Linux offers an alternative to Microsoft and Apple’s operating systems

Grant Campbell

Leo Castell, Staff

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For those in the know, Linux is a cool, unfortunate secret. Unfortunate – not because it’s bad, but because it doesn’t get enough attention from consumers or manufacturers. This lack of spotlight has always been a part of Linux’s history, but it has managed to get by over the years on the goodwill of a dedicated minority of people who have a passion for computers. Linux is all about making the personal computer as personal as it can possibly be.

For those who don’t know, Linux is an operating system for computers, like Windows or macOS, defined by its ultra customizability. If you’re a tech nerd who is fascinated by the ones and zeroes firing off behind your favorite applications, then Linux was made for you.

The two most popular distributions of Linux are Ubuntu and Linux Mint, which are, respectively, Linux-flavored versions of OS X and Windows. I prefer Ubuntu to OS X because it retains the slick interface present in most Macs, while also incorporating a robust and much more user-friendly interface than Windows.

If you’re the type of person who was very fond of Windows 7, and Windows 8 or 10 were disappointments for you, then Linux Mint is for you. It’ll feel like the successor to Windows 7 you always wanted, with the only downside being that not enough developers support it, especially if you’re into computer gaming. Most productivity applications and even powerful video editing software have extremely competitive alternatives available on Linux (often for free), but games aren’t one of them.

It’s not as bad as it used to be, though; there has been a push over the last four years to make more and more of the most popular PC games compatible with Linux. And if you’re more into the indie scene, then those games usually come out with Linux versions.

Beyond its open-source nature, Linux’s greatest strength is the ability to make old computers feel new again on a budget. There’s never a need to pirate Linux: it’s free. If you have an old Windows or Mac computer lying around that still works, but doesn’t run like it used to, consider installing Linux on it.

One benefit of Linux’s unpopularity is that far less people take the time to make Linux viruses, and those who do are quickly countered by a community of people who know computers better than the hackers do.
Linux has even less bloatware than OS X; it has none. A free operating system means that no one can jack up the price with useless programs that only make your computer worse. Linux is as pure a PC experience as you can get.

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Linux offers an alternative to Microsoft and Apple’s operating systems