Why you should replace Windows 7 with Linux

  • Hello Olga, et al,
    Long time Windows user and explorer of Linux distros.

    I ran across this forum after searching for a way to Windows-them Puppy Linux. I have to say that the comments section is chock full of experience and evaluation anecdotes, which helps my search immensely.

    The takeaway from this comment thread is to explore SOLUS as a Linux distro, at least for my specific requirements.

    I will, however, say this as a Windows user wanting to select a Linux distro instead of going to Windows 10. As bad as Windows is, as expensive, bloated, vulnerable and invasive as it is, it is still more user-friendly than Linux. As secure, as easy to install and as free as Linux is, it still is stuck at about 2 percent of the laptop / desktop market, versus about 88 percent for Windows.

    I say this, not to tweak Linux users, since I want Linux as a system overall to develop sharper elbows and start to make serious inroads on MS's market share. After all, absolute market share corrupts absolutely, and Redmond needs some serious competition to realize that it cannot act so imperious to its users.

    So, if Linux is willing to listen to some constructive advice, I would like to offer some.

    Linux is really geared to those who LOVE computers and working with computer code. Windows is geared to everyone else. As an OS, it comes installed on a machine from a big box store and while it can do many things, most users will simply turn the machine on and use it for their own niche use, be it for business spreadsheets, school homework, internet games, reading the news, swapping emails, SKYPING and downloading music.

    The other 98 percent of its capability remains unused for any particular user, but any given user is okay with that. I will venture to guess that the Windows users of various kinds, save for those specifically hired to administer the IT section of any school or business, uses the computer the way an old lady of 17 year old girl uses a car. The care not a whit how it works. They just want to turn it on and then USE it for their particular purpose.

    For these, the Command Line Interface is alarming or annoying. [b]However[/b] if at least one distro of Linux can overlay the CLI with a point and click, or click and drag GUI, with no need to compile drivers or worry about dependencies, that distro will start taking serious market share from MS.

    Remember, before there was Windows, there was MS DOS (a-ha! a CLI.) And then there was Mac, with its wonderful point and click GUI. Windows essentially copied the look and feel of Mac, right down to the trash can, for which Mac sued, but lost.

    In other words, if Linux can copy ENOUGH from the Windows Look and Feel, and yet keep the wonderful speed and security aspects of Linux, and even charge a modest amount for the packaging, Linux can do to Windows, what MS did to Mac.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • @cqoicebordel:

    I agree with you, and that's the point. Linux is made for power users. Which is why all Linux distros combined comprise less than 2 percent of the laptop / desktop market, while Windows, as bad, as buggy, as expensive and invasive as it is, commands over 88 percent of the market.

    Most people USE their computers the way a non-mechanic uses their cars. They don't care about sudo apt get any more than Aunt Sophie cares about how to tear down and rebuild her transmission. She just wants the car to get her to work and back reliably.

    The vast majority of Windows users are NOT power users. They are simply users.

    They could have adopted Linux in the almost 30 years its been around, but have not. Windows looks pretty, is user friendly, and does (for the most part) what they want it to do.

    Until there is a PLAYSKOOL simple and attractive version of Linux released to the public, Linux will remain the exclusive plaything of power users.

    More's the pity.

  • @johnconnorbear:

    I'm not re-inventing anything. Linux is stuck at less than 2 percent market share for a very good reason. It is work intensive compared to Windows.

    Sure, Windows comes pre-installed on machines, but they have tried selling machines with Linux pre-installed for years, and they have never caught traction.

    Linux has co-existed with Windows as long as Windows has existed, and Linux has always been free, save for some pre-packaged distros, complete with manual and Tux desktop figure.

    Corporations will spend millions on market research to figure out how their target market thinks and what their wants, needs and desires are. When you don't bother with that approach and expect them all to become software engineers, the failure is not on the part of the using public for not becoming software engineers.

    The failure is on the part of the vendor who doesn't try to find out what the user wants and needs.

    In all fairness, Linux is powered by Geeks who love computers and code, not a massive megacorporation whose purpose is financial profit. There is a substantial motivation for a corporation to find out what the basic user WANTS and will pay money for.

