Moving from Windows to Linux

in LeoFinance11 days ago

I've been looking to make this move since Microsoft went full evil with the release of Windows 10. I have used Windows for as long as I can remember, and always wanted to completely move to Linux but it hasn't really been a viable option until recently.

The problem has always been gaming. For programming and work, Linux has always been a viable option, even as a desktop user. It isn't until recently that it was possible to game on Linux with AAA games. The SteamDeck really opened my eyes how far Linux has come in terms of gaming.

About 4-5 months ago, I took switching to Linux seriously. The last 30 days I haven't booted into Windows at all. I still maintain a fallback Windows install on a separate disk if I ever need it, but so far I have been able to replace everything I needed.

Distro Hopping

Initially, I wasn't really sure what distribution to use. I had a few requirements, but you really don't know until you give it a try. So I started trying out distros on a separate disk until I found one that felt usable.

I first went to PopOS, which I really liked. PopOS is an Ubuntu flavored distribution, with it's own custom Gnome Shell customizations. I really liked PopOS, but the biggest problem I ran into is their packages were stale. They were heavily focused on their new Desktop Environment called Cosmic Desktop and have publically stated they will be slowing down the release of updates until this is finished. Seeing as I want to use KDE instead of Gnome, I was stuck as the bundled version of KDE was slightly older and didn't play well with Nvidia GPUs.

At this point I decided to give kUbuntu a try, this is an official Ubuntu distiribution that uses KDE instead of Gnome. While this worked well, I found I was still stuck with Snap packages if you disable them, you have to go through hoops to ensure new packages don't install as snaps. Snaps are Ubuntu's way of bundling apps so they can run on different releases without problems. They are with problems though as they are really slow to launch. This is the main reason I didn't want to use Ubuntu, so I moved on.

One of my big requirements was using a Debian/Ubuntu flavored OS. Although I don't like Apt, it is the most widely supported package manager. For example, Hive Vessel is only shipped as a .deb (Apt Package). While there are ways to convert packages, the dependencies are the real problem. There is an open standards way of dealing with this called Flatpaks, which while similar to Snaps, they are much more efficient and open.

At some point I started to mess with Arch. Arch users are considered very elite (by other arch users) because the barrier to entry was so high. Arch is a lot more complicated because you basically choose every aspect of your installation. With the new Archinstall, this has become a lot easier. I mainly left arch because of the complicated process of installing software that isn't available on Arch or the AUR package library. Thinking back though, this is less of a problem as almost everything is supported, I just didn't want to depend on a third party to maintain packages I wanted to use. Specifically, I wanted to maintain support for a commerical package I use for SSH called SecureCRT. They only support Ubuntu, and not even the latest version of Ubuntu.

I decided to give this up, and try Nobara, a Fedora fork maintained by one of the best Linux gaming developers out there. The one who is responsible for many of the Proton improvements to support gaming on Linux. The experience with Nobora was great, it worked great out of the box, and had excellent GPU support. I couldn't get over the fact it was maintained by mainly one user and didn't support Apt, so this became a deal breaker for me. I ended up switching back to PopOS for a time.

I have tried Mint in the past, and it was suppose to be the solution to Ubuntu's mistakes, but it had many of it's own. Debian while currently fresh, typically has stale packages and as you get further out from the last release date, it becomes more and more of a problem. PopOS was suppose to solve this but being updated more frequently but since they were more focused on Cosmic Desktop, this wasn't the case.

After using PopOS for a while, I came across PikaOS. This is basically Nobara but for Ubuntu, this is exactly what I have been looking for. I installed PIkaOS, and have been using it ever since. PikaOS has a few of the same contributors as Nobara. In fact, the PikaOS Hub is the same install engine Nobara project uses.

This allows me to have current gaming support, while having full Ubuntu flavored Linux for work related projects. PikaOS ships an ISO for Gnome, KDE, and Hyprland. This is pretty unique as Hyprland is typically only supported on Arch and some other distributions, not on Ubuntu. I briefly gave Hyprland a go, but ended up back with KDE.

While it isn't perfect, I have managed to replace everything I needed from Windows. One particular process that was a headache was scanning documents. I scan everything, I do not like having paper for anything that isn't needed. I use a really nice double sided scanner that can scan 30 pages a minute both sides in full color. Under windows, this is just pressing a button and it gets scanned into my inbox. I can then file it anywhere I want. While my scanner has Linux support, all the applications have a very poor workflow meaning I would spend a lot more time doing something that was pretty much hands free. I managed to write a small script that directly communicates with the scan driver and does exactly what I want. I just type scan, and it does exactly what I had on Windows.

Most software I use these days has a Linux version. The ones that don't, I have managed to find a good replacement. At some point soon, I will format my Windows installation to be a clean install with only the handful of games I can't play in Linux and that's it. So far I haven't found a game I can't play in Linux that I want to play, so this may in fact never even be needed. I have Wine and Bottles installed to attempt to run any Windows software I need to run.

I do however have one problem I haven't been able to solve. I have over 400G of pictures I have taken over the years and I use Adobe Lightroom to manage them. This currently only supports Windows and Mac and they have no plans on supporting Linux. Nothing on the market comes close to what Lightroom does, which is a massive time saver. I am looking at Dark Table and DKIM that try to replace Lightroom but they are clearly not nearly as good. I might end up running a Windows VM when I want to use Lightroom/Photoshop as of right now, this looks like my best option.

I am so thankful to be off Windows. I hated still being tied to it and have wanted for years to move off but I refuse to run a dual boot system where I got to keep switching back and forth.

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I have to use Windows for work, but dumped it at home many years ago as I hated how it tried to limit what I could do. I have a Win10 partition, but very rarely use it. I've used flavours of Ubuntu for most of this time. I seem to prefer KDE and so used Kubuntu for a while, but now on Ubuntu Studio that has used KDE for the last few versions.

I'm not a gamer, so that aspect is fairly irrelevant to me. I do scan a fair few docs on an old HP 3in1, but that has no document feeder. I do tend to avoid Snaps. Chrome from a Snap was really slow to load and I was limited on what files I could access from it. I installed Brave and it mostly works, but recently I get times where it slows the PC to a standstill. I had that before and am not sure what I can do about it as I can't even run something to check on what is using all the resources.

I spend a lot of time in the browser with LibreOffice for docs, Thunderbird for some email and various apps for recording. I do have some issues around recording video, but can edit with Kdenlive.

Photoshop is often quoted as a reason for not using Linux, but my image editing needs are basic.

I hope Linux works well for you.

Is your Brave install the deb version or the snap? Have tried the flatpak version? Is it any difference. I've used all 3 and ended up getting rid of the flatpak and snap versions. I just avoid all snaps now.
But the fastest one I've found is the deb version. I just added their repo to my sources list and install right from Brave. It's always up to date and dont have to wait on whoever is packaging for the snap & flatpak versions.

It's from the deb. I need to try and find out if my issue is a known problem and if there's a fix.

Thats weird. I've havent heard of brave slowing down. Do you use a lot of extensions or have an IPFS node running in it? Maybe have Tor turned on inside it? Those can really slow it down especially on launch.
Either way I wish you luck on figuring it out!

I've disabled some extensions, some of which I didn't even need, and it has been fine since then. I'll see what happens if I enable them one at a time.

I don't have Tor or IPFS, but maybe it's another of the extensions. I'll try turning some off. It happens at random, so hard to confirm the problem.

I also used Windoze from it's inception. I confess I was dragged kicking and screaming into each new paradigm along the way (I have realized I am innately a reactionary conservative by temperament, which really disappointed me because I wanted to be a revolutionary innovator, but I'm no better than anyone else I disappoint regularly, so just have to come to terms with it), starting with networking itself, mostly because Windows buried management of computers and networks in obscurity. I set up my first network in 1987 using CP/M, so vaguely remember being outraged at how Windows 1.0 so obfuscated networking.

Not until 2020 did I ever try Linux. I deeply regret not learning more about it when I was managing computers and networks starting in the 1980s, because the technology was immature at the time and I would have kept up with it's advancing edge, perhaps even learning to code, instead of focusing on how to beat Windoze into submission. However, I didn't try Linux so much as plunge in headlong by building a new box and installing Ubuntu on it, and I haven't booted Windoze for years, because Ubuntu just werks. I've literally escaped an abusive relationship, and hope that in time I can recover emotionally.

