This is an update post on the topic of “The Year of the Linux Desktop” as it is an expansive topic. For me I’ve been looking for The Year that Linux will be 100% usable as a daily driver for a standard person. Or for myself. For a while I gave up on that dream.
Then one day I realized that that moment came and went. We are now officially in “The Time of the Linux Desktop” and I’ll explain why.
I believe that Linux, the opensource ecosystem, and the community that it fosters is the ideal technical direction for humanity. It fosters transparency, working together, the group over the self, and resiliency. I’ve heard it said that human knowledge belongs to the world - to everyone - and I think that is true. Imagine how different the world would be if education at all levels was free and accessible to all. Imagine if college textbooks didn’t cost an average of $500 per semester. If new knowledge was distributed freely to everyone.
I’ve been using Linux and opensource software off and on since I was a teenager. I tried Mandrake, Slackware, Debian, and even Gentoo for a spell. Of course in those days there was no feature parity with the requirements of modern schooling and the corporate office. Applications were proprietary, Microsoft Windows only, and cumbersome.
A lot has changed since then. Mind you many things remain issues however the majority of those issues are in the past. Today I can say that in my home life I do all my personal computing in a 100% Linux environment. I believe that most people can as well.
I say that this is the Time of the Linux Desktop because the vast majority of us are using Linux every single day: Our phones. If you use an Android/Google phone then you are using Linux. A stripped down and highly customized/locked down one yes but Linux nonetheless.
My personal laptop is a system76 lemur running Pop_OS. My gaming desktop runs Ubuntu Desktop. I am able to complete all of my daily personal tasks between these two machines. My homelab is powered by Ubuntu. My raspberry pi’s run Raspian or kali, all derivatives of Debian.
On my laptop I easily do all these tasks:
- Read my email: I use GMail and the entire Google Worksuite throught the browser.
- Watch YouTube.
- Listen to and manage my Spotify playlists.
- Take care of my finances: banking, taxes, retirement, etc…
- I write: Locally via Libreoffice, online via Google, blog posts, social media, etc…
- Attend meetings via Zoom/Teams/Google/etc…
- Keep up with numerous groups on Slack, Discord, and other social media sites.
- Run virtual machines for testing and learning new skills.
- Manage my homelab.
- See and be seen via my multiple webcams.
- Listen and speak using my Bose bluetooth earbuds.
On my gaming desktop I can do all of the above and I can play the games that I want to play. I spend a lot of time playing Elder Scrolls Skyrim and No Man’s Sky. Then there are the native games in the opensource ecosystem that I’ll enjoy once in a while like Xonotic.
One bonus I discovered? How well my Brother HL-L3290 color laserjet works with Linux. My systems self-discovered the printer without any configuration. I can even scan wirelessly. It truly is a modern miracle!
Is Linux right for you? (I use “Linux” as a catch-all for the numerous possible distributions in the ecosystem.) Maybe. In many cases yes. In other cases no. I’m not trying to force or shame or beg. I’m just letting you know that it is a viable option for a lot more people now than it ever used to be.
Want to know more? Have questions? Drop me a line. I’d be happy to chat.