Linux is another operating system for your laptop or desktop computer. There are many different distributions or choices available such as OpenSuse, Fedora, Ubuntu, Elementary OS, and Linux Mint, just to name a few. How easy it is to set up depends on which distribution you choose. I will go over the features of Ubuntu, since I run it on my Laptop at home.
One feature is that, it’s very easy to install software using the Ubuntu Software Center. On Windows you have to spend lots of time browsing the web for software if you are not sure of the exact program you want to install. Almost all Linux Distributions come with a Software Center. Most of the software found here is free. If you want, you can also install software using the command line or terminal.
Next, is that pretty much all Linux operating systems, including Ubuntu are free. The price for Windows 8.1 is $119.
Also, Windows can be a real hassle to reinstall if you don’t have drivers for your PC readily available on a media such as a CD. Drivers are the files your computer uses to control the operation of a device such as a soundcard. Ubuntu should work out of the box with most wifi cards, sound cards, and other hardware.
There are also no known viruses on Ubuntu. On Windows 7, I have to run an antivirus scan to make sure my computer isn’t infected. On Ubuntu that isn’t necessary.
You also have lots of choice with how your desktop looks. On Ubuntu you can install different desktop environments that change the way your computer looks such as KDE, or Gnome.
Screenshot of KDE 4 2. Screenshot of Gnome 3
If you want, you can have multiple desktop environments installed on the same machine.
Will it work with Windows software? That’s hit or miss. You can use a program called Wine to install Windows software, but Wine isn’t always as stable as if the program were installed on Windows for real.
A daunting thing about Linux is the command line. However, if you used text based operating systems such as MS-DOS, some commands will be familiar. People post commands online for people who are new to Linux.
So which version should I try? Distros for beginners are Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Peppermint OS, and Elementary OS. That’s just a few of the many available. You can put the distro on a DVD or USB flash, and try it without installing it to your computer.
Lastly, my favorite thing to do with Linux is restore an old computer or laptop. Light versions, such as Peppermint OS can run on a very weak PC with 512 MG of RAM, versus Windows Vista which is more demanding on resources.