I’ve been there before, trying to give up Windows for Linux, BUT every time in the past I’ve given up, sadly after only a couple of days.
2020 it looks like I’ve finally made it
It started late December 2019, speaking to a guy who bought a computer from me and when I wanted to give him the Windows serial number, he replied I don’t need it I only use Linux.
After a long chat about computers and such and once he had left, I thought lets try Linux again.
I’d tried at least three or four times in the past with no real success, but this was yonks ago, and as I am now retired I have more time, and I use a lot less programs, the main stumbling block the last couple of times was the lack of programs or rather the windows programs that will not run on Linux
Before you shout at me WINE…, (a Linux programs that will run some Windows programs) certain programs will run under WINE in Linux, but not all, I tried using Garmin Express that I need for my Fenix 6x watch and it won’t run. (but I have a second computer still under Windows so no hassle) Certain will like NotePad++, but there are Linux equivalents for that programs so why load load it under Wine…..
So what Distro ?
Now I throwing weird names around, Distro ….? this is for distribution, already one of many problems with Linux, there are hundreds of distros around, all Linux but not the same, One Windows, One Mac, hundreds of Linuxes, make chosing complicated
All Linux sites give you the possibility to down a CDRom ISO so that you can test their Linux version, you just have to rip the CDRom with the ISO, not complicated from Windows and just boot you PC from the CDRom. The PC will start under the CDRom et voilà you will be seeing a Linux instead of your familiar Windows desktop
I started with probably the biggest and most well known Linux Ubuntu, but didn’t like the interface, looks like a cartoon or kiddies computer ??? so then tried Linux Mint, this is one of the best around, it runs Ubuntu and looks really nice.
See what I said earlier, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, both ubuntu flavours but not the same, most confusing, Like an comparing a Audi A3 against a A5, same but not the same.
I was at the time spending my retired time on forums (when I’m not doing any sport) and came across distrowatch https://www.distrowatch.com/
This web shows the most popular distros around, many that I’d never heard of and so I started downloading other distros, MX Linux, Manjaro, Solus to name some, having already downlaoded Ubuntu and Mint
After trying all, even though I had now been running Mint for a couple of days and after being able to install some programs on it (not always easy) I found that Manjaro (this is a Arch Linux flavour rather than a ubuntu) distro to be the one I preferred., or at least seemed good for me
Dual boot or not dual boot
Now what the hell does that mean, well its fairly easy, a dual boot setup means that you install Linux, whatever the distro / flavour alongside your windows, and once done, when you re boot the computer, it boots from one of the two OS, usually Linux as the first choice, but you can just toggle into windows at start up if need be.
Now this is relatively easy, BUT you just have to read up a little or maybe a lot and be CAREFUL, because if you fuck up (been there, done that) you WILL lose your windows or at least the mbr/grub that tells the computer what OS to use.
I did the Mint setup in a dual boot mode as Mint is pretty dammed easy to setup and you’ll find more articles about it than probably anything else, in fact if your installing a Linux for a very first time I would suggest it using it
If you are like me and have a computer with loads of room and have HDs to spare, clone your Windows setup to second disc, now with that you are really safe. OR unplug your Windows HD, and install Linux on a second HD. I’ve done both these options, more time spent but again if you lose years of Windows data, you’ll cry all night long.
After playing with all these distros I decided to install Manjaro as my main OS, I decided to leave Windows on one HD all on its own and use a new SSD just for Manjaro so no dual boot option though I could have, If need be I’ll boot into the Windows HD by changing the bios 1rts drive option.
