My Dearest Mad-Readers,
I was recently asked a question which all of us should always be capable of answering, as Linux users and opensource advocates: Why should you even bother installing Linux in the first place? What does Linux have which Mac OS and Windows 10 do not offer? Let us find an answer together.
If you come from a Windows environment like I did, there is certainly one thing which upsets you. Over time, your computer gets slower and slower, updates take more and more space on your hard-disk and, the icing on the cake, there does not come a day when your computer does not become slower and slower… Well, if this is your case, your have rung the right door! It is time to back up your personal data on an external hard-disk and install Linux. Then you can forget Windows sluggishness and its updates which usually come bothering you when you are in the middle of a crisis. If you wish to revive an old computer, you could install Linux too. It is very lightweight and will never betray you. Once installed, you can update the system whenever you want and it never takes too long. I must also have forgotten to mention that it boots up too quickly for you to even begin brewing your coffee…
It Is Free & Opensource.
Are you not worried about your privacy? Are you not tired of big companies collecting your data to always better influence your behavior? Are you not fed up of being the product of consumerism instead of a responsible individual respected for who they truly are?
You should be!
This is probably why people would switch away from Mac OS. You cannot trust Apple, like you cannot trust Microsoft. To me, a Mac is nothing more than a big deuce, except that it is nicely covered in chocolate, so that you do not realize what you are buying. It looks amazing from the outside but if you look under the cover of you-know-what-I-mean, then you will soon realize that it stinks and you should never have purchased that unreliable capitalist sack of spyware.
It certainly is the same reason which would make you doubt Zoom, Skype, Hangouts and any other proprietary piece of messaging software: Privacy. You see, there is no Microsoft behind Linux to collect your data. With Linux and the opensource movement, you do not need to trust anyone, because there is no one entity behind it.
What is opensource?
Glad you asked! It literally means:”whose sources are open”. In other words, you can access and read the code of your favorite programs online. If you fancy verifying whether or not there is something fishy in the code, you are welcome to do so.
You can find an opensource equivalent for all the proprietary software which you are currently utilizing on Windows 10 or Mac OS.
Let me list down a few opensource programs so that you get my point:
- Google Chrome -> Firefox, Brave, Iridium, Falkon, too many others…
- Google Drive -> Own Cloud / New Cloud, an external hard-disk
- Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype -> Jami, Tox
- Gmail -> Anything else would be better.
- Google Docs -> LibreOffice Suite + E-mail.
- Microsoft Word -> LibreOffice Writer, LaTeX
- Amazon Web Services -> Linode
- Adobe Photoshop -> Gimp
- Mac OS shiny desktop -> KDE Plasma, Deepin, etc…
- Windows and Mac shiny login manager -> Light DM
Linux Is Difficult: Such A Meme!
Linux is only difficult because the ones who introduced it to you showed you the most complicated things they knew to blow you away. This is their fault if you have not made the switch yet. Okay, okay! I confess… I am guilty of doing it too… But I am doing my best to change!
Alright, let us be clear: Linux is only as difficult as you make it. If you install Linux Mint, Ubuntu or even Manjaro, it is literally easier to maintain than a Windows system. Literally. It certainly was much less accessible ten or even fifteen years ago, but it has changed A LOT. Most normies would not see a difference between Linux, Mac and Windows if someone installed it behind their backs. You would be surprised to see how some distributions of Linux look like Windows and how much you can customize your desktop and make it look like Mac OS.
Anyway, since people nowadays only know how to use a web browser and open Microsoft Word, it should not require too much effort. Old Firefox is still the same and LibreOffice looks just like Word. I said Firefox, by the way, not Google Chrome. You read that correctly. If you switch away from proprietary software, you should do it completely.
A World Of Customization & Distributions…
Linux is so much more customizable! Even if you only stick to modifying your desktop, you almost have an infinite number of possibilities.
There is one thing which thing which new Linux users must understand: On Linux, there is one program for every small task and it fulfills its mission efficiently, instead of one huge program which does everything. To manage your login screen, you have a login manager, for instance. To manage your desktop, you have a desktop manager. To manage your windows, you have a window manager. To manage your… Well, you get the idea!