    The Linux user is likely more motivated to making the code do what he wants it to do.

  • @HAL2000 said in Why you should replace Windows 7 with Linux:

    Linux is powered by Geeks who love computers and code, not a massive megacorporation whose purpose is financial profit


  • Moderator

    With my level of skill and technical knowledge, I could have adopted Linux in place of Windows years ago if Linux were stable and compatible with my range of software and hardware. At present, Mint for instance is mostly compatible with everything, but is also the only OS that I have to reinstall from scratch periodically due to inexplicable crashes, driver incompatibilities and insoluble failures to boot. I keep Linux Mint around as a testbed for Vivaldi (just as I do Win7), but I literally have to replace it from scratch every few months just to have a running instance of it. It got so bad I tired of making bootable Linux flash drives and bought one with Mint already on it, so that I can reinstall whenever it becomes necessary - like it did last week.

    In 30 years of Windows or so, I have never run into a Windows problem I could not solve. Linux on the other hand, many of the problems it has presented have turned out to be completely opaque to me. At that point, time to install it again.

  • @JohnConnorBear said in Why you should replace Windows 7 with Linux:

    Not because their product doesn't work

    As of now they know only 39 devices it works on (at different levels, not necessarily good enough to be used every day).

  • Hello Olga, et al,

    Well isn't this something else. I wanted to edit this post, and instead it froze at the opening line and deleted the rest.

    I'll try and recap my post here.

    First, this is an excellent thread, chock full of useful information for a long time Windows user thinking to migrate laterally to Linux instead of Windows 10. The takeaway for me is that I ought to look at SOLUS.

    I have been evaluating about 10 different lightweight distros of Linux (Lubuntu Netbook Edition, Ubuntu, XPuntu, Zorin, Mint, MX, Bodhi, Linux Lite, LXLE, Q4OS/XPQ4 and now Puppy Linux.

    It's been a real eye opening experience. My choice would have been Debian-based XPQ4, but for its very, very bad, no good inability to recognize and install drivers for so many devices, which otherwise are recognized and installed in Ubuntu-based distros like Linux Lite and LXLE.

    Otherwise, XPQ4 is fast and Windows-themes easily and beautifully. It handles memory even better than Puppy (which just choked on a browser with several tabs open).

    The other thing I wanted to say that any mass migration from Windows to Linux is a pipe dream, given the current state of Linux. I would like to change that, and say this from the perspective of one who used Windows for as long as it has existed, and before that DOS, BASIC and FORTRAN 77 (using card punch entry).

    Most Windows users USE their computers the way old ladies and young girls use their cars. They don't care about knowing how the fuel injection or transmission works. They just want the car to work to get from point A to get to point B. And it helps if the car LOOKS nice and is comfortable too.

    Linux, in its current state, doesn't take such users into account. It is code for geeks, by geeks. Its an OS for power users who love computers and code for their own sakes.

    Linux can change all that if it can release one distro that has the look and feel of Windows, but with the cost savings, reliability and security of Linux.

    Example: in the beginning was MS DOS on floppy disks and black screens with green or amber text. Like the Linux CLI, DOS had Command Lines.

    Then there was Mac, with its small vertical computer with pictures and a mouse. Click and drag GUI. WINDOWS was MS's shameless copying of Mac's Look and Feel, but not so closely that it qualified for copyright protection. The rest is history.

    Linux COULD do to MS what MS did to Mac. Copy enough of the WinXP/ Win7 look and feel so as to present a user friendly, familiar face, and ease the Windows users' transition to Linux.

    Until that day comes, the Linux market share of the desktop / laptop market will remain about where it is now. About 2 percent of the market.

  • @ayespy:

    Having used Windows since 1995, and other systems before that and since, I have to agree.

    That said, I have made it my purpose to learn Linux, and I find it unnecessarily complicated compared to Windows. The upside for Linux, however, is that it can run speedily on even older systems with hardly any RAM required.

