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August 4th, 2016

Dumping Windows Overboard Because Linux Does It All

In this week’s installment, our GNU/Linux newbie decides to go all in and take the training wheels off his Linux laptop.

The Linux Gadabout

The more I use Linux, the less I like Windows.

I doubt this will be a shocker — the majority of FOSS Force readers will probably nod their heads knowingly at this point. Additionally, my Mac using friends will smugly point out how they’ve been trying to steer me away from that Microsoft garbage for years, but Apple’s not kept me free from frustration, either. In fairness to all options on the table, I’m sure Linux won’t remain blameless as I log more time with it. I’ll even allow the possibility that Windows is just the easiest target for my unspent rage as it’s been on my radar the longest. But so far, most of the problems I’ve had with Linux (Ubuntu MATE, in particular) have been hardware related — that is, not the fault of Linux at all.

And before anyone goes asking me why Windows should be considered the go-to guideline for all operating systems and telling me why my view of Linux as simply an alternative to Windows is somehow mistaken, please understand I’ve said neither of these things. I’m merely pointing out that my experience with Linux is going much more smoothly than I expected it would, and with far fewer headaches than Microsoft’s latest offering — Windows 10 — has been giving me. I haven’t used every operating system under the sun; I can only report what I’ve found from my own limited perspective. This is where famed mischief-maker Bart Simpson might direct the thinner-skinned among FOSS Force readership to resist an emergence of bovine sympathies from overtaking their senses.

Sometimes, Linux is more shark than penguin.

I let Ubuntu MATE invade all partitions, devouring any last trace of Windows 10 from the hard drive like the weaker twin in the womb of a sand tiger shark.
[Photo credit: Megan Maloy]

I began dabbling in Linux as a way to resuscitate an ancient Sony Vaio laptop that was otherwise just taking up closet space until I recycled its bits and pieces in a responsible way — preferably one that didn’t end in a smoldering Liberian landfill. Impressed with how well Ubuntu MATE worked on this machine better than Windows XP ever had even in its prime, it wasn’t long before I tried the same distro on my Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13. At first I was hesitant to banish Windows 10 entirely from the IdeaPad and figured setting it up to dual boot would be the prudent option — after all, this is the laptop I use as my work backup when traveling.

But as I ran down the list of dependencies that once would have shackled me to a Windows or OS X machine — MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, and email access to name but a few — I realized there are plenty of cloud-based and open source alternatives available now. I’ve been using Google Docs, GIMP, and Gmail for years, and hopping between machines isn’t the bother it used to be. From the looks of it, I could be running ten different operating systems on ten different machines and have access to everything I need to get the job — just about any job — done. For all the problems the world is facing right now, I’m going to say this is one thing that makes 21st century life a lot more bearable.

Taking a deep breath, I let Ubuntu MATE invade all partitions, devouring any last trace of Windows 10 from the hard drive like the weaker twin in the womb of a sand tiger shark.

I’ll be the first to admit that my system may not be 100% FOSS at the moment, but its Linux setup is serving me in ways far superior to how Windows (particularly Windows 10) has been treating me lately. Here are just a few ways I’m finding that Linux serves me better than Windows.

  • Overall Stability: I may not get the infamous BSOD as much these days, but the random freezes that seize my Windows 10 machine — even after a system reset that seemed the best step toward stability aside from a complete reinstall — make me question the point of even bothering with Microsoft anything, anymore. In contrast, it’s rare that anything I’ve run in Linux gives me enough grief to warrant a program restart — and so far nothing has forced me to reboot from scratch entirely. Which wouldn’t even matter so much because…
  • Boot Time: Linux boots up so quickly! Alarmingly quickly. From decades of using various iterations of Windows and OS X, I took it for granted that a reboot was grounds for making a fresh pot of coffee or repainting the living room. In comparison, my Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 running Ubuntu MATE is up and Wi-Fi connected just fifteen seconds after pressing the power button. I timed it.

