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11 Reasons I love Linux, and 1 why I don't

wolfmath profile image Aaron Wolf ・5 min read

Intro

I got started with Linux in 2013 because of the disaster that was Windows 8. I grew to love it for more reasons than "it's not Windows" trope. Here are the top 10 reasons I love Linux in no particular order.

1. The Terminal

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Mac and Windows both also have terminals it's true, but they're not as integrated into the user experience as with Linux. Using the terminal is a lot easier than using a GUI for many tasks. That doesn't mean that you must use the terminal if you use Linux, but it's generally good to be able to do simple things with it. You can also customize your terminal with different colors and themes because Linux is very...

2. Customizable

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There are so many ways to make Linux your own, and I don't just mean getting that perfect wallpaper. You want a dark theme? Light theme? Bright purple theme? You can probably find it. Map hotkeys the way you want them, put as many custom toolbars on your screen where ever you want them.

If you just want a stock experience you still have your choice of desktop environments that suit you. Gnome (what Ubuntu uses), Cinnamon, and KDE will give you great out-of-the-box experiences, while XFCE, Mate, LXDE, and others will be a little more lightweight and customizable. Some desktop environments are more performant than others. It all depends on what you want and need.

3. Ease of installation

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Some Linux distros are notoriously difficult to install; it's a method of gatekeeping their userbase. For the rest of us there's the Linux installer. It's so easy to get up and running. After a few questions it will install your system automatically. If you want to dual boot with Windows it will take care of that for you.

4. Security

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Maybe it's because of Linux's small market share or maybe it's because Linux is designed better, but there really aren't any viruses for Linux. Also the way permissions are set up it makes it difficult for a malicious program to do too much. Even if there was a security flaw in Linux it would get dealt with quickly because...

5. It's Open Source

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Anyone can take the Linux source code and edit it to suit their needs. Open source software is also generally more secure since more people are able to review the source code. Due to the fact that so many people can see this code they tend to make their own versions. This is why there are a huge...

6. Variety flavors

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There are literally hundreds of Linux distributions. While this can make a very complicated landscape, and many distros do exactly the same things, it also provides the user with anything they might want. Do you need a good all rounder? Use Ubuntu. How about something for privacy? Tails Linux is for you. Are you a hacker? Kali Linux has the tools you need. If you want to tell everyone that you use Arch Linux you should install Arch Linux btw.

My distro of choice for desktop computing is Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition. It just works and it does everything I need it to, because, let's be honest, I'm a developer and 90% of what I do is still on the browser.

7. It's Free

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What can I say? Everyone loves free stuff.

8. It can run on almost any hardware

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Linux is very lightweight. It takes much less resources on a PC than Windows. Linux is also known for working well on very old machines. I've personally taken old Windows laptops that were ready for the trash compactor and installed Linux on them, breathing into them new life and functionality. That's not to say Linux is only good for old machines! Most super computers nowadays run Linux because it's lightweight and fast.

9. Great for Development

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With the exception of the browser (and unfortunately in these Corona times, Zoom), the program I probably use most is VSCode. Yeah, VSCode works in Linux as well as ATOM, all of JetBrains stuff, and a lot more. There are tons of IDEs and compilers available on Linux. Since I was already used to using the terminal before I started my path towards software development it made running servers and doing general backend stuff feel more natural.

10. Lots of Software

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Software is readily available and super easy to install. You can install right from the terminal or most big distros have an AppStore-like software manager that allows you to install software from the GUI. There's tons of games, productivity apps, and more. Some of it is great and some of it kinda sucks, but you have the choice!

11. Gaming

What if I told you that there's a way out from under the iron grip of the bloated legacy of Billy G? Gaming on Linux is becoming very popular. Steam runs beautifully on Linux with most of their games available for Linux as well. There are also other methods of getting your games on Linux too (watch the link above), and Anthony from Linus Tech Tips thinks that Linux is the future of gaming! Gaming hardware also works very nicely on Linux. I've been thinking about doing some gaming on Linux but I'll stick to my Nintendo Switch for now.

Where Linux is Lacking

The only place where Linux is truly lacking is in the availability of specific software. More high level "creator" software like Photoshop and audio and video editing software tend to be unavailable on Linux. There are usually Linux alternatives but my understanding is that they don't compare to the originals. This doesn't personally affect me much since I don't do that, but I understand the pain of someone who wants software like this and wants to run Linux.

