Advantages of Linux

A few months ago, I decided I needed a more secure operating system for my daily website work. A bunch of my friends are into Macs, and they rave about how they never had an anti-virus software and never got a virus. But spending all the money on a piece of electronics just because it had a bitten apple symbol on it, wasn't worth it. Then I remembered all the announcements from the Computer Science department of my former educational institution. Linux! Even less people use Linux, so the amount of viruses should be even less. And its free!

So I went on a search to download a Linux OS. The first dilemma I came across, was that there's like a 100 different versions of Linux. I tried Xandros; but that froze my mouse pointer during installation and I couldn't continue any further. Then I came across Fedora. Later, I found out that Fedora is one of the most stable and popular Linux distributions.

What I loved about Linux

Well, here's the first advantage. From time-to-time, you need another little task done on your computer, which would require a simple piece of software. With Windows, you would go to a store, search for a software that would do the trick, and then pay big money to get that software. Of course there's a bunch of software that screams FREE! all over the internet, until you download it and discover it was a 14-day trial, or a water-marked "free version". With LInux, on the other hand, you would go to a Software Manger application and search for the software you need. Then you download it with a click. When new versions of the software come out, you are notified by the updater application, (kind of like Windows notifies you when new security updates are available). And yes, you get the updates for free too, with a click of a button. 

In Windows, I always had problems with things like torrents, and archive de-compressors. I didn't even know what they were, and where to get them. With Linux, these things come by default.

Then if you think Windows 7 finally came up with decent special effects, you haven't seen anything yet. One release of Fedora has more special effects than all versions of Windows combined. By special effects, I mean things like closing windows with an airplane effect, or breaking up into cubes, or rolling them up; things like scrolling through your open applications in 3-D or moving your mouse to the edge of the screen to see all open applications.

Then in Windows, PDFs were always a problem. Yeah, you could open them if you install Adobe Reader, but how do you edit them? With Linux, that kind of functionality is almost default, (and no "This is a free version" watermarks on your edited PDFs either).

Disadvantages

It does take some time to get used to Linux. But not that much time anymore. With the new GUI desktops, you almost feel like you're back home with familiar Windows. It would take some time to install software that would handle commercial file formats like flash and mp3, because they are not open source and can't be added to Linux distributions by default. But its doable, all you need to do is search for instructions on the forums.

One of the biggest issues for me, was file permissions. In Windows, you just never think about it; all of your files are accessible by all users anywhere (Well, almost...) With Linux, you can assign each file and folder to a different user, which means other users would not have access to it. Its irritating to get used to, but the multiplied security this brings, is well worth it.

When it comes to sophisticated video/audio/game editing software, the open source software isn't there yet. But they're getting there. Software like OpenOffice (Microsoft Office alternative), Blender (3-D animation software), GIMP (Photoshop alternative) are becoming pretty sophisticated. There is also software which would run Windows applications on a Linux system. But that would open doors for security loop holes. The best thing to do for Windows applications, is to create a dual-boot system, Linux and Windows on the same computer. Its not that complicated. Any major Linux distribution would have simple instructions for that on their website.

Well, there you have it. One last thing to do would be to go and try a Linux distribution.

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