Site-Wide Project: List Linux's Pros and Cons

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by DevynCJohnson, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    We should all work together to list the pros and cons of using Linux. These pros and cons may be general (Linux is free) or specific to a group (Gamer: Not as many games as is for Windows). Once this list is long enough, I will compile it together to make an article about the advantages and disadvantages of Linux. This article will be donated to Linux.org free-of-charge with all of the posters on this thread listed as contributers minus the spammers and trolls.


    Many people ask "Why use Linux?", "Is Linux better than X?", "What are the advantages of Linux?", ..... etc. So, this would be a beneficial article, if enough people contribute.
  2. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    Pros:
    1) By using Linux (and BSD) systems, one helps those systems contribute to the cause of free software, the goal of which, is to make computers available to everyone without the restrictions of licences and copyrights. Thereby preventing a few companies from controlling computer use and extorting money from the people who use them.
    2) Freedom of choice.
    a)There are several applications available for every task. Individual users are free to choose the one, or more, they like best. And more than one similar application can be installed, and used simultaneously. Thus giving users power over their computers, instead of a company dictating which applications are to be used.
    b) Linux systems can be configured to be as simple or as complex as one wants them to be.
    3) Linux systems work better than Windows. Better than Apple? I have no experience to judge.
    4) Most distributions have a community of users, bound by the use of a common system. Many of those users communicate on message boards, strengthening the feeling of a community.
    5) Tux is a cool logo.

    Cons:
    1) Freedom of choice comes at a price. Choosing from the assortment of applications and distributions requires knowledge gained from experience. Likewise, having the power to configure a system any way one wants to configure it requires knowledge. The more one knows, the more one can do. Using Linux requires learning at least a little. Fortunately, there is a copious amount of documentation to learn from.
    2) Lack of hardware support. Some hardware manufacturers do not provide adequate open source support for their products. The result being some hardware is difficult to get working and a small number are incompatible.
    3) For those who value the ability to play games, the drawback of Linux is lack of games that are Linux compatible.
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  3. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    I'd say the major Cons are limited games and varying degrees of hardware support depending on what distro you are using.

    Support for major name brands like Adobe Photoshop will be lacking. Certainly, GiMP is actually a really good program, but what if you bought Plugins for Photoshop? You'll have to start over unless your plugins have Linux support.

    Another Con, that is most subjective, is the learning curve. This also depends a lot on what distro you are using, or what you are trying to achieve. Of course when Windows 8 came out, one might say you have the same learning curve eitherway. Or even, when people have to fix things in Vista. This one might be debatable.
    _________________________________________
    The pros to me have been security, stability, and generally much less "bloat". Again, you can add bloat if you want to bling your desktop, but Windows generally seems to waste resources and be inefficient.

    The journey into Linux has many incidental benefits just from the learning experience. You are far more likely to begin learning about IPaddresses and networking concepts or try to PING to test a connection.

    If you take the initiative to turn on the Firewall, I think you'll be far less likely to get hacked and you'll skate by Viruses.

    In a market sense, supporting an alternative may be like a check against M$ reach toward monopoly. Seriously, without Linux would we have Android Phones or even ChromeBooks?
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  4. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I did not check my list against everyone else's to remove duplicates. So, some duplicates may be seen.

    Cons:

    1. Many software companies do not make software for Linux. This means there is a MAC and/or a Windows only version. Users could try running such Windows software in WINE, but if it does not work, then that software cannot be used on the Linux system.

    2. Linux lacks Blu-ray support.


    3. There is more software for Windows than Linux.

    4. Although this point can be debated a lot, most people do agree that Windows is easier to use.

    5. Many hardware manufacturers do not support Linux, so the kernel developers must make their own drivers. This may mean that Linux users would need to wait a while before a device is compatible with a Linux system.


    Pros:

    1. Linux rarely gets malware, spyware, and adware. Linux was designed to be very secure. Now, many users will argue that because there are fewer Linux users than Windows users this the ratio of users to viruses accounts for this. Well, actually not. There are fewer viruses per Linux system/user than viruses per Windows system/user. As of 2013, there are 60000 none Windows viruses and 40 Linux viruses. According to W3Schools.com, in May 2013, 4.9% of visitors were using Linux and 82.5% used Windows. This comes out to about ten viruses per percent of Linux users and 730 viruses per percent of Windows users. These two ratios are very different.

    2. Linux is absolutely free because it is licensed under the GPLv2 license. Anyone from an individual to a large corporation can legally and freely download, install, and use Linux on their systems. Some Linux companies like Canonical and RedHat sell services like support, but the operating systems themselves are free even without purchasing a support license.

    3. Linux can run on a server for months without needing a reboot. Some distros can run up to a year before a reboot is considered.

