Monday, September 21, 2020

Why use Linux

Linux runs the cloud, the Internet and super-computers. Learn why you should run it too.
Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash

Linux runs the cloud, the Internet and supercomputers. Turns out that Linux could be a very solid choice for your computer as well regardless of how old it is and learn how Linux is a good fit for anyone, regardless of their technical skills.

Linux is free

Linux is free. And this is a very important reason to use Linux. As poverty in the world grows and more and more people use digital devices in emerging markets, it's important to keep prices low so these folks can also have access to newer technologies. Prices are very high for Windows and impeditive for Mac for half the world. Being free allows Linux to reach those markets saving you and/or your company a lot of money throughout the years.

Linux is more secure

Linux is way more secure than Macs and Windows. That's mainly due to:
  • open-source code: due to its open nature, researches and hackers frequently inspect and crack the code. When issues are found, they're reported and fixed by community.
  • open collaboration: open-source code also fosters open collaborations. Developers from all over the world will frequently push fixes to the software you use making it better and more secure.
  • enterprise-grade software: tools like SELinux and AppArmor that protect and run on mission critical environments run on your machine too.
  • a different permission model: Linux users run on a low permission level making it very improbable that even if you're hit by a virus, you would infect the machine.
  • frequent updates: your system will always be updated getting the latest security, software and kernel fixes. These are usually the holes crackers explore to target you.
  • less viruses: yes, Linux has viruses but on an infinite smaller proportion than Windows users get. Linux also has anti-viruses if you need too.
  • curated repositories: the easiest way to install software on your Linux is by using its own repositories. These repositories are curated and are less prone to have viruses.

Linux will feel familiar

Linux will feel familiar for Windows and Mac users. Most distributions will either use GNOME and KDE, the most popular desktop environments that will contain applications for everything that you expect: file managers, contacts, calendars, email, communication tools, etc. For example, GNOME, the standard for most distributions looks like this:
While KDE looks like this:

You'll continue using the tools you love

Linux also supports your favorite browsers such as Google Chrome, Brave and Firefox and runs your cloud services such as Netflix and Spotify without issues. Visual Studio Code, Slack? You'll find on Linux. Even Microsoft releases tools for Linux these days.
Source: Slack Downloads

From super-computers to your machine

You won't lose a thing by using Linux, to the contrary. Linux is the most powerful system for your computer on the market. Linux runs the cloud, the Internet and super-computers. For some time already all of the world's super-computers run Linux, not only because Linux is better (and it is!) but because the engineers can configure the system as they wish as they have access to the code. Why wouldn't it run on your computer?

Linux is reliable

Linux rarely (really, rarely!) crashes. Linux is also way more stable than Windows and Mac. Even the tools you use on those systems are more stable on Linux.
Remember this? You'll probably not miss those days

Good for old hardware

Linux is also excellent for old hardware as it can be configured with lighter tools that utilize less resources. Most distributions (such as Fedora LXDE shown below) release alternative lightweight versions so you'll just need a simple install to get these systems optimized for lower-end hardware.

Reliable updates

We've seen a lot of mistakes recently made by either Microsoft and Apple with their Windows and Mac operating systems. Updates on Linux are not only reliable but are more frequent than anything you'd get on those systems. Your system's usually updated once or twice a week, every 6 months for a minor release and every 2 years for long-term supported releases.

Linux is not complicated

Despite what you saw elsewhere, setting up a Linux system at home is no longer a complex thing to do. Gone are the days you had to specifically configure your disk, manage partitions, know networking details or which kernel module you had to load to make your WIFI card work. Today, it simply works and most of the tools you'll need are four clicks away.

Linux is not difficult to install

Another misconception is that Linux is difficult to install. Today tools such as the below guide you trough a visual installation process making everything simpler:

Linux is beautiful

Linux is beautiful. As we saw, the main distributions today come with GNOME and KDE, full-featured desktop environments that allow you configure everything. But, in case you want to go the extra mile, you'll also encounter communities on the internet dedicated to even more customization.
Source: Pinterest

Installing software is simple

Installing software on Linux is simple. Every Linux distribution provides a tool to manage software with lots (literally, thousands) of apps. On GNOME, the Software tool looks like this:
Source: Gnome.org

A huge community to help

Linux users are spread around communities over the internet. Being on Reddit or on forums of your specific distribution, you'll end up find a lot of help on the internet.

