Linux is not just for developers and command line professionals

Close-up of a Linux penguin on a chessboard

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I am not a developer. Although I studied C++ back in the ’90s and that was really the extent of it. I did really well in my classes, but I soon realized that I had no desire for it become a developer. And as everyone knows, if you don’t use it, you lose it. It took my brain a little time to let go of everything I had learned about C++.

And I was totally fine with that.

It also didn’t take long for me to realize I couldn’t stand Windows.

This happened before I studied C++, so my approach to OS was very much open source from a user’s perspective.

The thing was, when I had this Pentium 75 computer, I installed Linux on Windows.

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Once this happened, I realized I had no choice but to learn how to use Linux. And imagine what…

Being a developer didn’t hold me back in the least. I’m not saying it helped me, but it certainly didn’t stop me from learning a new operating system. And that was the day when Linux was actually a challenge.

These days? Not much. I would go so far as to say that Linux is just as easy to use as macOS or Windows. And as far as reliability and security is concerned, Linux is on par with MacOS and blows Windows out of the water.

But what about that idea that you must either be a developer or know the command line like the back of your hand in order to use Linux? Is there any truth in that?

In a word no.

Let me explain.

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You don’t have to write Bash scripts or know how to compile programs

Once upon a time, this was not the case. I remember the old days when I always had to write bash scripts to get things done.

One of the first things I had to do was put a Bash script together to keep my modem connected to my ISP. That was a serious challenge. And installing new software inevitably requires compilation.

Granted, even then installing from source was most often a combination of commands ./initializeAnd the ManufactureAnd the Install. However, it wasn’t quite as universal as you might think. For example, if I wanted to install a new kernel, the process was much more difficult.

Today this is not the case. With modern Linux distributions, there is no need to write Bash scripts or install software from source. Sure, you can still, but it’s not required. and compile software? I haven’t had to bother with that in years.

also: Best Linux Distros for Programming

Who is Linux really for that?

The fact of the matter is that Linux is for everyone. You may not have experienced the open source operating system before, which means that it is a big change. I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t like (or embrace) change.

But even Linux isn’t as profound a change as you’d expect. Basically, it works just like any other desktop operating system on the market. You can use the mouse to click menus and open programs. You use software such as web browsers, office suites, email clients, and media players just as you would any operating system. You can drag and drop, manage users, create new folders, and generally use your computer as you’ve always done.

The biggest difference for the end user is the interfaces, which happen to be based on traditional and easy to understand concepts. There are start menus, app launchers, drag and drop, file managers, system trays, notifications, and much more that you are already used to.

These are not concepts or features geared towards developers or command line experts, but rather basic ideas for all operating systems. And as long as you stick to one of the major Linux distributions (like UbuntuAnd the linux mintAnd the Zorin OSetc.), you won’t even have the slightest problem getting up to speed.

also: Best Linux Distros for Beginners: You Can Do It

After all, I did it back when Linux was a real (really) challenge.

Sure, developers use Linux, but so do all sorts of other people, from designers to family members, loved ones, to anyone who wants to work with an operating system that doesn’t suffer from the same outrageous jacks and arrows. Windows misfortune.

No matter what you might think, Linux is a lot easier than you thought. While the power of Linux certainly works for developers and command line insiders, this is not the primary target audience. Linux for everyone. If you’ve been on the fence for a while, then make this what you need to make it easier on the open source way of doing things.

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