Jun 192014
 

Linux Rocks for Average Consumers Too

Large corporations like Google, Amazon, Oracle and countless other businesses have long recognized the benefits of Linux and enthusiastically adopted the operating system as the core of their IT infrastructure and data centers.

But average consumers (the ones reliant on Windows or OS X/Mac computers) have largely shied away from Linux believing it to be complicated for daily use. That may have been true a few years back but no longer.

With solid graphical interfaces, Linux has now become easy for average consumers to use on a daily basis.

And there are scores of applications for all your day-to-day tasks like word processing, image editing, web browsing, e-mail etc. Recognizing the growing popularity of Linux, even a rival like Microsoft now offers a Linux version of the popular Skype application.

Linux – 5 Reasons to Switch

I’ll give you five reasons to switch to Linux and save a lot of money and headaches.

* Linux is More Stable
Compared to the Windows computers used by majority of PC owners, Linux is a gazillion times more robust and stable operating system. An army of programmers led by Linus Torvalds toil away on Linux every day to make the operating system better. And all updates and new versions are free. Bonus – You won’t get unusable junk like the Windows 8 nightmare ever.

* Linux is Cheaper
Compared to both Windows and Apple, Linux is a lot cheaper. The software itself is free. You only pay for the hardware, monitor, mouse, keyboard and speakers. Technically, Apple’s operating system upgrades are now free but the iMac and PowerBooks are very expensive.

* Linux Runs Well on Old Hardware
One of the beauties of Linux is that it runs very well on old hardware. My Linux system is a 10-year-old HP computer with a single AMD processor and just 1GB of RAM. Hey, Linux can even run off a Flash Drive from a USB port. There are several versions of Linux like Puppy Linux, Lubuntu and Linux Lite that are actually tailored for low resource older PCs.

* Linux Less Likely to Have Back Door
Given the wide publicity to Edward Snowden’s leaks, we now know that major technology companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Google have cooperated with spy agencies in making their products and services less secure. There’s less chance of a back door in Linux or cooperation with spy agencies for two reasons. First, Linux is not owned by any single monolithic corporation with a vested interest. Second, Linux contributors are spread out around the world and any changes to the kernel has to be approved by multiple people.

* Linux is More Secure
Despite having anti-virus software installed on my computers, I’ve fallen prey to malware on my Windows computers on multiple occasions. On one occasion, the Google Hijack Virus completely destroyed my Windows XP computer. Linux is secure and the odds of a virus or malware attack on your computer are extremely low.

Questions on Linux

As a newbie to Linux, you’re bound to have questions.

Don’t be frustrated if you hit the occasional roadblock.

Linux has good support forums on the Internet.

Just google your issue or check out a good resource like LinuxQuestions where there are sections devoted to newbies.

Which Linux?

If you’re convinced by the five reasons I outlined earlier to try Linux, you must be wondering how and where to get started.

There are multiple flavors (called distributions) of Linux – Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, Puppy Linux, Lubuntu, Linux Mint etc.

Going by the Page hits on the DistroWatch web site, Linux Mint, Ubuntu and Debian are the three most popular distributions.

I use Fedora and am pleased with it. But there’s no reason for you to do the same.

Let me provide you with links to a few of the major Linux distributions. I suggest you spend a few minutes on the home page of each of these Linux distributions and then download the ones you feel most comfortable about.

Some Major Linux Distributions:
* Ubuntu
* Fedora
* Linux Mint
* Puppy Linux
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