The year of the Linux Desktop

11/07/2019

Taking a leap?

It was a couple of years ago that I was talking to someone about Linux and he jokingly said: "Oh yeah, well you do know that this is the year of the Linux desktop". Not in on the joke, I started on my monologue of agreement only to be told that this was a common jocularity in the IT community, one that had passed me by.

Fast-forward a couple of years and, for me at least, it has come true. 2019 is "The year of the Linux Desktop", my laptop is running on a variation of Ubuntu 18.04 released by System76 as Pop!_OS, I am also running this on a secondary SSD in my main desktop. For that desktop, I still primarily boot into Windows but that is mainly because of some hardware issues I am facing with the motherboard on my desktop PC and fan control. I do suffer from the same problems on Windows but ASUS have some fan control software for Windows that sorts it out that is not yet available for Linux. If it weren't for the fans spinning out of control in Linux, I would only use Windows when I had to.

I'm not afraid anymore

So, how did this come to pass? Well, I have spent a few years working at a job where we use Linux servers all the time. During that time I have become quite comfortable in the CLI so using the terminal to achieve what I want is not as daunting as it once was. Couple this with the fact that Linux distros have become much more user-friendly recently, it was finally time to take the plunge.

On top of my new confidence in Linux and my comfort in the CLI is the fact that everything is moving to "The Cloud". SaaS has become ubiquitous and that is a good thing when it comes to OS agnosticism. For a lot of the world's favourite applications, there is a way to use it from the browser. Fantastic.

Finally, and most importantly, more and more application vendors/developers are putting out Linux versions of their software. You don't have to "make do" with the Linux alternative for most things and when you do there is often a remarkably good Linux alternative, I am thinking GIMP and KDEnlive for the most part but you can almost "insert name here" for a lot of things.

The 'soak test'

So, I installed Linux and got to work. Holy Moly, there were a lot of issues. Was there? Not really. There was some software that I couldn't find an alternative for but this was mostly enterprise software that didn't work well outside of the corporate domain-controlled computers anyway. My company has since moved to Office 365 and this is less of an issue. Looking back on it, I think at first I was looking for reasons to not take the jump. But, having made a few attempts at making the move to Linux in the past and regressing to the comfort of Windows, this time I wanted to persevere. Boy am I glad that I was able to carry on through what I thought was adversity.

Don't turn back

In the past, I had tried Linux but when I had, the slightest incompatibility or adversity had sent me running back to the safety of Windows. This time I was determined to see it through as I had seen enough YouTube videos and read enough to know that Linux was getting to a point where you didn't really have to make compromises to get along. If you were willing to put the time in.

I knew that it was the time to be persistent and see any problems through and in the end, I am so glad that I did. I am now a few months in and I am actually annoyed when I have to use Windows for an application or system. What the flip? Why don't they have a debian package? Are they stuck in the stone-age?

Literally, it has been like a switch has flipped in my brain and I have gone from thinking "Oh man, I have to go back to Windows?" to "Do I really have to go back to Windows?". If you persist, there are so many reasons to love Linux.

The common man

Is it for everyone? Probably not. I have been using Linux servers for a good while now and have been trying to make the switch for a good while also.

I have tried to make the switch a few times before (admittedly without enough enthusiasm) but this time it has really stuck. I am now a little bit annoyed that I held off from making the change for so long. Linux could quite possibly be the future of the desktop and it really would be a good alternative to what is on offer now. Everyone is embarcing Linux...

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