Transition to Linux – Thoughts & Experience

What follows are some of my experiences with transitioning to Linux, my thoughts & what you should look out for. I decided to transition to Linux due to concerns with malware, vulnerabilities & other issues. I also realized that, by & large I had no real reason to stay on Windows except for using Microsoft Office, which I could replace utilizing CrossOver without much of an issue.

Some things that I dealt with & found a solution to:

  • Replacement for Office wasn’t really necessarily considering CrossOver exists. One thing to note is, I think you have to pay for licensing per year. I haven’t been able to verify this yet, though.
  • If you like messing around with stuff or know Linux well enough? Play around with Wine. If you don’t have the patience & want a UI that combines all of the toolchains you need? Use PlayOnLinux. If you can’t be bothered by that or are having issues that cannot be readily fixed, use CrossOver.
  • The Top Bar/Top Panel is annoying as hell – thankfully there are plenty of extensions to remove it or make adjustments – list of extensions will be later in this post.
  • Finding adequate software replacements can be a pain. There are quite a few solutions out there for any piece of software you could possibly think of. However, the work needed to get some of these installs up & running may  be less than ideal. Many people use https://alternativeto.net/ to help with finding software replacements
  • Thank God for Firefox, FEBE & Firefox Sync. This made the bulk of transitioning fairly easy. When you consider that majority of people use web services like Alphabet/Google, you find you don’t really need to do much to switch. The rest, you can replace with VMs if necessary.
  • No official Google Drive client kind of sucks. However, InSync seems to work well for most – I haven’t had any issue running it for a few months.

Gnome Extensions

Gnome Extensions – 1
Gnome Extensions 2

(Above) are the Gnome extensions I’m currently using. This is the result that these extensions will give you overall:

The task tray after…
The Task Tray
Task Tray, Calendar + Notifications

Some unusual observations I’ve experienced and/or things that I’m dealing with at present:

  • Sometimes, there will be no save dialog in Firefox. I haven’t determined if this is an issue with Firefox, Gnome, or something else. I haven’t found a suitable replacement for tools like Spy++ from Windows. There seem to be some commandline tools that do comparable things, but they aren’t quite as useful.
  • The above can be a problem when say, you’re dragging & dropping an image to your desktop. In a modern OS, this should save whatever image you just dragged to your desktop. This works once in a while in Fedora. It seems very inconsistent & when doing so, causes the entire DE to have issues, forcing either a restart, or logging out/logging in.
  • If you don’t keep up with updates, it can be a pain the manage the OS over time. Updates are so frequent that there’s no real easy to well what is fixed and/or why these updates are being applied. This is probably the downside of picking something that move so fast like Fedora, compared to something more stable & slow moving.
  • I had an issue with there being no package for HipChat. I was able to convert an existing debian package into an RPM using a tool called Alien. Literally no work was required to do this.
  • A lot of my performance issues with Firefox went mostly away with transitioning to Linux. They almost completely went away when I removed a random user-agent string add-on. I’m guessing that’s not the best idea with all the tabs I usually have open. Oops.

I’m sure there are more things to add, but that’s all I can really think of for now.