After a recent spate of malware infections I had come to the end of my patience with Windows.
Through the magic of Twitter my plight was made public.
The answering call came from from Mr.Mac, as you can see, suggesting I try a version of Linux called Mint. He also very kindly sent me a long email explaining a partitioning scheme and other useful tips.
So I had a play around with it, I wasn’t a complete newbie having played around with some live-cd installs before, oddly enough almost exactly a year ago! In fact, it was a live-cd of Ubuntu that I used to retrieve a lot of the files from my recently screwed up Windows install.
First off I installed Mint on my laptop, I’ll confess it wasn’t absolutely smooth sailing and I had some learning to do. In my typical fashion, I didn’t carefully read the instructions provided by Mr.Mac, leaving me playing around with the partitions for a few days. I couldn’t get the installer to create the ntfs partition I wanted to use as a shared area. Once I figured out to create the partitions in partition editor before running the installer I was away. My next step was installing on our desktop machine which, thanks to my laptop pain, went a lot smoother.
Once everything was up and running, I spent some time setting things up to share things across the Windows/Linux divide, for example I can open Thunderbird and since emails are on the shared partition are available to me in in either. My Firefox bookmarks are synchronised across all 4 installs using a handy program called Xmarks.
Things are simple in Linux and just seem to work, I haven’t had a problem so far that hasn’t been fixed by the first answer given on the Mint forums. You see those pictures up there, the ones taken from Twitter and Tweet deck? I grabbed them in moment using the Take Screenshot app that’s installed from the start. In Windows I would have been fiddling around with picture editing to produce the same result, in fact so ingrained is this behaviour that I fired up Gimp before remembering that I’d seen the screenshot app in the menu.
One of the main reasons I’d held off on going further with Linux on previous forays was my darling Paul. In practice this hasn’t been a problem, there has been the odd comment but mostly he has taken to it easily. The main things he does are web and email so there isn’t a lot of differences to get used to. He also likes to watch movies and that’s taken care of easily with the default programs, plus there is a version of VLC for Linux to make the change even easier. I’m missing utorrent a bit but the Linux client Transmission does the job easily and simply.
In conclusion, I’m sold on Linux, its ironic really the time I spent making things share across the divide far outweighs the actual time I have needed to boot into Windows. This week I booted into Windows once, I just need to get the Nokia PC Suite working in Linux and find a photo management app that I like and I think that might be me using Linux 100% of the time 🙂
If you are thinking about an alternative to Windows, I urge you to give it a go, you wont be sorry. If you want any advice, i’m no expert but I’m learning all the time, feel free to ask 🙂