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I also use Reflection a lot. The keyboard is the best thing about it (tabs, ctrl, arrow keys, etc.), but I can't figure out how to paste anything from the clipboard.
The interface effect is a bit odd, but if you press and hold anywhere on the Reflection terminal screen, a small text selection box appears with the standard iOS pop-up option to paste text. If you then choose "Paste," the contents of your clipboard will be pasted properly into the command line.
 


I've found no setting other than permitting SMB1 on the Synology to let the Linux computers on the same network usefully access the Synology encrypted shared storage.
Today, my Mint 19.2 install at home received a Samba update. Seems it fixes a regression in the Samba upstream in Ubuntu 18.04.

After installing the update, I reset my Synology NAS at home to require a minimum of SMB2, thereby disabling SMB1 with its known security weakness.

Rebooted the Linux system and was able to boot into the NAS through Synology share.

Hopeful that fix is behind us and it performs the same at work tomorrow.
 


The interface effect is a bit odd, but if you press and hold anywhere on the Reflection terminal screen, a small text selection box appears with the standard iOS pop-up option to paste text. If you then choose "Paste," the contents of your clipboard will be pasted properly into the command line.
Woohoo, it works! Merci beaucoup for the invaluable tip! That nicely eliminates what was my only complaint about Reflection.
 



I've been experimenting with a number of different Linux distros (in Parallels VMs) - Ubuntu, Mint, Ubuntu-MATE - and two on the Raspberry Pi 4 - Raspbian and Ubuntu 19.10 with MATE desktop. (The Pi 4 is used as an AirPrint server for my old networked printer)....
Would you outline what software and hardware you used to use the Pi 4 as an AirPrint server? I am using an old AirPort Express with a non-wifi Brother laser printer. I am concerned that the AirPort will die before the Brother.
 


Today, my Mint 19.2 install at home received a Samba update.
Rebooted the Linux system and was able to boot into the NAS through Synology share. Hopeful that fix is behind us and it performs the same at work tomorrow.
Neither Mint 19.2 nor a fresh install of 19.3 (beta) connect on the office network without SMB1. As I see updates and changes flow in, I'll keep testing, but won't post about this again unless I'm able to verify SMB2+ connections working at both home and office.
 


Would you outline what software and hardware you used to use the Pi 4 as an AirPrint server?
If I remember correctly, I followed these instructions:

Guide: Make almost any printer AirPrint compatible with a Raspberry Pi in 20 minutes!

I also have an older Brother laser printer, connected via ethernet. My iDevices can now find this printer and print to it. One exception I've found: trying to print from Photos causes things to hang (possibly because CUPS doesn't handle the scaling of the photos well, and doesn't just give a graceful error).
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
And, if you're considering Linux, here's a look at Gimp, the primary alternative to Adobe Photoshop (which isn't even available for Linux):
PCWorld said:
GIMP vs. Photoshop: We compare the leading free and subscription image editors
... In the end, Photoshop wins in three essential categories, GIMP wins one, and they tie in two others. It's not surprising that Photoshop is better overall, given its long years of development and deep resources. For many people, however, GIMP covers the bases well and costs nothing. That's hard to beat.
 


And, if you're considering Linux, here's a look at Gimp, the primary alternative to Adobe Photoshop (which isn't even available for Linux):
The latest version of GIMP is also available as a free download for macOS and Windows, as is the Lightroom alternative, Darktable, which has just had a major upgrade/update to Version 3.0.
Linux Mint removed GIMP as a default install in Mint 19.3. I heard some Linux podcasters (who don't, themselves, use GIMP) complaining the decision makes all Linux somehow look less than professional. Seriously, guys?

While I've used both Photoshop and GIMP, I never became productive in either. I do find GIMP's default offer to fix rotation on images as they're loaded very useful. Otherwise, GIMP and Photoshop are for users willing to invest a lot more time than I am to tune up what I confess are the "snapshots" I take.
Linux Mint said:
New features in Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon
Gimp is an excellent application but it has a very steep learning curve and its user interface is quite intimidating for novice users. In Linux Mint 19.3, Gimp was removed from the default software selection and replaced by a much simpler application called "Drawing". This new application lets you draw but also modify, resize and crop pictures.
While "Drawing" is evidently a clone of Microsoft Paint, in my brief test, it reminds me of the features in Apple's Preview as it existed before Lion – an easy way to make quick adjustments and also annotate photos.

Mint also provides its own photo management and editing program, "Pix," which is forked from gThumb 3.2.8. I find it does most of what I need to do to the images I bring in from my phone and cameras.

Then, there's Google's Snapseed, for both Android and iOS. Works great on my iPad and Android phone, and I find it so easy and powerful, I export photos taken on my "good" cameras to Snapseed. Its ability to fix white balance is very impressive, healing is straightforward, as are - well, read the tutorial below.
iPhone Photography School said:
Complete Guide To Using Snapseed To Edit Your iPhone Photos
Snapseed is an incredible iPhone photo editing app. But are you daunted by its huge range of editing tools? In this Snapseed tutorial, we guide you through the app with step-by-step instructions and video tutorials. You’ll quickly master the Snapseed app… even if you’re a complete beginner.
 


I spent the last couple of days setting up a Linux Mint installation on an old 2010 MacBook Air (3,2) for my son.

I ended up doing it twice, as the first time came to a grinding halt when I installed an Nvidia driver, as instructed by System Reports. I didn't know anything about the resulting 'Nvidia blackscreen of death' issue, wherein the driver does not load and you can do nothing. Apparently if you have an external PC keyboard to plug in you can get to a terminal session with ctrl-alt-F1 and work some magic there to make it load, but this will not work with an Apple keyboard.

I ended up repeating the whole process then telling System Reports to ignore the 'problem' permanently. The open source driver seems to work fine for the kind of usage I expect he will be using it for.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The idea of installing a full Linux system on a Chromebook is very appealing, because you can buy a nice Chromebook laptop for very little money. I haven't yet jumped through these hoops with my inexpensive Acer Chromebook, but I'd like to. Here's a helpful tutorial:
PC Magazine said:
How to Install Linux on Your Chromebook
Chromebooks are amazing little machines. Since they run a barebones operating system with just a browser on top, they are often inexpensive, low-powered, and incredibly useful. However, if you want to go beyond the extensions and Android apps Chrome OS offers, there are a few ways to get Linux up and running to make your Chromebook more versatile.
Here's another:
Ubuntu Tutorials said:
Install Ubuntu on a Chromebook
Today we'll be installing Ubuntu on your Chromebook, while preserving your original ChromeOS system. We will use a third-party script called crouton to install Ubuntu using a chroot, giving Ubuntu its own "pretend" root directory system on your machine. This lets you run ChromeOS and Ubuntu side-by-side, being able to flip between the two on-the-fly.

#chromebook
 


The idea of installing a full Linux system on a Chromebook is very appealing, because you can buy a nice Chromebook laptop for very little money. I haven't yet jumped through these hoops with my inexpensive Acer Chromebook, but I'd like to.
I haven't tried a Chromebook either, but my research provided multiple warnings that some of the hardware isn't well supported. I gather most of it can be worked around, sometimes with some esoteric tweaking.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I haven't tried a Chromebook either, but my research provided multiple warnings that some of the hardware isn't well supported. I gather most of it can be worked around, sometimes with some esoteric tweaking.
Yes, that's a big consideration, and Intel-based Chromebooks should be a better bet than ARM-based ones, as noted in the article I linked previously.
Technically, some of these methods can work on ARM-based machines, but you'll be more limited in the apps you can run. To truly unlock your Chromebook's potential, you'll want one using an Intel processor.
 


'Nvidia blackscreen of death' issue, wherein the driver does not load and you can do nothing - I ended up repeating the whole process then telling System Reports to ignore the 'problem' permanently.
My 15" MacBook Pro has had its second Nvidia/logic board failure. I can boot it into macOS "safe mode" but can find no way to disable the Nvidia card, other than web sites that tell how to do it with a soldering iron.

Will give it a try with Linux before giving up. Thanks.
 


The idea of installing a full Linux system on a Chromebook is very appealing, because you can buy a nice Chromebook laptop for very little money.
If you have a Chromebook and don't want it anymore, Linux may be worth a try.

I've installed Ubuntu using the non-destructive Crouton method on a Core i3 Toshiba Chromebook 2, upgraded to a standard M.2 256GB SSD. Linux in "Crouton" was a disappointment – it isn't the same as running "full" Linux. It did work, but I had the feeling, since it was working on a Google device running inside a Google OS, I hadn't gained any privacy.

I've not tried Google's "kludge" that allows installation of Linux applications on a Chromebook, but then, I have a nice 100% Linux laptop and Mint smoothly running dual-boot with macOS on my 11" MacBook Air.

