Sunday, June 23, 2024

Linux brings tired computers up to speed

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Linux is considered by many to be the operating system for nerds. Linux can be extremely easy to use. Regardless, it’s free, secure, and sustainable—it runs on computers that Windows has long since abandoned.

Colony – Linux. What was that again? Exactly: The operating system with the penguin as the animal symbol. Linux rarely runs on private computers.

For a simple reason: “The normal PC user usually buys his computer with a pre-installed operating system like Windows and usually has no incentive to do the work and install Linux”, explains Keywan Tonekaboni of the specialized magazine “c’t”. .

The emphasis is on the majority. Because there are four good reasons to have the penguin on your computer:

1st reason: freedom and flexibility

“With Linux, the focus is on user freedom,” says Matthias Wellendorf of the portal “Inside-digital.de”. In principle, anyone can reprogram or further develop the system according to their own ideas. “Free also means free. The operating system can be downloaded for free and installed on any number of computers,” says Wellendorf.

There are also work interfaces that differ only slightly from Windows in terms of appearance and operation. “Basically, Linux is made up of several individual parts. The base is the kernel, the core of the operating system, which is combined with other components such as the graphical user interface. This combination is then called distribution,” explains Wellendorf.

The Good: Linux distributions for everyone have been around for years. “Ubuntu, Mint and Manjaro are considered beginner distributions,” says Wellendorf. “They are easy to use, have extensive hardware support and feature a wide range of software.” Distrowatch.com provides an overview of available Linux distributions.

The easy-to-use Manjaro, for example, comes with the Office suite, mail program, browser, video player, image processing, and much more. What is missing can be easily installed afterwards. “There is a software solution for every problem”, says Matthias Wellendorf confidently.

Reason 2: security and privacy

An important security advantage of Linux: An installed office suite like Libre Office isn’t as integrated with the operating system as Microsoft’s Office is with Windows, explains Keywan Tonekaboni. For example, the notorious viruses in Office documents could not harm Linux.

And as a Linux user, you are also well protected against other malware. “Because the number of users is small, there is practically no malware for Linux,” says Hubert Popiolek of “Computer Bild”. This is why you can completely do without antivirus software with Linux. That saves computing power. Privacy is also better protected under Linux, says Popiolek. There is no data collection there.

What many do not know: Linux is not a regular guest on private computers, but it is much more widespread in everyday life than it seems. “The Android smartphone operating system, for example, is based on Linux, just like many Internet services running on Linux servers or smart home devices use Linux under the hood,” says Tonekaboni.

3rd reason: test and parallel operation without risk

Linux is easy to test without making a single change to the computer. This is how it works: Download the operating system as an image (ISO file) from the project page for the desired distribution, such as Manjaro. This is then transferred to a USB stick that is at least four gigabytes (GB) in size using a tool called flash, such as Etcher. Instructions can also be found on Youtube.

The computer can then be rebooted from the USB stick under Linux in so-called live mode, explains Tonekaboni. The computer’s hard drive is not written to in live mode.

If you like Linux, you can also install it as a permanent operating system from live mode, either as a replacement for Windows or in parallel to Windows. In the second case, the computer always asks after booting if you want to start Windows or Linux. Caution: It is essential to back up your data before installation.

Reason 4: Works fine on older computers

For example, while Windows 11 places very high demands on the hardware, simplicity is one of the main advantages of Linux. “Linux gives old computers a second chance at life, so to speak,” says Keywan Tonekaboni. Linux components are also supported for much longer: Older PCs or laptops that are on strike, nervous, or bored in Windows can often continue to be used in Linux.

When in doubt, adjust downward: A Linux distribution can also be put together without performance-intensive parts, explains Matthias Wellendorf. Example: Ubuntu is 2.9 GB, the light version of Lubuntu is only 0.7 GB. dop

“The situation of the players has improved significantly in recent years,” says Hubert Popiolek of “Computer Bild”. On the Steam gaming platform, for example, there are many titles for Linux. And: “If a game is not officially available for Linux, there are quick software solutions to adapt it.”

In general, though, Linux games still suffer from a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem: “Developers avoid the extra effort of porting their games for Linux because there are so few Linux gamers,” Popiolek explains. “And there are very few Linux gamers because a lot of games aren’t made for that.”

Special case of Linux games

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

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