Linux, though still only well known to technical people, is gaining steam at an incredible rate. Day after day, more and more, large companies have taken notice and have started to use Linux. From Valve to Google, the Linux platform is a force to be reckoned with. Despite this, average consumers have a warped understanding of Linux. They see it as an operating system for “hackers”. They view it as overly complex, and as a result they don’t give it a shot. It isn’t 1995 anymore, and in some cases, users can install Ubuntu Linux faster and easier than Windows 10. That’s why in this article, we’ll rehabilitate Linux, and give many reasons as to why you should switch to Linux.
1. Free software
One of the easiest sells for the Linux platform is the fact that programs are free to download and use. When a user installs Ubuntu Linux, or Fedora Workstation, or any of the many other Linux operating systems out there, they can rest assured that there is no need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on software.
Best of all, developers aren’t made to distribute programs free of charge. They choose to. A lot of the developers that have made their home in the open source community understand the value of free and open source software, and want to provide free tools for anyone to use.
2. Open Source
If you’ve ever thought “I really hate how this program works, I wish I could change it”, you may want to listen up. The core of Linux is built upon the idea that software should be free as in “free speech”. This means that anyone can freely modify, distribute and tinker with all of the code shipped on their favorite Linux distribution.
On other operating systems, users can find free, open source software in rare cases. On the Linux platform, everywhere you look the software is open.
3. More security
Using Linux has a lot of benefits, especially when it comes to security. It’s a lot harder to find scary trojan viruses, sneaky malware and unwanted adware. This is not to say that Linux doesn’t get viruses (it does). However, the platform is a much smaller attack surface, and as a result hackers, scammers and the like are less interested.
Still, “security by obscurity” is not the only way Linux manages to stay secure. Many other Linux distributions secure themselves by configuring the powerful Linux firewall, disabling the root password, and forcing the user to enter a password each and every single time software is installed, or any changes are made to the system. This results in a much safer operating system than something like Windows which allows anyone to modify the system with little resistance.
4. Something For Everyone
Opponents of Linux often complain about the fact that Linux is “fragmented”. They say that there are too many operating systems, too many packaging formats, and too much unfocused noise to take it seriously. An argument can be made that fragmentation is bad, as it creates an image that the Linux operating system is a collection of junk, rather than one cohesive thing.
With that being said, choice is a great thing! Take smartphones for example: Apple makes one iPhone. It’s a great piece of hardware, but at the end of the day it’s just one phone. Compare that to Android; many manufacturers take it and put their own spin on it. As a result, consumers win! There’s a smartphone for everyone. Consumers have the freedom to choose!
Linux is a lot like the Android philosophy. Pick a Linux operating system that speaks to you and does what you need. There are thousands of different types of Linux-like operating systems out there to try. If you’re unhappy with one, there are a dozen more to choose from!
5. Support For Life
When Microsoft makes a version of Windows, the user can expect decent support for a few years, at best. With Linux operating systems, users can expect great support and reliability for years to come. Obviously each Linux distribution varies, but more often than not users will find themselves receiving free operating system updates for free, forever.
There’s no new Cortana to sell, no fancy new Macbook to throw at you. Instead, Linux operating system developers work hard to create a great operating system and provide updates and technical support for as long as they are physically able. And when all else fails, there’s a community of people out there to provide even more support!
6. Protect Your Privacy
In the age of Edward Snowden, people are talking about data privacy more than ever. This has users asking themselves “who can I trust with my personal data?” Privacy is very important on the Linux platform. Unlike the big operating systems (Google, Microsoft etc), Linux distribution developers have no financial benefit to sell out your privacy.
In fact, a lot of Linux distributions work very hard to make sure that their operating system is secure, and protect your information from bad actors. Additionally, Linux developers are often hobbyists, specialists, and dorks, not members of giant corporations looking for a new way to make money. They don’t have any interest in placing backdoors in their products.
Have you ever wanted to change the icons on your Mac or Windows desktop? Well, barring some seriously shady system modifications, you can’t. Worst of all, the makers of those operating systems would rather you not tinker with the way everything looks. They have a set vision for you, and you’re just going to have to deal with it.
On Linux, users have the freedom to customize everything, down to the code itself. Users can change how the icons look, the way the graphical interface appears on screen, and even the wallpaper to the login manager. Anything and everything is changeable, and there are no limits. If you’re someone who hates not having the ability to change the way your operating system looks, this is yet another reason to consider switching to Linux.
There are some real reasons to switch to Linux. It’s a solid operating system that has grown a lot over the years. If you’ve been reading too much mainstream technology press, the idea that someone should switch to Linux may seem crazy. Taboo even.
If you’re looking for something technologically different, and free of the shackles of corporate technology giants, give Linux a shot. It might be just what you’re looking for.