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With the rise of cloud services, more of us are now encountering Linux at work. People know it’s great for developers and does a good job of keeping the internet up and running — but why would anyone want to use Linux at home?

At best, mentioning you run Linux might make people think you’re a hacker. More than likely, they might think you’re a bit weird. At least that’s how it is in the much of the U.S., where Windows is king and macOS is the only other option most people know exist.

But Linux is a great desktop operating system, and I don’t mean only for power users. I would give my parents a PC running Linux with much more peace of mind than one running Windows. One I know they can figure out without breaking anything or getting into trouble. The other? Not so much 10 Silly Windows User Errors That Actually Happened 10 Silly Windows User Errors That Actually Happened Working in tech support is hard. Troubleshooting skills and patience are the corner stones of this craft. But even the most seasoned tech support pros would struggle with these unusual, and occasionally unbelievable, errors. Read More .

If you know how to use a smartphone or tablet, then you can use Linux. Here are a few reasons why.

1. What You Need Is in an App Store

On a mobile device, you get all of your software from an app store. The same is true on Linux. You may be surprised to know that Linux operating system have been distributing software this way long before smartphones even hit the scene! Though, back in those days, you would find apps in something that looked like this.

synaptic package manager
Image Credit: Synaptic

On Linux, software is distributed in bundles called packages. Package managers like the ones pictured above were how you downloaded what you wanted. They required you to know the exact name of a package, which didn’t always match the name of the application itself.

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Newer package managers look more like app stores Linux App Stores Compared: Which One Is Right for You? Linux App Stores Compared: Which One Is Right for You? Windows users are being guided to an app store. macOS has had one for a while. Linux, meanwhile, has had an app store-style experience for years. But which one is right for you? Read More . You can browse or search for apps by name, look at screenshots, and view ratings or reviews. Some highlight useful apps on the home page, so you don’t need to already know what software is good.

appcenter

You no longer need to select check boxes, mark packages for installation, and tell the manager to apply changes. Now you tap the giant install button and enter your password. Done.

2. The Basics Are Covered

Need to write a paper for school? LibreOffice is reason not to pay for an office suite 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 whether you’re a Linux user or not. There are plenty of apps for managing photos 8 Picasa Alternatives Made for Linux 8 Picasa Alternatives Made for Linux You may have heard that Google is closing Picasa, but of course, Google stopped supporting the Linux port of Picasa years ago, so we've plenty of great alternatives already available! Read More and listening to music 4 Linux Music Players That Deserve Your Attention Now 4 Linux Music Players That Deserve Your Attention Now Which Linux music player is the best? We compare four excellent music players you may not know about. Read More . You can continue to use VLC for watching video. Plus Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are as easy to use on Linux as they are on Windows and macOS.

Are you a gamer? Linux doesn’t have the library Windows has, but between GOG, Steam, and Humble Bundle, there is now plenty to play 10 Strategy Games You Can Play on Linux Today 10 Strategy Games You Can Play on Linux Today Linux is becoming a strong alternative to Windows as a realistic PC gaming platform. This list of 10 strategy games will show you just how seriously game developers are now treating Linux. Read More . This doesn’t even consider the free and open source games waiting in your app store 10 Great Games Hiding in Your Linux App Store 10 Great Games Hiding in Your Linux App Store Linux gamers have some real gems available - if you know where to look! These 10 games aren't new, but if you're a Linux newcomer, they'll offer some great, free gaming experiences. Read More , or all the old classic DOS games 7 Ways to Play Old Windows & DOS Games on Linux 7 Ways to Play Old Windows & DOS Games on Linux Gaming on Linux is on the rise, but if you don't want to turn your PC into a game server then the answer is with old games, retro classics from the Windows platform. Read More you can fire up too.

Linux is great for a home office. Simple Scan is the easiest way to scan documents from a printer I’ve ever seen. Apps like Skrooge and GnuCash are great for managing your finances 3 Ways to Manage Your Finances Using Linux 3 Ways to Manage Your Finances Using Linux Quicken won't work on Linux, but you have several options open to you for spreadsheet and accounting app alternatives. Here's how you can use Linux to stay on top of your finances. Read More . In addition to LibreOffice, there’s the Calligra Suite Calligra vs. LibreOffice: Which Is The More Productive Linux Office Suite? Calligra vs. LibreOffice: Which Is The More Productive Linux Office Suite? Read More and a spattering of other office-related apps 10 Productive GNOME Office Apps You Need in Your Home Office 10 Productive GNOME Office Apps You Need in Your Home Office GNOME Office doesn't exist... or does it? These ten apps don't form a cohesive office suite, but they come close, and are likely to help you be productive from your Linux desktop. Read More . Creatives have image editors and video editors to help them get their content out.

