"A printer consists of three main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light"

Linux: A Practical Windows Alternative?

Friday 24th June 2005

Categories: Reviews, GNU/Linux, FLOSS


So, can Debian replace Windows and its suite of applications? Put simply, sort of. Instead of spending money on Windows, an office suite and image editing programs, you can download equivalents all for free. While they may not be exactly the same, they can usually equal their more expensive counterparts for the average user. Installation is simple, and Debian has never once crashed for me. However, not all hardware works perfectly, most notably printers. Despite this, your main hardware (motherboard, sound, etc.) should work fine.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned games. In my view, if you want to play games, don't use Linux. Although games can work on Linux, for the average user it is probably too much hassle.

If you want a system as simple as Windows, you may not want to use Debian - the installation and maintanence, while not particularly hard, are more complicated than Windows. However, if you don't mind fiddling around a little, there should be no problems. If somebody else can take care of installation and maintenance for you, then Debian is just as easy to use as Windows, with a different set of applications.

If you want to try Linux, the best thing to do is install it alongside Windows, so that you don't lose your Windows installation. If you don't mind a little extra complexity over Windows, Debian and its simply huge range of packages is up to the challenge, at least for standard tasks (excluding games). Just check your printer first.

Useful Links

Useful Packages

The packages I use are in bold.