Ken Hough's Website
What can be done using Linux?
Pretty well anything that can be done while using Microsoft Windows can be done via Linux, and in some cases, more easily. On my own main (Linux) PC I use 'Libre Office' (recently developed from 'Open Office') which for most purposes is an excellent alternative to the expensive Microsoft Office. 'Libre Office' includes 'Writer' (word processor), 'Calc' (spreadsheet), 'Impress' (presentation manager similar to Powerpoint), 'Draw' (sketch program), 'Base' (database manager), and 'Math' (equation editor).
'Libre Office' can read from and write to Microsoft format files and also many other formats..
I use 'Gimp' with 'UFRaw' to read and process RAW image files from both Canon and Pentax digital SLR cameras. JPEG files are even easier to manage. I can play CDs and DVDs and view TV via a digital TV card. And of course, under Linux, Internet access/email is a breeze. Antivirus software is available to run under Linux, but is not normally needed on a private Linux system.
Users of databases will find very good support under Linux.
Linux includes programming editors, compilers (for C, C++, Fortran, Java, and many more languages) and complete programming IDEs (Integrated Development Environments). All of this is of course free. If you want a home based web server, simply install 'apache' via the usual package installer. It will then be set up and ready to be accessed via a web browser using the address 'localhost'. If you wish to use PHP on your web site, simply install the apache PHP package. I use apache plus PHP locally to build my own web site and get it working properly before uploading the finished code to an Internet web site hosting service.
'Samba' is often used to enable a Linux machine to operate as a file server to a network of Windows PCs. The Windows PCs need not know that they are talking to a Linux machine. 'Samba' is described as "... the standard Windows interoperability suite of programs for Linux and Unix."
Some, but not all, Microsoft Windows applications can be run under Linux by using 'wine'. This attempts to provide a Windows API under Linux. For example, 'wine' allows me to use the Windows based software (PCR1000.exe) to run an Icom PCR1000 radio via Linux.
I could go on.....