Why I switched to Linux and what I'm using Today

Michael Minshew on March 12, 2018

A few months ago I made the hard switch over to running Linux on my work laptop and haven't looked back even once. I've been a windows user sin... [Read Full]
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Welcome to Linux! It's a lovely place here.

I too miss Notepad++, but I find that Geany is quite similar as far as text editing goes. Meanwhile, Visual Studio Code is quite lovely as an IDE! (And that's coming from someone that has tried Atom, Code::Blocks, Brackets, and more than a few others.)

Here's a few other favorite packages of mine:

  • LibreOffice (from the Fresh PPA: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa; sudo apt update; sudo apt full-upgrade
  • SpeedCrunch: the best calculator I've found yet
  • Simplenote: markdown-based notes w/ free cloud storage
  • Krita: realistic and unrealistic painting (Raster-based)
  • Rambox: for keeping all my chat apps together
  • Redshift: changes to warmer tones as the day gets later, to reduce eye strain and prevent the computer from throwing off your sleep cycle
  • Hexchat: IRC client, because the Linux world basically lives on Freenode and OFTC.
  • Hamster Indicator: time tracking
  • Meld: file comparison
  • ZeGrapher: graphing calculator

BTW, if you plan to work in C or C++, I highly recommend the LLVM Clang compiler. As great as GCC is, Clang's got better error messages and higher performance - plus it can run natively on every major operating system. VSCode has fantastic Clang integration.


I need to try rambox and I actually use simple note on my phone so brilliant idea, gonna install that today! As to the text editor ive got atom so customized it will be a bit before I change again. I try VS on Windows but it just didn't click. Lots of awesome features though!!


Oh, there's a profound difference between Visual Studio (which I hate) and Visual Studio Code. The latter, also known as VSCode, is closer to Atom in its functionality, but much faster, with more IDE integrations. I was a loyal Atom user until I gave VSCode a try, and it won out for sure.

I might have been using the wrong one. I'll give it a try. Im a sucker for trying new text editors any day.


Visual Studio Code as an Ide? Well, my keyboard is super computer :)


I definitely use VSCode as my main IDE for Python and Go.
And it is indeed an awesome piece of software. :-)

VSCode is editor, not IDE. Pycharm, Phpstorm is IDE. Of course you can use editor but that doesn't make them an IDE.

According to me, VSCode without any Plugins is indeed an editor but as soon as you add some plugins to it, it is as capable as any IDE.
That's why a lot of people would prefer it to Pycharm or PhpStorm.


I am a windows 10 user, just started into development and I want to switch to Linux but My hard drive is almost full (900 GB / 1TB), and I don't want to loose my data how can I switch without loosing any data, Is there any way to do that without parallel boot and just use only Linux.


By 'parallel boot', I assume you mean 'dual boot'. Don't be afraid of having a dual boot and using only Linux ;)

Since an Ubuntu flavor takes fewer than 10G, you should consider shrinking your last partition to free enough space for installing Linux. 30G is more than enough to install various IDEs, toolchains, etc.
Then, you can simply mount your 900G partition(s) on Linux to access your data. No loss at all.

Of course, backup your data regularly & especially before the shrink & the installation ;)


You can put Ubuntu on a flash drive and run it as a test that way. You'll have the option to try out the OS or format your hd. Just choose the test out option. There's a few other ways but this one is the simplest.

You can try the linux subsystem on windows 10 though right now as Bash and base linux is available now. Assuming you have room this is a fantastic way to get some practice and learn the command line and get the basics in.

here's a quick tutorial. (i edited this from the original post as this method is much simpler)

for the ubuntu test:
They have a tutorial here. tutorials.ubuntu.com/tutorial/try-...


Actually I have already installed ubuntu bash on my system, but I use git bash I found it more comfortable to use, I have Intermediate understanding of command line, I just got irritate with windows. Like unexpected shut down, low memory every single time when I open more than 4 tabs in chrome, along with VS Code open, and even I open another window of the terminal it crashes sometimes. I tried elementry os distro with a flash drive It's beautiful but I guess there are some driver issue with it, so Now I just wanted to switch to ubuntu without My data loss.

I'd invest in an external hd and switch that way. i grabbed a reasonable external hd on amazon for 70 bucks a while back. i think it was 2TB

Actually did the same, backed up my data and did a fresh installation. Loving it, linux is awesome. Specially zsh shell and oh-my-zsh.


A NAS would be a good solution.
Push all your data to the NAS and access it from you Windows or Linux that you installed on Dual Boot (that's what I'm doing and it works pretty well from the last 5 years ).


