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Why do you like GNU/Linux?

Discussion in 'General Linux Discussion' started by allenskd, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Sometimes, I find it amazing on how stable things are in distributions. I don't consider myself to be all knowledgeable in GNU/Linux, but I do miss the days where you had to pin down those weird behaviors and fiddle with the configuration files. I certainly don't miss the Desktop Environment fights with the usual zealots that kept trashing people who used GNOME/KDE/etc and despised new people for touching their beloved distribution.

    It's been a hell of a road. I still remember when Ubuntu was first released, or my first time with Mandriva/RedHat/Gentoo/etc back in 1998, 1999, etc (mind you, I'm not that old!). I still think Ubuntu created a lot of awareness and it was beneficial in its own way. Eh, let's leave that for another time though.

    I think over the years GNU/Linux taught me in my field that there's always a way to get things working even if everything is failing. No, seriously. I know it's always touted that it's rock-solid stable, but when you introduce a normal desktop environments, and lots of applications. There's a high chance that one of those applications may be buggy. Like trying to install NVIDIA drivers in the old days... seeing X crashing... X crashes were quite something and I so don't miss them at all. (I even had kernel panics, those were never fun!)

    Regardless, there was always a way to fix things. Sometimes I wonder if we are just masochists hahaha because if you consider the time spent building our ideal environment versus just installing Microsoft Windows, then yea some folks would say we are darn crazy.

    I've grown to be obsessed in fixing issues. Not only in my OS, but also when I program. Whenever I see a bug or odd behavior I must seek what made it tick that way, how does it work, why did it behave that way? And GNU/Linux enabled me to continue searching because it gave me all the tools to seek the answer to satisfy that area.

    But ah well, enough about that. I don't want to bore you with the old stuff. I'm sure you old timers have more to say than me :p

    I like GNU/Linux because it enables me to become creative. The ability of having something powerful, functional and usable like the terminal opens new doors. Being able to do shell scripting to automate tasks, or program new functionality in Dolphin File Manager reeks of innovation.

    Not to mention that it's easier to set up your development area (hello, virtualenv) or set up a webserver with NGINX/PHP/MySQL or MongoDB, whichever ticks your fancy.

    I can't but to feel excited at the new stuff that keeps us glued together as a community. So yea, why do you like GNU/Linux?
  2. Daerandin

    Daerandin Well-Known Member

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    I can relate to many of the things you mention. I think a big part here is that I suppose I am something of a control freak. If you could see me play certain strategy games, you would realize what I mean. GNU/Linux allow me to satisfy that side of me to a much larger degree.

    You may be right suspecting we are masochists. My choice of distro forced me to struggle quite a bit at first, I even broke my system once before I had spent enough time learning all that you are expected to know when using Arch. Even though I didn't know how to fix it back then (just did a reinstall), when I later looked into what I had done, why it broke my system, I learned something. I even did another reinstall not too long ago, just so I could make sure everything was exactly the way I want it to be, now that I know my way around my system.

    The ability to get my hands into every part of the system, and gain a greater understanding of my system.

    I will not bash Ubuntu, it was my first step into this world, no matter how short lived my affair with Ubuntu was. It provided a sort of safe way to step outside my comfort zone.

    I think I can best sum it up by saying that I like knowing my system, and truly having full control over my system.
  3. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    I spent 10 years using Windows and always felt like I was at their mercy when something was changed or broken. At least the majority of that time was Windows XP, which didn't change much.
    I was also getting tired of tacking on an extra $100-$150 for Windows when I was building a computer.
    I've always felt that the Operating System should be free so you can use the computer you built. Then programs and upgrades should cost money.
    Linux has really provided that alternative where I can save that extra $100 and put it into a video card or something else.

    I also love how Linux gives me the freedom to use it the way I want to use my operating system. I am still at the mercy of Mint and Ubuntu for certain things, but other things like desktop manager and window environment can be modified.
    Depending on how I want to use my computer, I can tweak Linux or just use another distro completely.

    I also have 6 gaming computers in a LAN at home. Imaging purchasing 6 copies of Windows just to play games?
    This isn't a normal scenario for most people, but there are a lot of older laptops and desktops sitting in a garage infected, out-of-date or dead hard drives.
    These computers can be revived with Linux and used for secure internet browsing or even donated.

