are always breaking and need fixing. Most ordinary users don’t have the time or the inclination to fight a running battle with their computer.
When a tech giant picks up Linux and runs with it — like Google and its Chrome OS — the results can be astounding. But the distros you’re likely to install don’t come close to that level of ease of use.
10. Installing Linux Is Hard
Again, if you’re reading this and shaking your head, you’re in the minority. Don’t think everyone is as technically gifted as you are. For many users, the idea of creating bootable USB drives or installation CDs is bewildering.
Dual booting (which, if a first time Linux user only has one computer, is a sensible fail-safe) is even harder.
Of course, Ubuntu is one of a new slew of apps that are available in the Windows Store, so that should help make Linux more accessible. But if you’re not running Windows 10, or you want to run a non-Ubuntu distro, it’s as hard as ever.
Linux (Probably) Isn’t for You
Look, Linux isn’t all bad. If you a tech-savvy person who loves to tinker, you’ll probably have great fun using it. Also, Linux is more secure than Windows and in many ways, it’s more customizable. However, if you’re the type of user who likes to press the power button and have everything just work smoothly and without hiccups, you should give it a wide berth. If you think Windows occasionally gives you a headache, you haven’t seen anything yet.