Linux has long since transcended the experimental stage

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kchung, 123RF

kchung, 123RF

Being Productive

There is the idea that Linux and, by extension, Ubuntu, is only good for developers and experimenting. This perception is wrong.

This happened back in the early days of Linux, if I remember right, between the early- to mid-2000s. I met a person, let's call him Sam, who used Linux, but dual-booted, because he said that when he needed to work, he used Windows. He was totally enthusiastic about the idea of an open source operating system, but found the applications lacking and the platform too unstable. Microsoft Office, CorelDRAW, and Outlook were tools he could not do without. Linux was "for playing," for tinkering and experimenting.

Things have changed. Now, when I meet people who dual-boot, the say it is usually because they want to play… on Windows. Of course, it is not the same "playing" Sam was talking about. In this case it is literally playing. Support for games and hardware that the games need have traditionally been better on Windows. Interestingly, this again is shifting, with Linux emerging as a very capable gaming platform in its own right. But that is a topic for another day.

To get back on track, although I still get the occasional "I can't use Linux; I don't know how to program," the fact is Linux has become a perfectly good platform with which everybody can work everyday. We have all the usual accoutrements: word processors, spreadsheets, presentation software, visual database browsers, groupware clients, design applications, and so on; but Linux comes with a second level of productivity in that it is also very capable of running the back ends that power those same desktop apps. The same machine you use to access a database on can run the database engine itself in the background. You can have one off-the-shelf computer running the same Linux you use on your desktop, running your personal cloud. You can collect and host emails, calendars, and contacts on your Linux box, instead of having to rely on a third party – that could sell your data for profit.


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