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Why use Linux?

Related articles: Most people reading this article will probably be using Windows 95/8/NT. If you are such a reader and just use your computer for basic wordprocessing and spreadsheets I would recommend that you stick with Windows; for all its faults Windows is easy to use, fairly quick to learn and has some great software.

For everyone else, please read on.

Here are 10 reasons why Linux could be the best operating system for you:

  • A Linux Distribution has thousands of dollars worth of software for no cost (or a couple of dollars if purchased on CD)
  • Linux is a complete operating system that is:
  • stable - the crash of an application is much less likely to bring down the operating system under Linux
  • reliable - Linux servers are often up for hundreds of days compared with the regular reboots required with a Windows system
  • extremely powerful
  • Comes with a complete development environment, including C, C++, Fortran compilers, toolkits such as Qt and scripting languages such as Perl, Awk and sed. A C compiler for Windows alone would set you back hundreds of dollars.
  • Excellent networking facilities: allowing you to share CPUs, share modems etc; all of which are not included or available with Windows 95.
  • The ideal environment to run servers such as a web server (e.g. Apache), or an FTP server.
  • A wide variety of commercial software is available if your needs aren't satisifed by the free software.
  • An operating system that is easily upgradeable. After any length of time a typical installation of Windows and software gets into a complete mess. Often the only way to clear out all the debris is to reformat the hard disk and start again. Linux, however, is much better for maintaining the system.
  • Supports multiple processors as standard.
  • True multi-tasking; the ability to run more than one program at the same time.
  • An excellent window system called X; the equivalent of Windows but much more flexible.
Of course there are many other reasons to use Linux such as the full source code is provided and can be modified but 'regular' application users will unlikely need the source code.

It is possible to set up your system to have more than one operating system on your computer. If you are contemplating using Linux this can be very handy; it lets you still keep Windows 95/NT (e.g. if work commitments require that you use certain software) and use Linux. This will require creating partitions on your Hard Disk. Documentation that accompanies most Linux distributions will explain how to create a 'multi-boot' system.


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