But buy a Chromebook to replace ChromeOS with Linux? Just say no. There's a variety of Wintel laptops in all price ranges likely to be more flexible and satisfactory. Chromebooks tend to have limited amounts of soldered RAM and eMMC storage. The newest ones may have more RAM and more storage but aren't bargains. Samsung introduced an OLED model at CES to start at $1,000 - that's one I'd not want to buy and risk destroying.

Gallium OS, which is developed to replace (or dual-boot) ChromeOS offers a Chrome hardware compatibility chart. Firmware updates to enable BIOS/UEFI seem commonly required. Many, if not most, Chromebooks have advisories of what won't work even if the install is successful. If you're buying, some research will identify Wintel laptops that don't have those issues.

Consider Thinkpads, new or used. They're upgradeable, repairable, built to survive, and readily available, because corporations buy them by the thousands then retire them on schedules. Because there are so many used ones on the market, they tend to be (relatively) inexpensive, the beat-up ones likely scavenged for parts rather than sold. New and used replacements and parts are readily available. There's a vibrant community supporting Linux on ThinkPads.
ThinkWiki said:
Linux Thinkpad Wiki
This is ThinkWiki, the Wiki Web for IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad users. Here you find anything you need to install your favourite Linux distribution on your ThinkPad. Windows users shouldn't run away, there's a lot of useful information for them as well. Some Linux information for Mac users also can be found here.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... I've not tried Google's "kludge" that allows installation of Linux applications on a Chromebook, but then, I have a nice 100% Linux laptop and Mint smoothly running dual-boot with macOS on my 11" MacBook Air. But buy a Chromebook to replace ChromeOS with Linux? Just say no. There's a variety of Wintel laptops in all price ranges likely to be more flexible and satisfactory. ... Consider ThinkPads, new or used. They're upgradeable, repairable, built to survive, and readily available, because corporations buy them by the thousands then retire them on schedules....
That's a good point. Even old Macs make good Linux machines, and Linux Mint runs well on an inexpensive Core i3 Intel NUC, so it probably handles inexpensive new Intel laptops, too, along with used ones.

I have encountered a few issues with Linux and a new Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 (5491), though:
  • The standard NVMe SSD (with Windows 10) was invisible to Linux, much as it is with recent Macs. (Limited experimentation with boot settings didn't resolve this.)
  • I couldn't boot a Linux Mint 19.3 "live" USB stick, but Ubuntu 19.10 installed and worked well, even handling WiFi from the very beginning.
Since you can actually, easily open, access, and upgrade this Dell laptop – in stark contrast to all Apple laptops – it's easy to add a SATA SSD (or upgrade the NVMe SSD). Ubuntu installed easily and works well with a SATA SSD.

Older Intel computers, without UEFI, secure boot et al - should be even easier to install various versions of Linux on.
 


My 15" MacBook Pro has had its second Nvidia/logic board failure. I can boot it into macOS "safe mode" but can find no way to disable the Nvidia card, other than web sites that tell how to do it with a soldering iron.
Will give it a try with Linux before giving up. Thanks.
Hi George, I have been using a 15" MacBook Pro for over a year now with Linux Mint (now on 19.3). I saved these notes when I got the video issue sorted:

How I installed Linux Mint with EFI boot on a Macbook pro 6,2 15"

I created a Mint live USB with Etcher (using an iMac at work).

I formatted the SSD on my MacBook Pro 6,2.

The MacBook Pro boots from the Etcher USB into the GRUB menu. Selecting Linux Mint ultimately ends up with a black screen due to the MacBook Pro nVidia graphics.

I did some googling, then booted again. In the GRUB menu, this time I hit 'e' to allow editing the top menu entry.

I added the following lines to the end of the GRUB menu entry:
outb 0x728 1
outb 0x710 2
outb 0x740 2
outb 0x750 0

explanation:
outb 0x728 1 # Switch select
outb 0x710 2 # Switch display
outb 0x740 2 # Switch DDC
outb 0x750 0 # Power down discrete graphics

hit F10 and hooray - the USB boots into the visible 'Live' Mint desktop.

I installed Mint on the SSD again. At the partitioning step I chose the top / default option which gave me 3 partitions on the SSD: boot, /, and swap

I rebooted the machine and it now starts from the SSD.. to the black screen.

