Perhaps the biggest reason PC users have for hesitating to switch from an MS Windows based computer to one with a Linux operating system is that they don’t know how to address the question of compatible software. Those new to Linux software simply look for Windows software analogs which will act the way their old Windows software did.
But PC users who have used the Linux OS from the beginning don’t have much advice to offer because they aren’t familiar enough with Windows software to make educated comparisons. Fortunately, the community of Linux users is growing every day, as is the library of open source Linux software. And with Dell now taking the Ubuntu distribution of the Linux OS mainstream as an alternative to the Windows system on their custom PCs, the demand for easily recognizable Linux software is certain to increase.
The good news for those adopting the Linux OS is that all Linux distributions include Linux software, simply because Linux software is open source. There is no entity equivalent to Microsoft which has proprietary rights to the Linux OS, the philosophy behind the development of Linux has always been respectful of each user’s right to change and redistribute versions of Linux and Linux software at will. Linux software is the product of thousands of different programmers, each adding unique input, whereas Windows software is the product of market research which tells Microsoft where to focus its efforts most profitably.
The open source nature of Linux software means that Linux distributors can package as bundle as much software as they like with their distributions, and the Debian Linux distribution is currently available with almost 19,000 Linux software packages compatible with eleven architectures from the AEM used in mainframe to the x86 of PCs. The Debian distribution is the foundation for the Ubuntu, Linspire, and other distribution families.
Debian has a terrific Linux software package management system, including an Advanced Package Tool which allows you to install new software packages without having to restart your PC. The APT recognizes the interdependencies of different Linux software packages. If the software package you want to install will not function properly without one or more other package the APT will automatically install all of the packages necessary to let you use the one you want.
The Linux software management system from Debian also permits you to upgrade your software before new versions are officially released, and to add and remove Linux software from your PC with ease.
Linux software goes through three stages in its development: the unstable stage which designated newly created Linux software still having the major bugs worked on, testing, the designation unstable for Linux software which has shown no signs of falling apart after fourteen days of use, and stable Linux software, which has proven under testing that it is ready for distribution. Stable Linux software, except for the occasional patch, is as developed as it will ever be.
Linux software is available for every imaginable application, including over thirteen thousand games, and some three hundred and fifty VoIP and three thousand security applications. A great place to find out just how much Linux software is available is sourceforge.net, where downloads are directly available.