How to decide if Linux is right for you

1. There may be software incompatibilities

Take inventory of the programs you currently use. Microsoft Office? There’s a Linux equivalent in the form of OpenOffice (among others). Outlook? Try Evolution. Photoshop? The ever-popular GIMP can fill in.

In other words, lots of popular Windows programs have Linux counterparts, or at least alternatives, very often with similar interfaces and total file compatibility. If you’re a Chrome user, for example, you’ll find the Linux version virtually identical, and all your bookmarks and passwords will sync immediately once you sign into your Google account.

However, there are plenty of Windows apps that have no Linux equivalents. If you need to, say, sync an iPhone or iPad with iTunes, Apple doesn’t offer a Linux version. If you’re a Spotify or SugarSync user, you’ll find no native Linux clients for playing your music or syncing your files.

One well-known fix: Wine, a free tool that allows you to run some Windows programs in Linux. It may not solve all your software-compatibility issues, but it’s worth investigating if software proves a major stumbling block.