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Windows 10 has been perhaps the most successful Windows ever. It’s faster, more feature-packed, and more secure.

But it’s a mixed bag. Microsoft is thirstier than ever for users’ private data Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Since its release, Windows 10 has been dogged by rumors concerning user privacy. Some of these are accurate, whereas others are myths. But where does Windows 10 stand on privacy, really? Read More , and it is acting more hands-on than ever before. They want to control what software you run How to Play Games with SafeDisc or SecureRom DRM on Windows 10 How to Play Games with SafeDisc or SecureRom DRM on Windows 10 Gamers with a penchant for retro titles have been particularly hard hit with the news that titles that employed SafeDisc and some versions of the Securerom Digital Rights Management system are not supported. Read More , and when you run your updates How To Turn Off Automatic App Updates In Windows 10 How To Turn Off Automatic App Updates In Windows 10 Deactivating system updates isn't advised. But if need be, here's how you do it on Windows 10. Read More . And at a fundamental level, it’s still Windows, and still especially vulnerable to viruses and malware.

It’s for this reason why many users are looking to make the switch to Linux Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Did you ever consider switching from Windows to Linux or Mac? The quick answer: if you're on Windows, stay on Windows—and don't worry about upgrading just yet. Here's why. Read More . If you’re one of them, you’re going to want to read on. We’re going to talk about how to move your home office computer from Windows to Linux, without losing your mind.

Picking the Right Distribution

Over the past twenty years, Linux has moved from being something utterly incomprehensible to many, to being a viable operating system for most users.

Hardware support used to be patchy Top 3 Websites To Check Whether Your Hardware Is Supported By Linux Top 3 Websites To Check Whether Your Hardware Is Supported By Linux No operating system will have support for every single piece of hardware out of the box, and it's important to know which ones have that support. There's always a driver for that piece of Windows... Read More , and it was rough around the edges. It didn’t look or feel as good as Windows or Mac. But now, it’s reached the point where Linux is as easy to use as Windows and OS X The Best Linux Distros for First Time Switchers from Windows and Mac The Best Linux Distros for First Time Switchers from Windows and Mac Linux has an intimidating image, making it seem like it would be difficult to start using it. But the switch from Windows and Mac is actually pretty easy, if you can ease yourself into it. Read More .

elementaryos

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While thousands of different distributions of Linux are available, the majority of them aren’t suited for the home office. Some are aimed at a specific niche, like digital creatives or scientists The 5 Ultimate Scientific Linux Distributions The 5 Ultimate Scientific Linux Distributions What are scientific Linux distributions? The answer is rather obvious: while most Linux distributions are general-purpose, some specialized ones come bundled with certain types of software. Let's see what they can do! Read More . Some, like Devuan, exist to make a political statement. There are esoteric and joke distributions 4 Strange And Disturbing Linux Distros You Probably Won't Be Installing 4 Strange And Disturbing Linux Distros You Probably Won't Be Installing Linux is the operating system of choice for those who decide to go their own way. The open source model means the building blocks are there for you if you decide that you need your... Read More , like Hannah Montana Linux and Justin Bieber Linux.

These only have a few users, if any. The biggest distributions are the ones you should care about, and those that tend to be more generally focused. Right now, Ubuntu (and the Ubuntu-like distributions) are amongst the most popular for consumers and office users. These are the ones you should use for your home office.

You can even buy computers with Ubuntu preinstalled How to Choose the Best Laptop to Install Linux How to Choose the Best Laptop to Install Linux It's never been harder to install Linux on a laptop. No longer a matter of downloading, burning, and hoping for a compatible WiFi card, these laptops, new and old, are your best option. Read More . You’ll find a number of boutique, Linux-oriented manufacturers exist, like System76. But some major computer manufacturers, like Dell, sell machines preinstalled with Ubuntu. If you’re so inclined, you could even pick up an old MacBook Air on eBay and install Ubuntu onto it!

UbuntuMacbook

As a bonus, most commercial Linux software is packaged for Ubuntu and Ubuntu-derivative systems. If you use another distro, you might have to use some complicated command-line-fu to get it running on your machine.

Printers and Other Peripherals

Moving on, let’s talk about printer and hardware support.

