Why do I use Linux? Why do I spend much of my time suggesting others use it? Is it just because it's available for free?

I'm not a programmer. Yet Linux is built on the philosophical principle of freely sharing source code. This is how those who create Linux frequently advocate it.

But if I'm not a programmer, and source code therefore means little to me, why do I use Linux? Why do I spend much of my time suggesting others use it? Is it just because it's available for free? (Spoiler: no.) These are interesting questions that are not discussed very often.

I list my personal reasons for using Linux below. Some are downright practical, while others are more philosophical. I invite you to post your own reasons for using Linux in the comments below.

On the other hand, if you're one of those teetering on the brink of switching to Linux, reading this list might be a good place to start, and you may find some inspiration to make the leap (if you are a Linux beginner, you might also consider getting a copy of my free-of-charge book too).

Control over my system

I have the freedom to do what I want with Linux. Crucially, there's no "right way" or "wrong way" of doing things (although there are sensible and efficient ways of doing things, of course).

In the Linux community, you'll never hear somebody say, "Hey! You're not supposed to do that!" or, "Serves you right for doing it the wrong way!" Instead, what you're more likely to hear is, "Hey! I didn't know you could do that! That's cool!" Innovative solutions are encouraged. Feel free to explore.

This freedom extends to my choice of software too. If I don't like a particular piece of software, I can use an alternative. This is true even of desktop or system components, which in Windows and Mac OS X are considered set in stone. I can even run Linux without the Linux kernel if I want to!

Here's an example of why this kind of freedom is good. When using Ubuntu on my netbook, I bypass the built-in Network Manager program that configures wi-fi, and configure the network manually.

Put simply, this lets me get online straight away after waking the netbook from suspend. But if I did this kind of tweak under Windows, people would point out that it's somehow "wrong". You should do things the way Microsoft tells you to! Get back into line, soldier!

Under Linux, I can do what the hell I want, and nobody will ever tell me otherwise. That's not just how I roll. That's how it is with Linux.

NEXT PAGE: Linux is on my side