I have a piece of good news for you. You no longer need to spend a lot of time and money on your computer. I have recently got rid of my Windows Vista and install a Linux-based Operating System (OS) called Ubuntu. is a free Operating System (OS) based on Linux. It is free and well supported by a community of programmers. The speed of debugging and updates provided by this volunteers is faster than the multi-billion dollar Microsoft. It works wonderfully well and here is why:
- Super fast boot up and shutting down. It takes minutes to boot Vista but less than a minute to boot Ubuntu. Shutting it down is within 10 seconds. Life is too short to waste waiting for the computer.
- Not susceptible to the virus, worms, trojans that plagued Windows (just like Apple’s Mac, as they are both Unix). This saves you the need to buy an internet security system. I previously used BitDefender on my Vista and it is indeed good. I paid $30+ for 3 licenses which I shared with my relatives. But it is not about the cost. It is about convenience and saving time. I no longer need to run the scan on my computer which takes 2-3 hours. Even though you say it can be done in the background, it still takes up resources and slows whatever you are doing.
- Stable, fast and efficient. Does not hang like Windows. Photos loaded much faster. Waiting time between opening of programs becomes negligible. Do not ever underestimate this. A few seconds difference for every program can amount to something significant in a year. It extends your laptop battery life too since it runs efficiently. There are several linux-based OS that runs well for old computers. Maybe it is time to revive their glory if you have no idea to do with them.
- Easy and fast downloading (and updating) of programs. There are tons of open source programs out there that are equally good. Ubuntu has a dedicated software centre where you can search for programs you want and instantly install them with a mouse click. Ubuntu will classify them automatically and keep your file system neat and tidy. No need to download installer, run the setup to waste your time and disk space. Think about your iphone if you have one. The software centre is like your itunes app store.
- Highly compatible. I need programs that run on Windows. I admit this was my initial concern but I realised there is almost an equivalent open source software for every commonly used Windows program.
- Microsoft Office – This is the biggest concern I suppose. Your answer is Ubuntu has the suite of OpenOffice installed with the OS. It works 95% like MS Office. If you don’t like, you can use the free Google Docs online.
- Trading platform – I used to run desktop platform but since I do not need the speed, I can use the web platform without any compromise.
- MSN Messenger – Ubuntu was built with social connection in mind. It has a internet messaging client that can simultaneously logon to various internet messaging programs like MSN, GoogleTalk, yahoo talk, and facebook chat etc. Put all your contacts in one place.
- MS Outlook – Likewise, there is a program that comes together with Ubuntu known as Evolution mail which can pull all your mails from various email accounts into one. The layout resembles Outlook’s.
- Photoshop – I do some photo editing and it can now be done by the free program called GIMP, which has more or less the same functions.
- iTunes – This was my biggest worry as I have a ipod Touch myself and I cannot install iTunes on Ubuntu. To my surprise I just plug in my ipod and it detected immediately. Launching the default music player/manager, RhythmBox, and I can sync with it for music and videos (photos with F-spot, also automatically done).
- Printer – I have this HP All-in-One printer and it was installed just by plugging the USB into the computer. On another laptop which ran on XP, I have to download the driver from HP and install it myself. What I could do for 1 minute on Ubuntu, it took me 1 hour to get the printer installed properly on XP.
Life should be simple. Technology supposed to facilitate your life, and not add complexity to it. As we become more dependent on the computer, we have become slaves to it. You can save money and time by just switching to Ubuntu or other Linux based OS. I remembered there was an advertisement several years ago. It pictured a man drawing a curtain at a window and it said, “Shut your Windows and get changed!”.