I now have two options:
1 do the temporary edit in the GRUB menu when I start up
OR
2 alter the grub config permanently

For option 1, reboot and hold 'esc', which gets me to the grub> command line prompt. I can then enter the command 'normal' which gets me back to the GRUB menu, and I then hit 'e' and repeat the steps I used when booting from the USB. This is reassuring. I can now connect to my wifi, or make other changes.

For option 2, I can get from the black screen into the tty terminal which uses the intel graphics by pressing Alt+Ctrl+(Fn/)F1
I log in using the username and password I set up during the install.

(list volumes with `lsblk')

I can now customise my grub config using these steps in the terminal:

cd /etc/grub.d

# check which is the custom GRUB commands file by 'cat' ing the contents
# - for me it was '40_custom'
# (do a backup)
sudo cp 40_custom 40_custom-orig

# (use your favourite cli editor, I am using vi)
sudo vi 40_custom

append
outb 0x728 1
outb 0x710 2
outb 0x740 2
outb 0x750 0

# save/exit

# now generate your custom grub entry...
sudo update-grub

# and restart
reboot

.... starts to the Mint login screen ... no more black screen

I no longer use the option key, the system automatically boots into Mint. It takes 15 seconds from the chime to the login screen.
 


Hi George, I have been using a 15" MacBook Pro for over a year now with Linux Mint (now on 19.3). I saved these notes when I got the video issue sorted:
How I installed Linux Mint with EFI boot on a Macbook pro 6,2 15" ...
Thanks for taking the time to share that knowledge, Steve.
 


My 15" MacBook Pro has had its second Nvidia/logic board failure. I can boot it into macOS "safe mode" but can find no way to disable the Nvidia card, other than web sites that tell how to do it with a soldering iron. Will give it a try with Linux before giving up. Thanks.
Possibly, this may work:

  1. Boot into Recovery (Command-R) or boot from an El Capitan installer.
  2. Launch Terminal.
  3. Type these lines into the Terminal window (each followed by a Return):
    Code:
    csrutil disable
    sudo nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00
  4. Then exit Terminal and reboot.
Sometimes it's necessary to remove the Nvidia kexts from System/Library/Extensions.

If you're planning to run Linux, however, see this thread:
LinuxMint Forums said:
 



I have encountered a few issues with Linux and a new Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 (5491), though:
  • The standard NVMe SSD (with Windows 10) was invisible to Linux, much as it is with recent Macs. (Limited experimentation with boot settings didn't resolve this.)
A lead topic on Destination Linux #156, which my podcatcher downloaded today, was the inability of two guys with serious geek cred to install Linux on an HP laptop purchased at Best Buy. (Side issue: it was a model specific to Best Buy and not on HP's website.)

Travails sounded similar to your problems with the Inspiron. What's the current status of that laptop, Ric?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A lead topic on Destination Linux #156, which my podcatcher downloaded today, was the inability of two guys with serious geek cred to install Linux on an HP laptop purchased at Best Buy. (Side issue: it was a model specific to Best Buy and not on HP's website.) Travails sounded similar to your problems with the Inspiron. What's the current status of that laptop, Ric?
The Inspiron 5491 2n1 is running Ubuntu very nicely, but I installed a separate SATA SSD for it (something you can't do with a modern Mac laptop), while the NVMe SSD is hosting Windows 10. Ubuntu even handles touch-screen operations fairly well (e.g. rotating the image when the laptop is rotated in tablet mode). Adding a second RAM card (which you also can't do with a Mac laptop) brought a notable boost in benchmark speeds, though it wasn't at all slow before.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a report about using Linux on a Windows laptop (and is similar to my own recent experience), including tips about compatibility issues with WiFi hardware and Secure Boot:
Ars Technica said:
Linux on laptops: Ubuntu 19.10 on the HP Dragonfly Elite G1
If you're looking for the easiest possible experience in procuring a Linux laptop, you just can't argue with an OEM experience like Dell's XPS 13 Developer Edition, or System76's Galago Pro. But it's nice having the option to retrofit Linux onto a laptop you just plain like rather than being limited to the ones sold with it—and if you like the Dragonfly Elite, it makes a great Linux laptop. We didn't face any significant hurdles getting Ubuntu 19.10 installed (we were completely done in well under ten minutes), and the laptop was completely and immediately functional, without the need to mess around with anything.

