There are plenty of reasons to like Linux. You can like its freeness. You can like its power and the control it gives you over your computer. The list goes on and on. Some people don’t like Linux, don’t know about it or don’t want to like it even though they might. There are many reasons why I personally like it and use it, specifically Gentoo Linux, as my OS of choice. And why for almost a year now I have only used windows on rare occasions, and it has been relegated to a 10 gig partition. And Steam and Nero Burning Rom are the only applications which are installed on that partition.
The reason is this. Like fine wine, Linux gets better with age. Every day I use Linux I improve the system. Because I have the freedom to tweak and change things, I do so. And the system doesn’t degrade naturally like a windows system. As a result my computing experience is constantly evolving into a better one. And while I may dream of days when my system will be perfect, and I wont need to change anything, I know those days are far off if they exist at all.
Windows on the other hand, as we all know, degrades with age. There’s nothing quite like a fresh windows install. Everything is clean and working perfectly. The system is fast, there is no spyware, no viruses, and the registry is small and organized. But over time the computing experience degrades. It can only stay the same or get worse. Since the user has no freedom to change the system, the only chance for improvement comes from Microsoft. They wont be changing anything until longhorn in 2k6.
I used to believe that the breaking point, when Linux would blow away Windows was 2.6 and Firefox. 2.6 brought the system to a point where it really became usable and powerful for desktop computing. Firefox was the piece of software that was so obviously superior to anything before it that it would finally draw enough attention and people into the open source fold. And while the scales are tipping, there is no avalanche.
I believe now the breaking point will be something else. A fresh windows install is like a moderately priced wine. You buy it and drink it on a holiday. But if you let it sit, it will soon become vinegar. Linux is a fine wine but just squeezed. You must take it home and let it sit for a long time for its excellence to shine through. There will be a breaking point however. As the vintage of Linux rises, so does the initial quality. One day, when a fresh install of Linux tastes as good as or better than a fresh install of Windows, then and only then will it win. And this day will surely come. People are impatient and do not want to have to wait and care for their wine. They want to buy it and drink it. But they still become upset if it goes sour. Linux only becomes better with age, so when its initial quality is drinkable people will buy it. And when they see that it does not go sour, but in fact the opposite occurs, then they will cease to drink anything else.