I have been using Linux for all of my personal computing for the last few years. Before that, I used Windows almost exclusively, and I never really got into the whole Apple ecosystem. I started reflecting on my Linux use lately and what I like about it compared to other operating systems. I haven’t distro hopped in a couple months, which is something else that has shaped my thinking. What I realized is just how much Linux gets out of your way. There are seamless updates, a powerful command line, and multiple powerful desktops. Tooling is readily available, and all the tools that I need are there. Docker and electron apps work way better on Linux. RAM usage has been much lower, too, compared to the same workloads on Windows. That is what I have found interesting. Linux just works for me, and I feel it will work for most people. You need to be smart about your hardware, and I would encourage research before purchasing to run Linux.
There are two really confusing aspects to getting into Linux, choosing a distribution and a desktop. There are several companies and open source projects that distribute a Linux operating system. Fedora from Red Hat and Ubuntu from Canonical are two of Linux’s larger distributions that many probably know. Ubuntu has a lot of software provided by third parties and really likely to have that application you use on Windows available for it. It’s pretty similar for Fedora, with a few other issues concerning media codecs. The other choice is the desktop environment to use. Ubuntu and Fedora both use Gnome, yet there are plenty of other alternatives. Ubuntu has what are called flavors, which are Ubuntu, just without the Gnome desktop. I personally use Kubuntu since it provides the wonder KDE Plasma desktop. Plasma is light on resources, responsive, and visually appealing. Besides, it is highly customizable, which coming from Windows or macOS, you may feel overwhelmed. I personally just use the defaults, which have served me well. Most Linux desktops have applications that come out of the box to perform everyday tasks. Plasma is no exception to having one of the better catalogs of apps. Konsole, Krunner, Kate, and Dolphin are really well done.
When I mentioned above that Linux just gets out of my way, I mean it provides me all the tools I could need with an easy installation. Windows requires MSIs, third-party package managers, weird UAC dance, and macOS pretty much requires brew. On Linux, I can just use the native package manager to provide 95% of tooling. Building Node with node-gyp on Windows is troublesome, and so are Python packages that don’t have a wheel. Getting the tooling installed and functioning as needed takes a big dance. WSL doesn’t help much in my experience. Drivers on Windows have been a pain lately, too, with spotty wifi and ethernet drivers. Sadly on Linux, the same chipsets work without a hiccup. Windows has had a lot of drama for me over the years, and I don’t have any when using Linux. Your mileage may vary, and your experiences could be different from mine. They are both valid based on how we experience it.
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