The fact is I didn't remember I wrote that article, but actually I'm using Linux full time in my desktop computer. How can it be possible? How someone who ranted about Linux on the desktop ended using Linux full time?
Well... it's difficult to explain but it was a gradual shift to Linux, so gradual I almost didn't notice it until it was too late. Everything started after I resume my meteor observations using Graves radar. At that first stage a lot of calcs and simulations were needed and I choose Octave. I knew it already, works fine and it's free. Most people told me to use Matlab, but I didn't had a license. Both programs are quite similar and both will work fine for me, so why spend money on a license by having a free alternative?
Busybox for Windows.
GNU utils for Windows. Things were far better, but soon I realized another Windows problem: Pipes are a joke on Windows and intermediate files slows down the computer to a crawl.
PuTTY. What a relief! All commands worked as supposed and everything worked just fine.
But day after day I realized I was spending more and more time in the Debian virtual machine than in Windows. I played a lot with Baudline and created Baudmeteors. I played a lot with GNU Radio and RTL-2832 based DVB-T dongles. But soon I realized a virtual machine is not good for full speed USB transfers while another problem slowly arised: Virtualbox could use only one core from my dual core CPU, so I was seriously limited with many cpu-intensive GNU Radio flowcharts.
During those days I discovered many interesting projects in Github, I downloaded, compiled, modified and studied many source files and it was fun. Some years ago I wrote about the lack of specialized software in Linux, but I was constantly finding new and exciting projects.
The meteor work arrived to a point where simulations were needed so I reached a point were installing Linux again in the computer for some time would make sense. I was reticent after the last experiences, so I decided not to install Linux and continue with the Debian virtual machine.
And I did it. I installed the USB 3.0 controller, connected the new external hard disk, and booted a live Linux Mint from the USB stick. I did the hard disk image and then, I installed Debian in the main disk.
Suddenly I felt my computer to be slow, unresponsive. It was the same Windows as always, but suddenly I didn't feel my computer to be as snappy as it was the three previous weeks: three weeks is more than enough to get used to a machine and when something changes to worse, you notice it immediately.
To be honest, the file transfers were as fast as they always had been on Windows, but once you see how your hardware works with Linux for a long period of time and come back to Windows, things were really noticeable, for example when you make a large file transfer and your computer become somewhat unresponsive while the transfer is working. Probably you know what I'm talking about.
I had to surrender to the evidence. Linux works just fine as a desktop machine. It takes me just a few days to remove the Windows partition and install, again, a Debian on the hard disk. I'm still using that Debian installation, but upgraded to Sid, in a new computer and no complaints at all.
I would lie if I said that the transition to Linux had no problems. I was bitten by some nasty bugs, but they were resolved as new versions (both kernel and userspace) appeared. I have many problems in my life but my computer is not one of them.
For me it is clear Windows peaked with Windows 7 and has been downhill since then, and nothing indicates that this is going to change in the near future. Now Windows is only a small virtual machine in the deep of my hard disk that I use almost only for a single program from time to time: Spectrum Spy.
ConclusionMaybe you are surprised to find a Windows vs Linux reading in 2017. Those were very common in the 90s but now? In my life I have used many OS and platforms, MS-DOS, Windows, AmigaOS, even MacOS for a little time. I learned the OS doesn't matter at all. Applications matters, OS don't. You finally will ending with the OS who runs all your applications flawlessly and let you do whatever you want with your computer with confidence. And for me, in this very moment, that OS is a Linux variant: Debian. That's all.
Miguel A. Vallejo, EA4EOZ