Is Ubuntu a Replacement for Windows?

Updated on April 2, 2020
EricFarmer8x profile image

Eric loves explaining how computer software works. He wants to share his years of experience using computers with others.

Linux as an Operating System

The idea of using a Linux-based operating system instead of Windows is strange to some people. However, I have found that I quite enjoy using Ubuntu.

I am going to go over the reasons why you may want to use Ubuntu instead of Windows 10. I also discuss why you may not want to use Linux.

Ubuntu logo.
Ubuntu logo. | Source

You Will Need to use Open-Source Software

Linux Is Open Source

Ubuntu is open-source, and this is the type of software you will mostly use on Linux. Outside of web applications and few other things. If you do not like how open source software looks or works you will not like Linux very much.

But What Does Open-Source Mean?

Open-source is software that anybody can edit and make changes to and redistribute.

Things actually can get pretty complex. But open-source mostly means free software as in people can use it how they want, and free software as in it costs no money.

Again this is not always the case, but this statement usually is true.

Some Open Source Software Examples

  • Audacity is a program to record to edit and record audio files.
  • Firefox is an open source web browser.
  • GIMP is an open-source image editor.
  • LibreOffice is an alternative to Microsoft Office.
  • Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a software to record video and stream to Twitch.
  • QBittorrent is an amazing alternative for uTorrent as a BitTorrent client.
  • VLC is a video player that plays most if not all video files.

The icons of common open-source software.
The icons of common open-source software.

Have You Ever Used a Linux Distribution Before?

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You May Have to Use the Terminal Sometimes

Strange Blank Screen

The terminal at first is very odd and maybe unknown. You get thrown into a blank screen with a blinking cursor. Without any knowledge of what to do, not much will happen.

Using Terminal Commands Is Very Important in Linux

Some troubleshooting steps require knowing how to run some terminal commands. Even if you copy and paste commands, other people give you.

The terminal on Ubuntu MATE.
The terminal on Ubuntu MATE.

Some Common Bash (Linux Terminal) Commands

  • Launch programs by name and use optional parameters for specific tasks.
  • Use apt-get to install and update software.
  • Use the ls command to see the contents of a directory.
  • Use the mv command to move files and directories around.
  • Use the mv command to rename files and directories.
  • Use the rm command to delete files and directories.

Ubuntu Can Be Very Pretty

Ubuntu has many desktop options. I use Ubuntu MATE myself. With Ubuntu MATE, I was able to choose a theme for my desktop and icons. In some cases, Ubuntu has more built-in customization options than Windows does!

Open-source software does not always look ugly! Sometimes you can change and configure things to look much better!

MATE desktop with the Adapata-Nokto theme and Papirus-Dark icons.
MATE desktop with the Adapata-Nokto theme and Papirus-Dark icons.

Linux Is (Mostly) More Secure Than Windows

There Are Much Fewer Viruses That Target Ubuntu

Ubuntu can get infected by malware. But the chances of getting infected are lower.

I am much safer browsing online with Ubuntu since most people use Windows. Hackers are going to target the operating system with the larger install base.

On Linux You Need Root to Do Anything Serious

The main reason is due to how Ubuntu handles permissions. You need Root/Administrator rights to do anything serious. Without these permissions, viruses and infected software can't do anything.

Ubuntu Has Some Flaws

Ubuntu Still Has Security Issues

There are vulnerabilities in Ubuntu, like any other software. If I were to install and use infected software and give it administrator rights, I would be in deep trouble.

Thankfully there are many security updates and patches for Ubuntu. The first and easiest step to keeping your system secure is to always stay up to date! Don't remember to download and install updates.

Be Careful of What Software You Use

Open-source software tends to be safe since there are many eyes on it. But there is always a risk with unknown programs or software.

Always be careful when installing new software on any operating system! There is a certain amount of trust you must put in developers.

Only install software and from trusted sources! The same advice applies to Bash scripts.

Some Software Will Not Run on Ubuntu

Sometimes You Just Need Windows

Some people have critical software that doesn't work on Ubuntu. This issue is a huge flaw. If you need certain software for your job or business and it doesn't work, then Ubuntu is not helpful.

There Are Some Ways to Get Windows Software to Run on Ubuntu

Wine is a popular software layer that can run some Windows programs and games. But support is pretty random. Some software works like native programs, but others won't open at all.

The Linux Gaming Problem

According to the Valve's Steam Hardware & Software Survey, less than 1% of people used Linux in March 2020. The number of Linux users was 0.72% of people who agreed to complete the survey.

Not even the most optimistic person can argue against the fact that very few people use Linux for games

Why Do so Few People Use Linux for Games?

Few People Use Linux

Software developers will be less likely to want to support Linux because of fewer sales.

The only way to fix this issue is developers being willing to take risks and make Linux versions of games anyway. Or more people start to use Linux on their personal computers.

Some Games Will Not Work

You will not be able to play the most popular multiplayer games on Linux. This issue alone is a reason to stop some people from using Ubuntu to play games.

There Is Some Progress to Get Better Game Support on Ubuntu

Support to Play Windows Only Games Is Growing

Most game developers will never release native versions of Linux games. There are some projects to make playing Windows-only games as easy as possible for Linux users.

Steam Proton

Proton configures wine and sets it up for you. Well, for the most part. You sometimes need to launch games with different settings or change some options.

There is a group of whitelisted games known to work well on Proton. But you can attempt to use the tool to launch any Windows-only game.

I use Proton all the time and works great for the games that it supports well.

There is also a custom version of Proton called GloruousEggroll. This version works for some games that the standard Proton does not. I have not used it myself, but it sounds good.

Lutris

With Lutris, you can install multiple versions of Wine and run scripts to install Windows games. Lutris handles other types of games as well.

It is many uses, and it is one of my favorite Linux game-related programs.

PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux is a special version of wine designed to help to install games. It does this by using different versions of wine and allowing for install scripts.

I have not used PlayOnLinux myself before, but I know some people love it.

My Personal Thoughts About Ubuntu

The last version of Ubuntu I used was 19.04.

I decided to switch to using Manjaro Linux because I like the feel of Manjaro better. I am using the KDE desktop now. I found I like the look and feel of this desktop better.

I still would recommend Ubuntu for beginners, though.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Eric Farmer

What do you think about Linux and open-source software?

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    • profile image

      Dodio 

      22 months ago

      I like ubuntu too for software development

    • S.K. profile image

      Craig Holman 

      2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Great read! I'm going to take your advice and do more research into using Ubuntu.

    • EricFarmer8x profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Farmer 

      2 years ago from Rockford Illinois

      I have tried Mac OS once in the past. I think I probally rather have a iPad than use a Apple based computer.

    • mugisha adamz profile image

      musubaho mugisa 

      2 years ago from uganda kasese

      try mac os its exclusively fine

    • profile image

      Grant 

      2 years ago

      I prefer Ubuntu as well. I use it to mine cryptocurrency. It's awesome for that as well. The OS makes me feel more secure with it's defense mechanisms. Cheers!

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