Ubuntu in a world of Windows

Some Background

I started playing around with Linux in college (so it’s been about two decades … wow, that makes me feel old). I remember long days configuring my kernel, hard drive layout, and compiling software … care to guess which Linux distro I was using? (If you guessed Gentoo … the distro for crazy people … you’re right!). After spending a weekend (about 48 hours) compiling OpenOffice on my laptop only to have it crash because the processor over heated, I gave up on Gentoo (sad … trom … bone).

I moved to Red Hat, but didn’t really like it. And then started using Ubuntu … and it was awesome! 95% of my devices worked out of the box, it supported multi-monitor layouts (remember trying to configure xorg by hand? No more of that Gentoo!), and it was fast (no more compiling sessions that lasted until the heat death of my poor processor).

I kept using Ubuntu on at least one device from then on, mostly doing cybersecurity or consulting work for various companies. I’d set reminders for when new versions of Ubuntu would be released (I still do this … by the way) and upgrade with glee!

Where are we now?

I currently work at a predominantly Windows shop, but really wanted to start using Ubuntu at work. So I started with my laptop (a Dell XPS with the dreaded Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 “Killer” WiFi card … booo!) and was able to be productive at work on Ubuntu.

Next was my main machine and I was a bit scared (I know … yea of little faith) that I’d have to switch back after a week because something didn’t work (that was 5 years ago now). But that didn’t turn out to be the case! Installing Ubuntu went smoothly and only took 10ish minutes (beat that I-need-3-hours-and-5-reboots Windows install process). All four monitors, graphics cards, USB-C cards, and various sundry peripherals worked out of the box.

I found alternatives to almost every program I wanted to or needed to use. Remmina for remote desktop, Pinta to replace paint, Evolution for email, Bluefish to replace Notepad++ (I know there’s a snap for it, but it just doesn’t feel right), and StreamDeck-UI to replace Stream Deck.

A lot of programs I really like are also cross-platform (a big thumbs up for those companies). The highlights are DataGrip for database stuff, PyCharm for all of my python projects, Termius for SSH/sFTP connection management, LibreOffice for all your Officy needs, and 1Password to secure all my important bits (these guys really did a fantastic job getting up to speed on a Linux client).

Overall … I don’t see a need to use Windows for anything other than the occasional non-Linux compatible program (which I can use a VM for).

I hope this is encouraging for folks in the Windows world who really don’t want to be unwilling Microsoft software testers (or potential File Explorer ad targets). Try Ubuntu, it will most likely do everything you need to do for work. If you run into a snag or can’t find a program to replace something you need in Windows, let me know … I’ve been able to find software that works almost every time!

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