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Part of the mission statement for the group that created this operating system is to offer it as a free software download to everybody across the world. To-date, the software remains free to download and run, with no paid-for content or bonus subscription features hidden behind any kind of paywall.
The operating system supports a wide range of security features, much like the other leading OS, Windows. These include VPN, disk encryption, authentication, application whitelisting, malicious code detection and more. In fact, previous studies conducted by UK government bodies have found this OS to be the most secure end-user operating system.
This question is a little more complex. Though not specifically Linux, this operating system is a distribution of Linux, built on top of the Linux kernel as its foundation. There are hundreds more Linux distributions out in the world today, with many providing free and valuable user communities that help with support and guidance.
This depends on the intended use of the operating system. Windows is typically better for gaming, but worse for software development purposes, from an efficiency and ease of use perspective. Windows is also typically the worse of the two options for web design, with a simple boot and app launch process.
Many computer owners don't particularly get on well with Windows. For some, there's found to be too much unnecessary complexity and bloated software packaged in with Microsoft's software package. In these cases, certain users prefer simpler operating systems like this one, which are well optimised for business users.
As the operating system is a project that has been contributed towards by thousands of developers worldwide, it has been tailored to essentially be the perfect development environment. This is why so many technology businesses now opt to use the OS as the platform of choice for software development.
Though viruses are more common on Windows platforms, they can affect most operating systems including this one. It could be worth having an antivirus, though more important is keeping security patching up to date, and maintaining good practices with passwords and system permissions, for example. Root access can be dangerous.
Whether or not a firewall is required by this operating system is hotly debated amongst its users, as the OS has no TCP or UDP ports exposed out of the box. However, there is something called 'Uncomplicated Firewall' (ufw) built into the OS, though it is disabled by default.
Out of the box, the operating system is not bundled with Java, nor with the Java Runtime Environment, or JRE. That said, it is possible to download and install the software, and it is very much required for certain activities and games.
Installing the operating system can be done without a disc. Start by downloading the software, checking that the computer can boot from USB. Make BIOS changes and create a bootable USB. Then, simply install the new OS. Finally, create a username and password, as well as a computer name. This will be used to log in after installation.