Linux vs Windows: The Netbook Question

Jim Getten is planning to buy a netbook. Should he go with Linux or Windows?

That's a good question, and one that I haven't yet decided for myself. Here's how I see it:

Linux is smaller, faster, free, less prone to crashes, and much less likely to get infected with malware.

On the other hand, you already know Windows, so going with Linux requires a learning curve.

Another problem: There's less software available for Linux, and what is available isn't always what you're used to. For instance, if you work primarily in Microsoft Office, Linux will require you to learn an alternative like OpenOffice. That's yet another learning curve.

I recommend you try Linux on your current PC before making your decision. Ubuntu Linux is one popular distribution that's extremely easy to set up and get running. You can boot it directly from the CD (which you burn from a downloaded .iso file), install it from inside Windows, or put it onto a bootable flash drive.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

Shop ▾
arrow up Amazon Shop buttons are programmatically attached to all reviews, regardless of products' final review scores. Our parent company, IDG, receives advertisement revenue for shopping activity generated by the links. Because the buttons are attached programmatically, they should not be interpreted as editorial endorsements.

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter