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You might be a Linux user and not even know it yet. It happened to me: I was a Windows user for years, but was doing all kinds of things that should have taught me I’m a Linux user at heart. Only when I switched did all these things make sense to me.

Wondering if you’re a secret Linux user? Here are the warning signs, see if they apply to you.

You Constantly Tweak The Windows Interface

You’re about to get started on your work, but then you notice…something…that’s not quite right. Maybe you’re not happy with your custom Windows 8 theme Amazing Windows 8 Themes You Need To See Amazing Windows 8 Themes You Need To See Windows has always had an active community of enthusiasts who customize everything about it, including its desktop theme. Although Microsoft tries to prevent this, Windows 8's desktop can be themed just like Windows 7's. We've... Read More , or maybe it’s how the start menu you added to Windows 8 Start Menu, How I Miss Thee: 4 Ways To Make A Start Menu On Windows 8 Start Menu, How I Miss Thee: 4 Ways To Make A Start Menu On Windows 8 Windows 8 brought down the axe on the Start Menu. This is a feature that no one paid special attention to for years but its untimely demise has caused all sorts of despair. Not only... Read More looks.

Whatever it is, you just can’t seem to stop customizing Windows to your needs 8 Geeky Ways To Customize Windows To Your Needs 8 Geeky Ways To Customize Windows To Your Needs Customizing Windows might help you navigate your computer and anyone can do it. That's right – even if you feel slightly tech illiterate, you should optimize your setup. We've covered your options right here. Read More . You enjoy it, and it relaxes you.

And that’s great, but if you really want to get tweaking you should check out Linux.

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Seriously: there are tons of different desktop environments It's Your Choice: The Top 10 Linux Desktop Environments It's Your Choice: The Top 10 Linux Desktop Environments From Gnome to KDE, from MATE to Unity, there's a lot of choice out there. Where should you start? Overwhelmed? Start here. Read More for you to look into, all unique in their own way and all with plenty of customization options.

Each makes your system’s GUI look and behave completely differently, and one of them is probably just right for you.

And this isn’t even mentioning the hundreds of themes out there you can find for basically every one of these alternative desktops. It’s a tweaker’s dream.

If you love trying out new things, you’re going to love hopping from one environment to the other as you search for something perfect. Switching to Linux means unlocking the ability to make your desktop look and behave pretty much any way you can imagine.

You Only Use Free Software

free

There’s nothing wrong with paying for software – you just don’t like doing it. It’s why you try to find free alternatives to every major piece of software out there. Even better: you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

Check out our list of the best Linux software The Best Linux Software The Best Linux Software Linux is full of awesome apps, both open source and proprietary. People new to Linux and even seasoned Linux users tend to find new and useful software quite often. Here's what we love. Read More , though, and you’ll quickly realize you’ve been using a lot of it already. Most of your software is waiting for you on Linux, so why not give it a shot?

You Constantly Try Out New Software

There’s a lot of great free software out there, and you just want to try all of it. What’s the best email client Linux Desktop Email Clients Compared: Thunderbird vs. Evolution vs. KMail vs. Claws Mail Linux Desktop Email Clients Compared: Thunderbird vs. Evolution vs. KMail vs. Claws Mail Read More ? What about music players?

If you’re on Windows or a Mac, installing all of your options can take a while. You need to download packages, then go through the installation processes for each.

ubuntu-software-center

Enter Linux. Way before the app store, major Linux distributions offered a one-stop shop for finding and installing software. If you’re curious about music players, you can install 10 different music players just by clicking “Install” 10 times – that’s it. Or, if that takes too long for your tastes, you can get everything to install by typing a single command. Updates for all programs are handled in one central place, so you’ll never have 5 “Updates are waiting” notifications at the same time ever again.

It’s called a package manager, and once you switch to Linux you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Seriously.

You Actually Use The Command Prompt

If you’re a Windows user, and actually open the Command Prompt from time to time, you should probably give Linux a shot. Sure: PowerShell adds quite a bit of functionality to Windows 6 Basic PowerShell Commands to Get More out of Windows 6 Basic PowerShell Commands to Get More out of Windows PowerShell is what you get when you give steroids to the Windows Command Prompt. It grants you control of nearly every aspect of the Windows system. We help you leap up its learning curve. Read More , but it’s hard to match Linux when it comes to commands.

