So, you’re a new or fairly moderate Linux user, want to know what are the real advantages of Linux over Windows? There are several advantages of Linux and of course some disadvantages of using the Linux operating system. This article covers 5 advantages of using Linux over Windows and also lists some disadvantages.
Advantages of Linux:
- cost – The most obvious advantage of using Linux is the fact that it is free, whereas Microsoft products are available for a hefty and sometimes recurring fee. Typically, Microsoft licenses can only be installed on a single computer, while a Linux distribution can be installed on any number of computers, without paying a single penny.
- Security – In line with the costs, the security aspect of Linux is much stronger than that of Windows. Why should you spend extra money on virus protection software? The Linux operating system has been around since the early 1990s and has managed to stay safe in the realm of widespread viruses, spyware, and adware all these years. Sure, the argument that the Linux desktop isn’t used as widely is a factor in why there are no viruses. My rebuttal is that the Linux operating system is open source and if a widespread Linux virus were released today, hundreds of patches would be released tomorrow, either by ordinary people using the operating system or by the maintainers of the distribution. We wouldn’t need to wait for a patch from a single company like we do with Windows.
- Choice (Freedom) – The power of choice is a great advantage of Linux. With Linux, you have the power to control almost every aspect of the operating system. Two main features that you have control over are the appearance and behavior of your desktops through numerous window managers and the kernel. On Windows, you either get stuck using the boring default desktop theme, or risk breaking it or crashing it by installing a third-party shell.
- Software – There are so many software options when it comes to performing a specific task. You can search for a text editor on Freshmeat and get hundreds if not thousands of results. My article on 5 Linux Text Editors You Should Know Explains how there are so many options just for editing text on the command line due to the open source nature of Linux. Regular users and developers contribute apps all the time. Sometimes it’s a simple modification or feature enhancement to an existing piece of software, sometimes it’s a completely new application. Also, software on Linux tends to include more features and greater ease of use than software on Windows. Best of all, the vast majority of Linux software is free and open source. Not only do you get the software for free, but you have the option to modify the source code and add more features if you understand the programming language. What more could you want?
- Hardware– Linux is perfect for those old computers with hardly any processing power or memory that you have sitting in your garage or basement gathering dust. Install Linux and use it as a firewall, file server, or backup server. There are endless possibilities. Old 386 or 486 computers with barely any RAM run Linux without a problem. Good luck running Windows on these machines and actually finding a use for them.
Disadvantages of Linux:
- Comprehension – Getting familiar with the Linux operating system requires patience and a steep learning curve. You must have a desire to read and figure things out on your own, instead of having everything done for you.
- Compatibility – Due to its free nature, Linux sometimes lags behind when it comes to compatibility with new hardware. Although kernel contributors and maintainers work hard to keep the kernel up to date, Linux does not have as much corporate backing as alternative operating systems. Sometimes you can find third party apps, sometimes not.
- alternative programs – Although Linux developers have done a great job creating alternatives to popular Windows apps, there are still some apps on Windows that don’t have an equivalent Linux app.
Now that you understand some of the benefits of Linux, it’s time to get out there and experiment. Windows can be a great tool for the lazy and incompetent, but it takes a true scholar and someone who wants to learn how to run a robust operating system like Linux.