Conclusion

Linux is a much more robust operating system than it was even 5 years ago. As it continues to develop I wonder if more and more people will end up adopting it as their daily driver operating system. Yes, it has its drawbacks, but every OS does, not to mention Linux is always improving.

Discussion (35)

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cyberhck profile image
Nishchal Gautam

To be honest, there are viruses for Linux, but it doesn't affect us as much :) I'm a big fan of Linux systems.

I'm now an Ubuntu user, manjaro crashed at work once and just wanted to go for something with better support all around.

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thefern profile image
Fernando B πŸš€

Yeah I dislike when people say linux or mac doesn't have viruses unixmen.com/meet-linux-viruses/

Personally I think virus makers just go out for windows because is a much higher market share, and more every day end user. Also the way Win is designed with UAC it can become very annoying and a lot of people disable it. Secondly most linux users are super users so they know when not to click on an unknown binary or script. All and all if you're not running root which you shouldn't, you should be pretty safe in linux unless someone is actively attacking you.

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dishantpandya profile image
Dishant Pandya

Yes, but most of the end user softwares for linux are free and opensource so, there are no chances that contributers would intentionally put viruses into it. With the help of a large community there are authentic and secure softwares and installation guides available, which reduces the chance of users installing malware. Whereas in windows, users are lured into installing viruses, with title of free - cracked, hacked softwares.

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explodingwalrus profile image
Carl Draper

All of those are either really tame or really old and fixed years ago

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thefern profile image
Fernando B πŸš€

It was just an example that viruses do exist.

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wolfmath profile image
Aaron Wolf Author

I was thinking about trying out Manjaro! I just downloaded the ISO this morning so I could install it on a VM.
What are your thoughts on it?

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cyberhck profile image
Nishchal Gautam

I highly suggest not to use it on a VM though, because the power of manjaro, the workflows aren't simply matched when you run it on a VM, I'm forced to use VM temporarily at work and I hate myself every single day for that (but within a week, I'll have my sweet sweet desktop, with my choosing of OS)

Manjaro I must tell you is AMAZING, it did some heavy lifting from Arch and if advance learning is your goal, I would recommend Arch instead.

Manjaro with KDE looks really good, performs really well, and has a good support as well, the package manager is awesome, and best of everything: it's freaking fast. Get this: i7 about 5 years ago, 16 Gigs of RAM, and 250GB SSD. i7 I think might have been less than 9th gen though, I'm not entirely sure. I installed Manjaro and was excited to see what time will be it's boot time. It was 2 seconds! Yes, right! 2 seconds, it posted boot (the dell logo thing), then within 2 seconds it asks for my password! Then I give it my password and within another 2 seconds I already have my guake terminal and all some other apps started.

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dishantpandya profile image
Dishant Pandya

Being open-source and freely available, Linux Softwares are continuously being examined and maintained by community of developers, with greater intentions of providing quality and help themselves and solving wide range of problems. Viruses usually come into being with softwares that are not free, but somehow the hackers crack it and share it for free, at cost of security.

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omegaui profile image
omega ui • Edited

Use instantOS, instantOS.io

It's an arch based blazing fast and lightweight linux Distro with gui installer and comes with its own window manager and desktop environment.

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funbeedev profile image
Fum • Edited

I believe Linux is catching up on providing high level creator software. And they are also free, thanks to open source!
For example, see Blender(animation software) and Shotcut(video editing).

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thorstenhirsch profile image
Thorsten Hirsch • Edited

I hope we will see another effort of a big company to provide a complete ecosystem around Linux for end-users. Ubuntu (Canonical) tried that, but their UbuntuPhone failed, and they started too many in-house products with no real benefit over existing FOSS projects (like Unity and their X.org replacement). Currently their distribution seems to be in maintenance mode. It's a real pity! So many developers finally seem to be ready to say goodbye to Apple. And Linux is really an attractive OS! Hardware support (especially on laptops) has improved immensely during the last years. You don't need to worry about the wifi or gpu driver anymore, everything works out-of-the box (as long as you buy Intel or AMD instead of nVidia). And Valve has brought so many games to Linux, not to mention the recent advancements with wine/vulkan/proton which run Windows-only titles at nearly the same speed as on Windows (this time for real).

