I switched to linux...?

I switched to linux...?

About 2 weeks ago, I decided to make the switch to Linux. I had considered it before, but I assumed it would be too much hassle. I just wanted to use an operating system that worked without too many issues, and from my experiences in running Linux on a server (See this post // why my server was down for a week). However, after my windows installation got clunkier and harder to work in, I decided to fuck it and try Linux. If it didn't work out, I could always use the extra SSD I bought for even more storage (I bought a new SSD in order to dual boot Windows & Linux).

Picking a distro

I took a lot of guidance from my friend @realdeadbeef who had already switched to daily driving Linux from windows. He had used Xubuntu (A flavor of Ubuntu), however for me, he recommended Kubuntu. Kubuntu is similar, however is slightly easier to use and slightly less overwhelming with the customizability.

Kubuntu & First Linux experiences

Kubuntu was great. It looked pretty good, was extremely customizable, and had so many nice features, as well as quality-of-life features that made the user experience so much nicer. For example;

Widgets

Widgets allow you to place useful information around your desktop and your taskbar. In the KDE environment (what Kubuntu is built on), widgets work for both the desktop and the taskbar and are the same. This is different from other environments which may separate task bar widgets from the desktop ones. However I really like having them unified. In Kubuntu, it was also easy to configure which icons I wanted showing, and which ones I wanted to hide in my tray. Widgets were really nice to use and they all looked really good.

KDE connect

Some of my readers may have used Your Phone from Microsoft on Windows 10/11. My experience with it was terrible. It wouldn't work half the time and I was constantly repairing it and leaving it in disrepair.

I was not expecting to say this, but KDE Connect just worked. It was a Linux feature that just worked. That's something you'd expect to say about MacOS or maybe something from Windows, however this Linux feature just worked.

Essentially KDE Connect (and Your Phone) would sync your phone and computer. They'd sync notifications, calls and being able to send SMS messages from your desktop computer. However on top of this, KDE Connect had even more features. It had desktop audio control from mobile, a slideshow controller (for both desktop and mobile), and this is all built on top of internal networking instead of Bluetooth. Though this does come with the limitation of being on the same network as your other device, it is far more reliable than Your Phone's use of Bluetooth (or at least their implementation).

Compatibility isn't that bad

As a developer, most of the programs I use were supported on Linux. All my IDEs, my web browser, etc. In fact, a lot of development utils work better on Linux. The only issues I had were with Microsoft's C# libraries. I tried to use them, but of course they don't support Linux. It would be nice if Adobe supported Linux as well, however their applications also only run on Windows & MacOS. Luckily there are alternatives to most the programs in their suite.

Then the issues start

So after using Kubuntu 22.04 for a few days, I boot it up and it doesn't boot. Instead I'm stuck on this error.

After going back and forth in a Linux discord server, I was told I would need to reinstall. It seemed as if this was a bug in the fairly new Ubuntu release 22.04.

Now, comparison to my Windows 11 experience; I was a Windows 11 Insider. I was on the preview version. Kubuntu 22.04 is meant to be stable. Yet Windows 11 Insider was more stable! That wasn't even in beta. Yes it had bugs. Lots of them. But none of them bricked my system.

Anyways, thanks to a bug in a "stable" release, my operating system bricked itself. I still don't know if I was the problem, and if so how. But it did, and I had to reinstall.

The distro hop

To be safer for the new installation, I installed Kubuntu 20.04. This has been out for a few years and is very stable. However, compared to Kubuntu 22.04, it was extremely ugly, hard to customize and a lot quality of life features in 22.04 were gone. 22.04 is going to be a great version when it is stable.

So the next day, I flashed Pop! Os. Pop! Os is supposed to be user friendly. It also looks quite pretty out the box, following a MacOS sort of design.

The Pop! Os Desktop

It is also based off of Ubuntu, and so I assumed it wouldn't be that much of a jump. And to an extent that was true, however a lot of the features that Kubuntu had (as well as the KDE environment, Pop! Os is built on top of the GNOME environment). Also customizability was a nightmare. Its not that it wasn't possible, but compared to Kubuntu it was extremely hard. The only way to get some actual customization out of the desktop, was to install GNOME extensions. And to do that, you needed to spend the time, browsing through thousands of extensions, clicking to new pages to check screenshots and feature lists. This is in comparison to Kubuntu's system, where you can easily customize the desktop through the settings, and install widgets that go on both the desktop and the taskbar, and you can easily install themes through a GUI built into the settings. Not to mention, all the settings are accessed through one menu.

So the day after that, I flashed Linux Mint

Linux Mint

I decided on Linux Mint because it seemed the most similar to Kubuntu while being more stable, and still fairly user-friendly. And I've been using it for over a week now. And the experience has been great. It has been easily customizable, and I've been able to install most software.

The only downside is that KDE Connect is very buggy on Linux Mint. I can install it fine, however I have to launch it manually (or add it to my startup applications), and I have to repair my phone every time. Not to mention that the "Send to phone" button is not available in the context menu of my file browser.

Conclusion

None the less, using Linux hasn't been half as bad as I thought it would be. So if you think your workflow may work on Linux, it might be worth trying.

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