As the title says, I'm going to do something about Linux. As some of you may know, I've been running a GNU/Linux based operating system for a while now. Here is my experience on the whole thing.
I started out fairly new to this whole open-source mess with Ubuntu on a Virtual Machine. I had to do this at school and thought "You know, Ubuntu is actually kind of awesome. I might want to use this as my regular operating system." So I installed Linux Mint, which is Ubuntu minus stupid games and other unnecessary programs.
The first thing I realized was that out-of-the-box, a lot of the software packages are incompatible with Windows solutions - LibreOffice breaks Microsoft Word's docx files and vice-versa, just for starters.
Soon after I discovered that if you absolutely need to use a Windows program, you can use a program called Wine. All my compatibility issues went away just like that - Need something to open docx files properly? Install MS Office in Wine and watch it go!
After a while, I decided I was comfortable with the command line and wanted more control. It was a silly thing to do, but there I went and installed Arch.
Arch is basically Linux for extreme nerds. It doesn't give you as much usability as Ubuntu or Mint - Arch gives you a command line and a way to install packages from its own repositories. That's it. Anything else, like for instance a desktop environment, you have to install.
If you want a system that you fully understand and have the satisfaction of knowing you essentially hand-picked everything about it, Arch is awesome. However, installing it is a pain in the backside because you have to do everything yourself - including saying what programs start up at boot. Yes, that category includes your display manager. And your wireless driver.
I've come across some good points and bad points about Linux in general, and I would like to share them.
1. Raw speed - Linux boots up in no time, whether you have a bells-and-whistles system like Ubuntu or a bare-bones Arch install. Applications load so damn fast it's unbelievable. Team Fortress 2, which recently got released as part of the Steam beta, gets better FPS ratings under Linux than under Windows.
2. Customizability - with Windows, you're stuck with the desktop Windows gives you. You get some basic customization options such as where you want a menu, but that's it. If you have Windows 8, you are essentially running a webpage. With Linux, you can change anything you want. Want to have a desktop that gives you a command line by default and puts any windows you load in a Fibonacci spiral? You can! Want a picture of the Mona Lisa who sticks up her middle finger when you do control-alt-delete, and nothing else? You can code it!
3. Stability and Security - You've all heard this one. Windows has a trillion viruses you need to watch out for. Mac OS is a lot better, but there are still hundreds of viruses and rising. With Linux, there are 12. Seriously.
Because everything is open source, you'd expect that number to be a lot higher. Vulnerabilities are immediately obvious to anyone who can code.
And that's just the thing - there is a huge community behind Linux and its distributions, all of whom can immediately see a vulnerability and patch it an hour later. Official repositories are checked daily so no malware sneaks into them. Linux is the most stable and secure operating system, hands down.
4. New and Improving - Wait. Linux has been around since 1991. How can it be new? Well, Linux is the operating system that has re-invented itself radically the most often, all to bring the user the best experience possible. Gnome 2 replaced Gnome 1, bringing widgets and new functionality. Gnome 3 came along, along with branches from Gnome 2. KDE was released as a reaction to Gnome 2, because Gnome was so radically different to Windows interfaces. Over time, KDE became more and more customizable and graphically impressive.
5. Free - This one requires no explanation. Pretty much every distribution of Linux is free. 90% of Linux software requires no payment whatsoever.
1. Freedom Means Mistakes - 90% of Linux crashes I had were due to user error. If I change a configuration file and make a typo, I break something. If I run a command like sudo rm -rf / (For non-Unix users, this means the following: Give me access to dangerous features. Now remove the root folder. Force deletion if any errors come up.) my system is borked. And that command is easy to type in if I want to delete a folder manually from the command line.
2. Software Availability - Some software can't be run under Linux itself. Wine is software that tricks software into thinking it's run under Windows, but things like AutoCAD, GarageBand and Itunes simply cannot be run under Linux. The recent Steam Linux beta has helped with game availability, though.
3. Updates Break Things - This is as much a problem with Mac OS and Windows as it is with Linux, but still. If you update to the latest cutting-edge release, some standards may have been changed. This tends to break functionality of certain programs, although it's usually fixed quickly. More of a problem with "rolling-release" distributions that include beta things, because by its very nature beta releases are going to be buggy.
4. Installation - This applies to the more "hardcore" Linux distributions. Installing Arch was a pain in the backside at the start, although it does give you a lot of freedom and allows you to learn a lot about how your operating system works.
Ubuntu was easy to install, ditto Mint. Fedora and Debian were in-between.
In conclusion, Linux is like owning a crocodile. Awesome in many ways, but I don't recommend it to anyone because it'll bite at the first misstep.