I’m good with computers. I’m not bragging, just providing context, because OH MY GOD DOES MY COMPUTER HATE ME WITH A BURNING PASSION.

A few weeks ago, Windows decided that there was no such thing as a WiFi network. Meaning:

  • The adapter showed up in the list of connected devices.
  • The drivers were listed as properly installed.
  • In the list of installed devices, the adapter was under the “network devices” section.
  • The list of network devices did not list my WiFi adapter.
  • WHAT.

I spent several hours a day for several days in a row trying to fix the darn thing, but even after Google searches likely numbering in the hundreds, I had made no progress at all.

So I switched to Linux. Ubuntu, specifically. And it is GREAT.

Linux allows you to do so much more than Windows (which, in turn, allows you to do so much more than OS X, by the way). It’s open-source, meaning that anyone can make their own custom version of Linux. This means that Linux is

  • Impervious to viruses. Any security hole that people have found has long since been patched, because anybody can propose changes to the official Linux code. There has yet to be a Linux virus. [DISCLAIMER: This doesn’t mean that there isn’t Linux malware!] If you run a shady program as root (to Windows users: “Run as administrator” has the same effect), then that program can still wreak havoc on your computer. Not all malware is composed of viruses- the program I described is a “trojan” (like the Trojan Horse).
  • Tailored to the user. Linux is downloaded in “distros,” short for “distributions.” Distros can be described as different “flavors” of Linux, and there’s a flavor for everyone. Don’t like the fact that Arch requires you to manually pick out every single piece of software including the graphics manager? Ubuntu comes fully functional out-of-the-box, just like Windows or OS X (but better!). Does Steam OS‘s gaming-oriented build run slowly on your old machine? Lubuntu is designed to run smoothly on any computer. Does your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot’s default (Linux) operating system seem too locked-down and hard to control? You can plug in a MicroSD card with the Debian-based ev3dev OS and run Python code on it!
  • Just generally awesome.

In my opinion, Linux is great for pretty much anyone who has at least a little bit of experience with command prompt (DOS, for example Windows) or terminal (Unix, for example OS X or Linux). If you have a spare laptop or external hard drive that you don’t use, I recommend installing Mint to try it out! Linux has a steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll never be able to go back.

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