Linux Windows

Should I Use Linux Or Windows? 3 Deal-Breaker Questions You MUST Answer

Joel Lee 06-10-2014

Linux. Windows. Which is better? The debate has long been driven into the ground and we’re almost to the point where further discourse can add nothing of value. We aren’t here to tell you which one is better; rather, we’re here to help you decide which one is better for you.


Linux is great and more people should use it. That being said, not ALL people should use Linux. These three questions will help you choose the more appropriate operating system for you.

Q. Are You Using Special Proprietary Software?

If there was ever a reason not to use Linux, this would be it. No matter how well Linux manages to catch up to Windows in terms of usability, newbie-friendliness, and ease of adoption, one fact will never change: Windows has dominated Linux in terms of desktop operating system market share for a long time.

The implication is simple: everyone is using Windows, so companies will typically build software for Windows first. Even now, with Linux at the height of its popularity, Windows still owns 91% of the market. It makes sense that Windows would have the most software options, which it does.


And while cross-platform portability has become more prevalent over the past few years, it’s nowhere near prevalent enough to say that the pool of software for Linux is anywhere close to the pool of software for Windows, especially when we take proprietary software into consideration.


For serious business work that isn’t server-related, there’s a good chance that Windows is your only viable option. Besides the GIMP vs. Photoshop debate, Adobe has a lot of products that have no good Linux alternatives. Similarly, many best-in-class programs run primarily on Windows.

This carries over into gaming, too. There are plenty of high-quality Windows games that don’t have working Linux versions. I’m not saying that you can’t play video games on Linux at all – that’s one of the biggest Linux myths 5 Lies Linux-Haters Like To Tell Linux may have been a scary operating system before, but all of that has changed in recent years. These myths, which are more accurately called lies, are now dead. Read More out there – but it’s certainly true that there are games that simply can’t be played on Linux.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are any of your required programs Windows-only?
  • If so, are there Linux versions of them?
  • If not, can they run on Linux with WINE?
  • If not, are there any acceptable Linux alternatives to them?
  • If not, can you stop using those programs?

If you reached the end and you think Linux will suffice, then you should absolutely make the switch and give it a try. The simpler your requirements, the more viable Linux becomes. Strict proprietary requirements often necessitate Windows.

Q. Will The Computer Also Be Used By Others?

Maybe you’ve gotten this far and you think Linux will be fine for you. Maybe you love the idea of Linux and you can’t wait to switch. But wait! There’s an important consideration to make before you do: who else is going to be using your computer?

If you’re the only one using your computer, that’s great. You can skip this section. But if your computer is public or shared in any way, you may not want to put Linux on it. Remember, Windows has 91% share of the market. Most people are familiar with Windows. Most people have never seen Linux.



This is why most business offices have Windows computers for the employees. In essence, it’s the lowest common denominator. It has the least overhead: no training required and support is universal.

The same applies for public spaces like libraries and Internet cafes. Anyone can walk up to a Windows computer and make it do what they want it to do. Those same people might go cross-eyed at a Linux computer.


For computers that are shared but aren’t public, the choice becomes more situational. A family computer should use the operating system that’s most familiar to the family.


The bottom line is this: even if you want to use Linux, not everyone else does. When the choice of operating system affects multiple people, the best choice is the one that fits best with all people involved.

Q. Is Your Hardware Supported?

This last question is a no-brainer that some tend to overlook until it’s too late. Suppose you dive right into Linux and get it installed only to realize that none of your hardware actually works on Linux. How disheartening would that be?

One of the long-running criticisms against Linux has been its deficient support for hardware components like graphics cards, network cards, sound cards, motherboards, and more. This is less of an issue today as most Linux distributions will automatically detect the right hardware, but it isn’t yet 100% perfect.


In his ultimate Linux checklist The Ultimate "Should I Use Linux?" Checklist Deciding whether switching to Linux isn't so easy, because Linux isn't perfect and sadly not for everyone -- although we'd like to think that. Is it for you? Read More post, Danny explained which components you should test before installing Linux. The biggest incompatibility issues tend to come from WiFi chipsets, advanced keyboards, printers, and other external peripherals.

Smartphones can be problematic as well, especially iOS devices that need iTunes, but you may be able to find workarounds if you search hard enough.

How can you test for hardware compatibility? Ubuntu maintains a database of “certified hardware” that has been tested and approved to work. H-Node is another similar database that focuses on all of Linux, not just Ubuntu.

