I don't use Windows anymore. In fact, I haven't used Windows for nearly six years. And I don't use a Mac, either.
"Well, how do you get stuff done," people ask. Easy. Here's how I gave Windows the boot: I switched to Linux.
Switching to Linux wasn't painless, but it – for sure – has been worth it.
Linux is a free, open-source computer operating system that came to life in 1991. As of today, it runs about 70% of the servers on the Internet and serves as the base for a lot of other hardware and software, including Android.
Strangely, Linux hasn't caught fire on desktop computers, which is a shame because my experience with it has been excellent. It's fast on older computers (read: XP machines), and it never gets viruses (they're out there, but they're rare). Updates and patches are rolled out quickly, and they rarely cause a problem.
When issues do crop up, Linux is surrounded by a community of enthusiastic users who have probably solved the problem already. The answer is usually just a Google search away.
Bottom line: Things are much better for Linux than they were when I started using it, and it's getting better all the time.
Getting started with Linux
Interested? The best place to start is probably with Ubuntu, a version of Linux sponsored by South African IT firm Canonical. The new version – 14.04 LTS – is one of the easiest to install, and it'll get updates and security patches for the next five years.
In fact, you don't even have to install it. Take a test drive online at http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/take-the-tour. If you decide to try it out on your own computer, follow the instructions at http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop or watch this video.
If you don't like the way Ubuntu looks, try Linux Mint 17 for a more traditional desktop design and five years of updates. I've been happily using Mint myself for the last two years.
Getting stuff done
You'll find that most of the programs you use in Windows have their own counterparts in Linux. The odds are good that the documents and data you generated in Windows can be carried forward under Linux, but do test everything on a spare computer before taking the plunge.
Linux certainly isn't for everyone, but it's been a real blessing to my web design business. It's saved me a small fortune on software and hardware – not to mention avoiding the frustration that I see so many Windows users enduring.
Check out Linux and decide for yourself. As for me, I'm never going back.
Web designer Robert Pitts of Lakeland, Florida, is the owner of Web Designs by Robert G. Pitts, which specializes in the WordPress content-management platform.