Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Linux for the average desktop

Almost every now and then there crops up a thread in the forums discussing whether Linux is ready yet for the average home user. This is usually followed up with heavy discussions on how it still loses out on professional applications like Photoshop, 3D Max, MS Office or even iTunes.

Frankly Gimp does a good job but its still not comparable to Photoshop, or is it? Then again, huge acceptance of the iPod ensures that iTunes is a must have application for most music lovers and the apple store allowing seamless downloading of your favourite songs directly makes it even more usefull.

However, the average home user does get all the basic applications like word processor (open office), image editor (gimp), multi-format media player (vlc / mplayer) and an excellent text editor (vi /emacs), music apps (amarok / audacious) and lots more, all along with the distro. So its really not a question of getting things done. Maybe someone prefers photoshop to gimp, but spending $650 doesn’t seem all that prudent for a home user with a $500 computer. MS Office costs another $500 and to use all these one would need another $200 for windows XP Home, Vista will cost even more !!! So Linux does really seem to be a good, valid option.

Now provided money doesn’t matter at all (it generally does though), one would still need an anti-virus solution along with a spyware removal application and all the headaches of updating virus definitions. System stabilty is yet another problem.

With Linux and a good power supply you may never need to turn of your system unless offcourse for cleaning the rig. Gone are the days when Linux used to be a command line only OS. Now with distributions like Ubuntu and Suse one can actually have a pretty good looking desktop.

Not to forget the obvious point that there exists a Linux distribution for almost every system of every decade, be it a moster Core2Duo or an aging Pentium Pro!! The customizability that it offers is unmatched and why spend money on a new system when a few minor modifications (an extra RAM chip) or none can get you the work done?