Finally a Linux User (I think... I hope)


I was an Apple only user for 29 years straight, 1986-2015. I wasn't Mr. Moneybags. I just found every iteration of Windows to be PAINFULLY ugly and uninspired. The hardware was pretty sad too. The entire idea... YUCK.

I'd say around 2005ish I was starting to notice Linux. I was like, hey, I could get myself a reasonable Windows PC, install Linux over that Windows garbage -- and get a decent 'Mac'... if you will. :wink:

I was the king of Virtualbox in those days. I was trying all sorts of distros... and routinely breaking them. Or shall I say they were so fragile I just kinda sneezed the wrong way and broke them. And I was finding just a few critical things missing -- like certain sites wouldn't work because of a lack of Flash support.

Wifey then needed a PC for work. I was like please NO! But it was a special industrial software she had to run. This was at the time of Windows 8. Singlehandedly the WORST OS seriously offered anywhere. It was appalling.

I got this cool Asus Zenbook Flip and as impressed as I was with the hardware (it was a 'MacBook Air' with better spec at half the price) I returned the laptop to Amazon because, and I quote, "It doesn't include an actual usable operating system." If you didn't know -- Windows 8 was so bad they were allowing people to downgrade to 7.

So a funny thing happened. I was observing that in certain corners PCs were catching up to Apple. In the sense of being in the same ballpark. But the OS was excrement and Linux wasn't an option for my wife.

On top of this I was getting disenchanted with Tim Cook's Crapple. Spec was dropping as prices were rising. I tried to replace a 3.5 year old iMac and 'Tim Apple' offered me the exact same unit with a minor spec tweak and a major price hike. Plus the transition from iTunes to Apple Music severely damaged my music collection and the trust was gone. Plus 1.4 of out of 3 Macs needed a major hardware repair -- which made AppleCare a critical cost on top of the cost of ownership.

Then Windows 10 came out. I ran it in Virtualbox and all of a sudden I found -- by accident -- a 'distro' I could actually live with. It kinda sorta just worked, to coin a Jobs.

So I replaced my wife's MacBook with a nice Asus Vivobook. My iMac with a VivoMini PC and big monitor. All of this for less than half the price of Mac... with better specs. I consider Windows 10 to be the best overall 'value' all things considered, no disrespect intended.

So how did I get to Linux? Have a cookie if you've made it this far. Entering the PC world not only saved me a fortune but allowed me to add computers to my home. Now I have a desktop and a laptop, something I simply couldn't afford as a Mac user. Also, by my TV, I added one of these --


That's a Pentium Apollo Lake 1.nothing Ghz Mini PC. Micro, really. It's the size of a child's P&J sandwich. I got it three years ago for $200 and that was a good deal for something that had 6GBs of RAM and 64 eMMC.

Windows 10 has worked on it well enough. But if I wanted to pitch it to someone I had to be honest and say, well... it ain't fast. Open a web browser with 4 serious tabs open? You felt yourself aging as it loaded them. If you're running a virus check? Well, despite 4 cores it really couldn't handle anything else besides that. Surfing thru Zillow for homes? Slow enough to make you move to a 'real' PC. Get the basic idea?

Okay. So a week ago I got weary of this thing and decided to upgrade it. I got this little AMD Minisforum Mini PC --

It's almost twice the price ($359), 2 more GBs of RAM, Twice the storage (and now SSD), and easily 20 times the performance. The Ryzen 3 3300 blows the 3 year old Beelink out of the water and then into spectacular bits. Wow. It has a few minor picayune issues but otherwise is like going from a skateboard to a Camaro.

So then I'm looking at my sad little Beelink. She served her purpose as a streaming PC well, but that's about all she did well. And by well I mean tolerable. :frowning: I realized she would get nothing much on eBay and I wondered... hey... I finally have a piece of hardware I could, you know, mess around with. Mess around = Linux.

(Yes, patient reader, we're finally there.)

The last time I glanced at Linux was Ubuntu Budgie. I wanted to love this distro but it had a funny habit of hiding key features. Almost intentionally. I find Linux users love a challenge and this can spill into design mistakes. The Linux user says "Yay I figured it out" whereas the former Mac user of 29 years says "Wow was THAT a pain in the @$$."

So for some reason I drifted towards Mate. I especially liked that it allowed me to restore a 'dock', if you will. And basically most of the 'hidden' stuff in Mate doesn't seem as hidden as Budgie. (Except for the ability to make the pointer larger and black.)