Linux won’t have most of the commercial apps you’re familiar with, but there are alternatives to most everything The Best Linux Software The Best Linux Software Linux is full of awesome apps, both open source and proprietary. People new to Linux and even seasoned Linux users tend to find new and useful software quite often. Here's what we love. Read More .

Someone who is already dependent on a Windows-only piece of software may not be able to switch. If you already know a particular OS inside and out, then Linux may be harder for you than it would an absolute newcomer. Because now, Linux is a great way to fall in love with a computer.

3. Updates Are Free and Easy

Updates aren’t a pleasant part of the Windows experience. Sometimes we don’t know what they do. Sometimes the updates kick in at the worst possible time, and you have no choice but to wait. Staying updated is considered a good security practice, yet Windows 10 still has users resisting the update button. And that isn’t even considering the massive expense that used to be upgrading from one version of Windows to another Many People Refuse the Free Windows 10 Upgrade, Here's Why Many People Refuse the Free Windows 10 Upgrade, Here's Why People like free stuff. Yet many refuse to upgrade to Windows 10. We have asked them why. Read More .

Linux users have a different relationship with updates. They’re easy to install, with update managers often providing a description of what’s changing. Even when you’re only told which apps are receiving updates, you still have control over when to download them. These changes are always free, even when switching from one version of an operating system to the next.

linux updates

Yes, sometimes updates introduce problems. You can never be 100 percent sure that no users will experience bugs 6 Reasons Your Favorite Linux OS Is Plagued by Bugs 6 Reasons Your Favorite Linux OS Is Plagued by Bugs You found a new Linux operating system to try, and you loved it. But then it went wrong. Sometimes Linux gets buggy after a month or two. The question is, why? Read More . In that situation, a non-technical user will still need help undoing the changes, but they can at least be sure they won’t have to spend money if they need to reinstall the entire OS. Fortunately, it’s rare that something that serious arises, with frustrations like these most likely to occur when upgrading between major versions of Linux.

4. The Interfaces Are Simple

People recognize Windows. Its biggest strength isn’t that it’s easy or intuitive — it’s that it’s familiar. Even if it isn’t recognizable to you, it’s familiar to someone you know.

For newcomers to Windows 10, there’s a lot going on. The start menu is loaded with options. So is the file manager. This is immediately apparent when you compare Windows to a Chromebook.

Unlike Windows and Chrome OS, most distributions of Linux aren’t limited to any one interface. There are many to choose from, and a number of the more modern options offer the simplicity of a Chromebook but the power of a full-featured PC. And don’t worry, you don’t have to worry about knowing which interface to choose. Chances are that your Linux operating system will come with a relatively simple interface like GNOME GNOME Explained: A Look at One of Linux's Most Popular Desktops GNOME Explained: A Look at One of Linux's Most Popular Desktops You're interested in Linux, and you've come across "GNOME", an acronym for GNU Network Object Model Environment. GNOME is one of the most popular open source interfaces, but what does that mean? Read More .

Even if that’s too complicated, just wait until you see Elementary OS It's Time to Try Something New: Elementary OS Loki It's Time to Try Something New: Elementary OS Loki Elementary OS isn't your typical Linux distribution. Some would say it isn't a distro at all. But is Elementary really a usable alternative to Windows and macOS as its developers claim? Read More .

5. Linux Now Comes Pre-Installed

Most people don’t install operating systems. Say all you want about the marketing dollars that go into Windows and macOS, but neither has that much of an effect on this simple fact — the operating system that comes on their computer is the one people are likely to keep.

Things are starting to change. You can now buy a PC with Linux pre-installed. You won’t find them in big box stores, but you were probably going to buy your next computer online anyway, right?

ZaReason will sell you a desktop or laptop with a Linux operating system of your choice installed. So does Think Penguin. Meanwhile, System76 is even going so far as to sell laptops with its own customized Linux distribution Pop!_OS: Should a Linux Hardware Company Make Its Own Operating System? Pop!_OS: Should a Linux Hardware Company Make Its Own Operating System? Linux hardware company System76 has launched its own Linux operating system. This distro, known as Pop!_OS, will be preinstalled on all new System76 computers. But is it any good? Read More . All you have to do is take the laptop out of the box and start using Linux.

