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Thread: Linux vs Other Operating Systems : 7 common myths busted

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  1. #1
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    Linux vs Other Operating Systems : 7 common myths busted

    Linux vs Other Operating Systems : 7 common myths busted









    Introduction

    When it comes to operating systems people have always hailed Windows and Mac OS X as the two front-runners of the OS battle. However, due to recent efforts of the ever-growing Linux community, this scenario has changed only to accommodate Linux as a beleaguered underdog. Thanks to its escalating popularity amongst desktop users worldwide, the open source operating system has already been deemed as a serious competitor to Windows and Mac OS X . Similarly on the server side, many corporations are switching to Linux due to its reliability and speed. So then, what is it that makes Linux so special when contrasted with other OS’s namely Windows and Macs? Why are many people switching to an operating system that is not only free but is not even backed by any multi-million dollar corporation? This article answers many such questions.


    Why not Windows or Mac OS X?

    Ok, let us tackle the problems with Windows and Macs first. Windows, developed by Microsoft Corporation, is the Operating System with the largest market share. However, this doesn’t make it the best when it comes to quality and consistency as it is constantly marred with problems of viruses and malware. Also, the initial investment in a Windows PC is much higher than what a consumer expects to pay. First it is the cost of the hardware itself, then the cost of the license to run Windows, then an Office program, and finally to protect it all, a decent antivirus software. In short, the license may carry an affordable price tag but the expenses finally pile up to burn a large hole in the consumer's pocket. As for computers that come with Windows pre-installed, the cost of antivirus, Office utilities and other non-free programs usually overrides the buyer's budget. Furthermore, the version of Windows provided is usually Home or Business edition, which lacks many features the Ultimate version provides.
    Coming to Macintosh computers, they, unlike Microsoft, prefer to sell their software bundled with their own hardware. Apple claims that their design, feature-set and stability are much superior to any of Microsoft products; even if it comes at a very high price point. Nevertheless, Macs, despite their holier-than-thou attitude towards Windows and Linux, are far from being the perfect computers. Consumers and Microsoft employees frequently complain that Macs are significantly overpriced than a normal laptop/PC. Apple does have many quality programs for its users but most of them are highly priced and are not open source. Furthermore, Apple has gained notoriety for making closed, locked-down Mac exclusive products thus creating a walled garden of their own.
    Note: The points mentioned above are not intended to offend any Windows or Mac lovers. I'm merely pointing out that Windows and Macs, contrary to popular belief and marketing claims, are far from being perfect and flawless products.


    Why Linux?

    Afterpointing out all the downsides of Windows and Macs, I come to the main point,that is, why should anyone switch to Linux. We all know that it is for geeks,don't we? Besides, how good can an OS be if it completely free and open source?Let's tackle all these questions one by one.






    Myth 1: Linux is just for geeks

    Linuxis for everyone. While Linux based distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint andFedora are developed with the non-technical user in mind, Slackware and othersappeal to the more geeky ones. Believe it or not, installing Ubuntu is actuallyeasier than a Windows installation , and using it requires no special skills.





    Myth 2 : Linux can’t handle Excel, Word, Powerpoint

    Linuxcan handle all the major file formats when it comes to documents as it comeswith a powerful opensource Office suite called Openoffice.org (soon to bereplaced by Libreoffice). So, apart from doing all the spreadsheets,presentations, and word processing out of the box, Linux can do tasks likepublishing, image editing using only free and open source applications.


    Myth 3 : Linux is free, so it sucks.

    Many people think that Linux, because it is free, cannot be considered as a 'product', and thus, it may not be as good as Windows and Macs. This belief however, is completely wrong. Linux is the result of contributions by millions of users from all around the world, and it is through their incessant efforts that Linux continues to be free. Besides, what’s bad about being free anyway? After all, the best things in life are free; aren’t they?


    Myth 4 : Desktops are dead, so is Linux

    Withthe rapid emergence of smartphones, tablets and a myriad of handheld devicesrunning powerful softwares, the popularity of desktops is slowly falling.However, this process is slow, and many have denied the fact that desktops willget replaced by devices like tablets; at least for the next 5 years. Whicheverway the paradigm shifts, Linux enthusiasts won't be disappointed as almost allthe next-gen gadgets being developed are already capable of running Linux.Consider for example, Android smartphones which are rapidly overtaking Apple'siphones; these devices are running on Android Operating System which is basedon … yes, you guessed it right … Linux. Also when it comes to tablets, Androidpowered tablets have started appearing in the market ready to take on Apple'sipad. Finally, with the steady growth of Linux based netbooks, one can withoutany doubt, conclude that whatever happens to desktops, Linux isn't dead ordying; it is in fact, the future.


    Myth 5 : But Linux can’t handle my favorite software XYZ which is windows-only.

    Linuxmaybe not be capable of running a particular program like Photoshop, but itdoes have an opensource alternative with equivalent features called Gimp. Manysuch closed-source programs exist to which Linux provides great open sourcealternatives. A good way to find those is through this sitewhich provides a list of quality alternatives to many leading applications.Furthermore, a popular software called Wine makes it possible for Linux usersto run many Windows programs without any virtualization or emulation. If thattoo, doesn't suit the user, he or she can always try dual booting which manyLinux users do.






    Myth 6 : Linux can’t do gaming

    Windows, unlike Linux and Macs can always boast of the thousands of games it is capable of running. However, that doesn't mean gaming is an Utopian concept to the Linux world. Many indie developers have started developing games for Linux , and of course many games that run on Windows work flawlessly on Linux thanks to softwares like Wine, PlayonLinux and Transgaming Cedega. Here’s a list of the much-awaited games for Linux in 2011. Also, Steam now works flawlessly and natively on Linux making the OS a hotbed for new innovation in gaming


    Myth 7 : Linux lacks support.

    WhileMicrosoft and Apple both boast of an excellent support, Linux, by default doesn't offer anyprofessional support. To make up for the lack of support, Linux offers multipleways of seeking help; one such way is through forums .The Linux community isvery large and simply posing a question in a forum, one gets a reply within afew minutes and sometimes seconds. Don't believe me? Try asking a valid, Linuxrelated question on linuxquestions.org and a helpful reply will come quickerthan you expect. For the impatient ones, there is IRC; that is, internet relaychat, where many developers and users hang out to helping other users. If thatisn't adequate, one can always buy professional support offered by Ubuntu,which comes at a fair and reasonable price.


    Conclusion

    Summing up, Linux in almost all aspects matches upto its closest competitors and in some areas outstrips them hands down. Thatsaid, Linux’s market share still stands at a meager 2% thanks to widespreadvendor lock-ins and a general lack of awareness amongst non-technical folk.This fallacy however, is slowly being overcome only to make the software worlda free and better place.

  2. #2
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    Re: Linux vs Other Operating Systems : 7 common myths busted

    moved to recurring discussions
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  3. #3
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    Re: Linux vs Other Operating Systems : 7 common myths busted

    Nice write-up, I like it! I would be happy if it went viral. Good work!

  4. #4
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    Re: Linux vs Other Operating Systems : 7 common myths busted

    Thanks!!

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