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    • Okay, consider me curious.

      Without referring me to an article to read

      can you explain to me

      why would I switch to Linux

      when I already have Windows on my laptop,

      when I have plenty of free disk space on my machine for new files and such,

      and when my laptop is a “video game configuration package,” meaning that it’s optimized for intensive graphic display use and multi-tasking

      ?

      What’s are my immediate benefits from switching?

      Why did you switch?

      How long have you been Windowless?

      Anything you still miss since switching?

    • Some of the main points would be: total control of your own computer / its operating system. Privacy; the codebase of used (open source programs) can actually be inspected to prove what the programs in actuality are doing in your box.

      Customizability: in the world of Linux the user can reach pretty much what ever aesthetics one fancies. User calls all the shots, really.

      Security: software are installed (mainly) through verified and secure program repositories rather than as in Windows, one opens the web browser and seeks for particular websites from which to download from.

      Gaming in particular has gotten into new heights on Linux. Valve is supporting a project called Proton on Steam which enables to play Windows only titles actually on Linux. In addition to all the native games, of course. Latest big native AAA-title released for Linux was "The Shadow of the Tomb Raider" (Feral Interactive)

      There is a database on Windows only games which work (or work through slight tweaking on Linux) --> www.protondb.com

      The community of Linux is friendly and can help the new comers to the "freedom OS".

      One of the best networks with podcasts etc. is Destination Linux. Might be fun to check out if you have time: https://destinationlinux.org

      These are few points that came about to mind first =)

      Oh, and there is this wonderful (very enthusiastic) company called System76 which makes powerful Linux laptops / desktop PC's. They are starting to designing / manufacturing their premium machines starting next year. They also develop a fine Linux distribution called Pop!_OS that is user friendly and overall a great experience "out of the box" --> https://system76.com/

    • Having followed Microsoft's OS since beginning of time and Unix then Linux, I'm really glad the latter is finally becoming more mainstream. Most major challenges were hardware - no one wrote drivers for all sorts of things, so am still unsure how well this has been resolved today.

      Back in the days, the average user didn't care much about learning command line (or truly understanding a computer hardware, and the underlying reasons for it) but today, it seems they no longer need to, even with Linux which has been traditionally known for pretty much requiring some modicum of such knowledge.

      Also, although emulation methods now exist, a huge library of software exists only for Windows, so that's still a bit of deterrent to switch.

      Other than that, as an OS architecture standpoint, Unix (of which Linux has derived) was always superior.

    • Speaking of that library.

      Can I run Office 365 on Linux?

      Can I run Lightroom and Photoshop on Linux? What about Davinci Resolve? I haven't even explored Linux and I'm not trying to be a smart-ass. I simply don't know these things.

    • IIRC Office 365 now runs also via browser, so yes in that case. Of course there is LibreOffice and OnlyOffice or WPS Office that many find adequate to do as well as on MS Office.

      Davinci Resolve on Linux: yes. Info & installation: https://www.how2shout.com/how-to/davinci-resolve-linux-edition-download-install-ubuntu.html

      Lightroom: there is no native version for Linux (people should push Adobe to do one!) But there are always alternatives for mainstream applications in the world of Linux: Darktable https://www.darktable.org/

      Photoshop: Adobe itself is the deal breaker again. Alternatives: GIMP, Krita, Inkscape (all free software and open source too). Photoshop is possible to get running on Linux through Wine, though, according to reports.

    • I feel the need to “phone on a friend” on this.

      Curious as to your take on Linux: @ChrisJenkins , @mbravo , @Factotum , @yaypie .

      Is it worth it to move to a completely new operating system? Is there a real benefit for home or business?

      It feels like Linux was the “in thing” five years ago but has now become a niche interest to makers and such. Of course, I could be completely wrong here.

    • Unix was / is not about freedom though. The prominent modern "Unix-like" systems such as Linux and the BSD family are. The original Unix was very much proprietary (and expensive).

      This isn't quite relevant anymore to be honest. Nowadays about 90% of *nix systems around are Linux based. The remaining ~10% are MacOS, Solaris and AIX.

      If one researches UNIX (capital letters): it is long gone, there's no code remaining even in Solaris..