However, having an attractive OS might not be enough. Nowadays the complete eco system has to be attractive. And I'm pretty sure that there's not much left one could wish for:

  • cloud* synchronization of settings/passwords for free over all supported devices should be offered from the distributor
  • better support of Android* devices (don't try to develop another smartphone OS, just accept that there's iOS and Android)
  • ...and the required Apps have to be free in Google's PlayStore*
  • automated backups should be a matter of 2 clicks (or less) in a desktop distribution (e.g. with netatalk == TimeMachine)
  • with Gnome sucking more and more with each release (sorry, I'm just a disappointed user), there's only KDE left as a fully-featured desktop environment, which might be a bit too complicated for many users

I know this means to sacrifice privacy/freedom for convenience (that's where I've used the *asterisk), which is a no-go for a lot of Linux users, but a lot (probably most) people are willing to do that, as long as they've got more privacy/freedom than in Apple's ecosystem. I'm pretty sure that such a "Linux package" would be attractive enough to get a decent market share.

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explodingwalrus profile image
Carl Draper

better support of Android* devices? Huh? They are well supported on Linux, and KDE Connect syncs notifications and clipboard with Android what else do you need?

There already is an easy to use Time Machine type backup app.

KDE isn't complicated

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thorstenhirsch profile image
Thorsten Hirsch

Here are some "ideas" (not my ideas, other systems already have implemented them)...

  • being able to receive/initiate phone calls on a Linux device when the Android phone is in the same wifi
  • receive SMS on Linux when the Android phone is in the same wifi
  • use your Android camera as a webcam on your Linux computer
  • Is the backup app integrated in KDE? Does it run by default on a desktop computer? Why not? Everybody needs backups!
  • KDE is not that complicated, right, but it's just more complicated than Android/iOS/Gnome and maybe even more complicated than Windows and macOS, but the latter might just be personal preference.
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explodingwalrus profile image
Carl Draper
  • "receive SMS on Linux when the Android phone is in the same wifi" Already able to with KDE Connect and also Google Messages in Chrome.

  • "use your Android camera as a webcam on your Linux computer" - already possible

  • "being able to receive/initiate phone calls on a Linux device when the Android phone is in the same wifi" - only Apple have that feature with continuity, but it only works with iPhones. Android is not fully Linux so it's harder to do the same. I don;t think Windows has the option either (especially since Windows phone is dead).

It is mostly personal preference. Some things are easier on some operating systems. Windows out the box actually lacks a lot of stuff that OEMs add later. No office suite, no DVD burning suite, only basic zip file support etc, you end up having to search the net for those, whereas they are either preinstalled on Linux or available in the package manager in a few clicks. Does Windows have a backup tool configured out the box by default?

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Vishnu Dileesh

I have been a Linux user for over 6-7 years now.
Just love the whole ecosystem, recently also tried my hands on Linux ricing

dev.to/vishnudileesh/linux-rice-co...

Linux rice - coder edition - vishnu dileesh

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minaa_osha profile image
mina

"ease of installation" I'm going to have to stop you right there..I once spent more than 7 hours straight trying to install the drivers for my AMD GPU .while in Windows it's as easy as clicking "next, next, I agree, finish" in Linux it's hell..lots of dependency problems lots of missing packages lots syntax errors and incompatible makefiles..it's like I'm fighting with the system not doing a simple task like installing the drivers for my hardware..I tried many distros.. Ubuntu.. Kali.. Arch Linux..not once I ran these "apt-get install" "dpkg -i" commands and got anything done..there HAVE to be errors every god damn time..and gaming ? Please don't tell me "wine!!" This thing is hell too..god help u if u actually get any modern AAA game running on this thing..and even if it did it'd run like a 90's console

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explodingwalrus profile image
Carl Draper

Well when was that? How many years ago? On Ubuntu and Ubuntu based distros that's a driver manager for proprietary drivers

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Mateusz Kwiatkowski

I use Linux at home and for about 2 years at work as well. For programming it is just no-brainer.

But what I don't like ist the complexity of solving some casual errors (I had once massive problems with detection of my USB stick and write/copy permissions), which occurs from time to time. In order to do that I need to google things first, try it and then google again. I mean, sometimes I feel that without internet connection on some other device I couldn't possibly run my system due to some errors, which I got when installed or removed some packages or drivers.

