This post is for anyone who has ever asked or heard this question: why try Linux? I’m not really going to get into which is better or worse between the two. Neither will I explain what Linux is, I’ll just assume someone reading this post already has an idea even if they haven’t actually seen Linux used in real life. I hope this post can answer why a mildly-interested casual observer might want to give the wonderful world of open-source operating systems a try. tl;dr: go for it, you’ll have fun if you enjoy computing.
Just to be clear, most of the posts around here are coming from someone using Windows 10 as a host operating system and using virtual machine software to run Linux. I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember and Windows 10 just happens to be good for gaming. I’m open to other (free) solutions, but Microsoft keeps throwing out free software deals and I think it would be a wasted opportunity not to take advantage of them. Which leads me to my next point: the greatest things in life are free.
Free software is the best. There’s nothing like keeping up with your buddies with a completely free word-processor or spreadsheet editor. Finding cool software is one of the fun things to do with Linux and most popular distributions such as Ubuntu or Opensuse come with an application to search for and download software; which reminds me a lot of the Google Play Store, if you are familiar with that from the Android platform.
So if you’re not getting free software from Microsoft or if you didn’t partake in the free Windows 10 update, Linux is a viable free alternative to breathe life into an old machine or even a new one.
For my own needs, Windows is mostly sufficient. However, I’ve heard nothing but good things about web development and programming on Linux and I’m curious to try some of the distributions aimed at graphic arts. We’ll see how that goes. I know the security can’t be beat and learning to use the command line feels like learning to drive an automatic. Like anything else with computing; there is a learning curve, but you’ll enjoy yourself once you get over it.
Another of the greatest reasons to try Linux is the very nature of open-source software. You have access to the code you’re using and you can make changes yourself. It is not uncommon for experienced Linux users to create their very own version of Linux and others carry on with the project when the original creator moves on.
If you are still unsure of whether you really want to invest the time and emotional energy on setting up Linux on one of your machines, I understand how it can seem both interesting and daunting. Chances are that you have heard someone talk about problems they’ve had with Windows. Also, chances are that if you know anyone who uses Linux you have seen someone spend a frustrating twenty minutes trying to get their system to finally boot so they can accomplish a really simple task. Full disclosure: you’re probably always going to run into issues. In my experience, the best thing to do is stay calm and read the documentation and follow *troubleshooting processes (links to come). Whether you decide Windows is your preferred operating system or you decide to try Linux full time, just make sure to base your decision on your own needs and preferences.
tl;dr: give virtual machines a try to see how you like it.
If any of you readers out there can think of anything I’ve left out or care to elaborate on something I mentioned feel free to do so in the comments.