My adventures in Linux: week 1

Up and running

I am now nearly fully up and running on Mint 15 Olivia. I still can’t get over how gorgeous the fonts look, and the screen layout crisp and uncluttered. 

Apps I’ve gone with

The “vitals I had in Windows” are for the most part not part of my journey anymore. Chrome, Firefox and Skype I’m still using, other apps I’ve found replacements for. 

Gaming

Any chess players? FICS? On Windows I used Babas chess. Swopped this out for Pychess : http://pychess.org/ . I’ts actually better.  

I’m really liking Battle for Wesnoth : http://www.wesnoth.org/. It’s a fun turn based game, that starts off easy, but as things progress gets difficult to beat the AI. Long single player campaigns. Many claim it’s their favorite open source game. Well so far I’m loving it. 

Archiving

On Windows I used WinRar, on Linux I can’t tell you what I’m using, everything just works. This is most likely a Mint thing. So far I’ve had no reason to install any archiving / extraction tools. 

Programming

I had no expectation of fully replacing Visual Studio and C# with Project Mono. I still think that later on down the road I will find a use for Mono, but as they say “When in Rome…” 

On Linux I’ve opted for Qt (http://qt.digia.com/) , I know it’s possible to use QML for interface design, but  I decided to use HTML5 instead. Qt is pretty amazing. The HTML5 rendering is handled by webkit and you hookup functions to expose strongly typed “server side” code. It is possible to use Qt with languages other than C++, but I’m really new to the world of Linux and wanted the easiest approach. The Qt creator IDE is designed exclusively for C++ (This might change), but coming from a C# background C++ is a relatively easy language to learn. Since knowing C++ will come in handy on Linux, it’s the language I’ve gone for. 

As for HTML editing, Sublime seems to be where the fun is at: http://www.sublimetext.com/, so far love the color schemes. 

Things I’m noticing

  • Applications start faster on Linux, I guess there is far less bloat in Window creation? This could be a DE specific thing. I have no idea. 
  • Created my first permanent alias, no jokes it’s to kill Skype. Skype on Linux is a bit better than the Windows 8 client, but it still hangs from time to time and requires a hard kill. 
  • Google play music has a native Linux client – frigging sweet, but it needs work. It’s slightly worse than the Windows one, but it does the job. 
  • System is using a lot less Swop space, where applicable “none”, so for this reason much less HDD IO. SSD’s WILL last longer if you use Linux, but for me the notebook I have comes with a dog slow HDD, any less IO vastly improves the system performance. 
  • Had one or 2 strange hangs. One where all my windows minimized and couldn’t get them maximised. Can’t reproduce it and it only happened once. 
  • Everything feels more responsive. 

If you’re using Windows, the distribution of Linux I am using can be found here: http://www.linuxmint.com/

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