Is Linux Perfect for Everyone?

No, but neither is any other operating system. As good as Linux is, there are certain apps that are only for Windows or macOS. There are ways to get some of them to run under Linux using Wine, but that’s often less than ideal.

Still, this same problem exists when considering a Chromebook Switching to Chromebook: 8 Apps to Replace Your Desktop Favorites Switching to Chromebook: 8 Apps to Replace Your Desktop Favorites The hardest part about switching to a Chromebook is that you cannot install Windows or Mac software, but Chromebooks are perfect for everyday tasks. These top Chromebook apps can replace your desktop favorites. Read More or buying an Android tablet instead of a PC. All I’m saying is that Linux has reached a point where you can add it to the list of considerations. It’s no longer just for developers and hackers. Linux has evolved into a pretty great place to be a newbie too.

Do you use Linux? Would you give it to a grandparent, a kid, or someone else new to computers? If not, what would you consider the shortcomings? What are its strengths? Share them with me in the comments below!

Image Credits: Derek Latta/Shutterstock

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  1. Easeltine
    August 28, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I am an "OS Tweaker." I have a degree in Computer Information Systems, and the first versions of Linux I used was Caldera and Red Box around 2000. Linux was much more difficult back then, using "FIPS" to partition the hard drive, and then starting the GUI from the command line with "StartX."
    Linux, is so much more simple than it used to be! My main laptop is a 17.3" with Windows 10. I have decided not to put Linux on my main computers, and keep those Windows dedicated. I have some computers Linux dedicated, some Linux with a dual boot, and some different CD/DVD that one can run on RAM only. These are all fine, though, my personal favorite is my desktop around 15 years old, a Dell Optiplex SFF GX630, Pentium duo core, 3.0 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, LInux Lubuntu w/ Windows 2000, and XP within Linux using the VirtualBox software. Delegating 1.5 GB to Lubuntu 16, and 512 GB to the Windows portion I have found these two operating systems with all my older Windows software working better inside Linux than separate. In fact, this was a Windows XP computer running hot and noisy, the hard drive sounding terrible 6 years ago when I got the computer from work. Linux fixed the hard drive grinding problem.
    On my little Acer Netbook I have 5 versions of Linux and all of them work fine going on the Internet at McDonalds.
    I woul not take a new laptop that runs Windows 10, and put Linux on it for a relative. Instead, I would put Linux on the older computer the relative is about to throw away for a useful secondary computer. What I see in what I do is older people taking their Vista computers paying $150 to make the Vista computers run faster, then the shop runs Defrag and gives it back to them. It is very sad!

  2. DL Johnson
    August 25, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I've used Linux exclusively every day for past 7 years and have never looked back. It's helped me build my career as an illustrator and TRPG designer by equipping me with plenty of high-powered graphics editing programs, layout programs, office suites and more. I previously used both Windows and Mac for these tasks (since the mid-90's) and I would never, ever go back to using those OS'es or Adobe products ever again.

    Everything in Linux is plug'n'play, and I've yet to find a device that didn't just work out of the box aside from a cheap, off-brand Chinese drawing tablet. I haven't had a single virus since switching, I've been able to easily and reliably harden my security beyond what was available on the other OS'es, and as I've upgraded to newer hardware I've been able to keep ancient pieces of hardware alive and doing good work with lightweight installations.

  3. WarHawk (Brian C)
    August 23, 2017 at 4:27 am

    Ubuntu MATE is a GREAT distribution as well...and has a very very good desktop, running like a top on my quad core (upgraded from a dual core) Dell with 4Gig ram (un-upgradeable) where even Windows 7 was bogging down

    I use Xubuntu on very old hardware (HP DV1000Z) and it works quite well (it even runs OctoPrint and my 3D printer, where the laptop was destined for the scrap heap because the screen was smashed and was too old for modern software)

  4. Martin W.
    August 22, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I have Linux (Mint - Cinnamon) on an OLD, under-powered, shaky laptop. Except for being slow as sin (and Windows was equally slow on it before I switched), it's great. I have Windows 10 on three other laptops of varying ages and EACH is a bit different from the others. Some will run one thing fine while another won't even try, although it's something that came with Windows. Every update seems to change how something runs or if it runs at all. Linux (my version, anyway) needs to allow a few more things that run on Windows to work on Linux. (I'm referring to book readers and several other specific apps.) If it weren't for that, I'd switch everything to Linux.

