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Linux is one of the cooler things I "got into" back in 2007.  Linux has come a long way since the late 1990's when I first took a brief look.  While I am not ready to recommend that the average computer user should switch from Windows to Linux, anyone who is not afraid to try something new should give it a shot.  Personally I like having both OS's around the house. Many tasks work just fine using either operating system.  A great site for staying abreast of what is going on in the Linux world is http://www.distrowatch.com

For the beginner, it's hard to go wrong with trying out one of  the large, popular distributions.  The major players that combine a large following, lots of support on the web, and large software 
repositories are as follows:




With all due respect to Debian, which is also a large distribution, it's really not considered as beginner-friendly as the 3 listed above.

There's also Linux Mint, which is Ubuntu based and very popular.

Historically Linux has had a reputation for running fast on older hardware, but as the window managers and desktops have become more sophisticated, none of the versions above, in my opinion, offer significant speed advantages over Windows - with the possible exception of boot and shutdown time.

There are lighter weight options - one example is Lununtu, which is Ubuntu wiht the lighter weight LXDE desktop.  http://lubuntu.net

Lastly I'll mention Arch Linux, which happens to be the flavor that brought stability to my Raspberry Pi. Arch is for intermediate to advanced users, and there's lots to like about it.  I do wish it had more applications in it repositories, however.


Raspberry Pi

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