5 Reasons Linux Can Help You Become a Better Student

Ben Stegner 01-08-2016

It’s almost time to go back to school, meaning high school and college students around the world are probably groaning at the thought of studying hard and going to class every day. However, you don’t have to go through school alone! We’ve covered plenty of ways technology can help students, from the best Android apps for college-goers 11 Incredibly Useful Apps Every College Student Needs If you're a college student, you need these apps for taking notes, cooking, and surviving other aspects of student life. Read More to Google Drive features that are tailor-made for students 7 New Google Drive Features Every Student Must Know School is in session and Google is ready to make things easier for students with Google Drive. New features have been introduced and old ones refined. We have the details. Read More .


While apps are great for assisting your college life, have you ever thought about an operating system (OS) change as a step to make you a better student? Whether you’ve stuck with Windows all your life 8 In 10 Desktop Computers Runs Windows And So Should You Getting a new computer? One devil urges you to buy a Mac or Chromebook, while the other insists you try Linux. And here's me explaining why you should stick with a Windows device. Read More or are a big fan of Mac OS X, using Linux this school year can make you a better student in a variety of ways. Let’s take a look at how adding Linux to your life can make your year awesome.

Save Money on a New OS or Laptop

While computers are affordable for most people, they aren’t a small expense. A low-end Windows machine still costs a few hundred dollars, and of course you’d be putting out nearly $1,000 for the cheapest current MacBook.

Linux, being 100% free, can save you a lot of money in this department, no matter your current situation. if you’re short on cash and need a new machine, you can build your own PC Is It Still Cheaper to Build Your Own PC? How much does it cost to build your own PC these days? Compared to pre-built models, are the savings worth the effort? We investigate. Read More or buy something cheap without an OS installed and put Linux on it yourself.

If you missed the free Windows 10 upgrade If You Don't Upgrade to Windows 10, This Will Happen After July 29, Windows 10 will no longer be a free upgrade. Here's what that means for users of each version of Windows. Read More and want to jump to a modern OS, you can replace whatever version of Windows you’re using with Linux at no cost.

Linux gives you a fully-functional OS for free; add plenty of free alternatives to common software Can You Run It on Linux? 12 Vital Apps You'll Want When You Switch Considering switching to Linux but worried you can't take your favorite apps? Check these Linux compatible apps and equivalents. Read More and you’ve got a heck of a deal. Sure, Chromebooks are cheap Looking For A New Laptop? Get A Chromebook Instead! Read More (and great for specific markets), but if you need traditional software and more than the basics that Chrome OS offers, you’re going to be out of luck.


Spending less money on a computer, OS, and apps means more money to spend on the essentials like books (and pizza!).

It’s Easy to Use

At first glance, Linux doesn’t have the image of being user-friendly, but that’s only for people who believe the lie that Linux is all about the command line 5 Lies Linux-Haters Like To Tell Linux may have been a scary operating system before, but all of that has changed in recent years. These myths, which are more accurately called lies, are now dead. Read More . In fact, you don’t ever have to touch the terminal in daily use if you don’t want to, and a lot of Linux distributions rival Windows and OS X in visual appeal Looking For A Beautiful, Easy To Use Linux Distro? Try Elementary OS Luna Elementary OS Luna is a lot more than Ubuntu with some tweaks and a nice theme. Here's what to expect. Read More and user-friendliness. If you just want to install some basic software like LibreOffice What Is the Best Word Processor for Linux? Unless you use emulation or virtualization software, there's no way to run Word on Linux. Which leaves us with a tough question: what's the best word processor to use on Linux? Read More and browse the Web, you won’t have many issues at all with Linux.

Plus, being on Linux means you don’t have to deal with annoying Windows issues. We all know about the issues plaguing Windows 10 8 Annoying Windows 10 Issues & How to Fix Them The upgrade to Windows 10 has been smooth for most, but some users will always encounter issues. Whether it's a flashing screen, network connectivity issues, or battery drain, it's time to resolve these problems. Read More and it’s annoying when you have to troubleshoot problems with Windows Update How to Resolve Windows Update Problems in 5 Easy Steps Has Windows Update failed you? Maybe the download got stuck or the update refused to install. We'll show you how to fix the most common issues with Windows Update in Windows 10. Read More . Your time as a student is valuable; you don’t have to waste it fixing stupid OS problems on Linux.

