01 Aug Three reasons why more people should be using Linux
Since the late 1990s, three operating systems (OSs) have dominated the desktop market: Microsoft Windows, Apple’s macOS, and open source Linux. As of June 2022, Windows has a 76 percent market share, while macOS – the second largest OS – controls approximately 14 percent. Despite having millions of users worldwide, Linux users represent less than three percent of the market.
Many run-of-the-mill PC and laptop users are unaware of Linux, perhaps because it is not preinstalled on devices, as Windows and macOS are. Despite having a significantly smaller market share, Linux offers benefits that users appreciate.
Why do users opt for Linux as an alternative?
- Freedom and customisation
It is worth disclaiming that Linux itself is not actually an OS, rather a kernel for an ecosystem of OSs. Users can choose from more than 300 Linux distributions (known as ‘distros’), including Ubuntu and Debian, that offer a world of choice when it comes customisation. Users can opt for the system that best suits their needs, whether for fun, work, software development, or simply because it gives users more freedom of choice. There is a distro for almost any purpose!
Better yet, Linux is an open-source software meaning users can contribute and enhance the source code. The more people that contribute, the better the code, enhancing the overall user experience. Linux is also the most configurable OS available; users can easily personalise the appearance of their desktop by tweaking elements such as fonts and icon, or installing a new desktop environment entirely.
Linux also has a reputation for being extremely reliable. It has excellent security credentials with very few reports of hacking. Open source code is considered safer than closed source as there are typically more people scanning open source code for issues. Also, unlike Windows, Linux does not grant full ‘root’ access to its user accounts. This means if a virus slips through the cracks, it can only access files and folders on one individual device; it cannot access the wider network.
Linux is also well regarded for its privacy. Windows OS users require a Microsoft account to log in; macOS users are not restricted in this way, though an Apple account is needed to access features such as the Apple Store. During this process, users are giving their data to these companies. Linux has no such constraints.
It also does not track users when using apps. Each distro comes with its own preinstalled apps that mirror the apps you would typically find on Windows or macOS – such as web browsers, maps, and email. The difference is that Linux does not track the user journey or online habits and does not collect data because there is no profit motive at play.
A blueprint for privacy
More consumers are opting for safer and more private alternatives that protect their personal information and prevent their online habits being tracked. Linux is on a mission to ensure that users always have the choice to protect their data, without compromising on user experience. As data harvesting becomes a more prominent issue among consumers, it will be interesting to see whether users stray from market leaders to prioritise their own security, privacy, and freedom.