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Linux Is Easier Than Windows

Is Linux harder to use compared to Windows or macOS? No, of course you may not have access to all the same applications, but there is a reason why Linux dominates the operating system used in supercomputers, servers, and even rovers sent to Mars.

Linux is often the best option for the job, and the same could be true for your laptop

1. Learning for the first time

Many aspects of Linux-based desktops are actually simpler than their proprietary, profit-oriented counterparts. Consider, for example, the Windows Start Menu button, which isn't particularly intuitive and doesn't really get the job done. It's a set of four squares representing the Windows logo, a trademark, and nothing explicitly related to running applications.

And when you open the Start menu, there's a lot of information on your screen that you might not expect. When not overwhelming, some of this information can be confusing. In Windows 11, the app icons you see are not necessarily already installed on your device.

On Linux, the app launcher might intuitively be named "Applications", or if the launcher handles more than one app, it might be named "Actions" as shown in the screenshot above. Similarly, compare the Gnome file manager to the Windows file manager and the contrast will give you an idea of ​​how simple Linux can be.

As with everything in Linux, your experience depends on which version you are using. For novice computer users, platforms like Gnome and Elementary OS are relatively easy to get to grips with. Some distributions, such as Linux Mint, can offer an experience similar to Windows but less cluttered and complex than Microsoft's.

2. Manage and open local files

Most Linux applications manage local files well. Whether you want to import photos from your camera, create playlists from your personal MP3 library, or view downloaded MP4 files, there are plenty of apps to help you get the job done seamlessly.

Problems arise when trying to interact with online services, since they are not usually designed for Linux as a support platform. Consider, for example, the number of e-reader apps available for Linux, but the lack of support from Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook can be a problem.

If you have a huge library of Kindle or Nook books, you can read them in a web browser, there are no official apps. However, if you want to keep your privacy while reducing your online digital footprint, the lack of support from these companies is actually a plus.

This is different from other operating systems, both for desktops and laptops, which are increasingly pushing you towards online services. The ability to open local files is often reserved, not necessarily the default behavior.

Many people install cross-platform FOSS apps even on Windows and macOS to play local media simply because they are often the best tools for the job.

3. Stay anonymous

When you use Linux, you don't have to make any effort to remain anonymous and avoid surveillance by the company or community that provided your operating system. In most versions of Linux, nothing you do anywhere other than your device is tracked. This means that everything you do outside of your web browser is private.

No one knows what you are doing on your computer, including what applications you install. You don't need to create an account. You don't need a product key. For the vast majority of apps, usage data is not downloaded in the background.

As soon as you open the browser, all protection options are disabled. Most versions of Linux offer no special protection against the myriad of ways that web platforms track everything you do (although there are some privacy-focused distributions that do). But if you try to get most of your digital life back offline, Linux won't keep track of what you're doing.

4. Drive encryption

Reducing online tracking isn't the only way to protect your data. If someone gains access to your computer, they can easily access the files on your hard drive or flash drive even if your computer is locked, unless you encrypt this information.

On Windows and Mac, you need to find and sometimes pay for specialized disk encryption apps. You may then be asked to use the same app to access your data.

On Linux, this feature is preinstalled. You can encrypt the drive using a default partition manager like Gnome Disk. Such applications can encrypt drives or portable hard drives.

If you want to encrypt the operating system and all personal files on your computer, this is the option you have when installing most Linux distributions. 

5. Install or reinstall the operating system

Most versions of Linux install very quickly. This is kind of a prerequisite because most people don't use Linux on machines with Linux already installed. As a side effect, Linux is also easy to reinstall if something goes wrong.

This is in contrast to Windows, which most users don't install themselves. The Windows installer works, but it's less polished than many Linux installers and it takes a lot longer to get the job done.

You'll also have to overcome more hurdles to get a Windows install image, and you'll probably also need a product license if you want to do more than just test things legally.

6. Save money

Windows and macOS apps usually cost money. Some of them require you to pay up front or make a purchase after you've tried the free trial. Other apps may insist on a monthly or yearly subscription.

The ones that don't cost money usually come with ads or other forms of tracking, fostering a culture where your ability to maintain privacy depends on how much you're willing to spend.

The vast majority of Linux apps available are free, or you can just pay what you can afford. Need to write a class paper? Working on an animation project? Video game programming? Play video? Do you want to rename thousands of photos at the same time? Or do you want to get some distraction by playing exciting games? You can do all this on Linux for free, legally, without compromising your privacy or inadvertently installing a virus.

7. Drawing and personalization

Linux makes the dream of painting and customization a reality. You can modify your computer as often as you like. Depending on your desktop environment, you don't need to install any third party applications to make this work.

This means that you can change the look of both the desktop and apps. You can change colors, customize fonts, increase the number of panels, and scatter backgrounds with tools.

You can also remove application components that you don't need, which will speed up your computer and reduce the risk of vulnerabilities in parts you don't even use

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