The Manifesto of a Linux Aficionado

Ever since I experienced Ubuntu 12.04 for the first time, I have been keeping track of Linux's progress in general, amazed by the wide variety of choices, ranging from distros for absolute beginners to distros for the expert, like Linux Mint and Arch Linux respectively. Ever since Windows 10 caused problems, I have ALWAYS kept Linux as an option for when Windows in general becomes by and large unviable for the average user, and I have kept Linux as my primary for my laptop, even as I bounced around as explained here. Here I will help those people who have heard the rumors about the difficulty of setting up a Linux installation, overall management, etc. and hope that you, the average user, can one day experience the various glories and utility of Linux.


Chapter 1: Gossip

The most common thing I find is how rumors and overall misinformed opinions can quickly turn Windows users off. Everything ranging from difficulty of setting up, to causing shenanigans with your PC, to supposed unreliability and even the showoffs at Reddit can be a factor in fearing even trying Linux for the first time. Here, I will bust the myths and other misconceptions people have and you may have heard of. This is necessary in order to give you a clear head for the rest of the manifesto.

1.1: What is Linux?
Linux is the central kernel, constantly updated with bugfixes and some features here and there so as to keep up with the current environment. It provides you with the backbone to which you can create your own distribution. With this explanation, the claim that the Kernel is the OS itself is debunked. Another misconception is that Linux name isn't belonging to any particular group or person. The name GNU/Linux (which is often shortened to Linux) came from GNU's failed attempt to make a kernel for their system (called GNU hurd), and Linus Torvald's success in providing them one, having named Linux after his first name. Furhermore, do not confuse Unix with Linux, although they share similar design philosophies. Examples of Unix include any of the BSD distros like OpenBSD and NetBSD.

In the modern day, Linux is ubiquitous in many servers and other hardware around the world, running Debian or otherwise, and the consumer Linux scene has only grown, from old hardware that needs to function to absolute battlestations that can absolutely tank modern games to people chasing the aesthetic they love. What's keeping you from joining the ride, other than the odd fearmongering and otherwise misunderstanding of others, or maybe those people who can absolutely bang out awesome looking desktops?

1.2: Utilities
"man" pages exist or a reason. Many shell utilities like cat and touch only show their more basic functions to you if you make an error, and they're usually pretty good about stopping themselves due to said error. However, if you type "man touch" you get a comprehensive manual that can be navigated by the arrow keys for easy reading. Many terminals by default come with a black background and white text, a common sight back then, with DOS being a more prominent example of that color scheme, which makes for easy visual processing. If you don't know how to exit a man page, you can CTRL+C it (same with DOS and even Windows Command Line, who'd 'ave thunk?) until you get more familiar with it. If you plan on using the shell more often, then man pages will definitely help.

To explain the terminal, it is more often seen in an emulator than the actual TTY prompt, of which there are a number, via CTRL+ALT+(number). These are actual terminals, and TTY2 is often used as the desktop environment's home. The SHELL on the other hand, that is how you can interact with commands, files etc., and you'd often find that "bash" is the main shell of your average terminal, although there are others if you'd like to explore. To best compare, Windows 98's desktop is a DE equivalent, the windowed DOS shell is the terminal emulator equivalent, and DOS itself is the TTY equivalent (although DOS is an OS).

1.3: "It's WAY harder to use than Windows"
It CAN be, if you don't know what you're looking for. If you're looking for a Windows-like experience with everything working as it should, then Linux Mint is for you. If you're looking to tread the razor's edge and customize everything to your liking, then Arch Linux, Artix and Void Linux are for you. Heck, if you like a particular desktop environment, then many of the popular distros have versions that have that preinstalled and default. However, if you aren't up for reinstalling, then you can just install the desktop environments themselves and switch to them using the login screen. I did a bit of both, and both options are quite viable.

In this respect, you can either respect Occam's Razor or geek the fuck out, and it depends on what you want in a distro. For absolute beginners, I HIGHLY recommend Linux Mint. It will do you no wrong, but you might have to grab yourself some drivers if your hardware parts are proprietary only.

1:4 "Linux is too niche for me to consider it"
Actually, you'd be wrong there. Like I said, the Linux community's gotten BIG, and I mean BIG, and already we are resting on the shoulders of Linux servers aplenty, and even our routers use Linux most of the time. Even Android is based on Linux, just heavily specialized designs for the hardware they support, so you're probably using Linux fulltime already! Haha! Let's not forget the popularity of single board computers.

Chapter 2: Unfamiliarity

Being unfamiliar with Linux can indeed instill the fear of screwing something up. That's why most distros have Live Sessions, non-permanent instances of what the installed product will be like, and the best part? Not having to worry about accidentally erasing your current Windows installation. Booting into an installer or live session does need some knowhow about UEFI (or BIOS if your computer uses that), and how to get into their respecive boot selection screens, but it's well worth it to see if you want to install a distro or not. Furthermore, you can play around with a live session because of most having some extra room to install and download a few things before running out of room. Once you're done, shutting down will make you lose everything you did on a live session, leaving no traces but what you might've put on your actual storage.