What Will It Be? Linux Or Windows?

If you don’t want to deal with any of these issues, you should stick with Windows. Manufacturers are almost guaranteed to put out Windows drivers no matter the product (e.g., webcam, keyboard, mouse, graphics, etc.) but there are no such guarantees with Linux yet. What do you think?

Image Credit: Linux Terminal Via Shutterstock, Public Computers Via Shutterstock, Shared Computer Via Shutterstock, Computer Components Via Shutterstock

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  1. Jake
    March 24, 2018 at 2:34 am

    Does anyone know if it is possible to run a virtualized windows 10 on a Linux system? and if so how efficient is it? And would this help with the software incompatibility issue at all?

    • Joel Lee
      March 24, 2018 at 9:07 am

      Yes Jake it's possible, but performance will be pretty bad unless you have powerful computer specs. Yes it can absolutely help with software incompatibility issues. For example, the method we recommend for installing Photoshop on Linux is using a Windows VM!

  2. Open Boxer
    March 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    I've been using a Linux-based set up almost exclusively since 2009 (Ubuntu 9.04), and although I have used Windows out of necessity, I have no valid reason to use Windows, unless I am paid to use it as part of my job.

    I recently installed W10 (free to download from Microsoft; the license bit comes later), and in comparison to W7 or XP, it is a nightmare. Installation takes an age, it is necessary to switch off a load of Microsoft 'spyware' (for want of a better word), and constantly reject the advances of Cortana to be your 'personal assistant'. Then there are the upgrades, which take forever. On top of this is the appalingly messy GUI/DE, with stuff popping up and flashing about all over the place. And where is everything? Where are my files? Why do I feel that someone else is trying to run my (computing) life, without my consent ('This Computer')? And on a Lenovo T420, with quad core i5 with 8GiB RAM, why is it SO slow?

    W10 lasted a day, before I lost patience.

    In comparison, an Ubuntu based install, configure and upgrade takes less than an hour, and I can simply copy and paste my preferred configurations from my other/previous installation (I use a highly customised/personalised version). But that's Linux all over (generally speaking), isn't it? And it is 'my computer'. And it is fast, very fast.

    OK, I'm not an online gamer, but I do use office applications. So I use WPS office for Linux, and it has almost all the features of MSOffice 2010, and unlike LibreOffice it can maintain MSOffice formats. The same goes for multimedia and codecs: I have no problems using multimedia in Linux. And all my peripherals (printers, etc.) work without any problems, with software available directly from trusted/secure repositories.

    The crux is this: why should I pay £120.00 to have my computing life taken over by a virtual entity that tries to data mine me every time I go online, and then carry on having to pay for the priviledge of using their software when it needs to be upgraded, and having to buy new hardware because of built-in obsolescence; when I can have a far more secure and genuinely customised and personalised set up for the cost of data download, an old USB pendrive (or a live CD that I can share freely, and also recover data with), and perhaps the cost of an 'old/obsolete' computer that wouldn't even be able to run W7? Yes: many lightweight Linuxen can run on old netbooks (e.g. an LXDE fronted Linux on an EeePC 701-4G), far quicker that any modern, USB capable version of Windows ever could.

    With their major shift towards hardware production, Microsoft have done an 'Apple': they have created more than just an operating system, in what is now a total experience that demands that you buy into all of it, across all your devices. But then, perhaps to state the obvious, I have no reason to join that club, either.

  3. Mark Ackerman
    September 30, 2016 at 8:12 am

    In fact hardware is now more likely to run in Linux than a re-installed Windows - FACT

    Linux reboot 20-30 seconds even with their awesomely efficient updates,
    Windows 2-7 minutes with Updates

    Linux can multi-task 9 workspaces with 2 apps on each faster than 5 apps on one Windows window. Linux is just WAY faster.

    and now that Vulkan is on the way watch out for the only reason anyone Dual Booting ever goes back into their dreadful Windows 10/8/Vista, ... i.e.gaming.

    and with Vulkan we soon (with Doom) see games running faster and better in Linux (if they are written in the universal Vulkan API)

    • Joel Lee
      September 30, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      Hey Mark, a lot has changed since I wrote this article (I can't believe it's been two years already!) and you make a lot of good points, especially now that Windows 10 seems so much slower than Windows 7. It would be really cool if native gaming on Linux became mainstream, but I won't hold my breath for it! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Mohsen
    July 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Linux is not for everyone . . . and by everyone I mean 99% of people! Trust me. I studied software engineering and I had to learn linux for my courses and after that In my work environment I developed cross platfrom softwares for windows and linux. The point is I had difficulty even in the most basic tasks. Sometimes your wifi drivers does not simply work on linux, other times there are missing libraries and compiling issues , other times you get an error in your display for no specific reason (because some shells are just buggy).