    4. Linux supports a large variety of network devices and protocols.

    5. Linux has fully developed multitasking abilities. The kernel can handle many processes at once without interference.

    6. Linux is open-source. This means that anyone can view the code that make Linux. Users can copy the code and modify it as they please, but their new code must remain under the same license. This also allows users to find and fix bugs themselves if needed.

    7. Linux is highly customizable on many levels. Users can customize low-level software like the kernel up to themes in the GUI. For instance, users can use a specific kernel version or they can make their own and install it. Users can even change the login screen and the desktop interface.

    8. Linux has many different forms to choose from, all of which are free and legal to download. If users are needing a distro specific for graphic design or gaming, there is a distro to satisfy those needs.

    9. Some for-profit companies make proprietary software. Users that prefer proprietary software can still obtain some for Linux (hopefully legally).

    10. Linux (including many of the newest versions) can run well on older PCs. This allows users to continue using older hardware.

    11. Many Linux distros have a smaller resource footprint than Windows. This frees more RAM and CPU resources to be used towards other tasks.

    12. Most Linux support is free. To solve issues or get answers, ask for help on Linux forums like this one (Linux.org).

    13. Linux distributions do not have the multiple editions like Windows. For instance, Windows 7 has a Starter, Home Basic, Enterprise, etc. editions while Ubuntu is just Ubuntu and CentOS is CentOS. This means Linux is not restricted. For which ever distro a user installs, they know that they installed the best form of the distro.

    14. Linux uses a shell that has been patched, fixed, and tested for years - BASH. BASH is a stable shell that was made 1989. However, Windows used Powershell since 2006.

    15. Linux has larger support for processors than Windows.

    16. Linux supports more filesystems than Windows. With a Linux system, users can use memory cards that are formatted for Windows, Mac, Amiga, or any other operating system. Linux also supports a large variety of virtual and network filesystems.

    17. Bugs and issues are fixed more quickly in Linux than Windows.

    18. Most Linux distros shutdown and restart faster than Windows.

    19. Linux has a large range of uses. Linux can be used as a workstation, any type of server, firewall, router, supercomputer, embedded system, etc.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  5. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    @Cyber-Berserker and @Videodrome - Nice work! I see that we have enough to make a good-sized article. I will wait until Sunday before I start compiling everything together. Plus, I want to give other users time to contribute their lists.
  6. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Since we are all contributing to this article, we should probably vote/agree on a title. I suggest "Yin, Yang, Tux". The slide/image for the article can display Tux with the Yin-yang symbol on his belly. Maybe the background can be some oriental-martial arts scene (Public Domain image though).
  7. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Yes, in my opinion, Linux performs better than OS X. Apple products are nice, but they can be better. (However, Apple products can beat Microsoft products any day of the week)
  8. arochester

    arochester Well-Known Member

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  9. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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  10. RoseHosting

    RoseHosting New Member

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    pros:

    Customizability - uninstall what you don't need, which can make your machine dedicated to the task you want it to do, running the necessary software only. In the win/osx case you can only add/remove programs, while the 'core' bloat stays. This leads to another 'pro' - speed.

    Speed - because of the lack of bloat on the system (to which win/osx users are used to already) and the possibility to configure it exactly the way one wants/needs.

    Learning Opportunity - because of the knowledge one gathers even by just trying to get along, most of the time without eve noticing. Like it or not, you get more expert-level knowledge on the basics and the way the normal computer works etc. which can eventually lead to a more computer-literate population.

    Free (in any mean) - this might be the greatest 'pro' which also leads to a significant 'con'...in the 'cons' part.

    Stability - it's not a surprise at all to see a tux machine with uptime > 1000 days. Win system can withstand not more than a week. Even with no viruses/regular updates. In most cases, some of the programs on the machine simply stucks and of course, the whole machine needs a reboot. My experience, at least. I can't really discuss any similar experiences with osx.

    cons:

    Learning Curve - even though a BIG pro, there are users that consider it a con. Some (plenty??) of the users just want the computer to run and for them to just click on the mouse and not have anything to do with it's errors and log files, numbers, dots, colons and semicolons.

    Interesting, but I've engaged this discussion couple of times, and I've found that plenty of windows users find rebooting a machine the perfect answer. Even if you try to explain that only one look at the log files can tell you where the issue is and which exactly service needs an attention, you get head nods in disapproval usually followed by a 'too complicated' comment. It might sound like I'm bashing those users, while in fact, I completely understand and to some extent justify that attitude - not everyone can or wants to do it. Not everyone has the time or the will to.

