When it comes to programming, ethical hacking or even software development, the operating system you are using to perform such tasks plays a very big role in supporting your tasks to run smoothly.
We are pretty sure that if you’re reading this blog post, you already have an idea of the different operating systems that are perhaps very common for the day-to-day usage and that is Windows OS on PCs, Mac OS on Macs, Android OS and IOS on smartphones or there is also Harmony OS developed by Huawei. Well the other popular OS that is as popular as the above mentioned operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, Android and IOS) is called Linux OS and chances are you already have an idea of what Linux OS is too.
A little bit of History;
Linux is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel. The Linux kernel is used by Linux distributions and other operating systems such as Android and Chrome OS. The creator and principal developer of the Linux kernel is a Finnish software engineer, Linus Benedict Torvalds.
Linux and its numerous distributions have been used (until today) in a number of applications such as; cloud computing systems, embedded devices, mainframe computers, super-computers, servers, personal computers, mobile devices, etc.
Most software developers/programmers/hackers prefer to use Linux OS (any of its distros) as their number one go to operating system for their projects because of the following reasons that we are going to explore in details;
- Open Source (Free to Use);
Unlike Windows OS and Mac OS that are proprietary software, Linux is free of charge and its code is open source which means that anyone who has the technical-know-how can download the Operating System and install it on their computers, have a look at the source-code and modify it to suit their needs. For most beginner and advanced programmers, this is a huge plus, since no initial costs are incurred.
Linux is considered by many to be the most secure operating system there is on this planet. Unlike windows and Mac OS, with Linux, you don’t need to install an anti-virus to protect you from any security threat. Because it’s open-source, this means that several software developers contribute code to its distros and in doing so chances are they find all sorts of vulnerabilities in the Operating System before hackers do.
- Customizable and easy to install;
If you happen to be the kind of guy who prefers to tinker and customize everything to your liking, then Linux OS is the perfect choice for you. Since its open source, you have the absolute liberty to play around with everything from the graphical user interface (GUI) to the core kernel on which the OS was built. Installation of Linux OS on any computer is very simple and it can be done in a number of ways for-example you can install it alongside Windows (dual boot) or install it within Windows using a virtual machine.
Installing Ubuntu alongside Windows OS (Dual Boot).
- Variety of Distributions (Distros);
Linux has a variety of distributions and as a software developer, you could ask which distribution best suits your needs. Well the different distros for software developers that guarantee a secure, smoother and faster programming tool-set include; Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Kali Linux, Linux Mint, CentOS, Pop!_OS among others.
If you are into web-development (cloud and server-side applications), then Ubuntu is the best choice for you because of its user support community that has made it grow into one of the most popular Linux distros in the Linux ecosystem.
Debian distro is also another popular distribution of Linux that forms the mother operating system for many other Linux distros in the Linux ecosystem and it comes with a variety of packages aimed at stability and security. It also happens to be the distro on which the Raspbian OS (the Raspberry Pi OS) is based.
Fedora is also popular among software developers because of its cutting edge features, stability, up-to-date feature set, and a good developer portal.
Linux is light-weight and more versatile, this means there are a ton of Linux distributions catered for a different set of needs. For-instance there are distributions for hackers, programmers, and even for old computers. With Linux, you can literally install it on just about any old PC and it will run successfully whereas as compared to Windows OS, you’ll have to meet the minimum requirements to install it successfully and you can’t just install it on any low-end system. This means some that Linux distributions can be fitted to a range of systems (low-end or high-end) and this is one of the reasons why most servers across the world would prefer to run on Linux than on a windows hosting environment.
- Faster Software Updates;
If you are a long-time die-hard Windows user, you’ve probably experienced a need for a software update after encountering a set of problems or when you just want to fix something that is broken and this often times takes quite some time to get over with and sometimes there is even a possibility of breaking your system after the update.
