In spite of the fact that Linux has been in use for almost twenty years now, it’s still one of the most criminally underrated operating systems in the world. Although Linux has proven it’s worth both in the IT world on countless servers and mainframes and the consumer sphere on millions of desktop and notebook PCs, it’s still chronically misunderstood. Many myths concerning the Linux operating system have sprung up over the years which scare people away from giving it a try, which is a shame. Here are just a few of the most persistent Linux myths that exist today, and the reasons why they’re simply not true.
Hardware Compatibility Woes
Many still labor under the assumption that their peripheral devices and office equipment such as printers, scanners and USB external hard drives won’t be recognized by Linux. That may have been a concern five years ago, but that notion is outdated and simply doesn’t hold water anymore. Even more so than Windows, all of the popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSUSE have impeccable track records when it comes to detecting and automatically configuring modern external hardware. Graphics card makers AMD and Nvidia have made great strides as well towards ensuring that their equipment works seamlessly on Linux-powered PCs. So there’s no reason to let hardware compatibility concerns stop you from switching over.
Tricky System and Software Installation
Yet another myth that refuses to die is the idea that installing Linux and adding software is a hassle. For starters, you don’t need a Ph.D. to install most of the popular distributions. Thanks to the LiveCD, it’s as simple as popping in a properly formated CD, DVD or USB thumb drive and booting up the PC. The distribution installer will walk you through the rest. And thanks to software repositories and package managers such as APT, RPM and YaST, most software can be installed with the click of a mouse. If there’s a popular program you currently use on Windows, there’s almost certainly an equivalent version available for the Linux platform.
The “Ugly Desktop” Myth
Granted, like many other myths concerning Linux that still float around cyberspace, this one would have been true a decade or more ago. Mac OS X is often thought of as having the most elegant interface, and Windows 7′s Aero Desktop is certainly attractive with it’s semi-transparent effects. Nowadays, Linux is no slouch in the panache department either. Users get to choose between numerous desktop environments like Gnome, KDE and Enlightenment, all of which can be configured in nearly every conceivable way for maximum customization. Ubuntu in particular continues to refine and improve it’s user interface with each release, making Linux every bit as eye-catching as any other OS.
Security and Safety
Though somewhat difficult to believe, many are under the impression that Linux is either unstable or unsafe. That notion is ludicrous, considering the fact that half the Internet runs on servers using Linux operating systems like Red Hat, CentOS and Debian. Many Linux-powered machines run non-stop for years without a single reboot or crash. In addition, Linux is inherently less prone to infection from viruses, thanks to a clear separation of powers. Administrator accounts are solely capable of installing software. That makes it nearly impossible for viruses to compromise a machine without ample help from an inexperienced user.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, Linux is exactly as simple or as complex as you want to make it. But the fact of the matter is that for 95% of faithful Windows users, any of the more user-friendly distributions will do exactly what they need with the minimum amount of effort and fuss. It’s extremely stable, safe, intuitive and most importantly, it’s 100% free. Whether you’re trying to reinvigorate an aging piece of hardware or looking for a cutting edge operating system to get the most out of a brand-new PC, Linux fits the bill perfectly.