Why Use Linux?

Why Use Linux?

Why go open source?

With hundreds of millions of people using Windows, a closed information architecture, it’s time for people to open up and moving into the growing world of open source software. It’s a great way to break out of the mold and evolve, both as an individual and as a culture.

I’m speaking about Linux. To begin, let’s be clear that Linux means many different things. There is one Windows operating system that exists as a progression of former versions, each one supposedly better than the previous version. There are hundreds of Linux distributions, called distros in the language of Linux culture, all of which have developed along their own lines of progression. If Windows is a singular pole rising from the Earth, the Linux universe has as many branches as an enormous oak tree. Options are good. Some distros are for beginning, very user-friendly, with very clean interfaces and little hassle. There’s even one distro called Lindows, and as its name suggests, it looks and acts almost exactly like Windows XP. So what’s the difference? If it’s just the same as Windows, then why switch?

Well, there are a number of reasons, the most attractive being that it is free. That’s right, free. Gratis. The open source community believes that software is something to be shared, and as na?�ve as that idea may sound, there are tens of thousands of people working on the project, making this dream a reality, and millions of users. What else? I said that Lindows acts almost like Windows. There are some differences, but the big one is stability. Let’s face it, Windows is not the most stable architecture on which to build your digital world. Why else would most of the servers in the world operate on Linux? I can’t tell you the number of times Windows froze or crashed at some crucial moment before I made the switch.

And then there are viruses. Nearly all viruses are written for Windows. They sneak into your computer and wreak havoc. The resulting damage can range from slightly annoying to downright devastating. So to protect your computer, you have to purchase virus software, keep it updated, and put-up with the constant claim that your system is in danger. That’s not the world I want to live in. There are virtually no viruses written for Linux. Yes, there are some, but the damage is usually minor, and, no, it’s not because of some super-virus-control software that you must relentlessly keep up with. In Linux, before any serious changes can be enacted, the user has to input the system password. No password, no change. To be honest, some Linux viruses are coded to hack the password first, but they are usually caught before any damage is done. The hacking of a password requires a huge amount of digital resources and any observant user will be able to tell that something is going on long before any damage is done.

So what’s the catch?

Of course there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. The learning curve. You must understand that the Linux world is completely different than the Windows world. Yes, they look similar. There’s a menu, office tools, and a control panel. But underneath that graphical user interface (GUI), there’s a different engine entirely, and you will have to learn how to interact with it. The level of interaction depends on each user. Some learn to get their systems up and running, download whatever program from the massive list in the free repositories, and be done with it. Others learn to tweak their systems to create a genuinely unique computing experience, and still others, emboldened by the change, learn to create their own Linux programs.

As information technology evolves at an increasingly faster rate, isn’t it time we allowed the global community to decide the fate of their own computer systems?