    This is the freedom of Linux that I love!
    I will never purchase Windows again and hopefully within 5 years all of my LAN machines will have Mint, Manjaro or SteamOS on them for my LAN games.
  4. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    I have been wondering, booman, but why so many computers? If you don't mind me asking!

    Now. I'm not some sort of righteous guy, I've had my share of windows copies, except for Windows 8 because it costed me $30 bucks to get. A great deal, isn't it? Now, compared to the price of Windows 7? It's insane!

    I still see Linux Gaming like, for LAN parties... a bit awkward. Would be awesome to play games like Age of Mythology or some other RTS games. Heck, even Unreal Tournament (classic) or UT 2K4
  5. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    You said it!
    6 LAN computers are all about gaming with my friends. I invite my friends over and we play games like:
    • Battlefied 2
    • Quake Wars
    • Half-Life 2 Deathmatch
    • Counter-Strike: Source
    • Torchlight II
    • Titan Quest
    • Unreal Tournament 3 (and mods)
    • Doom 3
    • The Ship
    • Borderlands 2
    • No More Room in Hell
    And many more...
    Recently we have been playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein cooperative mod.
    So if I'm going to move to Linux completely, I need most of these games to run either native or in Wine with multi-player capabilities.
    So, yeah, its get complicated managing 6+ computers, but its really fun when they do work.
    By the way, when my friends come over, all my games play offline in the LAN. Meaning, we don't connect to the internet.
  6. Aryvandaar

    Aryvandaar Active Member

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    - Because with Linux, when you set up a driver it works. The same can't be said for Windows.
    - No BSOD, and kernel panics happen very rarely. Never experienced it myself. When something goes wrong in Linux it's most likely your fault, and it's easy to retrace your steps, but Windows is another story completely because it just breaks itself.
    - Minimal reboots needed. I hate reboots.
    - sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager.service, can you do that Windows (my favourite command)? No you can't needs a reboot.
    - Choices. You can use the system like you want to, and there is almost no limit to how you can have your Linux system look and function.
    - Superior sound drivers/sound.
    - Less virus. It's really hard for a virus to even activate when it needs root privileges.

    I only run Linux distros on my computers now. If a game doesn't run on my system I will consider buying it if it works almost perfectly in wine, if not I won't buy it.
  7. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Very good points!
    In Windows you have to reboot when installing drivers for any device and some programs. Reboot, Reboot, Reboot... UGH.
    I love how Linux network manager has a built in configuration for more than one connection.
    I always setup a Public and Private network configurations.
    In Windows I needed some visual C script and had to run a .bat file just to set the IP addresses.
  8. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    You know, not to nitpick but drivers just doesn't work out of the box sometimes, this includes the typical wireless drivers problems users have. "The same can't be said for windows" is pretty much a myth, there are drivers cases on both linux and windows. Same with BSOD, the old days are gone, imho. I've used both and I've never had a Windows PC randomly BSOD unless there was a memory problem.

    I just wanted to say this, because well there's always this behavior I see from other linux users who thinks Windows BSOD 24/7, if it did that Microsoft would be pretty much out of business already!

    And the NetworkManager part got me curious but I'm not sure what you mean either...
  9. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    Regarding networkmanager.service, several big linux distros, including Debian, have adopted systemd to replace sysinit. The command he is referring to restarts the network interface in a systemd-based computer. On a sysinit-based computer, the command would be something like '/etc/init.d/net.eth0 restart'.

    You simply cannot restart your net interface in Windows the same way. That being said, I don't use my Win7 box very much because I am in Linux probably 95% of the time now, but it has been completely problem-free since installation over two years ago. It is stable, and hasn't crashed that I can remember, ever.
  10. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Basically the way I play LAN games is offline. My internet is too slow, so we play cooperative games and deathmatch game offline with manually set IP addresses: 10.0.0.1 10.0.0.2 and so on
    But in Windows you have to go to the Network Connections and manually type in the IP, Gateway, Subnetmask and DNS servers. Sucks when you have 6 computers and want to go back-n-forth to update Steam games and then play offline.
    So Gizmo helped me with a script that does it for me. then I made shortcuts to both scripts: Local & Internet

    In Linux, its all built in. I just set different network settings for local and internet, then just click the one I want.
    Its beautiful. Even OSX can do this, but Windows? No way!
  11. Daerandin

    Daerandin Well-Known Member

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    I use netctl for network, which integrates nicely with systemd. I write network profiles, and I can create as many as I want, either with dynamic IP or static. Then I simply choose which profile I want to start, or simply have the common home wifi profile enabled on boot.

