How can you switch to Linux?

Thanks for the advice, will stick with ubuntu 14 and 16 and recently heard ubuntu 16 doesn’t support mongodb, have to externally install it :frowning:

I’m a 23 years old full-time web developer who works both on frontend and backend and have two years of experience.
Six months ago I switched 100% to Linux (Ubuntu) and never looked back. Why? For many reasons. For the bash terminal, who empowers you to do anything on your computer. For the cleaner UI. For the performance and consistence of the Unix OS. The only thing that hurts a little bit is not having the adobe creative cloud available or sketch, but it’s being a surprisingly good subtitute. That’s why, whenever possible I’ll acquire a mac. But the real reason is, I’ve got to a point where I was way more comfortable on Ubuntu than on Windows. And that’s when you should change.
I still use dualboot on my notebook in order to play games, but that’s it.

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As a long time Linux user (also since Linux first came out) and now Mac user … if Windows works well for you, there’s no reason to switch. Windows used to be one of the most benighted and backward platforms to develop on, and while it still has a share of annoyances, things are changing quickly. Microsoft is a very different company than they used to be, and they’re working overtime to support tools and environments that devs are demanding, including supporting an entire ubuntu environment running within windows.

Linux is good to learn, and that rises to absolutely essential if you want to work in the industry doing back-end programming (almost all the hosts are running Linux, even in Azure). But don’t imagine you need to feel compelled to switch.


+1 for using atom - it’s cross-platform, Free/Libre Open Source Software, and has heaps of plugins to make your life easier.
It’s a project from the Github folks, so you know it’s good!

And +1 for Linux Mint. I’ve been a Linux user exclusively for many years now, and Mint is probably the best in terms of balance between being customisable and ‘it just works’.

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If you want the latest MongoDB, you’ll need to install it “externally” with pretty much any distribution, I think… It’s pretty simple to do, from memory they have clear instructions on the Mongo site.

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Thanks @frode i’ll go with mint then, also using atom as my editor. :v:

How do you switch? Well, I transitioned, dual boot, boot with VM and then fresh install. Ubuntu is a little odd initally, but the the layout begins to make more sense. Then you like it but want something a touch more customizeable then you install ubuntu MATE and go with the mutiny panel set. Or Lubuntu if you have an old pc. I upgraded to 16.04 on my PC mongodb 3 3.2 both installed flawlessly (follow the 14.04 command line guides). I also have rails, ruby, node, npm, heroku tool belt, git and

Bash is the best thing about linux. That and redis. Redis was the single biggst factor in OS choice. Native for mac and nix the windows port is not as well maintained as the others. So my choice was linux or mac, i didn’t have a fist full of cash to throw at the problem so linux was the singular option.

Gaming is an after thought for me. I own a PS4 purpose built for gaming (also linux). So why run games on my computer (DOTA2 runs fine under linux).

Honestly, it is wierd at first, really wierd but then it clicks after about 2 months and you are hooked and unafraid of messing up anymore. Just boot into linux by default and only use windows when you need to (office).

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+1 for using atom - it's cross-platform, Free/Libre Open Source Software, and has heaps of plugins to make your life easier. It's a project from the Github folks, so you know it's good!

Except for the fact that if you have inline CSS in your HTML file, atom’s internal CSS will overwrite and mess up your “live preview.” That’s what got me to stick with Brackets and never look at Atom again.


So far, Brackets works best for me too as a cross-platform code editor.

It’s pretty easy yeah.

@rhhhhl Just use the Ubuntu 14 directions and it would work fine. I’ve been running on Kubuntu with no issues.

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What kind of tasks are you using in bash that makes your life easier ?

One line command tasks :

warning : these examples below are meant for my personal use, don’t try them unless you’ve read documentation and you know what they do

$ rename ‘y/a-z/A-Z/’ ./*
will uppercase every file name in the current directory

$ find ./* -name *.mp4 -exec cp {} /videos/path/ ;
will find all mp4 files in the current directory, including subfolders, and copy each of them to another directory of my choice

with ffmpeg installed :
$ ffmpeg -i videoinput -vn -acodec copy audiooutput
will extract audio from a video, (I can also choose file extension, duration, start time,size, resolution and do much more like conversions,video+audio merging, screen recording, gif making, etc, all in just one line)

$ ls > list-of-files.txt
will list all files in the current directory and print the list in a txt file

$ man dd
using dd command, for example I can clone a drive or erase(definitely) everything on it (I’m being intentionnaly vague on the how-to, since it’s a dangerous tool)

$ adduser someone
will add a new user on my machine and automatically give them a directory (under ubuntu)

$ at now +30 minutes
tar -czvf music.tar.gz /home/me/Music
will automatically make a backup of my music files in 30 minutes (also works with hours, days, weeks, months, years…)

and so on…

I’ve been using Linux Mint for months and learning new things everyday.Only things I miss about Windows is games and hardware compatibility, so I do have dual boot.

