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Top Ten Disadvantages of Linux

written by: John Lister•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/20/2009

While we often talk about the benefits of Linux here at BrightHub, there are some drawbacks you should consider. Here are some of the biggest problems which some users may experience.

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    1. There’s no standard edition of Linux. Whereas Microsoft offers several different editions of each version of Windows, there are countless variations of Linux. For a new user it can be confusing to work out which is best for you.
    2. Linux has patchier support for drivers (the software which coordinates your hardware and your operating system). This means you’ll sometimes find it trickier to get a new device set up.
    3. Linux is, for new users at least, not as easy to use as Windows. That’s largely because Linux gives you more control, but does mean you’ll have to spend some time getting used to the way it works.
    4. Because Linux is neither as popular as Windows, nor a commercial product, support works in a different way. You may have to look harder to find the answer to a problem and, while Linux supporters are more likely to offer help, it may not always match your own level of technical understanding.
    5. Many of the programs you are used to in Windows will only run in Linux through a complicated emulator. These programs aren’t guaranteed to work perfectly, and in some cases may be noticeably slower.
    6. While Linux can be suitable for an individual user, its small market share means it’s much harder to introduce in a corporate setting. With most office workers already familiar with Windows and Microsoft programs, there’ll likely be a notable time cost in converting staff to using a Linux system.
    7. While there are perfectly passable alternatives to many popular Windows programs (such as the various Office components), some high-end applications such as Photoshop don’t have as close equivalents in Linux.
    8. Fans of PC gaming may find Linux offers them a much more limited range. That’s partially because the latest games are nearly always a commercial operation and much harder to reproduce in Linux because they are much more individual than, for example, office software.
    9. While there’s no specific reason why this should be the case, in practice quite a few users report finding printing can be troublesome to set up in Linux.
    10. Because Linux is a free, open source system, there are no legal comebacks if you find software isn’t up to scratch or if it causes a problem. While there’s no guarantee you’d win, you do at least have some right of complaint with commercial products such as Windows.
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    Windows emulator Win4Lin