    • WarHawk (Brian C)
      August 23, 2017 at 4:29 am

      Have you activated ZRAM yet?

      sudo apt install zram-config
      then reboot

  5. Johnny Tech
    August 22, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Hmmm. This is a tough one. Windows is still the king, but you fail to give props that there's a reason--- despite all the shortcomings--- that it remains where it is. Their software is WORLD CLASS and the STANDARD everyone else tries to emulate.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I could not believe how much Linux looks (and acts) just like a windows desktop. They just moved things around, re-named them completely different/arbitrary names... basically it's a free kiddie version of Windows.

    I knew nothing about Linux, but for work had to install RED HAT to a new server because of a hiring delay. It was interesting... I first did a trial with Fedora to see what Linux was all about. I do like Linux and can see how it would be great for some.

    The updating experience is NOT that great as you lead people to think it is. I apply updates... it goes through all the trouble of downloading and installing... then upon reboot it says I have updates (the same ones). And after a year, at bootup, I see that I have like 4 versions of Fedora installed because of how it updates itself???? No matter, but the thought of all that wasted space annoys me as I paid for those bytes of data.

    Remember, this is a UNIX system, and it is JUST as easy to completely destroy your machine as you can a Windows one... Personally, I'd spend the extra couple hundred for a Windows machine, or more for the Apple product.

    After all, you get what you pay for. There will never be the same caliber or quantity of apps and products on Linux as with MS/Apple. Free only gets you SO far....

    • Public Citizen
      August 23, 2017 at 12:12 am

      The reason why some things in Windows look like similar things in Linux is because the original idea for certain "features" was first developed and implemented on Linux [giving a nod here to Apple for implementing the first generally accessible object oriented interface with the orignial Macintosh].
      The reason why they always look more "polished" on Windows is because Micro$oft has the money to spend on fiddly things like ultimate fit and finish that don't even exist in the open source community.
      Linux isn't market driven the way that Windows, and to a lesser extent, MacOS is, in that it isn't a arketing department driving development but actual users who will bring a product ot a state of "good enough" in that it will do the job intended without a lot of extra fiddly bits that just ad "shiny" without contributing to what 95%+ of users need to get the job done. Being oen source, the other 5% can, and usually do, write scripts that meet their specific need. This is one of the key strengths of Linux, in that it can so easily be customized for minimal cost to meet the specific needs of a particular user, and done at minimal or no cost.
      Linux is starting to impact Windows more directly, as the latest iteration of Windows has certain Linux functions enabled within a module incorporated into the Windows oprating system.
      As more people discover the flexibility, and the increasingly easy manner in which the Linux Operating System may be implemented more people are turning to it for specific tasks, if not for their main core operating system. Versions such as Ubuntu and its derivatives are designed specifically for the beginning Linux User and take a lot of the mystery and confusion out of setting up a system. The experience is similar to that of installing Windows 95/98 on a new computer, and anyone who cn read and follow specific screen prompts should have little difficulty accomplishing a clean install.
      If you have old hardware sitting on the shelf that just won't keep up with the demands of a Windows 8/10 environment, dust it off and install a Linux system on it. I think that you will be pleased with the results as it will extend the useable service life of that hardware for several years into the future, and at little cost except for the time, which will pay you a dividend in extending your knowledge and usefullness as an IT Professional.

      • Tom Ozminkowski
        August 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm

        As an aside: One thing to remember, Apple - and Microsoft - STOLE the GUI from Xerox. Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were invited to Xerox's PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) where they saw it in action. They both ran back home and developed their own. (Jobs then had the cojones to sue Microsoft over patent infringement! After the suit went on for a long time, Xerox finally stepped forward and showed the judge their OS (STAR, I think). The judge immediately threw out the suit.) I worked at Xerox in IT at the time and got to see the whole thing from the inside.

        • Public Citizen
          August 28, 2017 at 2:39 am

          I was thinking of that particular furball while typing my remarks.
          Most anyone old enough to remember the early days [my first digital schooling was subtitled Magic Rocks] knows the story. Of course, it needs to be repeated often as a cautionary tale for the "youngsters".

  6. Graham Thouard
    August 22, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I have been using Linux for years and it is so much easier to update than Windows 7 which I have as dual boot. I must admit that Windows 10 that I have on my other dual linux boot is a dream compared to Win 7. Nevertheless I use Linux all the time but it did have a learning curve because information is not all in one place and I had to compile my own installation guidelines for installs.

