Linux is a growing operating system adding more and more users to its user base each year. It is a fabulous operating system and a great alternative to Windows and Mac.
But its increasing popularity also demands that it keep changing and upgrading with new technology. Like every other operating system, Linux also got its ups and downs. But is it worth using Linux when professional operating systems like Windows and Mac are skyrocketing?
This article will discuss the Top 10 biggest Advantages and Disadvantages of the Linux operating system. In the end, I will leave this choice upon you to decide if Linux is worth a try or not.
Disadvantages Of Linux
- No standard edition
- Hard Learning Curve
- Limited market share
- Lack of proprietary software
- Difficult to troubleshoot
- Poor support for games
- Unsupported Hardware
- Lack of technical support
- No hibernation
- No unified installer/package manager
No standard edition
Instead of one single edition like Windows and Mac, Linux has several community-developed editions called Distro or distributions.
This often confuses newbies. Choosing a standard Linux operating system for use is pretty difficult for beginners.
No standard edition also means that the community is divided. Getting support for one special edition of Linux will be even more challenging.
Every Linux operating system has its own separate package manager, for which each software has to be packed differently. This makes publishing software for Linux a tedious task.
Linux can also not compete with Windows and mac due to the same reason. However, if it has just one and only one single standard edition, then the story would be a lot different.
Hard Learning Curve
For Windows users and users with less technical experience, learning Linux is hard. You need to know how to handle the Terminal. It is very similar to the command prompt in Windows.
Although you won’t use Terminal every time you do something in Linux, but you will have to use it to complete your task at one point or another.
There are tons of tutorials for learning Linux on the web. However, the learning curve of every Linux distribution is different.
For example, some Linux distros like Linux mint are made beginner-friendly, while distributions like Arch are pure pain for even experienced Linux users.
Limited Market Share
Limited Market Share is the biggest problem Linux is facing currently. Due to its small market share, popular Windows and Mac applications are not ported to Linux by developers.
This is the reason why many people don’t use Linux. Your favorite applications might and might not be available for Linux.
And it is hard to find computers with Linux pre-loaded on them for purchase on stores like Amazon and eBay easily.
Lack of Proprietary Software
Many big developers don’t even bother publishing their software on Linux because of its small market share.
One such example is Adobe. No Adobe software is available for Linux, and most don’t operate properly over Wine.
Linux also lacks good video editing software. There are only two helpful video editing software; Kendlive and DaVinci Resolve. While DaVinci Resolve is for more advanced video editing, Kdenlive is for simple video edits.
But none of these provide as good functionality as Wondershare Filmora or Adobe After effect for Windows.
Difficult to Troubleshoot
Troubleshooting in Linux might be complex if you are not a tech expert. It is also hard to find someone to help you with your Linux problems. Every user faces different issues, and an answer to that might not be available on the web.
Issues are caused due to different Hardware and software, and the user will have to find a cure for the problem himself.
Most of the Linux software are open source and developed by various community users. You get no warranty, and the software might or might not work on your system.
Finding technical support regarding such software is also very time-consuming. You will have to submit a bug report and wait for the publisher to solve the issue.
Poor Support for Games
Popular video games run on Window’s Direct X technology which is not available for Linux. Hence, Linux misses out on many games.
For the past few years, Steam has done great work to bring more games to the Linux platform.
Technology like Steam Proton, Wine, and Lutris make gaming on Linux possible. However, they are still not native to Linux and do not run as smoothly as they would run on the platform they are made for.
However, this is not a significant downside of Linux because, with fast-evolving technology like Cloud gaming, it is now possible to play any game on Linux.
This is one more significant issue with Linux distributions. There is no proper concept of Drivers in Linux like other operating systems. Instead, all drivers are built in the Linux kernel itself.
But the Kernel can not have drivers for every Hardware. This raises a compatibility issue with some hardware devices.
Printers and WiFi cards are most hit with this issue. Users generally face problems while using printers with Linux. Many WiFi cards that come pre-installed in your Laptop might not be compatible with Linux or need extra configuration to work.
Lack of Technical Support
Sooner or later, you will surely need technical support for your system. However, unlike Windows and Mac, there are no local stores or on-demand support services you can use to solve your problem.
You will have to depend on the Linux community on Stackoverflow, Reddit, and various other community forums, which can not guarantee instant help or expertise.
It is also hard to figure out the problem in Linux, so the chances are that if you are facing some driver or hardware-based issue, then you will have to hope to another Linux distribution.
Hibernation is an excellent feature that every operating system must-have, but either Linux distributions miss out on this feature wholly or it is unstable.
Hibernation is very useful in certain situations and saves a lot of time. Soon, the developers might improve this feature, but the current state of Hibernation in Linux is terrible.
This feature is available for Windows users but users switching from Windows to Linux might find it troublesome due to the lack of Hibernation in Linux.
No Unified Installer / Package Manager
Unlike Windows, which has only exe files, every Linux distribution has its own Package manager, making it difficult for developers to build and deploy Linux applications.
Fedora has RPM, Debian has DPKG, and Arch has Pacman. There is no united package manager for all distributions by default.
These were all the Disadvantages of using Linux over other popular operating systems. If Linux has cons, then it has some extreme benefits too. Let us now discuss the advantages of using Linux.
