This article borrows much from a post on the Idaho SPLAT Blog (October 2015). Now that Windows 7 is two years closer to the end of its extended support period, we reiterate and expand the points made on SPLAT.

Problems with Windows 10

Windows 10 is designed for monetization through marketing, advertising, and data mining. It does this by eavesdropping in the name of “improving the Windows experience.”

By agreeing to the Microsoft privacy policy, which is mandatory when you first start using Windows 10, everything on the computer is opened up for data harvesting. This includes the content of personal files, email, contact lists, appointment calendars, locations, and browsing history. Microsoft logs and saves the user’s keystrokes. It listens on the microphone to learn the user’s voice. It records the user when making a video call. All information collected is stored, and once collected is impossible to delete. This level of privacy intrusion is the complete opposite of what a public library should stand for.

Unless additional payment is made for Windows Pro or Enterprise editions, there is no way to disable automatic updates and restarts. This creates an update headache when trying to use a system lock-down program such as Deep Freeze or Reboot Restore.

Windows 10 requires the admin user to have a Microsoft account, creating a permanent relationship between the user and the corporation.

Microsoft is moving to a subscription-based service for MS Office, creating another ongoing expense for the library.

Windows 10 has several proprietary services turned on by default that can't be removed or reliably disabled (for example, cloud storage, app store, live tiles, and xbox app).

The computer vendor (Dell, Lenovo, etc) installs loads of "product placement" adware apps that need to be removed. These typically are associated with commercial websites like ebay and amazon.

Reasons to use Linux in a public library

Linux, and all programs that run on it, are cost-free: not tethered to a corporate mother ship, as required by Windows, Chrome OS, and Mac OS.

It is immune to Windows viruses and malware. No anti-virus program is needed.

Guest Sessions provide a built-in refresh capability. Each session starts with a clean desktop with default settings. There is no need for additional system lock-down software.

For the great majority of library patrons the only program needed is a web browser. Firefox and Chrome are identical whether using Windows 10 or Linux.

Libreoffice can open and save documents in MS Office format. Font compatibility can be achieved by installing additional fonts.

Because it is not resource intensive, Linux runs much faster than Windows, especially on older computers. This allows the library to extend the usable life of existing hardware.

Updating the OS is exponentially faster than Windows and includes the entire computer: operating system and all installed programs.