This question is aimed not at my fellow geeks who already use Linux, but at regular computer users who have merely heard of it.
We all know the complaints about Windows. “Microsoft is an abusive monopoly,” “Windows is bloated,” “I get viruses constantly,” “They keep moving everything,” “I feel like I’m constantly pressured to upgrade, just to use my software.” And so on, and so on, and so on. Geeks and regular users alike gripe bitterly about these issues, and many more, when it comes to running a regular computer with Windows. Yet we just roll over and accept it, like there aren’t any other choices. After all, we need to run Microsoft Office, we want to have access to the latest games, and besides, it’s what our computers shipped with.
The other geeks out there already know that there are alternatives. We often dual-boot our computers (that is, run more than one operating system [OS] on them), or even go Linux-only for some of our systems. We frequently use LibreOffice as a free alternative to Microsoft Office, and all the major browsers (except for Microsoft’s) already run on Linux.
In fact, for 99% of the tasks we need a computer for – working in email, writing a document, sorting photos, listening to music, watching a movie, entering data in a spreadsheet, or even just surfing the web – the specific operating system we’re using isn’t even a factor. We care a lot more about the tool, which is usually online these days, than we do about the OS. Yet here we are, running Windows.
There is a barrier to entry for Linux, but it’s not steep. You need to ensure your hardware is supported (it usually is, and these days it’s supported “out of the box” in Linux better than it is in Windows). And you need to be aware of what doesn’t work on Linux without an emulator. If your needs include a proprietary application that can’t be installed on Linux without jumping through ridiculous hoops, then Linux probably isn’t yet for you. And while Steam coming to Linux has significantly improved Linux gaming, there are still plenty of AAA titles out there that are Windows-only.
But… If those aren’t issues for you… If your hardware works with Linux, and you don’t have any proprietary application needs that can’t be met by a free alternative, and you’re not the sort of hardcore gamer that has to run windows, would you switch to Linux, given the opportunity to do so?