As Windows 10 started to show a new face with a number of policy decisions that Microsoft made regarding its product, there’s been an observable upsurge in the number of people switching to Linux. This isn’t surprising as Linux has always been the perfect tool for privacy. If you are still on the fence, here are eight reasons why you should make the switch from Windows to Linux.
1. Linux is Free!
Yes, Linux comes at the glorious prices of precisely $0.00. To make it even better, you can use it on any devices and repurpose it to anything you want.
While Windows and most of its proprietary software can cost you an arm and a leg to acquire the licenses, you can forego paying for any of that by using the alternatives available in Linux. There are tons of open source and free software for Linux, and even those premium software are pretty affordable too.
At the same time, this comes with the caveat that the likes of Adobe Photoshop is more feature rich and offers more professional support than GIMP. If you can live without the extras that come in many of these applications, you will have a fully working Linux desktop with a full suite of all the software you need without having to shell out anything.
2. You Can Run It without Installing
If you’re unconvinced about Linux being the best choice for you, you can test it out without having to install it on your hard drive.
This is known as running a “live” distribution. You pop in your USB stick to boot up your choice of Linux distribution, your computer loads its core components into RAM, and when that’s done, you’re greeted by a screen welcoming you in just like that!
Running Linux through a live environment allows you to have a poke at it without any risks, getting a feel for what it’s like while making none of the sacrifices of a full installation. This way, you’re more capable of making an informed decision on what kind of flavor you’d like or whether you’d even like to stick with it after making the switch from Windows to Linux.
If you’re truly having a crisis of choice and just starting to dip your toes into the pool, I’d recommend either Ubuntu, Mint, or a much more transitional distribution like Solus. It’ll only take you an hour or so to create a live USB and try all three and make up your mind.
3. Breathe New Life into Old Computers
Windows 11 has a stringent hardware requirement and will only work with modern hardware. Linux gives you a chance to make use of your old computers and give them a new breadth of life.
Distributions like Lubuntu, antiX, puppy Linux, BunsenLabs, or even TinyCore (for the more adventurous types) offer the full Linux experience in a compact and resource-friendly package. Don’t expect them to be as pretty as the higher-end stuff, but they will turn your older equipment into something useful again.
4. Linux is Secure
Whereas you often have to install anti-virus software with subscription fees on Windows, Linux asks, “Anti-what?”
Although it could be argued that hackers don’t bother to write viruses for Linux because of its small reach, there are other things preventing malware from accessing core parts of your system. For example, those password prompts that you’re constantly barraged with whenever you try to do something that requires root privileges will also appear when another program running on your system requires them.
5. You are in Total Control of the OS
Toward the end of 2020, Microsoft decided to make an unprecedented move for Windows 10, removing any possibility of consent from its users for the process of applying an update that would retire build 1903. It wasn’t necessarily the straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of people, but this event renewed conversations about prior anti-consumer practices and concerns about privacy that have been going on for over 20 years.
When you use Linux, you’re in control of what happens to you. If you find a distribution that does something you consider unsettling, there are at least three more out there ready to welcome you into their fold. In this ecosystem, the competitive pressure has historically been toward actions that offer you the most in-control experience possible.
6. You can Customize Everything!
If you like the distribution you have, you’ve familiarized yourself enough that you’re comfortable poking through it, but you really hate the scenery you’re greeted with whenever you boot up the PC, Linux has a solution for that.
The operating system consists of multiple key components that can be torn away and swapped out for others. If you want a new desktop environment that provides completely new graphics and effects to your liking, you only need to install it and get it running.
7. You Don’t Have to Deal with the Terminal
Just like Windows doesn’t force you to use its command line, many popular Linux distributions also don’t require a working knowledge of their terminals.
If you want to install an app, you can just go to the developer’s website, download the installer, and double-click your way into it.
Some Linux distributions will have their own “app stores” that contain a repository of software that’s curated for your use in case you want something centralized, like Google Play or the Apple App Store. In Ubuntu, it’s called the Software Center, and in Linux Mint it’s called the Software Manager.
In general, if you want to find your app store, just search for “Software” in the Applications menu and you should see some kind of repository you can click into and find all of your favorite apps.
8. Gaming Is Easier than Ever Now!
Linux can run the majority of games now thanks to the Proton project by Steam.
According to Proton’s own statistics, 78 percent of the top 100 games on Steam function at a satisfactory level or greater when run on Linux using the right software. Getting some of the more argumentative games to work is also not impossible thanks to utilities like protontricks.
I’m not going to lie and say it’s always going to be easy, but it is possible to have a Linux gaming rig with most of the games you know and love running perfectly fine on it. However, you may have to drop one or two of them from your repertoire. Look at what people say about how each of your games run on Linux, and if after all of that you feel you can make the switch from Windows, don’t hesitate!
There’s no doubt that Windows is still, and will continue to be king when it comes to the home and small business markets. However, that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. If you are concerned about your privacy and want a secure operating system, Linux is the perfect tool for you. The question isn’t, “Why should you switch from Windows to Linux?” Rather, it should be, “Why didn’t you do it yesterday?“
If you’re still unsure, read the answers to commonly asked questions from Windows users looking to switch to Linux. If you prefer to dual-boot, find out how to fix the two OS showing different times.