Considering switching OS to Linux pros/cons


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Jul 21, 2017
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I am a complete Linux newbie, I've been using Windows earlier and now I'm swearing to Mac. However, I wish to change my "surroundings" (or at least learn a new OS). What are the pros/cons to Linux? I consider myself fairly adaptable and with an at least average flair for tech. I figured this was the place to ask the question :)

I look forward to reading your pros/cons.


Hi Tina, and welcome! Many people I know who use Macs love them, but to me they have always been unreasonably expensive. Both MacOS and Linux are much better secured against malware and viruses than Windows. But nothing is totally secure or perfect, and you should keep up to date with whatever system you choose.

Pros: Linux is free. You can install it on practically any PC in any price range (pay for good hardware, not for Windows). Linux is configurable... very configurable. That takes some learning, but it gives you many more options to make a desktop that is unique to you and your tastes. Some Linux versions have very low system requirements, so they can run on very old hardware and give old machines new life and purpose. Many Windows programs you may be used to are also compatible with Linux (like Firefox and Chrome) and some other Windows programs can be run with a special Windows application layer called, Wine... but there are many alternative programs to do the tasks you want that do not have a Windows equivalent. If you're used to Microsoft Office, you may find that LibreOffice works just as well, and it is included by default in most Linux systems (and it is also free).

Cons: You have to learn some new stuff, and some new "lingo" if you need to talk technical. If you're used to referring to a hard drive as "C:" you will find that Linux may call it something like, "/dev/sda". These things take time, and no one learns everything all at once. For some things, there may be no equivalent program to something you used in Windows, but I'd think that is rare... but you may not like the equivalent programs (at least until you get used to them). There are times that some hardware can be difficult to set up, and sometimes even impossible... because hardware often needs "drivers" and the companies do not always make a proper driver for Linux. So, printers, for example, can be a problem... and it's best to use HP brand printers for better Linux support if you're shopping for a printer, but Linux can still make many other brands work too, so you may be able to use what you already have. Sometimes it takes extra effort to get WiFi to work in Linux, but it is always improving.

The best way to find out roughly how well Linux might work for you, on your computer, is to download one of the many Linux versions available and burn it to a DVD or USB that you can boot on and try it out without making any changes to your current system. This will show you if it finds your WiFi and connects to your Internet, and you can make sure that it will print to your printer (though you may need to install some extra software, even running in the "live mode" that I'm describing (it will install software into RAM for that session). Or another way is to install VirtualBox (free program) into your Windows system and then install Linux in a "virtual machine" inside VirtualBox.

But when you're brand new to Linux, like you are now, things can be discouraging sometimes or seem to be too hard. I can only say that we all started at the same place you are now. "Linux" was just a word that we heard and didn't really understand. And we all had troubles in the beginning. But we learned along the way, and you can too. I hope you'll give it a try and find it to be the best choice of OS as most folks do here on this forum.

Hi Tina, Wizard here.

I would endorse everything friend Atanere has said above, and then just add a little to it.

If you click "Download Linux" above, or just click to this link, , you will find an area our Administrator, Rob, has been building, which offers a portal to a number of popular sites for Linux downloads.

He has 25 there currently, and they are just a fraction of hundreds of choices that can seem overwhelming to some, or attractive to others, for the diversity of Linux options to be had.

Be aware (if you are not already) that in order to try or install Linux, you must first download a .iso file, and then burn it to removable media such as CD/DVD or USB stick. Once burned, you then reboot your PC and amend the BIOS setup (temporarily or permanently) to boot first from that removable medium.

If you tell us some of the specs for your computer (include CPU, RAM, number of drives and storage capacity) we may be better placed to advise.

Cheers and avagudweegend

Hi @atanere and @wizardfromoz, thank you for your advice, I will try dusting off the old PC - if I still have it - and install the new OS on it. I appreciate the time you guys have put into describing the pros/cons and how-to-guides, thank you! I will let you know how it all went! :)
Hi TinaSor, I am new on this forum as well, and started reading your post since I am on the same boat as you, I have a Compaq Presario C500, from like 2008-09 that I don't want to get rid of, after watching so many youtube videos of Linux, I was hooked. I have another laptop, much newer, that I use for school and work, but now that I know about OS Linux, I want to use it on my old laptop to experiment and learn more about it. If you installed the new OS, please share your thoughts. I am still undecided on which version to install, so any suggestions would be nice. Thanks and cheers!

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