Linux is not for everyone

December 14th 2020 on Dušan's blog

Linux is one of the most versatile operating systems around. It's by far the most used operating system on servers (including the server this website is running on) and if you include Android and various IoT devices then Linux is the most widely used kernel in the world. That being said that versatility doesn't come without a cost. If you're used to the Microsoft™ Windows way of running your daily computing, learning Linux is a curve, a very, very steep one. In fact it's so steep that many people outright give up, which brings me to the point. Linux is not for everyone!

When I first started experimenting with Linux back in 2012, I found that the system required me to take a very big leap of faith every time I used it. Some hardware wouldn't work correctly and in my case the wireless adapter straight out didn't work. And here is where most people would call it quits, say Linux is terrible and quickly go back to using Windows or Mac OS. To be fair in the years since the hardware support has improved tremendously and today the Linux kernel contains drivers for almost anything you can throw at it.

One thing, however, remained a constant to this day. To use Linux to its fullest extent you require a different mindset. A prime example is the Linux, or rather, UNIX™ shell, the terminal, the thing novices desperately try to avoid like the bubonic plague. The terminal is the single most powerful part of this operating system, but it requires the willingness to learn, the excitement of the opportunity to solve one's problems for themselves.

The second reason Linux is not for everyone, and especially for the people who don't like change is exactly that, change. These people expect that when they change to a different operating system, a system with a completely different architecture mind you, that they should be able to not change their workflow, not even a bit. They'll want to keep using the software they've been using, and if some of it doesn't work or is flat out unavailable they blame the system for it. As Luke Smith brilliantly put it in one of his videos, install Linux and suffer! You must be willing to accept change, to adapt your workflow to the new environment, but the single most important thing is, you must be willing to learn!

Learning is hard, it consumes your time, it requires tons of effort, a lot of frustration, but it'll eventually pay off. Therefore it's no wonder that the people who get the most out of Linux are the same people that put tremendous amounts of work into it. The system rewards them for their efforts and their arsenal grows that much stronger. As your proficiency increases you'll begin to wonder how you ever did things any other way.

So here's the thing folks. If you truly, truly want to learn Linux, be prepared to take leaps of faith along the road, a lot of them. Tinker, brake things, fix things, but most importantly never give up. The road to success is littered with failure, sometimes even failure after failure, but not only will your skill set grow along the way, but you'll see the wonderful world of technology in a different light. You'll discover things you never thought were possible, make things you want to make and enjoy all the freedom it brings, but also bear all of the responsibility.

The most difficult things are also the most rewarding when done successfully, and Linux is no different. Everyone wants to "switch to Linux", but almost nobody wants to put in the effort it requires. If you're one of those people, don't bother, Linux isn't and likely will never be for you. If you think you have what it takes, go on, download an ISO of one of the Linux distributions and enjoy the ride, however steep or rocky it may turn out to be.