Linux Users Thread

Welcome to our thread for Linux users :smiley:


  • Mac users please use this thread
  • Windows users please use this thread
  • For those who dislike one platform or another, maybe post those thoughts on Reddit, or somewhere similar :lol:

For distros in production, you might want to check out: Which OS/Distro do you use in production?

5 Likes

I’m gonna guess that this thread is about “why do you like Linux” similar to the Mac thread, so here goes.

Actually, I’m not sure where to start - there’s many things:

  • free software: I’m not really in on the “no non-free software shall run on my computer” story, but the fact that almost everything is done in the open, by volunteers, is just brilliant to me
  • customizability: Installing or uninstalling something is a matter of one apt install, and keeping software up-to-date is equally simple. Configuring most things is just a matter of viewing the manpage for the service, updating it, and reloading / restarting the service. I know that systemd isn’t everyone’s favourite, but I like it for this exact reason: every piece of its documentation (that I need, anyways) is just one man away, such as man timesyncd.conf if I want to reconfigure my NTP servers.
  • runs everywhere: I run Debian on my (second) home computer, my Raspberry Pi at home runs Debian Buster (custom Kernel), my servers run Debian, the list goes on. Learning something new on one almost always helps you with all others.
  • free software, part two: Likely not super Linux-specific, but the package management probably plays into this. For most things there will be multiple projects accomplishing the same thing (in different ways) and you will rarely be locked in to using a single x or y. For instance, I’m currently messing around with systemd-container (see https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Systemd-nspawn and / or https://packages.debian.org/buster/systemd-container) which is a nice and simple alternative for running containers compared to all the other solutions out there, but using something else is a matter of a few shell commands. :slight_smile:

A big part of the reason is probably also Valve’s excellent proton which works wonders to play games on Linux, and a lot of my “Windows-only” Steam games now run on Linux without any hassles. I love it :smiley:

5 Likes

Not messing around with licenses and stuff also brings the benefit of failure.
If this machine fails me I’ll just spin up a new one.
Should be a familiar concept in this crowd :slight_smile:

5 Likes

Literally, if you even want to run it on a MBP, sure, or your smart toaster! ^.^

3 Likes

I will always go with Linux for anything serious in 99% of the time.

That being said, macOS for desktop is unbeaten. I’ve tried 5+ Linux window managers and came out disappointed every time. There’s always some detail not thought through that ruins your work routine; there’s always that just one piece of desktop agent that crashes every 5 minutes. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but it adds up over the years, to the point I threw my hands up in the air and just said “Mac it is”.

Again though, for anything server, Linux is king.

3 Likes

I appreciate the simplicity and customizability about it. Of course this doesn’t apply to Linux as a whole, it depends on what distribution and desktop environment (or window manager) you choose. After a period of distro-hopping and trying out different window managers, I finally settled with ArchLinux + i3, and some of the things that I appreciate are:

  • Very few things happen unless you do them explicitly: the operating system doesn’t force you to run updates, it doesn’t just run them automatically, and it doesn’t send your data to the OS vendor.
  • Things don’t change and disrupt your workflow for no good reason: I read heated discussions about ubuntu putting window buttons from right to left, and then back from left to right. I see Windows 8, with an interface designed for touch devices, being used primarily on desktop devices. And I just don’t care, because the appearance of i3 hasn’t changed since its inception.
  • It’s a system that doesn’t attempt to hide everything from you, do everything “automagically”, and then screw up so badly that you’re completely helpless and just reinstall the damn thing. I don’t claim that I never have any issues with Linux, but the difference is:
    1. When things go wrong on Linux, it’s usually because I have screwed things up myself. So I feel in control, kind of.

    2. Even if I don’t immediately know how to fix it, at least I have an idea how to troubleshoot the problem.

5 Likes

Wall of text incoming with some strong opinions.

To call the Linux desktop landscape “simple” is overselling it. It’s anything but simple and very often you have to fight idiosyncrasies for a while until you stabilise it to your liking.

Many of the hardcore Linux users I was acquainted with could never properly gauge – and even admit the existence of – the huge initial effort it takes to roll a good 100% personal-tailored Linux desktop environment because they did it years ago and are now religiously protecting it so they don’t have to start over.

