A lot of folks have heard of Linux and many more have even been interested enough to check it out. Thing is, a lot of what is spread around the ‘net about Linux unfortunately is giving people the wrong impression. Let me help dispel the rumors.
What is Linux?
Linux is a free and open source operating system developed by Linus Torvalds, arguably, the father of Linux, which he started to develop as a student at the University of Helsinki, Finland, around 1991. There he developed what is known as the Linux kernel, the core of the Linux operating system.
Since that time there have been many distros (distributions) of the operating system created with major advances in graphics, audio, video, music, browsers, and many, many more applications and programs. So much so that you can now do pretty much the same thing in Linux as you can Windows or Mac. There are some limitations however, but they are fast becoming few and far between.
There are distros of Linux’s OS (operating system) available for download as an .ISO. This is an image that you burn to a CD or DVD depending on file size. Some .ISO’s are available as a LiveCD which enables you to test the system out first to see if there are any compatibility issues.
Most Linux distros such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint for example, allow you to keep your existing Windows or Mac OS during the phase called partitioning. This is an excellent way to test out a Linux OS all while keeping your Windows installation intact. It’s referred to as dual-booting.
Will Linux take the place of Windows?
In a word? No. That would be difficult to do at this point in time due to all the businesses, schools and governments that use Windows in some form or fashion presently. However, this situation is beginning to change. More and more businesses and even governments are beginning to change over to the Linux OS due to it’s simplicity, ease of use and inherent security features.
What about the cost?
The thing is that most people never realize that there is another option besides the expensive Mac made by Apple and Windows. Linux is free whereas Windows and Mac are costly to buy and sometimes to operate. You could figure the cost one of three ways:
- You buy a computer with Windows already installed (normal today). Factor in the unwanted bloatware that often comes packaged with Windows to help keep the costs down, then add in the many more pieces of software that you must buy in order to do what you need to do and you have one expensive computer sitting there. Also, add in the virus, malware, spyware, and rootkit protection programs to protect it.
- Mac’s are rather expensive right off but do include some software. The rest of what you need or want will also set you back a pretty penny.
- You already own a computer running either OS (Mac or Windows) and want to upgrade. Both will run you a couple hundred dollars give or take plus if it’s Windows being upgraded, you may also have to upgrade your hardware in order to use it. Not to mention that some of your existing programs may not work with the updated version.
How is Linux better?
This is where the expression: “Linux just works” comes in. In the majority of instances, Linux when installed properly will work right out of the box so to speak, and include so much software for free like Firefox, Thunderbird, Evolution (similar to Outlook), Pidgin (an app that allows most of the IM clients to work in one convenient program), Rhythmbox (for playing your music and radio), Open Office (a replacement for Microsoft Office) and many more. More applications and programs can also be downloaded for free by way of a download manager called Synaptic.
I could go on and on but by now I think you’re getting the point. The choice is yours of course but keep in mind that you had to learn how to use Windows or the Mac so, I ask you, why not give Linux a try. You’d be surprised to learn just how easy it is to operate. The pluses far out weigh the minuses and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it before.