… I don’t know – but I have used Linux as my main system for more than a year now. My first computer was a Commodore 64 which was mainly used for playing games. Back in the 1990’s, before we had Internet, my family bought an Olivetti, which had Windows. Ever since then I have used Windows. But back in 2012 I changed OS toOSX, when I bought a Macbook Pro (mid 2012). As a secondary machine I have used Linux since 2010 – mainly Ubuntu. So I have been familiar with Linux for some time now. I never had an idea to change my main system to Linux. But in the early autumn I was starting think about building a server, so I went to the store and bought some computer parts. But then the workload increased massively and there was no time to go further with the project.
In November/December that year the workload decreased some and one weekend I set up the server using Ubuntu as the operative system. During the same autumn Apple upgraded OSX from Yosemite to El Capitan, and with El Capitan Apple introduced System Integrity Protection (SIP), which prevents any user, even the root user, to modify certain files in the system. I had modified ‘certain’ files in Yosemite, especially config files related to Finder. Thus, suddenly Finder did not work as I was used to. I know that SIP can be overrided, and I did. But every time the system updated I had to override it again and do the again do the changes I wanted. So in December the main computer (by then a Macbook pro mid 2014) followed the server and I installed ubuntu, or to be more precise xubuntu, on the computer.
In spring 2016 I changed distro to Fedora, which I use today. There has mainly been no problems at all. The wifi does not work out of the box, but after installing the correct drivers that is not either an issue. As desktop I use Gnome, and after some tweaking really like it. In the picture you can see how my desktop look like.
My Desktop using Gnome
Workspaces to Dock extension.
Gnome is not that useful if you are not using extensions. So one of the first things to do is to install gnome-tweak-tool and start installing extensions. As you can see I have a lot of extensions going on my system. I have temperature and fan-speed, a to-do list extension and caffein (which can prevent your computer from going into sleep). I further have places, which list directories on the hard-drive, making it easy to quickly find what I need. I use a dock on the left and a dock up top that displays the workspaces.
Dash to Dock extension
One of the problems using a Linux system is that not to many uses Linux, especially not at work, and that a lot of the software used in Windows don’t run in Linux. Of course you can use Wine, but that is cumbersome and you miss the point by using open source/free alternatives. In my work this is most noticeable regarding the office packages. The alternative I use I LibreOffice. A lot of people say that the compatibility between Microsoft office package and LibreOffice is problematic. That is not my experience. I work with people using Microsoft Office all time. But for it to work you have to use .doc, not .docx. The only problem I have with LibreOffice is that the alternative to Powerpoint (Impress) is not good. It is almost not possible to use. Instead I use WPS. I actually have the whole WPS package just to use it for presentation. But sometimes I have also used WPS if the compatibility is bad using LibreOffice writer – which can happen if there is a lot going on in the document. For statistics I use R in Emacs (using ESS). Takes some time to get used to Emacs, but when you have it works really nice. I have Virtual Box installed and in VB I have Windows 10 installed. Some system applications that I quite seldom need to use just works in Windows.
Does Linux make me more productive? I don’t know, but the main advantage is that I can have a system of my own liking. So for me Linux works just fine. Should you use Linux as your main work computer? If you are perfectly fine with the system you use and if you are not interested in computers and technology you should probably not use Linux – not yet anyway. But if you want to try I would recommend installing Virtual Box and trying out some of the many distributions.