So you’ve been using Windows for a long time. You’ve heard of this Linux thing, and maybe even tried it, but you still haven’t switched. Perhaps you were really excited about the latest Windows update and you are seriously considering a change.
Today, let’s take a look at what Linux can offer as a Windows replacement so you can make an informed decision. Below are some of the best reasons Windows users are switching to Linux. If they don’t convince you, maybe it won’t work.
1. No forced updates
A common refrain among ex-Windows users is that the operating system is pushing too many large, mandatory updates. They often disrupt the user’s experience with the PC and sometimes bring surprising changes and annoying bugs that need to be fixed with further updates.
In fact, these updates are often meant to keep you safe. But what use is a secure PC that is unusable for a long time? And what if you have major problems with an update? This can be disastrous when you rely on your PC for your job.
Linux, on the other hand, gives you complete control over your device. Upgrading Linux is always optional, and rollbacks are also possible. For example, if a new kernel causes a problem, you can always revert to the previous one or install a different one.
2. Linux is free
Most Linux distributions are available to users for free. Unlike the Windows license, the Linux license allows free distribution so you can legally download, copy, and share it without paying a dime.
Of course, most Linux developers are happy to receive your donations to keep the project going. They sacrifice hours and hours of their free time to make Linux great. Ultimately, you have the agency that will determine the value of the project for you.
3. Linux covers your basic needs
You can use Linux with its native apps for virtually all of your essential computing needs. This includes web browsing, email, streaming, and more.
Granted, you can’t get Linux native editions of some popular software, but they are mostly professional tools like Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. The average user rarely needs them, and even if they do, there are usually several alternatives to choose from.
For example, if you need Microsoft Word, you can still use the web app on Linux or choose from several native alternatives that can open, edit, and save DOC and DOCX files.
4. Linux is more secure
No operating system is completely immune to security threats, and Linux is no exception. However, actual cases for Linux desktop users remain rare as most malware targets Linux servers rather than desktops.
The fact remains that Windows is a bigger and more profitable target for malware simply because more people are using it.
The modular and customizable nature of Linux also has a certain advantage: malware can depend on certain system elements that a user has disabled or removed for personal reasons. This, combined with other advanced security features, makes Linux a formidable opponent for bad actors.
5. Linux is more private
If you use Windows, Microsoft will create an Advertising ID for you and add information about your usage for the purpose of ad targeting. The feature requires you to log out, so it will work by default until you choose otherwise.
With Linux, you get a lot more respect for your privacy. Linux does not record your usage data and sends it to a data warehouse. There is no voice command feature that registers your voice patterns to create a vocal fingerprint.
Some distributions may ask if you want to contribute to development by sending anonymized data to the developers so that they know what features you are using. Here, too, it is up to you whether and how you want to support the project.
6. No built-in advertising
Tired of Windows pushing Microsoft products onto your desktop? Remember when Microsoft Edge had a bug that pestered people beyond the reason of making Bing their default search engine? Microsoft is also known to have included banners in its classic, popular Windows games like Minesweeper and Solitaire.
Linux never attracts you to this slimy stuff. The makers usually don’t own any profitable products and don’t rely on advertising money, so they have no reason to push certain software or add ads to their distributions.
7. Linux is open source
The Linux kernel and most of the software that comes with it are open source. This means that the source code is publicly available for developers, security professionals, and anyone else who is curious. With Linux, you know what you’re getting.
With Windows, whose code is largely proprietary and unpublished, you never really know what is going on in Microsoft’s “black box”. You are forced to put your complete trust in a private company and assume that it has your best on its mind.
8. Gaming on Linux is better than ever
Linux has had a bad reputation in the gaming world for a long time. Game developers usually don’t prioritize official Linux support and instead focus only on Windows and sometimes macOS.
In terms of capabilities, however, Linux has increasingly become comparable to Windows. The Steam platform, for example, has made great strides in porting Windows games to Linux through their Proton utility. Other projects like Lutris make it easier to configure Wine and other compatibility tools.
9. Linux revives old PCs
Windows’ many capabilities and functions cost more than money: it is either too slow or inevitably slows down over time. Your hardware will soon be too old for Windows’ resource-hungry processes.
At this point, you have few options: upgrade your hardware, replace the device, or replace Windows with Linux.
Bringing old PCs back to life is one of the most convenient uses of Linux. The Linux kernel typically manages RAM and other resources more efficiently than Windows. Plus, Linux never imposes bloatware on you. Switching to Linux instead of upgrading reduces waste and uses “outdated” hardware.
10. Big organizations and governments have adopted it
When you switch to Linux, you find yourself in the company of world market leaders and technological innovators. A number of private and public organizations use Linux either in its cutting edge technology or on their daily workstations.
For example, NASA’s historic helicopter, “Ingenuity”, navigated the airways of Mars with a Linux version in its on-board computer. SpaceX also uses Linux to control its space-based rockets.
The French National Gendarmerie uses a custom Linux distribution called GendBuntu. They completely migrated to the Ubuntu derivative in 2014 when Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP.
Google employees also use a Debian-based distribution called gLinux on their workstations. Such organizations usually cite cost efficiency and independence from private companies as the motivation for switching to Linux.
11. Linux is highly customizable
While you can customize the look of Windows to some extent, your creative freedom remains limited.
With Linux, customization is often limited only to your own abilities and creativity. Depending on your desktop environment, you may be able to create your own taskbars and widgets, change the look and feel of windows, add new icons and fonts, and much more.
One of the perks of Windows that you might miss is 24/7 customer support and extensive support from third-party computer services.
If you need help with your Linux device, your best bet is to visit the active and vibrant Linux community. Each distribution has its own followers, and you can often find them on a Discord server, Telegram group, forum, or all of those things. Most members will endeavor to help people with problems.
Afraid of looking like a “noob” because you’re not a Linux expert? Stick with distributions like Linux Mint, Zorin OS, or Manjaro that want to be friendly and accessible to new users. The support forums will no doubt be more welcoming than Arch or Gentoo’s, which require a certain level of advanced skill and knowledge.
The best reasons to switch to Linux
So what’s holding you back? You get more privacy, security and speed without financial costs. You no longer have to put up with forced updates, disgusting ads, and limited customizations. Linux knows how to get the most out of your hardware, while Windows just keeps getting bigger and slower over time.
You will find that getting started with Linux is easy. Even if you’re not sure if you want to say goodbye to Windows, there are several ways you can try Linux before you commit.
Want to use Linux but don’t know where to start? Learn how to use Linux, from choosing a distribution to installing apps.
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