Why you should try Linux today: 6 compelling reasons
There’s never been a better time to give Linux a try in addition to the lack of viruses and spying in the Linux world
Wait, don’t slam on that back button! I’m not one of those rabid “Year of the Linux desktop” types. Windows works just fine for hundreds of millions of people, and—sorry, Linux lovers—there’s little to suggest Linux usage will ever be more than a rounding error compared to Microsoft’s behemoth.
That said, there are some pretty compelling reasons you might want to consider switching to Linux on your computer, or at least give it a hassle-free trial run.
1. Windows 10’s taking away your choices
Bear with me. This may seem off-topic, but it’s the crux of the issue for a lot of people. Linux’s most alluring feature for many won’t be anything that Linux actually does, but what it doesn’t do. And it’s all due to Microsoft’s folly.
Windows 10 may be the best Windows ever (and I use it daily on my primary PC) but Microsoft’s pulled some tricks that range from questionable to downright gross in order to drive its adoption numbers higher, and to coax you into using the myriad Microsoft services and paid upgrades baked into the operating system.
On a Windows 8.1 PC. Mostly full screen pop-up. No clear “No thanks” button, just download Windows 10 now or later. pic.twitter.com/RRoaFMST9r
— Brad Chacos (@BradChacos) December 11, 2015
It began with endless pop-ups on Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs—pop-ups that started innocently enough before crossing the line into deceptive malware-like tactics. When that didn’t boost adoption numbers high enough, it morphed into nastier tricks and full-on forced upgrades that prompted some fearful owners to disable Windows updates completely rather than be pushed into Microsoft’s new operating system.
More recently, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update bundled some severe negatives in with its plentiful positives. The Cortana digital assistant, which pings Bing servers whenever you search your PC, is damned near impossible to disable completely now. And when I upgraded my primary PC to the Windows 10 AU, I discovered that all of the settings related to the many ways Windows 10 pushes ads at you were re-enabled, after I’d explicitly disabled them prior. None of my other system settings appear to have been touched. Yuck.
What’s more, Windows 10 changed the way it handles updates to more closely resemble mobile operating systems. You can’t pick and choose which patches to install, or even refuse updates on consumer operating systems. If Microsoft pushes a Windows 10 update, you will receive it eventually. The company also tweaked the way Windows 7 and 8 handle patching. Now, you can no longer choose which individual updates to install; you have to take the whole kit and caboodle.
By default, Windows 10 beams much more of your data back to Microsoft than previous Windows versions as well. Most of it can be disabled, but most people don’t dive that far into system settings.
Lots of people are still plenty happy with Windows 10, don’t get me wrong. But these moves are also ruffling the feathers of a lot of users. At the same time…
2. Linux is more polished than ever
Most major Linux distributions never abandoned the basic principles of the desktop. While Microsoft enraged the world with the Windows 8 disaster, popular Linux distros like Fedora and Linux Mint kept their heads down and spit-polished the traditional PC interface.
For people used to Windows XP and Windows 7, some Linux distros may be easier to wrap your head around than Windows 8 and 10—both of which have a learning curve, just like switching to Linux. Linux Mint’s “Start menu” bears much more similarity to the traditional Windows Start menus than Windows 10’s Live Tile-infused alternative, that’s for sure.
Better yet, Linux’s dark days of rampant incompatibility with PC hardware—especially networking and audio components—have largely been eradicated. Most Linux operating systems just plain work with a wide swathe of modern PCs and PC hardware, though you may need to perform a few extra steps to install Linux on a PC with Intel’s Secure Boot enabled. Better yet, you can test Linux distros on your PC before actually installing them, so you’ll know whether everything works. We’ll get into that a bit later though.
The key point, however, is that Linux is no longer a janky, broken mess useful only to dyed-in-the-wool geeks anymore. There are numerous polished, refined distros that anybody can pick up and use.
3. Open-source software is, too
The quality—or lack thereof—of open-