If you are reading this article, chances are you are a new or prospective Linux user. Or perhaps you’re not – and are curious as to what I consider the 5 top reasons why someone would want to install Linux today.
Either way, you are welcome to join me as I do my best to explain. If you bear with me enough to reach the end of this post, feel free to add your own voice using the comment form below.
DISCLAIMER: The reasons below are not listed in any specific order of importance. That said, you can read them from top to bottom or the other way around – your choice.
Reason #1 – Linux is Free
In the Linux ecosystem, the word “free” has two meanings: 1) Free as in freedom, and 2) Free as in beer. The first one refers to the freedom of doing whatever you wish with the operating system (for example, personal or commercial use).
Commercial distributions are sometimes preferred on enterprise environments due to the available support contracts offered by the companies behind them. Red Hat, Inc. with its superstar Red Hat Enterprise Linux is just an example.
Reason #2 – Linux can Bring old Hardware back to Life
Yes, you read that right. If you have an old computer gathering dust because it no longer can afford the system requirements of other operating systems, Linux is here to save your day. And I speak out of experience on this: my first computer (a high school graduation present my mother gave me near the end of 2000) has now been running as a home server for 5 years now – always with the latest Debian stable release.
Reason #3 – Linux is the Best Tool to Learn How Computers Work
Even for new users, it is relatively easy to access information about and interact with the computer’s hardware. With command-line tools such as dmesg (which lists messages from the kernel) and a little patience, you can easily learn what happens internally since you press the power button until you get a fully-usable operating system. And that is just one example.
Reason #4 – Linux is the Best Tool to Get Started with Programming
I always say that I would have loved to have been introduced to Linux much earlier than I was. When the operating system is installed, it includes all the necessary tools to get started with Python programming. One of the most popular object-oriented programming languages in use today, Python is used to introduce computer science majors to programming in several top-notch universities.
Reason #5 – Lots (and I mean LOTS) of Free world-class Software
I know, I know. This item is closely related to #1 but I decided to make it a separate one. Why? Because it highlights the fact that the software available for Linux today is mostly made possible by a large army of volunteers.
Yes – people who write outstanding software without making a quarter out of it. In some cases, there are companies providing the funds for the development and maintenance of the software.
The operating system is so stable that they want to make sure their software runs on it. That is why large companies make substantial contributions (in terms of donations or manpower) to the Linux ecosystem.