Here’s a bunch of reasons to try out (or continue using) Linux in 2021. Lots has changed on the Linux front in the last decade – here’s why you should give Linux a go.
I’ve been using Linux on desktop computers since the early 2000s – starting out with Corel Linux. Early distributions had big fallbacks for the average user – mostly to do with compatibility with Windows machines. While it was already best-in-class for running servers and developing software, creating and sharing images and documents for school or the office was difficult, and user interfaces were still unpolished. With its Office products and Adobe’s Photoshop/Illustrator tools, Microsoft had no equal, and they didn’t run on Linux.
That last bit hasn’t changed, but it doesn’t matter as much anymore unless you’re in the pre-press industry. Linux on the desktop is stable, easy to use, and comes with all of the tools you need out of the box. Here’s why I’m still using it in 2021.
Linux is Easy
Pick a Linux distribution, back up your files, and install it. Getting up and running on Linux is as easy as it can be.
There are many distributions, all with different looks and feels, and they’re all free upfront.
I’m currently using Pop!_OS, which is included in our ‘Best Linux Distros for Gaming in 2021’. I chose it because of its ease of use and software selection.
If you’re unsure about diving in headfirst, second-hand laptops and desktop computers are plentiful – you can probably spend 25 bucks for an old machine you can use to experiment with Linux on.
Linux is Free!
Free as in free. No signups, no ads, no selling your data. Old fashioned free.
Lots of First Class Software
Linux has all of the tools you need to build something great. They’re all a click away on many distributions with included app stores.
Here are a few things you can build on Linux:
- Mobile apps using Android Studio or Mobile Frameworks like Ionic
- Arduino gadgets using the Arduino Software
- Learn to Program with Python
- Develop your own games in Unity or with gDevelop
Widely Used By Professional Developers
Most of the internet is hosted on servers running on Linux – this makes Linux a great choice for developing websites and web applications as the environment will be close to the environment your program will be deployed to.
Linux is Customisable
Don’t like something? Change it.
Windows and macOS don’t let you customize much beyond the position of the menu. Linux lets you customize your desktop environment to your liking.
There are a number of Window Managers for Linux which are tailored for different tastes – here are some of the most popular ones:
- KDE is one of the best looking window managers and has all of the eye candy
- Gnome is multi-purpose and easy to use, and popular for it
- Xfce is lightweight, allowing you to run a modern desktop interface on older hardware – great for reviving older second-hand computers
Linux is Versatile
I recently ran into a scenario where I needed to make a boot floppy disk. On Windows, that would have been a total pain, but Linux had the tools I needed built-in.
For my OpenWrt router project, I needed to run a TFTP server – again, with a few keypresses in Linux, I had what I needed.
Productivity is no Longer Out of Reach
LibreOffice provides a damn good alternative to Microsoft Office for productivity, and it runs on Linux. So does GIMP – Photoshop alternative that is very usable.
Microsoft even lets you run Office on Linux now without resorting to hacky methods to get it to work.
Office365 has web-based versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, which will all be able to read and edit documents made on their desktop counterparts on Windows systems.
Microsoft has also released its Visual Studio Code editor for Linux.
Games! Because Why Not?
You can game on Linux now – Steam has an extensive library of games that will run natively on Linux.
Linux is very secure – there are very few viruses floating around that will affect Linux machines, and security updates are released regularly. With good security practices and making sure you handle your passwords properly, you can be content knowing you’ve done everything possible to keep yourself protected.
The Linux Community (Mostly…)
Got a problem? Ask someone.
Most online communities have a helpful contingent of nerds (I’m one of them) happy to help you troubleshoot your Linux system.
Just ignore anyone who tries to make you feel bad for your lack of experience, or choice of distribution, or anything really. There are losers in every public forum.
Things I’ve Made with Linux
So what can you do with Linux? Here’s what I’ve been building so far in 2021: