I have been keeping little notes on how to do things for a couple of decades now. I feel like writing some of it down for some reason. This was probably precipitated by my fairly recent change, as in the last year, to running Linux full time on my home desktop. I have been using Unix and Linux as a primary desktop at work for years, but I always relied on Windows at home.
I run Windows systems at work as well, but most of my work has been in the *nix world. So, I am well versed in solving problems, reducing Windows to its bare necessities, and feeling like I had complete control over the system. That changed when I purchased a new Dell desktop that was too cheap to pass up. It came with Windows 8, which I had been avoiding like the plague. I thought it was probably time to introduce myself to the new OS so instead of wiping and re-installing the system the way my older desktop was I decided to give it a try.
I never like the new Ubuntu or Gnome desktop environments, preferring the same style desktop environment I had been using since the mid-90s. So I doubted I would like the new Metro desktop interface. I did give it a try, but it wasn’t for me – I think others have beaten that horse enough already so no need to go into it. So I installed a some application that gave me back the start menu and went on my merry way.
But honestly, it is just a mess. Mysterious placement of the configuration options, services that demand to run that don’t seem to be necessary, and I never got the feeling that I had full control over what the system was doing. I like to know exactly what my system is doing in the background, what information it is sending out and receiving, and be in full control of that. Then sometime in early January or February Microsoft did something that was unacceptable. A silent, unapproved Windows updated that forced a change on my system. I don’t remember the details, and I am sure it was necessary but I had the system set to manual updates. I have been very cautious with updates ever since a disaster with a Windows NT 4 server update that ruined a weekend for my admin team back in the late 90s.
So, I spent a couple of months testing the most recent desktop environments on my laptop. In the end I settled on Xubuntu 14.04, shortly after its release. All the benefits of Ubuntu but a desktop environment I feel comfortable with. I bought a new SSD for the desktop, set the old drive aside in case I need it for Dell support, and finally converted 100% to Linux.
I plan on posting some of the things I have done to get comfortable with the desktop, and maybe some of the things I encounter at work. Or, might abandon this altogether, who knows?