Advantages of Linux:
Cost – The most obvious advantage of using Linux is the fact that it is free to obtain, while Microsoft products are available for a hefty and sometimes recurring fee. Microsoft licenses typically are only allowed to be installed on a single computer, whereas a Linux distribution can be installed on any number of computers, without paying a single dime.
Security – In line with the costs, the security aspect of Linux is much stronger than that of Windows. Why should you have to spend extra money for virus protection software? The Linux operating system has been around since the early nineties and has managed to stay secure in the realm of widespread viruses, spyware and adware for all these years. Sure, the argument of the Linux desktop not being as widely used is a factor as to why there are no viruses. My rebuttle is that the Linux operating system is open source and if there were a widespread Linux virus released today, there would be hundreds of patches released tomorrow, either by ordinary people that use the operating system or by the distribution maintainers. We wouldn’t need to wait for a patch from a single company like we do with Windows.
Choice (Freedom) – The power of choice is a great Linux advantage. With Linux, you have the power to control just about every aspect of the operating system. Two major features you have control of are your desktops look and feel by way of numerous Window Managers, and the kernel. In Windows, your either stuck using the boring default desktop theme, or risking corruption or failure by installing a third-party shell.
Software - There are so many software choices when it comes to doing any specific task. You could search for a text editor on Freshmeat and yield hundreds, if not thousands of results. My article on 5 Linux text editors you should know about explains how there are so many options just for editing text on the command-line due to the open source nature of Linux. Regular users and programmers contribute applications all the time. Sometimes its a simple modification or feature enhancement of a already existing piece of software, sometimes its a brand new application. In addition, software on Linux tends to be packed with more features and greater usability than software on Windows. Best of all, the vast majority of Linux software is free and open source. Not only are you getting the software for no charge, but you have the option to modify the source code and add more features if you understand the programming language. What more could you ask for?
Hardware - Linux is perfect for those old computers with barely any processing power or memory you have sitting in your garage or basement collecting dust. Install Linux and use it as a firewall, a file server, or a backup server. There are endless possibilities. Old 386 or 486 computers with barely any RAM run Linux without any issue. Good luck running Windows on these machines and actually finding a use for them.
You don’t have to deal with anti-piracy schemes and additional “hoop jumping”.
What about not needing to assess the number of security solutions out there for Linux. Just visit the Wilders Security Forums, and you’ll see what I mean!
There isn’t like 1 AV solution, or a few access control solutions (SELinux, grsecurity, etc)…In Windows, there’s like 50+ AV solutions, a whole dozen anti-malware apps, intrusion prevention, anti-this, anti-that, etc…People say this one is better, others say that one is better. In less than 10min, you’d be pretty confused as to which is the best for your needs!
Disadvantages of Linux:
Understanding – Becoming familiar with the Linux operating system requires patience as well as a strong learning curve. You must have the desire to read and figure things out on your own, rather than having everything done for you. Check out the 20 must read howto’s and guides for Linux.
Compatibility – Because of its free nature, Linux is sometimes behind the curve when it comes to brand new hardware compatibility. Though the kernel contributors and maintainers work hard at keeping the kernel up to date, Linux does not have as much of a corporate backing as alternative operating systems. Sometimes you can find third party applications, sometimes you can’t.
Alternative Programs – Though Linux developers have done a great job at creating alternatives to popular Windows applications, there are still some applications that exist on Windows that have no equivalent Linux application. Read Alternatives to Windows Applications to find out some of the popular alternatives.
Now that you have an understanding of some of the advantages of Linux, its time get out there and experiment. Windows can be a great tool for the lazy and incompetent, but it takes a true scholar and one who wants to learn to run a robust operating system like Linux.
Project like Ubuntu try to add some structure to this, for users like my mum and my daughter. But the vast majority of freedom is still there, under the skin. And that can be quite exciting. Just back up your files often, because hacking at first can result in data loss.
There are lots of reasons why people can't move from Windows. But you can plan the seed of desire that makes them wish they could switch.
Now for the actual pros and cons from your average "Joe":
Limitless creative options
Smooth and "pretty" OS
Error messages and viruses are pretty much a thing of the past
Incompatibility issues GALORE
Limitations on software and gaming that is not associated with or built for Linux (Wine and PlayOnLinux are not overall solutions)
Inability in a lot of cases to transfer old Windows based data to new OS
Now I know to a lot of folks knowledgeable about computers, some things seem quite simple to understand. But it's common sense that some things come more naturally to some than others. For instance, I'm quite invaluable when it comes to fixing things and reading others, but give me a math equation and I will scratch my head for a while - this is what it is to be human. That said, although I'm no computer expert, I certainly know enough to get by and am no "dummy". And even with that, I'm still having a hard time keeping an OS I've come to love - yes love.
I've searched countless platforms in regards to compatibility issues and sometimes I find things that work, but most times I don't. The real problem is MOST of my most used and important programmes in fact will not work on my new OS and I'm forced to use my Windows based notebook for many many things. This is quite frustrating when I have a perfectly good desktop (built for gaming) that is now working like new - what a bloody waste! It's pretty much just sitting here begging for me to stretch its legs but practically nothing will install without me jumping through a shiteload of hoops, and even then, after all that blood sweat and tears, a lot of times I wind up with nada.
