Windows intention of relaunching endless sterile warfare here in the style of “my system is better than yours “. No need to burn me by email, it will go directly to the trash. On the other hand, I accept the remarks and constructive criticism. I just want to try to give some elements that can help you decide between Linux and Windows. “Decide” is also a big word, since nothing prevents you from installing the 2 on your computer and switching from one to the other!
Here is a quick comparison of Windows and Linux on various points (it is not exhaustive!). (Color codes: blue = favorable to Linux, red = unfavorable, black: neither favorable nor unfavorable.)
You have to admit: overall, Linux will require more time from you than Windows, especially for the adaptation period. If you are not ready to spend more time, do not switch to Linux. Discharging it, mastering Linux is very rewarding, because not only does it allow you to unders tand what’s going on “inside” (if you want to), but most of all to do exactly what you want with it. The learning curve is steeper, but it goes further. Note that with recent distributions like Ubuntu, Mandriva or Xandros you do not have to get your hands dirty at all if you don’t want to. They are as easy to use as Windows (see more!).
Windows programs do not work under Linux
Linux programs do not work on windows 12 lite. Wine is a program that allows you to run certain Windows software on Linux, but it does not work in 100% of cases. There are projects like Qemu or CoLinux which make it possible to make Linux work in Windows or Windows in Linux, but it is rather risky and the performances are often rather bad. VMWare and VirtualBox are free software that allows Windows to run fully in a window on Linux. This is handy if you need to use software that only exists on Windows at all costs.
Many Linux programs have been ported
Almost all games are designed for Windows and do not run on Linux. Although there are hundreds of small free games for Linux, hardly any large publisher creates games for Linux.
With Wine, you can also run certain Windows games on Linux, but the results are not guaranteed.
Almost all Windows software has its free equivalent under Linux: Open Office can replace Microsoft Office , K3B can replace Easy CD Creator , etc.
Most distributions come with software lists: Just select one and it will be automatically downloaded, installed and configured.
But there is always some rare software under Windows which do not have their equivalent under Linux!
Many Linux distributions are free. Sounds like nothing, but not everyone can pay 150 € for Windows XP. It is very expensive. By its free, Linux allows the democratization of computing.
Even paid Linux distributions are affordable. Take Mandriva Discovery , a complete Linux system supplied with OpenOffice and everything you need: 40 euros (And I’m not talking about Ubuntu : The complete operating system + OpenOffice office suite = 0 €). Compare with Microsoft: Windows XP + Office XP: 150 + 500 = 650 € (!) To be able to do the same job. It’s overpriced.
Microsoft has abandoned Windows 95 and NT. Windows 98 will be abandoned in 2006. This means that there will be no more security patches from Microsoft if a flaw is discovered. To continue working safely, you will be required to purchase Windows XP or Windows Vista. It is a forced march.
With Linux the updates are generally continuous and incremental: you make your system evolve. You don’t have to throw your entire system in the trash, and most importantly no one forces you to buy a new one.
However, some distributors only provide updates for a limited time. For example, when a version of Ubuntu is released, it is only supported for 18 months. After this delay, security vulnerabilities are no longer corrected and you have to upgrade to the new version to take advantage of it.
Only paid Linux distributions to have technical support (telephone, internet, etc.). With free Linux distributions, you will have no support. This disadvantage is largely minimized by the fact that there is a lot of help on the internet (documentation and help forums).