RentaNet encourages and endorses the use of free and open source desktop and server systems for our clients but we would like to make it clear that our web and mail services will work with any modern operating system including most if not all Microsoft®, Apple® and Android® systems and any standard web browser or email program. Just because we promote the use of Linux based desktop distributions does not mean that our online services will only work with Linux.
Why do we prefer Linux?
A few years ago Linux was only considered useful on internet servers and devices like network routers that connect households and businesses to the internet itself. Linux desktop systems were hard to use and only suitable for "nerds", "geeks" and hardcore software developers.
These days (2017) that is no longer true. A Linux based desktop or laptop computer can sometimes be easier to use than a typical Windows or Mac computer. Not always but in many situations, it can often be simpler to get the job done with a Linux desktop.
Points for and against using Linux
First, we will list some good reasons to consider using Linux and then a list of what some folks would consider negative points.
- Free as in the cost to install and use Linux except for the time it takes to understand a different operating system.
- Free as in open source which means anyone is allowed to copy and modify Linux systems and give away the results, also for free (ideal for schools).
- Secure by default. Common viruses and trojans targetted at Windows computers will not run on a Linux system so virus checking software, in general, is not even needed.
- Privacy in that there are no self-interested direct upstream parties that want to hijack your personal information for commercial gain. However certain well known online social media providers will still track your online data.
- Efficient enough to run on a wide range of PC desktop and laptops released in the last 10 years and does not slow down from software bloat or promotional adware.
- Maintenance and updating the operating system and installed application packages is quite easy. New applications are just a click away without having to pay for them.
The above points summarise the main reasons why we prefer Linux so now let's look at some negative drawbacks.
- Applications, a large range of high end professional creative and commercial business class software will not run on Linux. The native Linux equivalent software is often not up to the same standard and polish of some proprietary applications.
- Games, some of the best high-end AAA action games will not work on Linux and even though there is a huge range of games available they sometimes do not work as efficiently as on a PC or dedicated gaming console.
- Mediocre hardware and peripheral support. This is not so much the case these days and is steadily improving, but some obscure printers and external devices have little or no driver support.
- Fragmented software ecosystem because of the anything-goes nature of many aspects of Linux from a variety of different desktop options to multiple "distributions" and applications all trying to achieve a similar end result but ultimately just competing against each other.
- Support is provided, in most cases, by "the community" rather than a well-known single upstream provider. This can be a daunting prospect when a Linux user can't call upon friends and family to help with simple problems.
We could go on and add more pros and cons for using Linux, or not, but these are some of the most prominent points either way. If the initial positive points are of interest to you and you are not put off by the negatives then you either are already using Linux or may very well be a good candidate to install it on your secondary spare or even your primary computer. If so then feel free to contact us about how to go about installing Linux or how to get the most out of your Linux desktop when using our online RentaNet services.