MOVING to LINUX [Part 3] – “MY Checklist”

Welcome back everyone, I’m excited about today’s post because it’s forcing me to stop procrastinating and get myself moving to Linux. Well, procrastinate LESS at least. Today I wanted to go over the first draft of my own personal list of things that I am going to need to consider before I move to Linux. This is not a step to take lightly and I MUST stress this very strongly; this is not going to be for everyone. I’m thrilled to have you all here with me as I take this journey, but you don’t need to follow in my footprints in order to follow me.

Once again, just quickly, the reasons I’m moving to Linux are;

– It’s free (cost) and open source (code is viewable)

– It’s very secure (many people don’t install anti-virus programme even) and does not report back on your activities (Windows 10 does)

– It doesn’t force updated on you (you need to seek them out)

– It’s a challenge for me, a new set of experiences

– Windows 10 is just not for me. For many reasons, see previous blog post for some of the main point

Now, the thing to remember with Linux is that things are different. Some things are done in a different way compared to doing it on a PC, for example; software can be downloaded and installed by typing a command in the ‘terminal’ (a place to enter text commands to get your system to do stuff) and although that sounds daunting, it’s just a different way to do something. For those out there sweating nervously about the idea of doing it this way, it’s OK! Many software providers are providing download-able install packages with a GUI (Graphical User Interface) identical to the more familiar Windows way of doing things.

There are also some software packages that are not easily installed in Linux, a few of these include Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Don’t run for the hills just yet if you can’t imagine a world with Microsoft Office and Adobe, there are some REALLY good alternatives that are once again free and open source. We will go into those a bit later in this blog post, but also keep in mind that you CAN run these programs if you absolutely can’t live without them (but they will be a few versions behind the latest.)

The next big thing to consider is “what is your purpose/ need for your computer?” Here are a few suggestions if you’re not sure what I mean;

1) Browse the internet, type up a letter in Word and print stuff
2) Heavy MS Office user, need Excel and PowerPoint, lots of emails
3) Gamer, use controllers, latest video card and other hardware
4) Graphic design, image manipulation
5) Audio recording and editing
6) Video editing, large files and computer intensive processes

Do any of these sound like you? I sit somewhere in the middle of the Venn Diagram of all of those descriptions I think. I do a bit of this and a bit of that. For work stuff, I lean heavily on word processing, image editing, and soon, video editing as well. It’s important to know before we start making a checklist of what our workflows (the sequence we do our tasks and what programs we need to complete them) are. One big advantage that I will have when moving to Linux is that I have already moved to a lot of free, open source software whilst still on Windows. Mostly because free is the best price and I can’t always afford to pay hundreds of dollars a hear for the software subscription. Best of all,  the free software I use already has Linux versions.

At this point we are not looking at which distribution (which flavour of Linux) we will be choosing, that might be party decided by the checklist. This can come about because some distros might support a particular piece of vital software but another might not. I’m not 100% sure yet, please remember that I am also new to Linux. For now, let’s have a look at the first few items on the checklist in relation to those type of users, and talk about the alternatives. The list I make is by no means exhaustive and I am not an expert. There might be better options, and my choices will not be for everyone. If you disagree with my choices or know of a better one, please let me know down in the comments.

1) Browse the internet, type up a letter in Word and print stuff

Internet browsers; pretty much the same as PC. I recommend and use ‘Brave’, for easy privacy and security. Firefox is a good choice for the more technical users

Word; There are two well know names in free and open source Office replacements, they are ’OpenOffice’ and ‘LibreOffice.’ I have used both and did not enjoy the experience, however, I have heard the LibreOffice interface has had an overhaul, so I should check it out again. The one I settled on is ‘Kingston WPS Office’ and I’ll be doing a whole blog post on this over very soon

Printing; one of the things Linux users speak a bit about is the struggle of getting drivers to work. Drivers are pieces of software that allows your hardware to work on your operating system, e.g. how your computer can talk to your printer, or your computer to receive input from a mouse. I’ve not yet had experience with this so we will be checking back on this matter later.

2) Heavy MS Office user, need Excel and PowerPoint, lots of emails

Office; WPS once again covers all of these needs. If you need a Publisher replacement, LibreOffice Draw might be one I need to check out. If you use an email client like Thunderbird, there is already a Linux version, or, there are once created just for Linux, but some work better on one or the other of the two main distributions streams. Let’s not worry too much about this one for now. And for me, I use web-based mail (like Gmail and Yahoo, but I don’t use either of these) so I just need a browser.

