Which one is the better operating system for a normal user – Linux or Windows? And if Linux is better, which distributions should I use?
If you want to try a new Linux OS, use Mint first, this will reduce the frustration level of having to install stuff like Flash etc, Mint comes with all this stuff pre installed, along with all your office software, photo and music software, this will get you going, Ubuntu is great as well, but for the first time Mint wins, People like Ubuntu better because it is more customizable, but then again so is mint, then just sit back and enjoy, don't worry about surfing the web either, no Virus, male-ware or spam-ware will infect your machine. No anti-virus software needed.
I've been dual-booting Linux and Windows for about 4 years now, and I have used each OS for well over a decade. Currently I prefer Linux, but Win7 is really almost as good. A modern Linux distro will be better than WinXP by far. Win7 and any modern Linux install will be about equal. Unless you're a gamer, then Windows has a pretty good advantage. If the only games you play are 2 years old or older, then Linux will work just fine. If you want to play a DirectX11 game, then Win7 is your only option.
Updates: One of the best features you get with Linux is that all your updates (the Linux kernel, drivers, Firefox, Skype, Picasa, VLC, etc) are managed through a single update program. With Windows, your system files are all updated by MS, but applications usually handle update with their own software (if at all). When I boot into Windows after a week or two of not using it, I have a half dozen programs all checking for updates right as I boot. I usually wait for them to all finish checking, which adds 2-5 minutes to my boot time. My Linux programs are never out of date.
Speed: Linux doesn't get slow with time like Windows does. My father has WinXP at home and Ubuntu 10.10 at work (I manage both computers for him). He prefers the work computer because it's "faster". The more apps you add to Windows, the slower it gets. Linux doesn't have this problem when you add a lot of apps (other than a slightly longer boot time).
Cost: I have paid for NO software on my Linux install (and pirated no software). And other than a few very new games (like Crysis2), it can do everything Win7 can do. All while costing me about $500 less. Starcraft 2 and World Of Warcraft run perfectly on Linux.
Stability: WinXP is SIGNIFICANTLY less stable than Linux, and Win7 is slightly less stable than Linux. Most problems in Linux are the result of hardware going bad.
Support: As far as Linux support is concerned, a typical problem that I encounter can be resolved much faster than a Windows problem. Type the problem into Google, word for word, and your answer will usually be on the first page (often one or all of the first 3 results). The exception to this is if you have really obscure hardware. I have NEVER had to ask a question on any of the Linux forums because the answer was already there.
Familiarity: going from any Windows to any Linux distro will be about as awkward as going from WinXP to Vista or Win7.
Conclusion: If you have an unused hard drive, install Ubuntu on it and "dual boot". When it is done installing, your next reboot will show a menu letting you choose Linux or Windows (you can keep both on your computer indefinitely). Linux will be able to see your Windows drive, but Windows will not be able to see your Linux drive. So put your pictures, music, and movies on your Windows drive until you know Linux a bit better (or use Dropbox to synch your Windows and Linux drives).
Well, both Windows and Linux have there pros and cons and I'll present a 'few' for both. Some of my points may indeed be debatable, but I believe they are valid.
Windows - Pros
-Sets the Standard. There are tons of programs created for a lot of operating systems, but Windows tends to be the standard platform for PC software development. (Example: Most games are created for Windows OS only, with the exception of Mac and Linux every once in a while).
-Familiarity. Most people seem to be more familiar with Windows than most other operating systems available. (This may be a general statement, but with Windows being the most popular OS out there, its not that far off from the truth).
Windows - Cons
-Primary Target. Windows seems to have a huge target on there operating systems for malware, viruses, hackers, etc. (because its so popular in the marketplace).
-Fragmented Files. Windows does a very poor job of keeping its files in order when writing them to the hard drive. This can cause your system to bog down after a while. To help with this, most usually clean and defrag the hard drive to help maintain and increase system performance. (Linux does not require to be defragged)
Linux - Pros
-Free and Open Source. When software (and in this case, operating systems) are open source, its seems to always push out more original and creative ideas for its product. (and plus, its free!)
-Broaden Your Horizon. I believe branching out to Linux (in general) will help broaden your horizon. This will honestly make you appreciate the PC market (as a whole). Linux, Windows, and Mac all help push the market forward and Linux specifically is definitely driving the innovative side of the market in Operating Systems with Windows and Mac consistently being accused of stealing the idea's from Linux.
Linux - Cons
-Games. Like I mentioned in the Windows category, finding actual big title games released to the PC market are likely not to have any Linux support. I personally believe this will change in the future because Steam (a popular game program, similar to what iTunes did for music) just fairly recently gave support for Mac, which is a good step in my opinion for future Linux support.
-Help and Support. Even though there is a descent size market of users who use Linux, it can still sometimes be tough to find help on specific issues. Linux is getting better in this area and time will help with this issue. I'd recommend trying out Ubuntu or OpenSuse if you do plan to try out Linux for I personally feel these are easy enough to learn and seem to be two of the more popular Linux flavors; so finding help on the OS should be easier.
If you don't play big title games on your computer, Linux is definitely something I'd recommend to try out! I've used it several times before and it's honestly a solid choice as an operating system! If you want something that feels more familiar and has better support, go for Windows. If you are still unsure of Linux, try it out with a virtual machine first before you install it as your primary OS.
Ubuntu - http://www.ubuntu.com
OpenSuse - http://www.opensuse.org
VMware Player (virtual machine) - http://www.vmware.com/products/player
A normal user will be happier with a windows system.
Hello, there are many definitions of better.....the most important one you have to consider is which one is better for you, based on what you want to do with it. Also, if you want to spend no money, linux good be better on your pocket.
ubuntu is one of the safest / Free OS for our PC. You can do more things than MS and having some limitations on use of iphone/ipod/ipad sync... ( only music works !!!)
Rest all Ok. Features like... fast access, virus free, instant themes change.... No hangout etc.....
If you plan to do the regular office work (documents, spreadsheets, presentations) + web then Linux is fine and Ubuntu is one of the safest bets.
If you want to throw some occasional PC gaming then I would go with Windows because gaming support of conventional (high name/brand) games is not that easily supported in Linux as it is on Windows.
I use Ubuntu and it is awesome I can manage my music, my web, my email, my iPod, my phone, my eBooks and my documents. Plus it is much more secure than Windows and has far, far less viruses that are actually dangerous and WAY less viruses that are annoying.