posted by Preston Liam Whels on Wed 16th Apr 2003 18:07 UTC
IconPut yourself in his/her shoes. You're a budding young technical writer and the one word you hear popping up in almost every tech-related conversation is, you guessed it, Linux. Now look in the mirror and try to tell yourself you're more than a writer. After all, you write about technology because it not only interests you, but you're accurate and fair enough to tell it like it is. Maybe not.

We've used the word Linux here to signify Linux as an OS. Thus unless it is specifically mention Linux as a kernel within the context of the article it means Linux as an OS/platform and more specifically as different distributions. Also, all opinions are these of the author, and not necessarily those of

I'm not a technical writer. I'm not someone who's only used the most well known Operating Systems. And most importantly, I'm not someone who is going to try and convince you that you need to switch to Linux if you're currently using Windows. Let me go one step further... I'm going to tell you why Linux is NOT for you. Hopefully the people I'm talking to will be seeing clearly enough to know who they are by the end of this article.

I remember not too long ago reading a comment on OSNews, or maybe it was Slashdot, or maybe it was on my own web site. Where it was is not what's important. What is important is not just what it had in it, but how frequently I've seen it. I'm certain you're all familiar with comments like the one I'm talking about and I'm certain you're all familiar with reading it in tens and hundreds of technical writeups over time. The statement at hand goes something like, "... if you want to start seeing Linux on the desktop, the Linux user base is going to have to start saying a little bit more than RTFM to every question that comes their way, especially if you want to take down Redmond (Microsoft)." I'd like for a minute that everyone reading this focus on the last part, the "especially if you want to take down Redmond" part. I'm not sure when using Linux became synonymous with trying to run Microsoft out of business, but at some point in the past year or so, it did happen. My question to you is, who made it that way?

The most obvious answer to who made the Linux philosophy, "destroy Microsoft," would be that the Linux users made it that. While it may be true that most Linux users have a certain amount of spite, and maybe too much in some cases, for Microsoft, it is not true that we use Linux because of that. I'm going to now direct you all to a quote I'm sure many of you are all familiar with; it is as follows: "*BSD is for people who love Unix, Linux is for people who hate Windows." Cheers to whoever said it for producing such witty words that you can now find it in peoples' .sig's, but shame for saying it when you are clearly biased towards *BSD. I'm not implying that the person who said it never used Linux. I'm not even saying the person didn't use Linux regularly, or enough to formulate the opinion, what I am saying is that clearly the user suspects that the only merit which Linux users find in their OS is that it is, on some level, better than Microsoft. Let me be one of the many who I'm sure have already said, I don't use BSD cause I love Unix, and I don't use Linux because I hate Windows. I use Linux because I love Linux. If you feel that my love for Linux is somehow going to skew my views within this article, I ask that you go back to the title and reread that part, because from here on in I'm not going to argue why you should use Linux, but why you shouldn't.

Point number one: You should not use Linux if you're not willing to use Linux. I'm very big on this issue alone, because I feel that most of the Linux reviews I read, positive and negative are written by people who are very unwilling to use Linux. Linux is NOT Windows, nor is it *BSD, nor is it BeOS, nor is it Mac OS X, nor is it QNX. I think when most people hear that Linux can replace Windows they automatically think it's going to be just like Windows. Let me put it to everyone this way. If you were to ask me as a Linux user why I use Linux, would I go on about how easy it is to use? Would I go on about how there's a wizard for everything? How all my hardware is auto-detected and I never have to worry about anything ever? No. The reason I use Linux is the same reason anyone who uses Linux does so, because Linux offers them something no other OS does. If I could tell anyone what Linux would offer them that no other OS does, I'd probably be working for RedHat sales department, but I can't. I can't because Linux offers something different for everyone who uses it, but that is, in the end, why they use it. So for all technical writers who think to do another monotonous Linux vs. Windows article you should probably think first about why you want to see how Linux compares in the first place. What's your problem with Windows that you want Linux to fix? Does it fix that problem? If Linux was the perfect OS for everyone, everyone would use it, and the same goes for Windows and any other OS for that matter.

Table of contents
  1. "Why Linux is not for You, Part 1"
  2. "Why Linux is not for You, Part 2"
  3. "Why Linux is not for You, Part 3"
  4. "Why Linux is not for You, Part 4"
  5. "Why Linux is not for You, Part 5"
e p (0)    125 Comment(s)

Technology White Papers

See More