Is Linux a Viable Operating System for Home Use?

What is Linux?

Linux is a UNIX-like operating system developed through free and open source licensing. One of the distinguishing features of the Linux operating system is the Linux kernel ( (which was developed in 1991 by Linux Torvalds). Since its initial release, Linux has been modified and developed based on its core principles to become more user friendly and more widely available. Eventually, the Linux operating system branched into a number of unique but similar distributions tailored to certain user wants and needs.

Linux for Home Use

There are a number of significant advantages offered by Linux that make it a good choice for a home operating system.

Cost The cost of Linux, for home use, is virtually zero. The distributions are free to download off of the Internet and the vast majority of the software available for use on Linux systems is also free through the various software repositories. The only potential cost is measured in time and can be determined primarily by the time it takes to learn the basics of the use of Linux as an operating system.

Security Security is a major concern with most operating systems. Linux, however, does not share many of those concerns. Most Linux systems do not require antivirus software. Many of the exploits that are used to get into operating systems simply cannot be used on Linux systems. It should be known that Linux is only as secure as the person operating it allows it to be. Installing untrustworthy open source software or not updating the core system could lead to the possibility of security breaches. The installation and modification of software, in almost every case, requires the extra measure of signing in as a super-user or an administrator prior to the action being carried out.

Flexibility Linux offers much more flexibility for use than its commercial counterparts. The operating system and almost all of the software in it are nearly completely customizable. Customizable, perhaps, to a fault. The end user is capable of adapting and modifying any part of the Linux system and the software within it.

Software Variability Since the software for Linux is primarily community driven and is open source, there are often many variations of software programs available. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are two high quality variations of the Microsoft Office software suite that are available for free for Linux systems (and other systems as well). Similarly, there are numerous multimedia options available. Linux can even run Windows programs through software like Wine.

Hardware Compatibility Linux requires far less in terms of hardware capability than comparable systems such as Windows or Mac OS. This makes Linux the perfect operating system for older systems that may not be capable of running other operating systems. The Linux repositories are capable of working with almost any hardware and any hardware configuration. Either the drivers have already been created by the community and the Linux system automatically detects and installs them or the drivers can be created for more obscure hardware without too much trouble. One of the hallmarks of Linux is the community surrounding it and their problem solving ability.


Linux is a perfectly suitable choice of an operating system for home use. Though it has a learning curve, the operating system and many of its distributions have become much more user friendly in recent years. Linux is a viable choice as a home operating system for two important reasons: it is almost entirely open (and maintains the ability for easy modification by the user) and it tends to run faster and better than its counterparts (Windows and Mac OS). The primary issue that individuals have with the use of Linux is either that they do not understand it (which can be easily remedied) or they believe that is cannot run the software that they are used to using (which is also easily remedied through software packages such as Wine).

Related topics

Are there Downsides of Open Source Software?
Which Linux Distribution is most User-Friendly?
What are the Benefits of Open Source Software?
What Open Source Alternatives are there for Popular Software Suits?

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice