8 Ways Linux Can Improve Your New Year
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A new year is upon us. For many, this is a time of change and reflection. This isn’t just a matter of adjusting what we do, but what we use.

What we use just so happens to impact what we do. That’s why it’s great to be a Linux user as we go into 2018. Whether you’re looking at using Linux in new ways or spreading the free and open source values to other aspects of your life, there are many reasons to have a FOSS-y new year.

1. Consume Less

We call the holiday season a season of giving, but that’s not the impression I get. After all the buyer’s guides, back-to-back sales, and bank account draining, this period can feel like the most consumption-heavy time of year. Many of us then enter the new year with more stuff than we had before, making our unspoken resolution a commitment to somehow incorporate these acquisitions into our lives.

Linux doesn’t cost money to download and install. Not only that, it doesn’t require a new machine. While you’re more than able to buy a computer that comes with Linux, most people install the operating system on one they already have.

Most of the software for Linux is also free The Best Linux Software The Best Linux Software Awesome apps are available for Linux. Whether you're new to the operating system or you're a seasoned user, you'll always find new and useful Linux software to love. These are our favorites. Read More , removing an entire category of purchases from your life.

2. Be Less Wasteful

Why buy when you can reuse? That’s the Linux spirit. Rather than trashing or recycling a computer with outdated software, Linux gives you the ability to continue using that computer for years to come. The right Linux operating system 13 Lightweight Linux Distributions to Give Your Old PC a New Lease of Life 13 Lightweight Linux Distributions to Give Your Old PC a New Lease of Life Read More can make a computer that came with Windows XP feel like a new machine.

Extending the life of your hardware reduces how quickly computer components end up in a landfill. Not having to buy as many machines keeps you from wasting money as well. As they say: waste not, want not.

3. Become More Resourceful

Learning how to reuse computers can make you more resourceful overall. All of the power provided by free and open source software may encourage you to create your own solutions rather than look for a product to buy.

Do you really need to spend thousands on electronics that are designed to be replaced every other year Defeat Planned Obsolescence with Linux and Open Source Software Defeat Planned Obsolescence with Linux and Open Source Software Unlike a 5-year-old PC, a 5-year-old smartphone can barely run any modern apps. But there is a way to enjoy the benefits of technology without buying new hardware: embrace Linux and free software! Read More ? Create your own smart TV or game console using a Raspberry Pi or a similar chip. You could even make a business out of it.

Do you need a subscription service to stream music? You can do that yourself 7 Best Media Server Software Options for Linux 7 Best Media Server Software Options for Linux Want to set up a Linux media server? Where should you start? Plex is a good option, but there are strong alternatives, all of which we've checked to help you make the right choice. Read More . You no longer see a point to paying others a monthly fee once you learn how to make stuff happen using free alternatives Syncthing or Resilio Sync: How Should You Share Files on Linux? Syncthing or Resilio Sync: How Should You Share Files on Linux? Syncthing and Resilio Sync (previously BitTorrent Sync) can sync files between your computers and require zero knowledge of how to set up a server. But which solution works best for you? Read More .

4. Never Stop Learning

Installing Linux isn’t nearly as difficult as it used to be. If your hardware is compatible, then erasing Windows and installing Linux is about as difficult as downloading and installing a Windows application. But it still requires stepping out of your comfort zone and learning something new. That’s great!

Switching means encountering a whole world of Linux operating systems The Best Linux Operating Systems The Best Linux Operating Systems There are Linux distros available for every purpose, which makes choosing one difficult. Here's a list of the very best Linux operating systems to help. Read More and software that you can only find in the open source ecosystem. You will discover new desktop environments Which Linux Desktop Environment Best Suits Your Personality? Which Linux Desktop Environment Best Suits Your Personality? What kind of computer user are you? Do you leave icons scattered across your desktop? Do you prefer to work in one uncluttered application? Let's find out which Linux desktop environment suits you best. Read More and, if you’re curious, learn how to do more than you imagined from the command line Become a Linux Command Line Master With These Tips and Tricks Become a Linux Command Line Master With These Tips and Tricks Whether you're brand new to Linux, or a seasoned Linux veteran, the command line offers a bevy of uses. Try these tips for mastering the command line. Read More .

Once you’ve learned how to extend the life of your existing hardware with Linux, you may feel emboldened to take on more projects.

This continuous learning isn’t just great for reducing your consumption and helping you repurpose what you have, it’s great for your health. It builds your sense of self worth, and it can even make you more employable.

5. Share What You Have

Commercial operating systems condition us to view software as a product. Someone else makes it, and we give them money to use what they’ve produced. In many cases, it’s illegal to share the software we’ve downloaded with others.

Linux takes a different approach. It’s built on the principle of software freedom. Code, like language, isn’t to be restricted. Programs, written in code, are free for anyone to use and share as they wish.

You can share any app you download. If you grow up in this kind of environment 6 Reasons to Start Your Kids Off With Linux 6 Reasons to Start Your Kids Off With Linux Computers, and their operating systems, are not created equal. The OS they use matters, and Linux might be the best one to start them off with. Let's talk about why. Read More , maybe you will feel more inclined to share any software you make with others as well. So go ahead and give someone else that USB stick you used to install Ubuntu Install Ubuntu On Your Computer Using a USB Flash Drive Install Ubuntu On Your Computer Using a USB Flash Drive Want to install Ubuntu but don't have a spare blank DVD? Don't worry! After downloadin the ISO file, you can use a highly-reusable USB flash drive to get the job done. Read More . Sharing is caring.

6. Get Involved

When software is a product, you can only sit back and wait for others to fix the problems to encounter. When software is free and open source, you’re empowered to make those fixes yourself. Doing so takes time and effort. It may not always go as planned. But that makes the experience no less rewarding.

