Let’s be clear: Linux powers pretty much everything you use. Cloud? linux Social media? linux google? linux
You can not escape. In fact, without Linux and open source software, companies around the world would not be as competitive. This is a fact, not an opinion.
What is an opinion, however, is that Linux is not viable for consumer or home users.
I’d say the view is a bit myopic because the current state of Linux not only makes it an ideal operating system for your home computers, but it can also provide you with considerable value as a server operating system on your home network.
Don’t stop reading yet. I know you’re probably thinking, “I don’t know how to set up a server!” What you may not know is that it is much easier than you think.
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And beyond that, there’s a world of possibilities to unlock when you let Linux and open source software into your home.
And it’s not just about cost. Yes, Linux is a free operating system. You can download a single ISO image, burn it to a USB drive, and install Linux on as many computers as you like. More than anything, Linux is about freedom. Instead of having to do things the Apple or Microsoft way, you can do it your way.
It is the Burger King of operating systems.
Anyway, what I’m talking about is the freedom to use it how you need it, where you need it, and when you need it. It’s also about safety. Although Linux is one of the most secure operating systems on the market, that’s not exactly the type of security I’m talking about.
Let me explain.
You probably use Google Workspace, Office 365, or iCloud. I consider myself a power user of Google Workspace because I have used it for hours every day and have been for a long time. I use Google Workspace knowing that everything I create or save in that service is available to a third party. For most of what I think, it’s fine. However, there are certain sensitive documents that I feel I am not okay with sharing or saving via a third-party hosted solution. Because of that, I would prefer to keep things internal.
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That’s where Linux and open source come in for me and should be considered for you as well.
On my home network, I have several Linux servers deployed that I use as internal cloud systems, billing and billing platforms, project management tools, and more. Beyond the operating system, the software I use for these purposes includes the following:
- Nextcloud: As my internal cloud service (for storing, sharing, editing and creating documents).
- InvoicePlane: To invoice and invoice customers.
- OpenProject: For project management.
- Portainer: For container deployments.
I also use Samba on all my Linux machines to share files between systems.
I’m not saying anyone can get Nextcloud up and running, but it’s not as hard as you think. In fact, with simple instructions (which I’ll provide in future tutorials), you’ll be surprised that yes, you can successfully install those platforms and use some powerful and flexible applications without leaving your home network.
Also: How to set up a cloud service at home
The privacy and security of your information
That’s power. And the security you get from not saving sensitive data to a public third-party service cannot be overstated. You could effectively replace all those third party services (some of which you pay for) with free open source tools on your network. By doing this, you don’t trust Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, Slack, or Apple to keep your data security a top priority. Although the chances of Google being hacked are slim, it is not impossible. But more than that, one of the issues that worries me the most is the AI.
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Consider this: to be effective, artificial intelligence must be trained. With Google, Microsoft and who knows who else using more and more AI, they need content to train their systems. Who’s to say they’re not using documents stored in their systems as training fodder? Personally, I don’t want my novels to be used for such purposes. So I’m seriously considering migrating from Google Docs to an internal Nextcloud instance. Nextcloud includes all the features I need to develop and write fiction, without having to worry about those books being used to train the AI.
That may not be a decisive reason for you, but it is for me. I write for a living and I don’t want my work used for anything other than its original purpose. Along with that level of security, I also prefer to bring those needs in-house because I’m in full control. On top of that, if I lose my Internet connection, I can still access the servers on my network, so I can continue working.
Don’t forget the desk
I’m not saying that you should use Linux on the desktop if you plan to use Linux as a server operating system for your network. That’s not the case, because most of the services you implement with Linux would be used through a web browser. But the thing about Linux on the desktop is that it eliminates a number of frustrations that you’ve probably experienced with other operating systems. Like I said before, with Linux you can do things your way. If you don’t like the way a Linux distribution works, you can change it. You won’t find that level of freedom with MacOS or Windows.
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There are also tons of software titles you can install and use for free, some of which are even proprietary. You can install Spotify, Slack and more… so you don’t miss a thing. And if you like gaming, there’s Steam. Yes, once upon a time, there were glaring holes in the software options available for Linux. Since almost everything these days is handled through a web browser, those glaring holes are far fewer. Also, with the rise in popularity of Snap, Flatpak, and AppImages, even several proprietary apps have made their way to the operating system.
Not only do you have all the apps you need, but you can also implement many different services and keep all your important data in-house. Doing that with proprietary operating systems is not as easy as with Linux and open source.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s install Linux and start deploying the services you want to run within the confines of your LAN. It’s secure, reliable, and as flexible as you want.
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