The reality is that most home offices tend to be austere, cheap machines bought off-the-shelf from Best Buy, or similar big box computer stores. They’re not going to ship with any exotic hardware, like a top-tier graphics card. Even if it does, chances are good that there’ll be native driver support for it.

But what about peripherals? Well, again, you’ve got nothing to worry about there. Linux is great for its support of third-party peripherals, like USB headsets, webcams, keyboards and mice.

Even when it comes to printer support Printing on Linux: Choosing The Right Printer and Getting It To Work Printing on Linux: Choosing The Right Printer and Getting It To Work One of the few pieces of hardware that may cause the most trouble on a Linux system is a printer. If it's supported, it'll take a few steps to get it to work. Read More , Linux shines. Most printers work well, largely thanks to the widespread adoption of CUPS – the Common Unix Printing System – and manufacturers actually releasing their own drivers. But if there’s any doubt, the Ubuntu website has a comprehensive list of supported third-party printers.

OfficeJet

But if you really want to be safe, you should get a HP ePrint compatible printer. Not only do these allow you to print from anywhere in the world, just using your email, but they’re also essentially platform agnostic.

Transferring Your Files Over

Once you’ve settled on the distribution you’re going to use, and ensured all your peripherals work, you’re going to want to move all your files over. This can be done in a couple of ways.

Firstly, there’s the tried-and-tested external hard drive. Large terabyte hard drives can be found for less than $60. It’s worth noting that if your machine supports USB 3.0 USB 3.0: Everything You Need to Know USB 3.0: Everything You Need to Know USB 3.0 beats USB 2.0 in so many ways. Here's everything you need to know about why you should always pick USB 3.x when possible. Read More , you should ensure the disk you purchase likewise supports USB 3.0, in order to benefit from its greatly improved file transfer speeds.

WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBGPU0010BBK-NESN WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBGPU0010BBK-NESN 1TB Storage Capacity Buy Now At Amazon $53.98

But what if you want to transfer your files over the network?

Well, you could set up a local file share. I’m going to recommend against this though, for the simple reason that if a Windows machine on the network gets infected with ransomware Don't Fall Foul of the Scammers: A Guide To Ransomware & Other Threats Don't Fall Foul of the Scammers: A Guide To Ransomware & Other Threats Read More , it would affect all the files available through the network share.

Plus, it’s something that differs between distributions, and cannot be succinctly be explained in a couple of paragraphs.

Thankfully, several great third-party services can be depended upon. If you’ve got a lot of files to transfer, you’ll probably hit the limits of Dropbox and SpiderOak rather quickly. But thankfully, there’s BitTorrent Sync From Pirate Darling To Dropbox Alternative: BitTorrent Sync Lets You Keep Your Files Synchronized Across Machines From Pirate Darling To Dropbox Alternative: BitTorrent Sync Lets You Keep Your Files Synchronized Across Machines Cloud-based file sync services are easy to use and work well, but your privacy may or may not be your first priority. Not to mention the fact that these services always come with a storage... Read More .

The free version is pretty solid, and will allow you to shift unlimited files between machines. Seriously, as many as you want. There’s no fair-usage limit either, since your files aren’t going through their servers, but directly to the computer you’re transferring them to.

The biggest downside is that it can be really slow, especially when compared to directly copying it to a hard drive. Moreover, if your ISP is one that throttles BitTorrent traffic Check If Your ISP Throttling Your BitTorrent Downloads Check If Your ISP Throttling Your BitTorrent Downloads Read More , you can expect it to be even slower. Sadly, it’s impossible for ISPs to differentiate between illegitimate and legitimate BitTorrent traffic 8 Legal Uses For BitTorrent: You'd Be Surprised 8 Legal Uses For BitTorrent: You'd Be Surprised Like HTTP, which your browser uses to communicate with websites, BitTorrent is just a protocol. You could use your browser to download pirated content, just as you could use a BitTorrent client to download pirated... Read More , so they just treat it all the same.

But if you’re not too worried about time, or don’t mind leaving your computer on overnight to transfer your files over, BitTorrent Sync is the program for you.

