9 reasons tech geeks fall in love with Linux
You might not be a Linux user, but you have a nerdy friend who won’t shut up. Why should they get so excited about an operating system?
Read on to find out why so many technicians are so in love with Linux.
1. Linux is free
One reason Linux has such a loyal following is because Linux distributions are available to download for free.
This might not sound as impressive when upgrades to proprietary operating systems from Apple and Microsoft are also free these days, but in the 1990s when Linux first hit the market, operating systems cost a lot of money if they didn’t come with your computer.
Windows, OS / 2, or macOS can cost hundreds of dollars, and proprietary Unix systems can cost well over $ 1000, depending on the options you’ve installed.
In contrast, Linux distributions were free to download, with the only cost being the floppy disks you had to install. Or if you had a CD-ROM drive you could just buy a CD, which was a huge time saver in the days of dial-up internet.
Even then, this was much cheaper than a proprietary operating system, and technicians loved that it was influenced by the design of the Unix systems they knew and loved.
Linux, then and now, allows people who want to explore Unix and Linux concepts to do so for a minimal investment.
2. Linux is open
Along with the opening of the browser source code by Netscape (which led to the current Mozilla Firefox browser), Linux helped popularize the open source movement in the late 1990s.
One of the most important aspects of Linux is that the kernel or the heart of the operating system, other operating system components, and many user programs are free and open source, which means anyone can view the source code and make changes. As Richard Stallman says, this software is “free as in language”.
Since many technicians were familiar with Unix and had at least a little programming knowledge, they were ready to add things to make the system even better. This openness extends to the design of the system itself. Linux is configured primarily through text files that you can examine with any text editor.
3. The Linux command line
Another reason Linux is so popular among techies is because it maintains its connection to the command line in ways that Windows and macOS don’t.
Although macOS could be viewed as a cousin of Linux, since it is based on the BSD Unix variant, it still presents itself as a user-friendly GUI-based system, just like Windows, although it has a terminal application.
While Windows has command line interfaces, both PowerShell and Linux, unlike the days of MS-DOS when everyone used the command line, they’re still mostly used by administrators.
This is because the command line gives most of the control over the computer. Many Linux programs only use the command line, including developer tools. This may offend ordinary users, but technical users will appreciate it.
Nobody likes to hear music on hold. If you have a problem with your Linux installation, there are other users who can help you. You have the choice between IRC, web forums, wikis, Discord servers and even personal user groups.
You can get help with installation or other problems you may encounter on Linux. If it happened to you, you probably aren’t the first. Someone has posted a solution on the web many times.
Even if you have no problem with Linux, user groups, either online or in person, provide a fun social atmosphere, probably due to the community spirit Linux seems to inspire in its users. Linux users come from all walks of life and are usually interesting people, so they are fun to hang out with.
There are commercial forms of support from large distribution developers like Red Hat, SUSE, and Canonical, but these are more aimed at companies using Linux servers in large data centers.
There’s a reason Linux is so popular with developers: it contains many of the tools they need to do their jobs. Editors, compilers, interpreters, debuggers, whatever, it is often included in the standard system. If not, it’s just a package manager command away.
The wide availability of programming tools on Linux makes it an ideal system for learning to program. The easiest languages ââto get started with are the shell, since it’s already used by so many users, and scripting languages ââlike Perl or Python. These make it easier for users to experiment, which leads to the popularity of Linux for rapid prototyping.
6. Rapid prototyping
Because of its affinity for scripting languages, Linux is an ideal platform for rapid prototyping and experiments.
Scripting languages ââallow you to work out code interactively, and because they are interpreted, you don’t have to wait for them to compile. Here’s a quick way to develop apps. Developers can experiment with their code this way.
A lot of websites use them behind the scenes which allows them to introduce features before their competitors do. Interpreters may be slower than compiled programs, but developers believe that the speed of development outweighs the performance penalty.
For many years the shell or command interpreter was the preferred scripting language. While shell scripts are still useful for small tasks related to Linux files and utilities, modern scripting languages ââlike Python are popular because they are more portable to different systems and have many libraries that make programming tasks easier.
7. Linux is customizable
Linux is also popular with technical users because you can customize it better than other operating systems. You can choose between desktop environments, window managers and apps.
You can even run Linux without a GUI if you want. And many servers do. It is this flexibility that makes Linux popular with so many experienced users.
8. Linux runs everywhere
Linux started on x86 processors but now runs on almost every processor out there. If you have an Android phone, it will run a modified version of Linux. It’s also the Raspberry Pi’s default operating system. If it exists, you can probably get Linux for it.
This is why Linux is so popular for reviving older machines that may no longer receive support from Microsoft or Apple.
9. It plays well with others
One of the strengths of Linux is its ability to interoperate with other systems. Linux can read or write many of the same file formats on PCs and Macs.
Since a number of PC programs ran only under DOS / Windows, many users dual-booted or ran Windows and Linux on separate partitions or drives and used a boot loader to choose between them when booting.
Later, virtualization allowed users to run one system within the other without rebooting. With Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), you don’t have to install Linux separately. You can run several popular Linux distributions on Windows 10 or 11. That means you don’t have to choose between one or the other.
Is Linux For You?
If all of these features make you curious, you might be wondering if Linux is right for you. If you are considering a career in IT or just like computers, Linux is well worth learning.
You don’t even have to install Linux to try it out. You can try a live distribution, play around with Linux, and see if you like it. Perhaps one day you will become the friend who won’t shut up on Linux.
Linux is a playground for nerds
Linux’s flexibility makes it a favorite with tech-savvy users, but you don’t have to be a nerd to install and use it. If you have a free USB stick, you can try a Linux distro and see if it is right for you.
USB is great for running portable versions of Linux. Here are the most useful Linux distributions to run from a live USB drive.
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