Why students (and everyone) should use Linux over Windows

I recently loaded up a version of Xubuntu on an old laptop that my girlfriend was planning to throw away and it got me thinking about how much of a benefit the Linux operating system and software can be to students like myself.

Firstly, many Linux distributions are free, the obvious one being Ubuntu, Debian being another. This is a great step down from the £100 versions of Windows and one I’m more than happy to take.

Of course a computer is hardly any use without and software with which to work with, but again here I’m convinced that Linux has the upper hand. With Windows you also need the office equipment to complement it. Linux on the other hand provides a library of different software that is free to download and install. Forget what people say about there “being no software for Linux”, there is, i haven’t found a job which i haven’t been able to find a program for.

Because both the operating system and the programs for Linux are primarily free, the only thing you really need to pay for is the actual computer hardware.

What people usually say after “there is no software for Linux” is that “Nothing is compatible”. Once again i have found this to not be true, programs such as the excellent Open Office, not only allow for work to be saved in Microsoft word format, but in just about any version. There are also a dozen other formats available.

However if you really feel the need to use something from Windows then there are programs such as Wine which allow the running of executable (.exe) files in Linux. So there are a few ways round it.

Safety and Security
In my experience Windows operating systems always end up being a lot more vulnerable to viruses and the like simply for being Windows. Most people use Windows, hence most viruses are made for Windows. This is why using Firefox is much safer than using Internet Explorer. Linux is mostly used by programmers and the like, so are usually a much harder audience for a hacker to target.

Size and Simplicity

Windows never seems to get any faster because every new operating system release they add lots of unnecessary extra features that the average user will never use (i have yet to find anyone who likes the latest release of Microsoft office), and pack it full of fancy graphics that slow the system down. Linux keeps it simple and gives up just the right tool for the job without any fancy graphics or features. (The whole Ubuntu operating system fits on one CD).

I personally think that Linux makes a great tool for a student computer. I use mine to take to college as it saves me from taking my larger, modern laptop (with all may major files) in lest it should ever be broken. So go on, separate yourself from Microsoft and give Linux a chance.


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