People use Linux for different reasons. For many it is a matter of power, stability, multilingual capabilities, or even personal philosophy. However, for others, crass as it may sound, it is a matter of money. Just think for a moment about what it usually costs to get started with an operating system.
Go to wherever it is you go to buy software, and take a walk down the aisles. Make a list in your head of all the things you want to buy and how much each costs: an office suite; a game or two; maybe a graphics program with which to make yourself look better in your digital photos; and a collection of all those firewall, antispam, antivirus, and anti-adware programs that you really need to protect yourself in the Windows world.
Now do the math. After you pick yourself up off the floor, you will understand that we are talking big bucks here. On the other hand, for the price of this book you will have all of the things you wanted and more in the Linux world. Despite the worries that many people have, making the move to Linux means not only savings for you, but also more computing versatility.
You will not be hamstrung at some point along the way because you don’t have this or that program when you need it most—you’ll have it all from the get-go, or else be able to download it easily . . . and at no cost! You might counter with the fact that there are a lot of freeware applications out there for other operating systems, but c’mon, let’s face it—these are often rather limited in terms of their capabilities.
The programs with a little more oomph are mostly shareware, and most shareware programs these days are limited in some way, or they only let you use them for a short time unless you are willing to pay for them. Sure, their costs are relatively low, but $25 here and $35 there eventually adds up to a considerable chunk of change.
There is also the problem that some of these programs, unbeknownst to you, install backdoors, or keyloggers, or make your system a sudden garden of adware. Finally, at least in my experience, the majority of such programs are hardly worth the money asked. The only shareware programs I ever found worth buying were Lemke Software’s GraphicConverter and Plasq’s Comic Life, both for the Mac.
While money is important to the average user, it is certainly not the only reason for taking the Linux plunge; there are a variety of other reasons as well. As I mentioned before, Linux is noted for its stability. Try running your present system for a month without restarting and see what happens.
Linux has been known to run without a reboot for over a year without a hitch or decrease in performance. With its multilingual capabilities, Linux is also a perfect choice for language students or users in a multilingual environment. In addition, Linux is infinitely customizable: You can get your system to look and act the way you want it to without being wizarded to death.
And then there are the applications that come with most Linux distributions. In addition to their wide variety, most are well up to industry snuff, with some, such as Evolution and the GIMP, being sources of envy for those outside the Linux world.
Finally, with the advent of Microsoft’s new Windows Vista system and its more demanding hardware requirements (especially if you want to take advantage of its most touted new features), you may find your present machine on the fast track to obsolescence. Turning it into a Linux machine will ensure it several more years of working life. Shame to put good hardware out to pasture so early, after all.