First Experience with Linux

Posted: December 2023

Tales of a Linux Sojourn 🐧

When the hinge on my laptop broke I was able to make use of the warranty to have it and other cosmetic damage fixed. I was out a laptop and needed something for schoolwork and to store files. The screen was still working and I was able to transfer everything I needed off it. The only available laptop for me was the hand-me-down lenovo laptop that had already gone from grandpa to me, then to my brother and sat unused for months. I booted it up and remembered why I had upgraded. It was running windows 10 at a snail's pace. That wouldn't do, so I made a snap decision to put linux on it, so I installed the most popular version: ubuntu.

This was my first experience with linux, and frankly, it just worked. Though not lightning fast, linux booted much better than windows on that laptop. As a starter distro for linux, I think it's pretty good. It still has the windowsy feel i'm used to and the only thing I really needed the command line for was a battery manager to cap the charge at 80%. Maybe because everything's free, the "snap store" (software manager) feels way better than the microsoft store.

Everything worked well. Though microsoft office doesn't support linux, the free, open-source libreoffice works just as well. Also, most games I wanted to play worked just fine out of the box. I was able to easily install Dwarf Fortress, OpenTTD, and a gameboy emulator, and on another ubuntu laptop one of my brothers is using, we've been able to install Minecraft.

Before I criticise it, I ought to share one last praise: the search utility. It did a really good job indexing my files, and because of that I rarely needed to search through my folders for specific files. Another great thing about the search utility is a characters subapp. Within the search bar I could search for specific greek letters to copy and paste. You can imagine how helpful this is in writing engineering lab reports.

My one criticism of ubuntu is that while installing, it brought me to a page where I had to choose between a full (recommended) or minimal install. I chose the minimal install. I was wondering why it was taking so long, and then I discovered that it wasn't just installing the bare minimum, it had installed everything and then was systematically removing everything not included in the minimal install. There must be a good reason for that but I can't think of what it would be.

Back to Windows

My laptop got back from the shop and it took me about a month to switch back. The old laptop with linux worked well enough that I had no incentive to urgently switch back. You might ask: "Did you put linux on your current laptop too?" Unfortunatley, no. I figure that I will eventually need windows-specific software during my degree, and like Jacob Smith's take on software, I'm comfortable with windows. Do not fret, as microsoft's getting the boot when it forces me to upgrade to windows 11.

When I got my laptop back I was overwhelmed by all my unread emails and rss notifications and stuff. So I reinstalled windows, and used some of Tom Fasano's wallpapers, and now my computer looks like a windows xp visuallizer. (this is meant as a compliment)