Choosing the Right Productivity Suite

Moving on, we’ll now focus on document management and office productivity, since that’s the main job of a home office computer. As you might expect, office productivity on Linux is a bit of a minefield, and it’s easy to use the wrong program, simply out of ignorance.

It should go without saying that there’s no version of Microsoft Office for Linux. But that’s okay, because its role is filled by two competing versions of (essentially) the same program, as well as legion of online office suites.

OpenOffice vs LibreOffice: Which One Should You Use?

Let’s jump into the deep end by looking at LibreOffice and OpenOffice. Although they’re often confused and conflated with each other, these two programs couldn’t be any more different, and have a history filled with acrimony and turmoil.

The story starts in 1999, when Sun Microsystems acquired a German startup called StarDivision, who were working on a free, cross-platform office suite called StarOffice. Sun immediately renamed it to OpenOffice, and released it to the open-source community under a permissive open source license. It was a hit.

OpenOffice

But there wasn’t much money to be made in giving away a fully-featured office suite. It didn’t help that Sun was having money problems independent of OpenOffice. In 2010, they were (controversially) bought out by Oracle.

Oracle is a controversial company in the open source community. After a few years, the core OpenOffice developers decided to defect, and forked the code Open Source Software and Forking: The Good, The Great and The Ugly Open Source Software and Forking: The Good, The Great and The Ugly Sometimes, the end-user benefits greatly from forks. Sometimes, the fork is done under a shroud of anger, hatred and animosity. Let's look at some examples. Read More to LibreOffice. This became the main rival to OpenOffice.

(Something similar happened with MySQL, with some dissatisfied developers forking it, to create rival MariaDB.)

Oracle rapidly lost enthusiasm for maintaining OpenOffice, and in 2011 they gave it to the Apache Foundation, who have been maintaining it ever since as Apache OpenOffice.

At face value, both products are fundamentally similar. They both include programs for making presentations and dealing with spreadsheets. You can use both to write word documents and to draw diagrams. But some key differences give LibreOffice a massive advantage.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice has a superior development strategy. While most end-users don’t (and shouldn’t) care about this, it ultimately translates to it getting security and performance updates quicker. LibreOffice also has better (but not perfect) compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats, and a sleeker aesthetic. It’s just better Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? LibreOffice is the king of free office suites. It's unlikely to replace Microsoft Office in a business environment, but it's an excellent alternative for casual users. Here's what's new in LibreOffice 5.1. Read More .

Apache OpenOffice on the other hand is, for all intents and purposes, on life support. It’s struggled to attract and retain developers, and sorely lags when it comes to updates. This terminal decline probably won’t be reversed.

It’s for this reason why most distributions, including Ubuntu and Linux Mint, ship LibreOffice as their default built-in office suite. So, in most cases, you don’t even have to worry about installing office software when you switch to Linux!

Office Document Compatibility

For the most part, LibreOffice does a good job of maintaining compatibility with Microsoft Office. If you’re editing (or creating) documents of low-to-medium complexity, you should be fine, although in my experience, documents can look subtly different from system to system.

But there’s something you should be aware of. If you’re working with a document that uses VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) or macros to automate certain tasks, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. Compatibility for this on LibreOffice is poor to say the very least. That’s because the programming language and APIs (application programming interfaces What Are APIs, And How Are Open APIs Changing The Internet What Are APIs, And How Are Open APIs Changing The Internet Have you ever wondered how programs on your computer and the websites you visit "talk" to each other? Read More ) they use are fundamentally different.

vba

There are converters, like those from Business Spreadsheets, but they can be very hit and miss. Realistically though, if you’ve got any spreadsheets or documents with VBA code, you’ll almost certainly have to re-write them with LibreOffice Basic.

Actually Running Microsoft Office

The latest version of Microsoft Office for Windows is awesome. It’s understandable if you are reluctant to to switch to LibreOffice from it.

Sadly though, it doesn’t work with Wine or CrossOver Linux. Neither, for that matter, does the second-newest version of Office, Microsoft Office 2013. They fail to install completely.

However, if you’re happy to lower your sights a little bit, Microsoft’s Office 2010 is reported to work well on CrossOver Linux. Although it’s getting harder and harder to find, you can still get your hands on legit copies from Amazon and eBay.