  • Gaming: While it’s true a lot of games haven’t been streamlined to run natively on Linux, I’ve been lucky to find that many of my personal favorites will.

    For example: I’ve wanted to play a full game of “Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth” for ages. The problem? It would crash after two or three turns in Windows 10 — and in search of solutions to this disruption, I’ve discovered that my situation is far from unique. Applying every fix I could find, from modifying system settings to multiple files, I succeeded in getting the game to run for about a hundred turns before crashing — a drastic improvement, but still far from ideal.

    Inspired by an article Ken Starks wrote not long ago, I figured installing the game on my Linux machine from Steam might offer an improved if not perfect experience. What did I have to lose?

    Well, as it turns out, I had hours and hours of time to lose, because this game — as addicting as any other in the Civilization series — hasn’t crashed once. Not in two or three turns. Not in a hundred. Not in three hundred. It’s given me zero hiccups of any kind. I can’t say the same of my sleepy human brain as I tried to return to normal life the day after a gaming all-nighter, but people have had worse problems.

I do understand how something that works fine today may not work fine tomorrow, but that holds true for Windows as well. To current Windows users who might be afraid to tinker with Linux, don’t let the hype of Windows stability fool you like it fooled me for ages upon ages.

I realize I’m not preaching to the choir here — I’m preaching from the choir. But the more I use Linux on my secondary machine, the more apt I am to use it on my main machine and resign Windows to second-class status in the homestead. I don’t see getting rid of Windows altogether at the moment, but my outlook might become even less Microsoft tolerant in the not-too-distant future as I find my Windows reliance loosening thanks to the power of FOSS.

I’m still getting my bearings, and I still have a long way to go, but it’s been an easier journey than I was expecting at the beginning. For the most part, it’s closer to a gentle walk on a soft beach than a bicycle trip up the Andes.

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Robert Glen Fogarty

"Bob" Fogarty was the editor-in-chief at Chris Pirillo's LockerGnome.com for nearly 12 years, and has written for ReadWrite.com and TheArtofCharm.com. He lives in San Diego with his wife and a medium-sized menagerie of beasties great and small. Follow him on Twitter: @Fogarty

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37 comments to Dumping Windows Overboard Because Linux Does It All

  • Bob

    I have all 3, a PC (Windows 10), a Mac and a Linux (Linux Mint 17.3) computers at home. I LOVE my Linux Mint computer more and more every day. At home, I use the Linux computer about 90% of the time. I just like the speed and it just feels solid. Plus, it is on a home built computer with an SSD drive so it is that much faster. I don’t play games so that is not an issue with me.

    My daughter works for a small non-profit and I told her that if they ever get bogged down with software costs, I can help them remedy that by converting to Linux.

  • DocB

    Can fully share this experience.
    Full conversion in the shop (of my lady) awy from Windows is blocked by the business software – it only runs under Windows, not even wine.

  • Steve Dupuis

    Its good to hear about more and more people “discovering” GNU/Linux.
    I’ve been using it on servers since the late 90’s and on my desktop for almost as long.

    The only place Windows gets any time or space is in a Virtual Machine.
    I spent over 2 hours yesterday trying to get the Anniversary Update to Windows 10 done. The new graphics drivers cause a lot of jitter and there are a lot of other nuisance things going on as well.

    There isn’t anything there that could win me back… I keep getting the same fixes for it that I used to see in Windows 95..

  • I use OpenSUSE as my primary desktop and a Chromebook running GalliumOS as my primary laptop. I keep a Win10 boot on my desktop for gaming, and also have an HTPC and a (seldom-used) laptop each running Win10.

    I keep Windows 10 around mainly for gaming. It’s been the push toward Linux ports from Valve and others over the past few years, but there are still games that don’t run natively and give me trouble in WINE. (And that’s before we get into bleeding-edge stuff that simply runs much better under DirectX than OpenGL.)

