There are a lot of people out there who use Windows, or Mac OSX, and aren’t generally very happy with their user experience, or want to try something new that doesn’t rely on either Apple or Microsoft. Linux offers users that chance, with multiple versions of its operating system – from Linux itself to Ubuntu – and has a wide range of benefits to boot.
If you’ve ever had to fork out for an OS upgrade, you’ll know that they’re usually not very cheap, and for the sake of playing games, working on documents for a presentation the following morning or just accessing www.o2.co.uk via a browser to pay a bill, it seems like an unworthy investment. But casual users don’t need to worry – Linux is completely free.
No, in all seriousness, it actually is free. So is all the software you’ll find in the Software Centre. One of the key principles of Linux users is that everything created for it specifically should be open-source, because this benefits the community, and not the individual. If one development team do it, the rest will, and it increases to the point where you can do anything from edit mp3 files to write a novel without paying anything at all.
It’s also extremely customizable, and that’s because all the code of the operating system is available to anyone. This means that coders who would prefer, say, an OSX-like “dock” instead of a taskbar can have one by using the code available and their own skills to create one (though it exists already – this is just an example). Even if you use a program rather than writing one, and find an error, you can join in with the dev team and offer them a solution, or report bugs in order to contribute to the community.
It’s not difficult to pick up, and there’s a lot to master, so the moment you find yourself in a bind with an operating system, give Linux a shot – after all, it’s not going to impact your ability to pay the rent, and you might just discover that open-source, community-powered operating systems are your ideal choice.