    Linux is for geeks and hardworking students and engineers who care about their security, hate microsoft with a burning passion and want to use the most out of their operating system.

    Windows is for everybody else who do not want to waste their hardware capabilities (Nvidia Drivers suck on Linux trust me!) , they do not want to spend lots of hours tweaking the OS by using boring commands and want to simply do their work and log out !

    That being said I really like linux, its a matter of choice and that is freedom. Linux is very reliable , the operation is very light and It is very very fast. Linux handles computations and operations faster than windows. You have less chance encountering viruses and malware on linux than windows. If you are a developer, Linux is a paradise for you because It has everything you need in it ... (built in compiler for C,C++, python and ....).

    So before you hate or love linux , calculate your needs and your software and hardware capabilities.

  5. Anders
    February 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Yeah, I think I'm switching to Linux. It's much less taxing on system resources than Windows

  6. Anonymous
    December 20, 2015 at 5:32 am

    The second question...well, I just avoided that for unidentified reasons.

  7. Anonymous
    August 8, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    @ Bill Kitchen:-

    Actually, that isn't exactly true. Epson do in fact supply a whole load of drivers for their printers under Linux, but (and this is a BIG but) they don't go out of their way to make them easily accessible.

    I use a 4 yr-old Epson SX218.....related to the WorkForce business-class series. I ran XP up until last April; then overnight, wiped Windows out of my life and switched to Linux.....first Ubuntu, then (and permanently now) Puppy Linux.

    My Epson works perfectly under Puppy Linux. All you need to do is to go to the downloads page:-

    and enter your model (but don't actually enter 'Epson'...just the model!), then enter 'Linux' under the drop-down for operating system.....and you should find a list of drivers for Epson; .debs AND .rpms.

    Epson seem to use a fairly generic driver for most of their printers in Linux. The scanner does, however, need installing separately; you'll find the scanner package, and a 'data' package. Make sure you install the 'data' package first, as the scanner needs it to be able to install itself.

    Not an immense problem, once you know how to do it. It's just that Epson won't actually TELL you they do Linux drivers; YOU have to 'hunt them up' yrself.

  8. Azhar
    March 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    The only reason why I choose Windows 8.1 is my favorite application only run in Windows Platform.

    Now go to the next question, Have you try another alternative apps? No, there is no alternative apps for my favorite apps that I will use. Those apps are not very popular and have many fanbase, but only used for ceritain people, and I am one of them.
    Have you try to run it with Wine? Yes, and the programs didn't work normally, the program fail to execute many function, and the other program didn't run at all because (I think) the program only read partition location file for search the data (Run from ISO). When I run the application, the program can't read the data at all (empty).

    Summary, I have tried to be nice to use Linux distro. But I feel sad that those my favorite apps can't run/work properly.
    Additional reason is I like Evernote so much. And find it easier to use Windows version of Evernote than website to access and edit my notes.. :)

    • Joel
      March 10, 2015 at 4:15 am

      Not everyone is meant to switch to Linux. It seems like you're one of the folks who's meant to stay with Windows. There's nothing wrong with that! :)

  9. Heather
    February 5, 2015 at 10:11 am

    The one that annoys me is that coupons from and other coupon sites as they only sense if you are using Microsoft or Apple OS.

  10. Bill Kitchen
    January 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    My old computer had Windows XP but it is no longer supported on the internet so I installed Linux to try it out. I had to install VLC free software for the DVD to work. Great until I wanted to print, Epson don't support Linux, no drivers available.
    My old computer had been playing up for about 4 years anyway so I got a second hand computer cheap with Windows 8. I now only use the hard drive with W8 for printing but use the hard drive with Linux for everyday use. I do have to put anything I want to print onto a memory stick so it can be read off by W8 for printing, not a problem as I don't print reams of stuff. I understand Hewlwtt Packard are compatible with Linux.
    Linux is supposed to be more secure on-line with virus checkers built in and an automatic ad-blocker and supposed to be more reliable. I just updated to version 14.04 last week.
    Having tried both now for a month W8 has crashed once and Linux which I mainly use has not crashed.

