Around this time 2 years ago, I switched to GNU/Linux as my main OS and only kept a Windows machine around for games. We all know what happened to gaming with the GPU shortage...
But before we get into the article, I got something to tell you.
Around November-December 2020, my eyes started giving me trouble: they were always tired, dry, it was hard to focus, and I had double or even triple vision. Eventually it got so bad that I could no longer use my computer for more than a few minutes without them hurting and turning everything into a blurry mess, let alone use a laptop with a high resolution screen. I guess this was to be expected, given how much time I've been spending in front of PCs since the pandemic started, but this has been a major problem for me: it literally handicapped me and brought all my projects to a temporary halt. Only now, almost 6 months later, the situation is slowly starting to get better, but not good enough to go back to my normal life.
I went to several doctors to get my eyes checked but they could find nothing wrong with them other than them being dry (with recoverable damage to the cornea caused by scratching against the dry eyelids), and a slight astigmatism (but not enough to justify that amount of sight loss). I've been keeping them well hydrated, I've been drinking more, and slowly but surely, they're getting better.
I also just got my first shot of Pfizer yesterday (May 14th), and if that doesn't kill me, you'll start seeing new content during the summer:
I used my Thinkpad T480 until December 2020, but thanks to covid I no longer need a laptop, thanks to miners I no longer "need" a gaming machine, and thanks to my eyes I can no longer use a laptop, so I moved my Manjaro install to my new desktop:
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this machine.
On one side, it's a very powerful system, the case looks gorgeous, and AMD hardware is very well supported by Linux without the need for proprietary drivers, what really bothers me though is the jankiness of the BIOS. There's no easy way to put it: OC settings are not always applied correctly, USB and network devices randomly disconnect, and every time I turn on the computer it automatically picks a random CPU voltage, sometimes going as high as 1.48v, which is genuinely scary on a 7nm processor. Yes, I know that the voltage drops when the system is under load, but that's not the point, I've been using the machine for only 6 months and I can already tell that the CPU is degrading: it no longer undervolts as much as it did when it was new, nor does it overclock nearly as much. This is to be expected after a few years, not after a few months. This is 100% AMD's fault and not MSI's because it's AGESA that controls this stuff and it comes as a binary blob to MSI. AMD really needs to improve their software. (And yes, this is with the latest BIOS from April 2021)
I'm not going to comment on the RX550, it's a piece of crap stopgap GPU that's good enough to run KDE, work on my projects, watch some videos, and play Warzone 2100. Anything more that that will run poorly. It overclocks like champ though.
|Text editor||Notepad++||Kate||VSCodium also a really good option|
|File manager||Windows Explorer||Dolphin||Search kinda sucks in Dolphin|
|Media player||MPC-HC||MPV||Switched to MPV exclusively|
|Image viewer||JPEGView||nomacs||Switched from Gwenview|
|Email and calendar||Thunderbird||Thunderbird|
|Web browser||Firefox||Librewolf and Ungoogled Chromium||Switched from debotnetted Firefox|
|Archive manager||7-Zip||Ark and 7-Zip with wine||I really miss 7-Zip|
|File, contacts, calendar synchronization||Syncthing, Nextcloud||Syncthing, Nextcloud|
|PDF and ebook reader||SumatraPDF||Okular and qcomicbook|
|Screenshot tool||Greenshot||Flameshot||Both are excellent|
|Notes||Notebot||KNotes||Switched from Notebot|
|Virtualization||VirtualBox||VirtualBox and libvirt||libvirt supports GPU passthrough on Linux, can run games at full speed|
|Calculator||SpeedCrunch||KCalc and SpeedCrunch|
|Graphics||GIMP||GIMP||It's getting better|
|Firewall||Simplewall||unshare -nr and/or Firejail||It's not the same thing, but there's nothing similar on Linux that doesn't require manual configuration|
|Disc burning software||Infrarecorder||K3b||I need it like once a year but ok|
|YouTube client||Browser||FreeTube||A very promising application, somewhat similar to NewPipe on Android|
Thanks to the pandemic, I've been forced to use proprietary botnets like zoom, like everyone else. To isolate them, I made a virtual machine with libvirt to which I can pass some USB devices like the microphone and the occasional webcam. This VM is connected to a separate, isolated network thanks to my motherboard's second network card, and it's configured to hide pretty much everything that can be hidden: MAC addresses, cpuid stuff, hard drive serial numbers, even the fact that it's a VM. Inside the VM, I run Windows 10 LTSC. I use a separate VM for each of these botnets, so that they don't know what other botnets I use. Ideally, I would also use a VPN to hide my external IP address, but it seems a bit excessive and I don't want to waste money on those honeypots anyway.
I'm happy to report that some of the issues from last year have been fixed.
Some of the problems I mentioned last year are still here unfortunately, along with some new ones.
I think my transition to Linux is pretty much complete at this point, and overall it's been a positive experience: I've learned a lot, tried a lot of new stuff, got rid of some bad habits, and I no longer feel like I'm being spied on as much as I was just 2 years ago. I'm excited to see what the future brings to this platform.
I wish I had more to say but things really are going quite smoothly.