The world of personal computing has many different operating systems. macOS. Windows. Unix. And others. The most successful operating system to date is Linux. That’s right. That Linux. Not only does Linux, in all its various flavors, power the majority of the world’s servers, it also shows up in Android, the most used OS on planet earth. Windows, macOS, iOS, and others fall far behind in total usage.
So, what can Mac users do with Linux? Why put Linux on your Mac?
For the most part, Linux provides some of what we cannot already do with macOS. Linux is something of a Unix copycat in the way Windows copied Mac OS back in the day, and in the way that Android OS copied iPhone’s iOS. They all work much the same way but there are sufficient differences which make Linux valuable, intriguing, and– sorry to say it– mostly useless for most Mac users.
Sometimes all at the same time.
A tech article asked the question, “So what can you actually do with Linux?” Compared to what you can do already with a Mac, not much. I’ll admit that Linux makes for a far better server system than macOS Server, but choosing from the dozens of Linux flavors available online– most are free– can make the process more cumbersome. For the average Mac user, Linux can be something of a pain to setup and use but most versions run well on the Mac, either with Boot Camp, or with VMware Fusion or Parallels, both of which, like Windows 10, can run within macOS– all at the same time if you want.
The first problem to encounter beyond the setup and basic learning curve is applications. Or, rather, lack of applications that mirror functionality found on a Mac these days. Linux runs on pretty much any hardware sporting Intel Inside, so there’s the option of getting good hardware at a lower price point than Mac users, but applications on Linux just are not the same.
Most popular flavors of Linux have browsers for web surfing, email applications, Office look-a-likes, Multimedia apps for movies and music, and a few photo management and enhancement apps. Most are free, but most are no exactly what you’ll find on a newly updated Mac or Windows 10 PC.
Generally speaking, Linux is quite secure these days, but so is the Mac, and even Windows 10 does not have the exploited vulnerabilities of years past.
What can Mac users do with Linux?
Other than some server functionalities, Linux remains more the domain of the geeky folks and cannot do as much as you can do on a Mac. But if geeky is your middle name or you just want to see what life is like on the other side of the fence, you can get Linux up and running on traditional PC hardware that is far less expensive than a Mac.