3) A gamer might use a controller, latest video card and other hardware

Now we get to some interestingly different stuff. From my research and deep dives into the topic on YouTube, gaming on Linux has been a difficult activity to achieve for quite some time. The aforementioned issue with drivers has plagued the Linux community for years. Many having to make a range of changes to their systems to get their favourite game to work. This is actually one of Linux’s strengths; the ability to change your systems, something that is not easily done on Windows, and even harder in the Apple ecosystem. Lately though, a lot of work has been done to make gaming on Linux easier, including a program called ‘Wine’ which helps to run Windows application on Linux, but also, game developers are making their games compatible with Linux. Massive game providers like ‘Steam’ make versions of games specific to run on Linux as well. I have not delved into this at all yet so I might be miss-speaking, put a pin in this one and we’ll see later on.

4) Graphic design, image manipulation

The common favourites of graphic designers and content creators Adobes PhotoShop and Illustrator are two of the biggest names in the business but can cost a lot of money. US$20.99/mo or AUD$29.99/mo for just one of them (source: https://www.adobe.com/au/creativecloud/plans.html) but I never had enough need to buy these products. I’ve only ever done fairly simple image manipulation and creations, and the programs I’ve found and used are already free and run on Linux, bonus! I use ‘Krita’ for image creation and ‘GIMP’ for image manipulation. Not much more to say about this, for now, full blog posts on all of these soon.

5) Audio recording and editing

When making YouTube videos or recordings of just your voice, there are a few things you need. Apart from a good microphone and a decent camera (depending on your needs) you’ll need some software. ‘Audacity’ is great for recording and editing audio/ voice and OBS make a good screen capture program. My current PC is slowly dying of old age, and OBS is not running well. I can use another program called ‘iSpring Free Cam 8’ which is very lightweight, but it occasionally crashes and has other issues. I’m hoping to be building a new computer soon.

6) Video editing, large files and computer intensive processes

 Editing videos can be quite intensive on your computer, it’s intensive on the RAM and CPU, so that is something to take into consideration. For editing software, I am currently using a feature-packed program called ‘HitFilm Express 2017’ but I have not started to look for a replacement yet. I have heard that ‘Kdenlive’ is very good and lightweight on your computer’s hardware. Time will tell.

There are no doubt other things that I have missed. There are also things I have no need for at the moment, for example, I’ve not started to get into computer coding (something I’d like to get into) so I don’t know what I’d need for that. There are also a few other “nice to have” program that I will need to check to see if Linux versions exist, or if there are Linux alternatives available. Let me know in the comments what things you’d need to be sure was supported or available if you went to Linux.

I’m going to provide a link to a Word document that you can download, it has spaces to type and make notes about the type of programs you currently use and spaces for you to start researching some of these alternatives. If you use the checklist, let me know what you think.

Thanks again for stopping by. I hope to see you all again soon.

Warm Regards,

Paul

Published by HobStar

Trainer of people in the use of computers. From beginner to more advanced users, I have an adaptable teaching style. Lover of technology but cautious with data collection and privacy. I also repair computers and tinker a bit.

8 thoughts on “MOVING to LINUX [Part 3] – “MY Checklist”

  1. Hi Hob,

    You may have already come across this in your research but Linus Tech Tips on YouTube does some good series on Linux, one of the most recent ones are below:

    URL: https://youtu.be/Co6FePZoNgE

    Goodluck on your Linux journey, I’ll be interested to see what compromises you’ll need to make over Windows.

    Cheers
    Bambi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Had a look, I thought you were talking about this person (http://bit.ly/2HvT36R) who’s name is also Linus. That channel looks good, just the thing to bolster my knowledge.

      Keep an eye out for future post about my journey, and I might even do a video series when I get my new computer and setting that up with Linux.

      **UPDATE**
      Turns out that they two YouTube channels are actually connected, no wonder I felt a connection. 😛

      Like

  2. As to MS Office programs I think the Google ‘versions’ are decent replacements: (very bad of me to say this considering I’ve only tried Sheets before, but ehh :D) Excel -> Sheets, Word -> Docs, PowerPoint -> Slides.
    I don’ think I’ve got much else to add as I still don’t know much about Linux, but I don’t like the idea of having to base my program decisions on if there’s a Linux version.
    As to the whole gaming thing I was gonna say I have to watch the Linus Tech Tips video on it and was going to link it, but it’d seem someone beat me to it already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Google Docs is defiantly a good option. It’s free or you can upgrade to their ‘Suite’ for businesses and it’s all online, which means that you can access your files from anywhere. Unfortunately for me… I stopped using them. I found myself without Internet sometimes when I needed to access my files (yes you can create downloaded versions but I had issues with that) and I became paranoid about my files being online.

      These days I keep my files local and have several backups.

      Like

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