Why do you really use Linux?

An Amazing Mind, which subtitles itself as a psychology, self-improvement and Linux blog, has a very interesting post which talks about Linux, and people's motivations to use it.

We tell people we use Linux because it's secure. Or because it's free, because it's customizable, because it's free (the other meaning), because it has excellent community support...


But deep underneath, the real reason remains.

We use Linux because it's fun!

It's fun to tinker with your system. It's fun to change all the settings, break the system, then have to go to recovery mode to repair it. It's fun to have over a hundred distros to choose from. It's fun to use the command line.

For people like me and many other 'enthusiasts', this is probably a big part of the reason. The article doesn't make the important distinction, however, between these people and people/businesses who use Linux purely for functional reasons.

Let me extend myself as an example to this point. On my desktop PC, I use Linux largely for the fun aspect - whether that is playing around with new releases of software or operating systems or learning how to do something new.

I also run Linux on my server. In contrast, my motivation for using it there is mostly just for functional reasons. In that instance, Linux provides the best technical solution in my opinion for what I want to do with that machine. Of course, there still is that element of doing it for pleasure, or I wouldn't have a server that I run myself at all, but with the server it is weighted much more in the other direction.

In a corporate environment, you would also find the latter viewpoint. A business doesn't really care what it is using, providing it is doing the job well and is doing it cheaply. If Linux is fulfilling that, then they'll use Linux, if not they'll use something else.

Putting aside this important distinction however, I would generally agree. While in many ways Linux can be considered technically superior to other solutions, ultimately, people like you and me get into Linux, and keep using it, because it is fun. It is fun to be different, to explore something you at first know nothing about, and then keep exploring.

Why do you use Linux? Is it for fun or just purely for technical reasons? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold - http://peter.upfold.org.uk/

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: Why do you really use Linux?

  1. Aaron (guest)

    # Posted on 25 March 2008 at 01:03 PM

    <blockquote>It’s fun to change all the settings, break the system, then have to go to recovery mode to repair it.</blockquote>

    I get a certain sense of satisfaction when I have to fix my computer because I went too far. Not only do I get the joy of knowing that <em>I</em> broke it and it didn't come pre-broken, but I get to be the one that types a few lines into the CL and have it magically start working again.

    You can't do that on Windows or a MAC: if you break them, they are broken.

    Linux is like the toy cars that when you drive them into the wall they "explode" and "break" they are never really broken, but that fact never stopped someone from driving them into the wall again and again and again.

  2. Sandaruwan (guest)

    # Posted on 25 March 2008 at 01:16 PM

    I started using linux definitely because of the fun. But as it goes on, i figured out, development is much easier in linux. In fact, if you are a developer, you can do whatever you want withing only limitations of your imagination(and may be bit technical too :p).

    However, some of my friends actually do use linux because it's secure. or rather simple reasons; hide porn ;)

  3. Nathan R. Hale (guest)

    # Posted on 25 March 2008 at 11:29 PM

    I agree that it is a ton of fun. I like being to really dig in and learn what makes my computer tic, and then love being able to apply that knowledge to making my computer work exactly how I like it.

  4. # Posted on 26 March 2008 at 08:09 AM

    <strong>Story added...</strong>

    This story has been submitted to fsdaily.com! If you think this story should be read by the free software community, come vote it up and discuss it here:


  5. Roger (guest)

    # Posted on 26 March 2008 at 10:35 AM

    With this kind of users Linux will never get more than 1% share.

    I use Linux because my distribution is more user friendly than WinXp.

  6. episkipos (guest)

    # Posted on 02 April 2008 at 08:16 PM

    There is another OS besides Linux? I've heard rumors about something called BSD...

  7. Jabapyth (guest)

    # Posted on 09 April 2008 at 12:18 AM

    I use linux cause its so much easier to use than mac or windoze... I love the control and flexibility it gives me.

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