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Hi my name is Anis! I am a full time linux user and I know a lot about it. It’s a great system, does not spy on you, and make it very difficult to make malware. In the past years, it become a great platform for gaming, too. Here’s the answers to a branch of questions I usually hear about Linux from Windows users.
Why would I want Linux?
Here is a handful of the reasons you might go for Linux over Windows:
- Linux doesn’t spy on you, and it’s not run by corporate interests, so you can be confident that it never will. Sure you can turn off some spying on Windows, but wouldn’t be better if there was no spying in the first place.
- Linux is very customizable – you can change it to suit your preferences and truly make it your own. Here’s a few more looks you could go for: Gnome 3, KDE plasma 5, and more.
- It’s free. No need to drop $100 on a Windows license for you next build. It’s also free as in “freedom” – a lot of people think this too seriously, but it just means that you can do whatever you what with it. When Microsoft made the full screen Start Menu and you bitched about it, you couldn’t change it. On Linux, you can. If you are a programmer, the source code for nearly everything you use is available to you as well.
- Working on your PC is a hobby. Building it form scratch is part of the fun of being in the PC master race. Why stop at the hardware, though? With Linux, you can use the out of the box system and be happy, but if you what you can tweak it and customize it and build it into a very personal experience.
- Easier to install Software. On Windows, you google it, and download a installer, run it, put your password, click “next” 10 times, and then you have it. On Linux, you enter one command one time on the terminal, put in your password, and then you have it. There are also graphics tools that you can search for software, click one button, put in your password, and then you have it.
What about games?
Ask me this question five years ago, and I would have told you that you’d be giving up games if you switch to Linux. Thankfully, though, it’s not true today. We have some games library such as Steam. There are many games on Linux I don’t have, too. On top of that, I’m able to play a lot of games with wine, which is a software for Linux that lets you run many Windows programs. However, I’d be lying to you if I said you wouldn’t be giving up some games. Most AAA games are unfortunately not ported to Linux until months or years after they’are released, and new games won’t work in wine until wine catches up with Windows. The solution most people turn to is called Dual booting – it’s very easy to have both Linux and Windows installed on the same computer, and switching between them is as easy as rebooting.
But are games on Linux slower?
This depends on the developers of the game in question. Linux provides openGL, which fills a similar niche to DirectX on Windows. OpenGL runs on more platforms – Windows, Linux, Max os and more, so many games on Windows are actually using OpenGl. The performance of both frameworks is comparable – Value, for example, was able to suqeeze more performance out of Left 4 Dead with OpenGL on Linux than with DirectX on Windows. On the other hand, PCSX2 has poorer performance on OpenGL when compared to the DirectX fronted. On even an entry level rig, though, you can export to have a good time. You are not likely to notice any difference in performance between Linux and Windows.
what’s this terminal thing? I am scared of text!
I heard stuff about Linux and Unix, what are the differences between them?
Unix is an operating system created by Bell Labs in the 70’s. It defines a certain way an operating system should behave, and Linux is a free implement of that behavior. OS X is another implement of Unix. For the most part, Linux and OS X are compatible. Windows is another operating system that is not implement of Unix, and programmers have to make a special version of their software to run on Windows.
What’s up with all these different kind of Linux?
You’ve probably heard of variety Linux distributions, of “distros”, like Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Linux Mint, Gentoo, and so on. It seems complicated, but it’s actually simple. “Linux” itself just provide core functions of the system, things the users can’t really see, and the distro provides the look and the feel, default applications, and a handful of others things. It’s like this – imagine that a car company build a really good engine, and then give it off for free. A whole branch of people build their own cars, build around this engine. They might looks different, have different wheel and seats, but they are all cars, and they have this one engine design in common. That’s how Linux works – Linux is the engine, distro is the rest of the car.
But which one do I pick?
How does Linux avoid malware?
How hard is it to sitch?