A Month With Linux: More Thinking

No, I have not even started yet, but I do have some more thoughts on my planned “A Month With Linux” thing coming up in the future. I’ve been waffling on my end, especially with the imminent release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, but I am going to go through with it at some point in the future.

What I AM waiting for is the next release of openSUSE. As such, you will notice on my “sidebar” a countdown image for the next release of openSUSE, 13.1. I’m pretty excited about this release for a number of reasons:

  • openSUSE 13.1 is supposed to be the base platform from which SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 is going to be based. That means a lot of updated software is going to be getting support from SUSE. I’m most interested in seeing how both KDE and GNOME have matured (especially with the recently GNOME 3.10 release).
  • I kind of like to mess around with file systems a little bit (THAR BE DRAGONS), and Btrfs has me a little excited. I really like ZFS and will probably end up using FreeNAS for something at work this year, but Btrfs looks to be where the Linux kernel is headed and I want to play with it some more.
  • The move to Ruby that YaST team just completed makes me a little bit excited about the platform. I like Ruby, so I like that a major component has moved its entire code base to Ruby and I want to watch what happens.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 is a really solid GNOME 2 distribution and I am interested to see which of the GNOME 3/KDE 4 divide they end up on … so I need to watch what happens with openSUSE 13.1+ to get an idea of what the future might bring.
  • I want to maybe move some of our older, less essential servers to openSUSE and want to get a feel for the tooling for this distro.

So, a lot to work with. That is why I’m holding off on a final decision until after 13.1 is released and I can take a look at it. I have put SLED 11 back on my Lenovo ThinkPad X220 for the time being to play with it some more. The hardest part is the lack of software directly in the repositories, and the lack of an updated version of Firefox as well (if anyone knows if SUSE is going to move to the latest Firefox ESR, please let me know in the comments).

I’m having fun playing in these new (to me) communities and how they operate. Hopefully I’ll soon have an entire month to do so.


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.