    Graham

    • WarHawk (Brian C)
      August 23, 2017 at 4:30 am

      fastest update in the world

      open a shell
      sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
      hit y when prompted and viola :)

  7. CSnoek
    August 21, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Thank you for this great article and I agree with almost everything in here.
    I just recently moved over to Linux, main reason was that in the past ( I thought) I could not get good enough replacements for the software I was using.
    But Windows 10 has been messing things up more than it fixed things and I got sick and tired of it.
    One thing that I usually miss in articles like this is how to stay compatible with people using Windows.
    Take for example Visio. Yes, there are very good replacements around for Visio... But the major drawback is that most of them are not able to either import Visio files or not able to save to Visio compatible formats. And if you are collaborating with people using Visio, you have a bit of a challenge.
    I did find an alternative that allowed me to edit visio files and save them again in a Visio format (without screwing half of them up), but guess what... it is a commercial product.
    That I don't mind, but when you need to stay compatible with Windows using companies I guess you can expect to have to spend some money.

    Privately I switched my kids PCs over to Linux as well and they just love it. Only one left is the boss... ?

  8. Piet Bels
    August 19, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Linux is not just as good as, it's way better simply because it's so stable, with the exception of ChromeOS. I've been on Linux for 10 years and I'd not consider anything else because of the stabilty AND because of the flexibility in configuration AND because there IS NO NAGGING, I mean NONE. Install Linux Mint XFCE and you will never look back.

  9. KwaK
    August 18, 2017 at 5:50 am

    "Updates aren’t a pleasant part of the Windows experience"

    You've clearly never had to unf**k a linux-based distro update gone wrong ... On a sidenote, I simply <3 Debian 7, 8 and now 9! It's my go-to OS for just about anything that Windows can't or shouldn't cover.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      August 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I have. That's entirely what the last paragraph of that section is about. But for me, that isn't something I've had to do often. I hope this isn't an ongoing occurrence for you. My sympathies if it is!

      • KwaK
        August 23, 2017 at 6:24 pm

        Postponed, then forgot to reply altogether. None the less, what I wanted to say was that you're correct - originally, even tho I finished reading the article before commenting, I completely missed that section (I also remember not seeing it when I went back to look for it - I think it's because of the placement between pictures). But as I said - Debian is my favorite distro, one of the reasons being the upgrade stability ... I've never had to worry if the system is going to come back up after an upgrade. And the fact that it will ask me to keep or overwrite any and every config file that has changed is something I rather miss on Windows 10, which will simply do as it pleases after every "upgrade" (such as the Creators update or the Anniversary update) and reinstall or install anew a whole bunch of "apps" I'll never use (I have actual programs that are more capable and have much more features than the "app" equivalents). Most if not all update/upgrade issues I've had that were beyond my ability to recover from I've experienced on: OpenSUSE, Fedora and Ubuntu (All of them being rather "volatile" Linux based distros, in which, uncertainty of it's stability can be considered a feature). On a sidenote - I don't think I've yet seen a Linux based distro being able to recover itself after a botched update or upgrade (I've even intentionally have tried to interrupt the update process by pulling the cord on it and then be able to still boot it up later as if nothing went wrong)... actually, I think CoreOS has such a feature.

      • KwaK
        August 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm

        Clarification - in the "recovery from botched update/upgrade" part I'm comparing Linux based distro OS's to a Windows OS

    • halfey
      August 23, 2017 at 2:57 am

      I can't stress this enough. I consider myself a Linux convert but at one point the distro I was using (Ubuntu) went haywire after an update. From there I learned that I should have restored everything to defaults before updating, something I never had to do in Windows. That experience alone was enough to traumatize me that I stayed away from Linux for several years before coming back.

      • KwaK
        August 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm

        Coincidentally, I've had similar experience with Ubuntu a few years back, where, apparently I was suppose to revert most (if not all) of my configurations back to their default values prior to doing an upgrade to the next mayor version. Along with a whole bunch of other weird errors prior to that ... I just went back to Windows. Some while later I returned to the world of Linux as I had purchased a cheap Nettop PC (with an Intel Atom CPU) and Windows was too heavyweight for it... what I went with was PeppermintOS - a LUbuntu-like distro if I'm not mistaking. However, once I gave Debian a try it's been smooth sailing ever since (with some occasional roadbumps here an there related to some very specific package or version of a program not being available but that's due to me trying to set up bleeding edge software on 'Stable' - something you probably shouldn't do). So, if you've had bad experience with Ubuntu but liked it better than other Linux based distros I'd suggest you give Debian a go. Overall, for the most part, it seems that all the Linux based distros have become much more polished and "dropping your configs before an upgrade to avoid breakage" seems to be a thing of the past and upgrades don't tend to break things as much these days.

