6 Reasons To Install Linux Today

I want to answer a question I hear from time to time.  In this era of the smooth and polished Apple operating systems, and remarkably stable and secure choices in the Windows world, who the hell wants to run Linux and why?

To this question, I have two responses.  The first is this: “Holy crap don’t say that out loud!  The Linux geeks might hear!”  Seriously, we’ve talked about this before.  Unless you want a rude, self-confidence shattering dissertation, be careful who you ask that to.

My second response is this: “Oh, there are several reasons.”

 

Reason #1: Linux is Free!

Okay, not all Linux distributions are free, and you still need hardware to run it.  But most distributions are no cost and you still need the hardware to run Windows or OS X.  Making Linux, for our intents and purposes, FREE!

In addition to Linux itself, there are a lot of software options for Linux that are free.  Zero cost is a big deal in the Linux community.

 

Reason #2: Security

Microsoft Windows is regularly panned for poor security and resistance to malware.  Even OS X has had some big vulnerabilities.

At least some of this is due to popularity.  Windows has around 90% of the desktop and laptop market share, and OS X around 8%.  If you’re one of the sick bastards who creates malware, why target only 2% of the market?

However, by virtue of its design, Linux is a more secure operating system.  While it’s not without fault, Linux is much harder to crack.

 

Reason #3: Freedom

Have you ever actually read the terms of service on Microsoft Windows (available here) or OS X (available here)?  You sign away a lot of rights and abilities when you fire up one of those.  For the most part, Linux is completely free for you to do with as you please.

 

Reason #4: Choice

If you are willing to put in the effort, you can make Linux do anything you want.  Competing operating systems are locked down.  Don’t want that button on the left?  Too bad!  Want to run a modified version of OS X on your phone?  Forget it!

Linux offers you a lot of choices out of the box, and, with some effort, the sky is the limit.  Just check out these awesome desktop configurations.

 conky2 conky3

 

And look at the Android operating system for phones and tablets.  At its core, Android is Linux.

 

Reason #5: Hardware Compatibility

Linux has distributions that will run on just about any hardware, no matter how new or old, fast or slow.  Try loading Windows 8 on a computer from the year 2000.  It isn’t going to happen.  But you can do it with Linux!

 

Reason #6: Education

Windows and OS X cover up all the ugly operations and gritty details that go into making a computer work.  The amount of knowledge required to do tasks is remarkably small.  These operating systems just kind of work and do all the hard stuff for you.

Linux doesn’t shelter you from anything.  It encourages, if not requires, you to understand how the computer works, how the operating system works, and how to best carry out a task.  Mastering Linux teaches you a lot and makes you a better, smarter computer user.

 

 

 

Linux isn’t for everyone.  And even if you like Linux, you may not adopt it as your primary operating system.  In fact, let me tell you a secret.  Despite my fascination with Linux, I do most of my work in Windows.  *GASP!*  I know right!  Don’t tell anyone.

But Linux has several benefits over the alternatives.  So go on, install a distribution in a virtual machine and play around.  It’s worth it!  Once you’ve played around with it, be sure to share some of your reasons for using, or not using, Linux in the comments below.

 

Written By

John is a sailing instructor and mechanical engineering student who happens to be a computer geek. To find more information about John, visit his website or find him on social media by clicking on the icons below.

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16 Responses to “6 Reasons To Install Linux Today”

  1. rosgani

    Nice article, although I’m newbie in Linux but I love Linux since more secure than Windows, specially for virus that spread through USB flash drive.

    Reply
  2. Charlie Spencer

    It’s interesting that this article drew 13 responses as of today, and its sister article drew over 900. It must be easier for your audience to go into attack mode. Thanks for both.

    I made a few attempts in the early ’00s, and it doesn’t sound like much has changed. There’s just no motivation for me to try again. I don’t object to the so-called ‘Windows tax’ when I buy a new system, and have never had a malware issue. I’m not motivated enough to learn the skills necessary to exercise the freedom of choice Linux offers. You could give me a free, better engine for my car but that isn’t enough return for me to invest in the skills and tools necessary to make the swap.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Scott L

    As a professional digital content producer &pt digital artist, i made the switch to ubuntu studo this year. cinelerra stands with avid and premiere. way better than avid on a pc, even one designed for it. this has let me build a new studio out of computers people were throwing away, as ubuntu runs so light that specs that would fail on windows for editing work fine on ubuntu. i even switched some of my friends (nontechies) and, since i took care of the hard part, they love it. they all noticed a speed diff too. but maybe you don’t bc your install of windows is optimized and well kept?

