Your computer is aleady running a Mac or Windows system. Did you know that there is a third operating system called Linux?

So what is a Linux operating system?
The Linux source code (Linux kernel) was first released back in 1991.
Being open source, it has grown into many distributions or distros (different versions).
Many different groups of programmers have put together their own version (distro) for you to download.
A distro combines the Linux Kernel, GNU shell utilities, X server, desktop environment, etc.
For installation, a precompiled package is usually available for download.

So what are the Pros and Cons of Linux?

  • Open Source: Free
  • Simple program easier than Mac
  • Can boot from a USB drive or CD
  • Very compatible system works well with many apps and software
  • Very stable system, very little maintenance and virtually never freezes up
  • Secure system, less susceptible to malware (most users don’t have any antivirus installed)
  • Reboots are unnecessary, in fact some never turn off their computers
  • Does not require high performance processor and ram, can be installed on older computers with no problems
  • It uses very little resources
  • Can co exist with Windows – dual platform
  • Available Browsers: Chrome and FF (any cross platform browser)
  • Available Editors, most popular cross platform Code Editors
  • Current versions of Linux distros allow plug and play capabilities like Mac and Windows


  • Learning curve for new system
  • No official tech support (but has a huge community)
  • Not compatible with some MS, Mac programs and Adobe products and games
  • Drivers don’t exist for certain hardware

So which distribution is right for you?
That depends, some distros are more suited for business applications, others for desktops, etc.
For my own personal experience, I have had the opportunity to only use Ubuntu and Mint.
There are many other distros that developers prefer and each has their own reasons why.

Why developers use Linux?

  • Open Source: developers love to hack things, Linux OS can be tinkered to fit your needs
  • In other words, you can redistribute your own version if you want to
  • Linux supports all the major languages, C, C++, CSS, Java, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Vala, and Swift
  • Terminal: this is big for developers, the ability to code in the terminal
  • Bash Scripting. Using Linux commands, you can accomplish a series of tasks in one quick action, great for repetitive tasks
  • Ability to simulate your production environment: If the server is running Apache on Linux, you can test your site locally
  • Linux is very stable, least prone to crashes and OS freezing. In fact, many users mentioned this fact alone as to why they prefer Linux

My experience with Linux
Back when I was fixing computers, I had a bunch of old laptop sitting around.
I couldn’t see spending money on installing a Proprietary OS, especially on older hardware.
Linux was the answer, as it installed easy and operated smoothly on these old laptops.
At first, there was a learning curve, whether you come from an OSX or Windows background, you have to learn the Linux system. At that time, there was not a huge variety of distributions available as compared to today.
Once you have things figured out, you will find that it is a very easy operating system to use.
This observation is based on the Ubuntu and Mint distros.

Why I stopped using Linux
Simple answer, since I am involved with photography and video, I need to use the following software for editing.

  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Adobe Photoshop or Phase One:Capture One
  • Adobe Premiere Or Final Cut Pro for videos

Yes, I have tried Gimp and Avidemux, great free programs but truthfully does not compare to the above-mentioned tools.
It’s, unfortunately, Adobe does not support Linux at this time.
I understand that DaVinci Resolve Studio 12.5 is cross platform and has the ability to edit 4K ($300), also have a free version, but I have not tried it.

List of some of the popular and recommended Linux Distributions (Distros):

Linux Distributions

Many different groups of developers put together their own distro for you to download in the form of a precompiled package.
DistroDescriptionFree pr Pay
Elementary Always places in the top 10 of every list: bestlooking desktop, clean and simple. Some say it's style is similiar to the OSX desktop.Pay what you want
MintOffers 4 different starter downloads or flavors each with a different desktop look. Also great support for media formats.Free
UbuntuOne of the first distros, is available in desktop and server editions. Recommended for those switching from Win or Mac.Free
LUbuntuLightweight and faster version of Ubuntu. Uses Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE).Free
DebianOne of the oldest and most popular distros. Large community support.Free
Fedora WorkstationUsing a distribution made by RedHat, the biggest Linux kernel contributor in the world. Has built in Docker support.Free
openSUSEAlternative to Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux distros. Makes use of a GUI tool called YaST to install and setup an openSUSE system a breeze.Free
TailsIts aim is protecting your privacy and anonymity. Because Tails is a live OS, it's actually not installed onto a PC, when you disconnect from the Internet and turn off the computer, there is no trace of activity on your hard drive. All traffic run through the Tor network.Free
Arch LinuxArch a distro for intermediate and advance users. Not as easy to install, but allows you to customise your build using ability to choose the package to download and install.
Manjaro A Linux distribution which is based on Arch Linux. A fast, user-friendly, desktop-oriented operating system and easier to install.Free
CentOSCentOS is derived from RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) sources. Is available for download in 5 different variations. Great choice for server reliablility, but not the best desktop experience.Free
KubuntuA descendant of Ubuntu, and uses the KDE desktop environment. Has a Windows like interface, so excellent choice for those migrating from Windows.Free
Korora 25Korora is ideal for those new to Linux. Easy to setup and very user friendly.
Does not offer much for experienced users.
AntergosAntergos is an Arch based distribution and was designed for ease of use.$2.00 Tip

There is an abundance of distributions available today. In fact, it can get confusing for a newcomer to Linux. So you will have to do your research and read reviews from other developers to come to a conclusion.

Gerald Watanabe

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