I for most of my life have been a windows man, I have beaten off dalliances with Macs OS and always worshipped faithfully at the Temple of Microsoft, valuing above all others Bill Gates interpretation of the user experience. But then I had a revelation. My experience with windows 8's GUI, amongst its other “features”, lead me to question my faith and whether or not windows was still right for me.
The logical consideration to follow my apostasy was initially the Church of Apple. There OS always seemed as sleek as the machines they installed it on. However the reality was that in becoming a member of the Apple Club I would have had to part with to much control and essentially surrender myself to Steve Jobs version of “The One True OS”, that alongside parting with some serious cash on an Imac. Besides I had a pretty decent computer already that I had spent a lot of money on upgrading, so buying a new one wasn't appealing.
So then it came down to Linux. The idea of a free OS appealed to me on a fundamental level. Having felt like I was being overcharged for Microsoft for Operating Systems as well as software left right and centre, Linux seemed like the breath of fresh air I thoroughly sought. With vast amounts of free and useful software readily available it was very tempting to change. This alongside the fact that Linux is the most secure system out there, with very few viruses was more than enough to convince me.
The Problem however with Linux is perhaps what many consider, myself now included, to be its best quality. Its variety and variation. With Linux there is no one path to what an Operating System should be. It's a case of there is no one size fits all, its about customisation and adaptation.
After using Windows for so long Linux initially seemed very complicated and technical and that was off putting. This is especially the case if you consider an OS like Arch Linux, which as a new comer to Linux can seem incredibly daunting. However, with the right Distro of Linux, instillation and use of the OS can be pain free and rewarding. On top of this it can provide a platform, if you are so inclined, for the more technical aspects of Linux that followers of the Church value so highly, as you become skilled with the system. I converted to Linux and have never looked back, especially considering that Wine, a free piece of software, will allow you to run windows programs.
That being said here in my opinion here is the best Linux Distribution for everyone from new converts, to those just curious about Linux, to those who are tired of being charged for every little thing, to the technologically illiterate.
The place to begin with Linux is arguably Ubuntu, and that is exactly where I started. As arguably the biggest Linux Distro out there it has had a remarkable amount of work go into it and forms the basis for a lot of other Distributions. It still surprises me that this OS is free, considering that it surpasses paid competitors in so many ways. Perhaps the most important feature for the newly converted, is that of the built in Ubuntu Software Centre. This allows for simple and seamless installation of any of the vast free software offered to Linux Users. As instillation of software on Linux can often stump the newly converted this feature is key.
The ease at which this distribution can be installed is also a huge benefit to the newly converted. It is pretty much a case of inserting the installer disk into your computer and then selecting options presented by the installers graphical interface. The size and activity of the Ubuntu community is also a key benefit to new comers. I have yet to find a problem with Ubuntu that I haven’t found a clearly guided solution to online, in either Ubuntu’s own forums or any of the other Linux user community sites. On a side note, it is worth mentioning that Ubuntu can also be easily installed onto a USB allowing you to take a usable version of Ubuntu with you no matter where you go.
The use of Unity as its GUI has received a lot of criticism from many users of Ubuntu who prefer the use of Gnome shell. If you have never used or considered Linux before Unity and Gnomeshell will mean next to nothing to you even though it divides the Linux community. Its perhaps worth noting that the difference wont matter too much as a Linux Virgin, but as you become more acquainted with Linux you’ll likely fall on one side or the other of the argument.
Unlike its paid for competitors and like a lot of other Linux Distros, Ubuntu comes loaded with useful software on installation. This means that you don’t have to; spend hours searching, or pay a fortune for, simple software like spreadsheets and word processors. Ubuntu has hit, remarkably well, the fine line between having enough useful applications from instillation and having tons of crap ware that once you’ve set up, you need spend the next three hours removing so they don’t keep reminding you to buy/register/update them.
Ubuntu is an amazing operating system, and their website does a far better job promoting, and describing its features than I do. It has opened my world to Linux and like most converts I zealously intend for the World to follow suit.
You wont regret it!