    So there is a tradeoff with strengths and weaknesses for each system. As far as I am concerned, I am riding the Windows 7 horse (which still works fine for me) until it cannot be used on any public system.

    One of the problems for Linux is that some Linux users have a Harry Potter-esque Deatheater sense of exclusivity of Linux, vis-a-vis 'filthy mudblood' Windows users, or simply the system itself.

    But it's a counter-productive attitude to have if you want widespread adoption of Linux.

    Make it prettier and easier to use (at least as easy to use as Windows). See if you can do with the CLI what Windows 95 did with DOS (that is, put a GUI face on it), and they can begin to see a mass migration of non-Geek users over into Linux. Of course, the very idea of that disturbs some Linux users, even if it should not.

  • Hi, Linux is easy to use if somebody set it up for you.
    I do this for my girlfriend and it work flawless for many years.
    She ignore the "Updates are available" for months but I manage it from time to time.
    My customers are Windows only and many of them does not even know what the Explorer is, not to mention CMD or user management. They ignore updates mostly, too.
    Windows is easy to use as most Linux distros today but if one problem rise up most user stuck.
    Check Windows problem manager, haha.
    If this does not change I have a job. party

    Cheers, mib

  • @JohnConnorBear

    Well, I can see that you are easily triggered, so I'd have that looked into if I were you.

    You seem to think that I don't 'get' certain things. I am talking about the desktop / laptop market share. Then you talk about cellphones?

    Certainly you can go off on a tangent and talk about Linux being used in Servers, kiosks and other devices, but the issue is Windows 7 users, isn't it?

    You should not be defensive. Nothing I have said here is objectively offensive, but observations from years of assisting others with the set up and operation of their machines, in this includes government and military, but primarily the user market.

    Certainly MS has had advantages in having its OS pre-loaded on new machines. It was expressly in business to sell software. Some have observed that it had vendor agreements that were tantamount to abuse of market position.

    But by the same token, I recall, years ago, laptops offered for sale with Linux pre-loaded. Years ago, I recall boxed sets of Xandros Linux in CompUSA, and Barnes and Nobles books, with install disks, of Teach Yourself Redhat, Mandrake and so many more. Upon graduation from college, one of my first jobs, supporting job search was selling computers to consumers, One repeat customer would come in and buy top of the line machines, delete the OS and then install Linux.

    IF Linux had been user-friendly and visually appealing, it would have caught on in much greater numbers than nearly 30 years at perhaps 2 percent.

    No need to be defensive. And no need to be offensive.

    These are simple observations, and urging someone who actually codes Linux to make a distro that would have mass appeal.

  • @mib2berlin "Linux is easy to use if somebody set it up for you."


    This is exactly what I am trying to do with a range of machines I intend to donate to a school. One challenge is that it's mostly older, 32-bit hardware, even if it's in good physical and electronic condition.

    There are easily a dozen distros specifically coded to revitalize older hardware and can run on 1 GB of RAM or less (of course, more RAM is always better). LXLE, Linux Lite and XPQ4 are the distros which I found to run the fastest while still having a Windows-like desktop.

    One of my very favorites was a German-based Q4OS, which was quite fast, even on very little RAM, and Windows-themed easily and beautifully, BUT could barely recognize a range of devices. Linux Lite quit supporting 32 bit systems, while LXLE was quite fast, easily recognized nearly every device I threw at it, but did not Windows-theme well at all.

    I am currently trying Puppy, but am not impressed with it compared to the aforementioned distros. Indeed, researching Puppy brought me here and has given me the idea to try SOLUS.



  • @JohnConnorBear

    Yes, you are a foreigner, and I've been a world traveler as a young adult and have also worked in corporate America and with governmental regulations / mergers / antitrust law (what the EU calls anti-monopoly law). And yes, concepts have meanings even before they are translated into any particular language. And you are evidently triggered and cannot make a point without being offensive.

    Maybe you should try harder at supporting you point with historical references rather than projecting that someone else just doesn't get it.

    So calm down. Don't take my observations personally. It's not a competition.

    I will say this: the typical Windows user -- you know, the ones that make up 88 percent of the desktop laptop market in the USA -- are used to an intuitive, user-friendly and attractive user interface. They expect a familiar face.

