21:30 30 March 2017
We need to talk about Linux.
There was a time in recent history when it seemed that Linux was the future of operating systems. A fully customisable, programmable system gave software developers (and geeks like me) control over our user experience. Windows and Mac operating systems showed no intention of going in that direction.
Windows and Mac still have not shown signs of becoming more developer friendly. And they've had no need to. The demand is just not big enough. People are becoming increasingly averse to the lightest troubleshooting. They prefer their operating system to be entirely ready made.
For those who had other ideas, Google began toying with the idea, but again, it hasn't really taken off.
But Linux has stood fast, and there is still place for it in the modern world. Those who want that control use Linux. And the biggest criticism against it has largely been resolved.
In the past, there were a lot of programs incompatible with Linux. But now, even Forex traders are using the operating system, with MT4 for Linux making it possible.
Although most Linux users are swimming against the tide, it is no longer realistic to use Linux only software. In the past, you could do so, because your computer was very much a standalone device. When you needed to use external hardware or software, you catered to your computer’s needs.
But now mobile is king. The internet of things is what matters. Not only are computers inextricably linked with mobile devices, but computers are increasingly being designed to work with mobile at the forefront.
Which is why, in order for Linux to be a realistic option, compatibility is key.
Again, to use the example of the Forex trader, Linux used to be a very poor option. With MetaTrader 4, the undisputed leading Forex software, barely compatible, traders basically had to use a mainstream operating system.
Even if MT4 could carry out basic trades on Linux, features such as Forex demo trading were unavailable. This sort of feature increases a beginner’s chances of success, and so it is not a minor detail.
Should you use Linux?
Because Linux is now much more compatible with mainstream software, there are some compelling reasons to use it.
The major reason is that in the modern day, troubleshooting is becoming a rare skill. When I was young, to use a computer you had to figure out how to use DOS. You had to input commands yourself, and have a basic idea of how it worked. Even those uninterested in technology would have that knowledge.
Nowadays, if something goes wrong on an iPhone or a MacBook, most young, supposedly tech-savvy users would have no idea where to start.
Our relationship with technology is becoming ever less symbiotic, and that matters. Because in the end, technology is the future, and we want to be able to participate in that future, not just experience it.
Linux is still an excellent option, and it might be more relevant today than ever before.