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.
Suggested Read: 5 Things I Dislike and Love About GNU/Linux
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).
The second is indicative of the fact that most (99%) Linux distributions (the “flavors” of Linux, so to speak) can be downloaded and used on as many computers at absolutely no cost.
Suggested Read: Top Most Popular Linux Distributions of 2016
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.
Suggested Read: 6 Linux Distributions to Try on Old PC’s and Laptops
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.
Suggested Read: 20 Free Open Source Software I Found in Year 2015
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.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Please note that I’ve done my best to describe the reasons I would give to someone considering using Linux for the first time.
If you can think of other reasons not present in this article, feel free to share them with our community using the comment form below.