For some time now, there has been an ongoing debate over which is better between Linux and Windows. Both are popular and widely used operating systems. However, the time has proven that Linux is the beast between the two given the numerous benefits it provides over Windows.
Explore some of the top reasons why Linux is a much better option and why you should consider making a switch to Linux from Windows.
1. Linux is free
Windows is a product of Microsoft and it requires a license key for installation. Sure, you can crack it using third-party tools or simply download and install a cracked version, but that equates to theft and can easily land you into legal problems. Additionally, you run the risk of infecting your system with malware from the crack tools and running into a myriad of other issues such as update errors.
At the time of writing this guide, a Windows 10 Home license goes for as much as $85 and the Professional License costs $89. This is quite pricey for most users who wish to try out and enjoy the benefits of the operating system. On the other hand, Linux is free to download and install - at least for the major Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, CentOS, Linux Mint, Rocky, AlmaLinux, and Fedora to mention a few. You don't require a license to install. You simply head over to their main sites, download the ISO image and make a bootable USB or DVD drive and you are good to go!
There are a few exceptions to this such as RHEL and SUSE which are Enterprise Linux distributions that require an annual subscription to receive package updates and enterprise support. Nonetheless, a vast majority of Linux distributions are free to download and use.
2. Linux is opensource
The Linux operating system is the biggest open-source project released under the GNU General Public License ( GPL ). It was written by Linus Torvalds as an alternative to MINIX whose design principles were based on UNIX. The GPL license belongs to the free and open-source software domain and numerous software applications have been released under its licensing model.
The GPL licensing model removes any restrictions on Linux and gives users access to the Linux source code. Anyone can view the code, modify it, and redistribute it provided that they are doing so within the same licensing model. Being open-source has opened doors to the emergence of numerous Linux distributions and several applications which are actively maintained by the community.
Windows is proprietary and closed-source and this locks out users from accessing the source code. However, it is important to mention that Microsoft has been gradually adopting opensource with projects such as Visual Studio Code, Windows Terminal, and Windows Subsystem for Linux ( WSL ).
3. Enhanced security
Let's be honest, Windows is a constant target for hackers. Of all the computers, Windows PCs are the most vulnerable to malware. According to the AV Test security report of 2019/2020, approximately 83% of the malware targeted Windows computers in the first quarter of 2020. This number is expected to rise as years go by. There are two reasons why Windows is a common target. First, the Operating system is commonplace especially among office and home users. And secondly, Windows has numerous inherent security flaws that make it a prime target for malware attacks. Users have to contend with the possibility of a Trojan, worm, or a virus or attacks from connecting to other devices.
The case is quite different when it comes to Linux. Due to its small market share, hackers don't typically attack Linux systems. Globally, Linux has less than 5% market share and this is not enough to incentivize hackers to focus their attention on Linux. It makes perfect sense for a hacker to create malware for Windows since it will impact a huge number of users. Also, it's more difficult to execute malicious code on a Linux system. Regular users need adequate permissions before they can execute scripts or applications.
4. Plenty of customization options
Linux has a lot going for it in terms of customization. It making tweaks on the general look-and-feel, then Linux is the operating system that you need. For desktop enthusiasts, Linux provides tons of beautiful themes, polished icon themes, and numerous custom wallpapers. In addition, you can install various desktop environments on various distributions to enhance the overall UI. If you are not happy with GNOME, you can install and enable XFCE or KDE Plasma. You can also install Conky which is a lightweight program that visualizes your system's metrics on the desktop in an appealing style.
5. Support for numerous hardware architectures
Linux runs on a wide range of architectures including x86 family of Intel processors ( both 32-bit and 64-bit), AMD, and ARM ( arm and arm_64). Some lightweight Linux distros such as MX Linux, Slax, Linux Lite, Kubuntu, and Ubuntu MATE can be used to revive old computers with low computing specifications.
Apart from its impressive support for a wide range of architectures, Linux is a portable OS. You can install it on a flash drive and run the OS on any PC with USB support. In addition, you can also move code from one architecture to another without any issues.
7. Availability of several Linux flavors
Linux provides tons of flavors or distributions each unique in its own way. You can download and try out or install your preferred distribution to meet your specific needs. There are distributions tailored for server or enterprise environments due to their impeccable stability and security such as CentOS, Rocky, and AlmaLinux. For a remarkable desktop experience, you can install Linux Mint, Ubuntu. Deepin, and Manjaro Linux. Gamers can take pleasure in Garuda Linux AND Pop! OS.
Simply put, there is a Linux flavor tailored for every need, whether for entertainment, office productivity, gaming, desktop, or server purposes. You can find a list of the top 100 popular Linux distributions on distrowatch.
8. Pre-installed Text editors
Linux provides a wealth of pre-installed and feature-rich text editors such as vim and nano. These editors provide special capabilities such as searching text, copying and pasting text, line numbering, and so on. Windows is limited to just notepad & Wordpad which are basic in their functionality.
Apart many software is ready to use just after the installation such as Office suite, Multimedia, decent Browser, and Email client, Printer and Scanner.
9. Improved reliability and performance
Linux is considered a more stable and reliable system compared to Windows. Linux filesystems such as Ext4 are considered faster in terms of read and writes. Ext4 filesystems are journaling systems and hence do not require defragmentation, unlike NTFS which is prone to disk fragmentation over long-term use. It's for this reason that most websites and applications are hosted on Linux servers.
Windows can be sluggish with long-term use and require periodic reboots. Sometimes running Windows updates can take ages to complete with several reboots. With Linux, all it takes is a simple command to update all your software packages and repositories.
10. Support for various programming languages
Out of the box, Linux provides native support for popular languages such as Python, Java, Perl, Ruby C, and C++ among many others. The bash terminal is considered robust compared to the Windows command prompt. In fact, bash scripting is one of the main features that programmers admire in Linux as it provides them the flexibility and power to write shell scripts to automate various system functions.
Additionally, the presence of various package managers such as apt, dnf, and yum makes it easy to managed software packages with ease which enhances the general handling of the operating system.
11. Great Community support
Of all the operating systems, Linux offers impeccable community support. You can get technical assistance on online forums from seasoned Linux experts and developers at absolutely no cost. Major distributions such as Ubuntu have full-fledged community forums which address common issues that users encounter. All you have to do is to post your issue on the forums. There are hundreds of active users who are always ready to respond and help you out.
If you ever had misgivings about switching to Linux, we hope that you have now reconsidered your decision and are willing to cross over to the amazing world of Linux. The benefits are immense and you will most definitely reap big from all the advantages that we have outlined.