  11. George Embrey
    December 17, 2014 at 12:33 am

    I switched to Linux as a main desktop Operating System 10 Years ago and currently run, Debian derived Mepis 12 or Debian with XFCE Desktop environments with Virtual Box for running the 2 Windows Applications I can't yet get away from.

    This setup has enabled me to be far more productive than I could ever be running on Windows alone as I can run both server and desktop applications concurrently, I have a well designed OS with proper isolation between System (Kernel) and userspace processes (Linux IS vastly more secure by design).

    The only things I miss about windows are System Crashes, rebooting every time I install or update applications, having to constantly scan for viruses, the need for AV and anti-SPAM software suites, not being able to truly customize the OS to suit what I need out of a machine and being stuck with only one framework for developing applications.

    Linux is easier for kids to learn and master, the command line is not a daunting concept for them once you explain it to them.

    Microsoft do not offer anything like the range of applications for Windows compared with Debian Linux. The days of Windows Desktops (Desktop PCs for that matter) are drawing to a close for the average, non-developer, user as most Enterprise Applications are moving to cloud / web based models where the OS is secondary to a good browser and here is where Linux has won most of the world already - There are more Android Tablets and Phones used around the world than all other OSes combined - point Android is Linux beneath a Java based GUI.

  12. Jeff Sharpe
    November 8, 2014 at 12:05 am

    I think the MS licensing confusion and frustration as a serious consideration. I am going through my 3rd MS audit, the most current has been going on for 11 months (still not finished), with no deficiencies found. Our company is looking for cloud or FOSS options for this simple reason.

    • Joel
      March 10, 2015 at 4:16 am

      That's a good point. Haven't had much experience managing licensed software in a corporate or business setting, but I could see why FOSS would be preferable in those kind of instances. Thanks for sharing.

  13. steve richards
    October 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Joel, i run two linux distros at home and one at work and i couldn't be happier with the quality of each, they are all different , it's "horses for courses". All operating systems are in a state of flux,
    they are all "catching up" and so should you be.

    • Joel Lee
      October 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      I run Linux alongside Windows. Not sure what I need to "catch up" on?

    • xaGe
      October 30, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      I agree Steve. Linux, OSX or Windows all play catch up with technology and trends that develop and become the norm.

  14. Eddie G.
    October 19, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    If I may: If you need the actual "package" that will allow wireless access (I believe it's the "firmware-iwlwifi_0.42_all.deb" package.....just type that into Google and see if it brings it up for should send you directly to the Debian distros it from sure to .and install it with the Package Installer (Synaptic I believe it's called...) after installation...and I know this sucks...because it mimics Windows...reboot.....and see if you can find / connect to your wireless network...

  15. Pablo Garcia
    October 15, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Some one Help ! i need to Switch to another Free to Play MMORPG game im waiting for some one to make a APB Reloaded Like so similar to it Ranking to Gun , Car & Char Mods/Custom Out there this what holding me back from the Switch to Linux World any Linux with Similar style or it in Developing( Hope with API Mental ) Stage to keep on eye on it !!! PLEASE You be My Hero !!!

  16. David
    October 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Well, everyone I've tried my best and used all the recommendations just wanted to thank all of you for the fine effort put forth trying to help me with this issue. I've gave it my best to follow all advice but nothing seem to work. The system disconnects on me when doing any updates or running " Sudo " command in terminal I'm sure if I could keep the system up by "wired connection" I would be able to download the correct drivers, but I can't. This is the command: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem.

    I run it manually and it then disconnects on me. I've tried hardwire directly to my modem not the router and it still disconnects on me then I have to reboot the system then it will regconize the wired once again and connect...this is driving me crazy and to make matters worse the other laptop with "Zorin" does the exact same thing. Is it possible I got a couple of bad OS's? Is there a problem with my network, say modem I don't know. Both OS's can't update or get drivers will disconnect from wired network. I think I'm going to call it quits maybe just buy a system all-ready install OS.s Linux. I guess I could try the USB wireless devices, maybe something strange is happening here and am not sure how to work around it...Thanks everyone for your help!!

  17. Ziaur Rahman
    October 10, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Windows days gone long ago.
    I prefer only Linux. Because Linux is the future.

  18. Tony
    October 10, 2014 at 3:16 am

    @ ED
    First go and have a look at their forum . Second, try a liveCD, then decide.
    I am using PCLinuxOS for 8 years now as my primary OS.
    No regrets.
    I also run WinXP under virtualbox, once or twice a month.
    I work in education and have every week one student wanting to try linux. Some stay, some decide to go back to Windows.

