Every day, Linux grows in popularity in both desktop and server environments. It has grown it’s user base 64% in the last 9 months. If you’re one of the many who haven’t yet made the switch, or at least tried Linux, here are five very good reasons to consider this stable, flexible and affordable alternative to Windows.
If you’re a frugal consumer who takes advantage of desktop and laptop deals, promotions and other mean of lowering the cost of a new computer, you really should consider Linux. Most versions of Linux, known as “distributions” or “distros” for short, are free. Even those that aren’t free, like the commercial version of the popular Red Hat distro, are far less expensive than Windows. As an example, Red Hat can be purchased for $50 – 60. Windows 7 can cost twice that and the disparity just grows when considering server-level Windows operating systems.
Linux is a much more lightweight OS that makes fewer demands on system resources than Windows. This means Linux is far less likely to crash or suffer performance problems than their Windows counterparts. Unlike Windows machines, a desktop or server running Linux can go months or even years without needing a reboot. While it’s true that Windows has certainly made stability improvements since Windows 3.1 and 95, Microsoft has a long way to go to catch up with Linux in terms of reliability.
If you use Windows and need updates or support, there’s only one place to turn and that’s Microsoft. Windows is only updated through the Windows Update mechanism and support is only available in-warranty unless you want to pay a fee for help. Linux distros, meanwhile, have enthusiastic and helpful online communities tweaking the popular OS, making upgrades and offering support 24/7 with no contract or fee required.
Just like most web exploits are written to target Internet explorer, most viruses and other malware are created to go after Windows operating systems. It’s not just because of the general dislike of Microsoft in the hacking community, either. People who write malicious code want to get the biggest payoff, so they target the product with the largest user base. Since Linux is used by fewer people and there are so many variants, it’s just not worth the effort to target Linux for malware.
Windows is Windows. Even the multiple flavors of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 are just the same thing with a few new features slapped on. Linux, on the other hand, has something for everyone. There are many GUI-based versions that are perfect to newcomers. At the same time, command line distros target the hardcores who want to play around “under the hood” with the Linux kernel. There are even Linux distros released on bootable “Live CDs” which allow users to try the OS without an install. This is absolutely hassle- and risk-free and another great reason to try Linux today.