If you have an older computer collecting dust in the corner of your home office, or want to get more performance out of a new but underpowered laptop, installing Linux can give your hardware a new lease on life. Linux is a free and open source operating system that has many advantages over Windows and Mac OS that make it perfect for extending the usefulness of aging computers.

Firstly, Linux has lower system requirements than mainstream operating systems like Windows and macOS. The Linux kernel and common distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint are optimized to run efficiently on older hardware. You can install Linux on computers from the early 2000s and still have a usable system, while Windows 10 would choke and sputter on that same hardware. 

Linux also has lightweight desktop environments like Xfce and LXDE that are designed to use minimal system resources. Combined with optimizations under the hood, you can run Linux smoothly on computers with as little as 512MB of RAM and an ancient single-core processor. It's perfect for resurrecting that old Pentium 4 desktop from the back of your closet or turning a rickety first-generation netbook into something usable again.

Since Linux is open source, there are no license fees to pay to install it, unlike Windows or macOS. You can legally download an ISO image of a Linux distribution for free and install it on as many systems as you want without worrying about piracy. This makes it ideal for experimenting and breathing new life into secondary machines.

One of the biggest advantages of Linux is its customizability. The interface is highly customizable, allowing you to tweak the look and feel extensively. Most Linux desktop environments like GNOME and KDE are modular, so you can choose exactly which components you want installed. The variety of desktop environments also means you can pick one that best fits the capabilities of your hardware. With endless themes and icon packs available, you can make an old computer feel new again with a fresh coat of digital paint.

Using Linux also unlocks access to powerful terminal commands that let you control your system at a low level. Unlike the limited command prompts in Windows and macOS, Linux terminals give you direct access to the inner workings of your computer. You'll learn a ton about how operating systems work as you explore all that Linux has to offer. Basic tasks like monitoring system resources, changing file permissions, automating tasks with scripts, and installing software become intuitive after learning terminal commands. There are even unique applications and desktop customizations that you can't get on other platforms.

Whether you want to breathe new life into old 32-bit hardware that can't run the latest Windows or customize your computing experience like never before, Linux delivers. The open source OS offers the perfect combination of efficient use of resources, flexibility, and no cost. It's the ideal choice for techies or casual users looking to get the most out of their aging computer and learn more about their system in the process. With a little time investment to learn the basics, you can become a Linux power user and make that old hardware feel new again.