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Godwill Barasa
Godwill Barasa

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Why you should be using Linux ( as a Kenyan Software Engineer )

If you are reading this, you likely fall into two categories: either you are a powerhouse Linux user already looking at this, thinking β€œOh jeez, noobs” or you are a Windows user thinking β€œ Linux is so cool, plus I’m tired of always having to restart my laptop. Is it overwhelming? Is it better than Windows? As a software developer will I be able to run my favorite tools of trade on the platform? Which distro should I use?”

This article will help answer the questions β€œnoobs” might want to know before The Exodus.

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First of all, this is not going to be that article that bashes the great work of Bill Gates or Microsoft. I think Microsoft is cool, I think Bill Gates is cool. Microsoft has the best engineers who work really hard and are talented. They create great products and in fact : for some of you trading a Windows Platform for a Linux one would be infeasible but possible i.e. I cannot work with Adobe for my UX projects.

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But wait is that a bad thing?

No more Microsoft Office? No more Premiere pro for my amarture youtube videos ?

Hold your horses. There are some points you have to know first.

Open Source

The open source way is a set of principles derived from open source software development models and applied more broadly to additional industries and domains. Its principles include transparency, collaboration, realising early and often, inclusive meritocracy and community.

These are the same principles that are the foundation of great software products especially for developers; projects such as React, GraphQL and many technologies were developed with this methods. Such collaboration and transparency is made possible by version control Git. No wonder, Git and Linux share the same creator Linus Tovaldi.

Open source is the most important feature for the platform even though most people seem to not care about it.

Secure

From its very inception, security has been a cornerstone of the Linux operating system. Each user has to be walled off from others, and a password and user ID are required for an individual to use Linux.

Users also have lower automatic access rights, which makes it harder for them to perpetuate the spread of malware by accessing a wide range of files on the computer.

The open source format with many different operating environments, system architectures, and components β€” such as different email clients β€” also makes it more difficult for malware to sweep through it.

No operating system is totally secure. One issue currently facing Linux is its growing popularity.Linux was primarily used by a smaller, more tech-centric demographic. Now, its increasing use opens it up to the age-old problem of more users leading to an increased risk for malware infestations.

Malware already exists that is designed especially for Linux. Erebus ransomware is one example, and the Tsunami backdoor has also caused problems for users over the last few years.

Revive your old PC’s

Ready to renew life to your old dual or even single core machine. From personal experience running Windows on an old laptop, which honestly most of us have, is painful. From Windows Explorer failing, to Software freezes. Sometimes, it would happen when the machine is under very little or no load.

I tried Kubuntu, on my PC and never looked back. From those days, some devs at the office still remember me as the Kubuntu Dev. It gave a new lease of life to my Intel Celeron, 4GB RAM with a 500GB drive. Simple tasks such as browsing which was very hard with the Windows platform were breezy and snappy.

It's the perfect tool for programmers

The Linux terminal is superior to use , you would find many libraries developed natively for Linux. Developers also appreciate the use of package managers on Linux helps them get things done easily.

Interestingly, the ability of bash scripting is also one of the most compelling reasons why devs prefer using Linux OS.

However, this can be worked around on Windows, if you research.

Variety of Distributions

A Linux distribution( and there are hundreds of them) is not like the next version of Windows and macOS. Each Linux "distro" is a current version that has components that may differ slightly or greatly from another Linux distribution. For the most popular ranked by hits per day, visit www.distrowatch.com.

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Trying out distros is the only way to get the one perfect for you. You can also take my word for it, since we take advice from strangers on the internet : Ubuntu, Elementary OS, Kubuntu, CentOS and for extreme niche techies Arch Linux.

You could be the Linux Mint guy, its not as cool as Kubuntu guy, but hey, you know. It's cool.

Community

Linux has one of the largest communities on the Internet to help people get their queries cleared. From Linux Questions to help you get Linux solutions, Stack OverFlow, Unix Stack : when(certainly not if) you run into problems.

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That's right. You never have to know something, you just copy paste from the internet. Cool, right?

My very opinionated opinion

As Vusi Thembekwayo once said, self identity limits your potential. I believe a good workflow for diverse technologists like us needs diverse tools to do diverse tasks.

You can have both.
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Either:

  1. WSL2 Route - There are fears in the developer community that Windows Subsystem for Linux could be a way to embrace, extend, and extinguish Linux.

Richard Stallman has expressed fears that integrating Linux functionality into Windows will only hinder the development of free software.

  1. Dual-booting - Linux is a great operating system with widespread hardware and software support, but the reality is that sometimes you have to use Windows, perhaps due to key apps that won't run on Linux. Thankfully, dual-booting Windows and Linux is very straightforwardβ€”and I'll show you how to set it up, with Windows 10 and Ubuntu, in this article.

Both of them are excellent options. If you were successful on your path to Ubuntu. Get in touch with me on LinkedIn, talk to me about your experience. I reply in less than 30 minutes

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Until next time, See you later.

And stay safe. Don't be weird and keep your mask on.

Top comments (1)

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tardisgallifrey profile image
Dave

Microsoft is learning to play in the Open Source world. I've been a Linux user since 2008 and this year I've been able to start learning C# (which I thought I'd never like, but I do.) and running .NET Core and Visual Studio Code on my Linux Mint. So, the lines are blurring.

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