I switched to Linux for work/school and I wish I did it earlier

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fantasticasm89

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For a long time I believed Linux should be thought of as "boy this is neat, but it's something you adopt because you like open source", but now I really believe Linux is just better than Windows and Mac, at least for my purposes.

I mostly use the computer for taking notes in markdown. I also picked up a tablet for drawing. It turns out Linux has really good apps for both of these things and I'm much more productive than I've ever been.

Also, when it comes to coding, I've had more consistent success getting things set up in Linux. I don't think I've ever gotten LaTeX working on Windows, and it's been easier, in general, to get a new development environment setup from the terminal in Linux.

There is a little tiny learning curve, but literally, almost any problem I've run into I've been able to troubleshoot online and find the right console commands.

I'd love to hear from other people, especially artists, about their thoughts on Linux, since I've found the switch to be really rewarding.

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frytup

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I'm going to assume you're a console gamer.

I'm a Linux sysadmin, and I don't run Linux as a base OS on my home desktop. It just doesn't make much sense if you play PC games.

I run a suite of Linux virtual machines on top of windows for work, and can get along just fine with that because 90% of what I do is in the command line or through browsers.

I can't speak for artists, but I suspect at the professional level most of the tools they need run on either Windows or macOS. Lots of rendering done on Linux servers, but workstations are a different story.

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stalefishies

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#3 stalefishies  Online

From my experience, there's a lot of console stuff that isn't actually harder on Windows per se, it's just that there's a lot more help out there which is directly related to Linux than Windows (and that help also tends to apply to Unixes like MacOS).

LaTeX is a good example actually: I absolutely have LaTeX working on Windows and it really is no harder than when I've used it on Linux. But if you google anything, you always get references to things like ~/texmf/tex. I know on my system that I need to actually go to C:\texlive\texmf-local\tex, but working out how to translate all that stuff takes some time and experience.

Another example would be adding a folder to the TEXINPUTS environment variable. Taking the first stack exchange answer to the first result on googling 'latex TEXINPUTS' says to do export TEXINPUTS=.:/path/to/the/local/folder//:. But to do that on Windows, you need to know how to edit Windows environment variables: Control Panel -> System -> Advanced System Properties -> Advanced -> Environment Variables... - that's two levels deep of clicking something that says 'Advanced' - and you need to know how the GUI it pops up works - there's two types of environment variable, which might be confusing if you don't know why - aaand you need to know that the colons in the Linux command above is the path separator, which you need to replace with semicolons on Windows.

That's a lot! It's the same level of required minutia that Linux generally gets historically criticised for, except that there's now a lot more stack exchange answers and random blog posts to help the Linux user than the Windows user. But it's certainly not an insurmountable amount of knowledge, and there's plenty of times on Linux where you end up in similar holes where there just doesn't happen to be the same blog post coverage on what to do.

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Gundato

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If you want to use a windows machine as a linux box then yeah, you are going to run into issues (except not really anymore). USUALLY it boils down to finding a build of an app that does the legwork to support MS environments and then figuring out what ${APP_HOME} corresponds to as well as how ctrl, alt, and cmd/winkey play out.

But also, there tend to be windows equivalents/variants for all those. I love vim and actually spent a decent chunk of election week watching tutorials and optimizing my decade(s?) old config to be modern (yo, ale is WAY better than syntastic in every way). But if I am on windows, using vim is kind of stupid. Because most of the advantages to a purely terminal/cli friendly editor is the efficiency and never needing to use a mouse. Not using a mouse to navigate and edit files in windows is kind of a cluster and proper IDEs (or hybrid stuff like VSCode (seriously, VSCode is awesome)) are the way to go and even highlight shortcomings of the classics (that are alleviated with various plugins). For me at least, part of "growing up" was learning the best tool for the job and acknowledging I am going to actually have to learn a few different ways to do the same task.

I've flirted with OSes over the decades and more or less came down on: Windows for personal use because of video games. Mac for professional use because it gives me a unix-ish terminal and supports most of the stuff I would like but also lets me run MS Office so that I can communicate with managers. But do most of my work SSH'd into a cluster, computer, or VM that just runs some variant of server friendly linux.

All that being said: I am actually reassessing that. For personal use I have mostly stopped using an (explicit) VM or having a random pi I use for staging stuff to my personal server. I just use Windows Subsystem for Linux which basically does all the VM shenanigans that I always forget how to do and need to re-learn with respect to safely(-ish) mounting my host's filesystem to my VM and dealing with permissions and the like all seamlessly. And WSL2 goes even farther to the point that it has kind of made Windows the best Mac as you have a pretty reasonable GUI and support for "productivity tools" while having an ACTUAL linux "under the hood" as it were. And not having to deal with crap like how mac-clang is not ACTUALLY a proper clang is just so wonderful. Actually ordered a new work laptop a few weeks back and going to bite the bullet and see how busted windows is in our approved environment.

And even without WSL: powershell is a decent enough ssh client that I will never have to deal with putty ever again.

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fantasticasm89

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Thanks for all the feedback!

@frytup said:

I'm going to assume you're a console gamer.

I have Linux installed on my laptop and I have a budget gaming pc with windows installed on it.


That's a lot! It's the same level of required minutia that Linux generally gets historically criticised for, except that there's now a lot more stack exchange answers and random blog posts to help the Linux user than the Windows user.

I think you hit the nail on the head precisely with this! It's really been about learning how my filesystem works and using it effectively to build up my notes in a way that are well organized and easy to access. Yes, I probably could've done this on Windows or MacOs, but I found more support for Linux. So I guess I could probably say that while I've always wanted to use Linux primarily, I've finally hit the point where it actually became possible to do so.

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frytup

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@zoofame said:

Once you use a proper Linux desktop environment you will never want to go back to Windows. I made the switch about 2 years ago.


Futzing around with virtual machines and WSL/WSL2 is for the birds

Ehhhh....

As I said above, I get paid to maintain Linux servers, and I run Windows as a base OS on my main desktop. Don't get me wrong, modern Linux desktops are very good and for general use it's a great option, but in a situation where the primary purpose of my PC is running performance-hungry software written natively for Windows... I'm going to use Windows.

Virtual machines really don't require much futzing these days, and that's where my work environment lives.

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Justin258

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Linux is great for a lot of things. General-use desktop? Works great! Programming environment? Nothing better! Customizability? Again, you can't beat it.

But you just can't beat that Windows compatibility. Linux has a lot of alternatives and a lot of them are great, but there are workloads that just require Windows simply because the thing you need fucking works on Windows.

That said, I personally would like to make the switch but one of my computer's primary uses is video games. Proton/Lutris/DXVK have all made it work way better than most people would ever dream of - you can play Doom Eternal without losing much, if any, performance! But there's enough that doesn't work and enough fiddling and tinkering required for a past-time that I don't want to make the complete switch. Also, most multiplayer games don't work on Linux - if you're a Siege, Valorant, Halo MCC, or Call of Duty fan, you're not going to be joining matchmaking servers in those games. I could definitely see a fan of indie/single-player/classic video games making the switch and never looking back, though.

Good news for me, I have my brother's old gaming PC. As soon as I get a better desk for my office, I can move this one into the living room, get the gaming PC set up on it, and set up that old PC as a Linux box. No more dual booting for me!

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