Alternatively, if you’ve got a spare license key for Windows, you could run it in a virtual machine Migrate to Linux without Leaving Windows Behind with a Virtual Machine Conversion Migrate to Linux without Leaving Windows Behind with a Virtual Machine Conversion You can have the best of both worlds: Merge Linux with your Windows setup. We show you how to import your complete Windows system into a virtual machine running in Linux. Read More . Of course, this wouldn’t be a seamless experience.

What about Online Office Suites?

Of course, there is another option.  We are, of course, talking about online office suites which run in your browser. The two most well-known are Zoho and Google Docs.

But there’s a lesser-known one by Microsoft called Office Online. You can get it for free Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Office Online is the free and cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. Limitations are compensated by features, useful even to users of desktop Office. Best of all is its Read More . Although, if you want all the features of Office Online, you’re going to need an Office 365 subscription, although there is an option for a free trial, for anyone who isn’t keen on committing to something they haven’t tried.

OfficeOnline

This comes with pretty much every component of Microsoft Office you could possibly need, like Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. It has all the features most home and business users require. As a bonus, it also works on Linux.

Linux Was Made for the Home Office

Although things won’t work exactly as they do on Windows, Linux is a great platform for the home office. Especially when you consider that it’s faster, and way more secure than Windows.

While you might miss the features of some Windows-only programs, you can guarantee that the Linux versions are almost as good, if not better.

Have you switched your home office to Linux? Tell me about it in the comments below!

  1. Jamie Ross
    August 10, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I thought I would throw in my 2 cents for what its worth. I have been using Linux since Slackware 1.0.0 and Mac since 1.0 and I use Windows at work a lot so I have had a try at a lot of different OS approaches (not to mention BeOS, OS2). While I run on a El Capitan at home and Windows 7 Pro at work, my current favourite Linux distro is Elementary which is based on Ubuntu (I have used Ubuntu, RH, Mint etc). Its clean interface reminds me of OSX but most of all things pretty much work without a lot of hassle (I run then on Virtual Box ). Oddly enough, my 32bit distro seems a bit snappier than the 64bit so most of my experience is there. I would suggest if you are a Windows user and want to try Linux, get VirtualBox from Oracle and try one of the many prebuilt Linux machines with the different distros and see which suites you.. then you can install it natively:) Best of Luck!

  2. Said Bakr
    July 11, 2016 at 4:19 am

    On Windows, OpenOffice performance is better than LibreOffice.

  3. PHD7
    April 1, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    I've been an OpenSuse guy for many years, at home and at work, but since they re-branded it as Leap, I haven't been as thrilled as I was. Since then I've switched to Mint and I love it. There have only been a few rare instances where I absolutely must have a specific Windows app, but I've never had a problem running Windows as a VM and I've noticed that Windows seems to run better as a VM on my Linux box than it does natively. I have no intention of going back to Windows.

  4. David Check
    April 1, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    What about WPS office?
    I use it on my Chalet OS distro and it has been great.
    Granted I am not a home business user but I think most people who do would love it since it is very similar in look and feel to the suite everyone is used to.

  5. Sprinter
    April 1, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    This is great and all. I'm glad that so many are having great success with Ubuntu. I am not. Nothing works, and to even attempt the very simplest things requires me to look up a kb command on ask ubuntu.com which most of the time just doesn't do the trick.

    Still, I found inspiration in this article and decided to give Ubuntu another try. Guess what? My attempt to use LibreOffice Base failed because I can't get at my files due to some kind of permissions error. Once again, I have to go askubuntu.com. Once again, I try a kb cmd. And once I can't do one of what ought to be the easiest of tasks.

    So my ubuntu machine is pretty much limited to browsing. I can't print out; even though it recognizes the printer. I can't even get dropbox or teamviewer to work. Useless.

    And by the way, I can do some of the most advanced functions on a Windows machine AND on a Mac with ease; including kb commands! And I am one of the highest levels of tech support in our organization. So I'm not computer illiterate.

    I am so thankful I left this machine on dual boot with Windows XP. At least I can disconnect the Internet and use it for something.

    I would try to find a forum to help me, but I've seen newbies flamed. But nonetheless, I am still open-minded enough that if someone knows of a forum where the Ubuntu elite are patient and gentle with newbies, I'm willing to give it a try.