    I’ve also just built a firewall running pfSense, partly to keep all of Win10’s nasty spying behavior in check.

    I’ve been using GNU/Linux as my primary OS for over a decade, but I can’t quite get rid of Windows entirely.

  • Paragraph 2 sentence 2 should have said “It’s been good to see the push towards Linux ports…” etc.

  • Canoe

    One of the greatest strengths for Linux right now is accessibility. Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, hard coded their UI blazing white or low-contrast black, nothing in between, and left people with visual impairment to suffer through hobbled and dysfunctional high-contrast themes. It’s not that I didn’t want to use Windows, I didn’t have a choice any more.

    Moving to Linux however, was the best thing I could have done. I’m able to function again, be productive. That means a lot.

  • Glenn Thigpen

    I am not a windows hater, per se. Just don’t like the OS. I wish that Linux had an OCR program like ABBYY. It is the best OCR program I have ever used and is one of the two programs for which I still need Windows.

  • Dimitrios Anogiatis

    Look at tesseract and ocrfeeder.

    It works pretty good converting scanned pdf documents to text. ODF conversion still needs some work but its not entirely unusable.

  • James

    good read, I converted my wife to using Linux 6 years ago, which was for her aging laptop. she liked it so much, that the next time Windows 7 started giving her issues on her PC she asked me to put Linux Mint on it as well, which was last year. So I obliged.
    Personally I’ve dual booted for years since 1998. But switched 100% Linux when Civilization 5 was ported over to Linux in June of 2014. I don’t think this would have ever been possible if it wasn’t for Valve and their work they’ve done to push Linux along in the gaming industry by making Steam available for Linux. Although sites like GOG and the like have existed, also the Humble Bundle was doing a admirable job as well. but nothing really significant until Steam was introduced. now we are seeing AAA titles make their way to Linux like never before.

  • Nonya

    I had been dual booting Linux and Windows for years. I recently dumped Windows entirely, and never looked back. I do sympathize with those that got hit with the Win 10 Virus though…

  • SFD

    I use Linux because I can do things my way, not the way the Jobses, Gateses and Shuttleworths world over think is good for me. That’s right; Ubuntu is Linux but, as far as I am concerned, is closer to the Mac and Windows’ views of the world than mine.

  • ccdrop

    I really wished this was true, I spent the last week doing everything I could to setup a Linux disto on my main computer and use it, but after and entire work week worth of setup I still had to move back to windows 7. I recommend Linux to friends and family all the time as for most things it is pretty well rounded, but when it comes to real world flexibility without a background in programing windows 7 beats everything hands down still. Linux can do a lot, but every time you go and do something you have to start hacking things together because there is no other option… Most of the things you spend an hour hacking out in linux you can do in windows in a couple of minutes hitting google and downloading a free tool. The truth of the matter is that their is tons more and better free software and user friendly tools for windows then their is for Linux which is quite ironic.

    I really keep hoping to see Linux overtake windows, but it’s still a long ways off as is.

    On the comment of visually impaired usage which I am Linux is half way between Winodws 7 and 10. I really can’t use windows 10 it is awful for accessibility. Linux is okay~ it’s usable but uncomfortable the biggest issue is QT so many QT programs do not play nicely with themes, the second issue is for some reason it’s becoming more common for Linux developers to hard-code white backgrounds into things. Windows 7 + Classic theme is thus far the pinnacle of Accessibility and winner by ten miles.

  • Steve Dupuis

    Really sorry to hear about your Linux instatllation and setup problems. I’ve been working with computers for ~45 odd years now, so there are not many surprises for me with anything new.

    I’ve been working with unix and then linux since the early 80’s so I haven’t established any patterns around the desktops. I imagine being a devoted windows user you go looking for stuff in linux that looks / behaves like windows. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The Ubuntu community web sites have a lot of really helpful “getting started” articles, tutorials and howto’s. I’d take a look at MATE or XFCE for the desktop. They are much closer to Windows XP and 7 than the big Gnome and KDE versions.

