A Month With Linux

Back in July I took over many of the network and system administration duties for Martin Luther College when my longtime colleague stepped away for a new opportunity as a developer.

Our current systems are a mix of Windows, Linux, and Novell NetWare systems. On the Linux side of things we use Ubuntu, CentOS, and Red Hat across maybe twenty or so physical servers and virtual machines. With a switch from NetWare 6.5 to Open Enterprise Server 11 on the horizon, we will also be adding SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to our fleet of distributions we support as well.

I’ve used Linux on-and-off for coming up on eight years now, but I’ve been heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem for the past few years. Some of my Linux capabilities have atrophied a little bit in that intervening time, and that doesn’t exactly make me feel good.

With the new emphasis on Linux administration for me at work, along with my continual need to make sure I can use all current platforms, I think it is time for a little bit a challenge.

I’m calling it “A Month With Linux”. The idea is to keep my usage of OS X to a minimum (mainly only for work-related needs which can only be fulfilled by an OS X machine) and use a Linux distribution as my main computing platform on my laptops and desktops.

While I haven’t settled on a distribution yet, I’m leaning toward a version of openSUSE. Right now the released version is openSUSE 12.3 with 13.1 currently in active development (as of this writing, Beta 1 has been released) and not due to be released until November (right around the time for Baby #3!), but the inclusion of GNOME 3.10 is a huge “win” for me along with updated versions of Ruby and the Linux kernel.

I’m hoping to also give Btrfs a try as my default file system, but I need to also figure out why I can’t install a stable system with it first (might be entirely my fault). I am also going to try to give Dropbox the boot by trying out some other file-syncing services (first on the list: BitTorrent Sync).

That’s the general outline. I am still going to use my iPhone 5 (obviously), iPad mini, and my wife will still have her MacBook, but Linux is going to be MY only computing platform for a month …

… starting soon. I need to choose a distro first.

4 replies on “A Month With Linux”

KDE and GNOME. Bah! Give me Afterstep or FVWM. I still have fond memories of Irix on SGI Indy workstations but I haven’t seen a port of that to Linux in a long time.

I’ve actually really liked the more recent versions of KDE and GNOME. Last time I ran Enterprise SUSE as my primary workstation I was using GNOME and loved it.

GNOME 2 was my favorite window manager by far … but GNOME 3 was a HUGE shift which is taking me some time to get used to. I have a feeling I just need to stick with one and make due, but I really wish that GNOME 2 was being actively developed.

The ‘geek’ side of me is so tempted by Linux all the time, then I think about finding hardware and managing the install and the lazy part of me gives up.

Not to mention that I have Adobe Creative Cloud for Photoshop and need to run it. Switching between OS’s for .psd files doesn’t seem like a good workflow.

Hardware is a problem, it always has been, so I’m sticking with older desktop hardware or Intel stuff because they seem to actually care about supporting the open source systems.

Luckily, I don’t need to work with Adobe Creative Cloud anymore … happy to kiss that thing goodbye.

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