Not a fan of the new Windows 8 user interface? You should consider Linux! It’s free, reliable, runs extraordinarily well on old computers, and the latest Linux Mint has a very nice, familiar user-interface.
Linux is an operating system just like Microsoft Windows and MacOS on the Macintosh. Computer experts know it well and most of the Internet’s infra-structure is managed by Linux computers. But most desktop computer users have never heard of it. There are a lot of benefits to using Linux:
- It’s free. Windows costs money. So do MacOS upgrades.
- It is easy to install. It is every bit as easy to install Linux as it is to install other software. Some Linux installers even allow you to run Linux off a CD, so that you can try it out on your computer without affecting anything else on the machine.
- It is incredibly secure. Because Linux is open source, even if there were a widespread virus released today, there would be hundreds of patches released tomorrow, either by ordinary people that use the operating system or by the distribution maintainers. With Windows, you have to wait for a patch from a single company all while having to pay extra for virus protection software.
- It is extraordinarily reliable. While Windows computers might go a day or even a week before needing to restart, people often have Linux systems running for years without fear of the system crashing.
- It is very efficient. Unlike Windows and Macintosh, Linux does not require big disk drives, huge amounts of RAM, and a super fast processor. What this means is it can run incredibly well even on old, underpowered computers. So, while you may not be able to run the latest version of Windows on those donated computers, Linux will run easily and quickly. In fact, Linux is so efficient that it can pretend to be a Windows server more efficiently than Windows can be a Windows server.
- It has a new sleek user interface. Lots of people are not big fans of the Windows 8 user interface because it is such a drastic change. If that’s the case, Linux Mint offers a very sleek, easy to administer and easy to use interface.
The only real drawback to using Linux is that you can’t run Windows programs on it, but there are great – sometimes better – alternatives that run on Linux. While you can’t use Outlook Express, you can use Thunderbird. While you can’t use Internet Explorer, you can use Google Chrome or Firefox. While you can’t use Microsoft Office, you can use LibreOffice which is very similar and integrates well with Microsoft Office documents. Also one of the best image editing programs, Gimp, runs on Linux and it’s free.
Download Linux Mint
If you want to download Linux Mint, follow these simple instructions:
1. Go to the Linux website
2. If this is for an older computer, choose the Cinnamon RC (32-bit) version
3. Choose your country under Primary Download Mirrors (the download will then begin)
4. Once the download is completed, burn the file as an image to a blank DVD
5. Install on your computer