I have a Windows computer but I use my Linux laptop for most work and prefer it over Windows. I describe myself as a ‘normal ++’ user, not a power user. This post is for those of you who are thinking about Linux.
Why use Linux?
- Linux is faster than Windows. Linux distributions are bloat less (with some exceptions).
2. Linux is more efficient. Do you have an old laptop you’d like to rehabilitate? Install a Linux distribution on it and you’ll be amazed at how fast and useful the laptop becomes. Windows eats computer resources.
3. Linux is free. All major Linux distributions are free, although some have premium versions that provide support and other niceties. But almost all non-enterprise users install a free distribution.
4. Linux is powerful. It’s filled with an insane amount of shortcuts and power tools.
5. If you are thinking about going into IT as a career, then Linux is the best platform–by far.
6. Linus is completely customizable. Want to turn your desktop into a Windows or Mac lookalike? Or do you prefer a completely unique kit-out? Not a problem.
7. Linux runs the world. The vast majority of servers and cloud-based services run on Linux. Some important tools such as container technology are designed to run on Linux.
Why not Linux?
For me, there are only two reasons to pass on Linux:
- As mentioned, Linux is powerful. With power comes complexity. Linux providers have worked hard to make versions suitable for casual users, but even the most user-friendly versions still have a learning curve.
2. Some popular programs don’t run on Linux. This was a headache several years ago but today most programs run on Linux or there are compatible applications with the same features. There are still exceptions. Adobe products, for example, do not run on Linux. There are (free) professional-level substitutes for Photoshop and Illustrator. Some AAA games don’t run on Linux but Steam is working hard to correct that.
Finding the right distribution can be challenging for newcomers. Linux is available in different versions–called distributions, distros for short–from numerous providers. Each distributor tries to include unique features that make their distribution stand out from the crowd. Some distributions are intended for the newest newcomer, while others are designed for seasoned programmers.
My advice is to review the information on Distro Watch and then try one by downloading it. Instructions for downloading and installing Linux can be found there.
Most authors suggest newcomers start with Ubuntu. It was the first distribution I used and after trying many, many others, it’s the one I use today. Actually, I use Ubuntu Studio which comes with the most popular audio, animation, and graphic tools installed.