5 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Learn Linux

A photograph of a woman sitting in a couch while using her laptop.

Linux is a powerful operating system that fuels most of our digital world. It can serve as your machine’s desktop system, a learning platform, and a way to explore computers and technology. This article will show you 5 compelling reasons as to why you should learn Linux.

1. It is Totally FREE

Linux is a FREE operating system. Yes, it is free as in beer and I don’t mean that lightly. Every version of Linux that you will find online will most likely be free of charge.

A screenshot of the Ubuntu desktop downloads page.

This “free of charge” mantra in Linux also extends to almost every software that you can get for it. In my 6 years of using Linux full-time, I managed to create a highly functional work-from-home setup using only the tools that these distros distribute for free.

FYI: we’ve compiled some of the best software that you can get in Linux today. (Yes, all of the entries on that list costs $0.)

While you might question the quality of things that you can get for zero cost, Linux along with its programs is a cut above the rest. Tools such as Emacs, Gimp, and LibreOffice are massive powerhouse apps that, in my experience, are stable and reliable. I even have a machine that’s running Linux and Emacs with an uptime of 81 days.

2. It is Available Everywhere

Aside from being free, Linux is also the operating system that powers our modern world. From Android phones to servers and routers, you will find Linux on just about any platform doing all kinds of tasks.

This level of market dominance means that learning Linux will give you the skills and knowledge to not only use your desktop but also your other devices. For me, using Linux as a desktop became my starting point for learning how to use virtual servers, network routers, and even tinkering with my Android phone.

A screenshot of Termux running on Android 13.

To add to this, the base setup for a minimal Linux system rarely changes between platforms, especially the command line. This means that the commands that you learn in your desktop’s terminal will mostly translate on devices like the Raspberry Pi.

Personally, I find this small detail helpful when dealing with new devices. I usually use Linux compatibility as a metric on how “usable” a machine is for me.

3. You Can Do Anything With It

Expanding on the point above, Linux’s ubiquity in the device marketplace also means that it can adapt to all kinds of workloads. This makes it great for expanding your computer skills beyond what you already know.

When I started learning Linux, I only focused on what it can do as a desktop. I installed Ubuntu MATE and used that for my daily tasks. However, as I became familiar with the command line, I realized that Linux can do more than edit files and browse the web.

A screenshot of the Ubuntu MATE desktop running a web browser.

I started using SSH to connect to virtual servers and use them to serve web apps over the internet. This led me to learn more about computer networking, creating virtual networks in Linux, and even how my router and internet connection work.

Eventually, I became more confident tinkering with Linux’s lower-level features. I built systems out of old laptops and installed custom lightweight kernels. I connected these computers to my network and linked them together using SSH and NFS.

A photograph of a network console running Linux.

With that said, learning Linux not only provides you with the knowledge on how to use your device. It also gives you an opportunity to learn more and do just about anything with your computer.

Good to know: are you already familiar with Linux? Level up your understanding of the OS by installing Gentoo Linux in your machine.

4. You Can Get a High Paying Job With It

Despite the recent economic downturn, industries are still leaning on Linux and other open-source projects to be the core of their technology stack. A 2023 report by the Linux Foundation revealed that 61% out of 418 companies that use open-source software found themselves increasing their technical staff headcount in 2022.

This demand for Linux and Open Source also means that there’s a shortage of knowledgeable talent in the field. The same report reflects this trend by stating that 71% of open-source companies prefer to hire workers who are already familiar with open-source technologies.

An infographic showing the key points for the recent trends in Linux and Open Source roles.

Aside from new jobs, the current shortage also resulted in both Linux and Open Source roles being valued higher compared to previous years. According to Zippia, the national average salary for a Linux Systems Engineer in 2023 is $109,000: a 5.8% increase from just two years before. Taking these into account, learning Linux can result in a rewarding career for any tech-savvy user.

5. It Makes You Look Like a Cool Hacker

At the end of the day, Linux is just a cool operating system to use. Once you get into the terminal, running commands will make you feel like you’re the one who’s in control of your machine. In my experience, it even leads to awkward conversations with friends where they ask me if I’m “hacking.”

Regardless, one of the best memories that I have of using Linux is when I first used nmap. Running nmap -sP on my machine and seeing it tally all the local devices in my network made me feel like I’m a bona fide hacker.

A terminal showing the nmap command scanning a subnet.

Since then, Linux has become a mainstay in my computing life. I’ve used it as a tool to manage my local identity domain, deploy web services on the internet, and even use it for the occasional password-cracking exercise.

That said, there’s a wealth of utilities in Linux that will allow you to explore the limits of computing and inspire you to find ways on how to “hack things together.” Linux is the ultimate hacker toolbox and learning how to use it will empower you to do more with your computer.

Start your journey with this powerful operating system today by looking at some of the best Linux distros in 2024.

Image credit: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash) and Wikimedia Commons. All alterations and screenshots by Ramces Red.

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Ramces Red

Ramces is a technology writer that lived with computers all his life. A prolific reader and a student of Anthropology, he is an eccentric character that writes articles about Linux and anything *nix.

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