Excellent Documentation

You'll realize that the tools you'll use have a lot of documentation. Plus, there are hundreds of sites you'll be able to use as a reference for your questions. No access to the internet? Linux ships with the man tool providing you fantastic documentation. Just run man <cmd> to view documentation for the software you need:

Linux is customizable

Another big advantage of Linux is that it's customizable. I'm not talking about the wallpaper or desktop theme. I'm talking everything. Here's some of the things you can change or customize:
  • Desktop Managers: don't like GNOME or KDE? There's XFCE, LXQT, LXDE, etc for you.
  • Login Managers: how you login to your system.
  • Desktop themes: configure themes, colors, etc.
  • Fonts: customize your fonts, sizes, etc.
  • Shell: shell is the application that runs on your terminal and also can be changed or customized.
  • Systems and Services: your system will have an endless list of services to choose from.
  • Kernel: even the kernel, the main process of your system can be customized.

Curated repositories

Linux users are used to having repositories curated by the community and available for them. That means no viruses, adware, unsafe or untrusted software.

Games

Linux run games too! Emulators, custom games and thousands of games are also available on Steam for Linux. PCGamer recently did an in-depth review and they also concluded that's surprisingly easy to switch a gaming PC to Linux today. Not only is Linux easier than ever to use, but it's totally viable for gaming in 2020."

Office Tools

There are many alternatives to Microsoft's Office suite on Linux including LibreOffice, OpenOffice, WPS and Calligra Suite. You'll probably not miss Word and Excel.
Source: linuxuprising.com

Frequent Updates

If you're using a major distribution such as Ubuntu, Fedora, etc, you'll probably get smaller updates everyday or so, minor releases every 6 months and major releases every 2 years. Your system will be constantly updated. For reference, the upgrade cadence for Windows and Macs average 4 years.

Awesome Terminal

You can do pretty much everything from the terminal: browse the web, manage your files, listen to the radio, send a tweet, read Reddit, watch YouTube. You can also use tools such as tmux and multitask on the terminal.
On the left man git, on the right: vim on top and htop on bottom

Linux is everywhere

If you accessed this page, you probably used hundreds of services, tools and systems running Linux. routers, switches, firewalls, servers, clouds, web servers, the internet runs on Linux. Running Linux at home means that you'll won't have many issues running the latest tools.

Your TV, smartphone, watches, Teslas, IoT devices (fridge, microwave), Raspberry Pis, nuclear plants and everything runs on Linux. And the trend is that going forward, more companies will use it into their products.

Changed the world? Was probably made on Linux

No matter which technology you use, it probably was developed on Linux. Clouds, web servers, databases, containers, firewalls, VPNs, databases. Most of the tools that changed the world incubated on the GNU/Linux operating system. Want to use reliable and cutting-edge technology? Run Linux.

Huge growth

The Linux marketshare just keeps growing. Today the cloud runs Linux. Learning Linux will get you in touch with the technologies that the world's using. Today, it's estimated that the number of developers running Linux is equal or bigger than MacOS users at 25%.

Linux is fantastic for development

There's a big difference between a developer who knows their tools and a developer who not only knows their tools but how they work. Using Linux will expose you to a vast resource of technical information making you know how things work behind the scenes. Plus, the more confident you get with the terminal, the less you'll rely on heavier tools such as IDEs making you a much better and more valuable developer.

Plus, developers love Linux! According to StackOverflow, Linux is the most loved technology by developers:
We'll address more how developers can benefit from using Linux in a future post.

You will learn how technology works

Due to the vast documentation available and due to the open-source nature of the tools you'll use, you have access to an outstanding amount of technical information on how everything works. That will help you not only learn more about your tools but also to learn how your computer works.

Perfect for hardware-lovers

Into IoT, Rasperry Pi, Arduino? Using this tools will teach you a lot about Linux itself but also about how your devices function and how they interact with your system. You'll also have access to a powerful documentation about how to setup and configure your devices.

Perfect for network engineers

If you want, learning networking on Linux is fun and a rewarding experience. As previously said, Linux runs the Internet today and its robust and reliable networking capabilities are to be given credit for allowing you to watch Netflix, YouTube or even FaceTiming Zooming with your friends. Want to work with networks? Use Linux.

Conclusion

On this post we discussed why use Linux and how you too could benefit from using it today. We hope you learned something today and are excited to try Linux.

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