Linux, as stated last week, is 100% free. While Windows has the largest following and support system, Linux has a worldwide support system that is also 100% free through different forums such as free tutorials on youtube and free pdf books. There are literally 100's of millions of people worldwide who will give free advice and solutions and answers to any question.
Linux was started back in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. He needed a computer and operating system (from this point, referred to as OS) and had no money to afford either one, especially Windows, which was $200 USD everywhere in the world. Born and raised in Norway, he was broke. He built a working computer from parts he found in dumpsters but still needed an OS. Instead of doing something illegal by pirating Windows, he wrote his own OS. Thus Linux was born.
He decided to keep to a long tradition within the computer community of all software being Open Source. Bill Gates had strenuously fought this idea back in 1974 in a letter to the Home Brew Club in southern California. In this letter, Gates openly criticized programmers who, of their own free will, gave away their software so that others could learn from their work and advance the science.
Open Source, as mentioned in an earlier article, is software in which all the source code as to how it works is freely available. In today's world, that concept is so important that it actually prevents spyware, malware, and viruses because they would be detected instantly by others who simply read the code written for a piece of software. Closed software, such as Gates advocated in the name of entrepreneurship, does not allow for a person to know what is happening on their computer; to know how the information is being used; or what adware, security threats, or malware has been implemented by rogue software developers or even Microsoft itself.
The biggest complaint for Windows is that it crashes and is subject to viruses. But in order for Linux to crash these days, a person has to ACTIVELY work at crashing it. Getting any undesired consequences is almost zero.
Linux is a generic term no different than saying DOS (Disk Operating System). There are now 100s of versions of Linux known as distros (short for distributions). They go by different names, such as OSX (Apple), Android, Ubuntu (the most popular), and many other versions that are used in cable boxes, home routers, tablets, Dell computers, HP computers, universities, NASA, IBM, Xerox, etc.
Another benefit to Open Source software in Linux is that over 95 percent of it is free to use and is full version, not trial, not ad-driven, but community-driven. This means that any business – whether small or major transcontinental corporation -- can cut IT costs by simply using Linux and the accompanying software without having to cut wages or personnel. In fact, the average salary of a Linux professional in comparison to a Windows professional is approximately $15,000/year higher and in some more specialized cases, much higher than that.
Caveat: China has repeatedly refused to use Windows in any government institution because Gates refuses to reveal the source code to Windows so that they can make sure of their security. They instead use Linux because they can verify the security. Who gets hacked more, the U.S. with Windows or China with Linux? Hmmmm.
Robert M. Laine has been working in the IT industry for 30+ years. He has a B.S. in Computer Science. He has worked for the Chicago Tribune IT group and as the in-store technician for Staples. You can email him with questions or comments at BobLaine_sw@mail.com and visit LaineTech.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechLaine.