Switching to Linux ‚Äď Roadmap ūüé¨ 2

One year ago I tried switching over to Linux Mint 18.2 KDE Plasma 5.8. The previous roadmap can be found here. However, the conclusion was quite clear: Linux wasn’t ready for me, or, I wasn’t ready for Linux. In addition, I quickly realized that I had chosen the wrong Linux distribution.

Last time I searched online for my personal best fitting Linux distriubtion. And how did it end up? Awful

This time I rely on the community oppinion. Like the picture of the thread already spoils: Ubuntu 18.10

  • Recommended by various people
  • High chance of available software packages
  • Highest distribution level
  • Huge community
  • Easy to use

Even if I may be an advanced user, I would like to keep the installation/configuration and usage effort at a total minimum. My objectives are the same as last time:

  • Install Linux without Windows as a dual boot option
  • Demand the ‚Äěsame‚Äú feature set as I expect from Windows (Games, Tools,‚Ķ)
  • Expect the same functional and non-functional behaviour

This article recapitulates my impressions and difficulties while switching over. Based on possible occurring usage barriers (e.g.: I am not able to complete my daily tasks), the point in time is unknown when I have to switch back to Windows.

Setup (Same as last year)

  • SSD 256GB2200/900 950Pro M.2 SAM
  • 2x D416GB 2133-13 Vengeance LPX rd K2 COR
  • Intel Core i7-6700K 4000 1151 BOX
  • EVGA4GB D5 X GTX980 SC ACX 2.0 R
  • Asro Z170 Pro4S Z170
  • Razer BlackWidow X Chroma Mercury White
  • Logitech MX518

20.10.2018

Installation was super easy and straight forward. The dialog after the installation to „connect“ existing accounts, like Microsoft, works like a charm and automatically starts to sync all my emails and contacts. Plus, popular applications were recommended right away to install them with a one-click. (Such as Skype, Telegram, Discord, VLC,…) However, the first error message occurred as well.

As a result the Ubuntu Software Store doesn’t respond any more. Furthermore, any change in the „Settings“ application doesn’t apply either. A restart is required, I guess…


  • Mounting network drives did work out of the box
  • Printer works out of the box
  • Visual Studio Code performs real great
  • .NET Core Console Application is working right away
  • Keyboard-Layout(s)
    • Adding new keyboard layouts is possible and the hotkey is customizable
    • Offers the functionality to display the keyboard-layout in an external window
    • Keyboard-layout can be applied for all applications or just for a predefined set
  • A „pin“ next to the password would save some time.
  • The Ubuntu Software Center hangs randomly.
  • Mounted network drives appear on the desktop as well.
    Can be deactivated; via terminal, of course

    Edit: Can be changed with the „gnome-tweak“ UI as well.
  • There is only one default theme. In settings, there is no option to change the theme to another one.¬†The „appearance“ app in the store isn’t compatible with Ubuntu 18.04 or >. Had to download and use gnome-tweaks
  • The audio output interface can’t be changed with a „one-click“ while operating another application. It has to be changed in the settings application.
  • OneDrive still needs manual compilation

21.10.2018


  • OBS doesn’t include a WebKit plugin per default. The sources of some plugins are available, but the compilation has to be done manually.

23.10.2018

Not much to report in the last two days. The system is up and running without any problem. (Just some browsing and gaming, thought) All in all I am impressed how smooth and natural everything feels. The system feels cleaner (Application drawer) and every user-interaction performs fast.

Home Folder
Home Folder

 


  • Steam: 65/164 games in my library are available for Linux! (~40%)
  • Less notifications from the OS itself. Windows 10 spams notification alerts. „Concentration mode“ does prevent a popup, but the indicator in the bottom right corner still grinds my gear.
  • The User-Interface is simple and straight forward. Not much time in the terminal has to be spent
  • Prefer the Ubuntu Application-Drawer over the Windows Start-Menu. Feels much cleaner, faster and offers application-insights.
  • In terms of user-friendliness and stability; Ubuntu outperforms Mint without any question.
  • Wanted to play „Mad Tower Tycoon“, but not available on Linux ūüôĀ
  • MonoGame has no templates for Visual Studio Code. Would have to stick with MonoDevelop
  • While fixing bugs for my network library (.NET Standard 2.0 and .NET 4.6) testing can’t be done for NET46. Plus, NuGet packages can’t be build at all.
  • The TaskManager is quite crowded and leaves me quite confused. The name of the processes is often quite¬†fancy but not¬†meaningful. Therefore, for me, it is hard to distinguish the purpose of many processes.
  • Can’t shut-down the OS while it’s locked
  • The Home-Folder has no „Path“ bar, per default, to manually type in a location. (c.f. Home Folder)
  • SSDs aren’t available as a quick link¬†(c.f. Home Folder)
  • SSDs can’t be pined to quick links¬†(c.f. Home Folder)
  • Since I am not able to pin my primary or secondary SSD, I am not able to navigate to other folders than „Home“. Due the lack of the URL bar as well, manual adjustments aren’t possible as well. The only option, besides activating somehow the URL bar, is navigating to „Other Locations“ and then selecting the primary SSD.
  • The „Home“ folder itself is already full of temp files and folders I can’t explain
  • Pined „Network Folders“ disappear after a OS restart.
  • Scrolling with the middle-mouse button doesn’t work out of the box. While it is build in with Firefox, Chrome needs an extension.
  • Played „Rise to Ruins“ (luckily available for Linux); but have to experience a lot of crashes. Since this is game-related, could occur on Windows as well.

25.10.2018

90% of my PC-business is programming. After hours of coding in Visual Studio Code¬†today,¬† I nearly rage quitted the IDE and removed Ubuntu from my system. The IDE isn’t as close to Visual Studio as I thought it would be. The HTML rich editor is the best I was able to find on Linux, but still, the productivity level suffers due its lack of features. I am used to Visual Studio, it’s key-bindings and behavior. Visual Studio Code provides a lot of extensions (like Visual Studio Key-Bindings, Templates, Themes,…) which does increase the productivity, but still can’t compete with his big brother. Small, firstly unnoticed features like

  • „{“ in new line (Supported, but needs a short-cut to be triggered)
  • IntelliSense (exists, but is limited. E.g.: „override“ doesn’t trigger the IntelliSense to load up all the available methods and properties)
  • CodeLens appears also on variables, not only on properties and methods
  • Build errors are visible in the output console among all the other build information. No panel just for errors
  • Creating a comment (///) won’t line up with the current tree scope.
  • Show fixes (CTRL + .) doesn’t always include all options
  • Show fixes (CTRL + .) doesn’t select the first entry by default. An extra „Enter“ is required to select the first entry.
  • NuGet tries to restore removed packages
  • Compilation errors are often not visible at first glance
  • Not possible to navigate to the compile error location with a double click

Those points may seem harmless, but do really setback the development process. Since this topic isn’t related to Linux itself, this passage isn’t marked as a „negative experience“.


  • I do miss Paint. There is no such alternative on Ubuntu. The most recommended „alternative“ is Pinta. It is too feature rich and buggy as hell. Can’t always select colors and at specific zoom levels are graphical render issues. Gimp, in my opinion, is already an image editing tool. What I need is just a simple application to paste an image and apply some pen strokes.
  • Every application I lookup in the Ubuntu Software-Center seem to be unsupported by Ubuntu 18.10. (or 18.04) In addition, almost every application is marked as „first release“ and did never receive an update. Since I am not familiar with the Ubuntu Software-Center itself and the application could basically update itself (apt-get update?) that could be a wrong judgement. However, it is confusing.

29.10.2018

This article may cover more „disadvantages“ than advantages,¬†nevertheless it is the human’s natural behavior to catch and remember „threats“ or disadvantages over advantages. In other words, things that work right away and flawlessly isn’t mentioned, more or less, in this article. Like already stated, I do really love¬†how Ubuntu performs; and the fact, that I didn’t switch back to Windows yet, should say more than thousand words. However, sometimes (while installing development tools) the installation process requires a lot of skipping through forum posts and manual adjustments.¬†Time-consuming and, in my opinion, totally avoidable if (especially Microsoft) would give some fuc*s. It is hard to say whether I bear a grudge against Ubuntu or Microsoft sometimes.


  • I feel less distracted on Ubuntu than on Windows. (Nearly no notifications, Clean UI, Fast applications)
  • If I don’t like a behavior, design or anything else, I am able to change it
  • The cooling fan is as quiet as on Windows.
  • Ubuntu requires nearly 1 minute to start
  • Ubuntu requires nearly 2 minutes to shutdown
  • Pictures in Chrome seem to load a bit slower than on Windows
  • Switching between two different Chrome instances isn’t possible with ALT+TAB.
  • Microsoft’s certificate manager installation was a pain in the a**. Due my failure of installing the certificates, I had to switch from Azure Pipeline to GitHub. (Enough is enough… spent over 3 hours to search for a solution. Many people do face the same problem, but Microsoft doesn’t seem to care about)
  • To create file an the explorer, I have to use the terminal. There is no context-menu point to create a file.
  • Connecting to my SMB always prompts for a password. Even if I do select „Remember forever“
  • Ubuntu does also prompt for updates. Can be deactivated. But I still feel like it should be written down.
  • Ubuntu hangs sometimes due VCS

Summary

It is time to wipe my SSD and switch back to Windows. Last time I tried¬†¬†Mint 18.2 KDE Plasma 5.8 and the disappointment was enormous. This time, with Ubuntu 18.10¬†I feel kinda sad to switch back to Windows. If my profession wouldn’t be a Software-Developer building Windows applications, I definitely would stay on Ubuntu. In my opinion, whether Ubuntu is recommendable or not, depends on the operating user. As a „lah-di-dah“ PC user, just browsing the web, checking email, doing some office, Ubuntu is¬†more than sufficient and I would definitely recommend¬† it. On the other hand, as a developer, it depends on the available tools and frameworks. E.g.: Building .NET (UWP, WPF,…) applications on Linux just¬†is not possible. Therefore, what I can definitely recommend to everyone out there: If you want or plan to switch to Linux, firstly do some research if all your productivity tools are available. If some productivity tools do not exist, search for acceptable alternatives; In case of even missing alternatives:¬†Stay on Windows/MAC¬†and save yourself a lot of trouble.

 Games
 Drivers
 Productivity Tools
 Development Tools
 Peripheral Drivers    
Customizability    
Explorer Features  
Package Manager  
Usability
 Community Support
Learning-curve
 Stability

Why did I switch back to Windows

  • No possibility to develop UWP and WPF
  • Lacking productivity tools:¬†MS Office, Affinity, Visual Studio
  • Not all games I play on daily basis are available on Linux
  • Almost every¬†red line¬†in this article.

As long as WPF and UWP isn’t available for Linux, I do have no choice; sadly. It was a great time and a¬†huge¬†compliment to all open source developers out there, building and supporting such a great project.

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