I recall you wisely suggested Qubes at the time, which I should have tried because I would have learned more, but the anxiety of switching ecosystems bade me choose between Pop_OS, Mint, and Ubuntu, because those were reported to be simplest, easiest for Windoze refugees to migrate to, and reliable. Ubuntu has been absolutely hassle free, and quickly dispelled my anxiety about the switch. In fact, this has enabled me to not learn jack-all about Linux, and since none of my Windoze experience applies to Linux, the least problems become insurmountable hurdles that leave me uncontrollably shaking in the foetal position in a dark room. Maybe if Linux pretended to be trying to prevent me from doing stuff, I'd be inspired to rebel and learn how to do it, but I fear it is too late for me.

I loved to hate M$ and realize now I stuck with it solely for that false sense of superiority getting around the obstacles it deliberately posed gave me, and am now a ruined man. You have no such psychological impediments, possess coding competence, and I am shocked to find you still used Windoze until recently. At least you are finally free, and you have the ability to resolve issues with facility, so now that Linux has caught up to the gaming industry you should have no problems going forward.

Congratulations on your freedom.

Thanks!

Since 2012 I have always been a fan and a user of Linux. I love Ubuntu until recently when I met sexy Kali Linux a true love found.

Cheers

I have an Ubuntu dist sitting in my downloads folder but have not gone through the trouble. I am so sick of windows but today managed to figure out how to disable the updates in the registry and got it dealt with. I've run Ubuntu before so it is really nice to read your experiences with the other distros. I've been curious what the big differences are between them so this helps a bit. The big problem is the rebuilding my "desktop" so I have all the same type of programs available.

I have tried dual boot with Windows 7 and Linux Mint a long while back, but I have basically just tolerated Windows 10 on this laptop. I am getting nagged to upgrade it to Windows 11. Your article makes me consider at least buying a different SSD to swap in and try out as pure Linux to see how it goes.

 11 days ago 

It's come a long way since I last gave it a go. I used an external SSD drive to test some distros before I decided to do a complete move over.

I dont know what Lightroom does but I have read several articles over the last couple of years that have quoted Adobe stating that they want to move all of their products to online, subscription based versions. Which would really make sense if they are accessed through a browser. They could get any customer no matter their OS.
But welcome to the world of Linux. I wish your trip would've been as easy as the one I had. But you had some much more stringint requirements than I did back then. Mine was completely by choice because it was fun. Lol.

 11 days ago 

Think of Lightroom to be an optimized version of photoshop made to efficiently work on hundred of thousands of images rather than one by one. It is designed specifically for photographers who come back with 1000 images from a shoot.

Can do in five minutes what would take hours or more in photoshop or any other tool.

Another thing that is great is it doesn’t change the original image. Say you take in a shot you adjust the white balance, change saturation, and crop it. You now have the original image and a text file with those three steps that always can be reverted back step by step to the beginning.

Adobe got rid of software licenses and they are only subscription for years despite pissing everyone off.

Fortunately I’ve been using Linux for ages just not on the desktop.

Ahh. So like a non destructive bulk editor.
I've always been surprised that most photo, audio and video editors dont do non destructive editing by default.

One thing about Linux that has surprised me is how far Linux has come on the desktop. For the vast majority of people out there who just check email or work thru a browser. Nearly any distro will work. I only go into the office once or twice a month. The boss has a computer for me to use. Of course it has Window 11 on it. But he doesnt have a problem with me booting from a thumb drive and doing my daily work from it. So thats what I do. sometime it's Pop!_OS others it's straight up Ubuntu. Today it's going to be Linux Mint because thats the only thumb drive I can find at 4am. Lol.

Haha, I see @r0nd0n got to you as well 🤣 He is such a Linux pimp.
That being said, it's a brave step in the right direction!

There are just various gadgets and system with their own specialities and technicalllities. I guess it all goes down to doing whatever work for you. I mean what works for Mr A doesn't necessarily have to work with Mr B. Adobe Premiere Pro works for me though. Adobe Lightroom is cool too. Hopefully you find whats best to accommodate all what you really need it for.

