There are many who say that Linux is great for servers but not ready for the average home or small-business user's desktop/laptop.

We have to disagree, and we can recommend the Mageia distribution with the KDE desktop to anyone who feels competent installing software on their computer. Please just make sure that you back your data up first before installing!

There are other Linux distributions available, each of which have their pros and cons, but we suggest that Mageia is a good place to start.

Common free applications:

  • LibreOffice - provides word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database
  • FireFox or Chromium - Web Browser
  • Ekiga or Skype - video 'phone
  • Thunderbird - e-mail client
  • FileZilla - FTP

Larger organisations will have to consider carefully whether seamless transfer of files in non-Linux formats is required - for example, whilst LibreOffice Impress and Microsoft PowerPoint are able to open the same files, the appearance of the presentations is not identical between the packages.