    If you can get your hands on another machine or laptop give linux a go again. That way you won’t pressure yourself because you can’t get something you need done on your main machine.

  • Albin Foro

    The older laptop in the bedroom used for media, light photo processing and internet has been pure Mint / Ubuntu for several years with no loss, These days one can even do taxes and bookkeeping online. I dual boot on our main desktop machine and an ultrabook for traveling. The issue is compatibility and not creating a time-consuming and completely uninteresting “workaround” nuisance for family, friends, commercial contacts or co-workers who use Windows and especially MS Office: either they don’t deserve the grief or I can’t afford to pay them to.

  • Timon19

    ccdrop,

    Your story reads a bit strange. QT is only really the default for a portion of Linux distros, and, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw it. There are innumerable dark themes that exist.

    And finally, your main complaint reads almost exactly like the well-worn “command line” complaint that hasn’t been true for years now. With no prior experience installing a modern Linux distro on something as specialized (hardware-wise) as a laptop, I was able to install Ubuntu 11.04 on my wife’s computer in less than 30 minutes and mount the irreparably broken (by malware) Windows XP partition. I was shocked – I had really only been a user of professional-level RHEL 5 era stuff, so didn’t have a working knowledge of installation or casual use. I didn’t have to use the command line until much later (for troubleshooting purposes, something that is less possible under Windows, where “reboot and hope” is the first, second, and third bit of advice) and she never did.

  • @ccdrop: Which distro did you try?

    I’ve certainly had experiences like the ones you describe; I started out on Slackware, and then moved to Gentoo for a few years. I certainly had to familiarize myself with the command line and how to fix things when they broke. I used to enjoy that — even went through a phase in college where I tried to use the command line for basically everything but web browsing, until Resnet called me in and told me to quit running fetchmail because it kept directing bounces to their department — but eventually I got sick of all the micromanagement. Switched to Kubuntu for a few years; now I’m on OpenSUSE (desktop) and GalliumOS (laptop), as mentioned upthread.

    In OpenSUSE, I do still occasionally hit a speed bump that leads to some hassle — the proprietary nVidia graphics driver occasionally breaks, and recently I had some issues with both KDE and Xfce and so I found myself using MATE for about a week until the KDE issues got fixed in an update.

    In the Ubuntu family, I’ve never really had that kind of trouble. I’m not a fan of Unity, but I *am* a fan of Xubuntu; it’s as painless a desktop as I’ve ever used, and I’m including OSX and Windows when I say that.

    Mint’s very newbie-friendly as well, and Cinnamon and MATE are both good desktops. Some people have issues with how its packages are handled, and it’s a hassle to upgrade when a new major version comes out, but it’s still the one most people recommend for a new user.

    I guess this post sums up what’s great and also what’s tough about the Linux world: there’s just so much choice, for so many different audiences, and it’s hard to figure out where to start.

    But if you haven’t tried either Xubuntu or Mint, those would probably be my recommendations for which distros to try out, assuming you’re interested in giving it another whirl. Good luck!

  • Marcel

    always back to Arch Linux maybe not for the beginner, why not spend some time on learning something about Linux. If you really looking for a Desktop Linux, under distrowatch.com there is surely something for you. No one speaks of Linux server, Mail DNS Web server Firewall Router Proxy…. and many more, all for free use, read some about it and see how generously People contribute to open source.
    If you ever had to deal with MS licence model, you can not understand how greedy, in many respects, MS is….

  • Ted

    Can someone who has no knowledge of code, and will never have it, use it just as easily as Windows? That is, they will never compile, all of their downloads have to be the equivalent of Windows executables.

    Honest question. Just what I’ve seen from a non-Linux perspective (and I’ve seen little), there seems to be an air of “be smarter, help yourself”, and an unwillingness to simplify things for the average newcomer. I was going to give Linspire a go, but then the company sunk, and I stuck with Windows.

