MX Linux
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Appreciating the Value of Linux

When it comes to working on the PC, I must remark that one of the things I find most irritating of the experience is to be forced to work on a slow system. Rarely, and I mean rarely and many years ago have my Linux systems frustrated me for running too slowly. Windows on the other hand can get that way if you’re not careful. I do like that the “new” Windows environments basically let you do what you want, and “reset” the PC if something goes wrong. That’s pretty cool because it used to be a rain pain in the ass. People had techniques and tutorials for creating partitions for optimized performance, but moreover generally to store application files should the OS need to be reinstalled. Blah blah. Anyway.

A few weeks ago my Beelink u-59 mini-pc slowed way down. So irritating. And you get nothing done. I swear to god they should send like their top of the line model to replace it because it’s really been a struggle with that thing, from the device itself– such as the audio device driver issue which is well known– to difficulties which I attribute to Windows 11. Fortunately for me I keep a Linux box for LAMP developement. Actually, I guess they call it LEMP. Personally, I think LEMP should have been LXMP (for NGINX), but I digress.

So while I was waiting for the new SSD to arrive, I had to resort to my Linux box which runs MX-Linux on some old refurbished Dell Think-something. Whatever. The monitor that came with it is my primary monitor. HP. The display is nice. Newegg stuff. I had money at the time.

Moving to a Linux graphical desktop environment from Windows is kind of like culture shock at first. I started using Linux I estimate around 2005. I’m pretty sure the O/S was Fedora Core 4 (then 5. I don’t think I ever made it to beyond 5 as I started using ‘buntu variations, and finally to Mint up to v18 i think). Since then I’ve tried different distros, landing on MX-Linux which is perfect for me. It would probably put you in mind of a scaled down Xubuntu or maybe Lubuntu if you know what that is. It’s XFCE. There’s also a KDE version, which I tried, but my laptop is garbage so I actually put the XFCE version on there earlier this evening. So, I am familiar with LInux graphical desktops. It was fairly new when I got into Linux, so I have the advantage of understanding more of what’s behind some of the quirks which tend to frustrate people when it comes to the Linux Desktop environment. I don’t know why, but most of my hardware seems to have always been like last years model, “and that was 5 years ago”, so I’ve always been in the habit of using whatever made the system seem to run faster. When I installed Linux for the first time and experienced that difference in performance, I started using it exclusively and did so for years. So, again, I am familiar with the Linux Desktop.

Nevertheless, it’s still different enough from Windows that it can take some adjusting. It’s fortunate that the newest editions of even what used to be considered too bare bones, the XFCE desktop environment has enough desktop fancies to facilitate a customized profile to suit your needs. Things you’ll miss will be luxuries like the Desktop Widgets, the OneDrive integration, native things which just work together on Windows like clipboard history, etc. Linux isn’t like that really because– remember– it’s mostly developed by a community of it’s users. So, think WordPress: it’s like that in a way. The goodies that people install on it are probably the product of someone saying “hey. I know what i need! I’ll have to write the app!”, and then it develops over the years, and some of it is integrated into the desktop itself, but such things tend to seem like addons and the desktop can become sort of clunky if you let it. Windows doesn’t tend to get like that anymore with the way the menus etc have been rearranged. That abstraction layer which devoted and long term Linux users despise about Windows is also the characteristic about it which makes it tend to seem like a cleaner desktop. I dunno.. It basically doesn’t let you mess it up. Though, of course Windows can become very messed-up regardless, as we know. Ha!

To be clear, when I transfer to Linux from Windows, I find I can do basically everything I’d do on a Windows desktop. I just have to remember how to do it in the XFCE, or KDE environment.

I actually came here to write a post about using shortcuts in the File Manager, Thunar. It occurred to me that I had to relearn some of those things to try to improve my speed, efficiency, or just general maneuverability in Linux using apps I’m not familiar with anymore, etc. But here’s the thing. Most of those things are standard, and I would attest are probably the reason I can function well on Windows. I’ve used keyboard shortcuts on Windows in the office in the past, and someone once remarked, “how’d you do that?”. She was a supervisor. Something about finding a spot in a PDF file, and a simple navigation using the page-up / home/ end keys. I forget exactly. That’s probably not the best example.

So there is an advantage to knowing how to use, moreover to utilize Linux. It’s more than just a temporary (or otherwise) replacement for Windows. It’s more like a swiss-army-knife that happens to also be friendly enough to let you run a graphical desktop environment there. If you have multiple computers in your household, one of them should be running Linux. Try MX-Linux if you can’t decide. If you’ve never tried Linux before, go for the KDE version.

Whatchu do

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