Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux


 Advantages of Linux:


Freedom!

Most Linux distros are free….. users do not need to pay for a copy, but this is only one aspect of freedom enjoyed by Linux users! In addition, Linux distros can be freely downloaded and legally installed on as many computers as you want and freely (and legally) given to other people. Because most distros are open source, you have access to the source code and can customize Linux to be whatever you want it to be; you can even create your own distro if you like!Linux is easy to install!  In many instances, it is actually easier to install Linux to your computer than Windows. Click here to learn more about how to download and install Linux to your computer [1].

Linux is very stable!

Linux systems rarely crash, and when they do, the whole system normally does not go down. The “blue screen of death” familiar to Windows users is not a worry for Linux users.

Linux is less vulnerable to computer malware!

Because most computer malware are designed to attack Windows (often through Active X which is not typically found in Linux) the odds are considerably less for Linux to be infected with a virus than Windows [2]. The same holds true with spyware, trojans, and worms. While Linux malware does exist, they are relatively few in number and none have become widespread so far [3]. While Linux is very secure by its nature, users should still employ good sense while surfing the Internet; click here to learn more [4]. As long as Linux users download and install only from their distro’s official software repository, then security is greatly increased. One nice security feature In Linux is that files must be made to be executable by someone with administrator privileges, which requires a password. So even if a Linux virus is loaded on a Linux computer, it will not be able to run without the user who has administrator privileges intentionally making it executable. Another important aspect of Linux security is the fact that it is open source. Because the programing code is available for anyone to view, there are many eyes constantly examining it, which makes it highly difficult for malware to be hidden within the code [5]. Also, security patches normally come much quicker to Linux than other operating systems because so many people are contributing to it. Here are some resources with more information about Linux security and why Linux computers are much less likely than Windows to ever become infected with a virus:

Why Linux is More Secure Than Windows [6]
Do I Need an Antivirus Program on Linux? [7]
The Big Ol’ Ubuntu Security Rescource [8]
Ubuntu Documentation: Antivirus [9]
Linux Security for Beginners [10]
Linux Malware – Wikipedia Article [11]

Linux typically does not slow down over time!

Unlike Windows, Linux does not easily become bogged down with spyware, viruses, trojans, etc., which can greatly reduce a computer’s performance. Also, because Linux does not have a registry like Windows, it is not plagued with registry errors which can slow down a computer over time. Finally, the hard drives on Windows (especially Windows XP and older) computers need to be defragmented on a regular basis in order to maintain faster performance, due to being formatted in NTFS. On the other hand, because Linux is normally formatted in a different way using ext4 among others, there is no need to defragment a Linux hard drive.

Linux can breathe new life into old computers!

If you have an older computer (especially Pentium III or later) laying around, you can install Linux and in essence have a new computer. In many cases Linux will run faster and you can do all of the basics such as browse the Internet, email, play games, and create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. It should also be mentioned that Linux runs great on newer computers as well.

With Linux, you have so many choices in a wide variety of distros!

Linux comes in all sizes and flavors, which offers a wide variety from which to choose the distro which will best suit your needs. Another advantage of this variety is the innovation that is taking place in the Linux world because it is open source. You can learn more about different Linux distros by going to distrowatch.com.

With many Linux distros, you have access to free software which numbers in the thousands!

Popular distros such as Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, andOpenSUSE offer excellent software repositories within their package managers where virtually any type of software can be downloaded and installed to your Linux system for free. This includes just about anything you can imagine, such as games, educational software, office suites, and much more! Some smaller distros, such asPeppermint OS, LubuntuBodhi Linux, and Puppy Linux are based on Ubuntu and as a result have access to Ubuntu’s software repositories. One very nice aspect of these repositories is that the software found in them has already been tested for compatibility and safety. For example, the thousands of free and open source software found in the Ubuntu Software Center has been tested and examined by Ubuntu, so a user can be confident that the software will be compatible with Ubuntu and will not include malware.

The Software Center in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:
ubuntu-software-center-16-04

A superior method of updating software!

With Linux distros such as Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Fedora and many others, the majority of any software needed can be downloaded, installed, and updated from a central package management system provided by the distro. The result is a very smooth and seamless software updating process for Linux users.

Other Linux advantages!

Click on the following to read a couple articles about Linux advantages:

Linux, the Ultimate UNIX [12]

10 Reasons for Switching to Linux [13]


Disadvantages of Linux:


Many Windows programs will not run in Linux.

iTunes, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and many other Windows programs will not run natively in Linux. The good news is that there are decent ways around most of these problems. For example, music libraries can be managed with an iPod using programs such asAmarok, Banshee, or Rhythmbox in Linux. Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are outstanding Internet browsers which can be used in the place of Internet Explorer. It is also possible to run iTunes in Linux using Wine, VirtualBox, or Parallels, though it is difficult to have good results. LibreOffice and OpenOffice are excellent office suites which can be used in the place of Microsoft Office, but while overall compatibility in both suites is good with Microsoft Office formats, it is not perfect. Click here to learn more about Linux equivalents to software commonly used in Windows [14].

There is a smaller selection of peripheral hardware drivers for Linux.

There is a smaller selection of peripheral hardware drivers (for printers, scanners, and other devices) in Linux as compared to Windows, though many new Linux hardware drivers are constantly being added. Closely related to this issue is the fact that not all Linux distros work with all sets of computer hardware, so a person may need to try more than one distro to find one which works well with his/her computer. When it comes to printers, some manufacturers offer better Linux support than others; for example, HP offers excellent printer support for Linux. Click hereto learn more about Linux hardware compatibility [15].

There is a learning curve for people who are new to Linux.

Despite this, most Linux distros, especially the major ones, are very intuitive and user-friendly. Also, the desktop environments in Linux are in many ways similar to Windows in their appearance. One thing which should be emphasized is that there is also a learning curve for Windows XP users who switch to a newer version of Windows. Click here to learn more about the major Linux desktop environments and to see pictures of them [16].

References:

1.    ^ “How to Install Linux.” http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/how-to-install-linux.
2.    ^ “Why Linux is More Secure than Windows.” http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/202452/why_linux_is_more_secure_than_windows.html.
3.    ^ “The Short Life and Hard Times of a Linux Virus.” http://librenix.com/?inode=21.
4.    ^ “Tips for Better Computer Security.” http://www.renewablepcs.com/tips-for-better-computer-security.
5.    ^ “Why Linux is More Secure than Windows.” http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/202452/why_linux_is_more_secure_than_windows.html.
6.    ^ Ibid.
7.    ^ “Do I Need an AntiVirus Program on Linux?” http://techthrob.com/2009/03/02/do-i-need-an-antivirus-program-on-linux/.
8.    ^ “The Big Ol’ Ubuntu Security Resource.” http://www.itsecurity.com/features/ubuntu-secure-install-resource/.
9.    ^ “Ubuntu Documentation: Antivirus.” https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Antivirus.
10.    ^ “Linux Security for Beginners.” http://www.linuxtopia.org/LinuxSecurity/.
11.    ^ “Linux Malware.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_malware.
12.    ^ “Linux, the Ultimate Unix.” http://linux.about.com/cs/linux101/a/linux_2.htm.
13.    ^ “10 Reasons for Switching to Linux.” http://techie-buzz.com/foss/10-reasons-for-switching-to-linux.html.
14.    ^ “Linux Equivalents to Windows Software.” http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/linux-equivalents-to-windows-software.
15.    ^ “Is My Computer Compatible with Linux?” http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/is-my-computer-compatible-with-linux.
16.    ^ “What is the Difference Between GNOME, KDE, and XFCE?” http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce.


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Updated 12/8/2016