    Reply
  4. Mike Wurlitzer

    Every few months or so I attempt to use some flavor of Linux but always return home to Windows. Well except for my MegaTree lighting display which runs on a Raspberry Pi.

    I am, IMHO, a good Assembly programmer and use it for ultra high speed applications in a 8 parallel core environment yet I cannot warm up to the Linux stone age command line with a 1000 hoops to jump through to hopefully get an application to run only to find some under age twit forked one or more of the files such that you need Sherlock Holmes to find all the correct versions.

    IMO, computers should work for us and getting a new app up and running via the command line is so, well, MS DOS. And speaking of computers working for us as opposed to us working for them, as an aside, just why does the world need multiple syntax for simple things like = or why is a C compiler so stupid as to need “;” at the end of a line?

    I will still dip my toe into the Linux waters but cannot find a compelling reason to jump in unless Windows 10 becomes the norm. So far anything past Win 7 is IMO garbage.

    Reply
    • John Morris

      I have a Rasperry Pi that I used as a Home Theatre PC for a while (I’ve since replaced it with an Amazon FireTV). Now I use it to mess around with. I have an Intel Atom PC sitting on the floor next to my desk that I occasionally throw a Linux distro I want to try on. I have a home server which ran Debian for years, but I recently switched to FreeNAS, which is a BSD base with a web based UI to manage everything. I have a web hosting company which uses Linux servers and gives limited shell access that I use. And I have dozens of distributions in virtual machines.

      Nevertheless, on my serious computers, I currently use Windows. I have gone primarily Linux in the past with a Windows dual-boot for Windows necessary software and gaming, and that worked. However, Windows was just easier for the day-to-day stuff. Linux gave me too many problems too often. It’s rewarding, and in some ways fun, to solve the challenges Linux presents, but when I sit down and need to work, or after a long day just want to play a game, I expect my computer to do what I want without me needing to think about it. No researching commands, no fixing updates, no wondering why Flash stopped working. Just do. Windows has offered me the best experience in that regard. Linux on the desktop/laptop = hobby.

      As far as the terminal, I largely agree. While the terminal is extremely powerful, and is better in a handful of cases, it’s just so unintuitive. I have a few commands and switches memorized (*cough* sudo apt-get install ___ *cough*), and I use them. But the moment I have to break out the man pages or Google it, the benefit is gone, and I’m a die-hard GUI fan again.

      Assembly!?!?!? Ugh. More power to you man. I learned the basics of PEP/8 in a few college courses, but could never could get into that. I’m an instant gratification kind of person, so I like my high-level languages that let me do a lot with a little. “Real” programmers are probably going to flame me, but I actually like PHP (newer PHP… not old-school PHP). I can focus on the end-result, still write good code if I follow best practices, and avoid getting bogged down in the minutiae. And I can pound out a basic CRUD website from scratch in no time at all. Lately, I’ve been trying to get into Python and like the no-nonsense “just do what you need to do and go home” style.

      My first programming language was C++. Next was C. Then, after more intense C and C++ courses, I jumped to Java. So, I have the opposite problem regarding semi-colons. Why doesn’t that statement end with a semi-colon? Doesn’t all programming involve ending with a semi-colon? OMG! No curly braces? Indentation only? ACK! Python is brutal for a semi-colon/curly brace drone like me! Most of the time I put them in anyway.

      Windows 8 and 10 never gave me too much trouble. I purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro when they came out, and recently sold it and upgraded to a Surface Pro 3. Those both came with Windows 8/8.1, and it’s fantastic for the touch screened tablet/laptop hybrid thing the Surface Pros have going on. On the desktop, 8 is kind of clunky, but the moment you bring touch into the equation, it gets much better. So my first lengthy experience with Windows 8 was positive. I tweaked the default programs a bit since I wasn’t thrilled with some of the Metro/Modern UI apps, and everything was great.

      After a few months of indoctrination with the Surface Pro, I took the plunge and upgraded my desktop. By then, I was versed in the differences, so it wasn’t a shock. It took me two weeks of dislike on the desktop, but I eventually learned to like Windows 8 on the desktop too. I tweaked my workflow and desktop/taskbar setup a bit, and now I’m all good. Yesterday, I threw the Windows 10 Insider Preview on the Surface Pro and I feel it’s a nice middle-ground between 7 and 8. There’s a few things I’m not liking, but I’ll probably get indoctrinated in a week or two and forget all about them. IMO, 10 is what 8 should have been in the first place. Now, 10 suffers from the bad taste 8 left in people’s mouths.

      I understand the Windows 8 hate, even if I never entirely shared it. However, I recommend giving Windows 10 a chance. It’s not as jarring as 8 was. If you pretend Windows 8 never existed for a minute, and just take Windows 10 for what it is, it’s pretty good. But then again, I’m one of the freaks who ended up liking Windows 8 so my judgment is suspect. =P

      Reply
      • JF Bouchard

        Bravo sir,browning99 keeping your cool on topics like this takes brains; experience and fairness.
        As for myself Im sysadmin on microsoft enteerprise gear IIS,Net sharepoint ISA,SQL, dmain services etc.
        and I wouldnt have traded MY IIS for THEIR APACHE.
        Then I experienced boredom and wanted to do some pen testing After all I am the sysadmin whomust keep tose scripts kiddies at bay, Just read a litttle more. I mentioned pen testing rigth\p
        I downloaded Kali Linux 2.0 3 weeks after its launch in january| Blew my mind totally, I still miss some pieces, Im not a born again linux guy. I miss windows sometimes for certains tasks.. I do it in a windows vm! No ne is captive. So have the 2 . As for windows 8,,, who remembers Windows Millenium^ or worst NT 4.0 Service pack 4? so I wouldnt worry aboutwindows 10 for the masses by default, if yu find yourelfin learning mode I love Kali linux, I want Nethunter tshirts, mugs and a kali of doom and Kali NUKE posters on the ceiling of my bedroom;
        I wont talk about OSX. because dont know it and dont care. Maybe when Ill get bored of linux and azure.. who knows|\ NODE,js blew my mind again before Node RED finished the nuking] ;for a .net admin that is a bold statement, I stayed a GUI guy, with PYTHON, Ruby and php7. One should love to live, not shoot hmself with a xterminal but the repository oncept git is pretty amazing.
        bottom line, its like having a mistresss and a wife and they do not bitch, just offering their best to serve you[ Now the question WHOs WHO… Thats the first question , hidden in plain sight and must never beign answered because it misses the WHEN argument. Back to my metasploit GUI Armitage console to kick all asses, I don,t discriminate at that level…
        Have fun.

        Reply
    • Bryant Zheng

      Same with me. When I try to use Linux as my primary OS, I end up installing Windows 10 sooner or later. I run Linux distribution on VMware Workstation Player 12, not as a multi-boot system.

      Reply
    • John Morris

      My recommended starting distribution is Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop environment (http://www.linuxmint.com/). It is one of the simplest distributions to install, works on the most hardware out of the box, has a large community, and has an interface layout similar to Microsoft Windows, so it’s easy to find your way around.

      If Linux Mint isn’t to your liking, my next suggestion would be Xubuntu (http://xubuntu.org/getxubuntu/). It shares the same benefits as Linux Mint, though the interface layout is a little different than other operating systems.

      Reply
        • John Morris

          I have used elementary OS, and it is pretty good, and similarly simple. It’s also based on Ubuntu, so it has good hardware support. For an OS X user, it’s probably one of the best options if a familiar interface is desired.

          It wasn’t quite to my taste when I used it regularly, but that’s purely subjective and opinion based. I also disliked the default web browser, Midori, but you may not, and if you do, installing a different browser is straightforward.

          Give it a shot, and if you end up not liking it, you can always try another distribution. If you are worried, or unsure about a distribution, you can try using a virtual machine. VirtualBox is free and works on OS X, Windows, and Linux computers. I currently have an elementary OS virtual machine (screenshot) along with several other distributions. It’s how I test distributions before committing to them.

          Reply