A Different Operating System
Linux is an operating system, like Windows is an operating system. Both let you run programs,interact with hardware such as cameras and microphones, and use disk drives. They both have windows, mouse cursors, right-click menus, on-screen clocks, utilities, cool toys ... pretty much everything you could expect.
It is important to realise however, that they can only run their own programs – but there is an equivalent Linux program to most Windows ones . . . . .
Robust & Virus/Spyware Free
Linux is not susceptible to Windows viruses or spyware. Linux itself has practically no viruses, and is inherently a much more secure operating system. Also a Linux computer does not gradually slow down as time goes by, as a Windows one does. Linux is highly valued for servers because of it stability and security.
Simple to Update
With just a few simple commands or mouse clicks, you can update not just your operating system and one or two programs (as you can with Windows), but every single application on your computer. And, unlike Microsoft's once-per-month update cycle for Windows, most Linux distributions fix any problems they find within hours, so updating daily gives you great peace of mind.
Large Software Base
Which Version of Linux?
There are many different versions of Linux (distributions) for desktop and server use. Here are some that we recommend :
- Debian (www.debian.org) is the base for many flavours of Linux. Often thought to be too geeky for an average user, it is a very stable linux distribution that can be used for desktop or server.
** Current version Debian 8.0 - Jessie (26th April 2015)
- Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com) has made huge strides recently with ease of use, wireless connection and software installation. Has several different variations Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu!
- Mint (www.linuxmint.com) This is an easy to install and use offshoot of Ubuntu favoured by many.
- Redhat (www.redhat.com) offers mostly corporate, enterprise solutions with extensive support. There are further useful distributions based around Red Hat such as CentOS (www.centos.org) or Fedora (fedoraproject.org) which is the development distribution for new Red Hat releases.
- Mageia Mageia offers a user friendly distribution with good administration tools.
- openSUSE - (www.opensuse.org) Tumbleweed/Leap 42.1 (4th November 2015) offers good quality desktop with excellent administration and management tools. Tumbleweed is rolling release, Leap fixed.
- Gentoo (www.gentoo.org) is a source based distribution that is optimised for your hardware. Often considered a "geeks" version of Linux but results in a strong, fast running operating system.
** Current version Gentoo 2016 (21st June 2016)