Linux at Home

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joeyd999

Joined Jun 6, 2011
5,177
I found probably the best article ever today proselytizing Linux:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-most-important-reason-you-should-be-using-linux-at-home/

Pretty much every reason he has given are my reasons for not only using Linux at home, but also at work.

My routers are Linux.
My desktops are Linux.
My laptops are Linux.
My phone system is Linux.
My file servers are Linux.
My backup servers are Linux.
My VPN is Linux.
My mail server is Linux.
My video conferencing system is Linux.

I don't trust my personal/professional data to Google, or Windows, or any other third party. I don't have to. I only need to trust myself.

And the cost for this?

$0.

Why anyone would pay for defective crap -- or to provide content for third parties -- is beyond me.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
34,058
I use Windows because it does what I need, I have had no significant problems in using it for many years, and I have no interest or aptitude to figure out which of the many versions of Linux for my PC I should use, whether it will run all the Window's programs I use and access all the files I have, and finally the pain of setting it up on my computers and loading all the programs I want to use.
You may find doing that is interesting/fun.
I don't. :rolleyes:
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
9,153
I use Windows because it does what I need, I have had no significant problems in using it for many years, and I have no interest or aptitude to figure out which of the many versions of Linux for my PC I should use, whether it will run all the Window's programs I use and access all the files I have, and finally the pain of setting it up on my computers and loading all the programs I want to use.
You may find doing that is interesting/fun.
I don't. :rolleyes:
I’ve used both Linux and Windows professionally. My personal preference is Windows. Our e-commerce site had Windows front-end web services layer with Linux virtualization and a Linux and database back end.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,767
I don't trust my personal/professional data to Google, or Windows, or any other third party. I don't have to. I only need to trust myself.
But you trust banks and investment houses knowing how much money you have, where and when you spent money, how much you spent, who you love or are related to (i.e beneficiaries)? Or do you only accept/spend cash and keep all of your money in your mattress?

You do realize that your ISP keeps track off all your Put and Get requests, do you trust them but not Google? Living in fear (or pretending to live in hiding) seems so stressful to me. My aunt felt like someone was watching her back in the 1990s. The doctor gave her a very effective medication.
 
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Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,519
I use Linux because I don't want to pay the inflated prices Apple wants to charge for its computers, and I don't want to pay Microsoft to rent Word and Excel. I've found every version of Windows since XP increasingly more confusing to use.
However, I find the support for the Linux version of the IDEs that I use (usually Eclipse-based) is poor, and some manufacturers are worse that others. NXP's MCUXpresso worked almost straight away, but Renesas's e2Studio wouldn't work unless it was supplied with an older version of LibPython, and prefers to produce arcane error messages rather than doing what it should.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
8,974
I use Linux, and before that FreeBSD—but even at that time I was running Solaris (very non-free) and Windows—and eventually OS X when macOS became a UNIX variant.

The problem of calling the price of Apple hardware “inflated”—for me—is that I am buying something I can’t get by substituting Linux, which I still use for servers and other utility functions. I don’t use Macs where they won’t be UI endpoints¹, and I can’t run my principal toolsets on Linux in any case.

Adobe Creative Suite in general and Lightroom in particular are professional tools for me that don’t have Linux equivalents for my use. Productivity tools like Craft, TickTick, Fantastical, and others are also not equaled in the Linux ecosystem, particularly when Desktop-Tablet-Phone-Watch integration is important, and it is for me.

On the other hand, this is not a universal truth by any means. Some folks don‘t need those things, or anything like them. Some Windows users would be perfectly happy with, say, an Ubuntu desktop is they had someone to walk them through the learning curve to switch from Windows.

I still use Windows for things that require it. Some software, like KiCad “runs” on macOS but with such a crippled UI it is useful only as a viewer. Also, in some cases I run things that I prefer on macOS with Windows because the proximate computer is a Windows machine—such as the ThinkPad running Windows 10 that serves as my benchtop machine for LabView and Siglent software, among other things.

As far as “renting“ software, I used to object to the idea of subscriptions as well, but two things changed my mind. These are not universally present and so my objections still stand in some cases while I happily subscribe in others.

Things that will convince me to subscribe to software I find useful:

1. Perpetual license to whatever version I end up with if I stop subscribing.
Good subscriptions are actually maintenance contracts. They get you all the dot upgrades during your subscription and leave you with whatever you’ve got if you stop. They offer discounted major upgrades , and also provide security updates indefinitely.

2. Active Development
My justification for 1 is funding the developer so they can continue development and not feel the need to make major upgrades to raise cash. It means better software for me and a chance for smaller, cash-flow funded developers to stay afloat. If I calculate that the current version is worth the total subscription cost and account for the fact that it will continue to improve during that time, I am happy to subscribe.

3. Responsive Developer
I have found that many of the subscription-based applications I am interested in have developers that are not only active but listen to subscribers and respond by patching things that might affect small populations of users, or adding “obviously useful” features when someone requests them. This makes the value of the subscription much higher.

Things that will convince me to give it a pass, even if I think the software might be useful:

1. Proprietary Lock-in
Software that makes “leaving” egregiously difficult by keeping data hostage to their internal format, with little or no ability to bulk export it in some way that can be imported usefully somewhere else, gets a pass. This is not something I can tolerate knowing that I might have to change software in the future. In all ways, I must have complete ownership of my data to feel comfortable with an application.

