English is not my first language and sometimes I have an unusual choice for the words I use. and also, grammar.
Part 1. Introduction
For me, using Linux was always a practical choice, though, I admit, my first experience with it was influenced by a fad. First useful experience, though, starts with an old PC (AMD K6-2 old, in 2004 or 2005). It was a homemade NAS-like PC and I kept my ebooks there, nothing super-exciting, just a Slackware box with Samba installed. Some time later, maybe in 2006, I got my first Linux server, tiny Celeron 500 MHz whitebox at work, saved from the garbage room and used as another NAS-like PC, again, nothing exciting there. Used GNU/Linux here and there, always in VM.
By 2010 I wasn't in IT anymore, but I preffered open-source tools and Cygwin was part of my work environment, first octave+gnuplot, after that Python for work-related engineering calculations, units for, well, units conversion, LaTeX as a publishing system.
In spring of 2010 I bought my first laptop (Atom-based Samsung netbook) and it had Windows 7 Starter Edition, oh horror. I think that poor OS lasted one day, maybe two days, and was replaced with Ubuntu (was it 9 or 10? I don't remember). It was much better, I could replace background, I could use text editor, watch movies, do ssh and listen music. And it could have more than 3 app running simultaneosly, oh joy. Unfortunately, soon after that Canonical in its infinite wisdom decided to ship Unity as default DE, it wasn't acceptable and we decided to part our ways, Canonical made several more millions in the revenue and I installed Debian with XFCE. My netbook was usable again, web browser, text editor, music player, ssh, pdf reader - all set.
In 2012 my home server moved from CentOS to Debian, so I could have single OS repository for VM, netbook and a server.
Somewhere in the summer of 2014 my Windows 7 setup started to gave up (it lasted for 4 years without reinstalls and was mildly filled up with garbage) and I also got first HDD problems. By that time my typical ~~daily~~ eveningy-nightly home desktop experience was one monitor with a Windows desktop and another with Debian Jessie full screen. I also had no problems with command line interface, and since I started with MS-DOS, it was somewhat native to me.
Most of the software I used were either cross-platform or had very similar Linux alternatives. I ordered SSD and decided to switch VM and host OS until it arrives (20 days delivery time, that's reality here). My Linux desktop experience could be bad after all and I would switch back to Windows 7.
Part 2. The Story
17th of June, 2014 - the day I dd'ed my system hard drive. New partitioning scheme was:
sda: 160 GB
/data160 everything else
sdb: 500 GB
/data everything else
I did a mistake with this setup when I moved to the SSD, I increased the size of the root partition to 50 GB, but looking back - I could keep it around 32-40GB without any issues. I prefer to keep /var on HDD and separated from my data, probably it's just a superstition.
Installing the software was just a matter of doing
apt-get install and
Here is some software I use, for sure, yours will be different, but it's a matter of taste, I also omit most of the command line tools, they are incredibly powerful, but it's another story:
- XFCE as dekstop environment
- NVidia binary driver, I could not keep myself, I'm very sorry
- Midnight Commander
- nano, leafpad, (g)vim, kate or geany as text editors, depends on my current needs
- Iceweasel as web browser and IceDove as email client (cross-platform)
- Pidgin as an IM app
- GIMP and Inkscape as image editors, though I use imagemagick's convert too
- Linphone as a VOIP client
- RSSOwl as an RSS reader (not in debian repo, cross-platform)
- Eclipse (not in debian repo)
- qpdfview and Okular
- yEd (cross-platform) and Dia for drawing
- Freeplane (cross-platform)
- Keepass 2 (cross-platform)
I could not use nvidia-driver at first, got the black screen, solved in 10-15 minutes (no xorg conf). I tried and removed Gnome 3, tried for some time KDE 4, but it was a bit slowish and RAM-heavy for my taste. Had to install Eclipse and RSSOwl from original repositories. Installed XnView because of animated gifs. I use Freeplane to keep notes and tips, including Linux commands. Skype is inside Windows XP VM, I don't trust them much, and given the direction Microsoft takes with linux version of it and Windows 10 in general, I would not use it as my host OS any time soon.
When SSD arrived three weeks later, I already had large part of that software list, so moving to SSD wasn't a big deal. I did a clean setup, although it was rather a ritual than a necessity. Installing all of the software again was easy with
It has been almost one year after I got Debian on my SSD. The list of my software changed a bit, I do some work here and there, keep several VMs for work-related stuff/ But the strange thing is it never felt as Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence but close to Enlightment: I got all my tools in one place, they feel right, they work together and they don't make any fuss about it.