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A Light Experience with Linux Distros

We use Linux based operating systems every day for a wide variety of use cases. From web servers to security focused operations there is a Linux distro for what seems like everything.

A stripped back system with huge improvements to a programmer’s workflow is a must for your daily driver. A large amount of our time programming is spent looking exclusively at code or a terminal so do we really need all the bloat and unused features that other operating systems offer? 

Hardware Boost
One of our favourite things to do with old hardware and machines is to repurpose them by installing some form of Linux. Typically, the lightweight approach can give an old laptop a few more years of life just by opting to run Linux. While not exclusive to operating systems as we know it, you can also utilise your old hardware to run other services such as a NAS or various caches.

Distro Examples
As mentioned above, you don’t exclusively need to be looking for standard operating systems. Many available have focuses from heightened security, such as Fedora & Red Hat, for specific uses such as Raspbian for the Raspberry Pi or Steam OS for gaming. While there are over a thousand different options in all sorts of flavours, some are still regarded more highly as the “go to” for different situations.

While there are plenty of “user friendly” distros, with some making substantial pushes in the last few years to improve the experience, Linux is not for the faint hearted. Linus Tech Tips did a great 4-part series on their experiences with daily driving Linux for a month. Even with tech knowledge going into it, they became stuck and frustrated at some of the limitations or it was difficult to diagnose problems.

Windows 11 – WSL
On Windows 11 (and one of the latest Windows 10 versions) they introduce a new system which allows for some great integrations into Linux straight from your Windows OS. WSL allows you to use popular Linux tools, commands, and systems to bolster your Windows experience. This has allowed us to drop certain use cases we had for Linux as we can now access features directly within our main Windows machines.