The 30 Day Linux Challenge

Jan 29, 2020 08:02 · 755 words · 4 minute read Tech Productivity

I challenged myself to drop Mac and Windows and use Linux only for 30 days. Here’s what I learned.

I got a Lenovo laptop back in December, I installed Linux as soon as I got it.

Why? I got sick of my Macbooks breaking down for one reason or another and I planned to use it for development mostly and some daily work.

So I went to the darkside for comfort.

I’ve always been comfortable using Linux as a development environment, but not as a daily driver. My story with Linux began in 1998 when I downloaded Redhat Linux and tested it out.

Back then, and for many years things weren’t so polished. In my experience: Linux was great for servers and development, terrible for the desktop.

However, over the years I have seen some mayor Linux distros (Ubuntu, Fedora to name two) become polished and usable as desktop OS’s.

The fact that companies like Lenovo, Dell and many others now ship Linux for consumer products out of the box, says a lot.

My relationship with platforms over the years has been mixed:

  • 1998-2008 Windows only (some Linux)
  • 2008-2016 Hardcore Apple fanboy
  • 2016-2019 Apple/Windows (Gaming got me into building a PC, turned into my favorite place to work. Sitting upright > arching over a laptop)

For some reason I ended up trying Fedora Linux again and was very impressed by the polish of the UI, responsiveness and how easy everything was to set up and get productive.

So I gave myself a challenge: go Linux only for 30 days for everything I do: all of my work, design, development, gaming and hobbies (3d Printing and IoT).

If it didn’t cut the bill, back to Win on my desktop and a Macbook.

To my surprise it wen’t incredibly well. So well in fact, I no longer have Windows installed in my main desktop PC.

6 Things I’ve learned

  1. It’s fast - My desktop PC has latest gen hardware, but my laptop does not. Fedora Linux is equally fast on both. Apps launch almost instantly. The memory footprint is very low.
  2. You get freedom of choice - This came to me as a surprise: I’ve become used to Apple/Microsoft’s walled gardens, where they get to decide what apps you can install and either shove them down your face or developers charge you a recurring subscription fee for the most basic of apps. You have none of that in Linux using Open source software.
  3. Respects your privacy - No telemetry, no ads, no bloatware, no apps sneakily sending user data somewhere. Need I say more?
  4. You save money - You don’t have to pay Adobe, Apple, MS and numerous developers subcription fees to get basic work done. I had gotten used to paying monthly fees for things as basic photo and text editing.
  5. It’s fun - This also came as as surprise: Linux has made it fun again to sit down, get work done and build stuff. I’ve built in just a few short weeks better workflows, scripts and tools that help me work more efficiently, while having fun doing it.

  6. It’s gorgeous - Mac OS’s interface is beautiful. Windows 10’s is not. With a nice wallpaper and enabling proper font support Fedora’s interface (Gnome DE) is absolutely gorgeous.

My current desktop

Not for everyone

I’m not about to turn into a Linux advocate and start dissing Apple or Microsoft. I truly believe they have some good products. So none of that here.

I also understand that Linux in many of it’s flavors is not for everyone.

But if you are a geek, developer, tinkerer, maker, then you will feel right at home and I highly encourage you to give Fedora a try.

After the first 30 days

The few times I did boot back into Windows during my 30 day challenge, I was eager to get out of there ASAP. For me it has a lot to do with the fact that I found a distro that ticked all the boxes (including a beautiful, polished interface).

I will still be in the Apple ecosystem - I have my iPhone and a Macmini at Ideaware, and I think iCloud is great.

Windows is no longer installed in my main desktop PC, and I’m happy about that.

For the foreseable future, I will keep running Linux at home and on my laptop. I’m more productive, and it has made computing fun again.

I publish on YouTube and andresmax.com, you can also listen to my podcast on entrepreneurship and life at anchor.fm/andresmax

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