5 Things You Should Know Before Switching To Linux
5 Things You Should Know Before Switching To Linux
Have you decided to use Linux? Very nice! you've joined a community of people who value sharing software and empowering others to get the most out of their computers. But like transitions, some parts of your experience will require adjustments. I don't believe Linux is harder to use than Windows, but you guys have to forget some manners to embrace the new. Here are 5 Things You Should Know Before Switching to Linux.
1. Don't Install Linux On A New Computer
Before switching to Linux, if you have a new computer running Windows or macOS, you may need to wait a year or two before trying to install Linux. Trying to install Linux on new hardware is often more trouble than it's worth.
Most PC manufacturers don't bother checking to see if Linux is running on their machines. They don't sell computers with Linux, and most of their customers don't care. This often means they don't provide drivers for components that the Linux kernel doesn't already support, and rely on other people to reverse engineer a solution. This will take time.
In some cases, you may not be able to install Linux at all. Elsewhere, you may be able to install Linux only to later find that the Wi-Fi isn't working or the sound card isn't sending any audio through your speakers. Good luck getting back the PC that you've removed the operating system from.
2. Avoid Software From Outside Sources
On Windows, you usually head to a website and download an installer when you want new software. For the most part, Linux doesn't work like this. There are too many versions of Linux to know which developer to provide the installer with. Instead, users head to the Linux App Store (stocked with free software) or the Package Manager to download what they want.
But there may be times when the application you want is not something provided by your chosen Linux distribution. At that point, the only way you can get the app is to install it from an outside source. Many Linux guides recommend you do this and walk you through the process.
Installing software from outside sources may cause problems one day. Sometimes applications require different versions of system components than what your desktop provides. In order to work, the application comes with a newer version. Unfortunately, other programs on your machine may not be ready or compatible, causing crashes or other hang-ups.
This is not guaranteed to happen. You can install some apps from outside sources without incident, such as Google Chrome and Steam. But if things start to get agitated, it can be very difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem. Even if you detect the source, undoing the changes can be a challenge. Having software from many different sources can also block updates or cause an update from one version of Linux to another to go horribly wrong. The safer option is to keep software from outside sources to a minimum and try to stick with the software your distribution provides.
3. Use Software Made Specifically For Linux
If you're coming from Windows, you probably don't think much of the operating system a program is designed for. It may not even have occurred to you that certain programs cannot run on every computer. Given that most desktop PCs run Windows, most apps are built with Microsoft operating systems in mind, even if they also support other options like macOS and Linux.
Before switching to Linux and when you first start using it, you may want to stick with what you know. That means downloading the Linux version of what you used on your old system. Unfortunately, companies often pour fewer resources into developing Linux versions. It's not just a matter of missing features or bugs. Many people will say that Google Chrome is the best web browser available on Linux, but that doesn't mean it will integrate well with your entire Linux desktop. Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source browser, but it looks more like Windows at home than Linux.
It's not that cross-platform software can't prioritize Linux or that cross-platform is inherently bad. VLC is as great on Linux as it is anywhere else. Many free tools start on Linux before moving on to other platforms, such as GIMP and Pidgin. Software on Linux isn't always great either. But software built for Linux will likely provide a better experience than apps from developers who see Linux as an afterthought.
4. Open To New Experiences
Before switching to Linux, you should know that many Linux applications are not the same as what you find on Windows or macOS. They may perform similar overall functions, but they approach tasks in different ways. If you insist on having a program that works exactly the way you want it to, it can stop you from experiencing everything that Linux has to offer.
The GNOME desktop environment is what you're likely to encounter in many of the most popular Linux distributions, and it's unlike any other interface. Many GNOME applications also place a heavy emphasis on search, such as GNOME Music and GNOME Photos. Both are relatively simple apps, but they present your songs and images in an attractive way.
KDE software may seem complicated at first, but if you know the settings, you can change them to your liking. You may be so used to this level of control that using another interface, on Linux or another operating system, feels too restrictive! But you won't find this if you don't take the time to explore.
5. What You See May Be Just What You Get
In the world of commercial software, applications often undergo continuous iteration to the point where the developer loses interest, and then the program is lost. With free software, changes often come more slowly.
Since there isn't usually a lot of money behind a project, developers can only waste so much time. People work whenever they can, and contributors can change as different people gain or lose interest. Even when no one is interested, the code doesn't disappear. Apps available from your Linux distribution can last for years without receiving updates. This means that the app that you just discovered for the first time may not undergo much change in the future. It's great if you like the interface exactly like that and the program does everything you need. It's not so good if you run into bugs.
This situation is not only a matter of financial resources. The Linux ecosystem is relatively democratic compared to other computing environments. Teams have to build agreements to take things in new directions, and since the code is open source, developers and users who are unhappy with changes can usually choose to keep things as they are. Application developers have many desktop environments to support, and causing an application to integrate better with one could cause it to worse off in another. Leaving things as they are can please the maximum number of people.
That doesn't mean that Linux Software hasn't changed. The GNOME desktop environment looks and feels very different now than it did ten years ago. The Elementary OS and curated software in its app store didn't even exist yet. There's always something new coming. But if you're waiting for GIMP, Inkscape, or AbiWord to undergo a complete redesign, there's no guarantee that day will ever come.
Should We Still Use Linux?
Only you can answer that question. According to Linux Users, no issues and a deal breaker. Linux users adapt their workflows to take advantage of applications only available for Linux, and they are pleased to know that they can install whatever they need from GNOME Software. Eventually they too can earn from their computers, even Linux users appreciate that many of the tools they use do not undergo regular changes. When it comes to performing a task, certain tools are as consistent and reliable as ever. And when you want to try something different, there's always new software and themes to keep things fresh.
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