    • fcd76218
      April 1, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      "And by the way, I can do some of the most advanced functions on a Windows machine AND on a Mac with ease; including kb commands!"
      I am going to treat your post seriously and disregard the date. :-)

      Please do not take it the wrong way but your computer expertise may be what is tripping you up with Ubuntu. The hardest thing about switching to a new O/S is not learning the new ways of doing things but UNlearning the old ways.

      Why are you using KB commands for "even the simplest things"? Ubuntu was developed to make the use of command line unnecessary. It is possible to use Ubuntu for years without any need for KB commands.

    • Sprinter
      April 1, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      No offense taken. And I didn't even think about the date! LOL!

      And thanks for your reply. I will fully admit that this old dog is having difficulting because of all the old tricks that I know!

      I use KB commands for one or both of two reasons:
      1) I am not given an option in the UI. For example, I am trying to access a drive, and it says I don't have permission. So I right-click on the icon and select "Properties" and go to the Permissions tab. It says owner is root and root has access to Create and delete files. Then it says Group is root, with no access (something sounds fishy here). and then under Others it also says no access. But all of the pull downs are greyed out, so I can't change anything.
      2) When I encounter a problem like this, I go to google it, and I usually end up at askubuntu.com and the solutions presented to me are KB commands.

      This is why I'm using KB commands.

      Maybe I'm going to the wrong place for my answers.

      Or maybe my Ubuntu is now so screwed up from various attempts to fix things. Maybe I'm better off flattening and trying again?

    • fcd76218
      April 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      "I am trying to access a drive, and it says I don’t have permission."
      Are you trying to access system files or user files on the drive?
      If you are trying to access user files, there should be no reason for permission errors.
      If you are trying to read system files, are you using the "sudo" command?

      "My attempt to use LibreOffice Base failed because I can’t get at my files due to some kind of permissions error. "
      To make sure you are the owner of those files, you can issue the following command:
      sudo chown -R owner:group /home/user
      Where:
      sudo = perform the following command as user
      chown = change owner
      -R = perform command recursively. It is a CAPITAL 'R'
      owner = the correct owner for the files
      group = the correct group
      /home/user = your home directory

      As the last resort I would backup any important files and re-install Ubuntu from scratch. Use the GUI installer and take all defaults to minimize the possibility of mistakes.

      Personally, I use distros that, unlike Ubuntu and its derivatives, do allow explicit root login. I've worked with computers long enough to know the risks and advantages of direct root login. Ubuntu-based distros are great for beginners and casual users.

    • Sprinter
      April 2, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks again for the patient reply.

      Apparently, this drive has issues. I am working with both the windows xp UI and Ubuntu UI and kb commands; and it looks like it's ready for me to see how it holds data.

      So, I will readily admit that; this time, it appears as if at least some of my problems are caused by a bad piece of hardware.

      Once I get things settled down, I may indeed flatten the Ubuntu OS and try again.

      Thanks again for your help.

    • fcd76218
      April 2, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      If you would like assistance with Linux or to just discuss some aspects of it, head on over to DesktopLinuxReviews.com/forum, a non-confrontational Linux forum.

    • Michael Weldon
      April 18, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Hi, sprinter.

      It's quite true what has already been said. The biggest barrier to getting the hang of Linux (any Linux distro) is unlearning what you think you already know. In some ways, it's very much alike. In others, it's so different as to seem alien.

      (By the way, it's perfectly possible to set up a 'common' data partition so that files can be accessed equally by Linux and Windows. The main thing is to format that partition so that it can be read by both systems.....in this case, usually the Windows NTFS file-system. [It's worth noting that Linux can read ALL Windows file-systems OOTB; Windows, on the other hand, cannot NATIVELY read Linux ones.....not without third-party addons.])

      I ran XP for its entire lifespan. Come EOL, two years ago, I switched to Linux, virtually overnight. Deleted the old, and installed the new. I've tried just about every OS there is, over the last 35 years or so; I date back to the very start of the home computer revolution, at the beginning of the '80's.

