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Why Linux?

After reading the overview, you may be asking yourself, why Linux? What is it about this mysterious OS that has me ready to walk away from the familiarity of Windows? A familiarity that I’ve had for all of my adult life?

Security
Windows 10 launched with a lot of controversy. From reports that the new OS can spy on what users are doing, to reports of Microsoft’s insistence with trying to get users to upgrade from Windows 7 – not to mention the tactics the company is using to achieve the goal – is a bit frightful. I don’t want to worry if my PC is spying on me. I want to control my PC, not the other way around. Linux, because of its open nature, gives me the control I want.

Try Before You Buy
Without getting too technical, there are thousands of Linux Operating systems. (Called distributions for those in the know.) It’s a lot of work to install even 10% of those on a PC to test drive. The great thing about Linux, is that with most distros, you don’t have to install them to give them a try. Most modern distros run what’s called a live environment, meaning you don’t have to install the operating system on your hard drive. You can play with the system in that live environment and, if you want, you can install it permanently on your hard drive. If not, then you’re back to your old OS with a simple reboot. Talk about catering to the commitment phobes out there. (I mean that with a smile.)

Cost
While I don’t need the newest PC – I use an Lenovo T440s – I do need a computer that keeps up with my daily grind. While the costs of Macbooks are still more than I am willing to pay for a PC and Microsoft (while giving away Windows 10 for free) has its security issues, moving to Linux costs nothing more than a DVD or USB drive and some free time. Even larger distributions like Ubuntu are free to download and use. Where these companies make their money is in paid support from corporations and governments. Many distributions are created by volunteers doing it purely for the love of the software and the community it supports. And did I mention that you can download and install Linux on as many PCs as you own without having to worry about commercial licenses? Try installing Windows on more than one PC and watch what happens.

One Stop Shopping
While I am not the biggest fan of Apple’s OS X operating system, one thing they have done right is to have a repository (The Mac App Store) where users can not only download software, but a repository that will keep the installed software updated.

Linux does the same thing. Often at a cheaper cost or at no cost at all. No matter what software you’re seeking, most likely it (or something might close) is in the distribution’s software center. Finding software is as easy as opening the software store, searching the name of the software and clicking the install button. The operating system takes care of the rest.

Community Support
No matter which Linux OS you choose, you’re going to have a group of people who actually give a damn that you can use the system well. Between site forums, Google+ groups and with having to talk with other users through chat. Problem solving is just a click away.

This isn’t to say you can’t find the same support systems within the Windows community. I’m just saying through my personal experiences, I have never presented a problem that couldn’t be answered by being a member of the Linux community.

It’s Different
People can point to a PC and with a high degree of accuracy determine that PC runs the Windows or Mac operating system. However with Linux, most people would look at the screen and say, “What is that.” I’m not going to lie, it’s a cool feeling. People aren’t used to seeing Linux in the wild. I can’t tell you how many conversation I’ve had with people that ended with them at least wanting to give a try.

Now you know some of my reasons for switching. Why not download an ISO, burn a DVD and see for yourself. What do you have to lose?

Photo by davidjunyent

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