There are still heated disputes and controversies over "the best operating system"; there are camps, there are fanatics, there are "arguments" as there are "counter-arguments". I publish my opinions here and I repeat, I renounce these extremisms, for the simple reason that being part of one camp or another, means seeing the world in "black and white". I also like to see the multicolored world, as I see it and I am convinced, many more!
Why did I opt for Linux?
I think the most important arguments are related to my inner construction, to the SPIRIT of the GNU-GPL license, which has a completely different meaning than any commercial license. The freedom to choose seemed fundamental to me, beyond the many inconveniences related to the daily use of Linux as a production environment.
I strongly believe that a society based on dictatorship, no matter how cleverly it is camouflaged behind marketing slogans, remains a society based on fear, terror, abuse, lying and manipulation.
In the landscape so far, I have found an alternative for a different world, based on COOPERATION, HONESTY, MUTUAL HELP, RESOURCE SHARING - THE FOSS WORLD.
Perhaps in its current form, GNU-GPL and GNU ODPL still cover a small segment of what "resources" and "creation" mean, but I see in the spirit embodied in these licenses, an opening that humanity is only now beginning to discover and to capitalize on it, to some extent.
The first steps in the free world drawn by these licenses, I took them since 1996, when I understood that as long as I have a LEGAL AND FREE alternative to a computer program, THAT is MY SOLUTION!
I replaced practically all the programs on my computer with free programs (FreeWare or OpenSource), depending on what I could find.
Why did I stop at Linux Mint?
The decision to give up Windows completely came in July 2012, after an incident that caused me painful damage: the Dell HDD broke and I lost in addition to the approximately 270 euros it costs a 500 GB HDD and license on Windows 7, with which I had bought the laptop. If we make a quick calculation, the damages amount to over 400 euros (270 + 140 = 410). For "home" and especially for Romania, it is a damage that is very difficult to overcome!
I put aside the mess with activating Windows 7, which simply refused to run, because I had a new HDD.
At this point, I had to inventory only a few distributions, which were suitable for daily work: Ubuntu, Linux Mint and ZorinOS. The rest were in a stage of development that could only be included in the "attempts" category.
The other major distributions (Debian, Slackware, Gentoo, Arch, CentOS) were out of the question, being designed exclusively for programmers and experts in the administration of complex computer networks and in the provision of online services, respectively.
I vaguely remember what distributions I tested then. I know I've seen Mandriva again, which was once exceptional, maybe the only truly "User Friendly" Red Hat. I tested OpenSuse and Fedora (version 17), but at the time, there was still a lot to work on supported applications. I mentioned "Red Hat" because it was I think the only "user-friendly" Linux since 1997… Maybe many forgot, but we owe a lot to Red Hat Inc. the fact that today we have where to choose a "Linux for home"!
Moreover, at the risk of upsetting some, I think Ubuntu would have waited a long time to be born, without Red Hat!
Finally, it was ZorinOS 'turn, quite praised since then. But it seemed extremely primitive and rather intended for novices and computer savvy people. I admitted in ZorinOS - to my horror! - the same stupid philosophy of Windows! Unfortunately, the 2016 version (Core 9 and Lite 9) left me the same impression of superficiality and marketing slogans… However, objectivity and honesty, I am forced to admit: those from ZorinOS, do exactly what they said! A very Windows-like Linux!
Ubuntu, again in a row! Of course, I tested Ubuntu. It would have been hard to get around it, if I consider that I am among the happy owners of a set of "Genuine" (authentic) Ubuntu CDs, version 5.04 !!
So I knew it for a while, I had used it in dual-boot and, I was amazed to find that it worked much better than Windows XP, although I have a license (actually I even have two, only for XP!) So any dysfunction is out of the question. that he was hacked…
The period 2010 - 2012, was perhaps the time when I was feverishly following the evolution of applications under Linux and "hunting" the day when I will say "Goodbye, Windows!"