      Sure, there's differences between OSs.....but there's nothing so different, that the average person of reasonable intelligence can't get the hang of things, with perhaps a bit of help, and a few gentle pointers. Too many of any OSs 'experts' tend to forget that they themselves were beginners once.....although the days of 'RTFM' are, thankfully, now pretty much behind us!

      As the previous poster stated, I, too, have quite a bit of experience in running root-access systems. (I run 'Puppy' Linux. Puppy runs as root. Period. 'Nuff said..!)

      It's not as dangerous as some people would have you believe. Nothing that sound common-sense in your browsing habits, and the way in which you approach various activities, can't alleviate.

      And one other thing; remember that almost ALL malware/viruses/rootkits/sundry other items of crap are written almost exclusively for Windows. The one thing that stops what few Linux pieces of malware there are 'in the wild' from being worse than they are is the very same permissions system that you appear to have got yourself in such a tangle with..!

    • Michael Weldon
      April 18, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Hallo again, Sprinter.

      If you want some genuine, honest, sometimes downright enthusiastic help, without feeling as though you are being judged, head on over to the Puppy Linux forums. Puppy's a great little distro, and more user friendly than most. It has a multiplicity of GUIs, and help tips, that try to make Windows 'refugees' feel at home as quickly as possible.

      http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/index.php

      We're very welcoming!

  6. Col_Panek
    March 31, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    In the small engineering office I worked at, everyone else had Windows and I got a 6 year old PC. I put Mint on it and never looked back. We collaborated on proposals and reports (that had to look perfect) and presentations. I edited videos and images, did engineering simulations and schematics.

    At home I can dual boot all my machines (they started on Windows) but haven't bothered in months or years.

  7. Read and Share
    March 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    There was a time when I wanted to switch to Linux... I wanted something stable and essentially malware free. Back then, Windows crashed with regularity.

    But starting with Win XP, Windows became more stable, and ultimately quite reliable with Win 7 and now Win 10. As for malware, I truly haven't gotten hit in years (can't even remember the last time I got hit with anything). So, as a home user, there's really no reason to switch to Linux anymore.

    Still, out of sheer curiosity, I have played with both Ubuntu and Mint. Both times, simply installing an app from their respective repositories ended in multiple failures! In my mind, if I have to deal with "things that don't just work without some tinkering", I can stick with Windows which I am already very familiar with, thank you.

    But mine is the experience of a home user. I am careful, I always make sure everything is patched and I don't click on just any links inside any email. If I were running a small business with employees (people are the weakest link, right?) -- then I would seriously consider using Linux.

  8. kchimz
    March 28, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    I use ubuntu 16.04 beta 1 and its working like a charm on my mac mini 2007 and an old sahara laptop. internet is blazing fast than when i was running windows 7 on both machines. I rely on internet sharing and ubuntu internet sharing is faster then windows ics .Tried and tested. I run a studio and downloading is a breeze with ubuntu mate. Office work is flawles with libre , however if i need complex docs i run virtual machine with office 2016 us for that purpose.

  9. jymm56
    March 27, 2016 at 9:37 am

    That would be great. I am giving grisbi a try right now. I find myself limited because I am a linux newbie, and have trouble installing tar balls (the cd command). I am running debian mate, so look for program downloads that are .deb files and use gdebi to install them. I am waiitng for the final ubuntu mate LTS download and will use it for a dual boot.. Ubuntu has many more ppa's for downloading programs over pure debian.

    • fcd76218
      April 1, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      "Ubuntu has many more ppa’s for downloading programs over pure debian."
      There is a good reason for that. Only Ubuntu and distros based on it can use PPAs. Debian is not based on Ubuntu so it cannot use them.

      I'd be careful about using PPAs. They may provide packages not available in the official Ubuntu repositories but since they are not vetted by Canonical, their quality and reliability (as in possibly containing malware) may be suspect.

  10. fcd76218
    March 27, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Ubuntu is the Windows of the Linux world. It should be near and dear to all Windows users. It is steadily becoming as proprietary and locked up as Windows. Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical insist on having their own versions of every major Linux component. For example, while the rest of the Linux community is switching to Wayland as the graphic engine, Canonical rewrote Wayland to its own specs and called it Mir. Mr. Shuttleworth freely admitted that the only reason for Mir was so that Canonical can control the interface. The same interface that hundreds of other distributions are perfectly willing to share. It is quite possible that Ubuntu users will soon find themselves isolated from the rest of the Linux community by Canonical's proprietary versions of Linux components.