    As far as hardware goes, I had only one problem, and that was a Canon Lide90 scanner, which I now run in virtualbox-WinXP.

    Make sure you have regular backups ( which you can fully automate )and you are virtually problem free.

    Last word....I won't go back to Windows as my regular OS, not even with a bazooka to my head.

  19. Col. Panek
    October 10, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Your second "dealbreaker" is not that big a deal. Linux is easier than Windows to run, and most people just want to know where the menu of apps is, and how do you open up the browser. Thirty seconds of training. Just use cross-platform programs, and they work the same. My 7 year old granddaughter had no trouble picking up Bodhi Linux.

    • xaGe
      October 30, 2014 at 2:41 am

      SO true Col. Panek! I built my 4 year old son a Linux PC from spare parts left over my last upgrade. It runs Manjaro Linux XFCE same as mine right next to it. He has no issue launching and running the games, painting software or web browsers to his favorite websites like nickjr or

      Not that its an issue for the young, but the GUI looks and acts very much like Window XP/7, but just so much more reliable and safe from malware/viruses.

    • Joel
      March 10, 2015 at 4:13 am

      That might be true, but in my experience Linux computers have been troublesome when sharing because people simply don't have any exposure to the Linux environment. Maybe they could learn it in a day, but when you're sharing it and they just want to hop on for a little bit, you don't really have that luxury.

    • jimvandamme
      March 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Learn it in a DAY? Maybe if they want to compile from source code or configure Samba or something. But in one minute you could show someone where the menu was, how to open up the browser and file manager, and find LibreOffice.

      Using a Windows lookalike distro would probably help for folks who freak about over things like where the buttons are. I'm disoriented now when I use a Windows PC, and cannot figure Win8 at all. If I buy a Win8/10 machine in the future I'll have to put Linux on it for that reason (besides many others).

  20. Richard T Lennox
    October 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Excuse me, but WHY NOT include Macintosh in the choice? Especially if you like your iPhone or iPad or Apple TV experience... It just makes sense to enter the whole "walled garden" experience. So much learn once/ apply many apps, and Cloud sense.

    • Joel
      March 10, 2015 at 4:12 am

      At this point, it seems like anyone who's meant to be a Mac user is already one. Anyone who isn't but wants to be a Mac user will get there when they can afford it. Everyone else is better suited for Windows or Linux. I don't think there are any folks out who would enjoy Mac but aren't already using it, but maybe I'm wrong!

  21. Fran H.
    October 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Joel, thanks for the article. I'm not a Linux expert by any means, but have been able to figure installation issues out through the Community Forums available. Your suggestions are great and I wish I had known of them before--I was flying blind re: the hardware compatibility tools available! Of course, knowing the hardware can be half the battle. Additional suggestion: it's not a bad idea just to search the specific Linux package, the hardware/driver you're having difficulty with, the laptop model you have, and "known issues"--or any combination of these that makes sense. Sometimes there are known issues with specific hardware that are still being/have been worked out with Linux OS's. At any rate it helped me find the following answer to a hardware-specific problem I was having similar to David's in the comments.

    David, I had the same issue with a friend's computer when I switched him to the latest Linux Mint XFCE. He had an older HP laptop with XP using a Broadcom wireless adapter. After much searching, I found this which got the laptop's wireless working:

    I hooked into the internet with an ethernet cable to complete what I needed to do of course. Hopefully you can do the same.

    If you don't trust clicking through links as I don't, here are the instructions as presented on the website:

    "I have an HP laptop model nx6325 with a Broadcom BCM4311 wireless card. After installing Ubuntu 11.10, I find that my wireless doesn’t work. The reason, Ubuntu detects the wireless but then loads the incorrect driver for this card.

    I use the lspci command to display the details about my hardware. It will display all of your PCI connected hardware. I edited the output to show only the relevant information. The important information here for matching your hardware with mine is this indentifier [14e4:4312].

    $ sudo lspci -v

    30:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11a/b/g (rev 01)
    Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company Broadcom 802.11a/b/g WLAN
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 18
    Memory at c8000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
    Capabilities: [40] Power Management version 2
    Capabilities: [58] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit-
    Capabilities: [d0] Express Legacy Endpoint, MSI 00
    Capabilities: [100] Advanced Error Reporting
    Capabilities: [13c] Virtual Channel
    Kernel driver in use: b43-pci-bridge
    Kernel modules: ssb

    $ sudo lspci -nn
    30:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11a/b/g [14e4:4312] (rev 01)
    The Solution

    I am going to install the correct driver for this wireless card. Then I will remove the “incorrect” driver (bcmwl) which Ubuntu installed by default.

