(Berea) - Microsoft has now ended all support for Windows XP, but it can be replaced with a free alternative computer operating system that people have been using around the world for many years.

The Linux operating system comes packed with free software, much of it as good as or better than what Microsoft has been selling, says Baldwin-Wallace University Math & Computer Science professor Kenneth Atchinson.

He explains that there is a Linux version to suit just about every need, and all you have to do is download it and use it.

Achinson's favorite version is Ubuntu, which is said to be the second most popular operating system globally. He contends Linux is less virus prone than Windows, and is not as bloated, so even older computers tend to run faster.

Achinson tells Newsradio WTAM 1100, Linux can be downloaded and run off a CD or DVD without installing or changing anything on your computer. Linux can easily be installed if you want to make it your permanent operating system. Almost all versions receive free support and security updates.

The Ubuntu Linux desktop

Achinson says Linux is also a good choice for businesses because nearly all versions are royalty free.

Linux was invented by Linus Torvalds in 1991, and is widely used to run web servers. It's the operating system for Android phones, as well as Kindle, Samsung and other tablets.

To find out more about the different versions of Linux and where to download them, go to http://www.distrowatch.com.

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