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Have you tried virtualbox? It’s a good way to try out linux and allows you to jump back on windows if you get stuck or need to use a particular program. Might want to at least dualboot before you completely replace windows with it though. Some hardware still doesn’t play nice with linux right out of the box (might need to blacklist a kernel module or download a driver to get something to work as you expect it).

Also, if you just want to develop in linux while still using windows you might want to checkout docker.

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Linux mint have two flavors: Cinnamon (heavy), and Mate(light) which is recommended for low specs laptops.


The main reasons that I switched to Linux were:

  1. My windows 10 partition was having some overall speed problems
  2. Almost all of the development tutorials were in either Ubuntu or MacOS X, everywhere I saw these terminal commands, sudos, greps, curls and nice batch scripts; also, Meteor and Laravel don’t play too nice with Windows.

I wanted an OS that was simple for beginners venturing into the Linux world and looked as pretty as Windows 10 or Mac.
So it begun, I found two candidates: Elementary OS (Ubuntu based) and Apricity (Arch Linux), in my opinion, Apricity looked way cooler than EOS but I fell for EOS minimalistic approach and the fact that it’s based on Ubuntu.

The installation was easy, I followed a tutorial step by step and no big deal. The switch, however, was a headache at first:

1) Terminal

Ok, I didn’t know how to use the thing besides the normal commands I already knew (mkdir, cd, ls, touch, curl and sudo), so I had to google some commands and I was surprised to find out about something called bash-scripting; damn son, you can do some very interesting and time-saving tasks with it! I find myself now using just 1 command to extract password-protected Rars in a folder without blinking an eye, doing crazy-renaming with files, automating video downloads from various sources using the Wget command, do some programmed shutdowns without 3rd party software and much more, I’m really in love with Bash-scripting.

2) The software

This is the every-day discussion and main reason people don’t want to switch. I was not pumped to leave Photoshop and Microsoft Office (which is the best piece of software in its category, no doubt) behind in favour of Gimp and WPS (which is the one that comes the closest to MS Office); the rest of the software wasn’t an issue, I found alternatives and most of the dev software I had was available for Linux! Later on, I found out that I could run Windows software on Linux using Wine and PlayOnLinux, I can’t run Visual Studio on it though… and some other programs gave me errors but the ones I wanted the most could be installed without any issue.

Using apt-get is super-easy and the software center has some interesting apps in it, some software comes in .deb files (for Debian/ubuntu distros) just like you’d have .exes and .msi installers on Windows or .dmg files on Mac. I still miss the hell out of MS Office, I am poor and can’t afford it, I’m done with pirating software, it’s insecure and feels bad so whenever I have to use it I run the Windows 10 partition via GRUB (the boot loader).

3) The OS itself

Elementary os gorgeous and has nice hardware support! In Windows, it was kinda harder to connect a monitor or projector but it’s just so straightforward in EOS, it gives me the percentage of power left in my wireless keyboard but the notification center leaves a lot to be desired in EOS (I think there are other distros with better notification centers). It has task view like Mac and virtual desktops out-of-the-box like Windows 10.

The settings panel is very minimalistic but most of the advanced settings shall be changed via terminal commands (make sure not to break stuff with it) such as switching clock formats from 24hrs to 12hrs. Installing a new language is as easy as it gets, I have it in both English and Spanish. It also boots hella fast and the dock called Plank doesn’t do more than I require of it.

