I have been using PC’s for decades now. The first PC I ever used was a Tandy TRS-80. What I really learned how to use PCs on however, was an old 80386 running Windows 3.1. The first college I attended required a PC for enrollment, and most schools at the time used Macs, so the first PC I ever bought was a Mac Quadra 605. The Quadra was the absolute last Apple product I've ever owned. From there I have built many many PC’s over the years for both myself, and others. I consider myself a reasonably skilled end-user, and a decent technician. Simply put, I think it’s fair to say I can walk up to many computers and use them (trust me though, there are many I can not).
The first Linux I ever used was SUSE and it was a disaster for me. I struggled on with SUSE for a while, but I just couldn't get the hang of using Linux, So I set it all aside for a year or so.
Then I decided to have another go at it, and went with Debian. Debian wasn’t any easier for me, but I did stick with it. Sometimes I think I learned more Linux just trying to get it installed, and all the hardware working than anything else. I broke Debian many many times during this period, and went back and forth just using (if you could call it using) Linux on the whole only when my tolerance prevailed.
After about a few more years of struggling with Debian on and off, I was finally able to actually use it functionally and somewhat fluently, rather than trying to simply learn how to get it to work, but I could in no way use Linux as my main OS; well maybe for a few tasks, but not exclusively.
Then Ubuntu came around. By this time Linux was getting better with hardware, and starting to be WAY easier to install. I learned a lot using Ubuntu (though I would never care to admit it). After using Ubuntu a good while it was all about distro-hopping and goofing around. I could use Linux for about anything I needed. I still relied heavily on Windows, but from this point forward, I always had at least one PC running some flavor of Linux, and it was almost always dual-booted with Debian.
Today, I use Linux elusively for all my personal computing, and I don't own a PC with any proprietary operating systems; no Windows, and no MacOS.
My daily driver runs Debian Stable under the Xfce desktop environment.
It was only recently I ditched Windows altogether. While I often used Linux, generally LMDE, as a virtual guest, I relied upon Windows for gaming, video editing (using De Vinci Resolve), and TTS (Balabolka). One day I just got fed up with the MS update BS, backed up some data, wiped the drive and quickly loaded Linux Mint up until I decided what I wanted to do. Thats right, I ditched MS just like that in the blink of an eye -- screw em’!
So, I did some serious distro-hopping and tried out a bunch of various distributions and desktop environments; some I was familiar with and had used in the past, others not. In the end, I decided since I went through most of my growing pains all those years back with Debian, that I may as well stick with what I was most familiar with; Debian. Since it’s tough to beat the stability of Debian stable branch, thats what I use today. The Xfce desktop environment I chose not only because I was reasonably fluent on it, but because it just seems to me as it certainly must have been built just for Debian. It’s sleek and fast, and employing the Whisker menu, suits all of my needs perfectly.
I use mainly free and open source (FOSS) software for my daily productivity. I stick pretty much with the Xfce terminal emulator. Mainly I use Mozillas’ Firefox and Thunderbird for browsing and email (and the Enigmail plugin for encrypted email). Libre Office is the standard FOSS office suite and more than suits my needs. GIMP for image processing, VLC as a music and video player, KODI as a media center, Audacity and KDEnLive for audio and video editing. I also believe that everybody should have at least one encrypted directory on their PC, and for that I use VeraCrypt. SimpleScreenRecorder I use for screen capture, and Steam for native Linux Gaming.
Gaming is a bit different on Linux than on Windows, and the particulars are outside the scope of my purpose here. What I will say is I play some Windows games such as World ofWarcraft in WINE, and most of my Windows ported games on Steam via PlayOnLinux. I employ the open source drivers on an ATI graphics card. There are times when some titles take a bit of fiddling to get things 100%, some just cant be played well at all. Just to be honest I’m happy gaming on Linux, and generally I cant tell a lot of difference, but thats only because I only use games I know I can get to run satisfactory. Gaming is not my main priority, and I get by well enough with what I have. That said, if gaming is the primary function of your PC or whatever, while technology is definitely getting better as far as gaming on Linux, you may be better suited by keeping your Windows box.
I’m pretty happy with the setup I have now. It’s fast, configurable, easy to repair if need be, and suits all my computing needs quite well. Most of all, it does not spy on me, or automatically send user information to a proprietary master; it updates only when I tell it to, and then only what I want updated. I have a great feeling knowing I’m supporting free and open source projects, which makes our world a better place for everybody, and not some self-serving, globalist corporate entity bent on sucking the life out of anybody and everyone they can.
Linux is a lot easier for folks to start using these days, more so than it was all those years ago when I performed my first installation. Fast and simple installers, and advanced GUI’s really makes it tough to know you're even using Linux it seems. With governments and corporations spying on our every move; software vendors and developers capitulating to create and give up back doors into their software; crazy ransomeware and other malware attacks being so prolific; and just what seems to be a relentless pursuit for your private information, there is really no better time than now to at least have a look at and try out some flavor of Linux. I’m at peace knowing I have more control using Linux, and you can too – quite easily.
If you are interested in trying Linux, as you should be or this writing has failed, without dual-booting or disrupting your current Windows/Mac-OS installation, you can do so by using Oracle's Virtualbox:
- Oracle's Virtualbox: What Is It?
- Linux VirtualBox Tutorial: Getting VirtualBox Installed on Windows
- Linux VirtualBox Tutorial Part 2: Installing Linux in VirtualBox on Your Windows Host
Other Minds Linux users whom are sharing their experiences. Using Linux is unique to each and every individual; this is the real power of using Linux. You should really check them out:
Finally I leave you with a musical parody produced by Open SUSE, which was first released at the 2017 SUSECON. This awesome little number was filmed on location in Helsinki, Finland; the home-town of Linux's creator, Linus Torvalds.