If you’re an average computer user then chances are you’ve heard of Linux…and probably have a reflexive apprehension at the mere mention of the word. I don’t blame you. The whole “Linux” ecosystem is an intimidating proposition for regular, everyday computer users. But I’ve just discovered a neat website that cuts through all the geek-speak-mumbo-jumbo to lay it all out in PLAIN, SIMPLE English. That’s right, here is a [oh how can I put this] almost brochure-like overview of the essential characteristics of Linux that make it (arguably) better than Windows – even for regular computer users. Still skeptical? Then I’m just going to have to ask you to trust me, and keep reading.
Before linking over to the site allow me to offer my own plain English overview of what “Linux” actually is. In other words, what does it mean when someone says the word, “Linux.” Here goes: Linux is a special piece of code that was designed to form the basis of an Operating System. By now you probably know that Windows is an Operating System that you pay for. What people do with this Linux “kernel” is build upon it until a fully functional Operating System is formed. Entire communities of talented and generous programmers have done this, many times over, producing numerous unique (and free) Operating Systems. Each one of these Operating Systems has its own name, but because they all use the Linux “kernel” they are considered “Linux” Operating Systems…and there are literally hundreds of these Linux-based Operating Systems out there. But there’s really no reason to get overwhelmed by this fact as really, when it comes down to it, only a small handful of them have been purposefully geared toward average computer users. In Geek Speak these individual variations are referred to as “distributions;” but all you really need to know is that each one is a unique Operating System designed to let people use their computer (only they’re free). So when someone says they run “Linux” what they are really saying is that they run an Operating System based on Linux. The actual name of the Operating System they use could be anything. But for average computer users, who just want something that works, something that’s designed to be super user-friendly, the only “distributions” of “Linux” you really need to consider for the moment are Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Anything else having to do with the world of Linux isn’t really important at this point, and can easily be learned, slowly and steadily, once the Linux Operating System you’ve chosen is actually up and running.
By the way, most Linux “distributions” are designed (on purpose) to run side-by-side with Windows…without harming your Windows installation or personal files in any way…for the very purpose of letting new users try it out (before making the switch). This way you can approach the new Operating System at your own pace and comfort level, taking as much time as you need to familiarize yourself with the subtle differences and other unique features of a Free Operating System.
Still with me? Alright then.
With this basic understanding of what Linux is, we can then move on to understanding Why Linux is better. <– click the link.
Already a card-carrying member of the Linux community? Then please pay a visit to a post I wrote this past July, that attempts to outline a few things the Linux community could probably do better when it comes to promoting Linux to regular, everyday computer users – LINK.