If you are reading this on your computer, you are most likely using Windows. Microsoft’s operating system is over three decades old and has undergone numerous iterations and updates over the years to make it relevant to the demands of today’s users and ensure it is compatible with modern hardware.
There are many alternatives to Windows, many of which are of high quality and even have useful features that Microsoft doesn’t offer natively. Despite this, these alternatives only represent a small fraction of the entire desktop operating system market.
Apple’s macOS operating system has enjoyed a resurgence over the past decade, especially as owners of the company’s iPhone and iPad switched from Windows to stay within the company’s ecosystem. Since 2009, Mac has seen its market share grow from just over 3% to 15% in July 2021.
Google’s ChromeOS has also started to acquire new users, building a market share of around 1.2%. While this is small compared to the more than 70% that Windows enjoys, it’s an impressive feat given that the operating system was only released a decade ago and is only available on a select number of machines.
Another option that is popular among computer enthusiasts is Linux, an operating system that comes in many flavors and can be adapted for many purposes. It currently owns just over 2% of the global market for desktop operating systems, more than double that of 2009.
Considering that Linux is free, supports many combinations of hardware, and has become much easier to use than the early versions of the 1990s, is it suitable as an operating system for your everyday PC?
searching the web
The most common thing to do on your PC is to browse the web. Thanks to the wide availability of quality web browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Chromium (the open source version of Google Chrome), the web browsing experience on a Linux PC is almost identical to that of Windows.
The other great thing is that almost everything we do online can now be done from a web browser. Watching videos once required third-party plugins like QuickTime or Flash, but today sites like YouTube can run natively in the browser thanks to HTML5.
The same is true for iGaming. It is incredibly common for punters to switch between different sites to take advantage of the free bet promotions they offer. In years past, that would have meant having to download and install several proprietary software packages, most of which would not have been compatible with Linux. Today, however, it’s quick and easy because most businesses use a web-based interface that works well on almost any operating system.
Even Google Stadia games can run on a Linux PC, as long as you can install an official version of Google Chrome on it.
Photo credit: Unsplash
In addition to having the dominant position in the desktop operating system market, Microsoft also cleans up the market for commercial office software thanks to its incredibly successful Microsoft Office suite.
This isn’t available on Linux, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the operating system for word processing, spreadsheets, or presentations. In fact, there are several great Office alternatives that you can use instead.
OpenOffice, Libre Office, and Free Office are great options if you want to have something installed on your machine.
Alternatively, browser-based office software like Google Workspace (Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc.) also works great and comes with the added benefits of being able to share and collaborate on documents in real time.
Linux and Windows handle files a bit differently. The most obvious thing you’ll notice when you jump in is that Linux doesn’t use drive letters like D:/, C:/, etc.
This can be a bit confusing at first, but once you understand the structure of Linux, you’ll be fine here.
Most Linux distributions also have file manager applications that are very similar to Windows Explorer. The way you interact with them is the same too, with inputs like drag-and-drop, double-clicking, and keyboard shortcuts working just fine.
File management on Linux can be better than on Windows, as you may find features that Microsoft doesn’t natively offer, such as tabbed browsing, that power users will appreciate.
For these basic tasks, Linux is an excellent choice for everyday PC use. It might take a bit of getting used to the differences if you’ve been a Windows user for a long time, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem for expert computer users.
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