If you’re concerned about picking the best flavor of Linux, check out the best distros for users coming from other OSes The Best Linux Distros for First Time Switchers From Windows and Mac Linux has an intimidating image, making it seem like it would be difficult to start using it. But the switch from Windows and Mac is actually pretty easy, if you can ease yourself into it. Read More .


Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Though you probably won’t spend much time fixing issues on Linux, there will be an initial learning curve — just like switching from Mac to Windows 7 Tips for Switching from Mac to Windows You'll be surprised to see how much Windows has to offer. Transition smoothly from Mac to Windows with our advice. Read More . You’ll probably have to spend some time Googling queries like “how do I do X on Linux?” — doing this will not only improve your Google skills Become Better At Finding Stuff With Search Engines: Boolean Search Logic Explained It only takes Google's thousands of servers half a second to query approximately 50 billion indexed pages, it takes you significantly longer to scan only the first page of search results. On top of that,... Read More , but also help you with phrasing specific questions and finding relevant help online.

Perfect skills for new students to have!

If you want to dig a little deeper into Linux, you’ll probably stumble and fall a bit in the beginning — that’s okay! Learning how the OS works and how its features compare to the other big operating systems will make you a more well-rounded computer user, which will benefit you in school and life.

So ask questions, like what do those folders in your root Linux directory mean What Are Those Folders in Your Linux Root Directory? Open a file manager on your Linux box and select Computer in the sidebar to display your system folders. But do you have any idea what each of them hold? Let's take a look! Read More , and become a more educated computer user outside the classroom!


Add to Your Geek Credentials

There’s a whole lot to learn about Windows, but if you’re looking to become a certified geek 7 Non-Geeky Skills Every Geek Should Have Pretty soon, skills that were once considered "geeky" will become the norm. Basic tech skills will be necessary for everyday life. However, we can't leave behind the important non-geeky skills of yesteryears. Read More , it’s a great idea to learn Linux. Even if you’re not in a computer-related major, spending some time with Linux in your free moments can really increase your computer credentials and make you more appealing to employers.

Linux runs more devices in the world than you think Linux Is Everywhere: 10 Things You Didn't Know Were Penguin-Powered If you think the world rests on Windows, think again. Linux plays a crucial role in keeping our world going. Read More , and it’s been around for a long time Penguin Origins: The History of Linux [Geek History] There's virtually no place you can go without being in contact with Linux - it powers everything from regular computers to the most powerful servers to our handheld mobile devices. Most people who aren't techies... Read More (Linux itself is a branch of Unix Unix vs. Linux: The Differences Between and Why It Matters Before the creation of Linux, the computing world was dominated by Unix. What's the difference between Linux and Unix? Read More , which was created even earlier), so in learning about it you’re learning about a lot of early computing itself. There’s a massive online community to help you learn about Linux 4 Helpful Communities for New Linux Users You might be wondering, "What do I do now?" If you're at that point, then it's time you joined a Linux community — even if you only intend to lurk. Read More , so you’re never alone when you have questions.

Part of learning Linux is gaining experience with the terminal. While at first clunky, it’s an awesome feeling to be able to zip through a bunch of operations using the command line — just be sure to avoid deadly commands 9 Lethal Linux Commands You Should Never Run You should never run a Linux command unless you know exactly what it does. Here are some of the deadliest Linux commands that you'll, for the most part, want to avoid. Read More .


With a bit of practice, you’ll be creating files and folders, installing software, and running system tools with just a few keystrokes. That’s an education not often taught inside the classroom these days.

