10 ways Linux is just better!

Alex Alex 06 March 2020
10 ways Linux is just better!

The vast majority of the world runs Windows on the desktop, which may be true, but everyone knows that if you need reliability for the servers that run the Internet or store all of our cloud data, Linux is the only way to go. I mean, heck, even Microsoft uses Linux to run a Azure. Let's talk about why this is the top 10 reason Linux is just plain better.

1. Freedom.

Really, with just a few exceptions, there are no license keys to buy and no specific hardware requirements to use the Linux operating system. Just download it and it's yours. 

Why is it free, though? Because of you, I mean, the global community at large. There are thousands of people that's a bit new code and features apply fixes and otherwise improve the various distributions, or Distro's of Linux. Another reason it's free is due to the organizations like Linux Foundation that are backed by companies like Microsoft, Intel, IBM and many others. The foundation's goal was to help standardize Linux, support its growth and promote its commercial adoption. They did this because they already liked it, and the more features connectivity, software and hardware integration it has, the better the experiences for the people who deploy products and service is for those companies.

And the freedom is not just monetary. It's also the freedom to do what you want with the OS. There's no hand holding here. You can act, get anything your heart desires. And if you're a customization freak, I know there are a few out there you can cut and prune until your tux is just right. Something like tiny Core can run on just 16 megabytes of RAM with a GUI.

2. Software management.

Linux uses package managers like Apt, Packman and RPM, along with many others. What they do is they automate the install and uninstall process for software repositories and app stores. By the way, yes, APP stores have been around since the early nineties, long before Apple and Google made them mainstream. Some managers even had modern style graphical interfaces. Of course, it was on Linux.

So it's no wonder that Linux users have spent years mocking the way that Windows plebs will scour Websites for the correct download link. When all they have to do is issue a command and their package manager will grab the latest version of the software that they want and install it. On that note, when you choose, a simple command will even update everything that you have installed with the latest features and security patches, with the keyword there being chosen. You can update whenever you want, or you can update never.

Oh, yeah, and Linux has something called a live kernel. That means that the operating system can be fully updated while it is running, sometimes, other times kernel and driver updates can require a reboot.

3. Performance.

There's a joke about how Linux can run on just about anything from a super computer to a toaster and truthfully, well, if that toaster can connect to the Internet, it probably does run some form of Linux. That's thanks in part to Linux, his ability to be shaped down into a tiny OS package that's made for one thing and one thing only once.

All the background updates and unnecessary open ports. So listen to our trimmed out. You would be amazed at how well that toaster flies, with some exceptions, like how Linux has been updated faster for AMD Zen processor architectures. More powerful hardware won't benefit as much from this low overhead, but, you will notice it in the lower spec systems like the Raspberry PI that are out there. Linux can give you a full desktop experience on the Raspberry PI, thanks to Raspbian, and you'll also notice it on hardware from years ago.

Linux Community has a proud, long-standing tradition of breathing new life into outdated but otherwise functional computers.

4. Stability.

Once configured and running, barring a power outage or other catastrophic event, Linux will probably just keep running. On top of the kernel being stable, the majority of the drivers on Linux are also open source, which means that even if the manufacturer released one, there's a good chance that the community will have had the opportunity to poke it it and fix any errors and omissions.

The exceptions are blob drivers like Nvidia proprietary GPU Driver. It is stable and fast, but it's closed source with locks down firmware and an ongoing refusal to provide any assistance, which is sort of against the Linux ethos.

5. Spying, privacy and transparency.

If you're savvy enough, the openness of the OS allows you to see literally everything that's happening and monitor any information that's moving to and from your system. And even if you're not savvy enough, somebody is. And you can ask around for some help. This transparency is one of the main pillars off free open source software. With tens of thousands of eyes on the code, the idea is that it's much harder for anything malicious to slip through the cracks. And when a distro like Ubuntu add the data collection feature, you can open up and view the data being sent, or you could just opt out of said feature. Or, if you're really skeptical, you can opt out Ubuntu all together and move to a different distro.

6. Customization.

Starting with a fun feature called a virtual desktop, virtual desktops allow you to swap between arrangements of shortcuts and running applications, keeping everything organized and allowing you to focus on the task at hand, or play games when the boss is looking. 

Windows and Mac OS both have this feature, but Linux did it well before they did back in the nineteens. Gnome and KDE provide exceptional tools for making those desktops your own. And with how powerful they are, you can even make custom UI for the folks who need them. You can run Braille interfaces for users who have limited vision or adopt the layout for users with limited movement.

Of course, there is the typical wallpaper icons, positions of elements, etc. But if you don't care about any of that, you can even just not have a GUI at all. Because so much of Linux is designed with server users in mind, you can navigate the entire system with nothing but the command line. Also, in case it wasn't clear, it's not just visual customization. If there are functions and features in another distro that are not in the one that you're using, you can add them to your version. If interrupt based data retrieval from your high speed SSD array isn't working, you can switch it over to pulling or even a hybrid approach. The only limit is your imagination and your technical skill.

7. Command line or terminal.

This is the heart of Linux. There's bash, dash or fish, plus many other shells that allow you to run all the various functions of your chosen distro and even automate some of the tasks. Thanks to the ability to write an implement scripts for the OS, the terminal is all about efficiency. No extraneous movements, no unnecessary clicks. If you like a GUI and the efficiency of the terminal i3 window managers for you, who needs a mouse, right?

The lean, mean coding machine literally. Another reason to use the terminal is that input, output and error data can be easily redirected, allowing information to be sent or received from files or other applications. This functionality allows the use of one liners, which are single commands that use multiple tools to process a multi stage job. Boy Linux is cool, isn't it?

8. Portability

When you need to troubleshoot systems day in, day out, Having a lightweight solution is awesome. Less to carry is less to worry about. And being able to run Linux off of a live USB means that you can run hardware tests on large numbers of machines with a small bag full of USB dongles. Also, if you're feeling adventurous, you could maintain one home directory across multiple different Linux installations and retain all your user configuration documents and customization. Because all the conflict files are stored in your user folder instead of a system wide registry, dіstro swapping is actually quite easy, either out of necessity or curiosity.  Being able to do something like that is exceptionally powerful if you're traveling and you don't want to take a laptop with you, but you still want your own computer with all your stuff, you just need to carry a USB stick with you, and you can load up on almost any computer you come across. Or you can use Linux to stay as private as possible by using the Tales Linux  running off of a USB.

9. Learning.

Linux is a great platform toe learn on. You can start with a fully featured dіstro that's got all the GUI elements you could want for easy day-to-day use. Then you might want to change your desktop. You find a tutorial and follow it, giving you a small guided taste of what Linux is about. That might be all you end up learning. But for some others that might lead into a deeper dive, snowballing into possibly learning to develop tools for Linux.

It's the kind of rabbit hole that you can never go down if you don't give it a chance.

10. Community.

There is a large group of people that want to see the community grow and flourish with new ideas and users. The community at large works to help newcomers get their feet wet and coding and understanding Linux, and they even answer those proverbial, I know this is a stupid question, questions and the system is working. The user base for Linux as a regular desktop OS has gone from less than 1% 10 years ago to just under 2% market share this year, which might not sound like much but it is significant. And with tools like Proton making Linux more feasible for gamers, I don't see that trend reversing anytime soon.

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