Just when I think I’m all set with a Linux distro as far as loving it enough to stay with it awhile, I discover another one and end up trying it out.
Old PCs are made for Linux and there is no reason to try just one of the many distros out there.
To the contrary, it’s like Lay’s potato chips: you can’t eat, or in this case try, just one.
All of the flavors of Linux I’ve experienced have had their charms.
Ubuntu Mate may be my all time favorite as it’s near and dear to me by virtue of its original hard disk installation having survived the death of the computer (logic board) it was in only to find new life in a USB external hard drive enclosure as a portable Linux system.
Up until about a month ago it was my daily driver.
For a system to become my everyday workstation it has to be good and as near to bulletproof as systems can get. An ancient hard drive to begin with that originally ran Windows XP, I believe that Ubuntu Mate surviving a transplant of its ancient ATA hard drive to an external enclosure only made the drive (and system) stronger–much like a person who has been through the trials and tribulations of life.
Computers have revolutionized the way the world works and I’ve made it my mission to be fascinated with them throughout my adult working life.
I thought I loved Macs above all others until I didn’t. I went to the dark side (Windows) only to feel disappointed (and trapped) by the workings of Microsoft. Both Apple and Microsoft’s operating systems are commercial. I know macOS is free, but you have to pay the Apple tax for the privilege of using this system–aka you have to buy a Mac before you can (legally) use macOS.
So how free is that?
By the time consumer versions of Windows 10 were free most of us had paid for years of OS updates. There really wasn’t a true, free OS for consumers that allowed them to upgrade when they wanted to (instead of being forced to) until Linux became easy enough for anyone with a USB jump/thumb drive to download it to (and install on a PC of their choosing they have hanging around).
Hooked on Linux
With Linux distros these days, the command line which strikes fear in the hearts of casual computer users, is merely an optional tool.
That said, over the years I’ve learned to enjoy the command line even more than being able to work through a graphical user interface (GUI). For me, it was like learning keyboard shortcut equivalents to pointing and clicking a mouse on things like drop down and font menus. Sometimes, it just pays to put a little extra time up front into things like keyboard shortcuts or command line functions as it ends up opening up a new level of satisfaction that didn’t exist before (not to mention the time it saves).
So what am I using now?
I have been totally enamored with Zorin OS 12.4 Core. I installed it on an HP 1.83 GHz Core2Duo processor with 4 GB of Ram and it just flies. I am totally impressed with how fast it is compared to Windows 10 and macOS–which both suffer from such extreme bloat that performance is nowhere near as good as it should be.
Zorin is just another OS edition for the computer it’s on that already has Windows 10, Elementary OS (Linux) and Deepin (Linux). That’s right. It’s a multi-boot system and it’s like having four computers in one.
When I press the power button I can choose which system I want to use as it boots up.
A little thing called GNU GRUB (GNU GRand Unified Bootloader) is responsible for the selection magic.
The Linux OS that I’m typing this piece on is called MX-17. However, it’s installed on a 2 GHz Pentium 4 processor with only 1 GB of Ram. It’s not as fast as Zorin Core on the Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of ram of course, but it is very serviceable and allows me to continue using a machine that would otherwise receive zero use as it was formerly running the security vulnerability known as Windows XP.
And did I mention that MX-17 is joined on the P4 by Linux Mint 19 Tara and Zorin OS Lite for a trifecta of Linux OS beauties?
Somebody pinch me.
Somebody can pinch you, too once you try Linux.
[Ed. Note: Be sure and support the developers behind the distros you enjoy with whatever donations you can, as this enables their continued hard work at producing operating systems we all love to use].