It’s not that hard to use: Many Linux distributions use graphical interfaces that look and work much the same way as the Windows interface does. In fact, a 2003 study by Relevantive, a Berlin-based company specializing in consulting companies on the usability of software and Web services, rated Linux almost as easy to use as Windows XP.
Less viruses: Windows currently has over a hundred thousand known viruses, while Linux has less than a hundred. Linux also uses smart authorisation management , so it requires you to authorise any action that may potentially harm your computer by entering your password. That means you are less likely to be tricked into installing malware and running virus programs, simply because it won’t let you.
No crashes: Windows users will be familiar with the infamous “blue screen of death” that greets them whenever the system crashes. In contrast, Linux users have reported uptimes exceeding over a year, which means that their computers have been continuously running over a year without a single crash or reboot.
Tech support: Get round-the-clock support when using Linux. You don’t have to make any calls; simply visit any of the Linux online forums and post the problem there. The Linux community is very active and generally friendly and helpful, so expect the solution to be posted within a day or two. Or do some forum surfing; your problem will most probably have been faced by other beginners before and already solved, so Google your specific problem first to find if there are previous forum threads solving it.
Free software: Linux users can download free software from huge repositories containing thousands of free programs and applications, from games to music players to office productivity tools. Most of them serve as free alternatives to commercial software, the most popular ones being OpenOffice and Mozilla Firefox, which replace Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer respectively.
Runs on old machines: Many new computers in the market still struggle to handle the memory and capacity demands of Vista, which requires 512MB RAM and a 800MHz processor. In contrast, the latest Ubuntu version, the Feisty Fawn, needs a measly 64MB RAM and a 300MHz processor. Other versions of Linux require even less. That means you can run Linux on your ten-year-old PC without a hitch.
Why not Linux?
Incompatibility issues: Because many hardware and software publishers deem the market for Linux users too small, you may encounter some incompatibility issues when installing programs or devices like printers. Many devices are supported though, and, as mentioned above, there are free alternatives to proprietary programs that are available for download. As a general rule of thumb, if two or more of your devices are not supported by a particular version of Linux, install another version.
Different working mechanism: If you’re a lifelong Windows user, you may take a while to get used to the way Linux works. From installing software to running programs, things are a little different in Linux-based systems. Be prepared to type a few new commands as well. However, there are programs within some versions of Linux, such as Ubuntu, which help you to download and install programs with just a few clicks. Most people take about a week to familiarise themselves to the new virtual surroundings.