Hi i just want to know people's opinions just because I am not sure if Linux is good or not. Linux is free and can be modified at any time and I am not sure if it reliable. Can someone please tell me if Linux is worth getting.:S
Is it "worth" getting? Considering that most distros are free (aside from the time you spend setting things up), it doesn't really need to have much value to be "worth" the price you pay for it. But it would have quite a bit of value to some people.
Anyway, it depends on many factors. What is the installation going to be used for? How computer literate are the users and what are their expectations from the installation?
I kind of consider it sort of like today's DOS. Too much assembly required. Linux is very demanding and it's not that flexible. You really have to know what you're doing to get any use out of it. Even then, it's a lot more effort than you have to do with Mac or Windows. I would say that how "worth it" it is depends on how much work you are comfortable with. It's highly demanding and and will take a lot of work to set up and to just run on a daily basis. I suppose not everyone will agree. But it's a very common opinion and it was how I took it when I set up Linux on a computer I had built. I liked the work to actually build the computer. But once it was up and running I really didn't like to work constantly just to use the thing day-to-day. So I was really turned-off from Linux.
There's a few preliminaries before I actually get to whether it's "worth" it (in this cause, worth being what you get out of it). Firstly, Linux is a kernel, around which distributions are built. Distributions are comprised mostly of GNU and GNU-licensed software, as well as other "free" software (usually both in the sense of free beer and freedom, but in general "Free" means "Freedom" when it comes to free software. Another, more specific term, is FOSS, or Free and Open Source Software.) that maybe under a variety of licenses.
Anyway, you are correct that it is free (as in freedom and free of charge) and can be modified, albeit extensively. "At any time" is a bit nebulous, as it implies that there are haphazard modifications and such, which usually is not the case. The Linux kernel itself goes through versions and revisions, using code from all over the community in combination with Linus' code. A well maintained Linux-based system can be extremely reliable. A lot of servers use Linux distros as their operating system (not to be confused with their web server, which is Apache.) Basically, as long as you're willing to read the docs (which are easily avaiable via man <application> or through searching the Internet.
But... I would say the value of a Linux system is really in the user. Is he going to be programming a lot, running a home server? Does she like to tinker and play around with her OS? I would say that Linux/GNU/FOSS, etc. is just a different way of approaching computing. It isn't for everyone, but it really does resonate with some people. Linux and the software often used with it is very community based, meaning that it's not so much a closed hierachy, as with closed source, but a more meritocratic community, where it's based more on your ability and what you know. This shouldn't turn you off from using it though, there's many Linux distributions that are very easy to use, such as Fedora (I personally wouldn't recommend Ubuntu, although some would). And of course, if you take interest, there's really no limit on what you can do.
So, it dependings on *you*. What do you want out of your OS/computer? What do you want to do? In general, Linux tends to be more programmer/hacker (hacker as in this definition) friendly, and geared towards more technical users. But many distros are easy to use. Basically, just pick one and try it out on an old computer or you can download a distro like Xubuntu and install it via WUBI, which will let you still use Windows as normal, but also have the distro (kinda like dual booting).
One thing to consider, is that Linux is definitely not for everyone, and not for people who don't like to experiment. It takes a lot more patience and time to set up than Windows - although that can be dependent on which distribution you choose - or Mac. It doesn't do much for you. If you don't want to take the time to setup a lot of stuff, the go with Fedora or Ubuntu, they do almost everything for you. Once installed, you just start browsing the Internet, or doing whatever. Word processors are usually included. But if you're like me, you can go with a simpler distribution like Arch or Slackware, but I would NOT recommend those if you've never tried Linux before, you'll get turned off immediately.
I actually depends. If you are a PC gamer, you may want to consider dual-booting Windows and Linux. Linux has quite a few advantages, but it has nearly no industry support. It is also much more customizable than either Windows or Mac OS, therefore it is much easier to screw up. At the same time, if you are the type of person who likes to do a lot of tweaking, but screws a lot of stuff up (like I used to), then Linux may be for you, as you can just reformat and reinstall without having to worry about not being able to reuse your Windows license.
Linux also has some other advantages, such as usually being more stable than Windows, and having a more knowledgeable online community, so it might be easier to find a solution to any particular problem you may be having. Ubuntu also has a great software center that merges updates for a lot of the programs you download with updates for the OS (which is itself kind of a collection of programs)
Personally, I don't have Linux installed as of now, as I would rather have a bigger hard drive before I do it. As of now, I have a 640BG HDD, and it doesn't look like I'll be getting a bigger one anytime soon, what with the flooding in Thailand (in other words, the prices of hard drives are way up).
Overall, I would recommend daul-booting Windows 7 and Linux. There is a great guide at Dual-Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu in Perfect Harmony. I would advise, however, that you don't attempt to do this unless you know what you are doing.
I hope you like Linux, should you decide to install it.
EDIT: This article is a bit outdated. Do not use Ubuntu 9.10 (October 2009). Use either 11.10 (October 2011) or 12.04 (April 2012) LTS (long-term support) Beta, and adapt the guide to the version you decide to use.
Linux normally runs smoother/faster than windows or mac. It can really make use of a computer with low resources. The downside is that far fewer popular products run on Linux. In comparison if you know a lot about computers you will feel more free and capable to do whatever. With a version of Linux and a self made program you can get by the filter on my schools WiFi.
The fact that you are asking this question probably means the answer for you is no. If you do decide to I recommend keeping your computers original os.
I use Ubuntu and love it. It was supprisingly easy to set up, after I got some blank CDs. I'd never go back to windows, although I still use OSX10.6 on my laptop. For me it was definitely worth it. However if you want to game, your really limited. If you want to use industry products forget using anything but free alternatives. There's a lot of downfalls but for someone like me the positives far out way the negatives.
The amounts of customisation you can do is amazing.