Switched from Windows to Linux

October 28, 2021

After considering switching to Linux for a long time, I finally decided to make the switch. I did it for three reasons. One, I rarely play any games these days. I will talk more about this later on. Second, I recently value my online privacy in high regard. Linux makes me have more control over my own data. And third, for better system performance.

What is Linux

Just like Windows, iOS, and Mac OS, Linux is an operating system. In fact, one of the most popular platforms on the planet, Android, is powered by the Linux operating system. An operating system is a software that manages all of the hardware resources associated with your desktop or laptop. To put it simply, the operating system manages the communication between your software and your hardware. Without the operating system (OS), the software wouldn’t function. ~ https://www.linux.com/what-is-linux/

Past Linux Usage

I have used Linux in the past before on my home computer. I first experimented with Mandrake Linux, which is currently discontinued. I even tried Red Hat. Eventually, I stuck to Gentoo Linux for a couple of years.

It was great, smooth sailing. Full control. It was a bit of a learning curve back in the days.

At a later point, I wanted to play triple-A title games again. Gaming on Linux wasn’t very great back in the day. So I decided to switch back to Windows.

The Present

Now I made the great switch once again. I have removed my entire Windows 10 installation and went for Manjaro Linux, which is based on Arch Linux. The reason I have chosen Manjaro Linux is I wanted a distribution based on Arch Linux that is easy of use for someone who has lost his Linux touch basically ;)

Manjaro represents a perfect middle-ground for those who want good performance, full control, and cutting-edge software but also a degree of software stability.

Linux is actually easy to use nowadays because it has grown a lot over the years. Everyone should be able to use it from the get-go without too much of a hassle. I personally still make use of the Linux terminal rather than the GUI all the time. It is faster and easier to make some changes for me.

Specifically, I have chosen the Manjaro Gnome edition since I was always a fan of Gnome. Probably because it didn’t resemble Windows at all and like the overall design of the user interface.

I consider myself a novice Linux user, but I have a decent basic knowledge about it. And I’m a fast learner. The more I use it, the more I gain knowledge from it.

The Reasons, explained

I will be explaining why I have decided to ditch Windows and migrate to Linux. It has its ups and downs, as with anything in life. For me, as a self-proclaimed geek, It has more positives than negatives.

Privacy

We all know by now that Windows 10 has a lot of telemetries, sending your system and user data to Microsoft. According to Microsoft, they use this data to identify security and reliability issues, analyze and fix software problems, help improve the quality of Windows and related services, and make design decisions for future releases. Sure this sounds nice?? But with anything that sends data, if you do not have control over it, especially when it is being sent to a big tech company. You never know for sure what else might get sent to them or how they use your data.

There is third-party software available to disable a lot of these telemetries or block them. But as most people say, it is better to prevent it than fix it later on.

Never trust big-tech companies.

Is it even required or a good thing? I believe not. If you look at the Linux community, there are a lot of Linux distributions, such as the one I use right now (Manjaro). As far as I know, the majority of them doesn’t require such data to make improvement of any kind. They all work together in the Free Open-Source community to improve and fix things. Usually even at a faster pace than Microsoft.

In the last 30 days only 0.47% of my Internet traffic has been sent to Microsoft. According to my NextDNS analytics. I expect this to drop even lower since I haven’t been using Manjaro Linux for 30 days.

Privacy matters! It is a human right!

Gaming

Yes, I did decide to switch to Manjaro Linux since I don’t game that frequently anymore. That doesn’t mean if I ever wish to play PC games again that it isn’t possible. It is thanks to Valve’s Steam client and their Proton software.

Proton is a compatibility layer for Microsoft Windows games to run on Linux-based operating systems. Proton is developed by Valve in cooperation with developers from CodeWeavers under contract. It is based on a fork of Wine and includes several patches and libraries to improve performance and compatibility with Windows games. Proton is designed for integration into the Steam client as “Steam Play”. ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton_(software)

Proton will only improve over time because their upcoming handheld gaming console, Steamdeck, relies on it. Without good support, the sales of Steamdeck won’t succeed at all.

Steamdeck

A lot of the top 10 games do not work at all because of the integrated anti-cheat features. Valve is working with them to make it work with Proton. So over time, it should work out. One can only hope. Not that it matters for me since I have no interest in playing these games such as Apex Legends or PUBG: Battlegrounds.

Many games now work on Linux. Check out ProtonDB for more details.

Updates

  1. November 7th, 2021: Update on BattlEye (AntiCheat) + Proton support.

Gaming on Linux has matured a lot!

System Performance

I don’t know enough about the performance part, but generally, Linux runs on even the lowest hardware configurations. It has fewer background tasks compared to Windows. So using fewer system resources. Depending on which window manager (graphical user interface) you use, you can gain even more performance. For example XFCE is more lightweight than Gnome.

Linux is even able to run on a Raspberry Pi. I won’t go into detail about a Raspberry Pi, which is worth a whole separate post.

In other words, Linux is fast and uses fewer resources.

Additional Benefits

  • Powerful command-line tools and commands.
    Using a console/terminal isn’t primitive, but powerful instead. For example, to use single line command to execute multiple things without opening all kinds of programs or menus in graphical user interfaces.
  • Easier to set up a development environment for programming or learning to.
    Most needed programs are pre-installed or automatically installed as a prerequisite.
  • No need to wait for system updates to finish.
    No longer the dreadful message “Windows is currently installing updates”.
  • Generally safer since most viruses, trojans, malware, and such were built to target Windows systems.
  • Open source community.
    Many alternative tools and tutorials. Ease of use with just a few commands.
  • Ease of use when working on a remote server.
    I often make use of a virtual private server (VPS). When connecting through an SSH connection through the terminal, it seems like I’m working on my own computer.

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Written by Yee Chie Tu. "He/Him" lives in The Netherlands and has been growing and evolving ever since. Check out his Mastodon and Pixelfed profile.


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