I know there are a lot of posts on this out there on the internet, but I thought I’d add my 2¢ on the subject. Generally speaking, Linux has a steep learning curve if you’re coming from Windows. The easiest distro of Linux to start with would have to be Ubuntu. A lot of things have a graphical user interface (GUI) with that particular distribution, and it will make the transition easier. You’ll still have to do a number of things on the command prompt, however. In all actuality the command prompt is much easier than the GUI when you get used to it. Instead of clicking clicking clicking and trying to find the right options, you can just type them in. Sometimes you are sitting around going from the command prompt to the GUI which is silly. Just try and use things in the command prompt, it’s better overall.
Heading over to Windows territory, this puppy is completely driven by GUI. There’s absolutely no need to use a command prompt, and the DOS command prompt is almost useless because you can’t really do much with it. Sure, a few things here and there, but I do not think it is nearly as powerful as Bash. This is actually a drawback to me. I’d prefer to have something like Bash in windows. It would make the incessant clicking go away.
Basically, what you can do in Windows you can do in Linux. There are tons of open source applications for it. Unlike Windows, where they want you to pay for every little thing. The only real drawback for Linux is it does not having gaming functionality. I would use Linux 24/7 if I could game on it. For some reason Microsoft doesn’t want to port DirectX over to Linux, and game developers rarely support Linux.
Installing a program on Ubuntu/Debian is as easy as typing “apt-get install *program*” and that’s about it. Sometimes you’ll have to go into the /etc/ directory and configure a .conf file. You might have to compile some programs. So what? What’s the big deal. Getting a general desktop up and running is as easy as installing the Linux disc. They all usually come with most applications you would generally use, it’s not “bare-bone” like Windows. So if you use generally applications you might not even have to install programs.
With Windows, you just click the installation .exe and you’re off to GUI heaven.
If you’re wondering about security, Linux is 100X more secure than Windows. It does depend on your distribution, but most are highly secure. This has been proven over and over. Almost everything targets Windows, there are some Linux virii/trojans, but it’s much less likely you’re going to get infected with things if you’re running Linux.
So, it’s your decision. If you want to learn, Linux is a very powerful operating system with a huge community behind it. Windows is run by Microsoft. If you want something that is very easy, go with windows. If you want something that you can tweak and manipulate almost every little thing, you want general programs, security, and fairly easy to use, go with Linux.
I myself use both Windows and Linux, and I know many others do as well. So if you can’t make up your mind, go dual boot. There are many things on Linux you just can’t do with Windows.