Read up on essential Linux commands An A-Z of Linux - 40 Essential Commands You Should Know An A-Z of Linux - 40 Essential Commands You Should Know Linux is the oft-ignored third wheel to Windows and Mac. Yes, over the past decade, the open source operating system has gained a lot of traction, but it’s still a far cry from being considered... Read More , then jump in. If text-based interfaces are something you enjoy, there’s a lot of great software you can install on Linux that will empower you even more.

You Basically Only Play Indie Games

If Linux has an achilles heal, it’s gaming – unless you’re mostly into indie titles. Thanks in part of The Humble Indie Bundle being offered on all three major desktop platforms, almost every prominent indie game from the last decade or so has found its way to Linux.

If those, and the occasional emulator, make up the bulk of your gaming then Linux is a natural fit. They won’t be your only option, of course: some higher profiles games do come out on Linux. But almost all indie titles do.

You Want More Control

penguin_swimming

You’re furious every time you notice something about your computer you can’t control. From updates that install without your permission to settings you seemingly can’t change.

Linux is waiting for you. There’s a way to tweak how pretty much everything behaves, if you’re willing to put in the time.

You’ve Read This Entire Article

If you took the time to read all this, you’re a Linux user already – no one else would be interested in all this. If you haven’t installed Linux yet, you should. Check out our list of the best Linux distros The Best Linux Distributions The Best Linux Distributions There are many Linux distributions available for a number of different purposes, which makes it difficult to choose at times. Here's a list of the very best to help you decide. Read More and get started.

As for the rest of you: what other signs are there that someone should be using Linux? Let’s compile even more in the comments below, okay?

Image Credits: man using a computer Via Shutterstock

  1. Arun Joshua
    June 1, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Why should you choose one when you can choose both? Instead of switching, you could actually dual-boot both of them together so you could use windows and linux.

  2. Khauf Fadlilah
    May 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Linux is powerfull, why? my father PC is very old for windows now (except Windows '98). Than I try to install Elementary OS (give some lag) than puppy Linux its work, my father PC life again :D

  3. jymm
    April 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

    As I said I love Linux. I do understand a few of the complaints. While I don't have a problem with Adobe, it can be a pain. If there is one problem with Linux, it is the updating of the repositories. You do get a lot of update software messages. It seems to take to long for Adobe and Web browsers to update, and that can cause hassles. Some software like graphics programs or office programs don't make much of a difference, but web software does.

    I had to laugh about free/open source software use. When I was still using Windoze, spent a lot of time on Sourceforge, Softpedia and File Hippo. Even if you love Windows, you can still use open source and freeware.

    • Justin Pot
      April 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      It's all about finding a system that's right for you, I think. Linux works great for some, but Windows and Mac users can still access plenty of great open source software. It's all about choice.

  4. lucius.cornelius
    March 16, 2015 at 6:32 am

    The proprietary companies control the market via file formats. Whilst commercial reality demands obedience to such formats, at all other times, seek to use alternatives. The only way the market will be freed from the predatory and unlawfully protected behaviour of the 'big names' is if enough people just use something else. Waiting for an outbreak of morality from the Corporations is a fool's game. They have to be forced to take a more moral stance and the only thing that will achieve that is sheer market pressure.

    • Justin Pot
      March 16, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      At this point, the proprietary companies control the market by convincing users that file formats don't even exist: it's all about the cloud, and servers that they control.

  5. Michael
    March 15, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    If it wasn't for Adobe... and I'd like another Outlook-like email client. Don't start with Gimp/Lightzone, etc ... they are nice but they lack the convenience and masses of templates, styles, etc which adobe offers. What about after effects, etc ... Other than that I am using mostly Open Source Software.

    • Justin Pot
      March 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Adobe's suite of software is a big hole on the Linux platform, to me, which causes a real chicken-egg problem.

  6. Onoir
    March 15, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    You can always try Linux and keep Windows by dual booting. I did a few years ago and one day realized I hadn't booted Windows for months. Linux is terrific. Lots of forums out there with help too.

    • Justin Pot
      March 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Dual booting is a great way to get started, and the various forums on the web are one of the best parts of using Linux. So many people who want to help out.

