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Ten reasons to use Linux

Posted by Graeme in Software at 10:31 pm on Tuesday, 5 March 2013

As Linux is already the leading server operating system, I am really only giving you 10 reasons to use Linux on the desktop (and mobile devices).

  1. Software installation is easier, as are updates. Linux has had an “app store” like mechanism for installing and updating software for well over a decade. It also has “dependency handling” which means updates¬† are faster and more complete, and many apps use less memory, and you get many security updates quicker.
  2. Free (as in not paying for it) software means that its cheap to try out something that may be useful. You can install everything that looks like what you want and install what you do not want. I have fund some real gems this way. I have also installed a lot more of some types of software (such as educational software and games) because of this.
  3. Its environmentally friendly. Linux needs less powerful hardware than Windows or MacOS, and there are versions of Linux that are specifically made for old hardware. This means hardware lasts longer, and both the disposal of old electronics, and the production of new electronics have huge environmental impacts.
  4. You spend less on hardware. You can use your hardware for longer, so you spend less. This will become even more true as closed operating systems deliberately limit that hardware they will run on (e.g. Windows “secure boot”).
  5. Its secure. This is not just a matter of securing yourself. Insecure computers are used not just to send spam emails, but for a range of criminal activities from providing over for fraud (by routing through an insecure machine, so the cops bash down the wrong door) to extortion. Do you really want to help them?
  6. You are not dependent on a single vendor. This is the other freedom of open source software: freedom to alter it. If a supplier of open source lets their standards drop, another can produce a better “fork” of it. In the case of Linux there are multiple versions with different strengths (user friendliness, faster updates, more cutting edge, better suited to old hardware, extra secure, etc.) and you can easily switch from one to another.
  7. Once installed, it needs less IT support. This is a consequence of the better security and easy software installation. For home use, or a small business that cannot afford IT staff, it is a much simpler option. I encourage my family to use it for this reason: I need to help them less than if they used Windows.
  8. Linux updates more incrementally than Windows. Although Linux as evolved much more than Windows or MacOS in the 12 years I have been using it, there has never been a huge compulsory change such as Windows users faced with Vista. I have had some big changes, but I chose them, and when I wanted them, and the principal driver of most has been my perverse drive to experiment with stuff that did not need to be fixed.
  9. Consumer choice. The existence of many version of Linux (mentioned above) means you can choose what suits your needs.
  10. I really like it, you may too. You can even try it without installing using a “live USB” or CD.

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