I have been using Windows operating system from the beginning. When I first started using computer Windows XP was the latest operating system and it was amazing. After few years I started my career as a Java developer and in my office also I have been using Windows only. After few years Windows Vista got released and I suffered with it for few months and then Microsoft released Windows 7 which is the best Windows operating system IMO. And then they released Windows 8 which I don't like much. Recently they released Windows 10 and I have upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Windows 10 is certainly better than Windows 8 but it still sucks compared to Windows 7.
I think the main reason for the popularity of Windows operating systems is the familiarity of the same look and feel of their all operating systems and they changed it (in a horrible way).
Few years ago I got to learn a bit about Linux in order to deploy my application on remote deployment servers and I used to get it done using few comments and I never really bothered to learn Linux. A year ago one of my friend suggested to look at Ubuntu which is a Linux OS with a nice Desktop Environment (DE). I installed Ubuntu on VirtualBox and played with it couple of days and left it because it was too slow on my VirtualBox.
Why Do I Want to Learn and use Linux as My Primary Desktop OS?
- These days I am spending good amount of time deploying apps on remote Linux servers, so I need to learn more about Linux.
- I don't like Windows 8/8.1/10 OS mobile style desktop UI. I want my good old familiar Windows 7 style GUI. I came to know there are some Linux distros which looks like Windows 7.
- I am really bored working on same Java technologies like Spring, JPA, JavaEE etc for almost 8 years and I wanted to tinker with something new and interesting.
- It is free, no viruses and customizability etc.
Once I decided to use Linux as my desktop OS, I started looking for the better Desktop Linux distros for beginners like me and I found that following are better among the hundreds of Linux distros.
- Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com
- Linux Mint http://www.linuxmint.com
- Fedora https://getfedora.org
- CentOS https://www.centos.org
- ElementaryOS http://elementary.io
- PinguyOS http://pinguyos.com
- OpenSUSE https://www.opensuse.org
- Zorin http://zorinos.com and many more...
I have installed all of them on my VirtualBox to see which one is best. After trying all of them I settled on Linux Mint.
Ubuntu is the most popular desktop Linux distro but I didn't like its Unity Desktop Environment very much. But there are various other variation of Desktop Environments like GNOME, MATE which looks better, IMHO.
Fedora is Redhat's play ground for Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CentOS is a kind of open source version of RHEL built by community. Both Fedora and CentOS looks good but they are ass friendly as Ubuntu based distros for beginners.
ElementaryOS is the most beautiful OS among all the distros I have tried. It is a very light weight distro with fantastic look and minimal applications installed. If you are a casual user who uses your computer just for internet browsing, watching videos, play music, write some documentation then it is the best choice.
PinguyOS, which is a Ubuntu derivative, is a perfect distor for those who want everything to be pre-installed. It has most of the commonly used applications installed already. But it is too heavy and slow also.
I have tried OpenSUSE, Zorin, Deepin, Bodhi, Manjaro etc also and they are good.
And finally, my favorite is Linux Mint. Linux Mint is a Ubuntu derivative but with its own Desktop Environment called Cinnamon. Linux Mint also comes with other Desktop Environments like MATE, XFCE etc.
Linux Mint Cinnamon GUI looks almost like Windows 7 and the kind of customizations it provides is awesome. I liked Linux Mint very much among all the distros I tried and finally installed it on my laptop using it as my primary OS.
Don't I Need Windows OS Anymore?
- Even though there are plenty of Linux Desktop Environments with different GUI styles with good looks, I feel they are not even close to Windows 7 GUI.
- Linux distros comes with lot of free applications and you can find thousands of free apps on the app stores, but there are few applications that runs only on Windows.
- Microsoft Office: I know about LibreOffice and it is good, but honestly I feel it is not going to be a replacement for MS Office.
- No official OneDrive client, no RSA Secure Token ID support, no Photoshop, gaming support is not as good as Windows and few more things like that.
I am not a Photoshop user, I am not a gaming person and I am not really heavy user of MS Office. So I can live with some limitations.
By using Linux OS I don't have to worry too much about viruses (I know Linux also can get viruses but not as much as Windows), thousands of free apps and it is free :-).
The best part of using Linux OS is I am understanding little bit more about how operating systems work.