Windows in comparison wouldn't let you experience it before even installing unless you made a Windows To Go USB stick, which is only available on later versions. Another massive complaint from Linux users is the sheer bloat, install time, and sluggish boot time Windows users put up with. Linux in general is superior in all 3 aspects, so Microsoft has no excuse for lackluster performance. And then there's you actually having a choice in the matter. In Windows 7 and up, you would have to find open source projects that completely eliminate telemetry, disable Superfetch which hammers hard disk drives, etc. In Linux, you can avoid that entire mess and more by finding a distro that focuses on privacy, or outright just use a Linux distro that doesn't even track you. In Debian, there's an optional piece of telemetry you can send to them about what packages you install for a package popularity contest, and you can turn it off at install time, never to see it again except for the option to change your mind, which it doesn't bug you about.

2.1: Corporate (closed source) vs Public (open source)
The nature of open source source code is what has kept Linux running ever since the early 90s. To posit: Company A makes an operating system that is closed source, and fixes everything themselves, and Group B makes an open source operating system that can be changed via pull requests and has its issues page open. Who do you think's gonna last? Likely as not Group B's operating system, because people can see inside the code and see problems that the original authors might have never caught. Windows 10 is a perfect example of why closed source can be disastrous, and end up dying quite quickly: it consistently gets targeted by hackers upon hackers because Microsoft needs to fix exploits, but at the same time keep it closed source, which is time consuming. Linux on the other hand can get a report from a third party, investigate it, and fix it on the spot, or shortly after if the problem is severe enough to warrant more work on said problem. Part of the reason it feels so unfamiliar is that you don't expect an operating system's source code to just be OUT THERE, especially when published and maintained by non suits and third parties, and can lead to the fear that systems can get quickly infected this way, which HAS happened once or twice in the history of Linux, such as the University of Minnesota intentionally putting in a flawed pull request.

Chapter 3: Occam's Razor

The root problem is the lack of Occam's Razor in the minds of many. Occam's Razor is the idea that most questions can be answered with much simpler explanaitons than one might expect. Microsoft is a HUGE offender of this because of their closed source nature. They do a LOT to make sure you can't see inside the guts of its NT Kernel, the features, almost everything except for what you're supposed to see. For gaming, such obfuscation is necessary in order to make sure cheaters don't exploit the game you worked hard on, and it's generally forbidden to sell open source code.

What goes incredibly wrong can be quite disastrous for closed source users, and a fair bit less so for open source users because of how quick the problem can be identified, even in a project so large as a professional quality distro versus closed source developers who have to do their best to keep it closed. It's why DRM can be seen as absolute bogus unless they know what the heck they're doing, such as Xigncode3 for Black Desert. Actually, cheaters might he the chief reason why MMOs are still paid for by and large.

Chapter 4: Compatibility

Compatibility is something many Windows users fear when trying to switch to Linux. There are a lot of options for people who want to maintain compatibility with Wine, but programs like simply won't work due to their dependency on stuff that doesn't work yet. If you have a make or break program that would kill your desire to use Linux, fear not, because Linux can dualboot.! After you install Windows and leave some room for the Linux distro of choice, you can then boot into your Linux install, and format the remaining space for use with Linux, likely installing the GRUB bootloader in the process, which will detect and add an entry for your Windows install. However, I have heard that some people suffered an inability to boot because Windows gave Linux the middle finger and proverbially locked it out from the inside by deleting the GRUB bootloader, but you can go ahead and reinstall said GRUB bootloader through a live session.

If you have more than one hard drive, the safer option is to install one operating system on each drive, one Windows, one Linux. This means that Windows will be unable to interfere with the bootloader because GRUB doesn't exist on its hard drive. Good choice to have, huh?

If you DO NOT want Windows on your system anymore, then the aforementioned Wine compatibility layer, which translates NT and Win98 calls to POSIX compliance, and Proton (do not confuse with Protonmail or ProtonVPN), Steam's Linux compatibility initiative, are your friends. I use WineHQ, a fork of Wine itself, but Wine proper works just as well. Just make sure you have an internet connection because Wine will need its Mono and Gecko packages for .net and Mozilla Gecko compatibility. Proton and WineHQ keep a tight compatibility list, so if you aren't sure, then please check them out for whether or not you can run your favorite games or programs yet.


You have many a reason to move to Linux. You'd learn more about computers in general, compatibility is great but not perfect, you'd be doing your PC a service by avoiding the use of Windows, especially in its base form, and you can join a growing userbase with great support and distros with a kernel that's going to last for a long time. Good luck on your journey if you've been convinced by this manifesto.

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