  • Timon19

    I’m not one of those people who has no knowledge of code, but I’ve read about many, many, many, many people who are who have had no problem.

    I don’t think I’ve ever downloaded source and compiled it in order to run something. I’ve occasionally downloaded something from outside the repos and PPAs that are easy to get to, but not a lot.

    I use the command line all the time for many tasks, but that’s a preference thing at this point. It’s almost completely unnecessary except when it comes to optimizing the very particular and extensive network of many machines I have in my house. Which would be no different under Windows (but almost certainly MORE painful).

    When Windows runs into trouble, the first thing I (or just about anyone else does) is run to the Google machine to search through one million false or non-matching scenarios, same as with Linux. There’s no useful online help in Windows. I actually think this is an area where some Linux equivalents outperform, but still when you get stuck, it’s off to the internet.

  • tracyanne

    @Steve Dupuis
    August 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    >>>>>I imagine being a devoted windows user you go looking for stuff in linux that looks / behaves like windows. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.<<<<<

    This is why I tend to recommend Ubuntu, with it's Unity desktop, to people who have move from Windows to Linux. It's obviously not Windows. This helps them break the habit of doing things the Windows way.

  • tracyanne

    @ccdrop
    August 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    >>>I really wished this was true, I spent the last week doing everything I could to setup a Linux disto on my main computer and use it, but after and entire work week worth of setup I still had to move back to windows 7… Linux can do a lot, but every time you go and do something you have to start hacking things together because there is no other option… Most of the things you spend an hour hacking out in linux you can do in windows in a couple of minutes hitting google and downloading a free tool.<<<

    I would love to know what sorts of things your were trying to do that gave you so much grief.

  • tracyanne

    Ted
    August 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    >>>>Can someone who has no knowledge of code, and will never have it, use it just as easily as Windows? That is, they will never compile, all of their downloads have to be the equivalent of Windows executables.<<<<<

    In a word yes.

    I have never compiled code for Linux, and I've used Linux since 2000, I started with Mandrake, I now use Linux Mint Cinnamon.

    None of the people I've helped move to Linux have any knowledge of code. They us Linux the same way they used Windows.

    The only time one of "my people" has had to do anything "technical" like that is to work around a bug in a proprietary driver for an old scanner, they insist on using. I talked them through it on the phone, and no it didn't entail compiling… that was not an option, the driver is proprietary.

  • @Ted: “Can someone who has no knowledge of code, and will never have it, use it just as easily as Windows?”

    I built an Ubuntu box for my dad; it was his first computer. It was easy enough to use for somebody who’d never used a computer before. (He’s since switched to a Chromebook.)

    For a typical user who just needs a browser and an office suite, it’s a pretty easy learning curve. For somebody who needs Photoshop, well, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it; GIMP is a very different program from Photoshop.

    “That is, they will never compile, all of their downloads have to be the equivalent of Windows executables.”

    Well, “the equivalent of Windows executables” isn’t really the most accurate comparison — it’s more like downloading programs from an app store. You run your installer (eg GNOME Software Center), you do a search, you select the package you need, it figures out any other packages that also need to be installed in order for that one to work correctly, and it installs them all.

    I can think of a few esoteric programs I’ve installed from source in recent memory, but in general anything you need is going to be right there, already compiled as a package, in the software center. Especially if you’re using Ubuntu, since that and its derivatives are the most-used distros, but you shouldn’t have much trouble with Debian, Fedora, or any other major distribution. (I’m partial to OpenSUSE for its one-click installer, but I’ve found it’s occasionally harder to find software for it than for Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora.)

  • ccdrop

    @Thad This go around I used Manjaro as it was the easiest I’ve used yet for getting things actually working.

    Mint 18 was nightmareish with my hardware, OpenSUSE was okay but I don’t like it gave me more slack then I’d like didn’t like the packing system compared to Manjaro/Arch.

