So guys, it’s been about 1 month since I completely switched over to Linux as a full alternative to Windows based computing.
My original reasons for doing this were:
- Windows 8 is a tablet / desktop hybrid operating system, and I was after an OS specifically designed for desktop computing
- Windows has terrible support for Bluetooth
- Windows is HDD IO greedy, and the laptops in my home are all using 5200rpm cheap HDDs and my devices are underperforming.
- Every other device in my home runs Linux (routers) or Android (tablets and phones).
I’ve experimented with a few distros
It’s likely I’m not yet ready for Arch, but I am sure one of these days as my knowledge of Linux increases I’ll be heading over to Arch for purity, however I’m definitely sticking with Mint for now. I’ve run a few other sleek looking distros based on Arch, and also tried out pure Gnome 3, and I found the whole experience to be experimental.
Linux Mint is the best desktop experience Linux has to offer for noobs
There is a reason why Mint is sitting at number 1 in DistroWatch. It’s a distro fill of polish and love. Based off the success of Ubuntu, and debian packages, makes it very easy to install applications from the software channel, or Synaptic, or .debs in the wild.
Since Mint is based off Ubuntu, all the support and forums and Q&A sites that target Ubuntu directly apply to Mint. All instructions you find out there for Ubuntu work in Mint.
I’ve gone with Cinnamon, which may be slightly limited for customizing, but everything is well polished, applets all work nicely.
Not saying Mint isn’t without issues, but it is marginally better and easier than other distributions I have tried.
Bluetooth on Linux sucks, better than Windows, but it still sucks
Most users won’t be aware of this. But once you start hitting issues with Bluetooth and explore exactly how BT is handled, then you start getting a picture why BT handling really sucks. BT covers a lot of ground, but specifically any bluetooth audio device, and profiles get handled at the audio layer. In a modern distro this means inside Pulse.
When I get more experience I really really need to get back down to Dbus basics and start determining the exact reasons for these BT headaches.
Linux is more flexible for tweaking, but tooling sucks
I guess I have been massively spoilt coming from a C# Visual Studio background. Visual Studio is light years ahead of the tooling you get on Linux. For front end development I’m impressed with the progress in IDE’s such as Qt Creator or MonoDevelop, but for regular C projects, mostly on Linux I’m using a standard text editor without code completion, which makes exploration multitudes harder.
However at least you have the option to jump into the code when you need to, which is not something you can do on Windows.
Linux is stable, but you can break it
I’ve found that if you just use Linux in an end user capacity your experience is going to rock. Once you start exploring and tweaking you stand the risk of breaking stuff. That’s all part of the fun I guess but it’s wise to have a virtual machine setup for exploration, before you break your base install without the experience to fix it.
Linux is overall a great operating system
It is, and I prefer it to Windows. I’ve found it to be more fun to work with, and a more efficient operating system with much less bloat. Since mostly everything is open source the possibilities are endless with the right amount of skill.
There is a lot going on right now, and Linux is entering a golden age for desktop computing. Exciting times!