OPINION: Make the switch to a Linux operating system

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Have you ever been frustrated by Windows shutting down to update right before a due date for an important assignment? What about the limited hardware customizability in an Apple machine? Among these titans in the operating system industry, there is actually a third operating system — Linux.

Linux is a free, open-source operating system. Even if the name is unfamiliar to you, you most likely have encountered a form of Linux. Android phones, smart TVs and even a smart refrigerator use Linux. The operating system is also widely used in other areas, like in 97 percent of the world’s top 500 supercomputers. Due to its widespread use, there’s a reason why this operating system beats the rest.

If you use Windows or Mac, you should switch to Linux, since Linux offers vast community support, security, transparency, and freedom.

Should you have a problem on a Linux system, finding a solution online is much easier than on Windows or Mac. Instead of submitting support tickets and waiting days for a reply, there are many online forums — notably askubuntu.com —  providing support. Answers are quicker and more personalized. The Linux community as a whole has a great understanding of Linux, it is difficult to encounter a problem that can’t be solved.

In the past decade, internet and technology security has been a great concern. Linux, however, is much more secure than Windows and Mac. If there is a security threat in the software, users will quickly point it out. Linux will not spy on you as Windows 10 does.

Linux systems are also more foolproof against viruses. Software is usually downloaded through official repositories. This may be more secure for people who are less in touch with technology.

Open-source nature also leads to transparency. In early 2018, Apple was discovered to slowing down older models of iPhones. This lack of transparency led to a large backlash on the company. Due to Linux’s open-source nature, the users know exactly what they are getting, so Linux will always be 100 percent transparent.

Linux gives the user more freedom on how they use the operating system. Users may install themes to make their computer look however they want. The themes are so diverse, users can make their computer look like Windows or Mac while it functions as a Linux machine. High customization is totally possible because of Linux’s high customization and open-source code.

Linux is a very powerful operating system, but it may not be for everyone. Due to a smaller user base, Linux systems have less software support than Windows or Mac. Software such as Photoshop or Microsoft Office are not available on Linux, but even so, there are free alternatives such as Gimp and Libre office.

Furthermore, if you’re a gamer, Linux may not be the right choice. While it is possible to game on Linux, Windows has much better driver support and support for games. Linux also has a steeper learning curve as many operations are done through the terminal. Through the terminal, users use text-based commands to navigate and operate the computer. Users that are unfamiliar with the environment may struggle.

Luckily, those who are unsure about Linux can try it out. Users can either dual boot Linux with their current operating system or opt to use a virtual machine.

For students who use their computers for productive work, Linux is an excellent operating system. Linux can cater to many needs. If you need a minimalistic, light, and smooth running operating system, you can customize your system to be so. Also, nothing speaks more to a college student than something being free.