Top Uses for Linux (Even If Your Main PC Runs Windows)
* Work with Hard Drives and Partitions
If you dual- or triple-boot your system and ever want to move partitions around, you'll have a much easier time with a Linux live CD and GParted. Heck, even if you don't dual-boot, you'll still need a bit of help from Linux if you ever migrate to a solid-state drive, or upgrade to a more spacious drive. And, if you want to securely wipe it so no one can get at your data...well, Ubuntu can do that too.
* Run a Home Server for Backup, Streaming, Torrenting, and More
If you don't want to leave your computer on 24/7 just to share files or download torrents, a tiny dedicated Linux box might be a better solution. With an old computer or a cheap new one, you can put together a home server that stores your backups, streams movies and musics, seeds torrents, or performs any number of other tasks quietly in the corner. You can put one together with Nas4Free, FreeNAS, or even Ubuntu—though our favorite solution is the Linux-based Amahi. (Yes, we know FreeNAS and NAS4Free are technically FreeBSD—but we're going to lump them in with Linux for practical purposes.)
* Revive an Old or Slow PC
And so we come to one of the most obvious and common uses for Linux—and still one of the best. If you have a PC that's seen better days, Windows is far from the ideal OS. install a lightweight Linux distribution on it (like Lubuntu or, if you're a bit more savvy, Archbang) and it'll feel like a new machine again. It may not be able to do everything your powerful Windows machine can do, but it's better than having a non-functional computer, and works perfectly for basic tasks.
* Learn More About How Computers Work
If none of the above sound like anything you need, why not just get in the spirit of DIY and learn a little bit more about how computers work? Tons of things run Linux these days, from TVs to the Android phone in your pocket, and learning about Linux is not only a fun hobby in and of itself, but it'll help you learn a bit more about what makes these machines tick. We recommend getting started with something like Ubuntu or Mint, then when you get a little more familiar, move onto Arch for some serious learning. There are a ton of great distros out there, and even if you're just playing around, you may find that those skills come in pretty handy one day.
* INVENTORY YOUR COLLECTION IN A DATABASE.
Linux comes packed with many different types of database tools. For example: You could run a database server with MySQL then use Calligra to connect to it and get a visual overview of your databases.
* SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE
You can set up a simple web camera streaming to a website with Camstream or opt for a more professional solution using Zoneminder.
* CREATE 3D
models and renderings for your movies or games with Blender.
* Virtualize other operating systems with virtualization software like Xen, VirtualBox or VMWare.