You can start using Arch Linux or Arch Based for more power and up-to-dated software.
I'm using Manjaro, but you can try Antergos.
Yes, it's more advance if you're trying to install using command line... but you will love it and Arch User Repository (AUR) will help you install almost everything ;)

thanks for the article


I think that I'm going to install Arch on one of my desktops later this year. I love the community and it seems like a solid well thought out flavor.


+1 ArchLinux is awesome to learn The Hard DIY Way.

For a rolling release and more up-to-date software, there is OpenSUSE (with BTRFS as the default filesystem!) ;)


I switched from Ubuntu to Arch and I'm very satisfied! Couldn't agree more with you!


I highly recommend Guake, it is a terminal application that works as an overlay instead of having its own window. You can set a shortcut to hide and show the overlay. I honestly can't work with normal terminal windows anymore, I need Guake (iTerm2 with some tweaks can work like it on Mac)


Oh this sounds cool, I'll check it out. I have my terminal keybound so its super easy to pull up but I do have to minimize and move it around a lot.


One more vote for Guake. In addition to that, try Tmux+Byobu+Guake.


I've heard of ZSH before, I'll definitely give it a shot. Always willing to try something new, especially if it improves productivity,


I loved that terminal! Unfortunately, it didn't recognise ruby commands for me :(


A few suggestions
Try Terminator for terminal

And VS code instead of atom . It really works faster comparing to atom

Zeal for offline documentation . This works because there's no official CHM reader for linux .

Calibre For e-book management . It supports almost every version of Ebooks


I would like to change too, but as a student, I use Ms Office a lot. I was using Libre Office for a long time, but I returned to MS Office for different reasons.


I'm sure you'll have some specific requirements, but the majority of students aren't going to need anything MS specific - they'll just be doing word processing, 99% of the time, where Google Docs or LibreOffice or even Office 365 will be more than adequate.


I have switched to google docs and sheets for my writing and excel type work. Libre office is cool and just made a big version update but I haven't even needed to try it because of Google's tools.


Don't let Office bring you out of Linux.
Some great alternatives are available now.
WPS Office is one of them.
Free Office is another one.

I am using Free Office on a day to day basis as it is available from the Ubuntu Software Center.


I find this very relatable. I for one, decided to switch to linux because interaction with servers was better documented, and after all, a smoother experience. And it saved me a lot of time :) I had some friction with the terminal, but if you push through the two first days, it becomes second nature.


I was doing some mysql work a while ago, I will absolutely be getting into linux server stuff later on and love that its so well put together.

Same with the terminal here but once I got CD, LS and PWD things got easier lol.


Linux for devs is a must ! Even just because every other devs are on Linux.

Therefore, I guess you kept another machine for personnal use (games as I've read) or do you now only use Linux ?


I had the tremendous luck to have grabbed a few desktops and laptops when my place of work went bankrupt. I have a nice dell latitude with 8gigs and Kubuntu for work and another dell latitude with 16 gigs with win 10 for personal use. I'm really considering switching it around though as i'm not gaming heavy right now on pc and am coding more often. Steam is paving the way for Linux gaming though so I hope to be able to switch over once and for all in a few years.


Congratulations on your Linux conversion! There's nothing like an apt install allthethings.


I love Linux for my combo:
os: arch with yaourt
wm: bspwm + compton
editor: spacemacs (emacs on drugs :D) with evil mode (vim-like edition but boosted with emacs power)

I run apps I develop in docker containers, same that are used on production. A little more resources is taken druing dev stage but it brings awesome portability and fast setup for colegues joining projects.

Gonna make some unixporn post some day ;)


Your title brings me to that article.
I was very interested to ear about your journey from Windows to Linux.
I tried Linux in 2004 and at that point I had a very hard time with. Nothing was working and my very first laptop literally broke using Linux.
That was a very bad first experience from the Open Source Community. :-D

Then a few years later, I tried Linux again, and it was way better.
And I am now a full time Linux user.
Thanks to Web development, the software proposition on Linux is as great as it is on any other platforms.
And I must say that for photography management it is even better than on Windows or MacOS (Darktable and Shotwell is a perfect mix).
I really love Ubuntu for its huge compatibility with hardware and software but I indeed changed the flavour and installed Ubuntu Budgie.
That gives the best of the Solus desktop environment but in Ubuntu which has, at the moment, a great number of softwares available.

Had a great time on Linux.


Juno Computers makes it very easy to switch to Linux. Check us out!



I switched to Linux because I am very cheap 😂. I was building a computer to save money so I certainly wasn't going to spend any on the OS.


That's a fantastic reason. Should have mentioned that lol.


you can use notepaddqq (linux equivalent of notepad++). VScode is a beast tbh. you will love it!!


I'll take a look, frankly, the only reason I used notepad ++ was because of the autosave feature. I closed it a lot by accident and having a fast loading, autosaving, code friendly notepad was pretty helpful lol.

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