10 Reasons for Switching to Linux

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Linux has always been the geek’s favorite operating system. However, times are changing and Linux is now being promoted to suit the everyday user. Linux has its own share of pros and cons but the tide seems to be turning in its favor, as hardware vendors are starting to ship their systems with Linux pre-installed (a tactic to save OS costs). Curiosity about Linux is on the rise among computer users and the debate is on whether or not to make the switch to Linux.
In order to ease the confusion a little, here are the top ten reasons as to why you need to switch to Linux today!
1. Security
Linux is based on the rigid UNIX Operating system, which is famous for its strict User Permissions feature. Linux incorporates this feature into its core and this makes it virtually unbeatable in terms of security. The majority of viruses/malware on the internet are targeted towards the more popular Windows operating system, and they are useless against any Linux system.
2. Free
The phrase “Free and Open-Source Software”(FOSS) is often confusing to some people, and to avoid this confusion, the community came up with the meaning of FOSS as Free as in freedom. However, Linux is “free” no matter how you see it. Most Linux distributions are completely free of cost and you can download them immediately without paying a dime.
3. Speed
One of the most popular flavors of Linux, called Ubuntu, boots up in just ten seconds. That’s right, all it takes is ten seconds from the power-up screen to reaching the desktop. This level of speed is unheard of in other popular operating systems. Linux races ahead in terms of performance speed as well. Even after using it for five-six months with a large number of programs installed, Linux doesn’t show any difference in speed.
4. Hardware-independent
This is yet another selling point for Linux. No matter how old your system is, or what kind of hardware it is built from, you’ll definitely find a flavor of Linux ready to run on it. There are custom-made Linux flavors (called distributions) which are designed to support old hardware and run with minimum memory and hard disk requirements.
5. Robust Platform
Linux isn’t 100% crash-proof but finding a user who faces crashes regularly is a very rare thing. Unless the user is running some unstable code/application, there won’t be any instance where the system crashes suddenly. This is the main reason why large corporations prefer to use Linux for running their servers.
6. Excellent community-support
Linux is backed-up by a huge community full of active users helping each other on the way. New users will undoubtedly have many questions on how to use their new Linux OS seamlessly. They can get their doubts cleared at one of the many forums providing free support.
7. Spoilt for choice
Linux is all about choices. There are many distributions to choose from, and each distribution may have a number of variations, such as 32-bit, 64-bit, desktop edition, server edition,it even runs on your netbooks and there’s almost always the choice of choosing between two popular desktop environments, known as GNOME and KDE. So many choices might seem daunting to the new user, but they actually help improve the experience for new users, who can choose the variant that suits them the best.
8. Learning about new environments
When Linus Torvalds first created Linux, he never expected that it would become one of the most intensely-researched operating systems ever! There are thousands of developers all over the world hacking (not that hacking!) into the Linux kernel trying to make useful changes and improve the experience for the whole community. While regular users need not bother about coding or such, they will automatically get to learn about using different kinds of environments. Using Linux means learning small tricks that make it a fun experience.
9. Encouraging open-source software
Open-source software is touted to the future of the software industry. While not every developer would like to release their software free of cost, making the source-code open would definitely help in stabilizing the software. Encouraging users to use Linux would help support the cause of open-source software in a large way.
10. Free as in freedom
This may not seem much to new users, but for those with programming skills Linux proves to be a gold-mine because it comes along with the source-code, and the users are free to modify it as they like and re-distribute it as well.
Each of these reasons could be expanded into a mighty-sized article, but the purpose of this article is to give you ten quick reasons for switching to Linux. Now that you’ve got them, why not consider giving it a try? Discover the freedom of using Linux and you’ll soon wonder why you didn’t shut down your Windows earlier!
Zaid Aijaz
Author is a columnist & maintains a tech blog at www.kashtech.info

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