      Some fun facts about Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux :) https://itsfoss.com/linus-torvalds-facts/

    • The only way to find out is to try and use Linux =)

      Maybe you'd install, say, Pop!_OS on a separate computer and take it for a spin and experiment with it in every day use. It is not only just a "completely new operating system" IMO: it truly takes the user in to a larger world in free as in freedom.

    • It's all a matter of perspective.

      In abstract, I am pretty sure that if you are in a relatively modern home or office, there's anything from 1 to 10 computing units running Linux or a derivative within 10-15 meters radius.

      But desktop Linuxes? Unlikely.

      Again, in abstract, it might be very much worth it to move to a completely new (for you, Linux is anything but new) operating system, with loads of benefits for a home or a business, but it entirely depends on the kinds of tasks you need to solve, problems you may or may not be experiencing with your current setup, and you plans for the future.

      Linux is still pretty much "a thing", and the number of compelling use cases is only growing, but it is still not entirely attractive to a mainstream audience.

      For a software developer (and especially for certain subtypes of those), there is no question that (a desktop) Linux computer is a perfect fit. Dell XPS Developer Edition is a nice OEM example. Major IDEs, such as ones from JetBrains (IDEA)and Microsoft (VS Code) run on Linux as well as on Windows; for that matter, there's more of Linux inside Windows every year.

      For gaming, unless you are just very enthusiastic about gaming on Linux as such, it's not a very good proposition, for about the same reason as on Mac - in fact, advances in emulation might even make Linux slightly better than Mac.

      For photographers, musicians and other people reliant on specialised software and thus vendor-locked, Linux is still rarely an option. You don't get Lightroom or Photoshop or music software (which is incredibly antiquated even on PCs and Macs, as evidenced by all the trouble with OS X progressively disabling 32-bit applications), on Linux. Not enough critical mass. There are alternatives, as is evidenced above, but they are rarely mature or compatible enough for a field professional to switch. Again, if you are full of enthusiasm and have bandwidth to tinker and make some sacrifices - it's worth a try.

      If your work can be done in a browser and a text editor - Linux is a no-brainer, it's great with both.

      For DIY tinkerer Linux is a gift. I am in the process of remaking an old abandoned mid-2010 Macbook Pro into a fantastic home server, running Debian Linux - silent, cold-running, with built-in UPS capabilities once I replace the battery, with 16Gb of RAM and very nice i5 CPU, takes up no space at all, and can't be beat by any Raspberry Pi, because it has already amortised its cost many times over and was just sitting in a drawer. It can even be massively improved upon by replacing its spinning drive with an SSD (or two, since I do not need the DVD unit). On the other hand, my "smart home" is powered by a homeassistant installation running on a Pine64 microcomputer running Ubuntu Xenial. Any kind of old PC hardware that is still functional but is "too clunky for this day and age" can be revived and repurposed into nice things with Linux.

    • Freedom is a concept that is hard to pin down.

      I freely admit, that I was originally attracted to Linux (around kernel version 0.95 patchlevel something) by both novelty and an unrestricted freedom to fix things if they go wrong (as opposed to say Windows or Mac OS, where if something is not to your liking or just plain broken, you just eat it and hope for the best, and/or bitterly complain). If something was missing or wrong, you could go all the way in and fix it, or help fix it. It was, and is, unbelievably refreshing.

      However, making a necessary step back, one should remember that my case was not representative of everyone. Not everyone is a computer geek. Not everyone wants, or even can afford to invest in an arbitrarily steep learning curve for assembly language, operating system design, any number of programming languages applications and frameworks might be written in. Some people just want, or need, a tool they can use, and once they use it, they can grow fond of it, mould their personal or professional workflows to it. Yes, change will catch up with them at some point anyways, but to think that the majority of computer users want, or can be the agents of change just for the sake of change itself, is a dangerous illusion.

    • I can only agree with @mbravo here. I've had an on-off-relationship with desktop Linux for over twenty years now, sometimes using it more, or less - but in the end, it simply boils down to "form follows function".

      I have both Linux and Windows installed on the same machine, and whether I boot up one or the other depends on what I plan on doing. Programming on Linux, gaming and photo-editing on Windows, standard desktop tasks like surfing the web, writing a letter or editing a spreadsheet on either.

