Linux is an operating system that powers all kinds of systems such as large computer centers, laptops, guns, light bulbs, etc.
It can power everything; and when it comes to computing, it can be a great alternative to Windows and other operating systems.
Advantages of Linux Over Windows
Older computers support Linux. Older hardware can still run Windows XP but it is not supported anymore. That means you will not have security updates. There are so many Linux distributions meant purposely for older hardware. They are updated and maintained on a regular basis.
Traditional users find some Linux desktop environments and distributions more familiar and easier to use than Windows 8 and 10. Linux Mint, for instance, will appeal to people who like Windows 7.
A Linux distribution download is smaller (a little over 1 GB). A Windows 10 download, on the other hand, is way bigger.
Linux comes with free-to-use software. You can use and change it as you please.
Your computer is more secure with Linux than with Windows because there are not many viruses for Linux.
Linux offers better performance than Windows.
You are assured of privacy with Linux.
Linux is reliable. It is so easy to kill a program when it hangs.
Unlike Windows, Linux does not have an intrusive update policy.
Linux offers variety.
The Perfect Linux Distribution for You
- Linux Mint: easy to use and install. Best for Windows 7 users.
- Debian: for people who want a free Linux distribution without proprietary software, firmware or drivers.
- Ubuntu: this one is modern and easy to install and use.
- openSUSE: not the easiest to install but very powerful and stable.
- Fedora: an up-to-date distribution. New concepts are incorporated as soon as they are available.
- Mageia: easy to use and install.
- CentOS: similar to Fedora but more stable.
- Manjaro: offers a balance between up-to-date software and ease of use.
- LXLE: this one gives you a fully featured Linux distribution for your old computer.
- Arch: this one updates itself but can be tricky to use for a new user.
- Elementary: for users who prefer a Mac-style interface.
Note: you can run a live Linux USB or DVD without installing it (maybe for test driving purposes).
Every Linux distribution has a different installer. This program guides you through the installation and setup process. You can install Linux alongside Windows or on its own.
A desktop environment is basically a window manager that helps you manage core applications, menus, windows, panels and dash interfaces. Common Linux desktop environments include MATE, KDE, XFCE, Unity, LXDE, Enlightenment, GNOME and Cinnamon.
Connecting to the Internet
This process may be different for each desktop environment but on all of them, there is a network icon somewhere on the panel. Click on it to see the available wireless networks.
Audio, Email and Web Browsers
Linux has a myriad of applications for audio (Banshee, Quod Libet, Rhythmbox), Email (KMail, Geary, Evolution, Thunderbird) and browsers (Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Midori).
Office Suites for Linux
You could use LibreOffice and Google Docs. LibreOffice has a word processor, a spreadsheet tool and other tools that are found in Microsoft Office.
To install a package on Linux, you have to run a package manager.