    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer
    $ sudo apt-get remove bcmwl-kernel-source
    $ sudo reboot
    Hopefully you found this useful.

    If you have this same type of wireless chip in your laptop, these instructions might also work for you."

    Search your version of the following if it's different from above: [14e4:4312]
    Other helpful links if this doesn't work are:

    "External Links
    Installing Windows drivers with NdisWrapper.
    Linux home page [Broken URL Removed].
    Open source firmware
    Broadcom STA driver page
    Debian Broadcom 43xx wireless devices wiki
    Wireless Troubleshooting Guide

    That's it. Hope this helps--it worked for me. Good luck!
    Thanks again Joel.


  22. David
    October 8, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    @ ED ---- This PCLinuxOS will install over Ubuntu, correct? Now I'm using Zorin on this XP I'm having issues with. And there's my other one with MINT Mate installed, simular issues. What makes this PCLinuxOS any different from Zorin or Mint, and what website would I get it from?

  23. Doc
    October 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Q: Do you want to play commercial games (many of which aren't ported to Linux)?

  24. ATLR (Adam)
    October 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    and life is balance it all comes full circle

  25. ATLR (Adam)
    October 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

    See I was telling the truth ;-)

    There is also a nice thread over on Google+

  26. ATLR (Adam)
    October 7, 2014 at 11:08 am

    sudo: -run BLISS

    $$ = 'zero'
    sudo: -Get ChromeOS


    $$ = 'low'
    sudo: -Get ChromeBox
    :-) :-)

    $$$ = 'OK'
    sudo: -Get ChromeBook
    :-) :-) :-)

    Plus you can CNTL+ALT+T to crosh into a terminal window.

    Me still like Linux, NOW ME REALLY LOVE CHROME!
    Coming Soon 100% compatible & interchangeable with Android
    (That's a fact. Interesting how this article left out the red headed step child)

  27. LeBeau
    October 7, 2014 at 3:10 am

    I agree with much of the article, but I think you glossed over a big point when discussing hardware. I my experience in freelance PC repair I find many users upgrading their PC's from XP to Win7 or Win8 find that some of their older, perfectly serviceable hardware has no available driver under the new Windows runtime. Such hardware will need to be replaced. When they give that hardware to me, for disposal, I universally find it works under Linux. That profit-motivated-software sword cuts both ways.

    • Joel Lee
      October 11, 2014 at 2:19 am

      Thanks LeBeau, that's a good point that showcases one of the best aspects about Linux. :)

    • xaGe
      October 30, 2014 at 1:19 am

      SO true LeBeau!

  28. Salah
    October 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Hey David, I know the pain that you're going thought with the driver, it's the hard to get thought when you're new to linux.

    try to run dmesg | grep -Ei 'wifi|error|warning' and submit it to pastebin. This will print all the messages and logs of your system while it was booting. Maybe it'll show the errors.

  29. firstclass
    October 6, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Windows if you want to be productive. Linux if want a server. Mac OS if you want to waste time.

    • Nick
      April 10, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Lmfao. Right?

  30. David
    October 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Sorry to over comment but I thought some could help me with this before I try a reinstall don' know what to do next..But this is what I'm getting from the terminal after entering the command: At the end of this code you will see that it disconnects from the internet hardwire than I have to reboot to post message all over again...what a pain!!!

    david@david-ME051:~$ sudo dpkg --configure -a
    Setting up bcmwl-kernel-source ( ...
    Removing old bcmwl- DKMS files...

    -------- Uninstall Beginning --------
    Module: bcmwl
    Kernel: 3.13.0-36-generic (i686)

    Status: Before uninstall, this module version was ACTIVE on this kernel.

    - Uninstallation
    - Deleting from: /lib/modules/3.13.0-36-generic/updates/
    - Original module
    - No original module was found for this module on this kernel.
    - Use the dkms install command to reinstall any previous module version.


    DKMS: uninstall completed.

    Deleting module version:
    completely from the DKMS tree.
    Loading new bcmwl- DKMS files...
    First Installation: checking all kernels...
    Building only for 3.13.0-36-generic
    Building for architecture i686
    Building initial module for 3.13.0-36-generic

    Running module version sanity check.
    - Original module
    - No original module exists within this kernel
    - Installation
    - Installing to /lib/modules/3.13.0-36-generic/updates/


    DKMS: install completed.
    Segmentation fault

    • Jason
      October 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Answer: You should use Windows.

