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February 20, 2021
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Befriending Linux (3 Weeks Later)

Today’s missive is for the Linux curious!

I’ve been on Linux for three weeks, and I like it enough that I don’t want to use Windows any more. This doesn’t mean it’s easier than Windows. I feel nervous when updating software. Given the sheer variety of Linux distributions and the lack of MegaCorp testing infrastructure, the risk of an update throwing my machine into chaos is always in the back of my mind. But it’s been manageable. I had to “roll back” a Libreoffice upgrade because of a persistent bug only a few other people are seeing, and I survived.

But the UI is much more pleasant and intuitive, and I’m loving the built-in privacy.

My Linux Software

My new “daily driver” programs are:

  • Libreoffice Writer for fiction
  • Libreoffice Calc for spreadsheets
  • Zettlr for all non-fiction writing and research
  • Firefox for browsing (same as Windows)
  • Kmail & KOrganizer for Email & Calendar (it’s a bit clunky, but I didn’t care for Thunderbird)
  • OSS (VS Code) for interfacing with Git for blog/website updates
  • Arduino IDE for my electronics hobby

I’m especially happy with Zettlr. (Thanks for the recommendation, @herself!) It’s basically a nice-looking UI that lays over top of folders and markdown files.

I have no good Linux replacements for:

  • Photoshop (I’ll give GIMP a try once they have CYMK color management)
  • PublisherRocket (A tool I use for generating ebook keywords)
  • Text to Speech for Proofreading (I’ve found a few solutions, but they all stink for listening to longer works)

Nifty Features

And here are a few ways Linux (Manjaro KDE) is making my computing more pleasant:

  • I love the easy-to-use Emoji Picker
  • Screenshots and screenshot editing are super quick and easy.
  • I installed my first piece of software from the command line and I felt like I was getting away with something. Seriously? I can just type a phrase and get new software? So neat.

The Learning Curve Continues

Three weeks in, I’m feeling competent in using Linux in a day-to-day sense. Of course, there’s still a ton I don’t know, but I’m enjoying the process of learning new things, week by week.

Linux software requires a different mindset, I think. Often times it arrives unconfigured, waiting for you to decide what to do with it. For example, when I installed Zettlr, it was just an ugly white box. And I was confused: why would anyone want to use this stupid thing? Even after I opened a few folders and files, I still didn’t get the appeal. But after watching a few videos and seeing a few examples, I tried out some different ways of using it. Before long, it clicked.

Oh, and did I mention Linux can be pretty?

A Space Themed Linux Desktop with dark mode and blue folders.