Is Linux Really That Hard to Use?

#Linux #Hard


Let’s be honest, Linux has a reputation and it’s not always good. Despite being much safer to use and much more cost effective, most computer users find that it is much more difficult to use compared to Windows or Mac. As a computer user you really enjoy using all the different operating systems, I feel like I can weigh in on this classic argument effectively. Hopefully by the time you finish reading this post, you will come to appreciate Linux a little more and I hope you don’t view Linux with as much mistrust and fear as many users currently do.

What is Linux?

Linux is a UNIX-like computer operating system that was created by Linus Torvalds. He designed the operating system and released it completely free. Since then, many enthusiasts and developers have embraced Linux and developed it on the most modern operating systems we see today. Linux is similar to UNIX, which means that it shares many features of the UNIX operating system and presents many of the same file handling and security capabilities that you can find on UNIX. In many ways, UNIX is the father of the operating system, as Torvalds was inspired by it when designing the operating system, even though both operating systems were designed for two completely unique systems at different times.

A short history lesson

Before we can talk about Linux today, we must understand its roots. As I said, Linux was created by Linus Torvalds and released in October 1991. Linux was originally developed as an alternative operating system for personal computers running the Intel x86 architecture. The initial version of Linux was a command-line-only operating system much like UNIX and MS-DOS for personal computers. Remember, this was released for a time before Windows 3.1 existed. Microsoft currently supported Windows 3.0 and DOS, providing consumers with a very limited and often frustrating experience. Torvalds sought to create a viable alternative to DOS that was more stable, secure, and affordable, as they released their software completely free of charge.

Torvalds was not the only one who believed that the software was free and open source, and soon his new operating system took on a life of its own, with many developers embracing its use and modifying it to their specifications. This resulted in the distributions that you now see today. There are hundreds of distributions today and Linux now runs on a wide variety of computer systems and electronic devices. Chances are, you’ve used Linux without even knowing it, as it’s often found on devices like wireless routers and even your televisions.

Linux on computers

However, our focus today is Linux on laptops or desktops. This is the operating system that you use every day when you use your computer. Currently, Microsoft still has a distinct market dominance, followed by Mac and Linux. It is in this field that Linux has, rightly or wrongly, earned its reputation for being the most difficult to use. However, in my experience, if you force yourself to wear something long enough, you will learn what makes it different so that you can adapt. You see, it’s not that Linux is more difficult to use, it’s just different to use. On the bright side, you also have the option of running Linux within another operating system via dual boot or virtualization, as described in our previous guides to running various operating systems on your PC.

UNIX vs. Windows

Users who grew up using Windows or even Mac understand how these operating systems handle files, applications, and much more. While they may not be able to articulate it, in the end, it’s like riding a bike. Most people can do it, but how many can really describe it?

Modern Linux operating systems are actually simple, elegant, and, when you think about it, quite logical. But they are different from Windows or even Mac. For example, the GUI that you MUST use when using Windows or Mac OS X. On Linux, however, it is completely optional and to make matters worse there is more than one option GUI options you can choose from. . But that’s what Linux is all about: options. Linux gives you the freedom to do whatever you want with your laptop or desktop and won’t tie your hands if you want to try something new. But with that freedom, comes a little more responsibility.

The learning curve

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that switching to Linux will be like switching from a 10-speed bike to a 12-speed bike. There will be problems. Linux just does things differently. That does not mean that it is more difficult. Just different. Many will try to tell you that using Linux means dealing with a huge learning curve. While there is definitely a learning curve, I myself wouldn’t call it huge. Yes, it does things differently than Windows, but so does Mac OS X. Many people have switched from PC to Mac and vice versa and were able to quickly learn how to do things on the new platform. Linux is no different.

What you will find when using Linux is that you have a level of control and freedom that you are not used to. This can be intimidating to some people who are used to the built-in hand grip and setup systems in Windows and Mac OS X, but that doesn’t mean it’s really any more difficult to use.