  7. analogtek
    March 14, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Been windows free since 2002. That is the file date of my first serious linux,knoppix/kde desktop. I have yet to look back.

    • Justin Pot
      March 14, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      Oh, Knoppix, it's been so long. I started using that distro around 2002 as well, first time playing with Linux.

  8. Megazell
    March 12, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I've been on Linux for a while now but when I read that 'You Only Use Free Software' - Damn. That's been me for all of my computing life. Currently, I enjoy gaming on Linux Mint 17 XFCE and Lubuntu 14.04 and 14.10.

    • Justin Pot
      March 12, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      It's pretty impressive you've been able to stick to the free stuff! So you don't play any commercial games at all? What are your favourites?

    • Megazell
      March 12, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      This is my current list - that I've not updated in over a month - https://freeandlegalpcgames.wordpress.com/. I do play some commecial games that I got for free through the devs or publishers giveaways - for example L4D 2 was given away for free by Valve during a Halloween special.

      My favorite free games to play are

      1) AssaultCube - I play this one daily at work either with my co-workers or children in our after school program. Simple and runs on any OS and quiet easy to setup a LAN server on the fly.
      2) Xonotic - It almost feels like I am playing UT on it. I have bi-weekly games that I play with friends online.
      3) No Room Left In Hell - Great FPS in a Romeo-esq Zombie filled world.
      4) Crawl Stone Soup (Tiles Edition) - My favorite ROGUE like RPG.

  9. A41202813GMAIL
    March 12, 2015 at 4:09 am

    I Am Still Using XP.

    Unless My Employer Gives Me A Long Enough Taste Of Some Good Replacing Guinea Pig ( Be It A More Recent Version Of Windows, Linux Or Otherwise ), I Have No Reason To Betray My Present Happiest And Most Successful Marriage Ever, Period.

    XPOCALYPSE FOREVER !

    • Justin Pot
      March 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      You might want to run a malware scan, your XP machine is compromised in such a way that every word starts with a capital letter regardless of grammatical correctness.

    • Justin Pot
      March 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Seriously, though, use what works for you! But don't do anything related to your finances on that XP machine.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      March 13, 2015 at 11:50 am

      It Is Just An Output From A CHROME Extension.

      ---

      I Live In LISBOA - Retail Stores For Everything Are On A 30 Minute Car Ride Distance Circle, Tops.

      I Have Never Used Any Machine Or OS To Transfer Money, And I Seriously Doubt I Ever Will.

      Thank You For Responding.

  10. jymm
    March 11, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I did switch to Linux. Best move I made in computing. Not a gamer. I was tired of spending most of my Computer time installing virus and spyware programs, updating them, and doing scans. Then fixing all the problems. Getting rid of the registry is the best. I won't say Linux is for everyone, but it sure is for me. If you are contemplating Linux, try a dual boot, or burning a OS to a USB key with persistence, and give it a try. What do you have to lose? If you use Unetbootin and any Ubuntu derivative you will be able to use persistence, which will keep your changes. The USB key thing will be slower, so pick a smaller lightweight program to give it a try. Stop making excuses and give Linux a try!

    • Justin Pot
      March 11, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      Yep, just give it a shot!

  11. jamieg
    March 11, 2015 at 12:18 am

    I love Linux a lot, but for me, it can't replace windows. Not even close. While there are some apps to replace windows apps, there are way more choices for windows. The other day I needed to merge some .TS files. Softpedia, portable app, files merged all in about 4min total. Gaming is another issue. Fonts generally suck in linux. I use Linux frequently but that's mostly because I like to tinker.

  12. mariadiatorre
    March 10, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I keep telling myself that I'm not going to switch to Linux for the foreseeable future and I'll remain Windows, but a lot of articles I click are articles like this convincing me I'm already Linux at heart. I have to say, the indie game point is the greatest pull. I mostly only play indie games and gaming is the main reason why I won't switch over.

    However, I'm also a frequent Kickstarter video game backer (I mean, indie and Kickstarter go together anyway) ; and some games on there don't get support for Linux unless they reach a certain stretch goal. I can only blame my lack of patience for not switching over to Linux despite all signs pointing to YES. I already wait 2 years for games to be developed, I'm not going to wait another year so the game I paid to make happen can play on my OS. Until Linux support is a given for all Kickstarter games without stretch goal-ie-ing, I'll probably stick with Microsoft. I mean, there's Wine and all, but I want to play games at full performance, you know?