    Netctl use the same commands as systemd, so to start a network profile I simply type

    Code:
    sudo netctl start wifi-home
    Which would be the profile I created for my home wifi. Netctl shares all the basic commands with systemd, so I can use "start" stop" "restart" "enable" and "disable", the last two either enable or disable startup of a profile on boot. I find it very easy to manage. And if I want to connect to a new network, I simply copy an already existing profile and just edit the SSID and passkey for the network.

    In case I forgot which profiles I have, and don't want to check the /etc/netctl directory, I can run

    Code:
    netctl list
    Which will list all profiles I have created and also indicate which are currently active.

    So I will join in that networking is a lot easier on Linux, and provides much greater control.

    I have one more point I want to add. I know a lot of people dislike PulseAudio, but I actually love it. I can very easily change the audio output for applications individually, on the fly. I can simultaneously have a movie playing through HDMI on the TV, with the sound set to output through HDMI, and play music on speakers while also having a game running with the game sound outputting through headphones.

    I have to admit, I rarely do all that together, but at least I have the option. And I can keep changing on the fly
  12. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Just in case, I never doubted it wasn't, haha. A lot of things are easier to manage.

    And I absolutely agree with you on PulseAudio. I can't live without it, although I sometimes wish there was a even more powerful app than K-Mix, but well, it provides me the option to change sources to other devices and I totally appreciate that. It's one of the reason I kept researching on how to fix WINE audio with pulseaudio, hours worth spent.
  13. Aryvandaar

    Aryvandaar Active Member

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    I've always had more driver problems on my computers with Windows than with various Linux distros. To me, it's not a myth, to me Windows does have poor driver management. I can't really base my opinion on anything but what I've experiened, and considering that the hardware I've had in my computers haven't been some obscure piece of hardware, it's the kind of hardware that is rather popular, and it's not okay if popular hardware doesn't work properly.

    The fact is that Windows does BSOD, and while it haven't happened often, when it does it's really annoying. It can happen if programs start to fight between themselves with the memory space, and other nonsense like that. With some bluescreens I remember that I just had to boot up in safety mode (because it wouldn't boot in normal mode), and if I just restarted again in normal mode it was finally okay. It makes me wonder what the hell is in the code there.

    In general, Windows is simply not a reliable or stable system. Another argument I have against Windows is that updates are forced down your throat, even if you disable automatic updates. It's my computer, if I want to be able to start tasks to do overnight, or as I go to work that takes a lot of time, I do not want to wake up or come home and find out that my computer was restarted because of a forced Windows update.

    In Linux, kernel panics only happen if the CPU gets wrong commands or something, but I'm not too knowledgeable about that. Even so. In all my years using Linux I've never experienced a kernel panic before.

    If something goes wrong in Linux, it's also much easier to fix your problem if you can retrace your steps, but in Windows it's very complicated.

    My hate for Windows is not unwarranted, nor is it based on any myths.

    As for pulseaudio, I hate it. I only use alsa on my systems, because pulseaudio makes sound stutter and generally doesn't run well, or so I've experienced.
  14. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    Kernel panics *shouldn't* happen unless the kernel options aren't set properly for the specific hardware you're compiling it for.

    After I build a kernel, I will occasionally see a panic because of something I toggled in the kernel settings. Generally, it's fairly easy for me to find but sometimes I've gotten too experimental, or I've tried to lean it down, and switched off something I really need.

