1 year of Linux as my main OS

Around this time last year, after yet another update that broke everything in Windows 10, I switched to Linux as my main OS and only kept a Windows machine for games.

I was already familiar with Linux (mostly Debian), so the switch wasn't too painful. My first choice of desktop-oriented distribution was Kubuntu, because I was already familiar with Debian-based distros and because KDE is my favorite DE.
I really liked Kubuntu at first for its ease of use, but after a few months I was starting to feel restricted by the fact that a lot of packages would only update once every 6 months and sometimes I had to compile things from source because I needed the latest version, so I did some distro hopping and eventually settled on Manjaro KDE. I have to say, I love this distro: even if it's Arch based, it's very stable, the documentation is fantastic, it's easy to use and install, it's basically Arch done right, even my dad is using it on his laptop!

Screenshot of my current desktop

My current selection of applications
Text editorNotepad++KateVSCodium also a really good option
File managerWindows ExplorerDolphinSearch kinda sucks in Dolphin
Media playerMPC-HCMPV and AudaciousSwitched from VLC to MPV
Image viewerJPEGViewGwenview
Office suiteLibreofficeLibreoffice
Email and calendarThunderbirdThunderbird
Web browserFirefoxFirefoxDebotnet guide
Archive manager7-ZipPeaZip and ArkNowhere near as good as 7-Zip
File, contacts, calendar synchronizationSyncthing, NextcloudSyncthing, Nextcloud
PDF and ebook readerSumatraPDFOkular and qcomicbook
Screenshot toolGreenshotFlameshotBoth are excellent
CalculatorSpeedCrunchKCalc and SpeedCrunch
GraphicsGIMPGIMPIt's getting better
FirewallSimplewallunshare -nr and/or FirejailIt's not the same thing, but there's nothing similar on Linux that doesn't require manual configuration
Disc burning softwareInfrarecorderK3bI need it like once a year but ok
FTP clientWinSCPFileZilla
Image mountingWinCDEmugcdemu
What's been improved

Last year I had a long list of pet peeves, I'm happy to report that a lot of those issues have been fixed.

Habemus thumbnails

  • Almost all applications, both GTK and Qt, now have thumbnails in the file picker. It only took 21 years.
  • Power management with TLP is as good as Windows, possibly better
  • Wayland is almost usable now (on Intel graphics at least)
  • VSync usually works
  • Wine has improved a lot
  • File associations no longer change randomly (could have been an Ubuntu bug)
  • SMB shares and discovery are faster
  • My stupid printer (Epson XP-342) always works
  • Generally snappier, especially with Wayland
  • I discovered that you can you can alter the sudoers file and add a polkit policy to suppress the frequent password prompts. I know it's bad for security but I don't run random crap from the Internet
  • Software selection on Manjaro (and Arch in general) is much better compared to Ubuntu and Debian
  • Things like Flatpak, AppImages, snaps, etc. are becoming more common, which is great for when an application isn't officially available your distribution. I know, some people hate these
  • Pulseaudio hasn't caused trouble in a while
  • Intel graphics performance is astonishing compared to Windows. I was able to play Talos Principle with medium-ish settings in 900p on my laptop that doesn't even meet the minimum specs for this game

Talos principle

What still sucks

Some of the problems I mentioned last year are still here unfortunately, along with some new ones.

  • My laptop takes a really long time to shutdown. I think it's caused by NFS network shares because I see some NFS timeouts before it turns off. Suspending/resuming is unaffected so this isn't too annoying
  • Battery duration estimation is completely inaccurate. Some times it's fully charged and it says 27 minutes, other times it's almost dead and it says 3 hours

KRunner stealing Super+space binding

  • I had to give up using Super+space to switch between English and Italian keyboard because KRunner kept stealing that key binding

KRunner stealing Super+space binding

  • Sometimes applications are started twice when logging in
  • When an application changes the screen resolution, it doesn't restore it if it crashes or is manually killed. When the resolution is changed (even temporarily), the desktop icons are rearranged permanently. This is a very annoying KDE "feature"
  • Write cache is still enabled by default on removable devices
  • Still no way to disable Trash
  • No easy way to disable file history. I don't see why the start menu needs to prominently show the last porn videos I've watched by default
  • Games don't always disable the desktop compositor, which causes performance and stuttering issues. This can be done manually by pressing Alt+Shift+F12
  • Wine still has trouble capturing mouse movement in some games. Seems to be a X.org issue
  • Random Arch-style complications. For instance, when installing the Arduino IDE, it doesn't automatically add udev rules to allow your user access to Arduino devices connected via USB. Ubuntu did this automatically
  • USB passthrough is still broken in VirtualBox
  • KDE needs a "Run as administrator" option. Things like Wireshark cannot be started from the icon in the start menu thing and need to be started with sudo from the terminal. This is not user friendly
  • Sometimes, if the system lags a lot, plasmashell leaks memory and needs to be restarted
  • UI is still inconsistent as hell, with multiple versions of GTK and Qt coexisting. This problem also exists in Windows 10, with several different UI styles for both Win32 and UWP

With Windows becoming worse and worse with every update, I had little choice, but I'm really glad I switched to Linux. Once you get used to it, it's really not bad, especially for developers.

Unfortunately, no one was able to continue my work on the Windows 10 privacy guide so that project is dead now. Several people tried to update it but they all gave up when they realized how frustrating it was. I will probably update the guide for the next LTSC release since that's what I use on my gaming PC.

Now I'm really looking forward to trying out a Linux phone. I know the user experience will be absymal compared to Android at first, but Android is really going down the shitter, with Google constantly sabotaging developers and custom ROMs, hardware restrictions, forced dependencies on proprietary Google services, etc.
I will probably get a Pinephone or a similar device in the next few months, so expect a really long and angry review.

Here's a picture of my boomer dad using Manjaro: My dad

Share this article