[GUYS! Today is the best day of my whole life. Mike surprised me by writing a guest post! He’s been trying out a different operating system on his laptop and it might be able to save you a few bucks if you try it out too.]
You may have to fasten your pocket protectors and push up your black, horn-rimmed glasses in preparation for this one. I needed to chime in to contribute my $0.02 on an operating system which might save you lots of money while vastly increasing your knowledge in the world of computing.
Anyways, Linux is a free and open source operating system for your computer. What is open source software, you ask? Unlike proprietary (and costly) software, open source software is software that is freely licensed for anyone to use, copy, study, and change in any way. This helps to both improve the software over time and keep it free, because people are encouraged to voluntarily improve its design and functionality.
What are some of the many pros of the Linux operating system in comparison to other options?
- Frequent updates and version upgrades... for FREE! (Every 6 months for new versions of Ubuntu—my distribution of choice) Similar version upgrades for Windows, such as from Windows Vista to Windows 7, are not as frequent and become very pricey. This may be the same for Mac, but I don't pay enough attention to Macs to know for sure.
- It is even becoming available as an OS for phones. Not that this matters to me, I have a dumb-phone unlike Ashley. Besides, who can call themselves a minimalist when they have a smartphone AND a Mac, anyways?! [editor’s note: RUDE! You can’t insult me on my own blog!]
- Hardly affected by viruses—although free antivirus is accessible.
- Beautiful desktop interface (see picture below)
- Benefits for knowing Linux and Unix scripting in tech-savy job industries.
- It has its OWN VERSION OF MICROSOFT OFFICE! The free office suite called LibreOffice, which is being used to type this post, contains all the equivalents of Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc.) but for free!
- Speaking of free software, there is practically a free open source equivalent for any kind of proprietary software commonly found on a Windows or Mac. And they update for free!
- Compatible with most drivers/printers, and becoming more friendly to almost all external software. Even Spotify!
Most versions of Linux (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Red Hat Enterprise, etc.) may be dual booted alongside your Windows or Mac OS. This means that when starting up your computer, you can choose which OS to run! This is great for anyone wanting to try out Linux, but keep their current OS. Another option is to run Linux off a burned disk or USB drive; but this won't save any of your work!
The misconception for Linux is that every task needs to be done via command line, aka by code. Although this is an option, everything can be done by Menus and Windows as well. But learning the codes for basic commands will become quicker in the long run, and make your work more efficient!
What version should be for you? It all depends on what you like. Ubuntu and Linux Mint are known to be the most popular distributions, and best choice for beginners. I recommend using caution and paying very close attention when installing these operating systems—installing a new OS incorrectly can harm your computer or even worse—ruin your Windows or Mac OS! [another editor’s note: seriously, be very very careful if you decide to install a new operating system. Mike had to re-install Windows on his computer because something messed up between the Linux and Windows sides.]
Hopefully, you have now been enlightened (or at least informed) of a new useful and FREE operating system!