Linux Desktop So Far
So it’s been about a solid month with this Linux desktop. I know this isn’t the year for one. But we do say this every year. “It’s the year of the Linux desktop!”. When in we stay on our Mac’s and our corporate issues Window’s bricks. Now when I started this venture it wasn’t to flame the anti-Microsoft sentiment. I have NOTHING against the new Microsoft. They have come full circle and they are not the Microsoft of old by any means. So what is up with the “Windows Brick” comment? Well, that stems from the over intrusive security software we see companies put on. Where it kills productivity and some companies are completely OK with that.
Hence my previous post on Linux Desktop for .NET Developers. Can we develop on Linux, be as productive? Well, from what I found out in the last month of using this desktop is yes, but. So, let’s unpack this real quick. First the context we are building apps in the cloud not for it. I talk about that here. And with that I am able to do what I need to do with ease. I can run my code locally. I can test and debug with no problems. Sometimes if I am coding I will forget I am even on a Linux desktop.
So, let’s talk about the “but” and it’s a big but. Where it got sticky for me was with some of the little things. I am SO used to using GitHub desktop client, which works great for Mac and Windows. But sadly doesn’t have a Ubuntu counter part. GitKraken was OK but where it failed is when I had to commit to a private repository. That is when it doesn’t become free. With that I reverted back to using Git from the terminal. And I will be the first one to admit GitHub Desktop client made my life better and easy.
I spend a lot of my day-to-day in PowerPoint. I have customer decks to build. I use as a communication tool when I cannot be in person. Where this experiment got me was when it came to PowerPoint. Sure there is LibreOffice. It’s nice not as full featured as Microsoft Office. Now I was completely on board to using the O-365 web interface. For Outlook mail and calendar it works amazing. Teams is not generally available (GA) for Linux yet. That didn’t stop me from having a few Teams calls with it. But to get back to what the original goal of this project was? A Linux desktop for a .NET developer. So all the Office tools not being here is me being picky.
There were some nuance things that did get me. First was my screen. I have a Samsung 4K display. The resolution on this is 3840 x 2160 (16:9). This made the font and cursor super small. As much as I used to complain about having the most real estate as possible that is not the case today. I am much older and my eyes need bigger font. The card in the NUC didn’t take well to changing the resolution well. When I brought it down the screen looked blurry. I settled on keeping the resolution at 3840 x 2160 (16:9) but I increased the side of everything by 200%. I get it I am getting older feel free to laugh. But this is something I am going to have to work with to get just the way I need it. Another thing I noticed whith this Samsung 4k display was that I needed to lower the brightness right away. I didn’t notice this when this was the display for my Mac. It felt almost like I was getting a sun tan while working on this machine.
One little tool that makes things a lot easier is the Gnome Tweak Tool. This has a few things that make life easier on a Gnome desktop. Adjusting the appearance, fonts and for me it was the cursor. I wanted a different cursor set and this helped me do it fast and easy. To install it run the following commands:
sudo apt update
Then run this command:
sudo apt install gnome-tweaks
If you go to “Show Applications” it should be under the app called Tweaks.
The most difficult and I mean damn near impossible thing to change is short cuts. Copy paste on a Mac is one way and on this Linux desktop it is different. Work-spaces are different as well. I believe they are “Desktop” on the Mac. These differences are small I know but they are so annoying. I haven’t looked in to changing my keybindings to be that of a Mac. That would go against the point of this whole project.
Lastly this project has really forced me to be more comfortable with using the terminal. Most applications (even noted above) need to be installed via the terminal. Installing RabbitMq was a series of commands to install and configure. I use Hugo for my content builder for this blog. That required me to install Hugo along with Go. Both needed to be done via the terminal. Git for the time being is on the terminal for me. This isn’t bad. I actually think it’s good to refresh my knowledge of using the terminal. Either on the Mac or on a Windows machine using the GUI has made us lazy. I am the first to admit to that.