Lately, now that I have a new Windows disc I obtained via eBay out of desperation, I've been wondering if I could perhaps run the 2 operating systems together. That would certainly alleviate a lot of the problems I'm having, but doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of installing Linux? And wouldn't I still be left with the same issues in regards to viruses, etc.? And wouldn't that also limit the initial benefits?
I know I may get criticisms for writing this, but I'm putting it out there for anyone else who may have found themselves in my shoes and lands on this site. As much as I love Linux, I may be switching back to Windows today
You can see it in your story above; you wanted to go your own way, the least trodden path and you are not equipt with the machette of Unix knowelege that would allow you to cut through many of the problems. Firstly fighting the machine itself, that's actually the easiest to do thanks to the help of the Free Software community. Next you'd have to fight Dell with what ever decisions, lack of support (or help pages) relating to the installation of Linux based operating systems. then you have to fight your own notions and experence, tearing down entire libraries of learning so you can start from the beginning and learn a different universe of controls. Finally you have to fight the market place, where they only cater to windows users. Unless you're writing letters to the manufacturers and games makers, you're only option there is to give up those programs and find alternatives or try and run a compatibility layer which the community has heroicly provided to help ease the pain.
Getting a system working for a normal user is pretty easy. My mum uses it and so do several of my neighbours and friends. They're not demanding users and don't really need much except what Ubuntu already provides. More advanced, demanding or experienced users /always/ have more problems. It's the nature of the thing.
You've got a lot of battles to fight, and I can certainly help you if you want. But if you want your Linux experience to work like you want, you're going to have to fight for it. (until such times as we take over from windows, give us 20 years if you can wait that long )
You can use proprietary tools, but every time you turn your back on freedom, you hurt the ability for society to work it's way out of a deep hole. We need Freedom to own and control our computers because it's important, not just because it's convenient.
Sure, a user can make the choice to use Windows and Mac, but doing so hurts us all. More than most users know. We MUST work together to free ourselves and bring all the plethora of applications from Windows and Mac to Linux. I'm pleased to say that the majority of every computer use can be done using Ubuntu and only very rare corner cases would a use HAVE to use Windows.
Ubuntu is powerful, we need users to help make us even more powerful so we can deliver Freedom as well as Convenience to everyone.
As for antiviruses for Linux, they do exist: ClamAV comes to mind.
See, the thing is that be it because Windows is more widely used or because of its troublesome closed-source nature, there are more viruses for it than for other OSes. Maybe as more and more people begin using it, Linux might become a juicier target for viruses (virii?) creators.
Anyway, this is to say that Linux is a secure as your security practices allow... You could do something that might compromise the security or stability of your system (the only truly secure pc is the one which, once bought, is tossed into a pit that's then filled with concrete). Just ask a security conscious Windows or Mac user, they won't have trouble with their PCs unless they break their own security rules and practices.
Rules are easy to follow: Don't open that shady email, don't click that dubious ad, and don't run anything without checking what it is first.
Having said that: Linux will still be more secure, stable and reliable than other options out there in the market which is why it runs pretty much almost anything out there (Even if it's on more Desktop Computers, most super computers and servers are running Linux)
PS: ClamAV is there not because we would get infected by a virus but because a document someone sends us might have a virus that, even if it doesn't affect our Linux OS, it might harm other people's computers.
that's not true
soft uses latest system core libraries. There is new Gimp,but don't know how to make it work
without messing up the system. Linux is really fast using light desktop environments and
most hardware works without digging up for drivers.
"Windows can be a great tool for the lazy and incompetent, but it takes a true scholar and one who wants to learn to run a robust operating system like Linux. "
Since it comes off as a somewhat condescending IMO, and propagates the tired and unbelievably false stereotype that Windows users are dumb/bad with computers/less knowledgeable than users of other OSes/etc. Saying that is like saying users of OSX are artistic or hip, or that users of Linux are nerdy or eggheaded.
GIMP video tutorials: [link]
Inkscape tutorials here: [link]
Audio, video, animations, 3D modeling (hint: Blender)... And all of it free and for free
I'd recommend giving Ubuntu studio a try, as it comes with a LOT of tools for the creative in you, ready for you to use.
Note: There is no such thing as a 'Linux operating system', Linux is a kernel, not an operating system. There is no way from the word 'Linux' to assume that you mean Free Desktop system like Ubuntu or Fedora. Because Linux applies as much to TiVo, TomTom, Netgear routers, google TV, chrome books, Android phones and many, many other things. It's impossible to use 'Linux' as an effective branding for the desktop system we want to promote.
What we should pursue is the image of an Aspirin. Why? It's what's inside what matters and works for you, not the lab distributing it (and everyone gets their own based on preference/availability or even formula enhancements).
I think that might give a better perspective over how to better market Linux as a brand, kinda like this video from the Linux Foundation [link]
The FDO (FreeDesktop.org) manages the specifications for what counts as a desktop system and I think the FreeDesktop brand is concise enough for what we need. It just needs more promotion.
Remember that the Linux Foundation is for server and enterprise, they're not that interested in Desktops. At least if they were they'd do a better job of working with others.