You see it all the time, a "product" that has a tiny percentage of the desktop market, and yet it's popularity is so evident. I'm not going to get into my thoughts on the future of Linux on the desktop, or what the percentage gains versus Apple looks like. What I'm interested in discussing, is why are people so crazy about Linux?

If you actually ask a Linux user, or a Linux supporter, you'll get a wide variety of answers. Some of the most common are because:

  • It's free! (ie, you don't have to pay for it)
  • It's free! (ie, open source, GPL, free speech, let the code flow baby...)
  • It runs on pretty much any hardware
  • Microsoft is evil and they eat kittens
  • If I use Windows or OSX, it'll make me a conformist
  • I can customize it any way I wish
  • The peer support is amazing
  • I wanna be different.
  • I hate shopping for software at Walmart
  • etc, etc, etc

So what's the real reason? Well, quite frankly, all of the above, and many others I didn't list. For me, I really like the options we have with themes, window managers, software choices, etc. I like the wiggly windows Compiz offers. I like the simplicity of text based config files. (Yes, for me, that's simpler, except for sendmail's config files... ugh) Heck, I love that there are thousands of programs simply a "yum" or an "apt-get" away.

If I had to pick a single reason that Linux is so popular, I think I'd have to say, "Because it's interesting." Love it or hate it, praise it or dis it, Linux is interesting. And that is what keeps people interested.