When it comes to the operating system for your computer, you can choose something other than macOS or Windows 10. If you are prepared to be a little more adventurous, Linux has many excellent features that will save you time and make working a little less boring. The best part is that live installations allow you to try out the software before erasing the entire hard drive.
Linux comes in several flavors called distributions (distros) and it's up to you to determine which one to choose. Ubuntu is by far the most popular desktop distro and a good place to start for beginners, so we've focused on it here, but once you've understood the basics, some other people's pros and Feel free to explore the cons.
You do not need to say goodbye to Windows (or macOS) to try Linux: Ubuntu can run very happily on a dual boot system or even directly from a USB drive. Follow the instructions provided on the Ubuntu website to start working: you need a blank DVD or a USB stick of at least 2 GB in size, and the setup process is very simple.
Of course, the benefit of using a USB or DVD drive is that your existing operating system remains intact. On the other hand, responsiveness and performance will not be as good, and it is limited in some system operations (to install applications and save files permanently, you need to create a USB stick with the setting option enabled).
In the past, installing popular software and codecs on Linux was a pain for fewer technology experts, but that is no longer the case. For example, Ubuntu prompts you to download codecs for commonly used video and audio formats with a single checkbox, and on most modern systems, you can instantly identify available Wi-Fi networks and connect to them.
While it is true that seasoned Windows and Mac OS X users may occasionally be perplexed by how to do something, that is to be expected when switching between OSes of any flavor, and there is always a lot of support available on the web. Most users will be up and running happily enjoying Linux in a few minutes.
Ubuntu comes complete with Firefox for your web browsing, Thunderbird for your email and LibreOffice to make documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Other free and open source applications such as Evolution (Linux version of Outlook), GIMP (image editing), and Kodi (media management and home theater) are just a few clicks away.
Other known applications with Linux versions include Google Chrome, Plex, VLC Player, Dropbox, Skype, Slack, and Spotify. And don't forget all the programs that are running in a browser now, from the online versions of Microsoft Office to Google Play Music. If there is a Windows program that you really need to take with you, then give Wine a try.
There are a relatively small number of people who use Linux as a desktop operating system, which means a relatively small number of hackers looking to exploit it, but in addition to raw numbers, Linux is an incredibly safe operating system to run.
It is designed from scratch to be secure, from the default privileges granted to users to the way in which the Linux code is developed and maintained.
Linux can be blocked and exposed as any other operating system, but the fact that few pieces of malware are running on the platform and any damage they do will be more limited means that it is a solid option for security-conscious. It is also less likely to be affected by the slowness of the swelling and the progressive system than its best-known rivals.
Linux is more than an operating system, it is a philosophy. The software is not only free (such as Google Chrome) but the source code is open and free (unlike Google Chrome, for example). You use the operating system and the included software completely free of charge, but also see the code and make changes to it if you are so inclined.
When you use Linux, you support a global community of millions who are committed to making software free to install and use.
That philosophy has helped drive innovation on the Windows and OS X and on the Web, as well as Linux itself, and if you want to get ahead in software development, Linux is a great place to start.
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