Image: Personal screenshot.
As a dedicated Linux Power User, I find myself constantly advocating Linux to those around me. Transitioning to Linux may seem daunting if you’re set in your ways with Windows, but once you’ve embraced Linux, you’ll never look back.
macOS, on the other hand, bears a significant resemblance to Linux, as both have common roots in UNIX. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, and can afford it, macOS might be an ideal choice. However, if you crave absolute control over your software, yearn to push your device to its limits, and aspire to become an ethical hacker, Linux is the OS for you.
macOS vs Linux
Let’s begin with macOS, since its list of pros and cons will be shorter. While macOS shares many similarities with Linux, it’s considerably more locked down. Despite having comparable capabilities, access to certain features is restricted. The App Store lacks the extensive library of FOSS that most Linux distributions boast. Apple promotes primarily paid software that generates revenue for them. The biggest setback is the licensing. macOS can only be legally run on Apple’s own hardware, which is a significant limitation if you want to use a virtual machine or build your own gaming console using a Raspberry Pi. In contrast, with Linux, you have total freedom. Additionally, their license is closed source (no surprise there), so you’re unable to modify or optimize the system to cater to your specific needs.
Windows vs Linux
There’s so much to say about Windows. First, I’d like to point out that Microsoft’s past actions have left a bitter taste in the mouth of many users. They strove to monopolize the market at all costs, manipulated the government to push Intellectual Property laws, created numerous software patents that arguably should not have been allowed, and sued anyone daring to challenge their supremacy. When Linux began to dominate the enterprise sector, Microsoft initiated an anti-trust campaign against Linux and FOSS. If you’re interested in learning more about this, I’d recommend reading up on The Halloween Documents. Microsoft’s current approach appears more Linux-friendly, with open-sourcing of many of their projects, but for me, the lingering resentment still tarnishes the Microsoft experience.
- Closed source:: Prevents modifications and enhancements.
- Performance: Windows is generally slower.
- User Interface: Windows offers a single inconsistent Desktop Environment. Linux, however, provides a variety of options such as GNOME, KDE Plasma, XFCE, allowing you to customize your desktop to reflect your personality.
- Security: Windows is notorious for its security vulnerabilities and is a primary target for malware. Unix-based systems like Linux and macOS are inherently secure, negating the need for antivirus software. Ethical hackers continually test and patch any discovered vulnerabilities in Linux.
- Hardware compatibility: Linux Kernel has built-in drivers for most hardware, reducing the need for manual installations, unlike Windows.
- Software: Installing software on Linux is hassle-free. No need to navigate through multiple dialogs or risk installing bloatware. I use Fedora (more on this later), and with (Flathub)[https://www.flathub.org/], installing software is a breeze.
- Unwanted Apps: Windows systems are notorious for background applications that cause annoying popups. Linux doesn’t allow this.
- Command Prompt: You can run Linux without a Graphic Interface, and there are a lot of Command Line (CLI) Apps to achieve anything. In Windows you need Graphical Tools for nearly everything.
- Specialty Software: Notably, Microsoft’s Office Suite and Adobe’s creative tools aren’t available on Linux.
- Gaming: Most games run smoothly on Windows. On Linux, not every major game has a version. However, Steam’s compatibility layer, Proton, allows you to run Windows games on Linux. It has become so good, that the SteamDeck (which I own) runs a wide catalogue of Windows games.
Fedora: The Bleeding Edge of Linux
Fedora is in my opinion, not just the pinnacle of Linux, but the epitome of what an OS should be. The project combines the best software into a cohesive operating system, functioning harmoniously. Fedora’s main Desktop Environment (DE) is GNOME, with both complementing each other like iOS complements the iPhone. Which is the opposite of what Samsung does with Android. Samsung phones often come with replicas of Google products such as The Galaxy Store, Bixby, and Samsung Wallet, which create conflicts with The Play Store, Google Assistant, and Google Wallet respectively.
Fedora + The Upstream
In the context of open-source software, “upstream” refers to the original developers or maintainers of a software product. Fedora opts to work with the upstream, contributing to the original projects instead of creating Fedora-specific solutions.
Fedora + Red Hat Inc.
Fedora is sponsored by Red Hat Inc., the world’s most successful FOSS company. Fedora is an excellent path for aspiring System Administrators, with the RHCSA, (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) being a coveted certification in the IT world.
Fun fact: Red Hat Inc. was co-founded by Bob Young, a Canadian man from Hamilton, Ontario. He’s also the Caretaker of the Hamilton TigerCats.
Then why is Windows so Dominant, When Linux is FOSS and Better?
- Corporate Entrenchment: Many businesses have been so invested in Microsoft that a shift seems nearly impossible. Despite this, startups and younger companies are adopting Mac and Linux.
- Educational Influence: Microsoft offers heavy discounts to the education sector, leading to a familiarity bias.
- Pre-installed Windows: Manufacturers prefer preinstalling Windows due to profit from bloatware and the challenges of providing Linux support. Your computer didn't come with a free trial of McAffee, Microsoft Office, and Dropbox for no reason.
If you’re interested in embracing FOSS, consider installing a user-friendly Linux Distro such as Fedora, Ubuntu, Pop_OS!, or Linux Mint. Take your time to familiarize yourself with shell commands, watch tutorials, and learn “The Linux Way.” I guarantee that in no time, you’ll start to realize that Linux simply makes sense. Plus, you’ll save money and avoid unnecessary headaches.