Why should you use Linux?
It has to do with doing work. Whatever your work is.
I really can't tell you how it can help you specifically, because I don't know what you do. My own work involves web pages, programming, and moving data from one format to another, email.. I am constantly, all day long, manipulating files, data, changing formats, searching for patterns.
More to the point, when I find myself doing repetitive tasks, I automate them through scripting. For example, I maintain the FAQ for the comp.unix.sco.misc newsgroup. I took it over from the former maintainer just a month ago, and the first thing I noticed was that adding factoids was a major pain in the butt- I had to add the text, update the index, update the modification history, and then create the text-only versions that get posted monthly. I also needed to integrate the new information with my own customized search engine. I wrote a Perl script to do all that for me (and yes, you can have Perl on Windows but believe me- it is NOT the same, not because Perl is different but just because Windows gets in your way).
When I add articles to my web page, I have similar problems- updates of index pages, cross-references, etc. Again, scripts. And again, you are probably thinking "I can write .bat files" - but that's like me describing a Harley Davidson and you piping up about your tricycle! You do NOT have the power, and it's not just the scripting languages themselves, it's the underlying OS that gets in your way, and blocks you at every turn. You may get it done, but it will take much more effort.
I have, like most of us, tremendous archives of email. Very often, mail from or to someone that did not need its own folder later becomes important enough or just voluminous enough to need to be reorganized. I hate to think how you'd do that on Windows, but it's dead easy for me.
I do the same sorts of things for my customers. You need a "printer" that transforms the data it gets into a csv file, and emails the result to a bunch of people, noting which of them needs it with Unix line endings, which with Mac and which as Windows? Does one of them need a summary? Does someone else need to be notified that the files were sent? No problem. You want an LDAP server that automatically picks up new users and a phone book that drags data from that? And so on.. and again, it's not that you CAN'T do this stuff in Windows, it's that it will take you longer, it's harder, it will cost more. It's a basic difference in philosophy- Windows makes it easy for you do do the things it can do, Linux/Unix makes all things possible.
But if you are happy with your tricycle, be so. When I have to work on Windows I am very often frustrated and annoyed by its limitations- and it is not, as you might think, that I am unfamiliar with the beast: I am (or was, I let it expire) Microsoft MCSE certified. The problem is not me, it's just that Windows is weak, clumsy, messy, stubborn and obstinate. Unix/Linux is sleek, powerful, adaptable, willing and friendly.
Oh well, you either grok it or you don't. Good luck to you.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-05-16 Anthony Lawrence