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This was my first question before trying Linux, it took a while to know advantages of Linux. I thought I should post my thoughts. Perhaps experts can give their inputs, that would benefit end users.
There are several reasons or plus points for Linux.
1. Software center + Open source. Since the most softwares are open source, their source code can be checked and modified to suit OS.
Adding to it, Software center has it's own repository, so one can install software from the distro's server (which may be tweaked to suit that distro or OS). Since the distro developer will never want his system to be unstable and prone to viruses, he will make sure that his softwares are virus-free. This is easy for him, since the source code is available). This avoids risk of downloading softwares from other 3rd party sites, and even from the site of software developer.
2. Linux is rock solid and you do not login as root (admin) as a default. This makes you safe in case something goes wrong. Terminal is very powerful and one can troubleshoot using it.
3. Fast troubleshooting and bug-fix due to open-source nature. This is the beauty of open source. Advanced programmers and Avid Linux Users wholeheartedly volunteer to take active participation in Bug reporting and Bug-fixing.
4. Old kernel images are available on boot loader. Just in case the newer kernel has some iissues like kernal 3.0.4 having iissues with nvidia graphic cards. One can safely uninstall it and roll-back to older version.
5. Live-CD: Check for compatibility with drivers and wifi connection without installing OS.
6. GUIs are not integrated into kernel. If GUI (called as desktop environment - DE) crashes. OS does not crash and you do not see an infamous blue screen of death as in case of windows XP
7. Offers more than one DE. Gnome, KDE, XFCE and LXDE. Alternatively you can install more than one DE. Live CD can help you to get the feel of DE, before installing. It only takes some Mbs to download distro with another DE. (most developers offer multiple ISO files of same distro with different DE like Ubuntu, Mint, PClinuxOS)
8. Out-of-the-box OS complete with office suit, media player, CD/DVD burner, photo viewer and editor, pdf viewer, mail client, instant messenger, internet browser and more.
9. Great community, support and documentation. Popular distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Bodhi, Pinguy, PClinuxOS have great forums, where users volunteer to help others.
10. Offer more flexibility and is highly customizable and modular by nature.
11. Free security updates (for limited period). Free Os upgrade.
12. Centralized safe auto-update of softwares through Update manager or software center or synaptic. Repair or install broken packages (software) through synaptic package manager. (Generally advanced users use synaptic).
13. No virus trouble. No OS is bullet-proof to viruses. Linux is designed to be more stable. Downloading software from repos help reduce virus. Nothing installs without password prompt. On the other hand, there are very few viruses as compared to tons for windows. Antivirus softwares are available. Most viruses are targeted for windows may land in linux, but are harmless. These viruses can be again transferred to windows through USB drive or by any other means. Some AV do not work in the way they work in windows and do not monitor in real time. Dual boot users also install firewall and AV so that windows is protected.
14. There is no registry, a centralized place to store sensitive info about system and softwares installed. Each Software files are stored in separate folders. So in case if the software crashes. OS does not crash.
15. No need to install additional drivers after OS installation, as in case of windows. Drivers are preinstalled and if any hardware is changed, Linux, re-configures and updates the drivers. This saves times during installation. To add to it many distros give out-of-the-box OS. After after fresh installation, which takes 10 - 15 minutes, a full fledged system is ready for use.
16. Thousands of additional softwares are available in repos, (found in software center / synaptic package manager).
17. Distros designed for specific purpose: Taking advantage of Linux's open source nature, freedom of flexibility and high level of customization, there are forks and re-mastered versions of very popular distros with are designed for a specific purpose. e.g. some distros are designed keeping in mind old hardware. They offer excellent support for old hardware, have latest softwares with latest kernel with light weight applications (softwares) and light weight DE like LXDE and window managers (WM). To know the difference between DE and WM read robins excellent info
E.g Lubuntu, an Ubuntu derivative has LXDE which only consumes 128mb RAM. Users lightweight window manager PCManFM (instead of Thunar for XFCE and Nautilus for Gnome) and lighter word processor and spreadsheet app. To make OD less resource intensive, develops use only window manager with no DE. e.g. Open box is used as exclusively as windows manager and DE. Some e.g. are PCLinux OS Openbox version, Pippermint OS, Puppy Linux. Some even use E17 - Enlightenment distos like Ubuntu derivative Bodhi Linux. The concept is to make maximum RAM available for resource intensive apps. DE's should not eat up RAM.
There are distros which can be run entirely on RAM and do not need to be installed on hard disk. They help in data recovery and are like portable OS. popular ones are puppy linux (90 Mb) and macpup (puppy linux derivative - 160 Mb ISO file)
18. No piracy - Be mentally free.
P.S. Please ignore my typing blunders