The stuff that Linux (and BSD) just do better
Let’s face it. Linux probably isn’t the best operating system for your desktop, laptop, or tablet. That’s not to say it can’t be done. It can be done, and it can be pretty awesome, depending on your expertise. Still, despite how awesome it may be, Linux fails spectacularly as a desktop OS for everyone but the most elite nerd. The elite of the elite of nerds, really. The amount of time and knowledge required to configure Linux as a proper desktop system can be staggering.
So, if Linux isn’t something that can replace Windows on your laptop computer and do a better job of it, what the heck is it good for? Why the heck would anyone actually use Linux?
Linux and BSD are great for business
Businesses like Google, Netflix, Sony, and Apple, rely on Linux and BSD operating systems. Netflix runs FreeBSD on its servers, streaming in excess of a billion hours of movies and TV shows in a single month. Companies like Apple and Sony use FreeBSD for their operating systems. Apple’s iOS and OS X rely heavily on code from FreeBSD, while Sony runs a modified version of FreeBSD on its PlayStation 4. Google uses a modified version of the Linux kernel for its Android mobile operating system. Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the world, and it’s a variation of Linux!
It costs nothing and runs great on old hardware
This might sound lame, but it’s really not. Linux can make a highly useful machine out of what would otherwise otherwise been garbage. That’s not just good for the environment. It’s good for your wallet.
Of course, we’re not saying you’ll be playing games on that old garbage machine of yours. But you might be surprised at just how much you can actually do with it. Give it a shot and someday in the future you might think it was crazy to ever have thought of throwing out your old hardware.
Even very old hardware can be rendered usable again with Linux. Arch Linux, for example, should run fine on any i686 compatible system, with at least 64 MB of RAM and 800 MB of disk space (recommended). For reference, the i686 (AKA the P6 microarchitecture) was introduced by Intel in 1995. That’s impressive!
Security, stability, reliability
OpenBSD, famous for originating OpenSSH and known for its security, uses the slogan, “Only two remote holes in the default install, in a heck of a long time!” Linux, and certain BSD operating systems especially, are very secure. So secure, in fact, that they make the security features in certain other operating systems seem like a bad joke with poor timing.
Even air traffic control systems are beginning to adopt Linux. That’s about as mission critical as it gets.
The advantages of open source is simple. When code is open for anyone to see, the number of programmers that end up collaborating on the code is not limited by any one company. In many circumstances, this results in development of the open source project far outperforming what any one company could hope to achieve.
Many believe, and perhaps correctly, that open source software is made more to benefit the individual, whereas propriatary software will always have the interests of the company in mind. There are many open source applications out there that do more, more efficiently, and cost zero dollars.