11 Reasons You Should Learn to Use Linux

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What makes Linux so great? Here are the eleven things that make Linux an important tool for serious computer users.

1. It’s Used on Nearly Every Server

Why You Should Use Linux Http Server Market Share

Linux is the standard for servers. There’s no way around it. Linux has long been the most popular HTTP server software, and it’s built firmly on top of the Linux kernel. Enterprise users might lean towards Windows for compatibility with Windows’s workstations, but server admins broadly work in Linux. If you want to understand and work with servers, you need to understand Linux.

2. It’s Standard for Development Environments

Developers also like Linux and not just because it’s popular with HTTP servers. Part of this comes to use by tradition: early computer programmers used Unix-based systems. Of course, it was one of the few operating systems available at the time, and it was hugely popular in academia. Today, modern developers do the same. But it’s also largely more effective for programming, thanks in part to the powerful shell and “everything is a file” philosophy of Unix-based systems.

3. Powerful Native Terminal and Shell

Why You Should Use Linux Terminal

Much like other Unix-based operating systems like macOS, all Linux distributions boast a powerful shell. Often called Terminal, this text-only interface for your machine’s guts is the closest you can get to hacking the mainframe without Keanu Reeves dodging bullets. It’s the window to your computer’s soul, in a way, and the most powerful tool on most Linux distros.

4. Empowers Users to Solve Problems

On Linux, the user can solve their own problems. This can also be a downside since it often means the user must solve their own problems. As an educational tool, however, nothing is better than solving a real problem for yourself. That’s how most of us learned to program, and it’s how you can learn better system administration as well.

5. Doesn’t Limit User’s Access to Critical Systems

Why You Should Use Linux Limit User

As computers have become more widespread, they’ve become more limited. Each year, major operating systems restrict the user in the name of security. Sadly, they’re most often right: only a small percentage of users know enough to run their system responsibly, so it makes sense to lock out average users to prevent accidental damage or preventable errors. But if you’re one of the few who are wise in the ways of tech, then Linux will give you more freedom than you’ve ever desired. You can break anything you want, and fix it too, so long as you’re smart enough.

6. Higher Stability than Other Systems

When you need to run a reliable mission-critical system, like an air traffic control computer, you build it simple and modular. A problem in one system shouldn’t affect another. Linux is built on exactly this philosophy, with a strong kernel with the flexibility of Unix and widely-tested packages to support it.

7. It’s Open Source and Free

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The cost of your operating system may not be something you put much thought into. Windows might cost around $100 for a personal license, but considering how rarely you purchase operating systems, it’s hardly an unbearable burden. But open source means more secure, and free means widely used. Both are great attributes for an operating system to have.

8. It’s More Secure

Security is a major part of the Linux working environment. Because the system is built by an open-source community, an untold number of eyes are constantly examining the system for security issues. With Linux’s dominance in the server space, that security is also crucial for the security of the Web. As such, the secure development of Linux is of major importance to the modern world of tech, as most web technology stands on the shoulders of reliable and secure servers. It’s not perfectly secure, of course – nothing is – but it’s generally more secure than the alternative.

9. It’s More Flexible than Anything Else

Why You Should Use Linux Backslash Linux Anna

Linux can be built into almost anything you want. Outside of the basic kernel, you can essentially build an à la carte operating system by adding packages to create your own distribution. If you’re willing to take the time to build it, you can create just about anything you want, from a bulletproof server to the most beautiful workstation you’ve ever seen.

10. No One Is Watching You, Unless You Want Them To

The degree of “telemetry” – a euphemism for financially-motivated spying on your user base – in modern operating systems can be disquieting. Linux contains none of that unless you install it. And considering the size of the Linux user base, very few profit-motivated entities bother to build tracking applications for Linux. Outside of your standardized browser environment, there are no system-level tracking tools installed by default. You can’t say the same about Windows or macOS.

11. You Can Brag to People on the Internet

And isn’t that really the point of it all?

Image credit: KumarPriyansh, Emperor’s four penguins on sea wave background by DepositPhotos

6 comments

  1. “2. It’s Standard for Development Environments”

    Most people aren’t programmers. I’m not.