The Dragonfly Elite is a great performer. Everything from booting to opening applications to running them felt quick and crisp; for more detail, refer to Valentina's original review. The important thing from our perspective is that changing operating systems didn't slow the system down or make anything get perceptibly clunky—it's still a well-behaved eighth generation i7 system with 16GB of RAM and fast solid state storage, and it behaves just as you'd expect such a system to.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
With the end of Microsoft's support for Windows 7, Ubuntu has begun posting a helpful series of Linux migration guides.
Ubuntu said:
How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Ubuntu – Hardware and software considerations
...
This series will cover the following topics:
  • Preparation for the migration – In the first installment here, we will cover the options available to Windows 7 users, the necessary checklist of steps before the actual migration, and the data backup ahead of the change.
  • Installation of Ubuntu – In essence, Ubuntu is an operating system, just like Windows. This guide will go through the different scenarios by which the Windows 7 users will be able to install Ubuntu on their machine. The operating system installation is not a trivial process, especially for users without prior knowledge in this domain, and we want to make this part of the journey as seamless as possible.
  • Post-install configuration – Once Ubuntu is installed, the user will need to familiarize themselves with the new operating system, the layout of the desktop, the applications, and other settings that form part of the day-to-day desktop usage. For many people, the question of whether they will be able to continue using their apps is a critical one, and we will pay special care to this aspect of the overall experience.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The next Linux kernel update looks like a big one with a lot of features:
Phoronix said:
Linux 5.6 Is Looking Like It Will Be Spectacular With A Long List Of Features

Among the work that's slated to land with Linux 5.6 includes:

- WireGuard finally going into the mainline kernel for this secure VPN tunnel.​
- Initial USB4 support thanks to Intel's open-source developers. ...​
- Btrfs Async Discard support for better TRIM/discard performance on SSDs with Btrfs. ...​
- Open-source NVIDIA RTX 2000 "Turing" graphics support with hardware acceleration albeit dependent on firmware binary blobs that have yet to be published. ...​
- Continued Intel graphics work on Tiger Lake and Elkhart Lake among other improvements. ...​
- Supporting more Logitech drivers with the input driver code maintained by the community. ...​
- More AVX/AVX2/AVX-512 optimizations within the kernel's crypto code. ...​
BleepingComputer said:
Linux Kernel 5.6 Source Tree Includes WireGuard VPN
The lean-coded, fast, modern, and secure WireGuard VPN protocol has made it into the Linux kernel as Linus Torvalds merged it into his source tree for version 5.6.

#security #VPN #WireGuard
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I was never able to get Linux working on a 2018 MacBook Pro, but it apparently works very nicely on Dell's XPS 13 competitor, which is getting Intel's latest processors to go with excellent screen options, long battery life, etc.
Ars Technica said:
Dell’s 2019 XPS 13 DE: As close as we currently get to Linux-computing nirvana
... after spending a few weeks with the latest XPS 13 (the fourth refresh I've tested), it's hard to shake the feeling that this is the closest any company has come to Linux-computing nirvana. The XPS 13 Developer Edition makes an excellent choice for anyone who prefers Linux but wants hardware support from the manufacturer. All these years into its Linux odyssey, Dell continues to stand behind the operating system on these machines in a way that, in my experience, few other computer makers do.
 


... a Dell with Ubuntu is a totally acceptable choice as well.
If you choose to run a Linux distribution that puts out frequent releases (like Ubuntu or Fedora, which issue releases every 6 months), be prepared to install these updates as they are released because support for older releases is dropped just as frequently.

If this is not to your liking, a distribution that has an "LTS" (long-term support) release may be more to your liking. These releases are typically created every 2-3 years and are usually supported for at least five years.

According to Ubuntu's release schedule, the current LTS release is 18.04 (released in April 2018) and will be supported until 2022, with extended support until 2028. The next Ubuntu release will be 20.04 (to be released this coming April).

Fedora doesn't have an LTS release, but Fedora's R&D work is used by Red Hat for their Red Hat Enterprise and CentOS products, both of which have extremely long-term release and support schedules. The current version of these is 8, released in September 2019 and will be fully supported until May 2024, with maintenance updates until May 2029.

Also popular for those who require long-term stability is Debian, whose current release (10) was released in July 2019. Debian provides security updates until a year after the next release, with "LTS" support for about two years beyond that, to ensure at least five years of support after the next release. There is also a third-party organization providing extended LTS support for those who require support beyond five years.

For myself, I am more concerned with a computer that "just works" than one on the bleeding edge of technology, so I prefer to install an LTS distribution. I usually install either the latest Debian or Ubuntu LTS release on my systems.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here are two websites that might be helpful for finding/trying Linux "distros":
Jason Evangelho said:
Try These 2 Things Before Choosing Your Desktop Linux OS
... When you browse to librehunt.org, you’re greeted with a simple landing page that gets straight to the point, using language that everybody can understand.

