Anyone who works in digital marketing – client side or agency side – will have heard the word ‘Linux’. But what exactly is it? Developers and system administrators around the world have been using it for years. In this article, we give you the lowdown on Linux, so you’ll be able to take advantage of all its free and open source software.
GNU/Linux is an operating system just like Windows and Mac OS X. Without an operating system (OS), your computer would fail to launch any software – which is why all devices usually come with pre-installed systems. The main objective of an OS is to manage the communication between your software and hardware, while also delivering a user-friendly environment that allows you to use your computer efficiently and effectively.
Unlike any other OS, GNU/Linux is open source software, meaning that the code is available for the public to view, edit and contribute to. This makes Linux extremely customisable, allowing the user to change the desktop environment, alter how almost anything works, and even create their own Linux distribution that they can share with others.
Linux can be found on a large majority of internet web servers, on internet-of-things devices and can also be installed on virtually any PC or Mac hardware.
So we raise the question, why should you install Linux on your computer?
1. It’s free
One major advantage to this OS is that it’s completely free, no matter how many upgrades or changes you make to it. Compare this to the £100 upgrade you’d pay for Windows 10, and well, we know what we’d prefer.
2. It’s easy to set up
When Linux first came out in the 90s, it was impossible to navigate unless you were extremely tech-savvy due to the amount of coding knowledge required. Thankfully this is no longer the case, and anyone can easily set it up for use as there’s a lot less code, and it has the common functionality you’d see in other operating systems. If you require more information, there are plenty of forums and community websites that can help you. The majority of users can get Linux up and running within a few minutes.
3. You can run it alongside your current operating system
You don’t have to delete your current OS in order to give Linux a trial run, so if you didn’t like your experience you can easily switch back to the system you had prior. Using a blank DVD or USB, you can install Linux and its features without touching your existing OS.
4. Easy updates
If you use Windows, you know that updating can be a real pain. First you have the endless “update now” messages, then your computer shuts down while the updates take place for the next few years (or so it seems). Not only that, but your applications such as iTunes and Adobe will then use popups to notify you that they too need updating. Thankfully with Linux there’s nothing like this. Yes, Linux will notify you that you need to update, but with just one click the system AND applications will update without shutting down your device.
5. It’s very secure
Linux ticks all the boxes when it comes to security. Thanks to the few people that use this OS, there are less people that would want to hack into it. Not only that, but you don’t need to install an antivirus as Linux has got you covered. You’re saving even more money by switching to this OS, compared to if you were running Windows and had to buy an antivirus on top of that (which aren’t guaranteed to work anyway).
6. Everything you need is included
As Linux is available in many flavours called Distros (distributions), you can customise the system to suit your needs. Ubuntu is one of the most popular Distros, which comes complete with web browser Firefox, LibreOffice as a substitute for the Microsoft packages such as Word, and Thunderbird for emailing. Other well-known applications are available too, such as Skype, Spotify and Dropbox.
7. Open source
As we mentioned earlier, Linux is completely open sourced. Users can edit and customise to their heart’s content, meaning that no system will be the same and options are endless. Perfect for those with coding knowledge if they wanted to test and make changes, but also suits the needs of those who don’t code who just want a different system for their computer. Linux could even be your first step into the coding world as it’s a great place to get started with software development.
8. Compatible with lower-end hardware
Linux can be used by anyone, no matter how old their device may be or how much RAM their device has. This is a general problem when it comes to Windows for example, as Windows 7, 8 and 9 require at least 1GB of RAM, something that older hardware may not have. Linux OS has no hardware constraints.
So all in all, Linux has little to no problems as an operating system. With its excellent functionality and no price tag, there would be no reason not to install this OS, especially if you’re sick of using Windows or Mac OS. If your thoughts don’t go that deep as to what operating system you want to use, then at least you know now what Linux is and the benefits it can bring – and you can now have an informed conversation with your tech guys at the water cooler!