I am a person who used only Windows, I have never tried Ubuntu.

But after seeing few of my friends are using Ubuntu and I want to try it. I already asked few of my friends who are already using Ubuntu but I am not convinced by advantages they described.

Please help me understand the advantages/disadvantages of using Ubuntu over Windows.


Some advantages

  • Ubuntu is free-of-charge, except that you need a blank DVD or a USB drive 1 GB or larger to put the installer on. Windows 10 costs about US$120 for the Home version (or about US$30 for the unsupported-by-Microsoft Home OEM version).
  • Ubuntu's APT package manager provides a lot of—again—free-of-charge software and makes it easy to install, uninstall, and keep updated with security fixes and other updates. You can issue two commands and know that all your software is updated to the latest version. Major software like Chrome, Firefox, and Skype work well with APT. Windows usually requires you to find, install, uninstall, and keep track of updating all your software yourself.
  • APT doesn't force upgrades and system restarts on you like Windows 10's Windows Update does.
  • A lot of Windows software has either official Ubuntu versions or alternatives that are usually free-of-charge unlike the Windows software. A few examples: Skype has an official Ubuntu version, Microsoft Office can be replaced with the free-of-charge LibreOffice, and Photoshop can be replaced with the free-of-charge GIMP.
  • Though it's not immune, Ubuntu isn't a big target for malware like Windows is, keeping you safer.
  • Ubuntu has official alternatives like Xubuntu and Lubuntu that work faster and leaner than Ubuntu on older machines while providing the same software library Ubuntu provides. This is nice if you want to breathe new life into old computers. Those official alternatives are also supported here on Ask Ubuntu.
  • If you try Ubuntu for a while, you'll have both Windows knowledge and some Linux knowledge. Ubuntu is one of the easier Linux distributions to use and get help with, because it's partly intended for beginners to Linux.
  • Other Linux distributions are more approachable after you get comfortable with Ubuntu, particularly if you get comfortable with the terminal.
  • If you keep your Ubuntu installer DVD or USB drive around after you install it, it also provides a Try Ubuntu without installing option that you can use to troubleshoot Windows or Ubuntu if either ever stops working on your computer or someone else's, which can come in handy.

Some drawbacks

  • Some Windows software doesn't have an Ubuntu version or alternative and won't run on Ubuntu through Wine or PlayOnLinux (though you can generally run this sort of software through something like VirtualBox).
  • Some rare hardware isn't supported on Ubuntu because some companies only make drivers for Windows and nobody else has made an Ubuntu driver for it.
  • Less people are available to provide support for Ubuntu than Windows. For example, you're lucky if your local computer repair shop can fix an Ubuntu problem. Luckily there are sites like Ask Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Forums.

No forced choice

You don't have to make a hard choice between Ubuntu and Windows. If you want to keep Windows around and still try Ubuntu, you can do that! There are three different ways:

  1. Dual boot Windows and Ubuntu.

    This only allows one OS to run at a time, but that OS gets the full power of the computer. You choose which OS to run when your computer is starting up.

  2. Install VirtualBox (or some other virtual machine software) on Windows and install Ubuntu into a virtual machine on VirtualBox. Remember to install the VirtualBox Extension Pack for your VirtualBox version and to install the Guest Additions into Ubuntu so that resizing the Ubuntu window works and so that you can turn on things like the shared clipboard.

    This allows both OSes to run at the same time, but the OSes have to share the computer's power. You start up VirtualBox and then the Ubuntu virtual machine to get Ubuntu running.

  3. If you have Windows 10, install the Windows Subsystem for Linux with Ubuntu.

    This allows both OSes to run at the same time, but the OSes have to share the computer's power and Ubuntu can only (officially) run terminal applications. It can't (officially) run graphical applications.

  • 1
    Regarding 1: "free of charge" is also the biggest drawback of Linux.
    – Rinzwind
    Jan 27 '18 at 9:10

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