9 Reasons Why Linux is For the Average User

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Well, every Linux user worth his / her salt has a list of why Linux is perfect for [adjective] users, so I sat down and thought up a list for myself! 9 Reasons why Linux is for the average user. The reasons aren't in any order, just the order that I thought of them, so don't think that I place particular importance on the ones at the top, or that the ones at the bottom are a bit useless really. Anyway, read on to see why I think that Linux is perfect for the average user!

Secure

Linux is very secure by design, mostly due to the file permissions system, which prevents you from tampering with any files you don't have write access to. This more or less makes a Linux virus that does more than mess with your own files impossible to get as a normal user. If someone runs as root all the time, all the security in the world it useless – but not using root for everyday tasks is an important lessen taought in many distros.

The average user just wan't to use their computer, they don't want to fiddle around with getting it secured. Linux's inherent security is therefore a boon to them.

Stable

As long as you're not running beta, alpha, or software in any other stage of development other than "final", Linux is very stable. This is partly due to the separation of GUI and Kernel, which is not present in Windows. This means that if the GUI does freeze, the computer doesn't need to be rebooted – the GUI just needs to be killed and started again, with a keyboard shortcut.

The average user doesn't want their computer crashing all the time when they use it, they just want to use it with no hassle. Again, a good reason to use Linux.

Free

Linux, and most of its software, is free as in speech, and free as in beer. The user has the right to edit the code, and do whatever they want to it. This allows patches and bugfixes to be developed incredibly quickly by a myriad of developers using that particular program, and sent to the project maintainers upstream.

> The average user doesn't like paying hundreds of pounds for an operating system or software, freedom of price is therefore a good reason to use Linux. The average user also doesn't want buggy software, so the freedom of speech is a good reason to use Linux.

Packages

Most distributions (all?) Have some form of package manager, which makes it easy to install, remove, and update software. Coupled with online repositories (such as many distributions have), this enables the user to update the entire system with one command, or even a click if a graphical package manager is present.

The average user doesn't want to wander across the internet looking for updates for all of their software, yet many of them think this is the only way due to what I call "Windows Sheep Mentality". A package manager which can upgrade all of their software, including the OS, for free is therefore a good reason for the average user to switch to Linux.

Hardware

Linux actually supports more hardware out of the box than Windows does. Okay, so the supported hardware is often specialist, that is because Linux is very popular on servers and similar things that need to just work and use the Right Thing. However, if installed on any given computer, Linux is likely to work. Windows will probably not, especially if you have some esoteric hardware or something, without umpteen driver discs.

The average user doesn't want to upgrade their computer just to use the next version of their OS; Linux works with very old hardware as well as very new, which is a reason to use Linux.

Support

Many Linux distributions offer paid support, and almost all have a large and (usually) welcoming community who will go out of their way to help someone who needs it. This community support is usually the same quality professional paid support would be, yet is free. There are also a lot of generic Linux communities online who will help with anything if they know how, and their generic solutions will often help on many distributions.

The average user doesn't want to ring tech support and talk to an Indian person, after their call has been outed across the world, only to be told they have to reinstall Windows. Free and in-depth support is therefore good.

Variety

Linux has a lot of variety in ways that Windows and OS X just can't. One example would be the abundance of window managers and desktop environments. Another, would the base system – no two distributions are the same. This variety, coupled with the fact that there are over 300 distributions, means that there is a distribution for everyone.

The average user wants to use what works best for them, they don't want to have to use someone else's standard which may not fit them very well, this huge variety is therefore an advantage.

Customisability

Without the customisability of Linux, the variety wouldn't exist. Every aspect of Linux can be edited and customized by the user – from the widget theme, right down to the init scripts controlling the booting of the system. Compare THAT to a Windows user's ability to change the wallpaper, colors, or a couple of icons.

The average user wants their computer to be, well, their computer. They want it to look how they want it to look, and the customisability gives them that.

Compatibility

Linux is compatible with most propriety file formats, including the incredibly popular Microsoft Office file formats. This means that a Linux user needn't worry about probelms sharing files with Windows users, as they can save the file in the Windows format – or even in a format such as PDF which is the same on all operating systems.

The average user doesn't want to jump through hoops for other people to be able to use their files, and Linux provides an easy way to use the same file formats as everyone else.

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