2. Mandatory Cloud Service
With one exception (a lightweight and very usable database application called Collections) I don’t use apps that require me to keep using the service to maintain my data. Particularly if 1 is true, this is a definite pass. I can’t tolerate the idea that I have extensive work invested in something the might just suddenly become unreasonable expensive, or be bought and shut down, or simply die. I must be able to store the data on local storage, my own cloud-based option, and/or replicate in a useful way on either or both.

3. Minimal Functionality Applications
There are a raft of applications that used to cost .99 to $4.99 or so to purchase, and because they are handy utilities it was worth the price. While such things do still exist, they are becoming less common in favor of apps that unaccountably want you to pay that every month for no increase in functionality. While there seems no reason it must be the case, it does seem to be that these same apps are the ones that fail 1 and 2 as well. These apps don’t get anywhere with me.

So, “software rental” does have versions I am happy with and those that I abhor. As an aside, back in the 80’s the then president of Sony gave a speech at an industry show about how software rental was the future. It seemed crazy at the time because of the vanishingly small bandwidth of dialup, the only mass network access of the day; and because of the cultural aversion to such an idea among computer users. It made a lot of people angry!

But while some of what he said concerning implementation hasn’t come to pass (and that’s to be expected) the underlying idea has. And, it can and more and more is an advantage to the consumer who can have constantly patched and updated software, and certainty about upgrade paths. This is not true of all developers using the idea, but when used for mutual benefit it is a good system and I‘ve liked it (with my enumerated constraints).

The bottom line is the choice of hardware, and the operating system and applications that run on it, is something that requires context and careful thought, and there is no universal answer. The economic implications of F/OSS and Linux may seem cut-and-dried but that has to mean your time is worth little or nothing. Linux, particularly for the non-technical neophyte is a much harder and more time-consuming route than Windows or macOS, and that has to be calculated as well.



1. I do run Linux on older (~10 years and the like) Macs that will no longer run the latest macOS (or one sufficiently modern to participate in my Apple ecosystem). This machines are still in utility roles, not as my “home”. I have older Mac Minis running Debian as servers which do quite well at that and don‘t have the issues they would if I was trying to make them run a UI. In fact, I avoid as much as possible using a GUI of any sort on Linux machines I maintain.

The command line is enough though I wish the days if a useful lightweight X-Window configuration with a lightweight window manager and programs that didn’t want dozens of libraries and daemons just to display themselves were still around. I do understand, though, that the developers are making the reasonable assumption that those things will already be present and so they are not so much the “dependencies” they appear when you try to install some simple utility but the expected environment—which I don’t have. I find workarounds, though and judicious use of screen or tmux can make the console a much friendlier place without the X-Window bulk.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,519
I know this is "Linux at Home" but my job entails programming microprocessors which control three-phase 230V mains at up to 100kW and thyristor battery chargers at >100A, so there's always a possibility of a computer-destroying fault when it is connected to the board via USB. I found a couple of laptops from a previous project with end-of-life batteries, and lost passwords that ran Windows XP and were too old to run Windows 7. I installed Linux, of which they happily run the latest version; and they are expendable if something goes horribly wrong. (I'm meticulous about backups!)
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
8,974
I know this is "Linux at Home" but my job entails programming microprocessors which control three-phase 230V mains at up to 100kW and thyristor battery chargers at >100A, so there's always a possibility of a computer-destroying fault when it is connected to the board via USB. I found a couple of laptops from a previous project with end-of-life batteries, and lost passwords that ran Windows XP and were too old to run Windows 7. I installed Linux, of which they happily run the latest version; and they are expendable if something goes horribly wrong. (I'm meticulous about backups!)

No doubt Linux is a great rescuer of otherwise obsolete hardware. I have many laptops that have a continued useful life thanks to Debian, but of course they aren’t my primary computers.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
12,830
The command line is enough though I wish the days if a useful lightweight X-Window configuration with a lightweight window manager and programs that didn’t want dozens of libraries and daemons just to display themselves were still around. I do understand, though, that the developers are making the reasonable assumption that those things will already be present and so they are not so much the “dependencies” they appear when you try to install some simple utility but the expected environment—which I don’t have. I find workarounds, though and judicious use of screen or tmux can make the console a much friendlier place without the X-Window bulk.
1676236027496.png

My entire home computing infrastructure runs on Linux from the fiber to firewall, computer servers, storage servers, backup servers to design/graphics/video media workstations on mainly surplus HP enterprise hardware.
I've been kernel hacking Linux since the first releases so it's second nature.. I normally run the Debian Sid/unstable versions to find and report bugs to help make the new stable releases better.

1676237480576.png1676237540465.png

Icewm is a lightweight window manager I sometimes run on workstations that will get limited interactive use.
https://linuxreviews.org/IceWM
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,519
I'll add this gem of wisdom:
If you have a HP laptop, don't install Linux Mint Xfce.
I upgraded from Mint 19, and decided for no better reason than "it seemed like a good idea at the time" to install Mint Xfce 21.1, and it reduced the wifi speed to about a tenth and told me I needed a new battery.
I deleted it and installed Mint Cinnamon 21.1 and the wifi is back upto speed and the battery is now OK.

When I originally installed Mint 19, there were no drivers for the Realtek wifi module and I had to hunt one down in Github. Now they are included, but they are not all equal!
 
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