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Free From Windows!

I did it. I formatted my desktop. I removed the last remnants of Windows**. I have been an avid Linux user over the last five to ten years, but I had never taken the plunge into "full Linux" mode. I evaluated the pros and cons, really looking at the fact if/if not I really needed a Windows machine. It came down to not needing one. I will go into details one each specific category that had significant weight on my decision. I will even provide links to all the great software I use 🙂.

** NOTE: I Still have Windows for work and in my lab, again related to work. But, for day to day life. I do not have a Windows machine!

Gaming

This was the hardest topic to let go off. I did not want to get rid of my Windows only exclusive games. I know, I know, I could use Wine and run Windows application in "compatibility" mode. But, I ended up just ditching my Windows only games cold turkey. The only games I was going to miss were the Blizzard games, however, after the recent success (sarcasm) of the Warcraft III: Reforged launch I decided I no longer cared. This was the tipping point. I was not going to buy Warcraft III: Reforged.

Having said that, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was another huge disappointment, Hearthstone was just getting old and Heroes of the Storm never really existed to me. All the games that I continue to play and go back to all have Linux support! Here are a few great games that have Linux support:

Work

Just like any other big business, my work uses Windows. Firstly, I have a corporate laptop that is not mine. Secondly, I have a lab to replicate issues and test out products and scenarios. So, yes, I don't and do still have Windows. I do access all my VMs in my lab using remmina, boy has it improved. The RDP sessions to the VM feel as good if not better than a traditional RDP session. I am very impressed with how farm it has come.

There are a couple other products that were great for work, Ex. The prized Windows Snipping Tool. It is probably the best tool to show customers features and where objects are. Shutter is an excellent replacement for screen snaps. There is also Peek which is great for creating GIFs! This is something I have really wanted to do to take my demonstrations to the next level. A GIF would explain something a lot better than a static image would.

Development and Productivity

I have always enjoyed development more on Linux machines. The extent of my development on Windows machines ends up being editing a script - to get transferred to a Linux server of course - using the wonderful Notepad++, one of the few applications I will miss from Windows. More on that later…

Will I be more productive? To be honest, I do not know. My transition to full Linux was also a way (I hope) of improving my personal productivity. I always found using a Linux machine was an unconscious way of learning system administration skills. For example, with the current install, I decided I wanted to have the most up to date NVIDIA drivers for my 980ti. This was not a simple task, there are various risks with installing a display driver in Linux. There are also additional considerations compared to a standard Windows install. This is part of the fun of learning about an OS or Linux ecosystem, versus trying to double click and exe or msi file in Windows.

What Will I Miss?

The initial two applications that come to mind are Notepad++ (as stated earlier) and Exact Audio Copy. In terms of alternative for Notepad++, I will be using Atom, great full blown IDE that I use for everything! Unfortuntely, Notepad++ will not be missed, even though it is a great editor.

For Exact Audio Copy (EAC), this may be a little more difficult. I have never found an application that has quite compared to it for ripping my music CDs into the correct format with such ease. I am sure there are products out there that will be able to match the functionality, however, they may require some work. This will be something that is missed. But, I will move on…

Is Ditching Windows for Everyone?

The short answer is, yes, it can be. The long answer is…

It will take time for people to adapt to Linux. There are similarities with Windows for basic use, but it is not the same. Just like everything it will take time to learn and get used to. That is technology. If you are willing and want to learn, Linux is for you. My hierarchy of barriers to entry are, Linux being the most difficult, then Windows and finally Mac. Each operating system is targeted to different types of people. I would not recommend Linux to everyone, however, I would recommend Linux to anyone who wants to try it.

Conclusion

I am very happy with my choice. My laptop has been a Linux machine for over five years. That has been my main system of use over that time. My desktop is far more powerful and underutilized (we are talking second gen i5 laptop versus a ninth gen i7 desktop). All this switch is going to do is make my computer life better, faster and more feature filled! If you have any general questions about the change or Linux itself, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts.