foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world

A web-site that explains why Linux is better

, posted: 27-Sep-2007 08:07

I came across this one here today:
The title of the page is a bit flippant, but they make their points in a nice and concise manner, with more details available for each of them.

If you run Windows and want to know why some people keep talking about Linux, or if you are considering a switch to Linux, you might want to check out this site.


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Comment by BlueToothKiwi, on 27-Sep-2007 10:30

Hey Foobar,

I am a total newbie to Linux. I want to install Linux on an old Packard Bell wth of 224 MB memory with a Celeron processor to try Linux out.

My primary reason for wanting linux is that I have a Maxtor external storage device with two disk drives that failed. I been told that the only way to recover the data is to mount the disks from a linux partition and attemt to recover the stripe sets.

Will you please help me by telling me what I should do? I went to the link you posted, read the blurb about why Linux is better than Windows and then ended up in a page where it gives lots of different versions of Linux - What would be the best one to install if I dont want to spend any money and the main reason forme wanitn linux is to recover my data.

Ok if I like it I will follow your lead and consider switching at least on machine to Linux.


Author's note by foobar, on 27-Sep-2007 19:43


For a machine with smaller memory, and for a specific recovery task like this, I would recommend Knoppix ( ). It's a very small Linux distro, which usually has all you need. Once you download it, you burn it to a CD and run it from there (LiveCD). This means it will be a bit more sluggish than if you would have Linux running from disk, but it also means that you don't need to install anything or partition a disk drive. You just insert the CD and reboot. The computer will boot up in Linux, your Windows partition on your harddrive will remain untouched.

Knoppix doesn't have all the bells and whistles of many modern Linux distros, but it seems to have all the tools for such recovery efforts. I know many sysadmins who always have a Knoppix CD with them, so that they can do the kinds of things you have in mind. But after you are done with your recovery task you might want to check out one of the other Linux distros, which are more end-user focused. My recommendation these days is for Ubuntu. I am using it myself and it works very well for me. It's also well supported by a very helpful community ( ). You can actually burn it to CD and run it as a LiveCD as well (insert CD, reboot, boot into Linux), which allows you to try the look and feel before you make the choice of installing it. Keep in mind that 3D and accelerated graphics will not be supported on the LiveCD, but that you can very easily enable it after the real install. You can download Ubuntu here:

Linux has several 'desktops'. In Windows, you only ever get one desktop, the one that Microsoft provides. A 'desktop' determines how the windows on your screen will behave, how you interact with programs, menu structures, and so forth. Linux has a large number of those (and choosing one of them is usually what confuses people new to Linux). The 'Gnome' desktop is what Ubuntu first and foremost is developed for. It's very well integrated, usually has less options to configure things, but tends to be quite clear. The Ubuntu page I gave you above allows you to download Ubuntu with Gnome.

The 'KDE' desktop takes a slightly different approach and tends to give people more options to configure, but some people feel it is also a bit cluttered. The discussion which one is 'better' is usually very passionate, but in the end, it's all a matter of personal preference. Look on their home page ( ) where you can download Ubuntu with KDE to get an idea of what they look like and how they might differ. In the end, both will give you plenty of options and themes to adjust look and feel.

If you have to deal with smaller hardware (less than 512 MBytes), you might also want to consider yet another desktop, called XFCE. It's smaller, not quite as many features, but works well on older or smaller computers. You can see screenshots and download Ubuntu with XFCE here:

All three 'types' of Ubuntu differ only in the desktop. The core of the operating system, available applications and such are all the same. And all three versions can be run as a LiveCD, so you can try before you install.

I hope this helps.

Good luck!

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New Zealand

  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.

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