  31. David
    October 6, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    This is the out come of entering command:

    E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem.

    Not too sure what you do next!

  32. David
    October 6, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    david@david-ME051:~$ sudo dpkg–configure -a
    [sudo] password for david:
    sudo: dpkg–configure: command not found
    david@david-ME051:~$ sudo dpkg–configure -a
    sudo: dpkg–configure: command not found
    david@david-ME051:~$ 'sudo dpkg --configure -a'
    sudo dpkg --configure -a: command not found
    david@david-ME051:~$ sudo dpkg -configure
    dpkg: error: unknown option -o

    Type dpkg --help for help about installing and deinstalling packages [*];
    Use 'apt' or 'aptitude' for user-friendly package management;
    Type dpkg -Dhelp for a list of dpkg debug flag values;
    Type dpkg --force-help for a list of forcing options;
    Type dpkg-deb --help for help about manipulating *.deb files;

    Options marked [*] produce a lot of output - pipe it through 'less' or 'more' !

    • VGyT
      October 10, 2014 at 7:47 am

      the correct command should have been
      "dpkg --configure -a"
      "dpkg" "space" "double-dash" "configure" "space" "single-dash" "a"

      Please try it this way.

      And you might need internet-access to finish it successfully, so you just need a working ethernet-connection to your router (NOT wifi-connection, which gets disconnected).
      Do you have an ethernet card/connector in your machine?
      Or a usb-ethernet adapter (which might work out-of-the-box on most Linux's)?

  33. Roger Caldwell
    October 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I used to have this dilemma, then I switched to OSX. Now I have my shell with a nice GUI.

  34. Merlin
    October 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    David, Just a thought.
    Can you connect to the network by means of a UTP cable?
    If so, connect by UTP and then try to install the wireless driver. Perhaps the installer needs access to the network (internet?) to complete its work, which it can't do when the Wireless adapter is switched off during install.

  35. David
    October 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    My wired networking system for some reason disconnects when I try to update the software. Once that happens I have to reboot my system to reconnect again...What a pain!

    • Kaleb Klein
      October 11, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      I haven't been on a Debian derivative in a long time. The last Zorin I tried was 6, and I never had network issues. Now I don't know if Zorin has systemd or not, but if so, the installation guide on the Arch Linux wiki explains setting up wireless networking on a systemd distro, mainly Arch. Just maybe, this will help with your networking:

      Another thing you can do is browse the official Ubuntu forums as Zorin is Ubuntu based, and Zorin's forums as well to see if anyone may be having the same problem. Keep in mind, since you are new to Linux, go into the communities with thick skin, because you may get that one guy who will refuse to help. Both communities are active and very supportive, so don't let a few bad apples spoil it for you.

  36. Timothy Davis
    October 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Your first question nailed, it really is the only question that has to be asked.
    The next two questions completely fail. Linux has been easier to use over the last the few years than Windows. It is lighter and faster (in most distros using a lighter DE) than Windows. The false argument that Windows is easier just because it is more popular is wrong. If others are going to using the computer then I would absolutely go with linux, it is built secure from the ground up.

    • Adam
      November 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      For a windows user to have to use shell for running things is where Linux falls behind..
      I have used windows all my life downloaded Linux and installed it Ubuntu or something like that..

      When I wanteed to install something I was like no this is not better... this is a backwards way of doing things.. it feels like DOS 3.0 Thats (Disk Operating System)for Linux fanboys..

      Man let me tell you if you are a windows user and someone offers you linux OS dont take it...
      Just cause somethings free does not mean its better not by far...

      Ask anybody in an office environment (not an IT guy or Girl) a normal user if they would prefer Linux or Windows its always windows they choose.

      And windows is way easier than any Linux "DISTRO"
      Any person that thinks a command line/Shell is more advanced or better than a GUI is smoking there socks.

      Linux should just stick to webservers

    • Tim Davis
      November 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      What kind of Windows fanboy are you? There is no need to use the command line any more. When was the last time you used linux, 1996?