Customize it to Your Needs

No matter what you’re studying, Linux is completely customizable to reflect your needs. Starting with the distribution you choose, you have complete control over how Linux looks and feels Tweak Your Own Custom Linux Distro with These Four Tools Linux offers a wealth of options for anyone wanting to tweak their operating system. You can also create your own distro, burn it to disc and install it. These four tools will get you started. Read More .

You’ve probably run into issues where Windows won’t let you change some setting you think should be mutable, and Apple has been reducing OS X’s customizing potential El Capitan Means The End Of Mac Themes & Deep System Tweaks If you like customizing your Mac, Yosemite might be the last version of OS X that works for you. And that's too bad. Read More recently, so Linux is the place to be if you need to tweak your OS to be just a certain way.

With the specific settings, software, and setup you need, your computer becomes a tool to help you succeed in school instead of a hassle holding you back from getting work done. If you don’t like how Linux does something out of the box, you can change it — and learn something in the process!

Students Love Linux

We’ve taken a look at just a few reasons why Linux is great for students. While other OSes aren’t necessarily bad for students (maybe you have to run Windows to use specific software for classes, although you can still run Windows in a virtual machine on Linux How to Set Up a Windows Virtual Machine in Linux Many home users prefer to run a dual-boot setup when both Windows and Linux are needed, but if you'd rather run Windows inside Linux, here's how to set that up. Read More ), if you want to keep costs down, learn while you’re using your computer, and set everything to be the way you want it, Linux is for you.

Looking for the perfect flavor of Linux for heading back to school? Check out our comparison of the best educational Linux distributions Edubuntu Vs UberStudent: Return To College With The Best Linux Distro School is almost back in session! For Linux users, there are two top-notch distributions out there specifically aimed towards education: Edubuntu and UberStudent. Read More . Be sure to also read up on debunked Linux misconceptions 7 Linux Misconceptions Debunked Not that many people use Linux. True or false? Let's face it, there are so many misconceptions about Linux, it's time to start addressing them. Let's debunk a few, one by one. Read More if you’re still not sure about the platform.

What are other reasons that Linux is perfect for students? Add to the list below with a comment and let us know what OS you’re using to return to school this year!

Image Credits:student using laptop by Dean Drobot via Shutterstock

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  1. John Merc
    December 23, 2016 at 8:33 am

    If you want to just browser web, run some normal utility like movie, music player
    then any OS is good for you.
    When you want more then real challenge arrives.

  2. Anonymous
    August 2, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    "Save Money on a New OS"
    When re-purposing a pc or a laptop from Windows to Linux, the savings is not only on the O/S but also on applications. When You install Win O/S, you ONLY get operating system and maybe some utilities. You the have BUY all the applications that you will need. When you install a Linux distros, once the install is done ALL common applications you need are installed by default for FREE. 99.9% of all Linux applications can be downloaded and installed for free, as in 'don't have to pay anybody'.

    • Ben Stegner
      August 2, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      I see where you're coming from, but I really don't think this is accurate. You don't have to pay for any web browsers, and free office suites, photo editing programs, movie players, messaging software, network utilities, etc. all exist on Windows too. It's awesome that Linux includes so much software for free, I agree, but it's not like everything costs money for Windows.

  3. Bertel King
    August 2, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I switched to Linux after my Windows PC crashed during my first year at college, and I used it throughout most of the remaining three and a half years. For the most part, a browser, a word processor, and a PDF reader for assigned readings was all I needed.

  4. Anonymous
    August 2, 2016 at 2:16 am

    Maybe Linux is good for IT students.

    • Anonymous
      August 2, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      IT students write their own O/S. That is part of the syllabus. Linus Torvalds turned his school project of writing am O/S into what today is the Linux kernel.

      • Ben Stegner
        August 2, 2016 at 11:37 pm

        IT students, as a general rule, do not write their own OS. I graduated from a rigorous Computer Information Systems program, and our senior project was to design and write an app. An OS would be insane.

  5. Anonymous
    August 1, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Sometimes Linux is bad for students because it takes a lot of time to Google and fix cryptic issues.

    • Ben Stegner
      August 2, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      This is a concern, and I definitely understand what you mean.