Geekery at its peakery

So as of the current moment I’m no longer using Ubuntu Budgie. Not that I’ve had enough of Linux, oh no, far from it, quite the opposite in fact…

I decided to go deeper into the level of geekery required and went all in on a Manjaro Linux installation. Manjaro for those that don’t know, is a fork of one of the most technically difficult Linux distributions to master: Arch Linux.

Thankfully though, Manjaro is to Arch what Ubuntu is to its parent/source distribution, Debian, and is a much more user friendly experience, albeit one that’s just as easy to break as Arch Linux is!

The reason for the change is because I wanted to get experience with other distributions, and challenge myself to use a more technically minded distribution. I also like the amount of customisation that is potentially available in Manjaro, and the fact that it doesn’t have some of the issues with Gaming that Ubuntu had.

My current Manjaro desktop…

In the past several months since I decided to give Linux another go, my time in Windows on my home PC has been very very limited. In fact I think I’ve spent maybe 5 hours total in Windows on my home PC in those several months, which for me is miniscule. I’ve spent more than 5 hours on my PC alone today as I write this!

In terms of gaming, everything still isn’t 100% compatible with Windows. Sure, there are a tonne of games that are usable in Linux (yay), mainly via Steam, but some of the games in my account have native Linux installers (Terraria for example on my desktop in the above screenshot).

Of the 890 games in my Steam catalogue, 322 of those will run natively in Linux without any faffing with compatibility layers such as Proton or DXVK. And regardless of which distribution I’ve used so far, I’ve had no luck whatsoever in getting the remaining 568 games running via Proton/Steam Play. So there’s still a ways to go yet at getting everything up to par with Windows.

Steam & Discord installation on Manjaro Linux x64

Then again, as someone who mainly only plays WoW these days, it’s not a huge issue. I imagine if/when I quit playing WoW then it will become much more of a problem for me, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…

Speaking of, getting WoW running is very simple, mainly thanks to Lutris, an application that uses the Windows compatibility layer called WINE to get Windows applications (not just games) up and running within Linux.

WoW running this way works superbly, and I honestly forget most of the time I’m playing that I’m not in Windows.

The main reasons I decided to move to Linux at home were mainly for privacy, security and customisation of my OS.

I work with Windows 10 every day in work as my job. I create and deploy OS images to thousands of computers, along with hundreds of different applications, rebuild machines when they break etc, and I’ve begun to get a bit tired of Microsoft’s vision for Win10:

  • Forced updates (even if they’re known to literally break machines).
  • Advertisements now starting to appear in Start menus.
  • Lack of control over how your own machine works.
  • The constant dumbing down of the UI (EG: Control Panel in Win7 vs 10).
  • Overbearing telemetry.
  • The need for a Microsoft Account to use your PC*

Eurgh, no thank you MS.
*Yes, I know you can still use a local account, but MS make it a hassle to setup and use, and it falls over and loses your data way too often.

So I’m now living with Manjaro and I’m loving it. I’m still learning the ropes with the distribution, but so far everything has actually worked right out of the box, including my Xbox 360 Wired Windows controller, which in Ubuntu I had to fiddle with drivers to get working! Retro gaming ahoy! 😀

I’m more than aware that at some point the installation will inevitably break. Which will more than likely be my own damn stupid fault for tinkering as much like the Dwarves of the Moria mines, I’ll dig too deep and doom us all 😀

If you’ve ever been curious about Linux, I’d thoroughly encourage you to give Ubuntu or Mint a go for starters, or even Manjaro if you’re feeling adventurous! You don’t even have to commit and install it! You can either try a live CD version (either on a bootable USB stick or a DVD), or install it in a Virtual Machine such as VMWare Player 15 or VirtualBox.

Each has their drawbacks: Live CD sessions aren’t persistent, but they do give a better indicator of system performance on live hardware, and VM installs are slower as they don’t use the native hardware (don’t expect to play WoW in a VM Linux/Windows install for example), but at least the installation is persistent, allowing you to carry on using changes you’ve made to the system between logins.

Honestly I’m so happy with the current state of Linux. I’ve been trying to get into it for years, but it’s never been user-friendly enough, robust enough, good looking enough or compatible enough to be my so called “daily driver” OS. However, the past year has seen various linux installs make huge leaps and bounds in all of these areas. And I think this has all been mainly as a result of Microsoft’s changes with regards to Windows 10.

Sounds familiar eh? Even Valve have been progressing massively with Steam in Linux due to this exact same reason.

So I think now I can consider myself to be a Linux user. While it might now allow me to use 100% of my Windows applications (the main ones I miss are my Affinity applications, Photo & Designer), there’s a lot of options available either natively or via Wine.

I thoroughly recommend even just dipping your toes into the Linux waters if you’ve never tried it before, it’s a much more agreeable experience than Windows’ future…