A lot of people have never actually heard of what Linux is so let me define it real quick. Linux is a operating system, like macOS built upon a base called Unix. It is free and open source for anybody to download, use, modify, and improve. We have decided to make all of the computers in our office run a variation of Linux; particularly the Linux Mint distribution on our work stations, which is free to download. Streamlining our web design process.
Over the course of several months the switch has been amazing in terms of system stability, speed, and security. Not only that but we now have access to a wide range of free open source tools that ease collaboration across web design projects. The switch also gave us full control and customization over the computers we have. While there were several awesome benefits that come from doing a full switch to Linux, there were a couple downsides.
Lack of Support From Vendors:
One of the biggest banes of Linux would be the lack of support from large vendors such as Adobe and Microsoft. For example, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator do not have Linux variations available for them. However, both of these have free open source alternatives such as Gimp and Inkscape. Skype on Linux is also severely outdated, and it seems that Microsoft had abandoned support for it all-together. Likely due to the lack of popularity of Linux on desktop environments. Although the market share of Linux on desktop environments is at an all-time high which we think is awesome, and we hope that growth like that helps in future software support.
Complexity for the Average Bear:
OK, so the Linux Mint community has done a great job for making the user experience for less tech savvy users significantly better than it was ages ago. Though its still not there yet. Most people are terrified to use a terminal to install software from a remote repository. Anything without a graphical user interface typically scares people away. While people like computer engineers and software developers love Linux because it is no where near as bloated as other operating systems; the average person would have trouble even installing it. However with a little bit of tech savvy it can be accomplished.
Why Its Awesome for Web Design & Development
While the Linux market share is low compared to Windows or macOS on desktop environments, Linux is holding its own in terms of server market share simply because its free and light weight and you can install it on just about anything. This helps us out a lot because our servers are running some sort of distribution of Linux. Not only that but we are developers who can utilize the very powerful Linux terminal. Even better, we can easily spin up personal development servers right off our laptops easier than you would on other operating systems. Another critical element here is the compatibility between all of the machines. To put it in very simple terms, all of the machines are speaking the same language. Making everything significantly easier and far more streamlined when we do web design projects.
“I’m Not A Web Designer, Should I Use It?”
I honestly encourage everyone to learn about Linux and try it for themselves. I would recommend the Ubuntu distribution for anyone first starting off. Especially if you’re coming from Windows. However if you’re coming from macOS, Elementary OS may be more your taste. Another thing to take into consideration if you want to make the switch is software compatibility for apps that you use everyday. You would want to find out if your vendors support Linux. If you’re just doing general computing, use web apps, you could go right ahead and install Linux. We encourage everyone to go open source and support the developers who contribute to open source projects, be it monetarily or by using the software. We see a big future ahead for Linux, and we love using the bleeding edge of technology.