Some will tell you that there are tons of complicated text commands that you must learn to use Linux. Linux earned this reputation because in its early days it was simply a text-based operating system much like classic MS-DOS. This technology has evolved over the years, but the underlying software remains the same, which means that you can easily access a terminal and type all these commands to use your operating system, but it is not necessary. In today’s modern versions of Linux, you’ll find highly advanced GUIs that save you from having to enter a single command if you don’t want to.

Modern Linux system


Modern Linux operating systems work the same way that Windows and Mac OS do. Although under the hood Linux does things a bit differently, it is laid out in such a way that it will look familiar to you even if there are notable differences. With a modern system running the latest graphical user interfaces, you can easily create documents, listen to music, watch movies, and more. Actually, you can use your Linux system exactly like you use a Windows or Mac system.


One of the biggest concerns many people have about change is software. Obviously, there is no Microsoft Office and no Adobe Creative Suite for Linux. Then what do you do? Use different applications. Linux has open source applications that work almost exactly like their proprietary counterparts for just about every type of tool you can think of. In many cases, open source software is actually more powerful when compared to closed source applications often found on Windows or Mac.

It is true that you will not be able to use some of the same software, but in general, the change is usually quite easy, especially if your needs are basic and you only need to use word processing software, web browsing software and email. In some cases, these open source applications are also available for Windows and Mac and it is very likely that you are already using them, making it even easier for you to switch.

The good and the bad

Let’s take a moment to look at some of the good and bad things about Linux so that you understand what you’re getting into if you decide to make the switch.

Linux benefits

  1. Linux is more secure: Linux is much more secure compared to Windows, and while you still have to run antivirus software, protecting your system will not be a full-time job.
  2. Extensive Software Libraries – You will never run out of software to try when using Linux. Compared to Mac and even Windows, there are many more options available to you when using Linux, even if standard Windows software is not available.
  3. Cost: Most Linux distributions and the software that runs on them are available completely free of charge. This means that you can configure Linux without having to pay the sometimes high software costs associated with Windows and Mac.
  4. Freedom: Windows and Mac want you to use your computer the way they think you should. Linux, on the other hand, is designed in a way that gives you complete freedom over your computer so that you can use your computer the way you want.
  5. Installs on Multiple Systems – The latest versions of Windows and Mac OS X require much more powerful hardware to run compared to some Linux distributions. This means you can get more life out of your existing hardware so you don’t have to spend money just to use the latest software.

Linux drawbacks

  1. It’s different: Linux is just different compared to Windows and Mac and that makes it difficult for some to make the switch.
  2. Unavailable Software: While there are definitely more options on Linux, some of the leading software applications like Adobe Creative Suite or Microsoft Office are simply not available for the Linux platform. This can cause problems if you must have a perfect match.
  3. Learning curve: Because Linux is different, there is a slight learning curve, although not as bad as some would have you think.
  4. Some tasks are more complicated: While many users can use Linux without having to touch the command line interface, some more advanced commands require their use, which means that you will have to sit down and learn the proper commands.
  5. Support: Windows and Mac offer great support options to fix your problems quickly. Because Linux is free, troubleshooting will largely be left to you, requiring you to spend time going through the help files and forums while you troubleshoot your problem.

The bottom line

While Linux is different, it’s no more complicated compared to Windows or Mac OS X. That doesn’t mean making the switch will be a walk in the park. Change can be difficult. In fact, it is rarely easy. However, Linux brings with it enhanced security and a vast software repository that can make your computing experience much more affordable (as well as free), while also offering you features you didn’t even know you would need. If you’ve been avoiding giving Linux a chance simply because of what you’ve heard, I encourage you to give it a try, especially if you just bought one of our recommended Linux laptops. You may find that the features provided by Linux are exactly what you are looking for, and it doesn’t hurt that when you use Linux you no longer have to worry about viruses and malware.

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