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Is Linux Ready for your Desktop?

If you are asking the question “is Linux ready for your desktop?” the answer is probably yes. Virtually all desktops today have the power to run almost any version / flavour of the OS (operating system). But the more important question is: are you prepared for Linux?

Available Software

The bottom line for most users is whether the OS has any good programs. The answer is yes, and many of them are free. There are free office suites like Calligra, OpenOffice or LibreOffice. These programs can be downloaded, if they are not already pre-installed. These are not stripped down versions; these suites have full-featured word processors, presentations, spreadsheets and various office tools. Most of them can open files created in MS Office and save files in MS Office format.

There are powerful email clients too like Mozilla Thunderbird which rival anything on Windows and the Mac. There are also music players available as well as audio editors. Of the photo editors for the OS, Gimp is probably the best. There are also a growing number of games becoming available.

Distros

Linux comes in several types / distributions or “distros”. The most widely used are Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mint and Fedora. The most popular is Ubuntu, with almost 30% of all Linux users running it. If you are a Windows user thinking of migrating, this is the best choice since many features are similar.

Each distro comes with its own interface and features. The most widely used interfaces are KDE, Gnome and Unity. Like the applications, these distros are open source and free (although some paid Linux apps are appearing). One of the advantages of Linux is strong community support. The wide array of choices means you can assess what distro is best for you.

Other Benefits of Linux

For those who are still asking “is Linux ready for your desktop?” proponents will respond with the following.

Everything you need is almost always pre-installed. When you install a distro like Ubuntu, you will get an office suite, a web browser, a PDF reader, music player and organizer, movie player, image editor, instant messenger and tools for decompressing files. All these are free.

Compare that with the hundreds of dollars it costs to install the Windows and Mac operating systems. Plus you have to buy more applications. The cost will run into the thousands of dollars.

There are other advantages: there are very few viruses, there is no need to manually update system / software drivers (all updates on Linux are done with one click) and you have control over the desktop appearance.

Disadvantages

The most glaring is the lack of games. It’s true that there are more than 3,500 games for Linux, but Windows has hundreds of thousands if not millions. More to the point, the games on Linux are pretty simple like Tetris. But games like Crysis 2, Skyrim, Elder Scrolls V etc are not there. Support for graphics is not standardized, and neither for Wi-Fi.

There is little consistency in KDE development. The changes and upgrades also happen very quickly and can be distracting for a user. There is also no popular commercial software. For many people used to programs like Microsoft Office, CorelDraw and Adobe Photoshop, making the transition to another OS without those programs will be difficult.

Ultimately, the question of “is Linux ready for your desktop?” depends on you. But there’s no questioning the advancements it has made. There was a time when you could only choose between Mac and Windows. Now there are the various Linux distros.

Author Bio:- Charlie is a free lancer writer and content builder of www.linuxdistributions.org/ and he loves Linux.

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