    On the machines I am setting up, I try to use the icons, themes, task bar and start button from Windows XP or Windows 7. I'm not sure how Vista or Win8 was received in Italy, but in the USA, users rebelled at the clogged slowness of Vista and the complete reconfiguration, deleting the familiar START button, in Win8.

    Now, many users do not like what MS is doing with Win10. So, this is the big Linux chance to attract refugees from Redmond tyranny.

    In order to do that. at least one distro needs to look LIKE Windows and have all the familiar menus and so forth.

    Not yours of course. You can still use the Terminal to your hearts' content.

    We are talking about potential adopters of Linux after leaving Windows 7.

    At least that's what the OP was talking about, and I am too.

  • @JohnConnorBear

    That's very odd that you should say such things. I've been testing out LXLE, Linux Lite and XPQ4 and they run fine on 1 GB of RAM, and can stream music and videos.

    Remarkable, isn't it? These are first hand observations. So what am I to believe? You? Or my lying eyes?

    I won't follow you into the weeds about the inane side points.

    It's so late here, that it's early so I'm off to sleep. So just continue on without me.

  • @JohnConnorBear
    Hi, it is a bit nitpicking, nobody meant "I use Linux" bothering with the kernel, only.
    The software you use is always the same, it does not matter which distribution you use.
    Everybody knows this, Gimp is Gimp.
    You are right about mass of distros, it is really a mess and I hate it.
    Staying on the same distro for 20 years now and many others come and go, I test them mostly but forget about a few days after.
    If somebody ask me for a "Linux" I send them to Kubuntu, even I don´t like it.
    Hehe, most Windows user cant follow now anyway, therfore I stop posting.

    Cheers, mib
    Free software is not like free beer! spock

  • @mib2berlin said:

    Hi, it is a bit nitpicking, nobody meant "I use Linux" bothering with the kernel, only.

    This reminds me of the recently so frequent ‘I use Arch, btw’ cool (nope, I still use Manjaro)

    You are right about mass of distros, it is really a mess and I hate it.

    Ain’t this one of the best things Linux can offer?

    Staying on the same distro for 20 years now and many others come and go, I test them mostly but forget about a few days after.
    If somebody ask me for a "Linux" I send them to Kubuntu, even I don´t like it.

    Send them either to hell or to a distro choosing helper site

  • since linux is not a windows replacement, no one should replace windows with linux.
    it's like suggesting to play tennis with safety shoes (you can do it of course, they call it masochism)

  • - Ambassador -

    I have had both Windows and Linux over the years, I also had a Nokia with WindowsPhone (sad that MS has abandoned an excellent SO). But at the end of the day, in a current life that focuses 99% on the internet and on certain software, it is basically irrelevant which OS is used, important that it works for the purposes of the user. An office suite, a web page, a video or any application is handled the same in one as in the other.

  • Moderator

    @Catweazle said in Why you should replace Windows 7 with Linux:

    An office suite

    Not all are created equal. I was helping someone who has to use LibreOffice instead of MS Office (we both are used to using MS) - oh my, LibreOffice's interface is dated.

    I spend several minutes trying to spot where the "change font colour" option was in the toolbar before giving up. Thankfully they have an easier to use ribbon interface which I eventually enabled.

  • Community Manager

    @HAL2000 sorry for the trouble. I found your original post in the history and put it back. I hope that's ok? Let me know if you need any further help. 🙂

  • @Catweazle before using - your list - ¨an office suite, a web page, a video or any application¨ you need an OS which boots every day without issues, which installs and updates the OS and the applications without hiccups requiring even a minimum of technical expertise. M&A's OS's do that, linux distros don't. I have spent years trying to convince friends and family to use linux, in time everyone of them has switched back to windows because windows ¨just works¨
    the way I see it there are two reasons to use linux, a technical one (you have work to do which requires linux) and a political one (a quixotic stand against corporations) - if you don't fit into one of these categories linux will hurt your feet with no purpose (just like playing tennis wearing safety shoes).

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