The Big Shift: Moving Exclusively to Linux

Hi, I’m Chris and I’m a recovering Windows user. Friends that have known me for a long time, and who are interested in technology, can remember a time when I was 150% in the Microsoft camp. If it wasn’t based on Windows I would always deem it sub-par. I would give my friends who used Macs a hard time and you wouldn’t want to get me started on iOS.

One exception to this Microsoft-centric viewpoint I held was in regards to Linux. I always respected Linux and its famed stability. Back in the early 2000s, I worked with a small company in North Seattle that ran servers for gamers, focusing mostly on Quake III, Counterstrike, Battlefield 1942, etc. We ran Red Hat 9 at the time and I loved it. During my early engineering career, I had continued respect for Linux as a server platform, but never thought of using it as a desktop OS besides the occasional hobby project.

Fast forward to 2014, when I truly started to get into the FOSS (Free Open-Source Software) movement. It was during this time I started to see the true importance of community collaboration in development. I attended a Hackathon where I met some great developers and worked on a shared project with them. Suddenly my mindset changed. After this time, I started getting more and more involved with communities like Chef. Moving from a traditional Windows based C# development background, I found myself spending myself diving into development in Go and later in Rust. For interpreted languages, Ruby became my focus.

If anybody here has tried working in Go or Ruby on Windows, you can probably agree that it isn’t really ideal. For Ruby, the interpreter always seemed to be sluggish on Windows, but on MacOS or Linux, it just screamed. In 2016 I made the decision to move exclusively to the Unix based MacOS. This was a pretty easy transition, and I am really glad for that time. I found myself spending most of my time in the terminal, finding Outlook and Firefox the only apps that I needed a GUI for. I made the switch to Neovim for my text editor and finally I was able to spend my whole day in the wonderful terminal  behind a beautiful Dracula color scheme. My heart was whole, or so I thought.

Let’s fast forward to fall of 2017. I was happy with MacOS and its strong Unix foundation, but I was getting frustrated with some limitations I was facing, along with some personal conflicts with the expensive hardware needed to run the system (besides making a Hackintosh). I began considering a move to Linux as a desktop OS. I got myself a pretty killer Dell laptop and loaded a few Linux OS versions on there until I settled on one that fit all my needs: Fedora. Fedora is the upstream distribution for the famed RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) that is the industry leader for enterprise Linux. I fell in love immediately. I can now say that I run Fedora 27 and 28 on all of my personal computers. Moving from my MacOS setup to Fedora was a breeze. Thankfully, so many applications used in the DevOps world work perfectly with Linux. Some of these include Slack, Zoom.us, Firefox, etc.

I have now been using Linux excludsivliy for over six months and I have no desire to go back. Infact, a few months ago I sold my personal Macbook to a buddy of mine at work, because I just was not using it.

What’s even more exciting than using Linux as a desktop OS for myself is seeing my friends interested in the journey too. I have a few coworkers who have taken the plunge too and are very happy.

All this being said, I encourage anybody interested in FOSS and getting away from the prescriptive world of OS offerings by Microsoft and Apple to check it out, it’s a fun journey and it puts you at the helm of your ship once again.

Good hacking!

-Maher