Hey Linux Lovers!
Below I have answered some of the questions that I came across in HackerNoon’s Linux Writing Prompt: about my experience with Linux OS.
Discovering Linux OS can be a pretty exciting process for tech geeks or just anyone who wants an OS that is relatively free from viruses and many different types of fees. However, the free, open source ideology of Linux which is the foundation of its numerous benefits also results in difficulties like too many versions to select from, difficulty of some versions to use and little or no community support for some pretty isolated versions.
Below are answers to some of the most common questions that a Linux user may find themselves asking, to facilitate a smooth Linux experience.
Ok, let me explain it like this. Coming from a West African country, Windows OS is the dominant OS here and it was the first OS I had experience with. While I also heard about Mac OS due to the popularity of apple, I didn’t really come across any computer device running another OS asides from Windows. Not like I actually had access to a lot of computers though, but from the little exposure I had, It seemed like computers just came with Windows OS and that was it.
However, when I got into the university to study computer science, I came across students running different operating systems on their devices and it was like stumbling upon unicorns in a horse field. Windows was still the dominant OS around, but a few highly admired students were running Mac OS and versions of Linux like Ubuntu and Kali.
Mac devices were actually more expensive but in my computer science department of tech geeks, the Linux users were actually the big guys in town. They were highly respected because they could personally install and run Linux OS on their device and a couple could use the Linux command line, which they wielded to win department-wide reverence for themselves. I therefore, resolved to surely scale over the intimidating bash language and rise to the level of these prominent Linux superheroes.
It was easier said than done though because I knew very little about computers then. So I just continued with my Windows OS with its availability, ease of use, and lovely graphics. I also had some experience with Mac OS while using other people’s computers. Like many Linux adopters though, an event eventually occurred that finally pushed over to the Linux side - The famous Windows crash!
My Windows OS eventually crashed due to a virus and word on the street was that Linux ate viruses for breakfast. So I finally launched my campaign to tame the magical Linux OS and dual boot it on my device alongside the new Windows I installed. Fortunately, I succeeded in my quest to join the league of revered Linux wielders, and I can boldly report that it has been a love story with a happily ever after. I will now outline the advantages I discovered with Linux OS that made me prefer it to Windows and Mac.
Firstly, Linux has a cool story. Linux Os was created by Linus Torvalds when he was a university student and he open-sourced it to many developers around the world who have collectively contributed to its great success. This makes Linux have a sentimental appeal to people in the tech community as it is widely seen as the people’s OS, unlike Windows and Mac which are corporately owned.
Secondly, Linux is secure. While Mac OS is also relatively secure, Windows OS is easily susceptible to viruses and malware as I discovered from my windows crash.
Thirdly, Linux is lightweight. The first PC I installed Linux on had only 2GB of RAM and an Intel Celeron processor. However, while running both Linux and Windows on the same device I discovered that Linux was faster and took less memory. Linux also has less GUI load than Mac OS making it lighter than the later.
Fourthly, Linux is versatile. While dual booting both Windows and Linux, I discovered that I could access files on my windows partition from Linux but not the other way round. Also, the Linux command line is more detailed, functional, and extensible through programming than those for Mac and Windows. This versatility just makes Linux more useful from a tech perspective.
Lastly, Linux is freely available. All the advantages stated above can be attributed to the fact that Linux is open source, hence it’s maintained by an active, voluntary community of developers with various skill sets who are committed to providing the best OS services free of charge through Linux. Hence, unlike Windows and Mac, there are no purchase or subscription fees with Linux OS and any developer can contribute to its source code.
The best Linux distro I have used is Ubuntu. Ubuntu and Kali were the available Linux distributions when I decided to adopt the OS. However, I picked Ubuntu because it had a more user-friendly GUI control while still maintaining a sophisticated command line apparatus.
Well, the best thing I love about Linux OS is its security and free availability. In many ways using Linux just makes me feel like am part of a secret, open-source software revolution aimed at making quality software available to all people.
I actually love the default desktop settings that come with Ubuntu 16.4 with a menu bar on the side and drop-down menus for Activities/Applications, date, and system settings at the top. I love the relatively free desktop screen where I boldly display tech beauty using a geeky wallpaper of faint lines of source code on a dark blue background. It gives my device a legit hacker feel which I really dig.
From my experience, one word of advice I have for Linux beginners is ‘‘start with an easy-to-use Linux Distro“. I would recommend Ubuntu but other Linux distros with friendly UI are also available.
I find this important because I knew a number of Linux newbies who adopted the OS with me but who chose a more command line-based version like Kali Linux (at the time) and they encountered serious problems using it which I never worried about. Hence, I will advise all Linux newbies to start off with a more friendly Linux distro to enjoy all the advantages of Linux with less stress.
Well, due to its many advantages Linux enthusiasts often sell Linux OS as the panacea to all OS worries a computer user could ever have, implying that it has no issues at all. However, this is not entirely true because despite its many pluses, Linux also has some disadvantages.
Some of them include; there are too many available Linux distros to select from, some Linux distributions are not very easy to install or use, and lastly, Linux also has a few viruses that can crash it. Hence, Linux is in no way a panacea to all OS problems.
One important tool I would recommend to Linux Users is Wine, a compatibility software that allows you to run windows software on Linux OS. This is because a lot of Linux users were formerly Windows users who ported to Linux due to its advantages. They may find that some of their favorite Windows apps can’t run on Linux which can be quite frustrating. Wine comes to the rescue here. It runs like an emulator but is reported to have improved performance.
Another important tool I would recommend is Vysor, a software used to mirror the screen of mobile devices on desktop screens. This is useful for mobile development or just viewing files on your mobile device on a large screen. It can be used as an app or as a chrome plugin.
Well as I have already explained above Linux also has disadvantages which include;
The Linux-related future event I find most exciting is the cloud computing revolution. Cloud computing involves utilizing computer resources remotely and while it’s independent of Linux, Linux is the dominant OS used by cloud computing providers and it has greatly facilitated the technology. Cloud Computing excites me because of its potential to minimize hardware limitations on software use, hence, heavy software like games and development software can be utilized by devices with limited specifications, partly due to the efficiency of Linux OS.
The fact is that I have already fallen in love with Linux OS, in no small measure due to its origin story and ideology. Mac OS and Windows OS may well become privacy-oriented and open source but they will never become like Linux; which I describe as an inspired gift of goodwill elevated to prominence by hands lifted together in selfless open source service.
Linux is the OS of the people, by the people, for the people. Windows and Mac just cannot compete with that in my book.
Many new people in the tech industry often struggle to understand why Linux OS has almost a cult like following among geeks. I know this because i also felt like that when i was new to tech. Windows generally has better GUI and is easier to operate while Mac OS has the element of luxury that makes it desirable. So why Linux? Well, you should have your answer by now from this story. Linux is secure, efficient and democratized. Linux rocks!