Advantages of Linux
- Highly Secure
- Free and Open Source
- Easy to use
- Absolute Freedom over your system
- High Performance
- Proper use of System Resources
- Easily Install Software
- Better Software Updates
Linux is a highly secure operating system. Your security and privacy are put first before anything else in Linux.
There are locks on every layer which prevent your system from getting hijacked. The cases of a daily Linux user getting Virus are sporadic.
Linux does not generally get a virus because it is lock out malware and other software, causing trouble. Also, since it does not have a significant share in the market, Hackers and viruses usually do not target Linux distributions meant for daily use.
There is also a very great diversity among different Linux distributions making it harder for malware to target you and disrupt your peaceful life.
Unlike Windows, where every user is an Administrator, Linux highly restricts root access. The typical user only has enough permission to use the system without causing trouble.
Because Linux users have low automatic access rights and require additional permissions to open attachments, access files, or adjust kernel options. It is harder to spread malware and rootkits on a Linux system.
Although Linux systems get bugs that are hard to troubleshoot and solve, they are rare. Linux distributions are pretty stable and constantly updates with the latest bug fixes.
Every Linux distribution is tested thousands of times before releasing a stable version. When the Linux kernel gets an update, it is tested by your Linux distribution developers beforehand to ensure that it is stable and compatible with the operating system.
These layers of stability checks keep your system bug-free and ensure the best performance.
Linux is released under the GNU GPL license. It is free to download, use and share in any way you want. This means you can contribute to the Linux system and review the code and any functionality yourself.
You need not pay a single penny for using Linux ever. You can use Linux for free as long as you want.
Linux software are also mostly open-source and free. You get a variety of thousands of free software which you can choose from and easily install from the Software manager.
Unlike Windows and Mac ecosystem, Linux does not cost you and keeps you in the free software loop. You can use alternatives to any popular software free on Linux, and some are good options while others are even better than the original software.
Easy to Use
Linux is the easiest operating system to use if you know the basics. In contrast to what people normally say, Linux is even easier than Windows to use.
It is way more less complicated than Windows or Mac, but it does have a steep learning curve. If you learn even the basics of Linux, you will love it.
Linux is highly customizable and lightweight, with no bloatware or heavy applications that limit your productivity.
Linux has many different, very simple, and easy-to-use desktop environments. That boosts your productivity and an easy system to install any software in just one line of command.
Especially for programmers, Linux is heaven. You can install all necessary programming tools with just one click.
Absolute Freedom Over Your System
Linux distributions give you absolute freedom over your system. You are free to do whatever you want, customize however you want, tweak as much as you wish; there are no restrictions.
You can even change your whole desktop environment or make your system look just like Windows or Mac.
There are tens of desktop environments available that you can choose from. A few of them are Cinnamon, Mate, Unity, KDE, and hundreds of themes and docks.
You are free to change your system to maximum possibility and install anything without restriction.
Linux systems are very low on resources and can run on even 500 MB ram or at 256 MB RAM at the lowest. Linux uses resources very efficiently and can run on low spec hardware quickly.
While Windows and Mac struggle to perform well on even good hardware, Linux is used to revive old computers with meager specs.
Suppose you are also facing the issue of Windows running slower on your system. In that case, you should consider giving Linux a try.
Proper Use of System Resources
Linux uses system resources very efficiently. Be it RAM or HDD. You need not have much space on your system to run Linux. Even 10 GB is enough to run any Linux distribution properly.
Linux can manage itself even when there is almost no space left on the system. This is probably the best advantage of Linux.
You need not worry about space management on your storage device. Linux uses very little space and can function smoothly on that.
On the other hand, Linux distributions are very lightweight. They function smoothly on even the oldest hardware and the lowest RAM.
You can choose a Linux distribution and desktop environment that best support your hardware from a wide range and variety.
You get the right to Privacy with Linux. Unlike other operating systems which collect your data and use it to target you based on your online behavior, Linux has nothing to do with such things.
You also get access to lots of open source applications that, in contrast to premium applications in Windows, do not steal your data.
Easily Install Software
This is the best part of using Linux, to install any software, you can open Terminal and type out one line of command to install the software.
Most of the tutorials are based around the Terminal, so you only need to copy and paste from the tutorial into your Terminal to get the work done.
You can download AppImage of software from the web, which runs universally on every Linux operating system without the need for installation.
Better Software Updates
Linux beat every operating system in terms of Software and system updates. New and more stable updates are released once in a while, and these software are very easy to upgrade to. Unlike Windows, which takes hours to upgrade/update, Linux updates are short in download size and take under a minute to install with no reboot required.
So that next time when you switch on, you won’t have to deal with an “updating the system” message for hours.
Linux updates are also very stable and ideally tested before publication. The chances of updates breaking your system in Linux are very rare.
A new version of the operating system is also released yearly, which you can upgrade to without removing your old operating system and directly upgrading to.
Like every operating system, Linux has its ups and downs; with time, Linux keeps upgrading itself and getting better each day.
More and more users are joining the Linux world; most of the problems in Linux can be avoided or solved with intermediate or basic technical experience.
The reasons to not use Linux are diminishing with every new update. Now It’s up to you to decide if Linux is worth it or not?