I have just gone through the process of switching my laptop from
windows to Fedora 8
I had windows xp, and to be honest I could not complain, I had
installed loads of stuff on it over the last three years and it has
behaved pretty well. I had all the apps I wanted, but it had just
recently ground to a halt, primarily because I had installed the full
avg which is a killer (avg free was great, but the whole package is
just too heavy for my machine). Also as I have said in another post,
I was using RadRails and it had also become too resource hungry.
Opening Adobe reader with Agile rails added to the pain. (It opens in
Evince in Linux like a flash - excuse the pun)
Having spent the last week getting everything together under Fedora, I
am now well happy. In fact I was intending to re-install windows as a
dual boot, but gparted very successfully shrunk the windows partition
for me (after uninstalling most of the large apps first), so the old
xp remained intact, meaning I didnt lose windows whilst setting up
Fedora. I am still having some problems getting all the Firefox media
plugins working satisfactorily, but that is just a matter of time.
My main reason for switching to Linux is that I dont want to stay in
the Windows path - ie. I really dont want to go to Vista. I have to
support it occasionally and I find it really annoying that so much has
been needlessly changed.
Having Linux on as my main development machine was an experiment - the
MAC path was tempting since one of my customers is going down that
route, but I really want to promote open source. I was prepared to
abandon the conversion if I hit any major obstacles, but at the end of
the first week, I am now content. Working every day on my development
system on my laptop under linux means that I shall now gain more linux
experience and knowledge, rather than spending time fixing windows and
trying to find non expensive windows options.
So my main tools I now have installed are:
- Firefox (my profile transferred from windows with no issues -
including plugins like Web developer and Firebug.).
- Thunderbird (again with profile transferred from windows with no
- Netbeans (I have switched from RadRails and it looks very
- Pidgin - for msn, (very easy to set up)- and also has irc
capabilty - I want to start using the rails channel
- Mysql and Mysql gui (all install directly with yum - I use yumex)
- openvpn - the network manager that comes with Fedora nicely
combines handling of wireless and wired LAN and the vpn connection.
- xine for playing dvds
- the Fedora package manager handles installation of Ruby, Rails and
also a number of the plugins.
- Wine. This automatically found the dlls on the windows partition
etc and so just works (again installed by the package manager). The
one windows app I didnt want to lose was Serif Photoplus, which I use
for creating most of my images. After installing wine, I put the
Photoplus disk in and it installed and ran first time. (I just need
to fix the fonts - I remember having to do that on a previous use of
Wine and IE4Linux so it is possible, I have just got to find out how
Well that's about it, Linux on my laptop is running rock solid - with
everything I need - wireless was a bit fiddly initially, but no worse
than windows was and is now running soundly. (I have yet to find out
how it copes with moving between several different wireless networks,
although I reckon it looks promising).
So back to your question - why change? I would say this - the great
thing about Rails is that you dont need to. Using Windows as someone
has said is fine. I am happy that I have now proved to myself that I
can use Linux for all my desktop requirements as well as the server
needs, I cant advise clients to do it if I havn't succeeded myself. I
think the Linux system now runs better and faster than the windows did
- the fan doesnt go into overdrive anything like as much, but that is
marginal. My main motivation - I just really like the open source
community and want to get much more knowledgeable on Linux. In the
end, it seems to me, your reasons will really just be your own.