If you were to introduce your grandma or kids to their first computer, would you give them Windows or Linux? I believe Linux is easier to use than Windows, and is a better option for inexperienced computer users.
Linux has come a very long way in the last few years. Back in the day, Linux was difficult to use, and was mainly geared towards experienced computer users. Nowadays, Linux is easier to use than ever. It’s secure, stable, fast, has excellent hardware support, and is easy to use.
If you are only familiar with Windows, and have grown accustomed to various applications, Linux might be frustrating. This is because you can’t run most Windows programs, but there are free and open-source alternatives to almost any Windows application. There is even a Windows emulator for Linux called WINE, which allows users to run most Windows programs, including a lot of PC games. Software developers are starting to catch on, and are developing Linux versions of their applications, and many of the programs Windows users have grown accustomed to are also available on Linux.
I’ve introduced a lot of people to Linux, and a lot of them were totally new to using computers. Even my 3 year old son uses Ubuntu Linux on his own laptop! I’ve also had a lot of success with introducing senior citizens to Linux, and to anyone that keeps an open mind, and is ready to try something different.
Let’s face it, most users spend the majority of their time on their computer using their web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari. With Linux you can easily run Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Konqueror (based on Safari). Browsing the web on Linux is practically identical to browsing on Windows, but is much more secure and stable.
The following list gives the top reasons why Linux is easier to use than Windows:
1. Package manager;
Installing applications in Linux is a breeze. Almost all Linux distributions have a package manager or “software center”, which allows users to install applications safely and easily. With Linux, there is no need to hunt down installation files off the web. This is similar to the “AppStore” on Apple devices such as the iPhone and other smart phones. Package managers make installing and uninstalling software very easy, and allow users to browse packages by category and sort by popularity. Software in the package managers are well maintained, and allows users to update all programs at once with the click of a button. In Windows, users have to update each program individually, and programs have to be downloaded from websites. When users install software with a package manager, they can trust the applications are safe because they are downloaded from a trusted source.
2, Excellent hardware support;
Linux has excellent out-of-the-box hardware support. No more hunting down drivers or using discs to get your devices working. Just plug your device in, and no setup is required. With some devices that use proprietary drivers, you might have to use a utility to install. Linux distros like Ubuntu come with a utility called “Additional Drivers” which makes installing restricted drivers very easy.
3. Better security and no need to worry about viruses, spyware, and malware;
When using Linux for your desktop or laptop PC, you won’t have to worry about viruses nearly as much as you would have to when using a Windows machine, In the desktop environment, Linux almost never gets targeted with viruses, so unless you are running a full Linux server, you don’t have to worry about getting infected. There is no confusing or expensive antivirus software slowing you down, and you don’t really have to worry about infections or having your system compromised.
Overall, Linux is much more secure than Windows and it’s much less likely you will ever get attacked by a hacker or have to worry about security threats. A lot of people assume Linux is secure only because it’s not as popular as Windows. This is likely one of the reasons, but their is much more to it than that.
Linux is much more restrictive with user permissions and has a clear separation from privileges. Almost all distributions of Linux have a package manager, which users install their software. This helps prevent viruses and vulnerabilities because the packages are regularly maintained and checked for exploits.. Privilege escalation plays a big part in Linux security. Even if something is compromised, most (if not all) processes these days don’t run with enough permissions to magnify that one breach into an entire system compromise (i.e. insertion of malware)
4. Excellent free support;
Linux has a very large community of free support offered by users helping each other. There are free forums, chat rooms, and guides all throughout the internet. The majority of Linux distributions also offer commercial technical support, so if the free support doesn’t meet your needs, this is an option as well.
5. Less maintenance required overall;
Unlike Windows, Linux requires almost no maintenance whatsoever. There is no defragmenting the hard drive, no malware/virus scans, and no utilities needed to keep it running smoothly. Junk doesn’t pile up as easily in Linux, and unlike Windows, a factory restore, system restore, or full reinstall is rarely ever necessary.
6. Linux stays fast overtime, and doesn’t slow down like Windows;
After some time Windows tends to slow down. The list of programs and services running in the background grows, and important system files become corrupted, leading to problems and a clunky computer. Having a slow computer makes using a computer very difficult and frustrating, and is something you don’t need to worry about if running Linux.
7. Developer friendly;
Developing your own software and applications on Linux is a breeze compared to Windows. No need to buy expensive software in order to write your own software. Everything is free and readily available. Linux is free, and the majority of Linux applications are open-source, which means you can easily see the source code that runs everything. You are free to modify, edit, or redistribute the code. This gives users total freedom over their system, which is something not available in Windows.
9. Linux is extremely stable;
Linux rarely ever crashes or gets serious errors, and is much more stable overall than Windows. There is a reason that large corporations and the majority of web servers that power the web use Linux. Reliability is important. Computers are not going to have a good experience if their computer is constantly crashing and having bugs. Linux does not get BSOD (Blue Screen’s of Death), and almost never crashes. I’ve been running Linux since 1999, and have never had a serious crash or problem with Linux, or an infection of any kind. Overall Linux doesn’t get serious bugs as Windows, and if the problem ever does arise, its very easy to boot to a Linux live disc and fix.
10. Linux is FOSS (free / open source);
Linux itself is completely free, and the vast majority of Linux applications are free and open-source. This gives users freedom to experiment and utilize software and use features that normally you’d have to pay big bucks for if using Windows. Linux being free also makes it easier to repair. For example, if your hard drive crashes in Windows you have to have a functioning factory restore partition, or a Windows disc in order to do a full reinstall. Getting a Windows disc will easily cost over $100, whereas with Linux, creating a disc is free and easy to download. Upgrading to the newest version of Linux is also free, whereas with Windows it will cost you big bucks.
11. You can run Linux from a CD, DVD, or USB drive without installing it.
You can very easily run Linux directly from a CD, DVD, or USB flash stick, even if your computer has a broken or missing hard drive! This is very useful if you are having any problems with your current Linux installation, and need to fix problems, backup files, or recover data. This is also useful if you want to use Linux on PC but don’t want to commit to installing.
NOTE: It’s also possible to run Windows live with BartPE, but it’s much difficult to setup than Linux and is very buggy and slow.
12. Very easy to setup advanced networking of almost any kind.
Linux is the best choice for networking. With a couple simple commands or clicks, Linux users can easily setup advanced networking. It’s SUPER easy to setup a full web server, file server, or screen sharing. Networking between other computers is a breeze, even if they are running a different operating system.
13. Easy to install
Linux is now very easy to install. After you boot to the CD,DVD, or USB flash stick, you can choose to install side by side Windows, or erase the entire disc and install Linux. Ubuntu even has a Windows installed (WUBI), which allows users to install Ubuntu from within Windows, sort of like its a Windows application. The installation is painless and child’s play compared to installing Windows.
14. Linux is faster and runs well on old PC’s
Linux runs faster than Windows. There are bare-bone distributions that have a very minimalistic graphical interface, but are lightening fast, even on very old computers.
Do you disagree and think Windows is easier to use than Windows? Please comment and give your thoughts.
Article by Cameron Voss of Eugene Computer Geeks. Cameron is an experienced Linux user and a computer technician / web designer in the Eugene, Oregon area.