Switching to Linux

It's been a long time coming; I've tried Linux the first time 8 years ago, and since then I've been coming and going, testing different versions and distros, but always returning to Windows. No more.

This list is not based only on FOSS and Privacy-aware alternatives, but on things that make sense for my daily usage. Of course, I choose to limit my usage of tools from companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, but I don't really mind Microsoft's and Apple's policies regarding data usage. They're clear of what they gather and why they do it, and I understand that.

I'm a curious mind, and that's what drives me to Linux, but I need a stable, easy-to-use and feature packed environment to do my work, so don't expect to find Nextcloud or Arch here.


  • My system

    This is my basic environment, everything that makes a computer, well... a computer!

  • Ubuntu

    Free Windows Linux Windows S Website

    Ubuntu is not the best Linux distro. It has privacy issues and sometimes things don't work out the way they're intended to. However, Ubuntu has the most features and compatibility for out-of-the-box usage, and it has a huge active community that helps a lot when bugs creep their way in. Ubuntu also has great support for drivers, including Wacom tablets (that work flawlessly with GIMP).

    Sure, I could've chosen Pop!_OS as it has even more features and is more well-designed with fewer bugs, but that takes me to the second entry:

     

    Ubuntu icon
  • Unity

    Free Linux Website

    Unity was the default desktop environment for Ubuntu until 2017, when it was abandoned by Canonical. But the Linux community never leaves a good thing to die, and Unity has risen again just three years later from the hands of a really young and talented developer, who released Ubuntu Unity Remix and is trying his hardest and best to make it an official Ubuntu Flavor, just like Kubuntu, MATE and Budgie. Unity is out-dated, for sure, but this developer has made tweaks to bring it to this decade, and now it has gained back its crown for best Linux DE.

    Unity is fast, easy to use, keyboard-centered, works really well with multiple monitors, has lots of tweaking options to let us, the users, make the most out of the system, and it is truly beautiful, specially with the new 21.04 version theming (Yaru-Unity) and third party icon theme Suru++.

     

    Unity icon
  • The basics

    Let's start with the tools and programs that are available on multiple platforms and that I had already used on Windows.

  • Mozilla Firefox

    Free Mac Windows Linux Android iPhone ... Android Tablet BSD iPad Snapcraft PortableApps.com Haiku Fire TV Gecko Website

    Great tool. Lightweight, privacy focused, modern and always up-to-date. Firefox and Firefox Sync are essential.

     

    Mozilla Firefox icon
  • DuckDuckGo

    Free Web Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad ... Vivaldi Browser Chrome Safari Yandex.Browser Opera Firefox Website

    Not the best search engine, but certainly more secure than Google. It's been doing the job for me for almost 3 years with no problems. Whenever I don't find what I want I can quickly jump into a Google Container in Firefox and use Google with the peace of mind that Google won't be able to track me.

     

    DuckDuckGo icon
  • Bitwarden

    Freemium Mac Windows Linux Web Android ... iPhone Android Tablet iPad Self-Hosted Microsoft Edge Vivaldi Browser Chrome Microsoft SQL Server Tor Browser Bundle Safari F-Droid Cloudron Opera Mono Brave Firefox Website

    Firefox used to have its own password manager, but it has been discontinued. Bitwarden is the obvious choice after that. You only have to install an extension, set up your account and use it. It's completely free (with the option to pay if you want to support the project and get sweet premium features) for any number of devices and it's widely available on Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Web, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera... you get the vibe here. It's safe, it's easy, it's private, it's great. It also stores notes, credit cards, personal info, generates passwords with various complexity levels, and has now announced the Bitwarden Send, from which you can upload files and send them in a secure and encrypted link to someone. All free.

     

    Bitwarden icon
  • Mailspring

    Freemium Mac Windows Linux Arch Linux Fedora ... Ubuntu Website

    Mailspring is the to-go mail app if you have Linux and need all your proprietary and open source email in a single place. It works like a charm, even with iCloud.

