The Linux Alternative

With Windows 11 coming out this fall, some people will take the opportunity to consider making the switch to Linux. This article explores Linux and the other alternatives.

Windows has served us well for 36 years. It has been, and still is, the most globally-accepted platform for everything from creating documents, spreadsheets, and websites, to accounting and gaming. There are other platforms–like Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Chrome OS–but none has nearly as much market share as Windows (currently at 87.56%).

Windows has been great for the sheer size of its “catalog”: the list of Windows-compatible software. It has also been great for its “backwards compatibility”: the fact you can still run some 30-year old software on the latest Windows. But there are some things that are pushing users away from Windows. Update glitches still trip us up too frequently. Infections happen, although less frequently. Keeping your computer running efficiently (without bogging down) can be difficult. Changes to the user interface, especially with new versions of Windows, can confuse users.

Mac OS is an alternative that started at about the same time as Windows, although it has never reached 10% market share. Some say it is easier to use, while others find it highly restrictive.

The “mobile” operating systems–like iOS, Android, and Chrome OS–are becoming more prevalent and functional. Some of these operating systems can be run on, and take the place of, “desktop” operating systems.

The “odd one out” is Linux. It is the basis for all the platforms (with the exception of Windows and MacOS prior to OSX) so it, too, has been around for a long time. Linux is open-source, so can be downloaded and installed for free. There are many popular “distros” available, including Mint, Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, and Manjaro.

The advantages of running Linux are that it is free, runs on a wide range of hardware, and supports many of the functions we all want and need: browsing, streaming, emailing, creating documents and spreadsheets, and even gaming* (*see “Linux Gaming” by Teky’s own, Craig Shields). Linux is very stable, very secure, very easy to install, and has a familiar look. Unless your goal is gaming, it can run well on older hardware, making use of what would otherwise be discarded Windows/Mac hardware.

So, rather than upgrading to Windows 11 on your current laptop or desktop, consider loading it with Linux.