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1.2 Perks of Linux

The fact that you’re reading this right now means you already have your own reasons for being interested in Linux, so I don’t need to convince you that it’s worth your consideration. However, you might not yet have heard about all the perks you’ll be able to enjoy on Linux, so in this lesson we’ll go over some of the best ones.

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1.2 Perks of Linux

Hey, this is Kezz for Tuts+, and welcome to Linux for Web Designers. Now the fact that you're even listening to this video right now means that you already have your own reasons for considering Linux. So I don't have to sit here and try to convince you it's worth your time to look into it. However, there are a lot of perks to Linux, and you may or may not have heard about all of them. So we're gonna get started by going through some of the real stand out perks that come from working on a Linux system. In some cases these perks actually do exist on other platforms, they do exist on Windows or they do exist on Mac OS. So you may hear some of these things and think, well I can already do that. However with a Linux system, you bring together all of the perks that we're gonna go through in this video. So you don't have to give up one perk in order to get a hold of another perk. All right, so let's jump in and have a look at these Linux perks. First up, and this was actually primarily the main thing that pulled me over to Linux, I want to have a particular hardware setup. And I found that after awhile couple of years, maybe three years of waiting on some new Apple products, unfortunately I could find the hardware configuration that I need for all the work that I wanted to do. So of course with a Linux system, you can use and king of GPU you want you're not restricted to mobile GPUs or a particular manufacturer of GPU. You can use any that you want and as many as you want. You can have whatever amount of RAM that you need, so if you only need four gig of RAM, then you can go with that. But if you do something like running a whole bunch of virtual machines and you need 32 gig of RAM, then you can do that, too. And obviously, all of this can be bought together in a do-it-yourself upgradable box. So whatever you decide that you need now, you're not going to be stuck with that for the next three, four, six years. If you need to change your hardware as you go along, you can. And finally it's also very easy to get a Linux machine that has all of the power and components that you need. And have it as a standalone desktop machine. So having a standalone box is important for you, then you can achieve that in a Linux environment. Now obviously, all of these things are also possible with a Windows machine, but with a Windows machine you might get all of the other perks that I'm gonna go through next. Next up with a Linux machine, you can have extensive customization of your system and control over your system. So if you want you can actually build up your Linux machine from the ground up. There are certain versions of Linux that are designed to give you control over each and every package that makes up your system. Absolutely nothing goes on there that you haven't specifically said you want to be on your computer. But you don't even need to do a type of set up like that where you control everything from the ground up. In almost every version of Linux you have full control over exactly what software gets installed, and what's running at any given time. So there is no bloatware that you cannot remove or that the system fights you to remove. If you want it gone, it's gone. If you want it in, it's in. And in my experience, one of the things that this translates to is really fast boot time and excellent performance. I mentioned that you can build your whole system from the ground up and have full control of your operating system. But you don't need to get into that level of depth to have a lot of customization ability on Linux. You have the ability to completely control your desktop's layout. So for example, if you wanna have your desktop laid out just like a Mac with a dock and with a panel across the top, then you can do that. If you'd prefer to have it laid out like Windows, where you have a task bar along the bottom and an application launcher that looks like a start menu, then you do that. Or if you just wanna come up with something completely custom that suits you and your workflows, then you can do that too. And on top of that, you also get full control of the colors and icons of your system. As a web designer this is something that I really love because I get to theme my operating system in the same way that I might theme a WordPress site, for example. I get to decide what colors are used, I get to decide what icons are used and I get to decide what the overall presentations style is my computer. And then finally, on top of all of this customization that you get, you can also set up really smooth workflows by using things like hot corners. Where you move your mouse up into the corner of a screen and it triggers a particular action, for example. You've got really accessible virtual desktops. In some versions of Linux, you have things called activities. Which allow you to create environments, those specifically set up for coding or specifically set up for design, and we'll go into that a little later. You have complete control over all of your keyboard shortcuts. And this is just a few of the things that you can do. There is a ton of customization that you can do on a Linux platform. And we'll dig further into some of those examples later on in this course. Next up we have Privacy and Security. Now this is something that's becoming an increasing concern for a lot of people. So if maintaining your privacy and security is important to you too then Linux is a really great place to be. So there's no telemetry and tracking in the system, there's nothing that gets sent back to any corporation's storage, so there's no data being collected and complied on you as an individual. Linux has a strong privileges system. So in Windows, for example, a user will typically have full administrator privileges. And that means that if somebody compromises that user account, they have full access to do anything that they want to the computer. In Linux, on the other hand, it's set up so that every user on an account has restricted privileges. And that means that if a Linux user account is compromised, there's a buffer zone protecting the critical system files from being compromised as well. And this type of privileges system, is what you'll have already experienced if you're a Mac user, so those two things are the same in Mac and Linux. Now one of the things it comes from the strong privilege systems, is that executable files can't run by default. Something that has tripped up a little Window's users in the past is the accidental running of executables. And this protection from executable files has definitely become better in Windows recently, but nonetheless, this protection in Linux is really solid and it's a really great perk of the system. And then another major feature that helps protect people's privacy and security on the Linux platform is the fact that all the code for any Linux system is open for public inspection. So that means that if there is any code in the operating system that doesn't provide you the type of privacy and security that you're looking for in a platform. You or the community as a whole will be able to go through the code and find out exactly what kinda protections are in place, or lack thereof. And that's not to say that Linux is impenetrable, but as you can imagine, if you have hundreds or thousands of people all watching to see what's going on in the system. It's much harder for code to exist that people typically don't wanna have on their computers. And this next set of perks is philosophical in nature. And that is the notion of free as in freedom software. So the movement that originally gave rise to Linux was based on the idea that people should have the ability to do computing in a way that doesn't infringe on their personal freedom or on the personal freedom of others. Now, this philosophy maintains that it should be the user that controls the software, rather than software implementing any type of control over a user's life. And this is distinct form the idea of open source software. The programs can be open source, but yet not ascribe to the principles of free software. Open source software is more about practicalities and pragmatism, whereas free software is succinctly philosophical and you also might say political. And it's up to you to decide whether this is important to you or not. But if it is important to you, then Linux is definitely the place you want to be. Another thing to realize is that free software doesn't mean free of charge. So we're talking about libre, not gratis. The focus is not on the price of software, rather it's on how that software might impact people. Now it's important to also realize that not all software that you'll find on a Linux machine is free in this way. So if you look into this, and you do find that it is really important to you. Then there are certain versions of Linux that are going to be more suitable to you than others, and we'll talk about that more a little bit later. And as for web design's specific perks, one of the great perks that you have is the ability to set up local stacks. So most web hosts are Linux based. So that means when you are working on a Linux machine, you work on a computer that's very much like the server that your slides are gonna eventually be uploaded to. That means you can actually install things like a WordPress site locally. To do that, all you have to do is install and configure the kind of packages that you'll find on your web host. So that means there is no need to used things like XAMPP, for example, if you don't want to. Next up, every Linux machine has a really awesome package management system. So if you've worked with NPM or Bower, for example, then you'd be familiar with how advantageous it is to use a package manager. So instead of having to go off to the different websites of all of the different bits and pieces of software that you need to use to get installers and updates and so on. You just run a command, have your package manager bring in the correct files, and install them onto your machine for you. So this means that when you come to install Nodejs, for example, or git ,all you have to do is type a couple of commands and that's it. It's a very streamlined and quick process. And for that matter, you can install all kinds of different software with just really short commands. And alternatively, if you don't really wanna use command line, most distributions will also have a graphical package manager that you can use instead. So it's something a little bit like the Mac App Store or the Windows Store, for example. Another perk that's really great for web designers, is that a Linux platform is great for commands line. Now working with the terminal on Mac OS is already really good. But working with the terminal on Windows is a little bit more rough around the edges. So the process of working with things like Node, and Gulp, and Grunt, and what have you is just a lot more pleasant in this type of an environment. So you can control how your terminal looks, so you can give it the color scheme that you want, the fonts that you want, and so on. You also get really easy access to a terminal. So with the right version of Linux you can do things easily, like going into a particular file when you need to run a command. And just having a terminal pop up that's already pointed at that folder. You can also do things like very easily setting up keyboard shortcuts to open up a terminal. And there are other easy ways to launch your terminal as well. But those are just a couple that are a bit more difficult to do on other operating systems. And you also have the ability to use alternatives in the terminal like fish, zsh or oh-my-zsh to give you something like syntax coloring and code completion. It can do that also on Mac OS, but try to do it on Windows, again is a bit more painful. So those are some of the really standout perks of working with the Linux platform and some that are particularly relevant to web design. In the next video, we're just gonna go through a couple of the most frequently asked questions when people are coming in to working with Linux. And we're also gonna go over some of the most common myths that have typically emerged from the way that Linux used to be. And a still lingering despite the fact that Linux has changed a lot across the last few years. Now some of these questions and myths can sometimes kind a scare people off from trying Linux. And that means that they miss out finding just how great the platform the system can be. So were gonna go through those in the next video. I'll see you there.