TIL that the inventor of Linux announced his project by saying "I'm doing a free operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional)". Today it it used by 3/4 of all servers, all Android devices, and the top 10 supercomputers.

There are a variety of different 'flavours' of Linux available depending on your tastes. The two most popular for regular desktop users these days would be Mint and Ubuntu. They run the same software and work fundamentally the same, like all flavours do -- they just present a different GUI style, include different tools, have some configuration differences, etc. I would personally recommend Mint but go with either one.

Linux is orders of magnitude more secure than Windows, for a variety of reasons. If you're not installing software from random funky-looking websites you'll be fine. Luckily, most flavours ship with a kind of 'fre eapp store' built right in, where you can just browse categories (Office, Multimedia, Games, etc) and click to install popular programs from a reliable and verified source, no browsing around or searching needed.

The drawbacks: there's a lot of software you might need that won't run on it without some special fiddling (eg Photoshop, Microsoft Word). Most AAA games aren't available although plenty of popular indie ones are and this has been improving lately (you can run Minecraft, Metro, The Witcher, Civilization, Counter-strike, Borderlands, Cities: Skylines, Bioshock, etc now). It is in general not as user-friendly -- expect to Google how to change and fix some things you might not have to bother with on Windows. The system being more open and modifiable is a blessing and a curse -- it means you can customise whatever you want, but also that it's within your power to break anything you want. Drivers for certain hardware may not exist, so Google your laptop model or important peripherals to see if they work or need some fiddling. Subjective, but personally I find that no Linux UI approaches the aesthetic appeal of the Windows or OS X UIs.

The pros: your system is generally more stable, better-performing, and more customisable. If you're a developer, the variety of developer tools available dwarfs that of Windows or OS X. Your system is more secure and is easier to repurpose or control from other devices (it is possible to boot your PC up and remotely log in from your phone in seconds).

/r/todayilearned Thread Parent Link - thelinuxdaily.com