Despite advances made by other operating systems, Windows still stands as the most used operating system in the world. And, as a Linux user, I respect your decision to stick with it as it does have a large ecosystem that both businesses and consumers seem to agree on.
But just because you use Windows as your daily driver does not mean that you can’t experiment with other operating systems for any of your computing needs. In this case, Linux systems are the most flexible and least expensive to build, plus I’m sure you’re not going to experiment with other operating systems by getting an expensive Mac. But, as a Windows user, what exactly can you do with Linux boxes that will still benefit you and your Windows setup?
First, we’ll need to get the obvious option out of the way. You can install Linux on any of your computers, either alongside Windows or as the sole operating system. When installed on your main system, it will be a great way to try out Linux and everything you can do with it. As some people have been disappointed with the direction Microsoft is taking with Windows 8, now is one of the best times to check out Linux as your future operating system as you are offered plenty of choices and low costs if any. When installed on any other computer, especially an older one, it can give it a few more years of life before it really is time for it to hit the dump. Linux can be used for plenty of daily computing tasks where it won’t disturb your affair with Windows.
Linux has also been an operating system of choice when it comes to the creation of home servers. The OS and any tools needed to share files are all free and relatively easy to configure, so any household without too many complicated needs will find Linux to be highly beneficial and cost efficient. Users also have the choice of combining all the tools that they want to use themselves, or rather use a package that combines many different technologies together such as Amahi.
Besides sharing files among your home network or across the globe, your Linux box can also be used as a media center. There are many possible interpretations of this, where it can act like a home server and stream media across your network, be a box that sits near your TV and is connected via an HDMI cable, or a combination of both. There is plenty of software out there which can be used as visually-pleasing media centers, such as XBMC. Plenty of streaming sites also support Linux, such as Hulu or Netflix (unofficially).
While Linux doesn’t have a lot of software that many businesses rely on as the developers of such software know that most businesses run Windows, there are still plenty of Linux software applications which address certain tasks. For example, with software that is freely available for Linux, you can run your own weather station, play around with ham radio, mix music for DJ purposes, and much more. While I’m sure that there is free software available for Windows to do all of these things as well, why not do it on Linux and save yourself from buying another Windows license!
Finally, the last top use of a Linux box — gaming. Yes, I said gaming. While it isn’t a very convincing point at the time of writing, it certainly will be a few years down the road. The push for games on Linux is starting to get on a roll as Steam is making great progress with their client and the porting of games. Before you’ll know it, most games offered via Steam will be playable on Linux as well, making the platform a much greater force in gaming. Even while we wait, there are a handful of great games available; just not quite as many.
Of course, there are plenty of other great benefits of trying out Linux or using it for certain tasks. It’s free, frequently updated, virus-free, and easier than ever to use. Linux is also becoming an increasingly common technology as everywhere you turn you hear about more Linux adoption. Therefore, whether you are interested in trying out Linux or just want a cheap box to do what you need, look no further!
As a Windows/Mac user, what Linux boxes do you have sitting around and what do they do? How well does this setup work for you? What prevents you from using Linux as your daily driver? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Pablo BD
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