It had practically become a habit to do my business under Ubuntu and use Windows, just because it was impossible to do under Linux, with the tools of the time. There were moments of great bitterness but also of great joy, because I had started working almost daily with Linux! It was already a big leap, from occasional use, various tests of different distributions, to daily use, even (only…) for a few hours!
Although I would have liked to stay on Ubuntu, because I already knew more about this distribution, I had the misfortune to fall into the "Unity" fever and that reminded me of the Windows philosophy, of which I was already the village to the core!
I felt this as a defeat and headed for the last hope: Linux Mint.
Linux Mint, after the first tests, seemed to be exactly what it said. I was going to discover a lot of problems that I had to find solutions to. Romanian fonts, changing the layout from RO to EN and vice versa, the buttons on the windows that disappeared and left me unable to do anything with the whole system, etc. To this I add the impossibility of finding the Linux equivalents for the programs I needed. Snoring statements existed with the duium, but once the application was installed, you found that it was full of "bugs" and before you could do anything, a whole day passed full of Sisyphean torment…
But a good thing was. The software sources were from Ubuntu and as the FOSS world is moving pretty fast, I knew that one day, my life will be easy enough to forget about Windows and the nightmares lived in the Windows world!
On the other hand, the version I adopted was XFCE and I could follow the evolution of XFCE in parallel on other distributions.
Although I have remained on the Linux Mint 13 version until today, I have always tested other distributions, including other versions of Desktop Manager (MATE, for example). Once upon a time, I really liked KDE and I have to admit, it is exceptionally polished, exceptionally equipped, only it has one big flaw: it is an operating system in itself, which consumes more than the host operating system! If I were to refer to the world of Windows, I think DM KDE is the most bloated Windows imaginable! Fortunately for Linux enthusiasts, unlike Windows, KDE is still a program like any other and can be changed according to preferences!
Fortunately again for Linux lovers, almost any KDE application can be installed without having to install KDE. Linux Mint handles pretty well the specific dependencies of different work environments (both GNOME and KDE or XFCE). Of course, some applications require a little more command line for documentation (man pages) and installation, but over time, the situation has improved a lot. For the less familiar, there is also a version of "graphic man", "gman" something like Xterm, with which you can work in the graphical interface. For an HTML alternative, you also need to install "man2html" and we can study the man pages in the browser.
It is very useful, especially for twisted documentation, like GRUB2…
LINUX MINT AFTER 4 YEARS…
It's logical to ask myself, it's logical to ask yourself if after four years of working daily with Linux, I saw some improvements.
Very briefly, I will review some impressions:
The year 2012. It was full of stress, because I needed to find a myriad of solutions to a myriad of problems, which seemed to be endless! I guess the worst part was that I was still in some kind of unknown jungle. Installing an application was hell… Synaptic, listing a bunch of cryptic names and when I needed a program to do a certain thing, I had to consume a few hours or even a few days, until I found some documentation or references on the net. The results often led to nonsense and sometimes, any combination of keywords I used, the results were totally on the outside of what I had asked for and what I was looking for… It was a hard time, especially since I knew that under Windows, I had a bunch of programs which worked and with which I did my job! I also had some licensed programs under Windows, which I now lacked. But I was in Greece and I could afford to grit my teeth and move on!
2013. On the computer / Linux side, however, I had accumulated some experience, I had managed to build a way of working and to solve the problems that arose. Towards the end of the year, I think I felt a relief for the first time! Many of the applications I needed (video editing, vector graphics, photo editing, working with PDF format) were increasingly capable and many of the shortcomings I had encountered over the previous years could be avoided. This year I learned about the applications I can work with, how to work with them, what they are called, how to work efficiently with Synaptic and much more. I also managed to develop my backup-restore strategy, to have data and installation security.