And so what was once a sluggish Windows 10 PC became this --

I chose that brown look because it's on my TV in the living room... which runs brown. The first thing I can tell you is my Beelink works so much better under Ubuntu that... get this... I'm returning that Minisforum PC. Yes! A $359 savings that will allow me to splurge on my looming desktop Mini PC replacement. (I'm so getting a Ryzen 5ish 4000 series-ish with 16 GBS of RAM.)

To me I run most PCs as 'way better than Chromebooks'. This includes Mate. Instead of trying to use native contacts and native mail apps I simply pin Google apps as you see in the picture. I wish I could do this with Firefox but they're just not into it I guess.

In this way most of my 'stuff' is already backed up. If the OS fails or gets corrupted -- who cares? Just reinstall, drop those babies back in the taskbar/panel and away we go.

I can't tell you how excited I am that Linux came to the rescue. I must confess Linux wouldn't work for me as my main OS despite the telemetry and viral advantages. However my favorite apps are all embarrassingly open source: Firefox, LIbreOffice, Gimp, VLC, Handbrake, Audacity. So I'm 'closer' than not. My only problem is that Windows offers the most overall choice -- including access to Apple Music and teeny tiny apps that simply nail it.

But I will give this a shot. If it doesn't get weird on me I hope to have 3 more years of use of this Beelink. Making it's cost $33 a year -- lol.

Fingers crossed.


Welcome, and I am sure everyone here hopes you become Linux user too!!


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Thanks Jymm. And for the tutorial, but that is not a guessable intuitive location. That's classic Ubuntu hiding. (Windows 10 does it too, lol.)

Three better locations --

  1. The best is type 'Pointer' in menu search bar and it brings you there.
  2. Have it in 'Mouse' settings
  3. Worst but still reasonable -- 'Accessibility'.

Budgie was FULL of these PSST! it's over here and under that. Which is fun unless you're really not in the mood, lol.

I don't know if Ubuntu Mate is kosher with AMD -- but if it is -- there are OS less Ryzens that should make you boys and girls go Lady GAGA.

Like this one --

Really though that Minisforum is the buy of the day. And the way it opens up is pure gold --

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As far as I've tested, it is kosher with AMD chips of all sorts. That kind of support issue was ironed out long ago.

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Oh good! Forgive me but I'm not so versed on the subject.

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I understand. Intel and AMD make chips which are different internally, but have only a few differences even to the programmer of said chips. The Linux kernel has had support for AMD chips for a long time now.

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You made the right choice, for your use-case, Ubuntu Mate will be rock solid for years. It will also leave most RAM available for those precious browser tabs :smiley:


For the record, prior to GNOME 2.14 (I think) the pointer theme could be changed from the Mouse settings. MATE was based on GNOME 2.32 and thus the newer change has made it into MATE. I'm really not sure why the GNOME developers put the pointer theme in the Appearance preferences -- although my best guess is to put all "theming" stuff under one dialog.

"Ubuntu Mate will be rock solid for years. It will also leave most RAM available for those precious browser tabs."

I had my first freeze/crash. I was taking a snapshot of the screen and everything froze. It does remind me how solid Windows 10 is in this one aspect. It almost never does this. I'll eyeball Mate and see if this freeze is an issue of that one app vs. the system. I didn't really have much else open.

RAM. Yes. It is everything to me. It's one of the key reasons I dumped Apple, in fact, but that's another long story. Which I will share now because why not. :wink:

Five years ago I had a 3.5 year old iMac and a 2 year old iPhone 6. (Maybe 6S, hard to remember.)

The iMac began to 'spinning wheel' me. I got a utility that revealed how much of my 8GBs of RAM I was using. Without having much open it was typically using most of it. So I got an app that would free up the RAM whenever it went past 7 GBs. It did it almost all the time... which was annoying.

Let's back up. Apple users will tell you how awesome it is that Mac OS updates year in and out, and because they 'make the whole widget' it runs better than PCs and such. I call bullsh!t. 8GBs was just enough for that system, day in and out.

(Now in Win10... right now... on the PC I'm typing this on... I have a similar app set up to do the same thing. It frees up RAM about a quarter as much with the same 8GBs. And Firefox with 'busy' tabs seems to be the culprit.)

Back at this time there was a MacBook Air on Amazon for students with 4GBs of RAM. I didn't buy it but I wrote a review encouraging others not to. Because if my iMac with 8GBs was sluggish how could a less processor with half the RAM possibly run smoothly?