  10. Areeb
    August 18, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Regarding the 4th point.
    "interfaces are simple"
    Well that totally depends on the distro that you're using. As you said most people are familiar with Windows therefore try would probably have a hard time with unity.

    The variety of distros available is both a pro and a con.
    Since there are hundreds of distros to choose from, a newbie may end up choosing the wrong distro and having bad experience in the end.
    I would advice new users to stay away from Ubuntu. Unity is just the worst DE.
    Xfce is the best.

    Manjaro xfce, Zorin OS, Mint, Linux Lite, xubuntu, Elementary os, Lububtu..
    A few distros that are very simple.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      August 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      You're right - this completely depends on which distro you're using. This subject is inherently subjective, and I'm largely coming from the perspective that a newbie has someone helping them get started (just like most people I know had someone show them how to use Windows or macOS). I would recommend some new users to Unity over xfce or Cinnamon simply because it comes with a full-featured dock (though I agree Unity is not ideal). From my experience, the idea of clicking on an app icon that never moves can be much easier to explain and remember than the concept of a window list. This is especially the case now that macOS, Windows 10, and Chromebooks all function this way.

      I do know there are many people out there who find the kind of interfaces you recommend to be easier, but I haven't encountered anyone like that in person, and I'm ultimately writing this post based on my experience. Thanks for sharing!

    • fcd76218
      August 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      "Xfce is the best. "
      That is arguable. IMO, KDE is better! :-) But then I've been using KDE since version 3.x and am quite familiar with it. Every time I try to use XFCE, I find that it is very disorganized.

      No, I am not trying to push KDE or disparage XFCE. My point is that the choice and use of a desktop environment is a personal thing (as is the choice of a distro) We tend to think that whatever we are familiar with is THE BEST. If I had used XFCE for as many years as I have used KDE, I would probably also think it was the best.

      • Areeb
        August 18, 2017 at 7:57 pm

        I always keep switching my distros. Don't really stick to one for too long. You could say trying if different distros had become a hobby.
        My first distro was Ubuntu and coming from Windows, I totally hated it.
        But then I went on to learn more about other distros and DEs. I've tried most major DEs (Unity, Gnome, KDE, xfce etc) but I always come back to xfce.

        The thing I love about Xfce is how lightweight it is but it still manages to look very visually appealing. It's very customizable and easy to use.

        Disorganized? Which xfce distro did you try? Many of them are bad.
        Currently I'm using Majaro xfce. I tried the KDE variant but I didn't enjoy it as much.
        You should try it. Looks beautiful for a distro so lightweight.

        • fcd76218
          August 18, 2017 at 8:47 pm

          As I said above, I have tried XFCE and I did not enjoy it. I kept coming back to KDE.

          "The thing I love about Xfce is how lightweight it is"
          It may feel lightweight but you would be surprised how much memory it actually uses Granted, not as much as KDE but still a lot. If I'm not mistaken, XFCE is the second or third biggest memory hog among all the DEs, with KDE being the biggest.

          The functionality of DEs remain basically the same, no matter the distro they are installed in. The differences between individual distro implementations of a DE are for the great part cosmetic. XFCE implementation may look somewhat different in Fedora or Manjaro or Xubuntu or antiX but it will function the same in all of them.

          "Disorganized"
          In comparison to KDE. KDE has a Control Center which allows the user to change most of the settings. In XFCE each setting has its own application which has to be run. Power Management, Account Details, Date/time, etc.

          But, as I said, it depends what one is used to. You are used to XFCE, I am used to KDE. Others are used to Unity. Does not mean that any of them are better or worse than the others.

      • Areeb
        August 19, 2017 at 1:32 am

        "XFCE is the second or third biggest memory hog among all the DEs, with KDE being the biggest."
        You are mistaken. Xfce not the most lightweight but it is amongst one of them. Unity and Gnome are quite heavy. KDE lies somewhere in between.
        http://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/5l39tz/linux_distros_ram_consumption_comparison_updated/

        I have tried KDE manjaro and the control panel seemed very confusing to to me. One in xfce and other DEs are more cleaner and well organized imo.
        But yes, I guess it does come down to personal preference.

