Who Linux is and is not for

To continue a thought. . . .

I expect to get some push-back (that’s OK) from people who know and feel differently, but I feel confident that desktop Linux is not right or not ready for some people.

These include:

  • avid gamers, because few games are ported to Linux
  • most new-to-Linux laptop users, because of scattershot hardware incompatibilities
  • people dependent on a particular piece of obscure or specialized software

For most everyone else, there is probably a Linux solution for you.

Indeed, I think it would be ideal for

  • schools, community centers and libraries, where browsing users are prone to find viruses online
  • those who use — out of necessity or hobbyist or environmental interest — very old hardware
  • those who prize community involvement, participatory governance, subsidiarity and sustainability among their core values
  • or all of these, in sum, nonprofits or do-gooders who need a full-featured, stable, laterally-developed and non-stolen operating system and software

Linux isn’t going to work for everyone, but I suspect my regular readers are a better fit for it than the general public. Month by month the “start-up costs” of adopting Linux for non-tech people is dropping.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Scott,

    This is a great list. To the list of those Linux is not for: those committed to using very new hardware. Forget about syncing the latest palm/treo, the newest printers, the fastest new video cards, etc. The drivers take time to reverse engineer, and very few hardware vendors ship drivers for Linux.

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