Thursday 29 January 2015

5 Reasons to Switch to Linux

Let's face it, not everyone wants to switch to Linux. Not everyone has heard of Linux either. A lot of people run Linux without even knowing, for example using Android, the mobile phone, tablet, and now microconsole operating system.

I can't guarantee this article will convince you to switch either, if you're fine with Windows or Mac OS X that's fine. It's your choice.

So, what is Linux? Linux is a kernel. Most people ignore that and call it an operating system. There are plenty of Linux based operating systems, and on Desktop Linux they are referred to as "distributions" or "distrosfor short. 

There are many of these distros to choose from, and most people suggest Ubuntu or Linux Mint for beginners. I personally use Linux Mint, which is based off of Ubuntu. I also suggest looking at DistroWatch as they have a list of the top Linux distributions. 

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons to switch to Linux, in no particular order.

Reason 1 - Security

There are many reasons Linux is more secure than Windows. First off, regular applications run as a user, while system-level processes run as "root", or "administrator" as you would call it on Windows. This is crucial to security because malware and whatnot can't do much damage if you don't grant it root access.

Since Linux is open source, the code is audited by tons of people and patches are made available ASAP. With Microsoft Windows, you have to wait until a "Patch Tuesday" for when Microsoft decides to release a security patch.

There are not nearly as many viruses on Linux as Windows, but you could say that is because Windows has way more market share.

Linux's package manager also plays a good part in keeping the system secure, and that brings us to Reason 2.

Reason 2 - Package Managers

There are many package managers for Linux, but they serve the same purpose. Package managers download and install packages from a unified source known as a "repository". Apt/Dpkg is the Package Manager for Debian based Linux distros such as Ubuntu or Mint. Although those are command line package managers, there are many front-ends, like the ones Ubuntu and Mint come with. (Ubuntu Software Center, Mint Software Manager)

Installing programs from the package manager is more secure than going out and looking for software on the internet. You can do both, but every application from your distribution's archives can be trusted. If you want, you can also add additional software sources (archives) if something isn't in your distro's one.

Reason 3 - Control

Don't you hate it when an application in Windows takes up all the system resources? Do you even know what it's doing? What are all these processes named svchost.exe ?
With Linux, you have full control of your system. Killing a process actually does something, unlike the Windows task manager. Most processes have names that actually make sense, and not things that sound like malware but really are part of the operating system, like "TrustedInstaller.exe". You know all your actions aren't being sent to Microsoft also. (Well, unless you use Skype) Did I mention open source?

Reason 4 - Open Source

Linux is open source, and can be modified by anyone for their liking. The open source community is constantly improving things. You can have choice over which desktop environment you use, so you can have anything from a simple, lightweight install that doesn't take up much resources, to modern-looking eye candy desktop environment such as GNOME. Possibilities are endless thanks to the open source community, and more and more projects are being created and improved upon each day.

Reason 5 - Free

In addition to being free as in freedom, the majority of Linux distributions are free as in beer, so you don't have to pay a huge fee in order to obtain them, like you have to do with Windows.

You may ask, how do they stay around? Most of them are funded by donations, and if you don't feel like burning a CD or creating a bootable usb stick, you can sometimes purchase a CD directly from the distributions website, and the money will go directly to the company/person making the distribution.

If you enjoy Linux, make sure to donate to your favorite distribution.

Closing thoughts

Linux may not be popular, but it sure is growing. You can help it grow by switching today. I hope you have found this post informative.

Oh, and if you are a gamer, Linux gaming is getting better all the time, with more and more games coming to Linux, even Triple-A titles.

NVIDIA Shield Portable: Reasons to Root

Please note this guide is for the Shield Portable, and not the Tablet.

The NVIDIA Shield is a great portable gaming system. The physical controls and Tegra 4 GPU make this a perfect fit for running retro games with emulators, as well as regular Android games that support the controller. You even have a built in button mapper for those touch-only games that do not support gamepads.

So why would I need to root this? Here are some reasons to root your Shield.


Expandable Storage

Sure, the Shield supports MicroSD cards out of the box, but what if you want to actually store your games on them? Due to a "security" feature in Android 4.4.2 KitKat, you need root in order to store files on the MicroSD card.

So once you have rooted, head to the Play Store and download NextApp SDFix and reboot your device, and then you will be able to store files on the external MicroSD card again.

But then what? You have all these games, but your running out of space due to the Shield's 16GB of storage. Just download FolderMount and you will be able to make symbolic links from your internal storage to your MicroSD card so that games will think that they're on your internal storage, but in reality they're on your MicroSD card.


Do you ever have that problem when you reset an android device that you lose all your apps and games? Titanium Backup is your one-stop-shop solution to that problem. With Titanium Backup you can backup and restore apps, set scheduled backups, and do much more like freezing unwanted bloatware to free up system resources.


Let's say you wanted to be able to have more than one app open simultaneously, or wanted to change the appearance or functionality of your Android device without flashing a new ROM? Xposed Framework is your gateway to just that, and more.


Do you want to stop Angry Birds from mining your personal information? Install a firewall such as AFWall and do just that. It allows you to control which applications can access the internet or not. Just make sure to set it as a blacklist, or you might block all apps by accident!


Do you want to be invincible in Grand Theft Auto for Android? Need I say more?

OK, you've convinced me, now how do I root?

Thanks to Geohot's Towelroot, it is very easy to root Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the current version of Android available for the Shield. The version of Towelroot available on the website is not compatible with the Shield so you must download an older version. Thankfully, a website known as GreenRobotGamer has provided just that.

Just download that APK, and open it up in a file manager such as ES File Explorer. Please note that you must enable Unknown Sources and Verify Apps in Settings > Security. Now you just install Towelroot, press the "MAKE IT RAIN" button. Now wait about 30 seconds, then reboot your device. You will now be rooted!

Finally, install SuperSU so that you can control which applications are allowed root access.


With rooting, comes great responsibility. I am not responsible if you overclock your device and it bursts into flames. (Rooting alone does not let you overclock your device) You can always install a custom recovery such as CWM if things go wrong. Just make sure you install one that's compatible with your device.

That's it folks, stay tuned for more NVIDIA Shield tutorials!


Here I will post tips, tricks, tutorials, reviews and more for both Desktop Linux and Linux based operating systems such as Android. I hope you find this site useful if you are new to Linux, or if you just want to learn something new. Join the surge, start using Linux today!