8 Advantages of using Linux over Windows

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So, you’re a new, or fairly moderate Linux user, who wants to know what the true advantages of Linux over Windows are? There are several advantages of Linux, and of course, some disadvantages to using the Linux operating system. This article covers 5 advantages of using Linux over Windows, and lists a few disadvantages as well.

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.
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koukisan's avatar
My one big bugger is PS, i managed to get ArtRage & CSP to run fairly ok on my Cutie Mac-ish Linux Mint but i just can't get any PS to work, (CS6 is not a choice), 2014 and 2018 runs but wacom pen doesn't register in WINE, & i'm reliant on iTunes to get my music into my phone...so i'm just figuring things out
doctormo's avatar
It's a big problem when you've got a proprietary dependency. I think Adobe considers Linux to be an existential threat, not just a small market (because there's enough larger players to make it worthwhile unless PS is coded like a banana tree inside)

The best route is always to transition to Free Software alternatives. Gimp (with my PS skin), Krita or some of the other really good tools. And possibly Rhythembox as a replacement for iTunes.
I feel like I have just had a breath of fresh air finding out about Linux.  Since I began playing with PC's, I have had a desire to have a fully custom OS and I'll be honest, I used to think Linux was just a crappy OS not actually knowing what it was. Yesterday morning, I was sat there in bed and something just popped into my head to find out what Linux was and when I did, I literally got a rush of excitement and slightly angry with myself I didn't know about it before. I look forward to exploring its potential.  
doctormo's avatar
It's freedom all the way down. Terrifying, exciting and deep freedom.

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.
BrightStarGifts's avatar
Good article. However, your list is just the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more that you could have listed. Linux is so much more powerful, flexible, secure, reliable, stable, and fun than Windows. I quit using windows in 1997, cold turkey when it crashed for the 50th time trying to edit a video. Switching to Linux was like a breath of fresh air. Windows is such a headache to maintain compared to Linux. You, nor your article will convince people to switch to Linux. I've tried for well over 10 years. I gave up. I tell people to use whatever works for them. I don't argue or try to convince anyone, anymore. You know what they say "ignorance is bliss".
doctormo's avatar
Don't try and convince people to use Linux, convince people to respect Linux. convince them to aspire to Free Software.

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.
Even though Windows users are now more secured thanks to latest antivirus programs and in-built security features, they are still prone to data loss and virus attacks. Your data is more secure if you’re using Linux as malware do not exist for this OS. For more, visit- www.itservicestalk.com/tag/ope…
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To be honest, I don't consider folks who choose not to use Linux as "lazy or incompetent". I recently switched to Linux after installing a new hard drive in my crashed desktop. I installed Linux because the old drive came with Windows already installed and I didn't want to pay loads of cash for a programme I already technically owned (the machine was just old enough to where it did not fall within Dell's warranty brackets). The other reason was I'd heard good things about Linux and wanted to give it a go.

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 :-(
doctormo's avatar
Your experience is not unheard of and is a problem. But think of it like this: Your computer is from Dell, who gave the buyer no choice in what operating system would be supported. When you got the windows machine, designed to run windows, with your own existing experience with windows problems with an aim to do many windows things... well now you've got a fight on your hands.

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 ;-))
AfroNinjaScroll's avatar
Thanks for the post :D
really very great post, its very useful for perfect understanding of Linux over Windows advantages.

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robsoft's avatar
It is not freedom if you limited yourself to the tools available as an open source. The fact is that on Mac/PC you gain access to much more possibilites - the ones available on Linux as well as additional plethora of applications (if it's worth the price why not to pay for software?). No doubt the Linux is greate as a server but it is not major desktop platform.
doctormo's avatar
If you talk of Freedom for the individual right now, then you are right. But we also want freedom for the user, her friends, her family, her community, her society for now and forever in the future. And here is where you are wrong.

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.
I installed Ubuntu on my wife's PC which we bought at a thrift store (an old XP). I liked Ubuntu so much that replaced Windows 7 on my new eMachines PC. Ubuntu loads up faster on my wife's XP (Actually much faster!) than Windows 7 did on my new PC. And no Windows Genuine Advantage #@$# to aggravate you! BTW I used ImageWriter to "burn" the Ubuntu iso to flash drive-worked like a charm! Also, the updates are faster, less intrusive, and the two I did so far didn't require reboots...fingers crossed. And, Audacity comes ready-to use in Ubuntu, instead of having to trudge through instructions and websites downloading the correct versions. *****
doctormo's avatar
That's great news, glad it's all working.
liquid-snake's avatar
There are viruses for Linux, the thing is that since more eyes are keeping things safe, it's most likely that someone will spot a security threat and either provide a patch or at least point at it so others can work on it :)

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.
daPhyre's avatar
¡Nice Journal! I hope some new Linux users can find the advantages on it ;)
saxeh's avatar
linux is perfect except it is too poor when it comes to graphic design .
hewpow's avatar
 "poor when it comes to graphic design ."
that's not true
doctormo's avatar
It's as rich as it's contributors.
masonmouse's avatar
Seeing as this was posted in the Ubuntu-Artists group, you may find a lot of people - myself included - disagreeing with you. :)
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