Linux is a kernel developed by Linus Torvalds on September 17, 1991. GNU is the core utils of the operating system developed by Richard Stallman on September 27, 1983. Linux provides the kernel , which is the main connector between a hardware and a software and GNU provides the system utilities making GNU/Linux a complete operating system. GNU/Linux is commonly known as Linux Operating System.
Linux is completely free in both ways; free as in 'money' as well as free as in 'freedom'. You can do whatever you want to the operating system and it doesn't make you pay for using it unlike Microsoft's Windows.
Since you can see the whole source code of this OS you can swap out anything with anything. You can even change the desktop environment, window managers, display managers, init system etc which seem like core parts of the OS if you compare it with windows.
There are thousands of people watching the source code of linux, if one person tries to inject a virus or malware to the system , ten other people are there to remove it.
Linux is the fastest operating system in the world, you can make it run very less background processes as per your need and use a very little RAM for system and leave remaining ram to be used by additional applications making it even lighter and faster.
There is no telemetry enabled on any linux operating systems. If you want you can agree to send some data to them but it is turned off by default, unlike windows where each of their app have telemetry enabled by default.
There is no headquarter of linux, it's a community based OS which is improved and updated by communities if people. So no one needs to worry about sending your data to a giant data hogging company.
Linux is compatible with almost every kind of hardware, it can be designed to run on the servers, it can be designed to run on a supercomputer, a desktop, a laptop, a smartphone, a TV etc. Linux can literally run on a toaster.
The package manager on Linux is the best of it's kind. You type simple command ( eg : apt install
Linux is very versatile, it comes in hundreds of flavors. These flavors are called 'distributions'. Distributions are based on different aspects, users, stability, updates, etc. You can choose to use a very stable Linux Distribution or you can choose to use a very updated Distribution. You can choose to use a user friendly Distribution as well as you can choose to just use the TUI without the GUI.
Linux usually uses FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) which is usually free to use and gets your job done unlike windows where you pay for most of the softwares to work as well as don't know what's going on under the hood because you cannot see the source code.
One of the main feature of Linux is also it's disadvantage. The packaging system on Linux is different depending upon the distributions. Which requires the developers to port different types of packages for different distributions despite of being the same operating system.
Sometimes the Linux community is a very helpful place where people can share ideas and problems which they solve as a team but sometimes The Linux community is one of the toxic places for people who are beginners. Most people assume themselves as superior because they use linux and refuse to help since they didn't get any help when "they" learnt linux .
There are so many choices that a beginner gets overwhelmed with the options. The excess choice in everything also causes fear in the newcomer's heart if they think they chose the wrong option.
Many professional softwares like Adobe Softwares, Microsoft Office, etc are not available in Linux. This can be a huge disadvantage if the user's work totally depends upon these kinds of software.
Linux on laptops is a bit tricky because it uses a lot of power when installed draining the battery a lot faster than other operating systems. It doesn't have a power saving algorithm like windows or mac does. But this issue can be somewhat fixed by installing additional battery saving softwares especially designed for laptops.
I personally use and enjoy Linux as my daily driver. It is very fast compared to the windows operating system and I can do any kind of work from semi professional video editing on kdenlive to a simple note writing on kate on Linux. Sometimes there are bugs here and there but if everything was perfect where would be the room for development ? And finally , I use Arch BTW.