Hazem Allbabidi

November 17, 2023 | 7 min read

Linux in Less Than 10 Minutes

Linux is a very well-known Operating System used mainly on servers. It is also widely used as the daily OS for Software Developers and DevOps engineers. It offers great flexibility when it comes to customization, easy use of the available tools, and best of all, it is completely free!

In this article, we will be going through Linux. What it actually is, where there seems to be a lot of versions, and basic usage of it. Let us get right in!

What is Linux?

Linux is not actually an Operating System in itself, it is a Kernel. A Kernel is like the software brain of an operating system. It is what manages and controls the processess that are running on the device.

What we see when use Ubuntu, Debian, or even Red Hat Enterprise Linux, is an Operating System built right on top of the Linux kernel. These are called Distributions (also known as distros). They offer an interface to the system, a package manager to install and remove applications, and much more.

Distributions are similar in that they all rely on the Linux kernel, but they differ mainly on what their purpose is. You might see a lot of companies that use Red Hat Linux or Debian for their servers. You will also see a lot of Penetration Testers and Hackers use Kali Linux.

The purpose of an OS like Debian is to allow the users to be able to easily configure and install tools necessary for deploying websites or running specific services. Penetration Testers might not need to use that stuff, so they go with a Distro that best fits their needs, like Kali Linux, which offers various tools and applications for testing and “hacking” into web applications.

Choosing a Distro is more about what you need, not necessarily about what is “the best”. Some server administrators use Cent OS for their servers. Some developers use Ubuntu for their laptops and PCs. It really is up to you. There is a great selection of Linux Distributions out there for you to choose from as well.

Set Up Methods

There are three popular methods of setting up a Linux distribution on your device.

The first method is by using a Virtual Machine. This is common for people who still want to use their main OS, like Windows or Mac OS, but want to have access to a Linux system. You can use applications like VirtualBox on Windows and UTM on Mac OS (especially used for the Silicon Macs). I personally have use UTM on my Macbook to install VMs on there, I currently have a Debian VM running there.

The second method is by installing it side-by-side with your existing Operating System. This is a common method for people who have a PC running Windows where they play games and write documents, but also want to develop applications on a Linux system. This method is not recommended for beginners because one wrong configuration during the system set up might cause the Windows OS to stop working.

The third method is by installing the Linux Distro only the main PC. This is similar to the second method, but differs in that you do not have 2 or more Operating Systems on the device. It takes up much less storage due to having only 1 main Operating System, and you do not have to partition (or split) the hard disk into at least 1 partition for each OS. This method is common for people who only want the Linux experience, with no other OS using space unnecessarily.

These three methods are all pretty common. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. I recommend you start off by using a VM to just get the Linux experience. Installing Linux side-by-side with your existing OS or fully installing Linux, are really up to you if you wish to use Linux in a more day-to-day environment.

Using Linux

Linux offers a great Command-Line for doing almost anything you need. It offers various tools for installing applications, editing files, and even running running some tools. But nowadays, it has become more common to use the GUI that usually comes with the specific Distro you used.

The GUI is commonly used to open web browsers and editing the settings. For most beginners, it is always easier to change the settings using the GUI, such as connecting to the WiFi or a Bluetooth device.

The Command-Line is great for going deep inside the system. This is useful for configuring tools and applications, or change the permissions and ownership of a specific file or folder, which is useful for servers which are being accessed by multiple users.

The best method of using Linux for beginners is to mainly rely on the GUI at the start, while slowly improving their knowledge in the usage of the Command-Line.

Advantages of Linux

There are multiple advantages to using Linux. The first and most commonly appreciated advantage of Linux is that it is completely free (with a few exceptions).

The second advantage of Linux is it allows you to see everything happening on your system. You have access to all the processes running, from the applications you have running to the services running in the background. This makes it easy to troubleshoot any issues that a Linux user might encounter, like an unusually high usage of the CPU.

Another advantage of using Linux is that you can customize it however way you need. Some Linux Distros come with tools that you would use on a daily basis, like a web browser. Others might even come with no interface, which is great for servers. You can change the GUI being used. You have almost no limits when it comes to customization.

There are many more advantages of using Linux on your laptop or server. But let us see why you might not want to switch to Linux.

Disadvantages of Linux

Linux has its drawbacks, especially compared to the more popular user-friendly Operating Systems like Windows and Mac OS.

One of the main disadvantages of Linux is that it might be difficult to use for beginners. Unlike Windows and Mac OS, it is really up to you how you do anything on it. Most beginners are used to clicking “Next” on the pop-up of an application installer. Linux systems mostly use the Command-Line when doing most things. So if you are not familiar with the Terminal, it can be a struggle doing certain things. This is getting better every day, especially on some distros like Ubuntu and Manjaro, but it is still not as beginner-friendly as Windows and Mac OS.

The second disadvantage of Linux is that there are some applications that are not available on it. One of the most commonly used tools in the world are the Microsoft Office suite of applications, which are not available on Linux. This is mostly due to the parent company of the specific application choosing not to make it available for Linux for whatever reason. This can be devastating for users who use these tools on a daily basis.

Another disadvantage of Linux is that you cannot really play games on it. A lot of gamers use PCs or gaming laptops to play their video games. It is difficult playing games on Linux, sometimes due to the developers not being able to make it playable on Linux. This might not be relevant to people who use Linux for work, but it definitely a deal-breaker for gamers.

There are more disadvantages to Linux, but the ones above are the most common reason for why some people might choose to avoid Linux.


Linux is a great tool for many types of PC and laptop users, from Software Developers, to people who have weak laptops.

I personally use it on my main Work PC, which I use mainly for web application development and building Command-Line tools. From the moment I installed it the first time a few years ago, I fell in love with how much faster it was on my weak-ish laptop than Windows was.

I recommend at least trying it out, since it will open new doors for how you use your PC or laptop.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you learned more about Linux and now have an interest in using it. See you in the next one!


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