The discussion with these people usually goes like this:

  • “Oh, you have to use Manjaro / Ubuntu / whatever. It’s the only way!”
  • “Use i3 / XFCE / that-WM-you-have-to-customise-for-weeks, everybody else is misguided”
  • “Yeah, don’t forget those 10 PulseAudio settings splattered over 3 files in your entire filesystem, both in root’s files and your user’s”
  • “Ah, also do this…”

…and they quickly forget the whole thing can easily take you 5 weekends which you don’t spend with your wife, kids, bike, or any hobby or happy activity in general.

Again, they did it long time ago and it’s very easy to underestimate how awfully hard it can be to make your own garden from scratch and fine-tune it so well that you can’t live without it.

I am not saying Linux is bad. I used Debian for years about 10 years ago when things were much worse than now and still loved it times more than Windows. And, as said above, I always use it for servers. And always will.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and pretend there are no issues. Freedom and openness don’t necessarily buy you ergonomy and convenience.

Here is something most Linux users simply refuse to accept: even professionals often do not want to allocate that time and effort just to find a good environment. I have a happy personal life, a job that I love and want to be very efficient and good at, hobbies I like doing occasionally, I do light workouts and a lot of cardio, I periodically ride a bike for hours together with my wife, and try to maintain a well-taken-care-of flat (hygiene, working tech, and a ton of other stuff).

I simply can’t justify a weekend (or several) of tinkering with a desktop environment… and then completely dump it and start over. And then do that several times until I find the perfect one.

Sorry, not going to do it. It’s not such a small and light cost as many Linux users pretend it to be.

That’s factually very, very, false in my practice and experience. I’ve had Debian, Ubuntu, and even the almighty-I-only-do-stuff-if-you-tell-me Slackware peace out on me by the mere virtue of rebooting a machine after installing 5-6 package updates. Most times I had to fight with the damn thing for 1-2 hours before X11 feels like starting again… and that’s if the kernel update didn’t remove my SSD’s drivers for no reason (that I know of) and if I can even get to a shell session with a working storage.

I appreciate that my experience is rather dated – I am talking between 2007 and 2012 here – and I am pretty sure things have been getting better, but Linux as a generic desktop machine lost my vote a long time ago. There’s always something more to surprise you behind the corner.

I have a lot of work to get done and personal life to enjoy. I am not willing to get subjected to daily anxiety attacks whether my otherwise rock-solid PC (at least under Windows 10) is going to kick me out to a textual console on reboot with no idea why the graphics or the storage drivers failed to start.


…and none of that even touches the fact that Ubuntu has 2-3x more daemons working on the background on a vanilla installation compared to Windows 10. Are you completely sure it doesn’t send your personal info somewhere? :wink: They got busted once btw.

Ok, I’ll admit it, I spent more than just a few weekends tinkering my setup, reading man-pages and discussing stuff on IRC and elsewhere. I’m not going to argue that this is a good time investment if you don’t enjoy doing so. That is why other linux distributions exist.

Ubuntu is created by Canonical, a for-profit organization. So of course it’s naive to blindly believe it doesn’t send your info somewhere. But the fact that Linux is open source enables community-driven distributions, and those have been (afaik) free from spyware and other corporate crapware.

Thank you. I seriously have no idea about these other distributions though. Is anything coming somewhat close to a Win10 or Mac machine with sensible and pretty defaults that require less tinkering to get to initial productivity quicker?

I am willing to try again at certain point but I have to say I am not informed enough to focus my efforts in the right direction.

I love Dennis Richie’s quote regarding the UNIX philosophy (which applies to Linux as it’s a UNIX-like OS):

UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity

1 Like

I am not talking about the philosophy. We all reap its rewards 40+ years later in the form of pipe-able tools like sed, awk, find, grep and a ton of other useful stuff.

I am talking about the time investment until you are 100% comfortable with your Linux desktop environment.

Ubuntu is still the most popular distribution, but I have also heard good things about Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu). I haven’t used them myself for longer periods of time, but given that your last experience from Linux is from 2007 to 2012, there’s a good chance that many of the issues that you have had back then won’t trouble you today.
For example, I haven’t had to create a Xorg.conf in years (it doesn’t exist in my filesystem). Pulseaudio works out of the box unless you’re trying to do something unusual, like streaming audio over your network. I never had any driver issues with “standard hardware” like SATA SSDs. Of course, peripheral devices like multi-function printers are a different story entirely, you still can’t expect them to “just work” if you don’t do your research before buying them.

2 Likes

I’ve not tried it yet as I’m not a fan of docks, but Latte Dock for KDE I’ve been told is very mac-like and way crazy configurable (as is most things in KDE), so can set it up to do pretty much what you want.