    “3. Powerful Native Terminal and Shell”

    Windows has PowerShell and the new “Windows Terminal”.

    “4. Empowers Users to Solve Problems”

    This sounds great until you actually get a mission critical problem and you have to wade through dozens of forums, wikis, articles, and videos to find a solution. I had an Acer netbook with an obscure graphics hardware, and no distro had a working support for it. No amount of google ninja could help me, and the only way to fix it was to code my own driver, which I was not willing to do (I have a life). My solution: install Windows back again.

    “6. Higher Stability than Other Systems”

    Userland is a mess. Many apps break. Video editors suddenly die for no reason. Audio can suddenly crap out. And many games (running through a compatibility layer to be frank) will flat out sputter when played.

    And some systems are inherently less stable than others. Ubuntu LTS is way more stable than the non-LTS releases. Arch breaks a bit too much. Fedora too. Even Manjaro fails from time to time.

    And even if the distro is stable, they could fail you by just dying, like Antergos.

    “10. No One Is Watching You, Unless You Want Them To”

    Or if you naively thought that your distro is trustworthy. Ubuntu had telemetry, as does Deepin, Zorin, etc. And most of these aren’t disclosed until very recently.

    I am posting this from my Manjaro PC. I like Linux and I do encourage people to try it, but it’s not all been a positive and pleasant experience for me. I cut my teeth on Microsoft since the days of DOS and I find Windows 10 as mostly stable, which is why I still use it most of the time and relegate Linux to my older hardware. Security is the main concern for Windows, but I find safe hex to be the best way to mitigate problems. I haven’t had a virus in any of my Windows PCs since WindowsXP more than 12 years ago.

    1. The biggest reason I left Windows was the registry. It sucks. I did not find the change all that challenging, but I am just an average user. Certainly not a power user or someone that needs to worry about productivity, I can barely type. Web browsing, e-mail, word processing, and some image and music manipulation, pretty defines my computer usage.

  2. The last Unix-type installation I did was 1986 and I would have stuck with it other than the movement of the marketplace to DOS/Windows.

    Concurrent DOS 386 (Digital Research) was the next product I thot would stay – great product, very stable, run 8 concurrent sessions without much trouble (those were the days when hardware failed rather than the OS).

    Windows is a disgusting mess of crap that is NOT geared to productivity.

    Haven’t moved to Linux because of portability of applications. This article was helpful, but would have been much better if it were geared toward the less technical person and addressed applications, transfer and portability.

    The security issue needs better explanation.

    Tim Deaton
    BSME, MSIA, DDC

  3. I consider what Apple is doing a great dishonor. I don’t accept any useless bureaucrat deciding when my machine should “die” to increase Apple’s profits. I understand that the upgrades of MacOS are not ONLY for our safety, but for the safety of the profits also, otherwise, why stop the support of eight years old machines?

    It is ten years that we have “entered” into an economic crisis and, while the whole planet is suffering, Apple is increasing its profits. No, I don’t argue that it should “sink”, but it can stop putting the noose around our necks under the guise of safety.

    On the other hand there is Linux. Small, flexible, safe and, above all, honest. It incorporates the logic that: a machine to be safe must first work, and that is what it does. It sets in motion what the “holy Apple” considers useless. Second of all, it makes it quick and safe as it’s never been, not even as good as new.

    The android operating system is another variation of Linux. Linux can be so adorned, as the user wants to make it and, most importantly, can have it on whichever machine the user wants regardless of how modern or old it is. An operating system that incorporates all developments and remains modern, while ignoring the NASDAQ index and the years to come.

    1. It’s not only Apple. All manufacturers providing products to consumers guarantee themselves continued profits by making useless and pointless changes just so they can market a “new and improved” version.

      More and more Linux distro developers are dropping 32 bit versions condemning a lot of still very useful computers to the scrap pile. Ubuntu recently announced that they will no longer provide software in .DEB format, only in SNAPS format.

  4. 12. Linux is faster.
    13. Linux updates/upgrades within at most a couple of minutes; windows upgrades require days.
    14. Linux offers so many desktop environments to choose, while Windows offers only one.
    15. Docker works better and faster in Linux.

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