Updates on Windows Operating System…
However, when it comes to Linux, you’ll experience a more effective and faster software update to fix the problems in your system addressing every little bug there is without breaking anything after the update if you happen to be using a long-term supported Linux distribution.
- Great community support;
For every Linux distribution out there, there are a ton of active Linux users on different forums who are ready to respond or help you out with any sort of thread (problem) you might encounter when using Linux. The number of active community users on these forums is more than the number of active members on any Windows or Mac user community forum.
Often times when Windows or Mac users encounter problems with their systems, they would probably think of hiring an IT expert to solve their system issues, well with Linux, you don’t need to hire an expert to solve a problem you are encountering on your Linux system, all you have to do is to search for a similar thread (problem) on the web for a well-explained solution or post it on any of the Linux Distro forums to let other users help you out at no cost and just like that, you’ll be good to go.
Any version of Windows once installed on any system will eventually become sluggish, freeze and even crash if it has been used for quite some time. This will require you to either reboot the system or re-install the operating system if the problems persist. You should also remember that Windows requires you to reboot your system for just about anything for-instance; when you uninstall an old software, install a new software, install windows updates, encounter a system failure or slowdowns, etc.
Windows Operating System crash screen…
However, when it comes to Linux, it’s reliable by design as in you don’t have to reboot your system when installing and uninstalling software, fixing a bug or when you are updating your system. Plus, you also don’t have to re-install the operating system just because you want to experience a smooth and faster ride. Linux is known to run smoothly for longer periods of time which is why it’s most preferred by most internet tech giants for mission-critical tasks.
- Programmer Friendly;
Linux is known worldwide as an Operating System that supports almost all the major programming languages out there (C/C++, Java, Python, Perl, Ruby, PHP, etc) with an exception of those that are limited to a specific operating system such as Visual Basic for Windows OS.
It also offers a great deal of supported applications that are handy for most programmers. It has useful and time-saving text editors and Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) that make writing code a lot easier. The Linux terminal is more superior as compared to Windows command line for developers as the latter has natively well-developed libraries.
Bash-scripting on Ubuntu…
Unlike Windows, Linux has native support for Secure Shell (SSH) which helps you manage servers quickly and it also offers the ability to “Bash-Script” (the ability to program something specific without caring about the language). A Bash script is basically a plain text file with a series of commands which are incredibly efficient and powerful and they come bundled as a standard on a given Linux Distro. These help programmers put commands together to create more complex combinations making it one of the reasons Linux is preferred by most programmers.
In the 21st century, privacy has become a thing that every internet user is concerned about in the fear of providing too much personal data to private tech companies. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple have been recently criticized for using their operating systems or applications to collect user data for their own personal gains.
If you are using Windows OS, you’ll probably notice that every option under the privacy settings is enabled by default and even if you opt out by disabling everything under the “change privacy options” on Windows 10 as shown below, Microsoft will still be able to collect your personal data in some way.
Privacy settings options on Windows OS…
However, with Linux, most of the different distros don’t collect too much data if not none at all and you also don’t need additional proprietary software to protect your system as you would on a Windows or Mac operating system. So if you are a tech chap deeply concerned about privacy, then Linux is the perfect operating system for you.
For any beginner or pro programmer out there who would want to switch from say Windows or Mac to Linux, you should bear in mind that just like any other operating system out there, Linux too has a learning curve but worry not it’s fairly simple to learn and some users might initially find it not user-friendly at all but the best way to get to grips with Linux is to develop some projects using it (with lots of practice) and this will improve your grasp of Linux.
So you may ask, is Linux really necessary for programming?, the plain answer to that question is NO, but what you should note is that it’s very popular among programmers for different reasons and unless if you want to join RedHat or become a pro-developer in Linux, then in this case, it’s a must.
Most programmers prefer Linux over other operating systems for various reasons, we’ve just covered a few of them here (in this blog post) and if you think we’ve left out any, please feel free to leave a comment down below in the comment section.