Wow I can't imagine you have tried these many. I have used Mint and Ubuntu in the past and got back to windows again. Now Linux is available in the windows subsystem that is mostly sufficient for my needs.

I want to also completely switch to Linux at some point. Maybe I can have Linux in my coding laptop alone.

If you do a full format of windows, backup your OS in a pen drive so that even if you want to switch back, you can do it. Happened for me and luckily I had a backup in a pen drive.

Windows ftw lol

What do you have to use snap for in Ubuntu? I've been using Xubuntu for years and the only thing I've ever used snap for was to install Brave. I'm a version or two behind though. Also, I guess I don't install all that much software but almost everything I do install I do via apt.

 11 days ago 

I don't know, I try to avoid them, I know Firefox is a snap, and if you disable snap and try to apt get firefox, it replaces it with a snap. I really don't like that behavior and didn't look further.

You can completely remove Snap and use apt on Ubuntu, you do need to ensure you modify the upgrade configs though otherwise it will come back on system upgrades.

Interesting to hear you thoughts. I thought you'd be Linux and Unix only to be honest. If seems you are on the way towards that mind you 👍🏻

In terms of user-friendliness, Linux has come such a long way from installing Slackware via floppy disks in '97 to where it is today. Above all, it felt good cutting ties with Microsoft.

I'm still using bot Windows and Linux(Ubuntu) at my home laptop due some programs used at work are working just on Windows. But as I know in closer future it will be replaced to other one and then I can become full time Linux user. And it to talk about photo editing I always can use my wife's laptop if I need to edit some photos.

Welcome to the hood. ;)

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Remember Clippy is skynet.

I enjoyed your guide. For now, the biggest step to move away from windows is simply doing it.

Congrats. Linux, along with FreeBSD and OpenBSD, has been a part of my computing life for at least 15 years. I'm more of a fan of Devuan or Alpine Linux with IceWM or XFCE as desktop environments.

You should check out Postmarket OS if you feel like tinkering with linux on older smartphones.

Inspiring to read! I’ve just downloaded Linux the other day to my computer because I, like many others, have procrastinated getting it going on my device. I’m hoping to get it up and running over the holiday so I can finally get past that!

For Lightroom, I’m far less tied to using that but I’m not processing a significant number of pictures at once. I’ve been really enjoying GIMP these past few years and have had great luck with it. Hoping that I can have the same success on Linux!

https://www.winehq.org/

"Friends don't let friends use Windows" 👍 Stolen from somewhere but can't remember where or when

I feel ya on the scanner issues with Linux. I had the exact same issue and ended up buying a cheap laptop that comes with windows and all it does is scan. Lol

Besides that Linux has been great.. just the driver issues with it sometimes drives me crazy. As long as my graphics driver does not crash I should be good..lol

There are nothing that come close to Adobe Lightroom on linux which is why when I was on linux, I was using it on mobile. Have you look into Photopea? it's a web-based similar to photoshop. That was also something I used when I was on linux. This year, I decided to try windows. I got frustrated at first since I was used to work with terminal & I had to re-learn everything 😃now 4 months in and somehow I enjoy some perks, like gaming without needing to install proton for Steam. In a few months, I'll be back using linux, I just don't like the feeling of not having control in my system too.

 11 days ago 

Photopea is more akin to photoshop thsn lightroom

Yo deje Windows desde Win 7, desde XP no hicieron nada bueno, siendo yo un usuario nivel medio en software, hardware e informatica, primero utilice MX-Linux y me parecio muy igual a Windows en tener muchos programas inecesarios preinstalados.

Ahora estoy en Debian y creo que aqui me voy a quedar, aunque igual tiene mucho preinstalado inutil, se puede modificar como cualquier distro claro.

Yo cada vez amo mas Linux y que es Linux si no todo lo que vemos en el mundo de las computadoras, todo es Linux.

I am not a professional photographer, but I find that darktable has improved a lot these 3 last years. It is way more powerful than what I need to develop my raw pictures and has now real nice default configuration. Learning it is some work but you can quickly get very nice results with it. I cannot compare it with lightroom
(except on price!) as I have only used open source software for image processing, though.

Вітаю в новому цікавому світі. Тут скучно точно не буде 😀