I work in the IT industry as a programmer and generally produce web applications. Most of these applications use Windows technology such as .NET or ASP etc and so in my working world I don’t use LINUX.
When you work in a computing environment the conversation can sometimes lead to problems people are having with their PC at home or someone will say they have a virus and when I mention that I use LINUX the eyebrows are raised.
It is amazing how many people I meet that say they would use LINUX but they aren’t sure because it doesn’t run all the software that Windows runs.
For me these people are missing the point. For nearly every Windows program there is an equivalent LINUX program. There are some things that are available for Windows that may not be available for LINUX yet but you know what, there are some things available for LINUX that aren’t available for Windows because believe it or not Microsoft doesn’t have a monopoly on ideas.
Apple have recently overtaken Microsoft as the leading technology company and this is largely because Microsoft have stood still and Apple have led the way with products that have captured the people’s imagination. I’m not a fan of Apple as they are overprotective of their hardware and software and what they have recently done to Adobe annoys me. Apple seem to contantly have lawsuits on the go.
The great thing about LINUX is you can usually try it without overwriting your hard drive by just running straight from the live CD.
For me there are a lot of good reasons for choosing LINUX over Windows such as cost (Windows 7 costs £71 for home edition, £97 for professional and £82 for ultimate edition, LINUX costs whatever you are willing to donate). Consider also that most software applications on LINUX are also free. Microsoft Office which costs over £100 on Windows has an equivalent on LINUX called OpenOffice which is free. I would actually say that I now prefer OpenOffice to Microsoft Office.
There are some really great software titles available for LINUX such as GIMP for editing images in a similar way to Photoshop. There is of course the Firefox web browser which is far better than Internet Explorer. For music there is Ripper X for Ripping CDs, Gnomad and Rhythmbox for playing music.
As well as providing great software titles LINUX also provides a great level of security. I have never had the slightest sniff of a virus or intruder on my machine since running LINUX.
So what will make you switch to LINUX? What I would say is don’t do it for the sake of it. Try it out like I did years ago. Try to do all the most common things you would do on your PC at home and see if you can do them. When you are happy that LINUX would work for you go for a full install and then “The world is yours, my son”.