Major Reasons Why Tech Professionals Mostly Use Linux Operating System

Written by: IDIKA DESTINY EMEKA

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Published 2 Years Ago On Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Updated 2 Years Ago On Wednesday, February 2, 2022
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1. Linux Is Free

One reason why Linux has such a devoted following is that Linux distributions (see it as versions of Linux) are available for download free of charge. This might not sound as impressive when upgrades to proprietary OSes from Apple and Microsoft are also free these days, but in the 90s, when Linux made its debut, operating systems cost a lot of money if they didn't come with your machine. Windows, OS/2, or macOS could cost hundreds of dollars, and proprietary Unix systems could cost well over $1000, depending on which options you installed. Linux distributions, by contrast, could be downloaded for free, the only cost being the boxes of floppies you needed to install. Or if you had a CD-ROM drive, you could just buy a CD, which saved a lot of time in the dial-up internet era. Even back then, this was much cheaper than a proprietary OS, and technical people loved the fact that it was influenced by the design of the Unix systems they knew and loved.
Linux, then and now, allows people who want to explore Unix and Linux concepts to do so for a minimal investment.

2. Linux Is Open Source

During the late 90s, Linux helped popularize the open-source movement. One of the most important aspects of Linux is that the kernel or the heart of the OS, other operating system components, and many user programs are free and open-source, meaning that anyone can look at the source code and make changes. As Richard Stallman says, this software is "free as in speech." 

Since many technical people were familiar with Unix and knew at least some programming, they were willing to add things to make the system even better. This openness also extends to the design of the system itself. Linux is configured mainly through text files that you can examine with any text editor.


3. The Linux Command Line (Linux Terminal)

Another reason Linux is so beloved among techies is that it's maintained its connection to the command line [also known as Linux Terminal] in ways that Windows and macOS don't.

While you might consider macOS a cousin to Linux since it's based on the BSD Unix variant, it still presents itself as a user-friendly GUI-based system, as does Windows, even as it has a terminal application.

While Windows does have command-line interfaces, both PowerShell and, yes, even Linux, they're still used mostly by administrators in contrast to the days of MS-DOS, when everyone used the command line.

The reason for this is that the command line offers the most control over the computer. Many Linux programs only use the command line, including developer tools. This may repel normal users, but technical users appreciate it.


4. Community Support

Nobody likes listening to hold music. If you have a problem with your Linux installation, you can get help from other users. You have a choice of support, ranging from IRC, web forums, Wikis, Discord servers, even in-person user groups.

You can get help with installation or any other problems you may encounter in Linux. If it's happened to you, you're likely not the first. Someone has often posted a solution somewhere on the web.

Even if you don't have any trouble with Linux, user groups, either online or in person, offer a fun social atmosphere, likely due to the community spirit Linux seems to inspire in its users. Linux users come from all walks of life and tend to be interesting people, so it's fun to hang out with them.

There are commercial forms of support available from major distro developers like Red Hat, SUSE, and Canonical, but these are aimed more at enterprises that use Linux servers in large data centers.


5. Lots of Programming Tools

There's a reason Linux is so popular with developers: it comes with many of the tools they need to do their jobs. Editors, compilers, interpreters, debuggers, you name it, it's often included in the default system. If not, it's only a package manager command away.

The wide availability of programming tools on Linux makes it an ideal system to learn to code on. The easiest languages to get started with are the shell, since so many users use it already, and scripting languages like Perl or Python. These make it easy for users to experiment, which leads to Linux's popularity for rapid prototyping.


6. Rapid Prototyping

Linux is an ideal platform for rapid prototyping and experimentation due to its affinity for scripting languages.

Scripting languages let you work out code interactively and since they're interpreted, you don't have to wait for them to compile. This means you can develop apps quickly. Developers are free to experiment with their code this way.

A lot of websites use them behind the scenes, which is why they can roll out features before their competitors do. Interpreters may be slower than compiled programs, but developers believe the development speed outweighs the performance hit.

For many years, the shell, or command interpreter, was the go-to scripting language. While shell scripts are still useful for small jobs relating to Linux files and utilities, modern scripting languages like Python are popular because they're more portable to different systems and have lots of libraries to make programming jobs easier.


8. Linux Runs Everywhere

Linux started on x86 processors but now runs on just about every processor out there. If you have an Android phone, it's running a modified version of Linux. It's also the default operating system of the Raspberry Pi. If it exists, you can probably get Linux for it.

This is why Linux is so popular for reviving older machines that may no longer get support from Microsoft or Apple.


9. It Plays Well With Others

One of Linux's strengths is its ability to interoperate with other systems. Linux can read or write many of the same file formats on PCs and Macs.

Because a number of PC programs only ran on DOS/Windows, many users would dual boot, or run Windows and Linux on separate partitions or drives and use a boot loader to choose between them at boot time.

Later on, virtualization allowed users to run one system within the other without rebooting. With Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), you don't have to separately install Linux. You can run several popular Linux distributions on Windows 10 or 11. This means you don't have to choose between one or the other.

 

If all these features have you curious, you may wonder if Linux is for you. If you're considering a career in IT or just really like computers, Linux is well worth learning.

You don't even have to install Linux to check it out. You might try a live distro, play around with Linux and see if you like it. Perhaps one day you'll become the friend who won't shut up about Linux.





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