There was a time in the distant past when Linux was hard for average consumers to use.
Linux systems had no decent graphical user interface and you had to wade your way through the arcane thicket of the terminal syntax.
Unsurprisingly, in what I consider Linux’ Pleistocene years the operating system was relegated to universities and corporate data-centers where it (along with its Unix predecessors) did the heavy lifting that Windows could not even dream about.
But things have changed.
Easy as Pie
In the last few years, Linux on the desktop (meaning Linux for day-to-day use by average people) has made considerable strides.
Using Linux on the desktop is now as easy as pie.
There are several Linux distributions (as Linux flavors are known) that have eased the transition from Windows and Mac.
In the last few years, I have played with several Linux distributions including Linux Mint 18 and 18.3, Fedora 27, CentOS 6 and 7, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE Leap, Elementary OS, etc.
Some of the Linux distributions I installed directly on an anemic Dell Optiplex Core 2 duo while a few were tried via virtualization (a neat technique that allows you to run multuple operating systems simultaneously on the same computer).
OK, I understand your fear of using the terminal aka command line is akin to my terror of watching movies featuring Black Bucks shooter Salman Khan or the Champaestanu-shrieking Allu Arjun. 🙂
Have no fear, comrades.
The newer, consumer friendly distributions of Linux like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Elementary, etc. do not require you to learn the command line (although it can be great fun if you do so).
They come with above average GUI-based software managers like Synaptic (in Linux Mint) or their equivalents in other distributions.
You can even use CentOS 7 comfortably on the desktop with the Mate or Gnome desktop environment (in Linux terms, a desktop environment means the look and feel, file manager and the key applications that come with it).
Even if there are occasional issues with any of the major Linux desktop distributions, there’s a community of sincere users who’ll gladly help you fix your issues.
I have not purchased a new Windows PC or laptop in the last four years.
But anecdotal evidence (plus my own past experience) convinces me that the old problem of crapware or bloatware has only worsened in recent years, in the sense that the junk is harder to remove.
Even Mac systems come with some degree of bloatware.
Linux, in contrast, is for the most part crapware free.
Even if a Linux distribution contains some software you don’t like, getting rid of them is a breeze.
You can jettison the software via the command line or the graphical software managers.
A huge disadvantage of a lot of operating systems (including some Linux flavors) is the issue of OS upgrades.
Upgrading an existing OS to a new version is a pain in the you know what.
Often, there are all kinds of issues, driver conflicts and various incompatibilities when you upgrade an existing system.
So the techies advise average computer users to back up all the important stuff and then migrate to a fresh install of the upgrade.
Fortunately, there are Linux distributions like Fedora that follow a rolling release model where you can keep on updating without serious issues.
I’ve used Fedora 27 (KDE on Plasma) for some time and it’s quite stable (though not as newbie-friendly as Linux Mint).
Tons of Great Freebies
Another blessing of Linux on the desktop is the tons of free software available to users.
Notes apps, To-Do-Lists, Password Managers, Backup tools, Mail Clients, DropBox client, Office Suites, Screen Recorder, Image Editor, OMG, there’s hardly a category where a decent open source application that runs on Linux is not available.
Why would a sane man opt for MS Office when LibreOffice is available for free. Type your document in LibreOffice and convert it into the prettier PDF format by exporting it as PDF. It takes just a second.
On top of it, there’s the privacy nightmare of recent Windows editions like Windows 10.
Apple is not without blame either. In recent years, Apple’s devotion to its iPhone cash-cow means lesser attention to the Mac Mini, iMac or MacBook line of computers.
Disaster on the Desktop
For all its many virtues, Linux use on the desktop is still a disaster.
A horror show that I can only compare to an old Sivaji Ganesan movie like Pilot Premnath or Hitler Umanath.
The numbers I have seen put Linux usage on the desktop at below 2%.
Two reasons I can think of for Linux’ pathetic show on the desktop is that most consumers are either schmucks or too lazy to bother.
Human beings are a weird lot.
Tens of millions of consumers around the world happily subject themselves to the whip of the Windows update nightmare, the horror of the Windows 10 privacy horror or Apple’s neglect of the Mac OS.
And every day, these bozos show the middle finger to Linux on the desktop.
I don’t know about you.
But I certainly can’t fathom the idiots who prefer dross to Gold.