Tonight I am finally doing it. I am going to switch my operating system from Windows to Ubuntu Gnome, which means I will be a Linux user for the first time in my life. I have been using Windows for my personal laptop for the last two years, and the constant hassle of operating system specific issues has finally pushed me over the edge. I have coffee ready, my image is on a thumb drive, and I just ran a defragmentation on my disk.
These are my goals and hopes for my new Linux life.
From closed to open
If you are not familiar, there are many kinds of operating systems out there for personal computers, and they mostly fall into three camps, Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. Your operating system, among many things, determines what software can run on your computer, what the windows of your applications look like, and (most importantly for developers) what kind of terminal commands you can use. For command line specific tasks, operating systems really only fall into two camps, Unix-based systems (including Linux and Mac OSX), and Windows. The Unix-based system is open, well understood and heavily used in the developer community. The Windows commands are closed source, generally underused and clunky for developers used to Unix-based commands. For the past two years I have been translating the commands in tutorials from Unix to Windows and still cringe every time I accidentally run
ls instead of
I have stuck with the Windows system for so long mostly out of inertia. I never really had time to make the switch, and kept putting it off. I also thought that Visual Studio would be important for me in the future, until I realized that I could write C++ code without compiling in Visual Studio, at which point I quickly turned to writing C++ in Sublime Text and compiling from the command line. This process of switching a Linux operating system has been on my mind for months now. From my ruby environment configuration nightmare that lasted days earlier this semester, to the countless Stack Overflow searches that look like “… does not work on Windows”, I have often been on the brink of switching over. I also have had a really great experience using other open source software, including my switch to Firefox from Chrome.
In terms of the distribution of Linux I chose, I was leaning towards Ubuntu over Arch mostly because I am new to the Linux world and don’t feel ready to be rolling things on my own quite yet. I am a huge fan of material design by Google, and was thinking I would wait until QuantumOS finally launched to make the switch over to Linux, but I just can’t wait any longer. I am not a huge fan of the rounded UI look of Ubuntu Unity, and opted for Ubuntu Gnome due to its minimal UI. It also seems a bit more underdog/up-and-coming than the main Ubuntu.
Hopefully now that I am making the switch my life will be easier. I want to start using Vim for most if not all of my code writing, which will be an adventure in and of itself. I plan to spend all of my time switching between the terminal and Firefox, and will keep you posted on how it goes!