It really depends on what you mean by better. Linux is faster, capable of multitasking, less prone to viruses, more secure, more configurable and more stable.
It also has a much steeper learning curve, and quite often requires some tinkering to get it to do what you want. There are few games available for Linux, and getting Windows ones to run on it has varying degrees of success.
Linux is based on Unix, and mastery of the command line is the key to unleashing much of its power, so if you balk at the thought of using DOS it might be best avoided. That said, there is a large Linux community online and most people are happy to help you if you've at least had a stab at sorting it yourself.
As for is it free, well yes and no. Linux usually comes as a 'distribution' which comprises the Linux kernel, command line tools, X, applications etc. Most distributions can be downloaded for free, but come on two or more cd's, so you may have to download a couple of .iso images to burn yourself. Failing that there are several companies offering distributions on cdr online. Prices vary according to number of cd's, but usually they're less than £10.
Linux Mandrake is generally regarded as being the easiest to install and the most noob-friendly, throw "Linux Mandrake" at your favourite search engine and see what comes back.
yea there is different distributions of it. theres suSE and mandrake and red hat and etc. some are free and some aren't. you can check on linux.com. the good ones cost like 30bucks and they have cool desktop icons and stuff like that. the games for linux aren't really good *you can find some on amazon.com* linux is most recommended for slow computers and laptops b/c it helps use the most out of them.
also, the notion that linux is faster and more stable then xp is the subject of accurate debate.
the debate goes, that linux would be less stable, and slower then xp, if linux commanded all of the gui, hardware and software support that xp supports.
sort of like comparing a car with an airconditioner, automatic transmition, power steering, to a car that has none of those things.
of course, the car that has none of that shouldl have less problems
the very fact tha xp is compared in good light to operating systems that offer so much less speaks volumes to how much better the os in concept of design
you will not find any expert that thinks lindows is a good application...it's not
in addition, linux is not more secure then xp by virtue of concept.
it's less secure in it's concept, as code is more freely available.
the reason in our world, xp is having security issues, is that when someone wants ot cause harm , they will try to cause as much harm as possible...therefore, and obviously, the will concentrate their harmfull efforts to the operating system that has the most users.
in other words, if everyone used linux, obviously there would be much more security issues then their are now
Actually Linux is capable of supporting plenty of hardware, and has a choice of several gui's Pick the one you like best. XP is not better by design, what you're referring to is the concept of a monolithic as opposed to modular kernel. With a monolithic kernel ie Windows support for eveything is included and running all the time which makes it larger and slower. A modular kernel ie Linux is tailored to your hardware, so it supports what it needs to.
Lindows is not a good example of a Linux system, as it's trying to be Windows. A fairer comparison would be Xp and Redhat. As for the security issue, the fact that the code is open source means that security holes are quickly discovered and fixed. The fact the when you setup xp the user accounts created are by default administrators is not good security, and the file access permissions are not as good as Unix either.
As for stability, even Microsnot use Unix for development rather than their own products and short of kernel recompiles I wouldn't reboot my Linux box at all, if it didn't live in the back bedroom and keep the dog awake.
i think for the average joe ..Windows is the best choice with the better selection of software
but the way Windows is headed i can see form of Linux being on my machine ...when MS starts to control what files i may have on my machine ...thats the day i move to a new OS ..it appears that day is fast approaching!!
When you are looking as for differences and which is better, I have to agree upon the notion that "better" is determined by what your needs are. There are varying flavors of linux. The most common flavors are Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, and Debian. Although they vary by name and features upon install, they are very much the same.
Linux was designed to be a free alternative to UNIX. The Open Source and GPL licensing scheme accomplish this. Yes, you can visit websites and buy Linux, most flavors are readily available for download freely at the distibutors website.
Because Linux is open source, security issues are patched fairly quickly. Many security sites post update downloades on their websites for Linux users to be able to download and install patches freely.
When compared to speed, that all depends on what exactly you have running. Because Linux is modular (meaning that only bits and pieces run as needed), the OS can speed up or slow down depending on what's going on. From what I have found, users who run X and run GUI's such as KDE or GNOME run slower than users on similar systems who run X with GUI's such as IceWM or Enlightenment. This is because KDE (the most common Newbee GUI) requires GNOME exstentions to run in the background. GNOME is a very heavy GUI so it and KDE tend to make a Linux machine slower. Vice versa, GUI's such as IceWM which use Window Maker run faster because they are smaller, more Windows like.
Linux has a steeper learning curve than Windows does, but it is well worth it for the knowledge. Linux is a great distrubution and can do wonders if you understand it.
Linux is not just for "old" or "slow" machines. In fact, my new dual-boot system is a 2GHz P4.
There are plenty of applications available for Linux. With the exception of the lack of games, users can do just about anything they could in Windows. On some distributions, emulators come preinstalled. One example of this is Red Hat Linux, which can run Mac applications out of the box. Linux shows its true prime when operated as a server. Because of modulation, Linux can run more efficiently than Windows in most server applications.
If I were you, I would truely avoid Lindows. While it's nice for people who are new to Linux and want to run Linux and keep Windows portability, Lindows does one thing that makes it truly unsecure. Users on Linux run at root level. Because of this, users who are inexperienced can damage major systems. It also makes Lindows prone to Windows viruses (because the virus can run at the administrator level and the user "administrator" is interpreted as "root" in Lindows, Windows viruses can exectute Windows equivelent commands that can damage the system).
all of these points concerning the modular, nature of linux and this being the reason it is a little more stable or a little faster then xp are true.
this was my very point, wasn't it...dissabable all of the gui, dissable the monolithic software and hardware support that xp already comes with, and you will have a faster, more stable os then linux...this is my very point, isn't it
if you want to have a computer that has to have modules to install each time your whim Fancy's a new project or a new peripheral, as I said, Ti's the reason linux becomes A LITTLE more stable then xp, as xp is preinstalled with the air-conditioner, power steering, auto0 transmission, etc...it is a monolith....linux is modular and it could not do what xp does, it would be too slow, and too unstable...
anyway, this is the very debate...
both opinions have valid points...it is an accurate debate, so there is no right or wrong in these opinions, just projecture
now,as far as the points that try to counter my points of security do not add up.
the only reason linux does not have the issue ms has, as everyone is after ms,...there can be too little harm when the effort is aimed at linux...that is the only reason linux does not have the security issues of ms.
as a fact, if linux became as prolific as ms, there would absolutely be MORE security issues then ms has...it is an open source os...anyone can figure out security holes...because it's open source.
as soon as a security issue is discovered in xp, billy gets his boys on it...no, a linux security issue is not solved more quickly then an ms issue...they are just not the same target
If you are asking the question, the answer in brief for you would be Windows. Simply because it is easier to learn, configure, and has more support for hardware. Now, my suggestion is that for your main box you use windows and then install a version of Linux on an older machine and play around with it until you get used to it.
What I did was go to amazon.com and get a book on Linux to help me learn a bit (although most of the stuff you can find on the web fairly readily).
If this is a server installation, BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, I would go with Linux, but again I would make sure I am comfortable with the system administration of it before putting it onto the web. I never have to reboot do to low system resources (although lately I must say that WinXP is not that bad).
As metioned before one of the really nice things about Linux is the ability to restart a particular server/daemon without having to restart the entire system.
Dealer you're quite right that ultimately there's not going to be any right or wrong in this debate. Windows vs Linux has become one of the great holy wars along with PC vs Mac and VI vs EMACS. To be completely honest a large part of Windows' inherent insecurity is the fact that it's so idiot friendly.
In order to use Linux you need to be pretty knowledgable about computing in general, which usually means that you know about the importance of not running constantly as root (or administrator), and what to do with suspicious email. The majority of virus attacks on any system would stop dead if people didn't have a tendency to open the "anna kournikova nekkid.exe" that someone they've never heard of has kindly sent them.
BTW, you don't think that XP phoning home is a security issue? And why exactly does certain information get stored in index.dat? It's part of the M$ conspiracy! One of these days your computer will contact Billy and tell him exactly which porn sites you frequent. He'll then blackmail you with the threat of telling your wife / girlfriend / mum that you spent six hours on restrained elegance and archived most of it to the floppys you have stashed under the creaky floorboard in the bathroom. He's watching you know! Damn I need a coffee...
BTW, has anyone ever heard a satisfactory explanation for index.dat? I clear mine regularly and have noticed that it doesn't store all the sites I've visited, but I can't spot a pattern in the ones it does.
Whatever it is, my firewall isn't letting it get back to Microsoft!