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explodingwalrus profile image
Carl Draper

I feel the same way when trying to fix Windows problems, if they are even fixable

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kwiat1990 profile image
Mateusz Kwiatkowski

Sure, but from my experience on Windows you can break far less things as normal user. And it makes a huge difference. But I meant rather errors, which occurs when you want make something casual such as the case when I was about to use my USB Stick to save some data and spend a couple of hours to solve it. On Windows I didn't encounter such problems.

That being said, I wouldn't go back to Windows. It's command line is a no-go for a programmer. On the other hand I could consider iOS but for now, I pretty happy with my Ubuntu and its "for free" label ;).

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explodingwalrus profile image
Carl Draper

The only time i have had issues with USB sticks is when said stick is faulty.

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isasca profile image
Isaac

Please. PLEASE stop saying Linux doesn't have viruses that are designed for it. It does. Instead of saying "there are no viruses" perhaps you could give a brief tl:dr guide on how to install Clam (an open source antivirus)?

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Abraham

Can someone please guide me on how to get the following running, at as close to native speeds as possible: Visual Studio (specifically just to be able to compile . NET framework 4.5 executables) and IIS. Afterwards I am all for Linux

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omega ui

I am a power linux user and a java developer, I like to create applications for linux systems only not for other OSs. I like the way you highlighted our beloved linux system.

BTW you can use Proton or Wine to run any windows programs with ease, I don't find any lack or flaw in linux systems, they are like legendary pokemons, πŸ˜‚, i.e why 90% of world's super computers run on linux kernel.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

There are usually Linux alternatives but my understanding is that they don't compare to the originals.

That has not been my experience. I've used a lot of the high end stuff on Windows, and I actually prefer, say, GIMP/Glimpse, Krita, Kdenlive, Darktable, Blender, and the like. Usually, when people say this, all they really mean is it has a different workflow to do the same things. Workflows and features improve as the user base expands, so the only way to solve this is for more people to use the FOSS alternatives and provide tangible, specific feedback.

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explodingwalrus profile image
Carl Draper

It sounds like the author hasn't even tried any

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leefreemanxyz profile image
Lee Freeman

I'm currently halfway between my old MBP and a new ThinkPad running Fedora. The thing I'm missing most from MacOS is iTerm2 – I'm currently using Terminator on Fedora, but would love some recommendations if there is anything better!

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dishantpandya profile image
Dishant Pandya

Its just the unavailability of creator tools like Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk Software, FL Studio, Ableton Live, etc. That's blocking adoption of Linux as a primary workstation OS. If these softwares add support for running on Linux I am pretty sure many are ready to ditch Windows.

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Matt Rogers

Ok, on the creative apps front:

No the Adobe suite isn't available, but for video work Davinci Resolve is highly competitive (and widely considered to be superior in some areas) to the 1-2 punch of Premier and After Effects.

So if video is your thing, you're golden. Equally in animation; both Blender and Krita are regularly used in pro environments.

But sadly, I do still end up using Windows because of my specific areas of work. In photography there's nothing that is quite as good as either Lightroom/Capture1 (I've heard that Darktable has improved but it's still not quite there) and Photoshop (even though I don't use it much) is still a fair way ahead of Gimp.

I also create projection for theatre and I haven't found ANY show cue systems for Linux, let alone anything as fully featured as Isadora or Qlab.

So the problem of missing software is very case by case, but isn't that the real issue?
On Windows or Mac there will always be some software to do the thing you need... but it might not work on Linux, and you might need to find a work around.

I'd still prefer to run Linux, but don't. Which is kind of a shame.

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Daniel Saki

I love Linux because of the freedom it has provided us with. I can't imagine a world without Linux. It's the joy of life!

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Devin Handspiker-Wade

It's hard to imagine life without all the things that Linux powers!

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Siddharth Chaudhary

Very interesting article!

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Brian Scott

For Gaming, Stadia, Geforce Now and more now let you run AAA titles even steam for Linux

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Jonathan Boudreau

Is it really impossible to get photoshop working with wine? For audio, there is Reaper which has builds for Linux (although YMMV).

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Jim Priest

FWIW Bitwig is a fantastic DAW with native Linux support. bitwig.com/