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Pros and Cons...

So, you might be thinking.. "Why did you, and why do you think I might want to switch from an operating system that I'm familar with to one that I know nothing about?"

Here's just a few reasons:

  • It’s free: Microsoft will force you to upgrade to Windows 8.1/10 which means you’ll have to spend around $120 just for the OS. Linux OS, on the other hand, is completely free. If you choose to switch to Linux, you save at least a hundred bucks.
  • Windows 10 is very intrusive: it is very apparent that Windows 10 tracks you — a lot. In fact, it’s fairly safe to say that Windows 10 tracks just about everything you do on your computer. It can keep track of what apps you’ve installed, how long you’ve used them, which websites you’ve visited, recordings of your voice via Cortana (and it records non-stop so long as “Hey Cortana” is enabled), and probably much more. You can turn many of these settings off in order to protect your privacy as much as possible, but this doesn’t stop everything and the fact that most of these are enabled by default says a lot about Microsoft’s intentions. With Linux, you won’t have to worry about your computer spying on you at an operating system level.
  • More Secure, no need of any anti-virus software: In Windows, you cannot live without antivirus software. Even with an antivirus product, your system is continuously at risk of catching a virus. In Linux, you don’t need an antivirus. Virus and malware are alien to the Linux world. Linux is known for its security features. Switching to Linux will save you the money you spend on antivirus software as well as all the grief this type software causes.
  • Compatible with lower end hardware: Welcome to Linux world - there is a Linux OS for everyone. Most of the Linux OS does not require a heavyweight computer system. But even if your system is one of those of late 90’s or early 2000’s, there are plenty of lightweight Linux distributions. In other words, hardware is no constraint for Linux OS.
  • Drivers included: As a Windows user, you must have struggled with drivers. Finding the correct driver for your system was a difficult task. But with Linux, most of these drivers are supported directly by the Linux kernel. Which means its more like plug and play, generally there is no struggling with drivers.
  • Ease of use: The one misconception about Linux is that it is “geeks only” and one needs to be computer genius and command line ninja to use Linux. No, it is not true since the 90’s where Linux was a complicated operating system. These days desktop Linux OSes run out of the box, have GUI tools and have all the functionality that you look for in Windows.
  • It looks sexy - and you'll like it: When it comes to looks, desktop Linux rules over Windows if you like to keep things simple or prefer the "flash". Be it Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome 3, KDE or even low end desktop environments like Xfce or Lxde, they are much more good looking than the Windows desktop. So if you think Linux desktop to be a plain boring and dull looking, you are definitely wrong. Best of all, you can choose a desktop flavor according to your choice.
  • Software repository: Most of the desktop Linux OS have their own ‘app store’ or ‘software repository’. You can look for any kind of application, libraries at one single place without the need of searching all over the internet for it. Moreover, the software thus installed will be safe, compatible with your OS and will be getting automatic updates. Most all software offered is free to boot!
  • Better updating process: Windows updates are a real pain. First Windows will notify that you have system updates. When you install them, it will be configured at shutdown time at a pace that even a tortoise can beat. You will be told to “preparing to configure Windows, do not shutdown your system” and the wait is eternal. And that’s not the end. At the next boot, it will again be configuring the updates. Moreover, the software and applications installed in Windows provide their updates separately. Remember Java, Adobe or iTunes updates pop up? Linux updates are fast and non-intrusive.

But your mileage may vary - lets look at some of the 'negatives' of using Linux:

  • Installing new Software: My biggest gripe. Other then installing software that is in the Distros Software Repository (which is a simple click) - trying to figure out how to install software that's downloaded off the iNet is somewhat of a nightmare. There is no conformity and hard for a newbie to understand. However - unless you need a real specialized piece of software this is never a problem using the included "Software Repository".
  • Linux doesn't run some of the serious production applications: Linux doesn't run the Adobe Creative Cloud applications. There's no Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, After Effects, Premiere, and so forth. Let's go one further. Microsoft Office doesn't run natively on Linux. Okay, settle down - it runs Open Office or Libre Office which will more then likely serve your needs. But Microsoft Office is the standard for Office suites. Simply because Windows is the dominant operating system there has been more software developed.
  • Unsupported OS: for a business, or person, running mission-critical workloads, an unsupported operating system is a hard pill to swallow.
  • Windows offers familiarity: Let's face it: Whatever else you might say about Windows, it's slightly easier to use then Linux. We love our Start menu and our Task Manager and our system tray. Some of us are even starting to love our gadgets. Young adults today never had to use MS-DOS, even if they started using computers at an early age, so they aren't going to be comfortable at a Linux command line. Don't get me wrong — Linux has come a long way. But remember how far back it has had to come from — where just managing to install the operating system for a non-expert (and sometimes experts too) was considered a major triumph. There are still too many things in the Linux world that are expected to be done manually, like program installation. A majority of users will say, "I might have to compile something myself? No thanks."
  • Claims about open source don't stand up to scrutiny: Much of the hype about Linux is really more about open source development in general. The buzzwords all sound good: Open source is about sharing. Collaboration. Proliferation of knowledge. For certain, there is nothing wrong with the open source model, and its use surely helps advance new ideas in software development. As a business model and a model for end-user products, though, it's less reasonable. Here, it causes a lack of standardization. Egos among the different developers collide, and the final product suffers. Let's not forget the old adage "Too many cooks spoil the broth."
  • The Linux culture isn't always responsive to the common user: This brings us to another reason Linux isn't triumphing over Windows: the Linux community and the users and advocates themselves. Linux is a geek's OS ( I don't mean geek in a derogatory way). In an already unfamiliar and more difficult environment, when people using Linux for the first time encounter a problem and turn to the community for help, too often they're met with ridicule. They don't want to hear, "All you had to do was recompile the kernel." Of course, this is not the case for all users, and there are plenty of dedicated individuals providing free support in the forums around the world. However, not everyone has the "dig in and fix it" mentality. They just want to use their computer, not hack with it. And that's perfectly legitimate.
  • Maybe you're just fed up with Microsoft's crap? Might be a good reason to switch (that's the main reason I did) - but there is a cost involved in getting away from it, and that cost is the ins and outs of learning how to control the darn thing (Linux OS) - at least if you want to use it for anything other then browsing the iNet or check'n your email.

?s - Please feel free to contact mb@code-it.com

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