So here I am, two weeks later after playing with several distros, now using Manjaro as my main computer OS. As I said being retired I don’t need many programs, and the few that I need on all available in Linux, even if and here come the Linux problems sometimes a pain in the ass to install and setup
What ever Linux you try and install all not only look and feel different, but also work different, so that first thing to suss out is how to install some programs, now this can be quite complicated, or at least to start off, as you don’t just log on to a web site and download the ‘program.exe’ as you do in windows, basically each distro has a library full or not so full of programs that you can download with some success, why some success ? you can download programs that don’t just work, though most do
I’ll explain a little, I use a YubiKey for security reasons, a clever little bugger, a USB key that gives me 2FA security, Now when you download this program in Windows, it works, when you download this program in Linux Mint, it works, when you download this program in Manajo Linux, it doesn’t work, what the fuck Linux is Linux no ???, so a couple of hours on the web, IRC (yep I still use IRC and as I’m now deaf, its just like chatting on the phone for me) and also a Manjaro forum I finally got an answer from someone on the forum, saying you need to do this in Terminal “sudo systemctl enable –now pcscd” so open terminal typed it in, et voilà the Yubikey programs work as they should do in Manjaro. Two hours hunting , doh….. Thanks Linux
While I’m nattering on about chat and forums, Linux peoples are geeks, they are believe me, most will try and help and most are very nice but they don’t tend to explain how as they expect everybody to know how. Don’t even try asking what a terminal is or you will get slagged pretty much 🙂
Some forums are the same.
As I said I decided to go the Manjaro road, so I looked for Arch Linux forums in general, as I though well, Arch Linux, all the same no ?
I logged on to https://bbs.archlinux.org/ started to fill in the register / loggin page but there’s a certain question to make sure your not a robot, the question was a sort of maths question which I didn’t understand, what the hell ??? (I’m not that thick) ,
So I jumped on their IRC and asked what’s this weird question to register ?, Got slagged straight away and by quite a few people, though eventually someone said you need to use the terminal…….
OK, opened a terminal and pasted the question in it, that gave me the answer a number about 20/30 digits long and was finally accepted in their forum., staying on their IRC I learnt that they only help people using PURE ARCH Linux, the off springs / distros / flavours even though it’s Arch behind the curtains they will not help, and made it clear that the Manjaro and other distros were not pure Linux users.
When talking to those people on the IRC they put a damper on using Linux, pure snobs, pure geeks. You really get the feeling your not wanted and they don’t want you there. a real shame.
But I’m not the sort to be brow beaten, so bye bye ARCH forum and their IRC, and hello to dedicated one for Manjaro much better, much nicer though sadly less active, of course their are dedicateds one for for Mint, or Ubuntu and like Manjaro nice and friendly. Also there are dedicated forums using Telegram
I’m now running a brand new SSD with Manjaro, installation went well, far quicker than a Windows setup
Many programs are installed by default, Firefox, LibreOffice, Gimp (replaces Photoshop), etc etc
I don’t like Firefox so I installed Chrome, which again in Linux not quite everything works out of the box, again my YubiKeys wouldn’t work with the browser, and once again I needed time on the web to suss out why, once again you need to download a tiny program that lets Chrome work with YubiKeys
again in Windows its works, in Linux it doesn’t, again it took me a while to find that and again a while to suss how to install it. no program.exe, no simple double click to install it… Though once you’ve sussed it, it gets a little easier
Other programs that I use are BitWarden that has recently replaced LastPass for me and Joplin that has replaced Nextcloud or Evernote txt files. These two programs I’m glad to say worked straight away
Networking is a pain with Linux, of all the distros I tried, I couldn’t get one that would just show me the other computers that I have at home, even posting on the Mint forum (and its a big forum) nobody was able to help and many have posted with the same problems, its like, your in a Linux world you don’t need to see other Windows computers….
Now I’m fairly tech savvy, even if I do say so myself, but this I still haven’t been able to suss this out, whatever the distro.
I can see my share folders on the other computers, but only because I know their IP addresses and the names of the shared folders so I can access them,
But for instance in Mint I had a shared folder short cut on my desktop which worked nicely, in Manjaro I can create one, but it won’t work after a new boot …..
Linux I love, (or do I hate it ???) it’s a brain teaser, you can do much more with it than Windows, but it’s a steeper learning curve, that’s for sure.
You can look for and find a distro that you like and then tweak it to suit your style. BUT you need some time with it, you cannot just install it and whoopi its works straight away.
At least now in 2020 it looks like I’m leaving Windows for good, or at least on my main computer, years ago, I only lasted a day or so before throwing in the towel, so things are far better than they were.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Windows 10 is a great product, I’ve been using Windows since XP days, having my own company for 30 years and running up to 15 PCs all built and installed by myself gave me a certain knowledge, just enough to get by often by myself before I jump in the forums and say help
Playing with Linux is just another step, Il hopefully learn how to use it better than Windows
Install it and play and please leave me any comments or thoughts.