August 23, 2015

Linux Never Had a Better Chance to Beat Windows

The main feature is now privacy and not security


Windows 10 is out, and everyone is talking about it. It's clear that Microsoft did something right for a change and that the latest version of the OS is better than the previous releases. This is actually a good thing.

What's not great about it is the fact that Windows 10 collects huge amounts of data about your PC and you as a user, and most media outlets seem to think that it's OK and that it's just an evolution of the operating system. From my perspective, it's just another reason to move to Linux.

Many journalists have treated Windows 10 with a lot of lenience, to say the least. Many have said that Windows 10 does collect plenty of data, but that it is OK because others are doing it as well and pointed fingers at Google or Facebook. Just because others are doing it doesn't mean that it's OK for everyone involved. It's interesting to see how, in just a couple of years, we've moved from being apprehensive about sharing our personal details online to calling it an evolution.

There are so many things that send information from Windows 10 that it will take you a while to stop them all. Microsoft collects a ton data about you as a user, and not just about your computer. Stuff like location, preferences, and even contacts is being collected and sent by default if you don't stop it. Even with everything turned off, it's hard to determine if something else is happening.

I need to make one thing abundantly clear. There is nothing wrong with Microsoft gathering all of this data. They admit they do it, and they seem to be pretty forthcoming with everything. In the end, it's the user's choice, and if they want to be a part of the greater Windows ecosystem, which apparently needs a lot of user data to work, then it's fine.


Cortana as an example


This is just an excerpt from Microsoft's website. It's not an interpretation, just a quote. We're not judging, but this is what actually happens. It you want to know more, just visit the Cortana, Search, and Privacy: FAQ.
"When you use Cortana, Microsoft collects and uses information including your device location information and location history, contacts (People), voice input, searching history, calendar details, content and communication history from messages and apps, and other information on your device. In Microsoft Edge, Cortana collects and uses your browsing history."


Linux as an example


I have only two problems, and neither of them is with the Windows 10. One has to do with the media that makes all of this data collection, albeit legally binding, feel like it's the most natural thing in the world. Please, stop saying it's OK to gather it and that everyone is doing it. Linux is doing no such thing, and it needs no such thing.
The second problem I have is about the Linux community, which is not consistent with its criticism. To paraphrase The Joker, Microsoft is gathering every bit of data from Windows 10 and no one bats an eye, Ubuntu sends some search queries to Amazon and everyone is losing their minds.


Linux as an alternative


One of the statements that were floating online was that Linux missed a good chance to shine when Windows 8 turned out to be a flop. Well, I tell you that Linux never had a better chance than now. It provides the ultimate privacy protection, and it will never gather data about you or your PC. Linux systems will never need data from you to perform better. Linux is already doing almost anything better than anyone else.

A very clear line is being drawn right now. Windows is clearly opting to use the online components more in its internal functionality and Linux is going towards privacy. When you add the security component to this equation, you can only get a single answer.