    That was just this go around I am not new to linux I started out with RedHat and have used slackware and other (Including other unix like systems such as BSD). This last go around was new in that I was trying to use it as my main OS. I’ve used Linux in VM on and off for a long time, and have supported it on other peoples computers.

    Overall I have used Linux for basic tasks on and off for many years and thought that it was finally to a point where I could try using it as my main OS and really jumping in. Espically since I’ve spent time in nearly ever DE. When I first started out it went well enough though my dual monitor setup proved to be much more trouble then I thought it would be. I don’t use two screens side by side one is a large Wacom Cintiq on an entirely different desk with it’s own mouse and keyboard and the other is a normal 19″ monitor setup. Manjaro + Xfce proved to be the best option for dealing with it as after I edited some scripts I found I was able to get navigation and useage to a useable state. Though still far less then I get from windows using “Dual Monitor Tools” I tired using KDE + Compiz but that was horrible. That was the start of a downward spiral where it seemed like everything I went to do I could do with some hacking and willingness to settle for less a lot less at times then I was use to on Windows 7.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not giving up hope yet, I’ll keep using linux in the background and I’ll leave the copy of Manjaro Setup and keep tweaking it best thing about Arch based distros is they keep on rolling, but that is not the kind of story that you want to tell people when you are trying to get them to use linux to make their lives easier.

  • ccdrop

    I doubt anyone really cares here but by recommendation I am really trying to “live” with KDE and as the person who recommended it said KDE really dose do some “magic” at forcing stubborn QT programs to actually use the themes/styles you pick for QT. Overall all well KDE is still horribly uncomfortable to use and configure it dose really have some nice features. I just hope I can figure out how to strip some of it’s eye candy down better and get it feeling lighter.

  • Khurshid

    Not yet.Windows will continue to stay in peoples computer for long time to come. I am fond of linux and installed in all my computers along with Windows. I do everyday works in Linux. However I could not find a good PDF editor to fill-up a visa form. I went back to Windows and found a good number of applications to do my work. Open source useful applications for Linux system is a must for dedicated users. It is at this point when Windows will not be the main option for computer users. I am living in a poor country where computer literacy is low. But I can not deny the fact that by using an Windows computer and Photoshop, wayside photo studio workers are earning their livelihood. Can a Linux computer using GIMP do any better or at least the same. How to change their mindset or re-educate.

  • Timon19

    Mint 18 has been bar none the easiest thing I’ve installed of any sort.

  • Glenn Thigpen

    @Dimitrios Anogiatis Thanks for the input. I have tried tesseract. It is probably the best of the lot for linux, but it does not come close to doing what I often need done. I had a scanned service manual for an old truck I used to own. I needed it to be searchable and tried to scan it with tesseract and ocrfeeder, but it was not up to the task. Could not reproduce the layout and had way too many errors. ABBYY reproduced the layout very accurately and had very few OCR errors.
    I hope that tesseract and layout engines will be improved enough that I can completely dump windows at some point, but I have to go with what works for now.

  • Glenn Thigpen

    @Khurshid Have you tried Master PDF Editor? It works extremely well and there is a version for Linux.

  • Purple Library Guy

    ccdrop:
    Ah, well. Most of the easiest distros aren’t really oriented towards KDE and its apps. And KDE itself, while really cool in many ways, is a complex beast which rewards a good deal of tweaking to get things just the way one wants them. Which in turn means that if you go for KDE on a distribution that isn’t interested in KDE, there will be configuration work that the distribution will have left to you to fool with.

    So yeah, if you’re dead set on KDE rather than Cinnamon or Mate, I can imagine Mint being an unrewarding experience. If you want a simple experience installing Linux, probably better to go for Mint with Cinnamon or Mate, or Ubuntu with their Unity thing, or whatever like that–go with what the distribution concentrates on. For that matter, if you want quick and easy up front, probably just don’t go with KDE period because it’s heavy and complex. By all accounts great once you’ve got it tuned how you want it, but takes some thought and effort to get it there.

