Huan Truong

Notes from a developer


GNU/Linux, honestly, why?

Recently someone contacted me to ask why should they use GNU/Linux. So I replied below, and reposting it with the hope that someone out there will find it useful.

I am a Linux user for almost a decade now and what I can say is it's a way of thinking - a way of seeing life. Using Chrome OS or Windows is like going to a restaurant vs Linux is like learning to cook. Using Chrome OS or Windows is like going to IKEA to buy a table and Linux is like doing the woodwork yourself. Either way will get most people delicious meals and nice furniture that does the job well enough. With the latter though, some people also find the joy of being able to craft exactly what they like. Some people like to cook, some people like doing woodwork, and some people like using Linux. It might come with many frustrations at first, and it is definitely not for the faint of hearts. But, if you love to understand how computers work and why they are fun, Linux is an excellent starting point of what you want to start exploring. The experiences from using Linux might also be able to give you some insights on some of the modern issues regarding privacy, security, intellectual properties, and personal freedom.

I definitely would recommend you to be careful, resourceful and research before switching to Linux.

What I learned is:

1, Linux is not for everyone, just like cooking and woodworking is not for everyone. There is nothing you can't do with Windows, you don't need Linux to do anything. Most things you want to do will be even easier or more intuitive with Windows because it has an excellent commercial software support. But if you are willing to learn about computers, you will find Linux much more interesting.

2, Having a device that is made to work with Linux, instead of buying a random laptop and hoping it will work with Linux, will save you lots of troubles. The Chromebook for Linux is a good start because Chrome OS is essentially a very specialized version of Linux. You can download a more general-purpose version, such as GalliumOS and it will just work with your Chromebook without any hardware compatibility issues.

I need many, many more words to answer you this question fully, but those are the "big picture" I can give you about it. :) Hope it helps!