You don’t have to be a programmer. You can write guides, produce art, or organize events to help and attract Linux users in person. Whatever you choose to do, you’re building skills that can help you in many other areas of your life. You may even become more willing to take action and get involved in things that have nothing to do with Linux!

7. Give Back

When you switch to Linux, the vast majority of what you use is free. It’s easy to take that for granted. Just because the software doesn’t cost you money to use, that doesn’t mean it’s free to make Why Linux Is Free: How the Open Source World Makes Money Why Linux Is Free: How the Open Source World Makes Money Just why is Linux and open source software free? Is it safe to trust free software? What do the developers get out of it, and how do they make money to continue development? Read More .

That’s why it’s great to donate money to support certain apps, interfaces, and organizations. Do you use Elementary OS? AppCenter makes this easy Can the Elementary OS AppCenter Prompt a New Era of Linux App Development? Can the Elementary OS AppCenter Prompt a New Era of Linux App Development? Elementary OS developers have introduced a pay-what-you-want model for apps. Could this be the beginning of a whole new era of app development on Linux? Read More .

Once you start donating to Linux projects, it’s easy to make the transition to other organizations. Donate whatever you can to the things you’ve benefited from and the causes you think are doing good in the world. Allow this practice of giving back to become part of who you are.

8. Be Different

You may be the only person you know who uses Linux. That can feel uncomfortable at first. You may get unwanted comments or even insults from people who think you’ve made a weird life choice.

You may also encounter people who want to follow in your footsteps. They may think what you’ve done to your computer is the coolest thing ever.

All of these things are possible whenever you make a decision that makes you stand out. Sometimes being different isn’t a choice; it’s just something you have to deal with.

Using Linux can be a safe way to get used to going against the grain. It can help you grow comfortable enough to make other life changes that you’ve been too afraid to embrace for fear of being different.

How Has Linux Impacted Your Life?

Using Linux isn’t like other operating systems. It can change how you view software. Exposure to free and open source ideals has even lead people to think differently about other aspects of life. If you want to make a change going into the new year, this is an easy one to make Switch from Windows to Linux and Get Up and Running in Minutes Switch from Windows to Linux and Get Up and Running in Minutes Switching from Windows to Linux might seem complex, but it's easy! Here's how to your get important data and programs from one OS to the other. Read More .

What impact has using Linux had on you? Has the experience made you more knowledgeable? Are you more giving? Has the overall effect been negative? Share your stories in the comments below!

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  1. dragonmouth
    January 10, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    I have a bunch of PCs sitting around, doing nothing, just looking stupid. The problem is that they all have 32 bit CPUs. Unfortunately, in their stampede to be oh so current, most distros are dropping the 32 bit versions. So, instead of using my favorite distro, I have to settle for some distro I don't know and/or don't like.

  2. rudy
    January 6, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    I installed Ubuntu on my HTPC and it runs great. I started with Mint, but have settled on Ubuntu. It was fairly easy to setup my VPN. I love the simplicity compared to Windows. I have even somewhat embraced the terminal. Learning something new, even at age 68, is fun.

  3. Marte
    January 6, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I have a triple boot system with Win 10, Manjaro-xfce and Mint 18.3 xfce. Recently I have been using my Mint
    installation exclusively and I enjoy every second of it. It is stable, fast and works perfectly with the hardware. Using Linux, I have learned quite a bit about computing and the working of computers. It also gives me much more freedom to customize my system and settings. Of course like every new thing in life, there is a learning curve involved but that is also part of the fun of learning.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      January 6, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      That's a nice attitude. I enjoyed the learning process, too. Now, years later, I get to write about what I learned. It has been a great experience.

  4. William Vasquez
    January 5, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    overall, Linux based operating systems are great. I use it almost exclusively, but somethings really bug me. When I go to a website with a live streaming feed,(like when I want to watch a live car chase on the news) the website will say 'flash is needed to watch video.' With Windows I either download flash and install and use in seconds or click on 'one time use for this website only.', but with Linux, it is a long involved process that, for the most part, never works. I really miss being able to just click on a .exe file and everything is fine. With Linux I have to find out how to open the file, how to use it; whether or not it is a .deb or .rpm or ..bfd or dot whatever.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      January 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Yeah, flash can be a pain. Do you have to jump through these hoops even if you use Google Chrome? I haven't used flash in a while, so this isn't a problem I encounter all that often.

  5. Devansh Das
    January 5, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Great post

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      January 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks!

  6. tsreb0
    January 5, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Linux has been a great alternative for me. I had a Walmart special HP AMD laptop that I got when I was laid off. It had Windows 7 on it and when I upgraded to Windows 10... it was ok until I got my new job and had to install Remedy + Citrix to be able to work at home.... my machine became a brick.
    A friend at work told me about Linux Mint and the fact that I would not need Remedy to use Citrix on it, So I thought why not give it a try... It worked perfectly and infact it brought completely new life to the laptop.
    I really enjoy Linux but I do have one issue... which version to use. I have tried Mint, Antergos, Ubuntu and Elementary (have a mac a home and really like the dock).

    While I love the Antergos speed and limited install (only install what I want), I keep running into issues with getting my printer to work and sharing files with my PC. I am currently back to Mint and really like the simplicity of it and the fact that out of the box, was able to print as well as ease of use of networking with my PC.

    Now if I can only convince my wife to switch...

    • Colin
      January 6, 2018 at 1:58 am

      The version to use is the one that works, that you like and you are comfortable with. There is no problem with using one or more versions of Linux or any other OS that is good for what you want to do.