  • ccdrop

    @Purple Library Guy

    Having to do things isn’t an issue for me. I really don’t mind configuring things I do a ton of that in windows as well since my hardware setup is far from normal. It’s the ease of configuration that annoys me so much in Linux v Windows. Thus far I’ve actually gotten the best luck using KDE with components from XFCE.

    I tried Cinnamon, Mate and GNOME first and they all had such major issues with my hardware I decide it wasn’t even worth trying to work with them. XFCE worked the best straight out of the box and was the nicest feeling by far, but sadly due to my vision I really have to have as many programs as possible obey themes so KDE’s ability to get stubborn QT apps to actually obey themes is a necessity to me.

  • James Vanus

    I switched over to Ubuntu a couple of years ago on a dual core AMD PC that would barely run Win XP. It runs Ubuntu 14.04 very nicely.

    The only thing I use Win 7 for is tax returns (TurboTax) because I won’t do taxes online.

    I transferred my custom finance spreadsheet from Excel to LibreOffice Calc without issues for several years. Netflix runs on the Chrome browser. Thunderbird is a good mail client, although I mostly use the browser-based clients. Clementine works great on my 40 GB music collection. I stream music from Pandora and Amazon Prime too.

    My one complaint with Ubuntu is that my boot drive gets full after a few kernel upgrades so I have to either use the command line or Ubuntu Tweak to get rid of old kernels. The average Win user wouldn’t know how to deal with that.

    Linux is fast, reliable and available in a variety of desktops. I’ll never go back to Windows.

  • ccdrop

    Getting closer by the day.
    I’m actually pretty happy with the way KDE’s Kwin handles dual monitors… I’m amazed no one bothered to point it out 95% of the search results I got said Compiz was the only real way to go so I never looked into Kwin and really Kwin is vastly better then Compiz.

    My two biggest general hardware issues still remain though.
    No auto switching for headphones/speakers
    Suspend crashes the system.

    I haven’t actually gotten to setting up my printers, scanner, cameras, cellphones, or anything like that yet…

  • Timon19

    The last time I saw suspend crash a system was the first foray of Ubuntu 11.04 onto a cheap-o Acer laptop.

    I’ve got an ancient Dell Inspiron that apparently was unable to go to Win10 that got gifted to me and it works a treat with Mint 18.

    It handles my equally (or more) ancient Garmin with external storage as if it were an integral part of the system. It just worked.

  • @Timon19

    Indeed it’s hard to figure out how to go about fixing it for that reason as well. All the issues I can find online are really old and were fixed with kernel updates over time… I’ve tried a number of different kernels to no avail… My system is anything but cheap either it’s a high end system from the first years of the Intel 2600k CPUs. Some of the older issues boiled it down to video card but I’m using a very well supported 970 Nv card, and have tried both open and propitiatory drivers to no avail so I don’t think that’s it.

  • mikef90000

    @ccdrop, I’m surprised that you haven’t mentioned accessibility oriented distros like Sonar and Vinux. Both of them offer the MATE desktop as an option, which seems to get great reviews by advocates such as Jonathan Nadeau. I remember hearing Jonathan on a major podcast but I haven’t found it yet. For reference here are some links:

    http://www.mylinuxrig.com/post/74847914736/the-linux-setup-jonathan-nadeau-accessible

    http://sonargnulinux.com/

    http://vinuxproject.org/

    Google now shows that the Accessible Computing Foundations website may be hacked.

  • ccdrop

    Like most things for the disabled both of those distros are for targeted to the extremes in a very similar way as Windows 10.
    So many places are forgetting that there are partly disabled people who really just need small tools not an entirely costume world.

    On the supped note finally got it fixed by moving to an LTS kernel + disabling screen dimming. (Not sure why screen dimming was enabled or why it effects things but it was and it did.)