You had to see the response. iUsers went ballastic. "But Apple this! But Apple that!" they said. I mocked them with the Apple Magic Nipple Ram label. "Oh Apple has a magic nipple RAM optimization!" Sorry kids -- either your system has enough RAM or it doesn't. When it doesn't, it runs slower or freezes.

I'll have you know my Amazon review was the featured 'critical' review... with over 1000 likes. And guess -- just guess what the next MacBook Air had? If you guessed 8 GBS of RAM, take a cigar out of petty cash.

Now the iPhone 6. This was the one that opened my eyes. Back then nobody bought iPhones. Instead their carrier helped subsidize the cost of an $800 device by splitting it up into payments. The payments were reasonable enough and I presumed it cost so much because of the state of the art tech.

So my 6 was purchased pretty much upon release. About a year later Apple updated iOS, and YAY I thought: all new options and possibilities. Well what happened was almost immediately the phone slowed way down. It frickin' crawled after being on a few hours.

In Apple world it's never Apple's fault. It's you. You're the problem. You're using the phone wrong. And so I was told by support, hmm, maybe you need to wipe the phone and reinstall the OS. Thankfully Apple makes this the easiest process ever and so and 30 minutes later... I'm back in business.

Two days later... back to sluggishness. Damn, I think. What am I doing wrong?

I noticed something weird in my meager 32GBs of phone storage: there was this big file called 'other'. It wasn't music, or photos, or vids. Just 'other'. Apple couldn't quite explain what it was. Or why it began noticeably growing. It was like a cancer and soon consumed half of what was left of your storage.

They instructed you wipe and reinstall. Sure enough -- that other file was history. Yay. But of course the cancer came back. Within 2-3 months you were back to deciding which apps you had room, which photos you could keep local, and time to wipe and restore.

What's important here is also something we know as swap space, which was being squeezed out by this 'other' file poor Apple was mystified by.

I Google my brains out and eventually Chris Perillo (formerly of TechTV) waves his hands and says, hey, there's a cool fix you can do to free up RAM on your slow iPhone 6. Just do this and that and BOOM it's like you rebooted -- and your phone is faster.

Huh, I thought. Not enough RAM, ey? I wonder, I said to myself, how much RAM this $800 state of the art smartphone has.

Are you ready? Are you seated? One. 1GB of RAM. Those iHoles expect you to run a 'mini pc' with 1GB of RAM. How? 'Magic Nipple Ram Management'. "Oh we optimize this and that and it's such a great experience. You must be the problem."

Really? Well then why did Chris Perillo create a post that helped all such users free up RAM?

Did he do it just for me? I don't think so.

When I discovered I was played by Apple I wanted to go Cupertino and burn down their offices. I wish I was kidding. I had worked in the first West Coast store for 3.5 years, mind you. But my iPhone 6 was like a car in my garage I was always tweaking and fixing.

When I discovered the scam I unloaded the fothermucker so fast your head would spin. I tried my first Android phone, the OnePlus 3. I want you to guess one of the features this phone had? No, come on, I'll wait.

6 GBs of RAM. Twice the storage as well, which means the days of picking which apps to have or not have were over. I also got an Amoled screen 1.5 years before Apple offered their first one. And I got a bigger screen on top of that. All for... HALF the price of iPhone. $399.

When I unloaded the iPOS 6 on eBay it basically paid for the OnePlus 3. I now own the OP6T... which introduced in screen fingerprint reading and the teeny tiny waterdrop camera up front... instead of the pathetic iCanoe on iPhones to this day.

Guess how many times I had to tweak or install Android OS on either phones. If you guessed zero, soup for you.


All your posts @DaltWisney are definitely entertaining reads! You should seriously start a blog - I would be your first subscriber! :+1:


Linux users love a challenge - worth probing further.

Notwithstanding, had I not become a Linux user until Linux has become friendly to casual users, at least in my regard. Besides, being almost a life-long Windows user, any type of desktop design not resemblant of Windows, was a no-go to me, which probably caused Ubuntu (GNOME) fail to convince me back around in 2013 or something, thus having to wait couple of years more until my decision to switch. I was using 'Vista' most of the time back then, to spice things up. Windows does have pretty clear structure, that a lot of new people complain about under Linux.

