Open Source Musings The thoughts, ideas, and opinions of an open source guy

The beauty of Linux

A desktop PC running Linux Mint

Yes, Linux is beautiful. I know a number of people who disagree with that statement, but I know better. The beauty of Linux isn’t skin deep, either.

The beauty of Linux was brought home to me quite recently, in a report about a recent Apple press event. At the event, an Apple exec stated that there are 600 million PCs that are five years old or older. He added that it was really sad, to which the audience laughed. When I read that, I had to shake my head. Words like arrogance and hubris came to mind.

In parts of the world, there are countless people who can’t afford to buy a computer — the cost of a PC is more than they make in a year. And there are people everywhere who can’t afford to upgrade regularly. They need to get by with older hardware.

For many people, even in the developed world, paying the rent and feeding the kids is far more important than buying a shiny new gadget. I make a fairly decent salary. I’m not wealthy, but I’m far from destitute. Even so, I could never afford to upgrade when Apple thinks I should (assuming I wanted to step on to Apple’s treadmill).

So, what’s the beauty of Linux that I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? The number of distributions that not just run quite nicely on older hardware but which also breathe new life into that older hardware.

Take, for example, what’s now my burner laptop — I discussed it with Steven Ovadia in my interview with The Linux Setup. That laptop now runs Ubuntu Mate. When it gets older and creakier, I can easily install a lightweight Linux distribution that will keep it running indefinitely. The same goes for the System 76 Galago laptop I bought in 2015.

I don’t need to, and I can’t be compelled to, upgrade my hardware on someone else’s schedule. I can do it when I can afford to or when I actually need to. No sooner, no later.

That, to me, is one of the many things that makes Linux beautiful.

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