I got into computers in 1991. I was most attracted to GeoWorks... it was small and fast. Within the applications that came with it, and a very few add ons, it was great, but nobody ever wrote significant applications for it. It was basically a toy.
I grudgingly started using Windows.
One thing I have always hated is how SLOW Windows is. It's always been a resource hog. So it tends to force hardware upgrades WAY too soon. That's good for the hardware manufacturers, but bad for me.
The other thing that I hated about Windows is how insecure it is. I got a couple of viruses at music sites (not pirate sites, DISCUSSION sites) that should have been safe. But it was enough that I needed SOME Antivirus protection. And the cure really was in a lot of ways worse than the problem for me. McAfee in particular. They're like having a used car salesman living in your computer! THAT makes it hard to get anything done.
Somewhere I heard about Knoppix Live CDs (this was awhile back) and how you could use them to surf the web, and they were virus proof. So I downloaded Knoppix and burned myself a Knoppix CD so I could go to my favorite music sites WHILE their malware attack was ongoing, and not have to worry. Cool.
And, even in a live CD, it was almost as fast as Windows. Unfortunately, it came with Konqueror and Iceweasel for browsers.... neither really worked well for me... Konqueror was weird, and that version of Iceweasel was crash prone... I think... it's been a while.
I got together with a musician that I knew from some public jams, to jam, make some music. And he mentioned he was using Ubuntu. That got my attention. I could have lived with brown, but the control panel was across the top. No. Dealbreaker.
Well, I thought to myself, I need to check out some Linux versions. I found Distrowatch, figured the top 10 must be top 10 for a reason, started reading reviews.
Linux Mint was GREEN
.... and the control panel was on the bottom like I was used to, AND it had a good reputation for friendliness in the forums, AND Clement Lefebvre seems to "get" what Windows refugees want and need from a Linux distro. It amounts to this, I'm sorry. If a distro requires you to drop to Terminal, it's BROKEN. To me, Terminal is not a place to do work, it's a place to fix broken things in a Linux distro. It's like opening the hood of your car. Yeah, I like to do as many things on my car as I can, but if I spend too much time under the hood, it's because the car is broken... it's not getting me down the road in carefree style. The driver/passenger compartment is to me analogous to the Graphical User Interface and the desktop, etc.
And this endless desktop tweaking reminds me of people who are endlessly customizing their cars, but never go anyplace important with them.
To me, desktop effects are sort of like having RIMS on your car!
Anyway, I also liked Mint because it was based on Ubuntu, and I figured there would be more apps available (more on that later!). I decided to stick with LTS versions. Changing every 6 months just seemed NUTS. First up was Elyssa, then Isadora. I had to use Terminal occasionally with them, not too much though.... mostly video issues. I mostly skipped Maya because Isadora was working so well, and all the fallout from the Ubuntu Unity and Gnome 3 changes seemed to be giving Clement and company too much work to do, and the reviews weren't as good as I was used to seeing from Mint.
When Qiana came out, I was finally having enough problems with Isadora to want to switch, plus the reviews were better. I'm also happy about the switch to an LTS base.... that makes SOOOOO much sense to me! But I am having some problems. Some may be the age of the computer.... it's 9 years old now! Some seems to be Firefox. It seems to be doing to my Linux installs what Windows did to itself.... so bloated, it maxes out resources, slows things to a crawl, and the computer hangs!
So, I've been looking for alternatives. I always kept Opera around just in case a page wouldn't display properly, but it was just too different from Firefox to get comfortable with. Chrome/Chromium??? Sorry, I don't trust Google AT ALL... having experienced Microsoft, Google seems like more of the same. So far I have tried Midori, Netsurf, and Qupzilla. Midori and Qupzilla are somewhat crash prone. Netsurf is more stable, but it doesn't function well with the forum software on my favorite music forums. In the process, I've noticed that the software repositories really are a problem. Yeah, there are LOTS of programs.... but some don't even tell you they run under Terminal!!! And others are just buggy. And many programs are of interest only to programmers and such.
And a critical problem: It's not unusual for an application in the repositories to be two versions behind the current version. That was the case with Netsurf. I contacted them about the problems I was having, but maybe because they are such a small crew, they don't want to support two versions ago... they want to know If their current version have the problems. Can you blame them? And unless I figure out how to download and compile the current version of Netsurf, I'm not going to find out.
I was going to install Scribus, but it's also two versions behind the current one, and it seems like I might need some support with a program that complex.
Anyway.... this application software situation seem like a crucial problem. Yeah, the repository system is very safe, but it keeps Linux application projects from getting the attention and support they need to thrive. Sometimes I hear about a cool piece of software for Linux, and it is in the repository? No. That's getting old.
I'm getting frustrated to the point where I'm thinking I might have two computers.... one a Linux box for Internet, e-mail, and word processing, and a Windows box for music applications. Oh yeah.... then there's the real time kernel problem. Musicians need to record, and record more than one track... that's called multitracking. And a real time kernel makes it a whole lot easier. And there IS a real time kernel for Linux, but the project is dying on the vine, so the RT kernel's development is frozen, and nVidia drivers are not compatible with the real time kernel. At least that's what I understand at this point- correct me if I'm wrong.
If you look at the mobile phone world, if a phone or "platform" doesn't have enough quality apps, it's not going to make it... it's going to DIE.
And I'm concerned that all this continual changing and customizing of desktops while application projects are dying on the vine amounts to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!!! Or at least way too much time is spent reinventing the wheel (or the desktop) I really don't need or want desktop effects with Compiz if I can't get the apps I want.
Maybe there needs to be a Linux AppWatch similar to DistroWatch, to draw attention to worthy software projects.
I like Linux Mint, but I'm beginning to think I'd be willing to switch to a different Distro, if they had the current version of some key application in their repository. Or I may just get a second computer and put Ubuntu Studio on it. Hey... Linux IS free!
Another frustration: Linux computer geeks! I can't be TOO hard on you, because we musicians aren't a very mature practical bunch... but you computer geeks aren't either. Legos, indeed. Legos are TOYS.... not TOOLS. Music may seem to some like a fairly useless endeavor, but it means to me that Linux has to be a TOOL, not a toy. It's a means to an end, a way of accomplishing something. And I get frustrated with those of you that see it as an end in itself.
The thing is, those of you that like to tinker with your computers just for jollies, I wonder what you're doing with Mint anyway. I would think a distro like Arch would be more up your alley. If I understand correctly, Arch really IS Linux that works like a Lego set!!!
Anyway, since Linux Mint has a reputation for being a complete, user friendly distro, some of you guys are just asking to be annoyed by us Windows refugees coming in and expecting Linux Mint to work as MUCH LIKE WINDOWS AS POSSIBLE. That's just the way we are. We don't want the viruses, and we don't want that bloat slowing us down, but yeah.... it would be nice if everything else would work as much like Windows AS POSSIBLE. Yeah, I know there's a limit to what is possible. Some change and adaption is necessary, but change just to be different? No.
And more apps, please!
I wish half the distros would go away and those people would start working on APPS.
And you're not going to turn me into a Linux geek- I tried REALLY hard to turn myself into a computer geek in the 90's, and it DIDN'T WORK... and it's WAY too late now!