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Why I love Linux — even if I no longer use it

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That Netflix is coming to desktop Linux soon is great news. Considering the OS only holds about 1.6 percent of overall desktop marketshare, it's an important moment for those who use Linux in their home lives that Netflix's engineers are even exploring the idea. It's not like they had to, right?

Thinking about this, I remembered how much I loved (and still love) Linux. And I had to reminisce. I remember being a pimply high school kid circa 2002 and configuring Gentoo Linux by hand — kernel and all — onto my little beige eMachines computer, losing days of actual productivity in the process. And loving it. I remember diving into forums and arguing, however ineptly, over the merits of KDE over Gnome. I remember never quite mastering the command line, but getting pretty damn good at it. It let me do whatever I wanted, and my friends didn't get it. Back then, I was open source. Linux was safer, better, and cooler than the competition. We were gonna win the desktop. One day! I had my quiet, nerdy rebellion moment compiling code for hours when my friends were playing World of Warcraft. And I loved every minute of it.

We were gonna win the desktop. One day!

I also remember missing all this when, by college, I bought my first Mac. But I'd feel powerful again whenever I opened Terminal and futzed around. And I'm always a little glad to see yet another device runs atop my favorite OS, even if no one really says it out loud.

Linux was a big part of my formative years. It's what got me into computers, and I take that with me wherever I go. Nowadays, I have a few MacBooks lying around and don't feel so inclined to fire up the Terminal every day. But I have a netbook in my living room that I've never given up. I like to play around with Ubuntu every now and then, updating it, formatting it, and just tinkering here and there. Just for fun.

Linux is doing just fine right now, and it's not going anywhere. The idea that just five people in the world use it — a notion that holds some pretty unfortunate sway — is patently false. Nevermind that it basically won mobile... globally. Technically. So I want fawning coverage of the next kernel release. We should have lengthy Voxsplainers on why Tux is the Linux mascot. And we really need more love from mainstream developers, because Netflix is just a start and emulators aren't enough. Linux matters. Period.

So tell me: what do you use? Why does it matter to you? Check out the poll below and hit the comments.