Linux operating system
Linux is a well-known alternative operating system that many people have used for years since Windows is loaded with problems and issues. It used to be regarded as the operating system for nerds, geeks, and people with computer science degrees because the average person couldn't understand it or use it practically. This stereotype has changed dramatically over the years as Linux distros (short for distributions) have gotten more user friendly, easier, better equipped, and similar to windows in look and feel so anyone can use it.
Change towards the better
Linux has grown leaps and bounds over the years to become much more friendly for the average computer user that doesn't want to deal with command lines and package installations. People want to install an operating system, click a few buttons, and be on their way to post on Facebook or perform their usual tasks for the day. Linux was plagued with the problem of having to do a lot of self-installation and package locating, so it was doomed to being just for computer experts until the past few years where distros have grown on the average user. Let's explore the various things that have changed and why you should consider using Linux as an alternative operating system today.
Ease of use
This one is key because Linux was difficult for the average computer person to use. There were command lines, new things to explore, new file system, and new ways of getting updates. Even though the community was helpful in answering questions, people generally were frustrated with their experience and shelved the operating system before even giving it a chance. Today things are dramatically different because all the popular Linux distros out there have been much easier to use. Distros like Ubuntu and Linux Mint come with a lot of things packaged up and pre-installed so the user doesn't have to spend a day or two downloading everything and setting up their system. It's pretty much point, click, and you are set!
Functionality and looks
Linux was also very different in look and feel to windows which caused people to shy away from it because of fear of not being able to learn it, or because it's too different so they just didn't want to bother. Thankfully we don't always have to follow the exact look of Windows since even Windows is changing in style so people are embracing new things. Linux distros have become similar to look in Windows while still maintaining that Linux feel and unique experience. People are gradually switching over to Linux when they see that just about everything they could do on Windows can be done on Linux and in some cases even better than what they could do on Windows.
Anyone who tried using Linux many years ago know the frustration that settled in when half of your hardware wasn't supported or didn't register in your brand spanking new copy of Linux. You would have to spend weeks flooding tech support and Linux community forums trying to find a patch or a work around to getting your hardware recognized and even then things were hazy. Internet connections were a pain to set up and forget wireless completely, it was a lost cause. Thankfully as time progresses things have improved dramatically on this front. Not only does Linux recognize all of your devices and sets them up automatically, but you don't have to worry about hardware issues the moment you boot up because you suddenly have no mouse or internet connection. Distros today are built smart and can detect your wireless and wired devices with ease so there's no hassle in finding support forums to figure out why X device isn't working properly.
Linux was always great with free and open source software so things got updated frequently and remained fresh. Things haven't changed on this front as Linux continues to spearhead the movement of having open source, well written software and has a lot of free or cheap alternatives to expensive Windows counterparts like Office. Software is abundant and many authors update frequently and just ask for donations, so the community is very obliged to help an author that updates their favorite software frequently and remains transparent because it's a real person trying to make it, unlike the big Microsoft company that barely has any support at all and feels like a company rather than individuals. You can be very successful as a software writer since you have a great community to support you and also have the freedom of open source at your side.
Variety of choices
Distros are abundant in this day and age. There are distros out there for advanced users, pure beginners, server and web hosting, software development, and hardware testing. Since the majority of users that are making the switch to Linux are likely beginners then Ubuntu and Linux Mint are the recommend distros to use due to their ease of use, ability to set up, and try out of the box because of their Debian base. I like Debian personally and find it amazing for the features it offers, but I would still recommend Ubuntu and Linux Mint for the newbie and computer beginner. I have tried out Knoppix for the live CD and have also tried out Mandrake to see what it had to offer and they were great. OpenSuse is another distro I want to try but I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I see how it also offers a lot of great features for newbies as well.
Give it a shot today
Linux isn't scary like you have probably heard about in the past. Things have changed dramatically over the years and things are getting better while Windows still struggles with legitimate customers having problems activating their bought copies of Windows. How ridiculous is that? If you aren't sure if Linux is right for you then please try it out via Live CD or USB drive. You can use Knoppix, DSL, Puppy Linux, or Ubuntu to try it out and see if you like it, and if you do you can always click on install and the Live CD will install the operating system on the hard drive in a simple and efficient way. Try it out today and see if it's something you would like.