Yeah linux doesn’t really need any setup anymore. My wife setup her linux desktop system (and proceeded to customize it in colorful ways) after being a windows user for her life, and the only issue her system has had is some piece of hardware is a bit unstable (same issue with windows, hence trying linux, though she likes linux a lot more, even considering that she’s a gamer, much more so than I).

3 Likes

I am a happy Linux user and have been for a while now. There are so many reasons for this and I’ll try to put as many as I can in as little text as I can.

I have studied Philosophy in college, so I have a kind of “natural affinity” with GNU/Linux for the things it tries to stand for. This plays a huge part of my satisfaction on investing time into Linux (as a user). It is hard to say a lot more about this subject without mentioning other OSes as we live in a world dominated by patents of, in my humble opinion, things that couldn’t have a patent. If 1 + 1 can not have a patent, then, again, IMHO, neither should software. Also, I believe that, at least, public administration should only use public code. If nobody agrees, that’s fine too. I am no “active activist” but that is important to my “happiness” using Linux.

On the other hand, I am very happy with the recent evolution of Linux. A LOT of things progressed quickly and I think it is picking up steam as a desktop OS. Mainly graphics but also audio, input, fonts and so on. I love to read KDE’s weekly usability and productivity blog posts. It makes me value even more the work people are investing into a free and open platform and it is really nice to see the heights they are reaching! As was mentioned, I don’t think Linux needs any customization for a new user. It is just that customizing it is so nice that it feels like it we are loosing opportunity if we don’t… Also, I’ve converted more than 50% of my family (parents, wife, nephews included) to use Linux. I am the “technical support” anyway and when I stopped using other OSes they lost their “free technical support”… Most people only need a browser and an office suite :slight_smile:

As a developer, the platform has always made sense to me, even before I could understand it fluently. I mean, it is the “tinkerer’s” platform. Learning to use the shell, discussing about file systems, installing the OS with plenty of options many times and understanding the network stack made me a better programmer (I believe).

One thing I will disagree with previous answers is that Linux isn’t simple. I really think it is simple. Sometimes simpler than other OSes (but not always). What I agree, though, is that simple does not necessarily mean “easy”. Think about LISP: it has the simplest syntax any language might dream to have (only parentheses mean anything in LISP), though it is not easy to understand its semantics at first contact (even for seasoned programmers). This feels to me like an OO programmer approaching FP and saying it is “too complex”. It is different for sure, but not necessarily more complex. I think Linux is discussed a lot and has more “principles” and “standards” than other OSes and that is why it is simpler to understand. Currently, other OSes feel alien to me and I can’t be productive on them anymore. I guess this is natural once you don’t have to switch OSes on a daily basis (it’s been a decade since I last used another OS on my machines).

People should not trust my opinions though! I am an Emacs user too, so… I like to invest my time into tools that are open (to say the least). Like Erlang and Elixir :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Hi all,

Before starting my career in Software Industry, I was afraid of the word ‘linux’ to be frank because I was unaware of what is linux?

Later, when I started working as a developer, I was looking for alternatives for everything as I was hailing from heavy windows background. After quite a struggle, I got strong hold on the positives of the unix based systems and I started learning more and more about linux internal tools and productivity related applications, I started loving it.

One of the major advantages of linux or unix is it’s customisability, you use only what you need… there is even 50 mb linux, avoiding all bloated packages. When we go for deployment, we don’t want unnecessary tools eating away RAM and CPU, so I would always recommend a linux based server or container-based solutions using unix or linux.

Linux is open-source and one of the best companion a developer can get!

Thanks.

2 Likes

Xubuntu / XFCE is the world’s best desktop environment. Mega-scriptable, gives you everything you need (browser, terminal, vim), nothing that is bad for you (anything else). Best thing about XFCE: it hardly ever changes. Why? Because it’s perfect as is. Nothing else can ever measure up.

2 Likes

Any unix terminals have those tools included (browser, text editor). Anyone remembering browsing the web with Lynx? The oldest, yet still developped text browser.

PS. I am happy with a terminal, all the rest is distraction :slight_smile:

3 Likes

@kokolegorille I tried lynx once and couldn’t adapt to it unfortunately, but it’s a good alternative in case of absence of any GUI, which is prevalent in Servers mostly.

2 Likes

You might have encountered lynx, but did You try once to edit your files with ed and edline? (I am an old gorilla :slight_smile: )

2 Likes