I Made it !!

One whole year in Linux ( on my main PC at home that is ) , no Dual-Booting, no VM’s, Just pure Linux for a whole year. If you look back at Episode 002 through to Episode 005 [ Part 2 ] where my journey began. I can tell you it has been one hell of a ride.

I will mention, I made a deal with myself when committing to ditch windows that i would stick to a distro and learn it, and I am yet to shift from Linux Mint , I have however rode, the upgrade train from 19 up to 19.1 and then 19.2 (eagerly awaiting 19.3 due soon)

With that in mind, I thought i would celebrate this with post about 10 things I learned in my first year in Linux(Mint in particular) to try and break some barriers for new users.

Lets dig in.

Linux Isn’t Perfect

I will repeat, Linux ISN’T Perfect. There are definitely some flaws, this isnt down to Linux itself, or Linux Mint, this is down to Proprietary software and Windows being the dominant market. This is where the devs are, this is where the AAA title games are being developed for, Unfortunately that makes Linux still a second class citizen.

What Linux does do, it does it Amazingly and a lot better than Windows, I have had this system pretty much running since starting this journey and only ever put it to sleep and occasionally restart for upgrade. I had a couple of freezing issues when upgrading kernel to 5.0, but when back to the LTS kernel and everything was fine.

Things are getting better!

Since starting my journey, so many things ( for me at least ) are getting better. Gaming (will get more on to it later) with Steam Proton has exploded. Back in Nov 2018 there were a good selection of games compatible with Proton, now there are over 6500 games that are gold++ , and out of that 67% of the top 100 games are gold ++ also.

Gaming is catching up

As stated previously, things are getting better and Gaming is to. Its now even easier to Jump in, with guides all over the place, in particular this amazing “guide – migrating to linux in 2019” on reddit by /u/PBLKGodofGrunts

If you think its just about how many games we have available , think again, performance is getting to the point where it matches and in some cases beats Windows ( in a Linux Native game). Jason over at Forbes wrote this great article matching Windows 10 to Pop OS! .

Bare in mind all the titles Jason benchmarked here were all on High or Ultra and Linux kept up.

Snap all the things

Snaps are Amazing, if you don’t already know. For those who are not aware what snaps are and why they are so amazing i will try and explain so bare with me;

In Linux applications are packaged up as either a .deb ( for Debian based distros ) or .rpm ( for RHEL based , including fedora ) or its in a tarball that you have to extract, make/compile from source and its all a bit dis-jointed, as this means that there are different package managers, different ways to get applications. Snaps help this by getting all these different formats and be able to put each application in its own little box with all the relevant packages and dependencies needed, they also have One ( technically two ) places to get snaps from, First , you can visit the snapcraft store and then you can download the snap store , if you don’t have snapd installed on your distro by default there are handy guides on the snapcraft site to get you started.

If you want Spotify, search the snapcraft store for ‘Spotify’ and click install, how simple is that, no need to go to Spotify, download a file , then run the file (how archaic).

Desktop Environments

When I began my journey, I thought a desktop was the distribution, so when I loaded up the different flavours of Ubuntu I thought I was getting a different operating system. I now know that this isnt the case , Desktop environments can be used pretty much across any distribution. For Example Linux Mint uses Cinnamon as the main desktop environment, there are other flavours to Linux Mint which uses different desktop environments. But i could install another Distribution, like Fedora or Arch and then install the Cinnamon Desktop Environment and have it look exactly like Linux Mint.

This is the magic of Linux.

In conclusion to DE’s , a DE is just a load of packages that make up your desktops look and feel, some add additional packages such as a file manager.

Distributions do not matter

Thanks to ChrisTitusTech pointing this out in one of his Videos and most recently on the Linux for Everyone Podcast , Linux Distributions “DO NOT MATTER” which the main thing you need to understand per distro is the package manager. As soon as you get to grips with that, you pretty much are ok to jump on any distro.

Although I dedicated a year to sticking to one distro, and have become comfortable with APT that is used in Linux Mint and other Debian/Ubuntu based, I have come to understand the Linux file system and how for the most part, Linux works, so as long as I can take my Cinnamon desktop with me, if i needed to i can jump to another distro and I wouldn’t be to lost.

Terminal IS faster but it doens’t need to be used as much as you think
After being so used to the Raspberry Pi and installing software via the terminal, When i jumped into Linux Mint, i jumped straight into terminal to

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

without even thinking about using the software manager or software store.

I then went to town downloading all the things , all through the terminal, I did a comparison in how long it took to download and install from software store vs Terminal , and there is no difference in the actual download and install, but getting there is what takes the time.

CTRL + T ( open terminal ) sudo apt-get install [app name] or sudo snap install [app name]

vs

Menu , search for software, wait for the software centre to load, search for app, then click install, its a long process. Don’t get me wrong, its perfect for people who are not comfortable with the terminal and I’m glad its there.

The first example of updating and upgrading , for the most part, I don’t even update or upgrade via terminal, in Linux mint i just wait for the little shield with the ‘!’ to notify me of an update, I click update and then type my sudo password in and leave it to it.

mintupdate

Its subtle little reminder that there is an update and it stays out of the way, what more do you need.

Conclusion

Im sticking with Linux, although there has been times where I thought i could free up a 60GB partition on my main drive for Windows and play some games which use stuff like Anti-cheat etc, but a) its to much effort as it would take me an hour every time to do Windows updates every time i booted into it. b) Im not adding to the Linux gaming scene if i put money into games that will only work on Windows because of anti-cheat.

But that’s all for now, feel free to leave a comment or catch me on Twitter or Telegram.