    • For a software developer (and especially for certain subtypes of those), there is no question that (a desktop) Linux computer is a perfect fit. Dell XPS Developer Edition is a nice OEM example. Major IDEs, such as ones from JetBrains (IDEA)and Microsoft (VS Code) run on Linux as well as on Windows

      I had no idea you were that involved with Linux. The use of Linux to turn a 2010 Mac into a family server is telling of the power of the OS. Thanks for the invaluable insights.

      I am learning the programming languages R, SQL and Scala for a potential career in data science. The R Studio IDE is amazing and made Python, with Jupiter notebooks , less appealing to learn first. I just checked and R Studio is available for Linux.

      For programming, what’s the advantage to doing it in Linux over Windows? I guess I’m not sure I understand why both you and @Factotum favor it for software development. (Sorry if this is a newb question.)

    • From a strictly "just a user" point of view, if you don't feel an advantage, then there's likely no advantage for you. The trick is that you can't know until you have tried.

      Abstractly, the arguments I can offer look like this:

      - Linux is, as a rule of thumb, more efficient in using your hardware. Everything will feel snappier, and stay that way for longer (everyone knows that even the "good" versions of Windows tend to get sluggish over time, because innumerable legacy subsystems and structures inside the OS start to get clogged with various digital sediment)

      - for many if not most contemporary programming languages, toolchains and frameworks the original work has been done on some version of Unix, and, very likely, Linux. So you are just closer to the source, so to speak. Where on Windows to use many of those tools you have to go through layers of emulation and backports, on Linux you would be using more native code and glue scripts etc, which would, again, translate into efficiency

      - for the world of today's heavily networked software, the original Unix way of combining many small functional utilities, and the general ubiquity of "scripting" as an approach, is incredibly flexible and powerful. You can get something similar on Windows these days, using e.g. Powershell, but it is very, er, should I say, special and reminds me more of JCL from OS/360 than something I could use to quickly script deployment pipelines or configure complex systems from the command line.

      But again, it comes down to one's context. For people who have spent their career using Visual Studio writing drivers for Windows in C++, that programming environment is probably much more convenient than Emacs, or vim, or any modern IDE on Linux.

      P.S. One can probably make an argument in terms of price/performance as well. You can buy an expensive Macbook Pro or Surface laptop for your developer needs, or you can buy a Dell XPS Developer Edition (or find a cheap laptop you like that was made 5 years ago, for peanuts), and use Linux on it and get every bit of developer convenience out of it for much less money.

    • Can I run Office 365 on Linux?

      I find that question interesting because almost every time I try to convince someone to switch to either mac OS or Linux (to let you know I am running Linux on my laptop at work and mac OS on my desktop at home), that other person almost always says, "But I need Office!" And, well, no you don't.

      I can understand wanting to use Office but there are alternatives. You might prefer Office over those alternatives, but those alternatives do exist and so stating you need Office is false. (I understand you never said that you needed Office, so I'm not including you in that statement, I'm just stating what other people I have spoken to seem to be thinking.) These alternatives -- such as LibreOffice and Only Office -- are able to open Office files just files and can also save in Office format as well as the Open Document format.

      I myself haven't used Office in almost twenty years and I haven't had any problems.

      Once again, I can understand preferring Office over any of the alternatives, that is a personal choice, much like preferring Android over iOS or vice versa. But the fact that you can't use Office on Linux should not be a deal breaker.

    • - Linux is, as a rule of thumb, more efficient in using your hardware. Everything will feel snappier, and stay that way for longer (everyone knows that even the "good" versions of Windows tend to get sluggish over time, because innumerable legacy subsystems and structures inside the OS start to get clogged with various digital sediment)

      @StephenL this is exactly my experience as well.

      As just one example, when I first experimented with programming for Android, the officially supported way to do this was via a plugin to the Eclipse IDE:

      I installed IDE and necessary plugins on a Windows laptop to give it a try - and while it worked, it became sluggish fast probably due to lack of enough memory when compiling bigger apps. This was definitely mostly an issue on my side (pro-tip: don't try to compile stuff on some random old laptop if you can avoid it ;)) - but still, switching to Linux on the same hardware already helped a bit because of less OS overhead.