     

    Mailspring icon
  • Apple Music

    Commercial Mac Windows Android iPhone iPad Website

    I trust Apple more than I trust Spotify, and they also pay more for the artists, while I pay the same price. It doesn't have a dedicated app, but it has a decent web player, and I mostly use it on my phone anyway.

     

    Apple Music icon
  • Discord

    Freemium Mac Windows Linux Web Android ... iPhone Chrome OS Android Tablet BSD iPad Electron / Atom Shell FreeBSD Playstation Website

    Discord is one the best communication apps available. And it works on Linux. Great plus.

     

    Discord icon
  • Steam

    Free Mac Windows Linux Web Android ... iPhone Android Tablet Windows Phone iPad SteamOS Website

    Steam is what saved Linux computers from becoming an enterprise OS focused only on stability (or cutting edge, depending on what you use), coding and hosting. It brings to Linux everything you love about your Windows gaming machine, including a compatibility layer for games that were not developed for the Linux system and works with most games available on the store, including Microsoft titles such as Age of Empires (one of my personal favorites). Steam and Proton are simply amazing if you want to game on your PC.

     

    Steam icon
  • My office

    So this is a tricky one: I'm a Microsoft 365 user, and Office doesn't have official clients for Linux except for Teams and Skype. But fear not! We don't need the Office Desktop Apps with all the power Linux has to offer!

  • Microsoft Office Suite

    Commercial Mac Windows Android iPhone Android Tablet ... HUAWEI AppGallery Windows Phone iPad Website

    Okay, starting out with the Microsoft Office suite, because its web apps are getting more and more attention lately, coming closer to beating Google Docs. Also, if you have a phone or a tablet, it's the best mobile office suite available. Microsoft redesigned all of its apps for Android and iOS to be mobile-first experiences, and it is really paying off. I've used MS Office for years and I'm not giving that up now.

     

    Microsoft Office Suite icon
  • Microsoft OneDrive

    Freemium Mac Windows Web Android iPhone ... Blackberry Chrome OS Windows S Android Tablet Windows Phone iPad Apple Watch Android Wear Kindle Fire Website

    "But how are you gonna use OneDrive on Linux?"

    OneDrive has a great terminal client available, fully open-sourced. It manages sync, download, upload, and you can fully integrate it onto your desktop. The only downside is that you won't be able to access cloud files unless you download them via terminal before usage. But I can simply select the folders I want to keep on my computer all the time and let the ones I don't use as upload only. There's so many configurations available you won't really miss the clunky, badly designed and buggy OneDrive Desktop Client.

     

    Microsoft OneDrive icon
  • LibreOffice

    Free Mac Windows Linux BSD PortableApps.com Website

    LibreOffice is the standard for Linux Office use. It can open Office 365 files without any errors now, is packed with useful resources and simply works well. You will, however, want to change the default fonts on the apps, as they seem to have been brought back from the 90s.

     

    LibreOffice icon
  • Other tools

    Tools to replace both Windows apps and third-party paid tools.

  • GIMP

    Free Mac Windows Linux BSD Snapcraft ... FLATHUB PortableApps.com Haiku AmigaOS Website

    I'm not an artist, but GIMP is a great app for light work on pictures, drawings and photos. It can replace your Photos app edits if that's what you use it for, but it is almost as good as Photoshop for heavy duty.

     

    GIMP icon
  • Kdenlive

    Free Windows Linux BSD KDE Website

    Kdenlive is one of the best and easiest to use video editors I've personally used. Works for both light and heavy editing (although you'll probably want something a little more well-thought-out, such as DaVinci Resolve if editing is your job).

     

    Kdenlive icon
  • TimeShift

    Free Linux Website

    Timeshift is a great backup and system restoration tool that puts Windows System Restore on its place.

     

    TimeShift icon



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