There is some kind of optimism throughout the chaos, in the Windows world. This works somewhat magnetic. It attracts people. People want good things, people want pretty things and people want optimism, even if it is a mess under the hood. Because if it looks good, if it looks promising, if it appears to work, a lot can be forgiven. Windows, unfortunately, has become a bloatware city with machines operating the Windows preinstalled. Besides, the commercial push surrounding the world outside of GNU, started giving me a sense of anxiety. Not that GNU has all the answers, it is just more quiet place. It all matters less and less, though, as everything moves to the cloud nowadays.

Am I a Linux user? I do not think that I am competent enough to call myself a Linux user, but I want to become a Linux user - and expect Linux to come meet my expectations. I do not have much negative to say about Windows in an afterthought, speaking of my experience with 'Windows 10'. It worked. But it was then, when I finally thought: okay, Linux has become good enough, time to go. So I packed things up and moved. Because it felt the right thing to do. Because Linux is the good one, right?

But still, plenty of road ahead of Linux. Too much geeks-for-geeks approach for now in it. It actually needs to incorporate the "people" factor.


Very well said and with a neutral stance your attitude will serve you well.
I have 'used' and experimented with both OSes for years. About thirty-five for Windows and twenty-five for Linux.
Windows I had to use for work although in the latter years I used Linux at work for one or two things that Windows had difficulty with, formatting and handling large file formats on USB for one. I worked for one of the Universities in my area and it was rewarding to hear that the Supercomputer they had ran Linux. Yes Linux. Windows was not stable enough and so bloated that it would trip over it's own feet given anything complex to do.
Unfortunately the head of IT changed and the new person was Windows biased. So with no further ado he started making all things Microsoft including the faithful Unix servers that hardly faltered in all the years they were in use. Of course one of the first things to happen was difficulty integrating the new servers. It took a couple of weeks and I bet a lot of scratching of heads but, it did eventually work but why did they bother? Egoism?
Then at another point two weeks worth of work was lost because of some failure in the servers.
Everything quietened after that but, it was ridiculous.
All new desktop computers now had only basic permissions to confine installation of bad program installations by users possibly allowing virus attacks - what? So every time software was needed or required upgrading on a new pc or laptop, an IT technician had to be called. Productivity took a hit but IT said it was necessary.
All this because Windows was so vulnerable.
Obviously Linux was a poor relation when it came to user-base numbers but, no-one seemed interested in hacking it or attacking it so we could happily run our Linux machines without the restrictions demanded of the Microsoft environment.
What a mess Windows had become and now I'm afraid to say has Windows 10.
Now I liked my installation of Windows at work. I was fortunate enough to be in a position that gave me some rights as we needed to test Windows installs with research equipment which meant we could not wait for IT and this allowed me to experiment with Windows, especially installing it.
It was a great insight into what could be achieved.
Now look at it. It may be faster to install and run than it ever was but then so are the computers.
Windows 11 looks to be a real con. We can run the MS PC Health Check app which will tell an awful lot of people that they need to buy a new computer in the next few years because Win 11 will simply not work on theirs. NOT TRUE!!!
If we can install and run Windows 11 within a virtual machine on a computer that their app says it will not run on - what the Hell is happening? I have done it...
I believe the buying public is being hood-winked and that Office of Fair Trade or something like that should investigate Microsoft's Windows 11 product and the ethics of the whole thing.
Anyway, I detract.
Welcome to Linux.
I cannot say Ubuntu Mate is ideal because it is not. I have reported a couple of bugs which impact upon performance and workflow. One of them has been taken care of. The other awaits a cure although it may not happen because I use a third party program to control my window makeup. I believe this is where the fault lies. The program is not fully compatible with my graphics card - one of Linux's failings and has been for years but, it is a lot better than it used to be. Unfortunately as with most things Linux the majority of manufacturers won't cater for a minority user-base.
So we are left with a very usable operating system which could be far better if we could faithfully tailor it to our own taste to allow our personal working environment to be exactly the way we would like it to be. Smacks a little of Microsoft's limitations but in the Linux world we are free 'to try'.
I hope you enjoy your experience and if frustration sets in the best thing to do is accept it or change it.
There are lots of knowledgeable users out there willing to help you achieve nirvana.
As a side note. After success installing and running Windows 11 on a seven year old Lenovo i5 laptop which has been a faithful workhorse and works quite happily with Linux, I have decided to totally dump Windows. I would have kept it dual-booted with 11 instead of 10 as I have now but, even though the system tells me it is activated I cannot verify this and the system also reported that because it could not verify authentication I will have to buy another licence - huh? Goodbye Microsoft. I don't need Windows after I retire very soon anyway.