    The only other time I can remember having one was when I began to get some oops messages that were intermittent, and finally a panic which turned out to be a bad drive containing /. That one did take a long time to figure out, though, because I had coincidentally just built an updated kernel a day or two before, and my first thought was that I had mucked it up. I hadn't, the hardware failed.
  15. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Alright. I'm sorry if I made you or anyone feel like I was throwing dirt on GNU/Linux to go on the defense route, it's not my intention either to disrupt the community, quite the opposite I just wanted to bring fair ground. I agree with some of your points, some others, not so much. But like you said, everyone has different experiences. I haven't had problems with Windows with either XP or 7 in a decade or so. Now, this is just me and I consider myself a power user. I also worked for a bank providing IT services and it was just extremely rare to see Windows BSOD'ing or having driver problems, drive problems exists though I have managed some myself from other people's computers, but it's not something that happens monthly or yearly, could take a lot of time.


    @ThunderRd I haven't compiled the kernel in ages hahah. Now? I've never found the need to do so, everything just works. But I did experience kernel panics in Ubuntu, and this was back in 2004 when it was still getting more attention. Could have been an "oops" from the people compiling it or whatever. It's in the past, to see it happen nowadays is a rare glimpse.
    Aryvandaar likes this.
  16. Aryvandaar

    Aryvandaar Active Member

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    No need to apologize, it just seemed like you got the idea that I was talking in general, and I had to clarify that I was talking from my experience, and only speaking for myself (wasn't clear on that in my earlier posts).

    I'm also a Windows power user. I still am I guess, I just don't use Windows as my system any more, only on virtual machines, and at work.

    As I said earlier, I feel that Linux is more reliable. If you do nothing in Linux, it's hard to break, but in Windows things can break if you do nothing (from my experience). This is perhaps the main reason why I only use Linux now.
  17. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    I havn't experienced a lot of blue screen on my home computers. Normally if someone is getting them a lot, I would ask if they were over-clocking or using older video cards that do not have supported video drivers.

    But at work, our workstations experience blue screens all the time. I have at least 50+ reports of regular blue screens.
    I have done every but re-solder all the caps on each motherboard. Its rediculous! The Dells are old and known to have bad capacitors, maybe its XP, either way I have replaced power supplies, memory, whole desktops and they still get the blue screens.

    At least with Linux, I can just try another version or distro if I'm having a lot of crashing or problems. With Windows, its always based on budgets. Hell, we can't even move to Windows 7 because the company can't afford it yet.
    Money money money...

    Hence why my first reply was about cost. Having a free Operating System is so nice because you can upgrade, downgrade or just try another one instead of dealing with support and "signed drivers"
  18. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    Just my 2-pence here:

    Coming at this as somoene who earns his money on Linux these days, and who used to earn it on Windows, I can say that even back to WinNT4, Windows has always been pretty stable for me (well, since NT4 SP3 anyway).

    Almost every SYSTEM issue I had on Windows was because of bad hardware. Bad drivers are not, IMO, a SYSTEM issue; they are a VENDOR issue, and one that's very easy to resolve if you pay attention to what you are doing when you are writing the driver. That said, it is absolutely AMAZING how many completely and utterly SHITE drivers there are out there for Windows hardware, particularly in the low-end consumer space. (Note, Win9x is a whole 'nuther issue; that OS just sucked)

    Windows was a stable flexible platform well before Linux, IMO. With Linux you could be stable, or you could be flexible, but not both. That has changed GREATLY in the last 10 years IMO, and Linux has matured a TON.

    That said, both OS have their strengths and their weaknesses. My biggest problem with Windows, TBH, is Microsoft and the way they treat their customers.
  19. Aryvandaar

    Aryvandaar Active Member

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    I know that everyone is speaking out of experience, but I need to clarify that I'm not saying that Windows OS are horribly unstable. A few bluescreens here and there that are nonsense is too much for me.

    My biggest problem is the forced Windows update. A friend at work monitored the network when he did a Windows update, and he discovered that it doesn't download constantly. It spikes, then goes down to 0 then up again.

    I think we read that Microsoft do this to make it easier for their servers. Cheap ass greedy suits, heard about multiple servers?
  20. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually, that's a GOOD thing when it's going on in the background. The idea is to limit your impact on the network and the system for something that is a background, low-priority task.

    Now if it's doing that when running in the FOREGROUND, that's a different issue.

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