Hello! My name is Cameron. I’m an artist, not a programmer or anything. I have a nerd streak that I’ve been nurturing for many years now. I use Linux for everything, I install Linux distros for fun and twiddle with software. So I thought I might as well write about it. Other hidden skills include goat milking, spinning yarn, and drinking tea.
Linux and Open Source and Free Software are beautiful things that should be accessible to all people, even if you’re not a programmer or “computer person,” and it’s fun to share what I’ve learned.
My Own Linux History
Back in the day I heard Linux mentioned in hushed tones with a deep nerdy respect – out of reach but a magical unicorn, while I and everyone I knew used Windows. I became obsessed with software and enjoyed the search for the Best Text Editor. Twiddling with software is addictive and I twiddled obsessively.
I was totally broke, so I didn’t have money to throw at every program. That naturally pushed me to open source software, and I kept finding programs I wanted to try that ran on Linux, but not Windows or Mac (which I used for some years after Windows). I told myself that I would have my own Linux machine one day.
After using Mac for a few years, I tried to dualboot my Macbook. It worked, but not well – I found Ubuntu to be crashy and a pain. I reinstalled Ubuntu, which worked better this time. I tried Linux Mint, which worked very nicely. I tried Elementary, which was decent and looked pretty, and gave me courage to commit more to Linux. I tried seven thousand different writing and journaling programs, trying to find a way to access my journals from Mac and from Linux. I put my most frequently used data on a usb drive, so I could access it from whichever OS I was booted into at the moment.
Eventually I set things up to use Linux Mint as my primary and only boot into Mac OS when I needed it urgently, which turned out to be basically never. I have been all Linux ever since – it’s only been since 2016 but I can’t imagine ever going back. I love feeling in control of my own machine.
I became familiar with Linux by researching and not letting it go till I figured out how to do what I wanted. This stuff takes work to learn, but it’s becoming more accessible all the time, and I hope to see that continue, so that quality, freedom-y software is easily available to grandmas, gardeners and people who don’t like computers, as well as programmers and server admins. Software that doesn’t exploit you should be for everyone.
I am hoping that if I write down what I learn it can be of use to other folks out there too.