The word “Linux” can be used to explain two things, both meanings are widely used. Its original meaning was used to define Linux as the Brain of an operating system, also known as the kernel, over the years to make things easier to understand people started calling operating system with Linux “brain” as Linux Operating System or Linux-based operating system. Unless you like to tinker around with the operating system and change its code and do programming on Linux, you mostly will be referring to the operating system as Linux, not the kernel.
Linux operating system has several advantages:
- Its free to use and even upgrades are always free. You will never have to pay.
- Its highly customizable. You can customize Linux OS to make it look and work the way you want. In windows/OS X operating system, since the code is not free like Linux, if you can’t change something you will have to live with it.
- Its very safe from virus. You won’t always have to be worried about getting infected. Some people think there are not many viruses for Linux before not many people use Linux compare to Windows, but I personally disagree with this view and don’t think it will change much even if Linux becomes more famous.
- Linux has a huge collection of software that is free. However not all of those free software are as good as the commercial software in Windows/ OS X, both in terms of features and quality. But they are good enough for majority of users.
- If there are any security issues in Linux system things generally gets fixed quicker than in the windows/ OS X world.
- There are many flavors of Linux operating system to choose from and the more popular ones gets upgraded at least once a year.
Linux has some disadvantages too.
- Linux doesn’t have a lot of popular games like windows OS does. But things has changed a lot in the last couple years. It’s better but not there yet.
- Even though Linux OS will work in almost any computer where a standard Windows OS can be installed; sometimes, on the newer hardware Linux may not be installed properly; because hardware vendors don’t officially support Linux in most cases.
- There are very few pre-installed Linux computers out there and whatever options there is the hardware is not very impressive. Most Linux users will buy a windows computer and then install Linux on it.
But it’s always good to have a free alternative because it keeps the commercial OS from charging too much for their product. Since commercial guys know there is a good competition out there they always try to keep improving their products.