      Fast forward to today: I'm now using different hardware, and the officially supported IDE has changed from Eclipse to a standalone product based on a different IDE:

      I assume that using Linux while developing still is a bit better than switching back to Windows - but I haven't actually tried, and don't feel the need to.

    • that is a personal choice

      Sometimes there are legitimate tech requirements that require MS Office use. E.g. heavy Excel users, say, in corporate Finance or in complicated Business Development and the like, might well have to use it, because it is optimised for their use cases. Yes, Libre Office or Google Sheets, for that matter, are mighty fine for an average user, but when you load up on pivots and tens of thousands of rows per tab in a complicated cross-referenced sheet maintained by a distributed finance department spread across the globe, things become much less obvious. Excel shines there.

      What I'm trying to maintain is that the original question is flawed. There's no need ditching something for something, unless you know why.

      Things we are discussing are tools. If you are a professional, then you have to know your tools, and let your skill grow first and then have it dictate tool changes or upgrades. Of course it is very important to keep an eye of what is possible out there, and when you have time and energy, apply robust engineering assessments on what can be (preferably measurably, even though it is not always possible outright, see discussion above about "freedom") improved by changing your tools. It might be slight, or it can be a complete paradigm shift, or anything in between.

      But don't let hype or fear of missing out dictate your choices.

    • Actually, I do need office. It is provided to me by one of my workplaces and all of our collaborative efforts are done through that platform. So, if the 365 suite doesnt work in Linux, it is a non-starter.

      And that is maybe where the holdup that prevents Linux from becoming main stream. Failure of the major software providers to adopt it.

    • If the functions you need are available on the Office web platform then Linux may still be a viable option if it's something you're interested in.

      I think for most people, there isn't much point in switching to Linux unless there's a compelling reason to do so - for instance, software development, as has been mentioned already. And for anyone that needs specific Windows or Mac only software, you're forced into virtualization or dual-booting most of the time. I don't think it's worth the effort for most people, especially now that Microsoft and Apple have both switched to a licensing form that doesn't require you to pay for upgrades.

      Microsoft apparently doesn't make that much money from Windows itself anymore, so I wouldn't be too surprised if eventually they start looking into making their other revenue generators (like Office) more widely supported. Microsoft supports Linux on Windows now with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) although it's not the same as simply running a Linux box. I seem to remember hearing that on their virtualization platform, Azure, Linux is the most commonly installed OS. I don't know what their endgame is, but they do know that they can't ignore Linux anymore.

      Having said that, I don't know how much they make from enterprise Windows licensing. I imagine it's still a decent chunk of revenue.

    • I do agree with what you are saying, but in my conversations with people about stuff like this, we are talking about using computers for personal use. I understand there may be restrictions to what can be used at work and that it is possible that your employer dictate you use a certain operating system or software, but in this case I am referring to home and personal use.

    • Please remember I am not trying to discredit your argument or convince you to do something that you may not want to or cannot do and I realise there may be more to the situation than what you are stating, but I just want to say that just because -- as you say -- all of your collaborative efforts are done through Office still does not that you have to use it. (Once again, maybe there is some other reason and you do absolutely have to.) I find a lot of people think that just because somebody sends them a Word file, they think that they have to use Word to open it. I'm just trying to say that that is not the case. You could send me a Word, or Excel, or PowerPoint file and I can open it just fine in LibreOffice. I could then modify it and then save it in the same format and send it back to you.

      But yes, if your "collaborative efforts" are being done in real time or you are doing something other than just opening, modifying, and then sending them out again, then you may need Office.

    • This exactly the info and perspective from a software developer that I needed! I’m still learning R and working with baby data sets, but as I get closer to working with Big Data from public data sources, I want to hold off as long as possible (or at least minimize) the expense of renting a cluster from AWS. Appreciate everyone’s perspectives and input on this.

      🙏

    • I have their flash cards for Python and go through a few of them every night before I go to bed. I’ve already got four books on R that I’m going through simultaneously (it’s an immersion learning technique) so I’m currently covered, but yeah I am familiar with their books and have heard good things. Are you a Python developer or a data scientist? (Gasp! I asked a personal question.)