Kevin J.

Switching to Linux

Going from hearing about this word “Linux” from one of my computer geek friends, to installing it as my first VM, to making the switch, to then spread the word about how cool it is and the practical benefits that it can provide. I love Linux! And I got tied into it is ecosystem so hard that going back to Windows would instantly harm my productivity and make everything much more difficult. Ignoring the war of Windows - MacOS - Linux, I am going to talk about my switch. How did I switch to Linux? How can YOU switch to Linux? What is the safest way to switch without losing all of your data that you accumulated over the years?

Before switching, here is something you have to know. Linux will be different than Windows and even if you think you wll be okay without Windows because of XYZ (say for example: you are a software engineer or something and know your way around computers), you must accept the fact that there will be a learning process lying ahead of you. And if you wll skip it, it will most likely end badly. Keep your curiosity and goals up and you might just make it passed the 5 reinstalls you are most likely going to do before getting quite comfortable with Linux.

Much of the applications you used on Windows will have different names on Linux, and at some point or another, you will have to get familiar with the terminal. So the sooner you get used to CLI (Command Line Interface), the better. Watch out for the commands you copy-paste into your terminal, especially at the beginning. Not just because someone might want to steal your data, but also because you might end up breaking your computer accidentally. Acknowledge that you are going to make mistakes in the future and start making backups of your files as soon as you know you are storing valuable information into your disk. That was (and still is) one of the most fun challenges for me personally. I love designing a whole backup system for my Linux and I am constantly updating it as my demands are slowly shifting. For example: recently I have been introduced the idea of file recovery - and even though I knew you could technically read deleted files off the disk it did not scare me that much. But now that I know how easy it is, I am paying a lot more attention to how my backup scripts copy files from one disk to another. And that is the beauty! Using Linux will be so cool you cannot even imagine! The deeper you will go the more interesting it will get!

With that said, you might think that my switch was flawless? Pfttt, do not make me laugh. Did I ever tell you about that one time when I selected the wrong disk for installation and ended up losing 1TB of data? Not to mention all the hiccups I had to deal with, such as dependency hell, grub booting me into a shell rather than a display manager, Windows deciding to fuck up my Linux installation (that is when I was still dual booting it), and so on. In short, it was a pain to get where I am today. And that is what taught me Linux. Making mistakes is the key to learning.

Thankfully, after 2-3 solid years of experimenting with Linux, I can say that I am pretty stable. I know my way around Arch quite well, but I am not negating the fact, that I still have a lot to learn. There is probably tens of thousands of tools in the Arch Wiki that I have not heard of. And if you happen to know some cool tools, for crying out loud do not hesitate to share them online. Linux-passionates will love you for sharing those incredible resources, or for just having the thought of sharing. And so, that is what I want to achieve with this blog. Sharing is carying.