The REAL reason we use Linux

We tell people we use Linux because it’s secure. Or because it’s free, because it’s customizable, because it’s free (the other meaning), because it has excellent community support…

But all of that is just marketing bullshit. We tell that to non-Linuxers because they wouldn’t understand the real reason. And when we say those false reasons enough, we might even start to believe them ourselves.

But deep underneath, the real reason remains.

We use Linux because …

An Amazing Mind: The REAL reason we use LInux… has it exactly right.


  1. #1 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    March 18, 2008

    No, really for me it’s the virus thing. I made the decision after spending my birthday copying textfiles to run routines from safe-mode to clear out a virus installed by my son when he thought it would run a virus-checker for him.

    That’s when I made the decision to switch to Linux.

  2. #2 chezjake
    March 18, 2008

    Probably the same folks who think masochism is fun. šŸ˜‰

  3. #3 Aaron Golas
    March 18, 2008

    That’s my reason! Or at least, it WOULD be if I could get it working on my laptop. Stupid ATI video drivers…

  4. #4 jeffk
    March 18, 2008

    Fun. Gotcha. Because I get Windows for free from the U and because I use Mozilla and don’t open emails from Aunt Flo that have pictures of cute animals and viruses attached, the cost and security issues are a wash.

  5. #5 matthew
    March 18, 2008

    Well, I’ll give my reason for using Windows: Because everyone else that needs my help with their computers has it. That and the fact that I can do anything I want with it, is pretty much it. And this is coming from someone not afraid to try out a dozen free/sketchy programs a day to try to make my life a litter easier in some small way. I’m not afraid of different OS’s, but in the time I’d spend learning a new one I could spend mastering Windows even more…

  6. #6 Richard
    March 18, 2008

    This is the same reason why I drive a 30 year british sports car. Its fun to tinker with and fix when you screw it up. But its not practical really.

    I’ve used linux (ubuntu) for a while. But the problem is that I share documents with people. These documents have equations and lots of tables. Open office just doesn’t handle them correctly compared to Word, so I either use Wine or I have to go to windows. At the end of the day, I spent more time tweaking linux, and less time actually getting work (research) done.

  7. #7 CRM-114
    March 18, 2008

    Unix here, and as it happens I have a terminal window open over there on the left where I always keep one handy. Yes, I like commands, files of commands, shell scripts, and Perl scripts. I know what processes are and how to kill -9 them. I do like black ‘ink’ on white ‘paper’. And I like nonproportional characters.

    Is it a matter of taste? Perhaps some people like fiddlefarting around, while the rest of us would rather blurt out what we want the machine to do.

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    March 18, 2008

    Um, I actually do like the free part, the other free part, the customizability, the community support and the security. Were any of those aspects seriously lacking, it wouldn’t be fun. And that bit about being in a “special clique” is — for me — completely wrong.

  9. #9 Matthew Platte
    March 18, 2008

    Heck, I thought it was because I couldn’t afford a Solaris machine. /shrug. Hey matthew, don’t become too specialized; it’s a trap.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    March 18, 2008

    Yea, Matthew, have you considered this: As long as you are a Windows jock, you’ll spend piles of time helping all those people who can’t get their stuff to happen (because they are using Windows). If you go Linux, you’ll have a lot more time. Worked for me!

  11. #11 decrepitoldfool
    March 18, 2008

    I am a Windows jock at work but am having fun with an Xubuntu system at home. I have a long-term evil plan of getting at least a couple Linux machines into our main lab at the college where I work. We train international business students and it isn’t fair to them to expose them only to Windows. (Same is increasingly true in the US)

  12. #12 matthew
    March 19, 2008

    “…you’ll spend piles of time helping all those people who can’t get their stuff to happen (because they are using Windows).”

    Well, the thing is I think Windows is easy and predictable, so I can make their stuff happen. And I really like helping people with technology, so it’s all good.

    BTW, I did a search on your blog and it returned nothing, so just in case you don’t already know of it, you would really enjoy:, I certainly do.

  13. #13 Ian
    March 19, 2008

    We use Linux (or variants) because quite literally anything is better than Microsoft’s shoddy crap!

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    March 19, 2008

    Matthew: You did a search on my blog and found nothing? What does that mean? Does my blog exist?

  15. #15 matthew
    March 19, 2008

    You know, I always suspected that your blog is just a figment of my imagination…

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    March 19, 2008

    What blog?