One of the main reasons that most people are afraid to try Linux is because they have this preconceived notion about linux being too hard to use and difficult to maintain; or that they have to do something drastically differ ant and there is a steep learning curve to using linux. After reading most of the comment on this post of mine and other popular forums for new linux users, it only solidified my belief that most non-linux users are very ignorant about linux. So here is an attemp to dispel some of the myths surrounding Linux:
Myth# 1: Linux Installation is difficult.
This is fairly popular Linux myth. Maybe 5 years ago; I would have agreed with you, it’s simply not true anymore. Let’s talk about the most popular linux distro at the moment, Ubuntu. On a brand spanking new computer, if you were to install Ubuntu from scratch, you would basically have to follow that same configuration options like selecting language, keyboard type and username/password, as you would do in a new vista installation. On the upside, there is every reasons to believe that your linux installation will be finished a lot sooner than a windows installation; and there will be less restart, if any.
Myth# 2: I have to know the Linux terminal in order to use Linux.
False. There is absolutely no reason why a regular computer user can’t use linux for years, without having to use the terminal. Windows has CMD (or command.com, or now powershell) just like Linux has the terminal. It is meant for power users or developers to tinker with fine points of linux (or show off to their friends). Windows has a suite of applications that has no graphical front-end for server and system administrators (Windows Sysinternals anyone?), same holds true for Linux. One can also look at Mac OS X; which is based on BSD and has a terminal just like linux. But a Mac user will probably never use one in his lifetime.
Myth# 3: There is no one-click installation in linux. I have to compile everything.
Wrong again. Windows one-click installation is possible thanks to MSI windows installer; and just like linux windows also has it’s fair share of differant installers. In Linux, Debian and RPM installers (or package managers) are the two most widely used linux installers out there. They install applications the same way a windows installer installs an application, minus the step by step configuration. So this one is also busted. :)
Myth# 4: Linux Lack applications.
Just official debian repositories alone has more than 18000 applications. Lack of applications is the least of linux’s problem; just like windows, linux has many applications that performs the same task. You can also use Wine to run windows applications that might not have a suitable alternative for linux. You can find a list of windows applications that can be used with linux using wine; including photoshop CS2 and MS Office 2007.
Myth# 5: Can’t play my movies or use my itunes/ipod.
Wrong and wrong. VLC for linux plays many popular formats including, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, DVDs, VCDs, HD DVD and various streaming protocols, and with more than 96 million users; you can’t get wrong with that. itunes works fine with wine for linux, if for some reason you can’t get itunes to work you could always use itunes alternatives like Banshee, amaroK and Xine.
These are some of the more common myths surrounding linux, that I know of. I am sure there are many more that I didn’t cover. Personally, I use Vista, Debian/Ubuntu and (more recently) OS X; I love them all. Even though I have a soft corner for linux, it would be unfair for me to try to shove linux down all non-linux users throat. However, users needs to get the right informations so that they can decide whats right for them.
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