Before switching my server over to a Linux computer, I started out by using Windows. If you want to run something like any sort of server, or you just enjoy programming, Linux is essential, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, Windows is pretty good, but if I could go back, I would start out using a Linux distribution. Here's why:
Windows, as it keeps developing, keeps requiring more and more computing power, making older PCs or laptops completely obsolete! Linux never stops developing either, but because it is a lot smaller in size than Windows, there's almost no device it can't run on!
I can speak about this from experience - my current server computer (running this website and other things) is from about ~2006. When it was bought, it came with Windows Vista preinstalled. For pretty much the whole time that computer has been used, it was really sluggish and slow. We're talking about some crappy 2006 operating system, and it couldn't even use that?? Anyway, it went pretty much completely out of use about 8 years ago, because of how slow it was, and I rediscovered it this year! It was virtually unusable with Windows on it, so I installed Ubuntu on it. Instantly, it became so much more responsive and fast, which made it perfect to repurpose as a server. It might be around ~16 times less powerful than my school laptop, but honestly, you can barely tell!
I also just wanna highlight that I'm running the latest, 2020 version of Ubuntu Linux on my crappy server computer now (although I think at the time in 2006, this was considered a high-end PC), with no troubles. How do you think it would cope with something like Windows 10?
If you have an old computer that never gets used anymore, I would highly recommend trying out Ubuntu on it - even if you're not interested in programming, or making a server or anything - it works amazingly and will put it to good use again..
"Open Source" probably doesn't really mean anything to you when you first hear the term. What it means is that the source code is released to everyone for free and for any purpose.
This means many Linux operating systems are free. Most software on Linux is also open source, which is really helpful. Good, reliable, free software isn't always around on Windows, making it harder to do lots of the same stuff you can on Linux. This free software is also pretty safe as well; for example, the Ubuntu Linux OS has a package library called
apt, one of the most useful program libraries, which can be used to install things from the terminal with a simple
sudo apt install programname (sudo basically means running as Administrator, you have full permissions on the computer). If I knew what I do now about how Linux systems work, I would've started out using this straight away, rather than messing around with Windows.
Another thing to take note of is that different Linux distributions can behave differently. People are able to modify it to do different things. Linux isn't just one operating system, it's all kinds of different ones. There's ones which are very lightweight, meaning they use very little computer resources and take up hardly any space, ones for hacking, ones specifically for programming and heaps more. Ubuntu is the most popular choice, because it's pretty user friendly and has a huge number of uses. It's basically an all-in-one. I would definitely recommend trying Ubuntu out, it's one of my favourites.
At the moment, I use Ubuntu 20.04 server, which is a command-line only operating system, meaning it has no desktop. Honestly, the main reason I use it is because my server is really old, and can barely cope with running a Desktop. Ubuntu also has Desktop releases, which, in my short time using them, seem to be very good; they can definitely compete with Windows. Learning to use the command-line should also be a priority for you, though. Not everything on Linux can be done in an app window, so it's a very important skill to have.
A lot of people who will (hopefully) read this might not even know what Linux is, but what might surprise you is that the majority of everything you interact with online (websites, game servers, etc) run on Linux! And there's good reason for this.
In my opinion, even MacOS is better than Windows for servers and coding. This is because MacOS and Linux have quite a few similarities (because they're both based off UNIX, which I'm not going to explain now). Any good Linux distribution (I recommend Ubuntu, but I also use Mint and Kali) comes preinstalled with multiple coding languages and libraries, while Windows doesn't come with any. This is really convenient, while trying to install a programming language on Windows can take forever. The Linux terminal, while hard to master at first, is a lot more effective at everything.
Don't be fooled! There's tons of support for Linux users out there! It's basically impossible to get the hang of using a Linux OS all on your own, especially when it comes to using the terminal. I know I wouldn't have survived otherwise. There's ample support for how to use everything on Linux, so while it might seem a bit intimidating at first, just know that you'll never be stuck on a problem for long!
Windows is well known for its security issues, and has numerous vulnerabilities to different viruses, attacks and hacks. Most of the same viruses that impact Windows are not going to affect Linux, and just in general, it is way less vulnerable to hacking/attacks.
Most people use an antivirus on their Windows computer (my main laptop runs Windows, so I do too), but this isn't really necessary at all with Linux! Yes, some programs exist, but for the most part, these are really unnecessary.
If you do a lot of gaming or things like that, Linux probably isn't for you then. Most games don't support playing on Linux, although the numbers are quickly growing, and soon hopefully, it will be up to the same standard as Windows.
Not all the same programs you use on Windows or MacOS are available on Linux. Things like Chrome, Firefox and other open source programs are always available on everything, but programs like Microsoft Office aren't (cos Linux is a competitor). Same with Adobe Photoshop, etc. But this isn't the end of the world, though. There's always a good alternative you can use, for example, using Libreoffice on Linux has basically all the same functions as Microsoft Office on Windows.
Obviously, if you struggle to use your current operating system, you've probably already lost interest in everything I just said above, and have clicked off this site, but just in case you haven't, I would work on getting the hang of whatever you're using first. Anyone can work out how to use Linux systems, but it is more complicated, be warned. If you're up for the challenge, go ahead. Like I said before, there's plenty of help you can find online.