2014. This year, I think, was the first year I was able to retreat "backwards," to look at the big picture of what Linux could do for someone who decided to go hand in hand with it! Linux, as I see it now, is less of an "operating system" or "a distribution" and much more of a PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE, A SPIRIT that penetrates you and to which you become a part at some point. You may find it complicated what I am saying here, but go DEFINITELY to Linux, FORGET WINDOWS and come here on the blog and tell me after two, three years of "Linux day by day", how you feel AS A MAN, AS A BEING ?
The year 2015. Interesting year, maybe especially in terms of working balance under Linux. I made with and under Linux: movies, graphics, I composed and recorded music, I musically illustrated my movies, I wrote and published articles, I managed my domains and hosting, I managed WordPress installations, I communicated with readers, acquaintances and friends… Everything under Linux Mint! And yes, 2015 brought me back to Linux distributions. I tested older loves (Damn Small Linux, Studio64, Puppy Linux, AV Linux) or newer ones (different versions of Linux Mint). Also in 2015 I was glad that the "thaw" came in the world of Ubuntu, that the "fundamentalists" left it softer with "Unity" which seems to have jumped a lot of Linux lovers and serious Ubuntu supporters… Also in 2015, he would bring me "dead in the house"! By July, I understood that if I want to get where I set out to do with the ZENLA School, I will need a very portable notebook but also "flexible" as software. I found an ASUS X200M. That's how I woke up to have a car with UEFI firmware. It seemed a bit strange that such sophisticated things appeared at the level of "consumer", but I still got a new car and quite capable for the money given (about 190 euros). There was another "threat" floating on the horizon: already Chrome and another software (I forgot which…) pissed me off that "the update has stopped, because the operating system has stopped having support from the manufacturer" . A! I remembered! I wanted to install OpenShot 2.x, which comes with a lot of promised goodies and kind of got me hooked: "Your operating system is too old for this version of software." Mno… Acu '… Mno… It's kind of true, yes, who do you vote with The big headache is that… I have dozens of applications to install and configure and in total, I need about 48 hours of work. I mean… a week! And this, for each computer separately! That means a month of work "on the push", or, at idle, with intermediate backups, spread over several weeks.
2016. This year, at least the first semester that has just ended, has a positive balance for me. This year, I came up with what UEFI and GPT mean from a home user's perspective. I think I'm well prepared enough, maybe even 3-4 - maybe 5 years before the market, because if I were to switch to 100% UEFI cars today, I have everything I need, including the alternative for the operating system : Ubuntu MATE! I also have the solution "in my pocket" for old cars, those with BIOS, ie Dell N5030, Lenovo T400 and possibly Lenovo T61 (this depends on my wife and how long XP lasts without updates…) and which is… Linux Mint 18 LTS!
I think the most important achievement can be presented as follows:
Mi-am demonstrat mie insumi, ca pot fi fidel convingerilor mele si ca pot face ceea ce vreau, folosind un pachet de software GRATUIT, LIBER, in ciuda tuturor obiectiilor si controverselor din lumea IT;
Am demonstrat oricui are nevoie de o solutie complet gratuita, ca se poate realiza enorm de mult cu ceea ce ofera astazi lumea Linux.
Daca am rezistat patru ani sa lucrez zilnic cu Linux si am realizat o multime de lucrari care pot constitui baza de pornire pentru a iti construi propriul tau job, propria ta afacere sau, pot constitui instrumentele de lucru in cadrul unei firme, inseamna ca se poate si ca orice alte comentarii si obiectii, tin de o alta zona decât cea zisa “imposibil”.
We have shown the whole world that you can live LEGALLY without commercial software. Yes, there may still be up to 100% OpenSource - OpenHardware software and hardware, but as the Linux world looks today, it is a viable alternative, including for those who want to do more than programming, servers, hosting and web services ( ISP).
I end here with a remark: For me at least, whoever pirates commercial software deserves to lie in prison until the last breath. As long as there is the possibility to work LEGALLY, any justification for theft is reprehensible and I consider it an aggravating circumstance.
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