What’s an operating system? What is open source? What is Linux? Why should you try it? He takes the technical jargon out of the arguments and delivers an explainer that takes less than 60 seconds to read. Then the site invites you to answer a handful of easy questions, and recommends several Linux distribution that meets your needs based on those responses.

... DistroTest now serves up a staggering 269 operating systems, and there’s nothing to install locally; no guesswork required. You simply search for the distribution you’d like to test out, and choose a version (if in doubt, go for the newest one, which should appear at the top of the results).

Distrotest loads up the operating system on a virtual machine from their servers, and pops up a new window where you can try it “live” or install it to virtual, temporary hard drive.
 








I'm a fan of the Cinnamon desktop and Mint, because it is based on the Long Term Support release of Ubuntu.

In terms of "easy" and "friendly to newbies", Mint's about as close as it comes. Whether coming from Mac or Windows 7, the UI and UX will be familiar enough to get out of a user's way.

In the past couple of years, Linux developers have added support for a lot of hardware. There are still points of pain, but some internet research should predict whether the computer you're thinking of buying or converting will work.

It's important to be aware that there's often a lag between release of even mainstream hardware and Linux support. I first ran into that with a set of "Linux-friendly" Intel NUCs that wouldn't run Ubuntu when I bought them. They needed kernel updates, which were not long delayed, but as a newbie, I just didn't know that. The latest AMD hardware may present similar issues. It might run on an Arch-based rolling distro, but if it does, you're out on the bleeding edge and may find it not so "easy" or "friendly."
 


Which distribution do you recommend for a general Linux that is easy to use?
If the goal is to try out different desktop environments, then the easiest thing to do is to install Ubuntu (which uses Gnome 3 by default), then you can add other desktop environments (KDE, LXQt, Budgie, Gnome2/Mate, Xfce) via a simple terminal command and choose desktop environments on login to try them out.

You could even install the Cinamon desktop environment (Mint) by adding a PPA – not quite the same as installing Linux Mint, but most of the way there. I think this is the quickest way to try different desktop environments.

One alternative to straight Ubuntu is to install Pop OS from System 76, which is basically Ubuntu with a number of usability enhancements added (like support for discrete graphics on laptops, firmware management, and better power management). But underneath, it's basically Ubuntu, so you can use it to try different desktop environments as well.
 


If the goal is to try out different desktop environments, then the easiest thing to do is to install Ubuntu (which uses Gnome 3 by default), then you can add other desktop environments (KDE, LXQt, Budgie, Gnome2/Mate, Xfce) via a simple terminal command and choose desktop environments on login to try them out.
What Tom writes is true, but in my experience trying it, I found the bits and pieces aren't sandboxed and create conflicts when logging across from one desktop environment into another.

To give Linux its best chance:
  • Let the distro's installer have the whole disk and auto-partition
  • SSD, if possible; 4GB RAM or more
  • Use the distro as it comes "from the developer"
  • Only change settings in the developer's UI controls
  • Only add extensions provided by the developer
  • Don't judge a distro by its performance in a VM (e.g. VirtualBox)
  • Don't compare Linux on a computer spared from recycle to your new MacBook Pro; yes, Linux will run well on old hardware, but it won't run its best on old hardware.
There are lots of YouTube "reviews" that walk through how desktop environments look. They don't go very deep but do give an idea. Booting from a LiveUSB is better. Narrow your options with free cloud test "machines" on DistroTest.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A gaming website covers much more than games in this article about switching from Windows to Linux:
PC Gamer said:
It's surprisingly easy to switch a gaming PC to Linux today
Talking to PC gamers about Linux is always entertaining, because everyone who knows even a little bit about Linux has a different impression. For some it's that other operating system they've vaguely heard of, and they have about as much interest in it as I have in cars (read: not much). For others it's a critical part of their work or infrastructure, or it's the thing their techy friend somehow always manages to bring up in unrelated conversations (ugh, you know how to do everything on the command line, we get it).

Last year I decided to become one of the latter and go all-in on desktop Linux. It opened my eyes to how much Linux has changed over the years, and how outdated the idea of Linux as an OS exclusively for tech nerds really is. Not only was the switch relatively painless, but I'm not missing out on much, either—not even gaming.

Here's what it's like switching from Windows to Linux today, from hardware to software to gaming.
 


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