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My Computing Life

PewsplosionsApr 24, 2018, 12:23:28 AM

**To skip to my specific current Linux setup scroll to the pictures**

As a new member of the minds community and someone that has largely avoided use of social networking, despite dabbling with everything from myspace to twitter, I decided to try to contribute something to this small but hopefully growing community. After browsing the groups, channels, etc... I came across a few people posting their experiences with Linux. This sounds like something I could write about and so here we are.

The dualist nature of thought plagueing society today is something to which I try not to adhere. So Linux purists, Windows and Mac haters, may not be a total fan of my experiences. My current setup consists of a Windows 10 machine, a Manjaro Linux machine, an ubuntu server, and an open media vault installation. I use a macbook pro on the go and have an Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra with Android as my phone. Before I go into details about my current setup though, I will explain a bit of the history.

As a kid, I was always fascinated with art, comic books, and video games. When I learned of the existence of computers, I became pretty enamored with technology as well. So I wanted to know how video games were being created. How do my doodles in my notebook become controllable characters on a Nintendo game? Eventually I was lucky enough to get a hand-me-down from my Grandmother that was a Tandy PC. After that I was pretty hooked. Windows 3.1 was next, then shortly after that Windows 95, Windows 98, etc... I didn't even know Linux existed at the time.

Finally at the time of Windows Vista hell... I decided to look for more. At this time I wasn't very connected in a technological sense, but I wanted something that wouldn't crash constantly when I tried to check email, surf the web, or chat with friends.

Enter Ubuntu!

Ubuntu was relatively new at the time but was getting pretty popular. So there was plenty of help getting things set up. It was even easier than installing Windows. I spent about 2 years on Ubuntu as the only computer I used. It was great. I had chat apps integrated into a single application, rarely if ever crashed, and could basically do anything I wanted. I even had World of Warcraft running through wine so I could feed my addiction.

I switched back to Windows because I wanted to play Starcraft II. Luckily I was able to use Windows 7. Which was a huge step up from Vista in my experience.

This is when my inner conflict of Windows vs Linux began. Other than my horrible Vista experiences I enjoyed all other versions of Windows and I like video games. It is hard to not use Windows when my opinion of it is good and it has all the games. But at the same time I had grown quite fond of my Linux experience.

I was also very much getting into technology at this time. I was messing with microchip boards and programming. Specifically I was playing with C# and a panda board from FEZ. Nothing crazy, just making lights blink and things like that.

Cell phones also were a big thing and I wasn't all that interested. I had a flip phone for a while because my parents gave it to me to take when I went places. I remember when Blackberry started taking off and I started getting more interested. Then the smartphone craze took off. I was mildly interested but it wasn't until I started hearing about apps for the phones and how they were becoming mini computers in our pockets that I got super interested. Since I was learning C# and played Xbox 360 and Windows PC games... I found Windows Phone. So my first smartphone was a Samsung Focus S running Windows Phone 7.5. iPhones were dominating at the time and my friends were into Android but I was both technically and ascthetically attracted to Windows Phone. C# was used to develop apps, the live tiles and metro style was attractive visually for me, and it was integrated with my PC and Xbox. Seemed like a great choice.

I stuck with WP through 8.1 when I was using a Lumia 1520. The CEO change for Microsoft made it obvious that they didn't care anymore. I could rant on that for a long time but long story short, WP OS was very good and I will argue with anyone who thinks otherwise, but they screwed it up and I jumped over to Android. I miss WP still.

At this time I also was really into software development, I had switched majors at school and was working my first job as a technician. We had a lot of Linux around. So I was constantly learning new things and it was fueling my desire to relive the Ubuntu days.

This time however I was much more technologically inclined. I ended up installing Bohdi Linux on my work laptop which I loved because it was customizable. So my art background started coming into play.

On the home desktop side however, I couldn't give up my Windows 8.1 and eventually Windows 10. I genuinely like Windows a lot at this point. Not the biggest fan of Microsoft though but I think that is a different story.

So that brings us to now. I am a software engineer by trade and a creative person at heart. So I asked myself why do I have to choose? As someone who ultimately wants to develop cross platform video games that everyone can enjoy, why can't I just like them all?

With this revelation I finally organized and built my setup and for the first time it is exactly what I want. I spent a lot of time picking parts, software, etc... for everything I want to do. And this is how it turned out.

So ultimately, Linux provides a level of customizability that just can't be matched. This really appeals to me.

My main PC, I call Hercules, is a Manjaro Linux distribution with Budgie Desktop. I use it for almost everything I do, except gaming. It spans the 2 monitors to the right and the main tv as well as the HUION tablet below. It has a Ryzen 7 1800x, Vega Frontier Edition, 32gb ram and is capable of doing a lot. I had not done my research before purchasing the video card. Which Linux had almost 0 support for short of the official binary on older stable releases. So I was originally using ubuntu 16.04 after days of trying to get other OSs working. Finally I got Manjaro set up with the newest, unreleased Linux Kernel and I've been super happy since.

While I'm completely comfortable with terminal use, unlike the classic linux user, I prefer graphical interfaces. Mostly due to my visual pleasure. So I set up the desktop specifically to look pretty to me.

I prefer Linux for almost any kind of work or hobby I do now. Blender, GIMP, Inkscape, MyPaint, LMMS, Audacity, are amazing programs. I have used many of the commercial alternatives such as Photoshop, 3d Studio Max, etc... and I actually prefer the open source applications in almost every way.

Atom editor is an amazing tool for programming as well. I use it for work and hobby projects. It has the control that classic terminal users like but again, to me at least, I use it because I can make it pretty with flex toolbar and other packages.

Godot is also an amazing tool. For game development by an indie developer or small team I would recommend it all day.

I do still like Windows 10 but unless I'm playing games on it, I rarely leave my Linux desktop. It is eye candy, functionality, and flexibility rolled into an incredible open package.

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