    But seriously, if I wasn't a gamer, I'd switch so fast. To add another reason, from a security standpoint, Linux is the best.

    • Justin Pot
      March 11, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      My advice: dual-boot for a while. Have a Linux partition for most of your day-to-day activities, and a Windows partition for gaming. I did this for years, and actually found that it made it easier to focus on my work during the day.

  13. likefunbutnot
    March 10, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I'm a long-time Linux user. I hate Steam, which pretty much eliminates the possibility of most PC gaming (that's Steam's fault and not mine. Valve actually does make games I want to play, but it also makes terms of service I won't agree to), but my *nix user environment hasn't changed much since the late 1990s.

    I have strong opinions about which shell I want to use (zsh) and vi is the default text editor I work on. I pretty much always have some kind of terminal open no matter what machine I'm using and there/s a /usr/local/bin of useful shell commands on every filesystem.

    The day I saw that Windows finally supports symlinks was like my birthday and Christmas all rolled in to one.

    • Justin Pot
      March 10, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      I don't really use Steam, I prefer getting DRM-free copies of games if I can. The Humble Bundles are great for this, look into them.

  14. Doc
    March 10, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    "If Linux has an achilles heal" LOL - it's "Achilles *heel*." Thetis took her baby son Achilles to the River Styx, and dipped him in its water, as it would make him invulnerable to harm; but the only part she could not was the heel she held him by, making it his only vulnerability.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achilles%27_heel

    And Linux has a second vulnerability: high-end commercial software, such as Adobe's Creative Suite, which runs on Windows or Mac, but has no highly-polished counterpart on Linux.

    • Kenneth DeVries
      March 11, 2015 at 4:59 am

      They may not be flawless, but Krita, Gimp, Inkscape, Mypaint, Blender etc. have some killer features, and can be forced to play together fairly well. They have their quirks but as an artist for 30+ years I enjoy an embarrassment of riches with Linux graphic arts software rather than feeling any longing for Adobe, and they are all 100% free.

    • Doc
      March 11, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      That's not the point; the point is, that those programs, and LibreOffice/OpenOffice, all have the fatal flaw that they're not industry standard: they may have problems opening or saving files made in the "big guys'" formats, or have compatibility problems, or may be unsupported in your workplace.
      I've had absolutely no problems using GIMP, so long as what I do works (I'm a web designer, and have more experience with GIMP than with an old, outdated version Photoshop that I'd otherwise be stuck with), but even then I'm saddled with Office 2013 because LO/OO doesn't play well with Office formats yet, and everybody else uses Outlook.
      I love free software, but there's limits to how much you can get away with when you're *not* the boss, and the bigger the corporation, the more your hands are tied.
      This is true of Office, and also of "use what we use" in the "creative" department as well; one "preflight" check missed in a PDF file, and your printer will reject it; one compatibility problem in a CorelDraw/Illustrator document, and it's back to square one.

    • Justin Pot
      March 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      It's a real chicken-egg problem that seems impossible to solve, though it worth nothing that Office is in a dramatic decline among younger people, prompting Microsoft to release free mobile versions just to compete with the likes of Google Docs. It will be interesting to see how industry standards change in the next 10 years.

  15. Vivek
    March 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    If you’re on Windows or a Mac, installing all of your options can take a while. You need to download packages, then go through the installation processes for each. -

    You can automize this on windows too with ninite [ although limited ]. Also saving setups means I can install whatever I want whenever I want . In linux i would have to redownload setup each time if I have uninstalled in the past , or do the setup files save themselves ?

    • Justin Pot
      March 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Ninite is fantastic and wonderful, but it offers access to very few programs compared to a Linux package manager. Think tens of thousands. Also, there's never any setup file to download: you just check the apps you want to install in the package manager, or type a command including the apps you want to install, and everything happens for you.

      Some distros do have a way for you to save your package list, which you can use to re-install everything later.

    • Vijay
      April 17, 2015 at 9:22 am

      Other than that whole distro updates itself (once in two years, I am on LTS) if you have given it the administrator password.

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