        To each their own.
        Let the discussion end here :)

    • Trevor B
      August 19, 2017 at 1:37 am

      I've been converting (from Windoze) nearly all my family and friends to Zorin over the last two years due to it's familiar interface and I can't tell you how wonderful it's been not getting calls all hours of the day or night from them with some new problem...most that they'd somehow caused themselves.
      Converted my 80 year old father over a year ago after he'd fallen for three different scams over a 20 month period and even HE was able to get around easily and quickly in it within about 30 minutes. That one alone is saving me an average of five hours a month.

      • Areeb
        August 19, 2017 at 2:06 am

        That's very nice to hear.
        Zorin is a very well designed distro. Definitely one of the most visually pleasing one.
        And it's familiarity to Windows and even MacOs (I think there's a Mac layout option in it too?) makes it even better.

        My friends (mostly windows users) aren't ready to give Linux a try because they once had a bad experience with Ubuntu.
        Yet they're always complaining about windows sluggish performance and issues on a low end laptop that we got from our high school.
        I'm using the same laptop and it handles Manjaro very well.

      • John G
        August 23, 2017 at 3:23 pm

        I've been using Zorin since Zorin 6.4, so far I'm still with Zorin 9 core it is really a fine OS. Zorin 12 is okay but needs some tweaking yet as I feel the Zorin 9 is sturdy and stable as they come. Being totally windows free for over five years is great.

  11. nanohazard
    August 18, 2017 at 2:07 am

    I would have you know I multibooted* Ubuntu, Arch Linux and Windows in my laptop.
    I believe in tweaking things to the point where it breaks.
    *May include Kernel Panic, weird fstab errors, and Emergency mode.

  12. begar2
    August 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Linux is great but it has a big problem: No available drivers for any device.

    Until now, i never managed to get hibernation to function properly.
    Sound drivers are pour, without many options.
    Many printers and scanners, simply dont work.
    Power manager sucks. Laptop battery dies faster.

    On the other hand, everything is free and unlocked.

    • Penuin
      August 17, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      The drivers are built into the kernel. Linux supports more hardware out of the box than any other OS. Nice try.

      • begar2
        August 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        Then show me the way to make hibernation work properly on my laptop.

        • Mike F
          August 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

          This depends on your laptop and distro. Personally, I haven't run into this problem in over a decade, which includes installing Linux on multiple laptop brands (HP, Dell, Toshiba, ASUS, and Acer to name a few). As long as you stick to major hardware brands and popular distros (I use Linux Mint, personally), you should have few to no problems.

    • Donald Brown
      August 17, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      I've had issues with only one printer, and it was an outdated, under produced Xerox all in one. Never had any issues with a scanner. Sound is awesome going from my HTPC to my Bluetooth sound bar, and my Dell laptop actually lasts LONGER when I'm booted into Linux than Windows. I think you may have had one bad experience quite a few years ago, but I've had nothing but bliss.

    • Paul
      August 23, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Rubbish. I've installed Ubuntu for friends that Windoze would not run their old scanner because there was no Win driver and the scanner worked perfectly with no set up involved.

    • Terry
      September 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Where/when did you get you Linux install? It sounds like the kernel is seriously dated, by a decade or more. Try Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon 64-Bit.

  13. steve
    August 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I run Mint on an old (9yrs !) laptop - works fine for mail, browsing, website coding and basic office stuff.

    What it doesn't do and what I can't do without, is run any serious photo processing software - and yes I do know about Gimp and RAW processors, but they are way behind in usability.

    • Penuin
      August 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      You clearly just don't know what is available for Linux.. Try Pixeluvo which is Windows or Linux. Or Krita or Aftershot Pro or Lightzone.

      • steve
        August 18, 2017 at 9:41 am

        I have been using Linux in various forms for over 20 years and I am well aware of what is available so I find your statement very condescending and the kind of remark that puts people off getting involved with Linux.

        The question above was "what do you see as its shortcomings" and strong photo editing / manipulation is my answer.

        None of the applications you suggest have anything like the total functionality of Lightroom and CS6 especially if one has a significant investment in Lightroom and CS6 presets / actions which cannot be simply (or in many cases not at all) replaced.

        BTW - Krita is a paint program not a serious photo editing program, Aftershot is OK for some RAW files but doesn't allow Layers and is therefore restrictive in photo editing. Lightzone was once a commercial program but didn't make it in the marketplace - complex photo editing may be an area where Linux never makes it.

