When people find out I run Linux on my computer instead of Windows or even Mac OS X they sometimes have funny ideas about what it must be like. Some of it is historical; Linux used to be quite difficult to administer in its younger days. Some of it is misinformation, or no information at all. I hope to dispell some of the misconceptions.
Linux is difficult to install - Myth. For the most part. Depending on the distribution, Linux is much faster and easier to install than Windows is. A smooth install of Linux takes me about an hour including installing updates, and even less sometimes. This includes installs of Red Hat (before it was Red Hat Enterprise Linux), Fedora (after it was Red Hat), Mandrake (now Mandriva), and Ubuntu (still Ubuntu). Of course, there are some distributions aimed at more experienced users that seem to go out of their way to make the whole installation process a little more, shall we say, complex. I'm looking at you, Gentoo.
I just recently re-installed Windows on a friend's computer that had become so infected with god-knows-what that it was completely unusable. I didn't keep track of how long the install took, but it was hours and hours, not even including when I had to go to bed and continue the install in the morning. Downloading and installing updates, rebooting, downloading and installing more updates, rebooting again. On and on it went.
Of course, after the install all he had was Windows with some minor applications like Notepad and Wordpad, and some games like Solitaire and Minesweeper. Don't get me wrong, I've wasted plenty of time on both of those, but it's a pretty sparse selection.
When I install a Linux distro I get a complete, usable desktop. An office suite, CD and DVD burning software, image manipulation software, full featured email suites, and lots of games. All for no cost. And lots more easily available. Which brings me to my next point...
Programs are difficult to install in Linux - Half-truth. Most distibutions give you on-line access to repositories, large collections of programs picked and packaged by your distribution maintainers for easy installation. Installation this way is actually easier than in Windows. On my Ubuntu box I open up Synaptic, type in a search for the kind of program I want, select it, and it installs. And again, for no cost.
Compare this to Windows where I have to search the web for the program I want, check forums and review sites to see if anyone has been infected with spyware with it, download it, scan it with my anti-virus program, install it, and then find out it's a crippled trial version of what I want.