    CentOS is a distro specifically designed for home office and business use while Ubuntu is a general purpose distro. CentOS is a re-write of Red Hat Linux in the same manner as Ubuntu is a re-write of Debian Linux. The difference is that CentOS has no proprietary components.

    "Some, like Devuan, exist to make a political statement. "
    Devuan is making as much of a political statement as Ubuntu when it differentiated itself from Debian. The developers of Devuan feel that the systemd system initiator, which many distros are adopting, is performing many tasks that a system initiator program should not be performing and thus prolonging the boot process. Therefore they developed a version of Debian that uses sysVinit system initiator instead. SysVinit is faster because it performs many less tasks.

    "Ubuntu (and the Ubuntu-like distributions) are amongst the most popular for consumers and office users. "
    Popular does not mean good. After all, if we all used the most popular O/S there would be no need for OS/X, Linux or BSD.

    "If you use another distro, you might have to use some complicated command-line-fu to get it running on your machine."
    FUD! With the exception of DIY distros like Arch, Gentoo or Linux From Scratch, Linux distros have GUI installers that can do automatically installs after a user answers a couple of simple questions. No command-line-fu necessary.

    "you’re going to want to move all your files over."
    What do you mean by 'all files'? Data files? Program files? Both?
    Moving over your Windows program files is useless because the programs will not run natively on Linux. Data file should be converted from NTFS to ext 3/4 file system that is used by most distros. Of course Linux being Linux it will allow you to create an NTFS-formated partition and use the data in its original form.

    " if a Windows machine on the network gets infected with ransomware"
    Ransomware written for Windows may infect other Windows computers on the network but will not execute in Linux so once the files are transferred, they are safe from ransomware.

    • rob
      April 1, 2016 at 5:43 am

      I like Linux and I am an Ubuntu user, but I'm not at all opposed to changing to another distro. I've often had similar thoughts about Mark Shuttleworth. Mr. Shuttleworth seems to want Canonical to be the Microsoft of the Linux world, Ubuntu to be its' Window and I believe he fancies himself as the Linux version of Bill Gates.

  11. Alejo
    March 23, 2016 at 10:11 am

    "...if you’ve got any spreadsheets or documents with VBA code, you’ll almost certainly have to re-write them with LibreOffice Basic."

    This is why I couldn't switch to Linux.

    • Matthew Hughes
      March 26, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Yeah, I bet a lot of people are in that position.

  12. Dave B
    March 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I have been using Moneydance for several years now. I switched to it from Quicken when I converted to running Linux full time. I have not looked back.

    • Matthew Hughes
      March 26, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Not tried it! I should though.

    • Jeff Kearns
      September 19, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      I use Quicken 2014 with Crossover by Codeweavers. Works 'natively'.
      Jeff

  13. christian
    March 22, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Switched to using linux for my home office over 5 years ago and have never looked back. i often find that certain things are done with much more simplicity as compared to microsoft.

    Things that i am able to do in linux: email, documents, netflix, listen to music, print (canon mf4350d with tplink print server for wireless access) and it all works.

    My laptop has never had any major issues and am always so happy to be able to open my laptop and know that my computer just works and is reliable and dependable and is a no fuss operating system allowing me to get things done!

    • Matthew Hughes
      March 26, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Glad you like it!

  14. jymm56
    March 22, 2016 at 11:04 am

    You don't mention personal finance for the home office, which I find very important. I wish I could find a better alternative for Quicken for my home office. I am using Quicken with Wine. I would like a direct entry ledger type program. MoneyManager ex is the closets I have found, but is still not exactly what I want. Any ideas for a personal finance program to replace Quicken?

    • alfabetadigital
      March 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      how about gnucash?

    • MeinMeister
      March 22, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      I'm using Hibiscus based on Jamaica.
      As far as i know it's available in english since August, but you might hardly find it in english preconfigured.

      Works fine for me, but i wouldn't say it's perfect. It has its edges..

    • Matthew Hughes
      March 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      That could be a future article in itself!

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