Though I would consider my expertise level of computers moderate, I'm a heavy power user and fare pretty well with regard to specs, hardware and software. As a freelancer that works from home, I utilize the internet in almost every facet of life.
What I don't know enough about, admittedly, is Linux-based operating systems.
About 6 months ago, I purchased a new desktop--an HP PC-and-monitor-in-one with 500 GB hard drive, Athlon Dual-Core processer with 4GB RAM. It's slim, sleek, fast and runs Windows 7.
For its' part, the computer has been nice. It rarely gets bogged down, despite my process-intensive usage.
However (emphasis on comma) while the Windows 7 experience has been mostly pleasant, especially relative to its predecessors, I'm growing tired of the crash dumps (i.e. BSOD). I recently downloaded the "whocrashed?" software to try and pinpoint the source of the crashes. Most of them have related to the csrss.exe files (note: I did check to make certain there were no dual instances of it as this file is known for being duplicated as a virus).
In all probability, I could purchase a registry cleaner (which I should do anyhow) and it would likely rectify the problem(s). But I'm starting to get to the point where I'm considering switching to a Linux for now, and eventually I'll take the step I never thought I would take: switching to a MAC. I guess this is intuitive as I'm a professional in the Arts of sort, so I should probably have a MAC anyhow.
But for now, I'm looking into switching over to Ubuntu.
My questions are:
1. Is this a safe, fast and reliable operating system? I've seen excellent peer reviews about its safety being open-source, but I'm not sure about its stability or speed.
2. I use a lot of programs and I'm wondering about the compatibility with many of them. I know it's pre-packaged with Open Office, but there are a lot of features I use within Excel and Word that I'm not certain are contained in Open Office. As far as browsing, it comes with Firefox, which is nice, but I have moved on to Chrome (Canary as of this past week) and am still trying to contemplate making a switch to Opera. If I'm not mistaken, I might not be able to use these browsers (and many other programs) if I switch?
What is the consensus? I'm truly torn on this.