The hardest part for me has been the Alt Codes, you can’t do alt codes in Mac and Linux so you need to use Ctrl+Shift+U and then type a 4 digit Unicode to represent a character; the easiest way for me to remember is annotate the characters I used the most with Alt Codes and if I don’t but I somehow remember the ASCII code, I convert it to Hexadecimal and I know that’s what I should put in the Unicode, for example, if I want to do the backtick, it’s Alt+96 on Windows (I have my keyboard in Spanish) and with Unicode I have to type 0060 (0x60 to decimal is 96) after Ctrl+Shift+U.

4) Speed and peace of mind

They say there’s no way you can get viruses on a Mac or Linux but the truth is, you can! Even if that’s the truth, I am smart enough to surf the web with caution and I feel kinda safer in Linux, I also let my friends to insert their filthy, virus-infected, dirty little USB sticks on my laptop because of that peace of mind.

The OS is fast but you may find Ubuntu being a bit slower than say Linux Mint or others. By the way, Linux Mint is awesome, my uni uses it as a Windows alternative and it’s super fast even in old machines.


You don’t need to switch to a Linux dual boot

If you are comfortable with windows you may want to check out vagrant. Vagrant lets you run a virtual *nix box within Windows. You can connect the two by synced shared folders and then execute your localhost web server within Vagrant. This server is accessible through your windows machine.

Hey guys I stumbled upon your post and would definitely say for beginners grab a old pc with a intel core 2 duo or equivalent and 2-4gb of memory . Download LinuxMint Mate version / Ubuntu Mate.
Or go the VM route like VirtualBox even vagrant like @tsora mentioned.

at least for testing and learning .

I would highly recommend the Raspberry Pi approach if you want to learn Linux.

Modern Linux distros are beasts. They are not designed for someone to learn about the OS. Some attempt to hide the OS and provide a seamless desktop UI (eg Ubuntu). Other distros contain more experimental code. This all adds to the complexity of the underlying OS.

The RPi is designed as a learning platform. There is enough of a UI to make navigation easy, but not enough to get in the way of learning about the OS, and there are plenty of people willing to help. It feels like a return of the good old days of Linux.

Personally, I have blown away my windows partition and run Fedora on my laptop - I like to mess around in the OS. I run Windows on my wife’s computer because she is more comfortable with it. With Cloud/Web based apps the desktop OS is largely irrelevant. Unless you have a reason to switch (eg learning to be a sysadmin) or a project in mind I would run what you are most comfortable with on the desktop.

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I do not recommend listening to any advice about learning Linux from anyone who’s used Linux for more than 5 years. This includes me, so don’t listen to what I’m about to say:

The best way to learn Linux is to just install it and use it on a computer you actually want to use daily. If you don’t know which distribution, just pick Ubuntu --you might find a different distro later, but don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis in choosing one to start with. When you’ve found your way around the GUI (Ubuntu loves that meta/windows key, so make use of that) then go pick up a bash tutorial to learn the command line.

Linux runs on everything from watches to supercomputers. The notion that there’s a single way to learn it or even a single incarnation of Linux you should learn above all others is laughably obsolete. Yes, it’s all unix underneath, but what’s actually relevant is how you use it.


I think that Linux is a fun tool to use that has a lot of benefits. That being said, it also has a lot of setbacks. You’ll learn many of them in time. I have been a Windows user my entire life and I’ve only dabbled with Mac. I game a lot and have only really ever done development on a Windows machine. I switched to Linux for development after having used my Raspberry Pi right when it came out in 2012. I thought it was very interesting and started delving more into it. I know develop solely on a Linux machine at home (I am currently enjoying Ubuntu 16.04) and I have a separate Windows machine that is only for gaming. I have been practicing for the past year on my Linux box with relying less on using my mouse for navigation. You really can be more productive by not having to move your hands from the keyboard as often. There are text editors like VIM and EMACS that are centered around this idea too.

My advice would be to either get a Raspberry Pi or use an old laptop/pc that isn’t being used anymore to install Linux. Or try it on a live CD/USB to see what you think. I love it because of it being free and all of the other great resources that you can get on it like GIMP (similar to Photoshop), Inkscape (similar to Illustrator), LibreOffice (similar to Microsoft Office), and many more. Yeah it doesn’t really hold up in my opinion for gaming and it can definitely be intimidating to start but I think it is a very nice tool to be familiar with.

I still haven’t made the switch, But I will get a Raspberry Pi 3 to learn Linux… and to play some games too :slight_smile:

Packtpub ebook of the day is about Linux Mint essentials too ! Will give this a read.