Hi, Corrine, hi, Landzdown forum!

After reading some posts these days in the forum, I have some questions about Linux and Windows. Please, if you have some time, inform us about these:

1. What is Linux?
2. Why Linux is free but Windows costs many money?
3. Are there different versions of Linux?
4. Does Linux have updates? I have read somewhere that updates will end in 2015.
5. If someone is an advanved computer user, he/she can use Linux without any limitations?
6. Can the software (programs) I use in Windows, AND ESPECIALLY OFFICE 14 AND ESET, run in Linux?
7. Could the solution of installing Linux on an old computer costs customers to Microsoft?
8. Linux Vs Windows. Could you please tell us about advantages and disadvantages of the two operating systems, if there are some?

THANK YOU.  :rose:

Corrine, who is a friend and also a fellow Admin at Scot’s Newsletter Forums, and a friend from several other forums I frequent where she also Admins (Landzdown, FreedomList, and Sysnative), really liked the following commentary I gave on the subject of this posting, and suggested I use the posting on the forum as a blog posting. So here it is…

The following are my answers to Dr. M./Panos:

Excellent questions. Others have also given answers and I will just be adding to those.

1. What is Linux?

Linux, also known as GNULinux is a ‘UNIX-like” (not a UNIX clone) operating system and was originally created by Linus Torvalds in 1991 after playing with Minix, another Unix-like operating system. You could say that Minix inspired Linus to create the Linux Kernel. This year was I believe the 20th Anniversary of version 1.0 of Linux. The Linux Kernel is now at version 3.13.6 (Stable).

Later, in 1992, the X-Window System was ported to Linux which began to make it more usable by those who prefer a graphical user interface.

Linux has come a very long way since then. I personally use Debian which is a very stable version of Linux and run the KDE DesktopGUI on the more speedy of my computers, but older computers with less RAM and lesser processors generally I will run Xfce.

Many prefer Ubuntu for new users, and that’s a good choice, but I prefer any of the Linux Mint versions that have all the goodies folks want to make life easier and so they don’t have to go looking for the restricted/proprietary things. To me that makes life easier for new Linux Explorers. But only if it works for your hardware and you like it. That is the most important thing about Linux. You need to want to use it, and want to play and have a computer playground to test things and see what you like and what your hardware likes.

2. Why Linux is free but Windows costs many money?

Windows was Developed by Microsoft, a for profit company and they own Windows. They license it to users with more and more stringent restrictions. I love Windows and have used it since I first moved to Windows 3.1x from DOS/GEM (although I still have a license for Windows 1.0 on 5.25″ floppy disk).

Linux was developed by Linus Torvalds (and he still has a major say in the Kernel development), but he basically gave Linux to the Free and Open Source community to do with it as they will. So it could be all it could be in time. Linux is licensed under the GNU (General Public License). Boy does the community have a lot of will! Many also get involved with Linux User Groups locally.

3. Are there different versions of Linux? 

Oh, yes! More than you would initially think! There are many Linux Distributions and more all the time.

4. Does Linux have updates? I have read somewhere that updates will end in 2015.

Yes, Linux gets up dates quite regularly for itself and any of the myriad of programs you can install on Linux right from the Distrubution you choose.

No, that is not true that updates will end in 2015. Maybe for a particular version of Linux but Linux like Windows and Mac are always evolving to newer versions.

5. If someone is an advanved computer user, he/she can use Linux without any limitations?

No matter what level computer user you are, you can use Linux for Free as in Beer and Free as in Free Speech. There are some limitations within the licensing and like anything else you should read the license if you intend to try to make money from it. However, yes, you can for your own personal use use it without limitations. You can rip it apart, put it back together, change it, build on it, build for it. You name it. Your imagination is your only barrier really. And as you do this, you give back to the community to make it better! As everyone else does.

6. Can the software (programs) I use in Windows, AND ESPECIALLY OFFICE 14 AND ESET, run in Linux?

Some Windows programs will work in Linux via things like WINE (free) and CodeWeaversCrossOver (non-free).

Yes, there are many non-free proprietary or mixture of proprietary and open source, GNU programs for Linux as well as a multitude of free ones!

Unless you will have to do major collaboration with others who do use Microsoft Office, or use intense macros or calculations that don’t translate in Excel, you may or may not even need to buy something new. You could just use LibreOffice (my personal favorite of the Open Source office programs and already the default in many Linux Distributions), or OpenOffice.org.

Or you could use Microsoft’s Office Web apps and LiveDrive on any OS; Windows, Mac and Linux!

As far as ESET goes, you can’t use your current Windows license of course, but ESET does have ESET NOD32 Antivurus for the Linux Desktop that works quite well.

You can also run VirtualBox virtualization software, and install Windows on top of Linux to run Windows programs.

Or run VirtualBox or VMWare, or Microsoft’s own virtualization software (goes by different names depending on the version of Windows) such as VirtualPC/XPMode on Windows 7 and install Linux to play with it and learn more about it without having to dual boot or have a separate computer to run both OSes. I use Windows XP Pro in VirtualBox on my Mac. I also use different versions of Linux in VirtualBox when I have the space on my Debian Linux computer.

