An Alternative to Microsoft Windows

Tux, the Linux mascot, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing in 1996

Larry Ewing

Tux, the Linux mascot, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing in 1996

Windows licenses are getting quite expensive, as well as the hardware compatibility with such an OS. (Windows Home can run you as much as $180 on Microsoft’s official website per key.) As such, people are looking for cheaper, better alternatives. One such alternative is the Linux operating system.

Linux is an operating system, like windows or Mac OS. This means it takes inputs from the computer and makes it into interactive images on the screen. They help a user manage programs and data easier.

The difference is, Linux is a free open source operating system. This means all of the programming in the operating system is open for you to modify. The level of customization makes Linux versatile.

This allows Linux to have many clear advantages over other operating systems. One of the less obvious advantages is the fact that there are no viruses with the system. Because of relatively small amount of users, there are hardly any viruses targeting Linux. This means you are mostly secure while browsing the internet.

However, there is also a trade off to having few users as most programs will not support a Linux version. Many programs and video games do not have Linux versions. This also includes essential drivers for hardware like keyboards, mice, essential hardware,  and even some monitors. Essentially, it means you might not be able to use your favorite programs or hardware and have to find alternatives.

Another advantage of Linux though is that most of these can be overcome with some fixes. These fixes can be more complex but it will get the programs you love on Linux. These solutions include using a windows virtual machine, essentially a computer in a computer, or Wine and other projects made by the Linux community to get windows programs to work on a Linux system.

The drawback is it could be hard to get working if you are not that experienced with technology. If you are not the most tech savvy person you may find yourself piling through numerous forms and pages trying to find solutions to the most uncommon Linux problems. The reason is, Linux is a much smaller operating system with multiple distributions; meaning only a handful of people actually know how to help you with your problem. However, the community is willing to help new users and many guides exist on multiple problems.

The Linux operating system is a great option for the more advanced computer user who wants a secure way to do work and an alternative to the expensive Windows operating system. Its free and generally easy to use.