What Do I Gain?
No operating system is perfect, and nothing comes without some hassles, but as time goes on, Linux is getting closer and closer to
The stability of Linux is almost legendary. Living in a world where people are used to rebooting their PCs one or more times a day, Linux users talk about running weeks and sometimes months without a reboot. Illegal operations and the Blue Screen of Death are not part of the Linux experience. Sure, programs occasionally crash here, but they don't
Linux is a multitasking, multiuser operating system. In this book, I concentrate on the desktop features of Ubuntu Linux, but under the hood, Linux is a system designed to provide all the power and flexibility of an enterprise-class server. Linux-
It is possible to do everything you need to do on a computer without spending any money on softwarethat means new software and upgrades alike. In fact, free software for Linux is almost an embarrassment of riches. In Chapter 8, I'll show you how to install (or remove) additional software on your Linux system. You won't believe how easy it is.
Freedom from Legal Hassles
When you run Linux, you don't have to worry about whether you've kept a copy of your operating system license. The GNU GPL, which I mentioned earlier, means you are legally entitled to copy and can legally redistribute your Linux CDs if you wish.
Keep in mind, however, that although Linux itself can be
What Do I Lose?
Nothing ever seems to be perfect. By moving to Linux you gain a great deal, but I would be doing a disservice if I did not mention the disadvantages.
Hardware and Peripheral Support
The hardware support for Linux is, quite honestly, among the best there is, and Ubuntu Linux's hardware support is among the best in the Linux world. In fact, when you consider all the platforms that run Linux, its hardware and peripheral support is better than that of the Windows system you are leaving behind. Unfortunately, there are some consumer devices designed with Windows
On the upside, you'll find that where you always had to load drivers to make something run in your old OS, Linux automatically recognizes and supports an amazing number of peripherals without you having to do anything extra or hunt down a driver disk. Furthermore, the Linux community is vibrant in a way that few businesses can ever hope to be. If you have your eye on a hot new piece of hardware, you can almost bet that some Linux developer somewhere has an eye on exactly the same thing.
We'll talk about devices and device drivers later in Chapter 6.
There is a huge amount of software available for the Linux operating system. Amazingly, most of it is noncommercial and free for the download. There are
And installation? With the Synaptic package manager included with Ubuntu, you'll be asking yourself why it wasn't this easy to install software in your old OS!
On the other hand, commercial, shrink-wrapped software, including those hot new 3D games at your local computer store, are still hard to come by. As Linux grows in popularity, particularly on the desktop, this is starting to change.
There are ways around this issue, however. For instance, you can pick up a package called Cedega that lets you install and run Windows games.
A Step into the Unknown
Let's face it. For some, moving to Linux is a step into the unknown. Things won't be exactly as they were with your old operating system, and for the most part, this is a good thing. You will have to do a little relearning and get used to a different way of doing things.
Even so, if you are used to working in your Windows graphical environment and you are comfortable with basic mousing skills, writing the