7. Could the solution of installing Linux on an old computer costs customers to Microsoft? 

That is a difficult question … if I understand the question. As Corrine said, only in so much as they are not buying a new computer that would maybe have Microsoft Windows on it. But it could be equally true that they would not be buying a new computer that is a Mac or a new Chrome Notebook from Google. Or that they would choose a Mac or Chrome Notebook, etc. over Windows as well as the possibility of choosing to use Linux on old hardware.

People are the ones who decide what they want to run on their computers; either by installing it on their own computer (Desktop or Laptop), buying a new computer with a specific operating system on it, or deciding to go to a Tablet with either iOS, Android or Windows 8/RT on it instead of using a full blown computer.

8. Linux Vs Windows. Could you please tell us about advantages and disadvantages of the two operating systems, if there are some?

That really mean different things to different people. Some people need Windows for their business, for their work, for their gaming, etc. Others may also have those needs and deal with them in different ways.  And they may want to try new things, expand and get back that feeling of learning again from the ground up like they did back in the DOS and early Windows days and be able to build, create, expand without the costs of compilers, and other development tools.

Also, as Digerati said, gaming has always been a deficit area for Linux, but no more. Not since Steam now has a wonderful list of games that work on Linux. One friend of mine used to keep a Windows dualboot around until recently because of that very reason. He no longer needs Windows to play the games. So yes, many things still require Windows, but that is changing.

That was more the reason I got into Linux. Plus I liked the fact that even if I didn’t go fully over to Linux, I would still being learning something new that would always be with me and give me that freedom … free as in beer and free as in free speech. Something I could do anything with and I wouldn’t have someone come after me for royalties, licenses, sue me, etc. if I did so. Where my desire to peak under the hood wasn’t hampered, or locked under a non-disclosure agreement, or cost a fortune just to be able to play, or do something worthwhile to help myself or others.

I also know that I started with Linux one year and got discouraged due to hardware difficulties at that time back in early 2000, and put it off for almost a year because of some harsh so called help I got on a Linux help site at that time. Which is why was so excited when BATL at Scot’s Newsletter Forums started with Bruno at it’s helm for so long.

Between my hubby Jim and Bruno, and some others’ experiences I was able to read and learn from in BATL, I was able to overcome my disillusionment and discouragement and try again when I got some hardware that worked well with Mandrake 7.2 Linux (at that time, name has changed a couple times over the years). I have since gone from Mandrake, Redhat, Fedora, Ubuntu, Knoppix, and settled on Debian for the moment for the past few years. I run Debian Wheezy currently…the current Stable Debian. I also have installed Linux Mint but it’s not on my current systems.

I personally would not stop using Windows, Mac or Linux, iOS or Android. I am a technician and a very curious person. I want to be able to use it all, and enjoy it all, and not have anyone tell me I can’t.

But I also know that if Microsoft/Windows or Apple/Macs get too stupid for words with their licensing, how safe or not they are, etc., I can fall back on Linux and no one can take that away from me.

Until or If that time ever comes, I will enjoy them all!


I also want to say that my Jim was the one who helped me at first to get back into Linux  with Mandrake 7.2 since it was before BATL at Scot’s Newsletter Forums got started. But as I expanded in Linux I wanted to learn more and explore more, and that is where BATL and Bruno came in starting in 2003.

Also, another thing that was very important for me and that I mentioned in other postings, is that I use Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, Thunderbird email client which I used up till a year or two ago  (now using Postbox from the original developers of Thunderbird), The GIMP, Filezilla, LibreOffice and other Open Source and cross platform programs so in many ways it was an easier transition for me. I have a beautiful desktop and lack for nothing really that I use day to day when I use Linux. I think that if someone really wants to make a transition from one OS to another, making sure you are comfortable with cross platform programs really makes that so much easier.

I found it much easier for me to go to Linux and to Mac OS X for the same reason. When I use the various OSes: Windows, Mac, Linux, I am using the same programs across the board for most of my every day tasks.

Here’s my LiCo (Linux Counter Number): 183283 created 12-7-2000.

183283 - Linux Counter Number - created 12-7-2000

183283 – Linux Counter Number – created 12-7-2000

Comments on: "Windows Vs Linux posting at Landzdown" (2)

  1. Great article, Fran. And great to see you writing here again. I hope it’s not just a fluke. 🙂

    As you suggested elsewhere, I’m posting some links in this comment to some additional reading for folks considering transitioning away from MS Windows after their XP is no longer supported.

    The GNU/LInux Adventurer’s Backpack – Nocturnal Slacker v1.0


    5 Things Every Aspiring Linux User Should Know – Nocturnal Slacker v1.0



    • Thanks Eric! Jury is still out. We will see.

      But it’s great to have the addition of your two excellent links from your NocturnalSlacker1 blog!

      Should help a lot of folks!

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