    Free - why a con? It's free, which means noone is particularly interested in advertising it or engaging a marketing campaign (or at least one as loud as Microsoft's or Apple's), so everyday people watching TV and surfing all day long have mostly heard of those two names.

    p.s. Yin, Yang, Tux is the name to go :)

    Thanks for the post, excellent idea.
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  11. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Aloha and welcome to Linux.org! Thanks for your contribution. Also, thanks for the alternate view on Linux being free. That point will make the article interesting and different from others like it.
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  12. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    I consider Wine a negative. Wine is a crutch that can hinder a complete move from Windows.:D

    Although I understand the basis of that statement, I would argue there is more software for Linux. Compare the number of GUIs, file managers and video players available for Linux versus the number available for Windows. Microsoft and its evil allies cannot beat Debian's repository of 40,000 packages.

    I would change that to, "Most Linux distributions do not have the multiple editions like Windows." One example of a distro with different versions is Vector. One free (basic) version and two purchased versions.

    But that raises the acrimonius question, should those people be using Linux?

    No interest or no money to pay for advertising?
  13. RoseHosting

    RoseHosting New Member

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    Of course they should! Of course, I missed the part that for some of them (friends, brother etc) I have 'forced' Linux (Ubuntu, Mint) installations (mostly dual-boots just in case they get nostalgic for Win) and they actually like it because to-day there is still no need of the magical reboot-fix. No fix needed at all, actually. My point: with the right access and representation, they will figure that [Linux] can be as simple, or even simpler to use than Windows.
    Interest means money in the advertising world, don't you agree? :)
    Regards!
  14. lobo

    lobo Active Member

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    Linux is a kernel.

    GNU/Linux is an operating system which comes in a variety of forms in the shape of distributions.

    Many of the pros and cons of either are subjective.

    For example con no. 3 "there is more software for Windows than Linux" is entirely based on opinions and individual requirements, because it depends on the individual's needs. If I want a GNU userland and bash shell, then windows is not the way to go. If I want to run gnome-shell or KDE, then windows is not much use either...

    And con no. 4 "Although this point can be debated a lot, most people do agree that Windows is easier to use". You've made it clear that this not a fact, but pretty much popular opinion or hearsay from the start, so it hardly has a place in this article. I find windows almost impossible to use, especially from Vista onwards, so this isn't true for everyone.

    Pro no. 1 - With reference to the malware. You're talking strictly of home desktop GNU/Linux users vs home desktop windows users. You have neglected servers (the fact that most of the web is running on Linux (or something that is not windows) embedded devices, etc, etc - is a testament that GNU/Linux is far more secure.

    Pro no. 2 - You should substitute GPL v2 for "free software licences" as - assuming you are referring to distributions and not the kernel - there are multiple licences involved, including GPL, LGPL, BSD, MIT, etc...

    Pro no 15. Would be better versed as "Linux supports many more architectures than Windows".
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  15. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    For most things in life, most pros and cons are subjective. When I compile this, I plan to break up the pros and cons by category, so ones that are largely opinion based, but have a majority on one side, will have their section. Debating is good. That will stimulate activity on these forums.

    True, Linux is a kernel and GNU/Linux is what we are discussing. Many people say Linux instead of GNU/Linux (including me), but we know what the speaker/writer means.
  16. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    Irrelevant. Interest also means money in banking, but has nothing to do with Linux. Other than Red Hat and perhaps Ubuntu, disros do not have money for advertising, so they cannot advertise. There is no connection between not advertising and not having interest in it (if they could do it).

    I agree. After not using Windows for a few years, if I am forced to use it, say at work, I am lost. For the most part, ease of use equates to familiarity.
  17. lobo

    lobo Active Member

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    In an article like this pros and cons should be fact based - the general consensus is that no one has heard of Linux anyway, so on that basis why bother doing the article?

    What many people say may be incorrect - especially in this day and age where misinformation and bullshit is spread so easily and quickly over social media by the gullible. An article based on what "many people" think and say is not going to be worth the time and effort - in fact it will be pretty much the same watered down tech press dross that you can easily find by a quick SoTFW...

    By calling GNU/Linux Linux, you're not saying "oh well we all know it's short for GNU/Linux", you're actually misinforming people who will read this and believe that the OS is called "Linux". With a domain name like "linux.org" you have some responsibility.

    I'm surprised that someone who has taken such time and effort over his articles on the kernel is going down this dumbed down route...
  18. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Okay, I will leave out opinion-based pros and cons.
  19. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I am now compiling the article. I will submit it to Rob next Sunday. If any of you would like to review it before submission, see the "conversation" that I will setup between everyone on this thread. By the way, everyone that post on this thread will be listed as a contributor to this article.

    NOTE: This website will send you notification when the conversation is setup, so if you do not see it yet, then that is because I have not created it yet.
  20. Tux1342

    Tux1342 New Member

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    Don't know if this was posted yet, but packaging sucks, devs have to port there software to every different packaging type to have support, which is why lsb exists, but no one follows that...

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