Linux is an impressive platform when compared to both Windows and macOS. Even though Linux isn’t very popular for consumer desktops or laptops, you will need to use it or interact with it directly or indirectly at some point in time.
In case you didn’t know, the majority of the web is powered by Linux servers, even the one that’s running this website. In fact, all the top 500 supercomputers run on Linux as well.
But, if that isn’t enough to show how useful Linux is — I’ve compiled a list of top 10 uses of Linux (including the ones that I just mentioned).
Top 10 Uses of Linux
It is worth noting that the list of uses are in no particular order of ranking — meaning, the use-case at number #10 isn’t less popular than #1.
1. Setup A Server or Website
There’s a reason why Linux is considered to be superior to macOS or Windows and it’s because of its reliability and robustness.
Hence, it’s no surprise that Linux is the dominant choice to go with when setting up a server, creating a website, or a web application. When opting for a web hosting service, you might have come across the keyword “Linux web hosting” and that’s the most commonly used service by consumers and enterprise users as well.
2. Self-host an application & Cloud storage service
Not just limited to web hosting — but when setting up your own self-hosted instance of an application or your own cloud storage service, you will eventually opt for a Linux OS to install on your server.
Services like Nextcloud and OwnCloud are quite popular that lets you run your own private cloud storage on Linux servers without relying on any other 3rd party services.
Yes, you do require some technical expertise to run and manage a Linux server — but that’s worth the effort. Honestly, you don’t have a reliable alternative to it for this use-case.
It is important to know that there are a variety of Linux distributions to choose from — even though Ubuntu is popular. However, depending on what you want to use your server for and the security or reliability of it, you have to carefully choose a Linux distribution and proceed.
3. Revive an old computer
Linux isn’t just reliable but fast and resource-efficient. So, if you have an old computer that cannot perform well with the latest Windows 10, you can simply install a Linux distribution and it should work perfectly fine.
There are specific Linux distributions tailored to run on obsolete hardware. You’ll be surprised to know that the old hardware that you don’t use can still be useful with Linux installed.
Not just for old computers, but if you opt to use Linux on your modern computers or laptops, they will be future-proof and will perform perfectly fine even after several years. I’ve been using Linux for more than 2 years on my desktop and I have had zero issues (except some rare freezing issues which were solved by upgrading to an SSD)
4. Learn more about computer
Most of us start learning every aspect of a computer by using a Windows system. Yes, it’s easier to use and anyone can grasp things more quickly.
However, if you want to challenge yourself to learn more about a computer traditionally, you can install Linux on it and get started.
Linux isn’t tough to use but it constantly requires you to tinker or play around to get everything you want. Hence, you get a better learning experience if you start using a Linux computer instead of a Windows computer.
5. To Get Faster Performance On a Modern Computer
While I have already mentioned that Linux is the ultimate solution for servers for its reliability and security — but it’s also interesting to know that you can choose to use Linux over Windows (or just dual boot it) to get better performance out of your system.
Just because Linux is resource-friendly, it lets you do more with the system resources you have unlike Windows (which requires you to constantly upgrade your hardware for better performance).
Don’t believe me? You may check out a benchmark comparison of Phoronix between Windows and Linux, in general, running on AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper (spoiler: Linux has the advantage).
Of course, Linux does not support all the games yet. So, if you’re into hardcore gaming, you’d want to stick with Windows.
6. Create Your Personal Media Center
With Linux, you can easily turn your Raspberry Pi or any computer into a media hub on a local network. In other words, if you have movies, videos or music that you regularly access from storage devices, you can make them accessible using a Media server Linux distribution and watch the content across all your devices connect your network.
This is mostly useful for people who don’t always stream but have their personal collection of movies, videos, and music.
7. Learn Hacking
Utilizing Kali Linux (which is a Linux distribution) is very common when you get started to gain skills to become an ethical hacker.
Kali Linux is specially tailored for hackers to practice or perform tasks using pre-installed tools with a great level of control. It’s not just cool to use — but technically, it is the preferred way to get more ideas and learn ethical hacking.
Not just limited to Kali Linux, there are other security-focused distributions that professionals use for hacking.
8. Create DIY IoT Projects
If you know how Linux works, you can easily use an inexpensive single-board computer like a Raspberry Pi to create your own creative IoT project from scratch.
This is great for tinkers to gain more knowledge and get the opportunity to make something useful without investing a lot of cash.
9. Recover your system
If you’re having trouble accessing your system or troubleshooting it using Windows, Linux should come in handy.
You’ll notice Linus from Linus Tech Tips keeping a bootable USB drive with Linux ready whenever Windows fails working to test his computer configurations and setup.
Basically, Linux can work without evening installing it — so it comes in very useful at times.
10. Use a computer without needing to purchase Windows or an Antivirus
Even though Linux has a low market share on consumer desktops, it still has its advantages over Windows and macOS.
If you recently assembled a computer or purchased a Laptop with no OS in it, you can always install Linux (most likely Ubuntu) for free.
And, don’t worry — you can do almost everything on Linux that you do on Windows. You just have to explore a bit before you do. But, for the most basic tasks like web browsing, watching a video, streaming a movie, listening to music, creating notes, managing files, etc is just as easy as you get on a Windows computer.
The cherry on top — you don’t even have to install an Antivirus program or purchase one. Linux is way more secure than Windows and Mac. So, as long as you know what you’re doing, you should be just fine!
In this list, I’ve limited my use-cases to the top 10 (or the most popular use-cases) of Linux. But, there’s more to explore if you start using Linux.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.