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. 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 specifically in mind. Consequently, certain printers or scanners may have limited support under Linux because the manufacturer is slow in providing drivers.
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. Chances are it won't be long before your dream device is part of standard Linux.
We'll talk about devices and device drivers later in the book.
There is a huge amount of software available for the Linux operating system; unfortunately, most of it is not commercial. On the one hand, you can download thousands of games, tools, and Internet and office applications to run on your system. Much of it will cost you nothing more than the time it takes to download it.
On the other hand, commercial, shrink-wrapped software, including those hot new 3D games at your local computer store, is still hard to come by. As Linux grows in popularity, particularly on the desktop, this is starting to change.
That said, there is software available for Linux that makes it possible to run Windows software. I'll talk more about that in the next chapter.
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 occasional email, surfing the Web, or composing a memo in your word processor, moving to Linux won't be a big deal. Your Linux desktop is a modern graphical environment, and much of what you have learned in your old operating system can be taken with you into this new world.