For those of you whom do not know what Linux is, think of Android. Installed on over 2 billion devices worldwide, it is the most popular OS thanks to Google. There are, though, different flavours of Linux where the desktop is the first to come to mind.
But what is Linux? Linux is an operating system just like Windows but yet, it isn't Windows. It is a language on it's own which is derived from Unix in which is what Apple is based on. Confused? So were we at first but ever since 2006 when Linux Mint was released making Linux easier for people to use, we were hooked, line and sinker. All in all, Linux is just like Windows where it is an operating system so you can surf the net, do work on, write essays and more. The operating system is a program that talks between your hardware and software and without it, your games, word documents and even the internet would not function.
It’s been around since the early 90's, and has since reached a user-base that spans industries and continents. For those who know, Linux is actually everywhere. It’s in your phones, in your cars, your refrigerators, planes, boats, spacecraft and the majority of the internet. Nasa's supercomputers use it, universities use it to make scientific breakthroughs, and even the world's stock exchanges use it. But before Linux became the platform to run desktops, servers, and embedded systems across the globe, it was (and still is) one of the most reliable, secure, and worry-free operating systems available.
So what is Linux? Below are some of the most popular versions made for those leaving Windows
Just like many Linux varieties, Mint comes with a fully working OS, an entire Office suite and a myriad of other programs. With Mint Mate and Cinnamon as the desktop environments, Mate is the most popular Linux OS for leavers of Windows. With all versions now being LTS (Long Term Support) Mint 18 will be supported until 2021 when a new version will be released and upgrading is very easy in which you will have another round of LTS for 5 years. So what comes packaged with Linux Mint?
OfficeLibreOffice suite (Calc, Draw, Impress, Math, Writer, Base), Xed text editor, Xreader, Xviewer
InternetFirefox, HexChat, Pidgin, Thunderbird, Transmission
GraphicsGIMP 2.8.10, Pix, Simple Scan, Screenshot
MultimediaBanshee music player, Brasero CD/DVD writer, Xplayer, VLC 2.1.4
AccessoriesUpdate Manager, Themes, Thermald, Archive Manager, Calculator, Dictionary, Disks, Tomboy Notes, USB Image Writer, USB Stick Formatter, Terminal, Backup Tool, Domain Blocker, Driver Manager, Network, Printers Free Download
Ranked 4th Place, Ubuntu is still the most popular Linux desktop to be used by Windows abdicators after Linux Mint. Ubuntu did land heavy on it's knees when Unity was introduced and with a lot of issues with the tool bars and headers, people moved away from Unity. With Unity being a massive break through for Linux, it simply wasn't enough to keep the fans happy. Ubuntu has returned back to Gnome which will make many followers happy but long term supporters disgruntled. Either way, the world is keen to get their hands on the Gnome project of Ubuntu which has been said in dark corners will be a game changer and possibilities of thwarting Microsoft. Not sure what the end result will be but it is good to see Ubuntu back. Let's have a look at what Ubuntu offers but just remember, Ubuntu 18.04 is to be released around April with the new Gnome desktop so the programs may change. Below is what is currently available.
OfficeOffice: LibreOffice suite (Calc, Draw, Impress, Match, Writer), Document viewer
InternetUbuntu Browser, Firefox, Desktop Sharing, Empathy IM, Remmina Remote Desktop Client, Thunderbird Mail, Transmission Bittorrent client
GraphicsImage viewer, Shotwell photo Manager, Simple Scan, Gnome screenshot
MultimediaBrasero Disc Burner, Cheese Webcam Booth, Rhythmbox Music Player Videos
AccessoriesArchive Manager, Backups, Calculator, Contacts, Disks, Files, Passwords and Keys, Font Viewer, Security Privacy, Gedit text editor, Time and Date, UXTerm, XTerm, Terminal, Startup Disc Creator Free Download
Ranked 3rd, the popularity has increased over the past few years as most Linux OS's are Debian based. Debian was once a hard core Linux system that required a lot of experience but of late, Debian has come to the forefront of being a friendly Linux OS for even the beginner and with each release being solid and stable, Debian is in no hurry to release a new version twice a year. Packed with all the good stuff that everyone needs, the OS is fast and robust in security. For all beginners, it is recommended to start with Mint or Ubuntu and work your way up the ladder but if you are keen to jump into the deep end, go straight to the core and install Debian which is very easy to do.
OfficeLibreOffice suite (Calc, Draw, Impress, Writer), Document viewer
InternetFirefox, Desktop Sharing, Thunderbird Mail, Transmission Bittorrent client, Seamonkey, Midori
GraphicsImage viewer, Shotwell photo Manager, Gnome screenshot, Blender
MultimediaDevede disk burner, Clemetine, Xine, Banshee
AccessoriesDisks, Files, Passwords and Keys, Font Viewer, Security Privacy, Gedit text editor, Time and Date Free Download
With all the successes of Windows (and failures) Windows 10 has a 'Ho-Hum' feeling about it and even though not a bad operating system, a lot of people dislike it and if you are one of them, Zorin maybe just for you. Slowly climbing the ladder to success, it has the look and feel of a Windows OS making it a preferred choice for Window leavers. Almost in the top ten, Zorin comes with all the utilities a new user would need. For a Windows 7 look but with the power of Linux, Zorin has two versions which the first is free and the second is paid with either the Ultimate or Business versions. The paid versions gives you direct access to support from the Zorin team where the free version assistance has to be done through the forums. With a clean and slick look, the speed is definately Linux as Windows tends to get bloated all too often. As we are comparing Zorin with Windows, just remember, Zorin is Linux and with Wine 2.0 shipped with the OS, installing Windows programs is a snap. To download, follow the link below and scroll to the bottom of the Zorin download page. You can make a donation but if you do that, you might as well purchase the Pro version. Otherwise, enter $0.00 and download the free version.
OfficeLibreOffice suite (Calc, Draw, Impress, Writer)
InternetChromium, Empathy, Geary Email
GraphicsGimp, Libre Draw, Simple Scan
MultimediaBrasero, Cheese, PiTiVi, Rhythmbox, Videos
AccessoriesDocuments, Files, Text Editor, Mapbox, Activity Journel Free Download
Made by Canonical, whom also make Ubuntu, Kubuntu is Ubuntu's little sister. The reason for the "K" being in front is because it is a KDE version meaning it has more flavours and enhancements than Gnome or Unity. KDE is a play on letters where it originally was called CDE (Common Desktop Environment) and for a while, people assumed the K meant for KOOL. It seems the "K" stuck and the actual letter means nothing. Kubuntu is a fast, reliable and light weight distro and with the latest version having the modern square look, it is actually quite nice on the eyes. Easy to use, the start menu is easy to follow and the software center is a dream come true for the Windows leaver. Install and uninstall to your hearts content while the updates are easy to follow and Kubuntu actually guides you through the processes. Being KDE, you do get extras like K3b which is the best burning utility out there for Linux. Installed by default, if you have Gnome, you will have to find an alternative version but they are out there. All in all, Kubuntu has everything you will need including what comes preinstalled below.