Whats so great about linux?

Posted on 1998-06-21
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
The question says it all. Why should I use linux instead of a more user friendly os like winnt or win98? What is more powerfull in linux then in windows?
Question by:laeuchli
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Accepted Solution

aszure earned 20 total points
ID: 1637379
Well what I have found it that there is a rich learning value in linux.You learn more about how programs work and more about how hardware works with the computer. Also there is more stability in linux. No crashes, GPF's etc. Also the customability of Linux. With win95/NT you have to stay with the way it looks for the most part. With linux running X you can make it look like just about anything. Plus Linux (without X) can pretty much run on a 286. Where as win95/NT needs at least a 486/50 to run at a tolerable speed. This is just my opinion

Expert Comment

ID: 1637380
Aszure is right. There are more advantages for Linux:

- Linux was created and is being developed by the users for the users, so compatibility and reliability are a priority. Nobody who is developing linux is ever going to make your old work or software useless to force you to buy new applications or operating systems.

- Probably the most important reason: Linux is just one (some say the best) flavour of UNIX. Linux applications are either based on, or are ports of, or have been developed to have the same functionality as, applications that run on other flavours of UNIX, so learning to work on Linux opens the door to the universe of UNIX computing in general. And as we all know (?) UNIX is computing for grown-ups...  :)

- Applications that run on Linux, and UNIX in general, are usually configured by means of human-readable text files which you can edit to customise to your heart's content when you find out how. And when you customise or install an application you don't have to reboot before the changes come into effect, you only have to stop and restart that application.

- These applications usually work with files that are just plain text files, usually human readable and editable if you know the particular "language" of the application. This is independent of the machine or operating system, so you as a user only need to know how to use the application, and you will will work in the same way, no matter what machine or what kind of UNIX the application is running on. For example, X Window is almost the same under all the UNIX-like operating systems running on all the different machines I've used so far: ULTRIX running on DEC workstations, OSF running on DEC Alphas, SunOS UNIX running on Sparcstations, IRIX running on SGI's, and Linux runnng on my PC.  
The same for the LaTeX text processor. The same for the Gnuplot graphing utility. And so on.

- As an example, suppose you want to write documents. When you learn how to use LaTeX in a Linux (or other UNIX) system, you'll wonder how you ever did without it: automatic numbering of sections, subsections etc. that is also updated automatically as you work on the document, ditto bibliography lists, cross-references, index entries etc. (no more worrying about "which page was that on?") Automatic generation of title for the document, and headings for sections, subsections etc. (no more worrying about "am I using the same font and point size for subsections in this chapter as I was using in chapter 1?") Automatic setting of paragraph formats for titles, headings, etc. (No more worrying about "How many point sdo I skip for a section heading, how many for a subsection heading? etc.) As with most applications that run in UNIX, LaTeX files are just plain text files, with human-readable LaTeX commands. All the stuff the machine needs to know about fonts and so on is in the software, not the file, so the files are smaller. The files are independent of machine AND operating system; the reports I wrote in College using LaTeX running in the DEC OSF operating system on the College's Alpha machines are accessible in the same way using LaTeX running in Linux on my PC.

- Lastly, there is a social, or if you want, a political reason: By using Linux you are promoting democracy and freedom in computing. Linux is open-source; any user can have access to the source code and can contribute to the development of the system.
Linux and the applications that run under it are the result of the work of thousands of people who are skilled in computing and don't believe that programmers need to sell software to make money if they can sell skill and brains instead. The other operating systems you mentioned are the products of a company that is trying to force as many people as it can to use its products exclusively for accessing the Internet, as just one example of their attitude. It's your choice, but my suggestion is:


Expert Comment

ID: 1637381
Right on Periclis! Exactly!
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Expert Comment

ID: 1637382
dear laeuchli ,
i am not a guru to just casuslly air my opinion but
dunno whether its unix's greatness or my inability to understand others  the sheer beauty of linux ( or any unix ) is that every DAMN FILE  ends in a " ****.c" ( thank god) .. the only prerequisite is a decent knowledge of C language ..
isnt that simply wonderfull.. take a look at windows registry ? you can see files like
mdb , .pdl, .exe, .com, .bat, .dcx, .dic, .DLL, .doc, .drv, .vxd, .dsp, .dsw AND WHAT NOT
when are we going to learn all this mess ??

take my advice :   X + Linux is man best invention after FIRE !!!

Expert Comment

ID: 1637383

then again : think about having a display server like X where your can just redirect display to remote machines while the application runs in your machine,  for windows NT ( forget 95)
all you need to do is issue a command as : display=machineadress:0:0 etc

chew on these ..

Expert Comment

ID: 1637384
I agree with rajkin to a certain point, but that also proves my point. When you set yourself down and learn linux, you learn so much more about programming, networking and the like. But I always run X too. :) I am still somewhat of a newbie myself

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