In late 2012 I decided to make the jump to free software and began using Linux as my primary operating system. I did it mostly for political reasons, wanting to tend a little patch beyond the reach of Microsoft's cold corporate shadow. At the time, I was sure the user experience would be so unsatisfying that my resolve would shrivel, and I would run back to Windows with my tail between my legs.


It has been a truly delightful voyage. I have learned an incredible amount about how software, hardware, programming, networking, servers, email, filesystems (and more) work, and I have quicky come to realize how totally wrong I was about Linux. It is stable, easy to use, and really good-looking. These days, when I find myself in a Windows environment for some reason, I am bemused: at how unpolished and clunky it looks (to be fair, Windows 10 is better), at how leaden its user experience is. And I laugh at myself for thinking I couldn't live without it.

However, not everything is bread and roses. Linux is currently being gravely threatened by the introduction of systemd, a software complex that aims at integrating and standardizing the Linux ecosystem so that it can be more tightly controlled and valorized by corporations (Red Hat is the prime mover). Some Linux distros have held out (AntiX, Gentoo, Slackware), and some new ones have been created, like Devuan, but most have succumbed to systemd, at least for the time being. While this struggle plays out, I have chosen to cast my lot, for now, with MX Linux, a distro that is based on Debian but that runs sysvinit by default, and encourages its users to do so. You can find a list of some of the many Linux distros without systemd here.

Here's my setup: