Linux for Beginners: Should You Make the Switch?

When it comes to operating systems, most people tend to go for the most popular options. If you’re buying a Mac computer, you probably won’t use Windows. PC owners typically choose it without giving this decision a second thought. Still, there is a low-key third option used to power many machines but is rarely used by your average PC owner.

We’re talking about Linux OS, of course. In its many variations, Linux is used as a software basis for many servers, IoT appliances, and many other devices but rarely do we see regular users opt for it. Why is that? Well, let’s take a closer look at this subject and see if this is a good OS choice for you.

The variations of Linux

Like most other OSs out there, Linux comes in a few distributions intended for various applications. OS distributions should be considered as a car chassis, and in this analogy, Linux would be the engine. Here is the list of the most used distributions and their applications:

  1. Ubuntu: easy to use and easy to install.
  2. Linux Mint: intended for former Windows users.
  3. openSUSE: a bit more challenging to install but very stable and powerful.
  4. Debian: completely free Linux distribution with no third-party software involved.
  5. Elementary: a distribution suitable for former Mac users.
  6. Fedora: this one updates to the newest concepts of Ubuntu as soon as possible.
  7. LXLE: intended for older machines as it doesn’t require a lot of hardware power to run.

These are just some of the more interesting Linux distributions, and if you need something more specialized, you can check out the full list. We’re sure you’ll find something suitable for your needs.

Top reasons people switch to Linux

  1. Completely free. Unlike macOS, where you need to buy an entire device to get a specific OS, or Windows, where you pay for a license to use their OS, Linux is 100% free.
  2. Works excellent on low-end hardware. Unlike other OSs with minimum system requirements, Linux has distributions intended for older machines.
  3. Requires less protection. Being that it is less popular than other options, hackers rarely develop software intended to target Linux users. However, you should always try to use all recommended protection.
  4. Automatic updates. While this is a relative novelty for Windows, Linux has had automatic software and driver updates for decades now.
  5. Amazing community. The open-source nature of Linux ensured that there is an extensive community tinkering with it. They have a solution to every possible issue you might face.
  6. Open source – If you are into experimentation, you want to develop programming skills, or merely find it fun to tinker with software, Linux is an excellent option.
  7. Ease of use. Contrary to popular belief, Linux is relatively easy to use once you get through the initial adaptation period, especially if you use the distributions intended to be user-friendly.

These are the most popular reasons why people opt for Linux. These days, as a professional working online, you want the ease of use and security.

Still, we need to take a look at why people stay away from Linux and why they find it challenging to make the transition.

The challenges of switching to Linux

  1. Linux distributions. While they provide flexibility, Linux distributions are also a problem. They function differently from each other, which makes it problematic for users and third-party software distributors.
  2. No support for many popular games. The reason games are rarely developed for Linux is that developers rely on DirectX technology the most. This means that Windows will always be the best platform for PC gaming. There are ways around that, though, but it takes some tinkering. Additionally, you can browse Steam to find Linux-compatible games, ready to be played immediately.
  3. No unified desktop. Linux doesn’t have a single desktop environment, and it has many. Gnome and KDE are the primary ones, but there are a lot of others out there. This can create problems for both users and developers.
  4. The switch can be hard. If you want to quickly switch from one OS to another, Linux isn’t a good idea. It will take you some time to set things up and get used to the differences, and this is considered a waste of time by many, no matter the upsides. Furthermore, people might be used to certain digital tools that may or may not be available on Linux. For instance, you might experience issues when trying to use Microsoft Office or other programs. Digital artists will probably try to evade Linux, especially those that typically use Adobe Photoshop. While there are alternatives, mastering a different tool will take some time. Additionally, you might already use a VPN app to secure your browsing and defend against accidental data leaks. In some cases, these tools will also not work in Linux environments, motivating you to stay with your current setup.

We hope this clears things up a bit. Linux has some major advantages for users across the board, but some limitations can make it less comfortable. We hope you give it a shot, at least. It’s very well developed, safe, and its open-source nature gives you many things to play with. No matter how much you read about Linux, nothing will replace the experience of having one-on-one time with it. Good luck!

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3 comments

  1. in my opinion, LXLE really shines on x86 computers. if Xfce doesn’t exist, LXDE will be the next biggest challenger in lightweight DE area.

  2. The one thing that I really like about Linux is that the open source programs are VERY well thought out and written. I would rather donate to an author to let them know that this is a quality piece of software than pay some ridiculous sum for junk software. The best of both worlds. GUI and DOS (Command line).

    1. surely it is, and that’s one of the reasons why I choose Linux installed on the main machine in general besides freedom and somewhat security.

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