My first linux exposure was with Ubuntu 10.10. I had the CD install disk and corresponding text-book. It never stuck. I didn’t ever install the OS on the actual hardware.
I came back to it several times over the years. I have isos from 2016, 2018 and 2020. It never stuck. I hated Unity and by the time I was ready to move full time to a linux desktop, there were much better options for my uses.
Ubuntu is still my go-to option for server builds though. My VPSs all run Ubuntu for example mainly for the stable LTS releases and broad internet support.
In 2019, I decided to install linux on the bare hardware on my primary desktop. My desktop was a self built gaming pc running Ryzen and an Nvidia GPU. I started with Ubuntu, but the look, feel and lack of gpu drivers led me to ask why I wouldn’t just start with Pop OS. Pop is Ubuntu based, has a great implementation of the Gnome desktop and has isos prepackaged with Nvidia drivers. Pop was exactly what I wanted. It was familiar on the command line and the GPU just worked. I was super happy with the performance I was able to get through Steam and Proton for my library. I was able to play Overwatch online through Lutris with zero issues.
I used that install on my desktop for about a year. I eventually got tired of Gnome, tired of the push to Snaps and Flatpaks. Generally, I was bored with it. I wanted to explore some of the other DE options and distributions.
Near the end of my Pop run, I wiped and installed Pop on my laptop sometime mid-2020. I have been 100% running linux on my personal computers since then.
I soon moved the laptop to Manjaro KDE from Pop OS. I wanted to be a cool chad and run an Arch based system.
It was fine, the Plasma desktop took a lot of effort to get to a place I liked. Its endlessly customizable, but exhausting-ly difficult to get it to do what you want. I was never really happy with it. I didn’t really like the pamac package manager. I had intended to install Manjaro on my desktop but it never happened.
Which leads to Arch. I found the EFLinux Channel on youtube around this time and watched a lot of his Arch install video series. It dramatically expanded my understanding of how the kernal, OS and desktop are related and more importantly, not related.
My intention was to nuke and pave Arch with a tiling window manager. What am I giving up by moving to a tiling window manager? How are games handled with a tiling window manager?
I eventually started playing with Archcraft. I wanted to stay with something Arch based and I was more than happy to install my own WM or DE but Archcraft offered pre-configured WM options for me to install and experiment with. For whatever reason I had decided that BSPWM was for me. Archcraft had a BSPWM install option. I had read about i3 (I think originally from Jessie Frazelle way back in 2017) but considered it to be “too hardcore” or some nonsense.
I installed Archcraft BSPWM for a hot minute. It’s beautiful, but it seemed to be skin deep. It was heavily customized and I always felt like I was using someone else’s computer. On top of that I never clicked with BSPWM. I nearly gave up on tiling window managers with the intention of going back to base Arch and forcing the XFCE desktop. Until -
I stumbled on Endeavour. I’m not sure where it popped up on my radar. It had what I was looking for. Arch, nvidia drivers, and a configured i3. I installed it on my desktop in late 2021 and its been fantastic. I immediately clicked with i3 too. The Endeavour configuration out of the box made it very easy to learn and customize. I appreciated the simplicity of i3blocks over something like polybar. And I finally answered my compositor/gaming questions - It all just worked.
Not long after, I wiped the laptop and installed rEFInd. This let me partition the 1tb internal ssd and install multiple distros. I installed pop, endeavour, mint, and a few others, but I really haven’t used anything other than endeavour.
September 2023 Update: Still on my original installs of Endeavour on both the tower and laptop and still happy. I’ve toyed with moving to NixOS or rolling my own Arch/i3 install or going full Chad and running LARBS. Ultimately, I’m lazy and haven’t done anything yet. There is an issue with the tower install, some applications take 20+ seconds to open - Thunar, gThumb, Thunderbird. There’s something with a dmesg failing. I haven’t figured it out yet. I’ll probably get a new nvme ssd and start fresh at some point.
The JB podcast crew has been repping NixOS hard for a while. I played with it a bit in a vm, but it didn’t stick. I see the value, but I’m not in a place where I want to shift my entire paradigm quite that much. This is just another way of saying im lazy.
I have come to hate iOS. I used to be an apple guy. I waited in line on release day (it was also my birthday) at an apple store to get the iPhone 3G - which was my first “smart” phone. I was on iPhones through the 8. When the X came out with The Notch(tm), I was out. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.
But this is about iOS. The Notch(tm) and the decision to remove the fingerprint reader is a not-unrelated hardware example of my issues with iOS. Apple knows best. They will tell you how to use your phone, because Apple knows best. You bought it, but you can’t be trusted to make certain decisions about the software/hardware/etc. I know this is big eye roll from most people, but it bothers me. The most ridiculous and most tangible example of Apple’s big brother mentality is local photo backups. I run a Synology with Moments and a Nextcloud instance on my LAN. iOS requires you to keep the phone unlocked and the app open for the auto-upload to work. Why? There’s no options to work around this. Apple probably claims “privacy?”, “battery life?” Maybe its more cynical than that. If its sufficiently difficult to use other backup solutions, maybe you’ll pay for their cloud storage. Because, after all, their proprietary backup solution has no issue running in the background and its super easy.
Another ridiculous arbitrary limit is the home screen and app organization. Apps must populate from the upper right hand corner to the lower left sequentially.
Apple: “This is the best way. Why would you want to do it any other way?”
Install a new app? swipe-swipe-swipe-swipe Ah, there it is on the very last page. Here let me move it… OH GEEZE EVERYTHING ELSE IS MOVED.
Apple: “No, you just don’t understand. This is the best way to use your phone.”
I’d like to have smaller app icons and put 5 apps in each row.
Apple: “Lol, thats cute. Its also the wrong way to use your phone.”
I get it, for 90% of people, they never think about that and legitimately do not care.
You: “Ah here we go, he’s going to shill for daddy Google in the Android section”
Nope. Android isn’t some perfect platform. But its the only other viable option in 2022 for a modern phone.
I started on Android 8 - Oreo. This, in my opinion, is when Android got good. I briefly dabbled in android back in 2011 and it was garbage. By Oreo, the interface was much more cohesive and modern. Google’s Pixel line of phones was a huge driver here.
Peak Android was 10, maybe 11. But the design changes in 12 are kind of garbage. The privacy features are nice, but the design decisions don’t make a lot of sense. Yes, with Android I have options, but still, I don’t like that the base OS interface has taken a step backwards.
Android gives me control of the device that I paid for. If I am willing to accept additional risks and manage them appropriately, I can load whatever I want on my phone. I can do whatever I want with my phone.
Lineage OS has come a long way as well. With Lineage, you can have a completely Google free android experience. You can also extend the usable life of hardware with security updates once Google Android no longer pushes security updates.
I don’t use Android because its perfect, I use it because its not iOS.