Why I Switched To Linux

My quest for ultimate privacy

According to ArsTechnica, about 80% of the world uses Windows as their desktop operating system, while the other 20% consists of MacOS, ChromeOS and other Linux-based distributions. I used to be within that 80%—I used to be a long-time Windows user. I had used that clunky, bloated, unreliable and privacy-invasive operating system for the majority of my life, ever since I was a child, really. I recently moved to Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions, as my primary desktop operating system. I have never felt so free and this much peace of mind while using my computer. I switched to Linux because I wanted true privacy, stability and customizability.

True Privacy

TheHackerNews wrote an article at the time discussing the fact that Windows 10 sends your personal data 5500 times a day to Microsoft servers, even after tweaking privacy settings. Does this sound like privacy to you? It sure as hell doesn't to me. By definition, Windows 10, quite literally, is spyware. It collects basically everything it can and phones home. If a malicious app did this, we'd see media outlets calling it spyware, maybe even the federal government announcing it too—but for some reason, Windows 10 doesn't qualify.

Some people think that this isn't a bad thing because Microsoft is a big company that can be trusted in their eyes, but that's the reason why you shouldn't trust them. Microsoft is a conglomerate that dominates the PC operating system market, as mentioned previously. With all this data, what do you think they're doing with it? I know they're selling it, that's for sure. As well, Microsoft is a member of the NSA's PRISM spying program, so they're almost certainly handing over users' personal data to the surveillance agency. Oh wait, we already caught them.

There are ways to try to block Windows 10 telemetry, but there's no sure-fire way. Trying to debloat Windows 10 using the registry will definitely fuck up your system, as its telemetry is so deeply rooted in the operating system.

With Linux, there is no conglomerate. It's free, open-source software. The community actively develops it, and anybody with the necessary programming background can audit the code to find security vulnerabilities and verify its privacy. At the moment, I'm running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, which has clearly labelled opt-in telemetry settings. It's a toggle to enable it and a toggle to disable it. Ubuntu makes it clear and concise to the user about what data they collect and why they want to collect it, and the option to disable it at any time.

Stability

I think almost everybody knows about the infamous blue screen of death by now. It's the bright, blue, anxiety-inducing screen that we see when Windows has a problem... which is extremely frequent. I cannot speak on others' Windows 10 experiences; however, I can absolutely comment on mine. My Windows 10 experience has been ridiculous. Often, my computer would freeze or blue screen, especially when running video games and virtual machines, that my computer was totally capable of running without issues.

With Linux, my computer has been running better than it did the day I bought it. It's faster and more capable than it ever could have been on Windows 10. Ubuntu is so resource-efficient, my CPU usage rarely stays above 80%, and my memory usage is significantly lower when idle.

Customizability

Windows 10 isn't very customizable compared to Linux. For the most part, you're stuck with the stock interface. The only things you can change are the wallpaper, theme color and maybe tweak the desktop look. Using Linux, you can change its look entirely. Desktop environments, like GNOME and KDE, are both modular, and users may tweak them how ever they want. Don't like the icon pack? You can change that. Want to make your OS entirely navigable using keyboard shortcuts? There's a desktop environment for that. There's a desktop environment for every type of person.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Linux is far superior to Windows 10 because I have the peace of mind knowing that no one is watching my every move, my computer will be ready for my use at any time and that I can change parts of my operating system to whatever I want, whenever I want. I highly recommend avid privacy-nerds, like me, to give a Linux distribution a try if you haven't already. If you're still on the edge, you can always dual-boot your system and have Linux along-side Windows, so you can easily switch between operating systems whenever you want. I actually started out as a dual-booter but then quickly ditched Windows and switched full-time to Linux.

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