I have been using Linux since sometime in 1998-99. It all started after learning about Linux on a TV Network called ZDTV. There was a show on there called “The Screen Savers” that was for a time a great source of information on the current state of technology and how-to segments on using new technology. I got pretty excited at the prospect of an alternate OS. I had used Macintosh machines in college and was never impressed. They were particularly frustrating in their inability to multi task effectively. I was using Windows exclusively and acting as the IT admin at our small business and I knew the shortcomings involved in an all MSFT based network and server. So, anyhow, after the episode on Linux I ran out to the local CompUSA and picked up a boxed copy of Red Hat 5.2. My experience at that time with using Linux was not unlike many others; It was often difficult and not at all intuitive. My experience for the next couple years was hot and cold but I remained intrigued. One thing that kept me going was my acquisition of the Cobalt Qube, a wondrous little cube of a computer that ran Linux and performed a myriad of services and which for many years following, served the mail and web site for www.hx4.com, and it did it flawlessly.
Jumping forward to 2009… Currently the same small business now runs entirely on Linux at the server level and 2 of the 5 desktop users are on Linux full time with the remaining 3 to be converted over this year. We even run our entire phone system from a modest $400.00 computer running Linux and Asterisk, an open source PBX software. I’ll never look back. We do not get infected with viruses. We do not have spy-ware infestations and we do not reinstall the OS every six months because it “starts getting sluggish”. Actually these machines regularly run without reboot for far longer than 6 months at a time. At one point we had machines with well over 500 days of up-time until a power outage outlasted our UPS and the machines shut down. One of the Linux desktop users now has 98 days on the up-time clock, that’s 98 days without a reboot, or even an application crash. It goes without saying, I am a fan.
So give Linux a try. There are almost endless resources available on the inter-web to get you started. I’m for the most part and Ubuntu user, but any of the major distro’s out there will do a good job. If your interested you can try it out risk free by just popping a CD of a “Live Version” in your CD drive and booting from the it. Linux will run and you will be able to use it right from the CD without affecting your current setup. It’s worth the experience.