      Oh and here are two things that Windows 10 will feature that are from linux:
      multiple desktop and now repositories:

  37. hazem elsaiegh
    October 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    it 's like windows phone or android , i think it is all about apps or programs , so no windows phone and no linux ( until a further notice )

  38. David
    October 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I'm not sure the comparison should exclude OS X. The jump from Windows to Linux can be huge, but it's somewhat less so with OS X. Do you have other iDevices? Do you have significant purchases in the iMarketplace?

    Lastly, do you want to wait for Windows X?

    I, for one, use Fedora, OS X, and Windows 7. The first is a laptop, the last is a desktop.

    • David
      October 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      @ ED ---- This PCLinuxOS will install over Ubuntu, correct? Now I'm using Zorin on this XP I'm having issues with. And there's my other one with MINT Mate installed, simular issues. What makes this PCLinuxOS any different from Zorin or Mint, and what website would I get it from?

    • David
      October 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      @Timothy Davis---Are these wireless USB's compatible with laptops xp? I'm not all that familiar with them...

    • ed
      October 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      The official PCLinuxOS website (download page)

      You can choose from the following desktops: KDE, LXDE, or Mate.

      You can choose to erase the hard drive on install (so it writes over any existing OS and data).

      PCLinuxOS just seems to pack more drivers than Ubuntu-based systems it seems, or it has more drivers in its repositories from which to download on install. It has its own software store, so you can usually get all the same software you are used to using on Mint, Ubuntu, or Zorin. Using the terminal has some minor differences than Ubuntu-based (no deb packages; PCLinuxOS uses rpm packages if I'm not mistaken, but just use their software store).

      Try a Live CD or USB flash drive first to see if it has all the drivers out-of-the-box.

  39. David
    October 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Well, I've made the transition to Linux Mint and Zorin OS for fear of XP's updates that's two computers with XP's. Now since then with Linux I've experience wireless driver issues that's driving me crazy. Now I'am new at all this and don't no much about this OS but got tired of Microsoft windows and their virus's and spyware..I've tried many forums regarding this issue with wireless but nothing has worked so far. I don't think the system seen the hardware driver when it installed. I keep getting this error in the Terminal, firt I input this command----sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer

    Second this is the output: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem.

    I think this may be my main problem with the wireless driver not sure , me just a newbie!!

    Thank you,

    • Timothy Davis
      October 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      I think the easiest solution for the moment would be to try a wireless USB adapter

    • dragonmouth
      October 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Why are you complcating things for yourself by using Terminal to install the drivers? In Mint and/or Zorin you should be able to use either Software Manger or Update Manger which are GUI front-ends for apt-get.

    • Kevin Coyle
      October 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Hi David,

      Have you tried running

      sudo dpkg–configure -a

    • ed
      October 6, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Since you are new to Linux and have issues troubleshooting your wifi on ubuntu-based distros, I would give PCLinuxOS a try.

      Though I'm settled into ubuntu-based distros, I've found PCLinuxOS to have better out-of-the-box driver support than ubunu-based distros.

      Run it from a live CD of flash drive to see how it goes first.

    • kwacka
      October 9, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      You may be entering the wrong command, try:

      dpkg --configure -a (Note the spaces after dpkg and configure)

      When I used Debian/Ubuntu/Mint I always installed synaptic as a graphic package manager (sudo apt-get install synaptic), just tick the boxes to install/uninstall/recover programs.

    • Dave
      October 10, 2014 at 3:42 am

      First of all, what hardware are you using? Is it a pre-made computer such as Dell or HP? My personal experience with Dell is their use of Dell-specific motherboards that need Dell drivers, which are only for Windows. There's the Catch-22. I have a Toshiba 17" that had Vista when I bought it, and a newer Asus 15" that had Windows 8. They're both running Linux Mint 17 on solid state drives with no hardware problems. I do try a live CD/DVD on a computer before I buy it (Went through almost a dozen at Microcenter before I found the Asus). Takes time, but it's worth it.

    • Marco Antonio
      October 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Hello David, speaking about wireless drivers for linux, you can consider using a bleeding edge distro or trying the use of ndiswrapper.

      A bleeding edge distro is one that makes use of the latest hardware, so this way perhaps your hardware is being covered by that linux distribution.

      Ndiswrapper is a linux module that is able to make use of windows INF driver description files, so this way many hardware is usable under linux.

      I am using Manjaro Linux for almost two years now and I had no problems with wireless drivers, running on my Sony Vaio Laptop model VPCEG, what is more, functions buttons (Fn+Function Keys) work fine (disable touchpad, sound volume, screen brightness, select monitor, except the function button for getting the laptop to sleep mode). Hope this helps.