        • Penuin
          August 18, 2017 at 10:48 am

          Well, I see you ignored Pixeluvo in your response and with good reason.. Because it does support layers so you conveniently left it out of your reply.

          If you need CS6 so badly you would run it in a Virtual Machine.. OR you would just use Windows. Adobe are in the business of making money and they aren't going to invest millions on a desktop version for Linux to not even see a return on it especially when online cross platform versions are in the works. Most Linux users aren't going to pay that much for something they otherwise do for free. I've been a Linux user for 10 years and I wouldn't even dream of paying for software and I am in the majority. I don't mind donating to good projects.

          Is CS6 not being available on Linux an issue for me? No! Do I edit photos and videos? Yes, almost everyday.

          "especially if one has a significant investment in Lightroom and CS6 presets / actions"..

          Again, if this is the case, what on earth are you doing on Linux? You would use Windows surely! Would I buy a Playstation and then start complaining that Xbox exclusive titles aren't available? Of course not! I'd buy an Xbox if I wanted to play Xbox exclusives.

        • steve
          August 18, 2017 at 12:21 pm

          Penuin - what am I doing on Linux - as I originally stated browsing, mail and basic office stuff.

          You do seem to have an issue with anyone who writes anything other than full praise of Linux - you need to step back - one of the original questions in the article was essentially 'what's missing' and that was what I wrote and no I didn't leave Pixeluvo out because it has layers but because it isn't yet sufficiently comprehensive to replace CS6 and the comments on their user forums reflect that.

          But please don't bother to response with another tirade with wild assumptions and assertions, Linux has it's place and I'm happy to use it where I can, unfortunately there isn't a comprehensive photo management / editing package available now, but when there is, then that's when I'll get serious with it.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      August 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks for your feedback! I think it's a stretch to say Linux can't run *any* serious photo processing software, as there are plenty of people who use Linux for that purpose. But it's entirely fair to say that commercial operating systems do have more options, increasing the likelihood that photographers will find the tools that work just right for them.

      • Mike_Walsh
        August 21, 2017 at 9:16 am

        Personally, I have an elderly copy of Photoshop CS2 (which I bought years ago) running perfectly under WINE. I'm lucky here, since CS2 is the only version of PS which has the Gold/Platinum rating on the WINEHQ database.....

        I also use the GIMP. AND Krita. And Darktable.....and Fotoxx.....and.....

        Whatever works fine for the task at hand. And not only only does this run fine on my old Compaq Presario desktop, but even on a 15-yr old Dell lappie with a P4.....

  14. Plinio Casarotto
    August 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    For me the biggest drawbacks in adopting Linux is the pack of a good statistical package with plot tool, like Graphpad or Past3. No, R is not an alternative, far from intuitive.

    • Sumitro Bhaumik
      August 18, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Matplotlib
      Plotly (online solution)

  15. Bob
    August 17, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Mate on a PC for my wife over a year ago. She loves it! I love it because it is easy to maintain and I don't worry about her accidentally downloading something that will damage the OS. She loves her Thunderbird mail which she used previously on Windows for over 7 years and Firefox is now her favorite browser. I am able to use older scanners and printers which current versions of Windows no longer support, but Linux does. Neither of us would ever go back to windows.

    • Anton
      August 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Are you sure you're not talking about my girlfriend but then 7 years ago? :-)

  16. Anton
    August 17, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I am using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Gnome 3. Tweaked it with some extensions (Especially Dash to Doc, Activities Configurator and Top Icons Plus) to have it look and behave like Unity and now it not only works great but also looks beautiful. And I never have any problems. It just runs smoothly on a 7 year old laptop. And every 2 years I update to the latest LTS version, since it's the most stable one. Installing software is so easy. For example installing a printer is actually easier than on Windows. On the laptop I also have WIndows 10 installed with a dual boot, because 0.1 percent of the time I needed Skype and Skype on Linux is still nog great. But unfortunately the sound is not working correctly on Windows (but perfectly on Ubuntu). So for Skype I'm relying on my phone. So actually for me Windows has more shortcomings.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      August 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      I don't use Skype anymore, but a few years back I ended up doing the same thing - relying on my phone.

  17. Glen
    August 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I installed Linux Mint Serena on an old laptop & Lubuntu on an even older PC; the machines now run like new & added years of life to my aging computers

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      August 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Glad to hear it!