Last week, I installed Ubuntu on my home gaming rig (specs below) while dual booting Windows 11. And I have been using it solely as my daily driver everyday for the last week. Well, I have to admit, I think I am finally totally hooked.
I used to always think that Linux was for the super nerds. That's actually still kind of true 😏. And that in order to use it, you had to be pretty technically capable (still kind of true). But I'm here to say, that I was wrong, and I am going to right those wrongs! I will stay on Ubuntu for the next 30 days and give a wider recap on what I think. And how many times I had to boot back into Windows for various tasks. For now, here is why I decided to give it another shot as well as some challenges around Linux.
That's the image that I think everyone thinks of when they think of Linux. Some hooded figure, clicky-clacking way in a terminal with lines of code going across the screen. Which is funny, because that's not too far from how I looked when I was installing Ubuntu on my machine. However, the evolution of Linux makes that not so much the reality anymore.
That doesn't look too scary now does it? Looks like a really pretty clean interface, and something that I can actually use. Well, before you go downloading the ISO and making a full dive into the deep end, there are a few things to keep in mind. Linux, still does require a bit of technical understanding on how it works. It's a lot different than Windows or Mac and there is a learning curve.
For starters, application installations aren't always super straight forward. Different "flavors" of Linux handle this differently. It's confusing when you see all the different types of package file types and figuring out which one you need. Should you download .deb, .rpm, Appimage, use the snap store etc. It's not nearly as straight forward as Windows or Mac where you download an exe or msi file and open it to install your copy of Rocket League.
Ubuntu, has a nice little tool called Ubuntu Software. Picture Windows Store or the App Store on your Mac. You can search and easily install applications and even keep them updated pretty easy. Not every title is available, and not every package is an official package from the developer either, so make sure to read before installing.
🍦700 Linux Flavors... and counting
Another issue a lot of people have is the shock factor of which Linux distribution you should go with. From just a quick Google search, there seems to be over 700 different flavors of Linux to choose from. This could also be a good thing, as you have a buffet of different delicious flavors to choose from to give you a "whole new world ". (did you sing it?)
Places like DistroWatch, help with identifying some of the top distros to watch or which ones have the most downloads recently. Here is the top 6/100 listed on their front page.
Feel free to download all of them, and see which one you like the most. Since I don't have time for that, and I wanted a distro that can be managed by JumpCloud, I went with the easy Ubuntu option. Mint is also supported by JumpCloud
🖥 Terminal Haxxors
Using the terminal has a bit of satisfaction to it. Typing a set of commands to install software or to manage your file system is appealing to me. I find it easier to understand the file structure in a terminal session then by getting buried in the GUI. Not only that, but you get some valuable permission information with the use of
ls -la in the terminal.
We won't go over the permissions, there are several resources on that topic on the internet. Using the terminal, although not 100% required on most builds, does in fact make things easier. So if you're like me, and you wish to learn something new, diving into the terminal is a great way to channel your inner Jonny Lee Miller "Dade".
There are some games that are available on Linux. Steam has a pretty decent library on different titles that are available. But you will find that most AAA titles won't be on there. Mainly due to the fact that not a lot of the game engines have a port into Linux. It's not marketable.
There are some repositories out there that can help "port" Windows games onto Linux with various levels of success. ProtonDB has a list of games that can be ported and at what level you can expect while doing that. I play a lot of Squad (or used to for that matter). And although you can install and run Squad, you cannot play online because of EAC (Easy Anti-cheat)
It's safe to say that I won't be moving 100% away from Windows, due to the pure fact of gaming. However, I feel that I don't play games nearly as much anymore, so I can take up very little resources and boot up only when I want to play. Think of it like having a console. Wait, maybe I should get a console and call it day.
Thirty days of Linux
I will give this a shot for the next month. I will document how I use my machine and what the challenges have been. I will also keep track of how many times I went into Windows. Which, I don't anticipate too much unless I decide to play some Destiny 2!