Notes on a completed challenge

So my enthusiasm for stuff often FAR exceeds my ability, but I mostly muddle through, often with some (not insignificant) help from Duckduckgo.
Then the 1 year Linux challenge came along, and I thought, Yeah! why not‽

I had previously tried Ubuntu 12.04/12.10, which I didn’t get on with, and really didn’t know what I was doing.
The CLI didn’t scare me- I remember using DOS and Basic before Windows took off, I simply didn’t know what I was doing, and various quirks just made it a pain to make the system do things in the way I was expecting from using Windows.
Instead I went back to pretty much only using Windows.

Win 10 thoughts


I tried win 10 when they did the free upgrade, and the new shiny was nice.
I set up a storage space with SSD’s in a mirror with ReFS, and all seemed good, games loaded fast!
The new DX12 and the couple of games using it seemed super slick, Windows’ new flat layout looked attractive, and it worked for several days at a time before crashing.
Separately it seems some odd syncing issue was causing one of the drives to write many more time the amount of data than the other, which is a whole other can of worms I didn’t investigate, so went back to one drive with NTFS for games. Not so fast :frowning:

Then I realized that actually, it crashed a fair amount when it was new.
This was mildly annoying, but the upgrade was free, so leeway was afforded.

A colleague at the time had attended a Microsoft event in London to do with the launch, and had all sorts of interesting little bits and pieces he had heard a about it, things like the updates being shared locally to ease internet usage when all machines need to be updated, and that friends automatically get access to your WiFi when they visit- no more need for a long handwritten key to be mis-typed.

But then it started to sour. The crashes reduced, but were not going away as quick as expected, and online reports were permeating about just how much data was being mined, the security of the personal info being scraped, and the lay-off of Jerry Berg- [He worked there like 15 years , and isn’t afraid to let people know. But no hard feelings :-)]

I gotta admit, the FUD got to me, and I lost trust in the OS. I figured if I no longer trust the system, I really shouldn’t use it.

So, back to trying Linux for Real this time

A day of playing with mint didn’t really gel with me, I guess I wasn’t keen on Cinnamon, or whatever.
Normal Ubuntu (by then was on Unity? I think, which worked okay) but seemed a bit naff.

I came across Ubuntu Mate, which seemed like a fair compromise, being a close fit to most of what I was after, and by then I was into some of JB’s broadcasts, and to be honest, starting to drink the cool-aid… The main guys behind UM were on LUP, and the rationale behind some of the stuff made sense.

I got ZFS running, and really liked it as a volume manager, as well as the datasets being a little like flexible partitions, and replication allowing datasets to be transferred between pools, even machines! I got the books by MW Lucas and Alan Jude- the footnotes were an especially good touch…

I played with Antergos, which I really liked, until a few times the updates broke some of the packages, and I realized that it’s a bit too bleeding edge for me.
By now, I was using Linux daily, and had adapted myself to work more with the system, rather than bend it in ways it wasn’t designed for.

Solus seemed like a slick newcomer to the block, and given wider FS support, I might well have switched to that, and appreciated the steam integration they had been improving, but I didn’t know how to build ZFS on it, so…

I went back to UM, which I now view as my trusty base, complete with quirks I had now been overlooking for a while.

I had tried Wine and Lutris a few times, but never really got on with it. Most games I was interested in running with them didn’t really work, so I kept a windows partition around just for the occasional jaunts into the wasteland, or onto EA’s BF4 servers, but mostly I changed to play native games, and Valve has been pretty good with native steam games (sorry, I didn’t really GOG much)

Recently I noticed the VFIO thing started to take off, so I gave it a go and it’s great! with some assembly and tweaking required.
I had it up and running with Fedora, which also exposed me to the new Gnome that I had been avoiding, and it worked okay, I guess.

So I decided to try Ubuntu proper again, and I have to say, in the last few years, either it has got a lot better, or I really was looking at the negatives before, probably by being too naive‽

I’m using Ubuntu 19.04 now on my main desktop, UM 18.10 on my laptop and UM 18.04 on my NUC/media machine.

Ubuntu proper seems to have less screen tearing than I experienced on UM, but I don’t know where the cause of that lies with Gnome 2, Mate or compiz/Marco and it didn’t bother me enough to drill into, until noticing it’s absence in the shiny new install.

As a throwback to my time using Windows, I have pretty much used proprietary drivers, especially for GPU’s and allowing DRM, so must admit I’m not as hard core of a penguin as I would perhaps like to be, but more pragmatic than idealistic.

But overall, I have been using Linux daily since 2015/2016, so it is about time I get the Linux challenge badge Mr @Goalkeeper, you stickler- insisting I need a blog post :slight_smile:

Eden mentioned about hardware on the challenger thread, so for posterity;


In the last few years since just before using Linux, I have gone from a 4790k on a Gigabyte Z97, to Ryzen 1700x on a Asrock X370 Taichi (I’m an AMD Fanboi too, and glad they finally reved after drawing bulldozer out way too long) and now on a 1920x with a Taichi X399. Also went from 8 to 16 to 32 gb of memory.
GPU wise I went from crossfired HD7970’s to single 980 to single 980TI. Okay, not so much on team red :frowning: but been using the same Dell 1440 monitor and reved GPU’s to ensure the pixels dance fast enough for the game of the moment
Storage wise I have a few small SSD’s, a few large ones and a load of rust.


Good job, trooper!

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Thanks man, and especially thanks for the coveted badge! :slight_smile:

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