Linux is a less explored operating system for the mainstream consumers who haven’t migrated from windows due to its interactive GUI and ubiquitous support for most system software. But slowly the inclination towards the installation of Linux distributions on orthodox and new hardware is ramping up. Linux intsallation is becoming a more popular and more explored operating system. We wouldn’t compare it with Windows as of yet but it the best free alternative to otherwise expensive operating systems.
What is Linux?
Linux is an open-source operating system built for personal and commercial usage without any charge. Anyone can witness the code and add modifications to make his best version of the operating system. It was originally created by a Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, who was trying to model an operating system for his personal use and for free distribution. Anyone on their right mind would have advised against the idea but Linus did it and now you can enjoy a Linux distribution on your system, free of charge. You can donate if you wish to but there is no compulsion.
Why use Linux?
Why not? For starters it’s free. Have you ever encountered an operating system manufacturer that doesn’t demand payment in lieu of the operating system? The next best reason is the wide variety of distributions to choose from. You don’t have to stick with a single version of the operating system as there are many available and in development every day.
Apart from that, Linux distributions are super lightweight and the least resource-intensive when you compare them with the likes of Windows. That means minimal background resource usage and that too with your permission. No hidden installations of unnecessary clutter and you get to completely select or deselect the packages you want with your version of Linux distributions.
If you want big names that will help ease your transition, here are a few of them that use Linux.
- US Department of Defense
- New York Stock Exchange
That’s great! But will it work on any laptop?
Now the things get slightly confusing. The problem with newer hardware is that the manufacturers don’t release many details about hardware compatibility with Linux. Their main concern is windows compatibility because the laptop has to ship with it pre-installed and it has to pitch-perfect. Nevertheless, Linux will run on most laptops without posing a problem ever. Here are a few tips to factor in before blindly hoping to purchase any laptop for a Linux installation.
- Lay down your primary requirements
This step is crucial as you have to rely on the foreseeable future unless you plan on upgrading your hardware each year. Linux is by default the least jarring on system resources so even if you install the most visually appealing distros, the chances are that even your outdated laptop will run it without any stutter.
If you are specifically buying a laptop for Linux then we would advise you to slightly bump up the hardware specifications. That being said, you don’t need to go for 6 core, 8 core processors as dual and quad-core are more than enough for Linux. Unless you plan on running a server or game extensively on it, you can avoid the high-tier laptops.
- Buy old laptop
Unless you absolutely have to have a mint condition machine for practicing or using Linux, any second-hand or old laptop will do the trick as well. Buying an old laptop is only recommended if you are tight on the budget.
- Hardware Compatability
Each laptop manufacturer has laptop models that can run Linux without any problems. You can check for open source repositories that list all the laptop models which support Linux distributions. Similarly, you can also explore for installation of Ubuntu, one of the most favored distributions of Linux.
- Check reviews from existing buyers
If you have opted for a specific laptop model then searching for buyer reviews regarding the same will get you exact details. You can also ping existing buyers on community forums to learn more about the laptop and its support for Linux installations. It is a far-fetched idea but generally gets the most accurate information.
- Buy a laptop with Linux
If you are buying a new laptop for Linux most of them come with a Linux installation by the manufacturer. That is the biggest assurance you can get from a manufacturer that the laptop will run Linux and future distros without any problem and also avoid the installation process if you are new to computers.
Which laptop brands support Linux installation?
Almost all laptop manufacturers have a select few variants among many that support Linux installation. That includes popular brands like HP, Asus, Lenovo, Acer, Dell, etc, among which Dell has the largest number of laptops that support Linux installation. Ubuntu website has a dedicated webpage that lists all the Ubuntu certified laptops that are released until now and can run without any hiccups.
- Will Linux crash frequently?
No, stable releases do not crash frequently. Despite that, if you encounter frequent crashes it may be due to a corrupt operating system or computer hardware.
- Do I have to purchase an expensive laptop for Linux?
No. Linux is meant to be run on most systems that do not pack extensive hardware. Linux laptops are fairly cheaper than their Windows counterparts.
- Can I install Linux on a MacBook?
Yes. MacBook supports Linux distributions but you have to check it beforehand about which MacBook version supports what Linux distros. Hardware Compatability is a major issue due to which only a select few variants of MacBook are available for Linux installations.
- Does linux have no applications?
Linux distros have dedicated application store that lets you download all the compatiable softwares for your use. Most of them are free but if you are migrating from windows the software options might seem scanty.
- What is the malware situation on Linux?
Linux isn’t the favourite target for the hacking groups that prey on more ubiquitous operating systems such as windows. Malware for Linux systems exist but you cannot match the level of support that comes with Windows or macOS.