To compare how great of an option Linux is for a computer, we shall compare it to the more familiar modern operating systems.
First, Linux is free. The background of GNU places Linux into a “free and open source” mentality where most (if not all) of the software shipping with Linux is free. Free and open source (FOSS) refers to two things- the software is both monetarily free and the source code is also transparent. FOSS differs from proprietary software in that everything is open with FOSS, and there are no hidden spyware, fees, or catches involved with using it. The software is often more secure because anybody can contribute to the readily available source code and make it better. Because Linux and most of the software you can download for it is free, it is a fantastic operating system for small businesses or individual users on a budget. Certainly no quality is sacrificed by not charging a fee, because the Linux project and its various distributions are community-driven and funded through donations. Compare this to the cost of Windows, which is often many hundreds of dollars for the OS alone. Microsoft Office is a popular document writing program suite, but it also prices high. Free alternatives to these programs exist in Linux, and they definitely compare in quality to the big name products.
Probably the largest complaint held by PC owners is viruses. Windows computers are especially susceptible to them, and even anti-virus software companies are always playing catch-up to the newest threats. Simply visiting a malicious website is often enough to infect a computer, and many users choose Mac computers because of the significantly less frequency of incidents relating to malware. Linux-based operating systems are similar to Macs in that viruses are virtually non-existent. This increased security makes switching to Linux a must for anybody concerned about privacy, security, or reliability.
Linux is very popular within corporations and government agencies. This is because highpowered servers and critical devices will run remarkably better with Linux as the operating system. The OS is known for reliability and stability too. While a Windows computer will need regular restarts and maintenance to “freshen” it up and keep it from running slow, Linux servers can run months or even years without a single restart. IT professionals inevitably choose Linux to be the backbone of their network because of its reputation. Its renowned stability is available to consumers as well on the desktop platform, and it is definitely useful for us as well.
Perhaps the best benefit to using Linux is the speed. Low system requirements mean that computers that are normally slow and groggy on Windows will be zippy and quick on Linux. Users frustrated with computer slowdowns can replace their OS for a more responsive experience. Furthermore, Linux can be installed on older computers to reinvigorate them. So even though that old laptop may be too outdated for the newest version of Windows, there will probably be a distribution of Linux that will squeeze a few more years of useful life out of it.
Customization is a sought after feature in technology. Windows, and especially OSX, limit the amount that you can do with your operating system out of fear that the average user would break it. This is not the case with Linux, as it encourages editing and changing visuals and functionality of the OS. Of course it is not necessary, and the default configuration of most Linux distributions is extremely stable and difficult to break unintentionally. But for those that love jailbreaking, modding, and playing around with computers, Linux can facilitate the creative side and even provide curious hackers with access to tools unavailable in other systems.
And finally, Linux is compatible with a huge range of devices. Linux can run on almost any architecture, meaning it can be installed on cell phones, desktops, laptops, servers, game consoles, and “smart” devices. Hobbyists take pleasure in simply installing Linux on niche, old, or quirky devices simply because they can. For the average user, it means that Linux is probably compatible with your computer.
Overall, Linux beats out the mainstream operating systems in many areas. All of these things definitely make Linux the better choice for your computer, and you should use it to gain access to these revered features. Artists, hackers, creative individuals, small business owners, techies, non-techies, and just about everyone can find something to like about Linux. The wide range of distributions means there is something for everyone, so install Linux today to see what you can gain from it.