Switching to Linux

I’ve done many Linux servers over the years, but I have never gone full Linux on my desktop. It is something I’ve been thinking about for years but a few things have always held me back. My job is Windows based, PC gaming, and my bad internet making it hard to play around with different Linux things.

Linux Tux

But last month I got new internet! There has also been some amazing advancements when it comes to Linux gaming. I’ll talk about that more below. And with remote desktop, I can still do everything I need to on Windows as I make the switch.

It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. I dived in head first and made the full switch a little over a week ago. When things are going well it feels awesome. I feel like the computer is truly mine and it seems way more responsive than when it was running Windows 10.

But when things don’t work it takes me twice as long to fix it then it would have on Windows. But sometimes learning through immersion is the best way to go. Despite the frustrating points.

Software Alternatives for Linux

I thought I’d share my journey finding Linux alternatives to the Windows software I use. Maybe it will save someone else some time who is on the same journey!

Game Development

I like to make computer games as a hobby. But when it comes to Linux there’s not a lot of options or tools to program games. Some of the big engines like Unity have Linux development environments but I hear they are buggy.

I do not have the time to code my own engine. I just want to get in and play. So I found this engine called Godot. It is open-source and a lot of its developers run Linux so it runs very well in Linux. It can also export games to all the other big platforms.

Gaming

Gaming has become a lot better on Linux. At this point, Linux can run just about any Windows game with the help of Wine, Lutris, and Steam’s Proton. Some games may take a little more work to get running. But the community normally already has a configuration figured out.

Robocopy vs Rsync

I used robocopy a lot for backups. So I had to find something like that on Linux. They have something called rsync. It has been a bit of a learning curve. But rsync may be even more powerful then robocopy based on all the options I see.

I also had to install samba so my Linux OS could read and mount a windows network share.

But I got my Rsync script setup and I wrote a post about it if you would like to learn more about it.

LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office

I started using LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office and to tell the truth I think I like it more. It is a lot less bloated. The installer for Microsoft office is about 1.3GB while the installer for LibreOffice is 285MBs.

LibreOffice is also doing everything I need it to do. I assume Microsoft Office can do more but nothing stands out to me and I am not missing any functionality.

I’ve even started installing LibreOffice on family members’ computers who run Windows.

Thunderbird vs Outlook

For Linux the go-to e-mail client is Thunderbird. For people coming from Outlook, it takes a bit of time to get used to it. But I had it up and working and customized the way I wanted in less than an hour. Now that I have done it a few times the setup takes no time.

The UI seems to be a little bit different from the Windows version. But that only slowed me down for a few seconds.

Software Versioning

I used to use TortoiseSVN but I have not found a GUI SVN client for Linux. But SVN, Git, and many other versioning tools were developed in Linux. So they work just fine if you are not afraid of the command line.

It did take a little getting used to. But now I am using the SVN command line like a pro and connecting to my SVN server that’s also running on Linux!

Remmina vs Remote Desktop

Remmina is a core tool for my switch over to Linux. It allows me to jump back over into Windows by remote desktop when I really need to. For when I don’t have time to figure out the Linux way. Without it, I am not sure I’d be able to make the switch.

I had some trouble getting it working at first. Then I found out I had to install freerdp before I install Remmina. Remmina uses freerdp to connect to Windows RDP sessions.

Video Editing

I use Blender and Handbreak and I found both of them are on Linux. Their UI is not 100% the same as it is on Windows. That took a bit to get used to but other than that they work fine.

And speaking of videos youtube-dl also works fine on Linux as long as you download the python script and not the exe.

Password Manager

I use Keepass as my password manager and there was a Linux install for it. I only had to point it to the database file I already had and now it works fine.

Windows Only Software on Linux?

Just like with gaming I’ve been able to get Windows only software running on Linux with Wine. The last example of this was the software that came with my 3D Printer.

It took me a minute to figure out were the Windows software was saving files. It turns out they were inside a Wine folder with the same folder structure as Windows.

Beyond that, I can not tell a difference. But of course, if there’s a native Linux version I always go for that.

To Be Continued…

So far I am having a blast. I am going to close this post up for now. But I am sure over the next few weeks I’ll have more to add to this post so stay tuned and subscribe so you do not miss it!


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