Though it first earned a reputation as a platform for hobbyists and hackers, Linux has come a long way since Linus Torvalds cobbled together the first kernel as a student project. A modern Linux desktop is a sophisticated, user-friendly GUI environment, with features and applications to rival any proprietary OS. In fact, when compared to the mainstream alternatives, there are lots of compelling reasons to give Linux a try:
It's free. Switching to open source software means the end of software license fees, not just for the operating system, but for the major applications that run on it, as well.
Switching to open source software means the end of software license fees, not just for the operating system, but for the major applications that run on it, as well.
It's secure. Linux is immune to the viruses, worms, adware, spyware, and Trojan horse programs that plague Windows.
It's compatible. Linux can take advantage of most of the media and file formats you use now, but open source software doesn't tie you to proprietary protocols and file formats. That means no more vendor lock-in.
It's lightweight. Linux offers plenty of cutting-edge capabilities for today's high-powered PCs. It can scale down to suit older hardware, too -- unlike Windows Vista.
It's well supported. Between an active user community and a variety of commercial support offerings, help is available for everyone, from novices to advanced users.
If you're willing to take the plunge, getting started with Linux is a matter of a few easy steps. Once you're done, you should have a fully operational desktop system suitable for learning, experimentation, or even for replacing your current PC for day-to-day computing needs. You can even keep Windows on the same machine, allowing you to switch back and forth between the two operating systems.