What truly is wonderful when you jump down the rabbit hole (alert: recycling an old metaphor), it is that Linux is distributed in a myriad of different versions, which one calls distributions, because anyone can distribute Linux. A distribution is merely a version of Linux (configured in a certain way) with a community and a philosophy. Another fact which certainly is just as wonderful is that there are probably as many desktop and login managers as there are distributions and… there are hundreds of them. Do you still feel limited?
It may be a tad more advanced (but really only just a tiny little bit), but I would also like to say that everything is a file in a Linux system. This means that you only need write a few lines in a file to configure a program. Nonetheless, if writing in a file scares the devil out of you, you still are free to use a Graphical User Interface (aka GUI) which sucks up all your RAM just like on Windows. I told you:
Everything is up to you on Linux!
It Has An Active Community.
This make it so much easier to get help. Whether it is from the community of your own distribution, Ubuntu forums, the Arch wiki, Gentoo’s wiki… You can also read the documentation of your distribution, ask a question on slack-exchange, join a discord server, read the man-pages with the “man” command in your terminal, join a mail list, etc. There are so many ways to find the solution to one of your issues that even I cannot list them all. Simply put, you will never have to call Apple customer service again when you get a virus on your machine because… Well, first off, because you will not get viruses. Seriously, you do not even need an antivirus running as a background task and stealing your data because it is not profitable enough to target Linux users for hackers. They are too few…
It Is More Secure.
As I was just saying, you will not be the main target of hackers anymore. There are too many distributions out there to target everybody, and I would be surprised if you really needed an antivirus on Linux. You can find opensource ones, obviously, but I do not believe it necessary as long as you remain careful. In over 5 years, I have never had a virus on my machine, whether it be with Linux Mint, Manjaro, Arch, or Gentoo.
It Is Much Easier To Manage Software
Speaking of security, this one point actually makes your Linux system more secure too. Let us compare the behaviors of our two different (yet so similar) species:
- When the Windows user wishes to install a new vir… I mean a new program, they open their web browser, Google it up, and then download it from the official website of said program. Only for the geeky ones though, because installing programs on Windows actually is rather tricky (to say the least).
- When the Linux user wants to install software, they simply open the bloated python program which handles their package manager and then they install the required packages (or programs). There only is two or three buttons to click on, at most, and then you are done. Without forgetting that you need to enter your password. Then, everything is automatic. Same to update your system. Same for entirely removing a program. It not only is a piece of cake but it is much more secure since all packages are verified by an active community of opensource enthusiasts.
Respectfully dabbing on Windows and Mac users.
This one is worth it. Just for this one I can never go away from Linux. Of course, always be respectful. Do not be like these pubescent teens who think they have understood the meaning of life because they installed Arch Linux for the first time and feel like posting their rice of KDE Plasma on Unix-porn makes them look smart. It does not. It only hurts a community of passionate people. On Linux, everyone is equal, whether you prefer Gentoo or Kubuntu.
Never Stop Learning!
When you are done bragging about using Ubuntu with a graphical installer, perhaps you will consider returning to your leaning path. Windows is all about being comfortable, just like Mac OS. Everything magically happens behind your back, most of the time without asking your preferences.
Comfort is the enemy of success!
Do not look for comfort in your life. Comfort does not rhyme with happiness. It is not synonym with new experiences either. It rather means the end of curiosity and of your learning path. Strive to be curious and you can never go wrong. If you choose Linux, it will be a great ally to learn more about computers, operating-systems, and everything which you may imagine that could be even slightly related to modern technology. It is crucial that you all know more about IT.
It is crucial that you all educate yourself, because big companies are making billions out of your ignorance!
A More Efficient Workflow.
As a developer, you can only love Linux for the workflow you can have with it. Everything being configurable, you can create the workflow which is right for you. Automation, scripting, optimizing performance, window managers… All of this is only the tip of the iceberg.
If you are not a developer, this certainly does not mean that you should not switch to Linux. All the reasons I mentioned earlier still are valid, and I am absolutely certain that you will be able to work more efficiently with a Linux system in most cases.
Countless other wonders await down the road you if you should choose to change and embrace a new way of using your computer. A more honest way in which you will neither be a sheep stupidly following the herd, nor a product in the eye of the company controlling your system.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post! If you liked it, feel free to let me know via email, by subscribing, liking, and/or commenting. You may also check out some more of my work. I also have a Patreon page, a YouTube channel, if you wish to support me there, and a GoodReads account.
P.S: By the way, it is called GNU/Linux.