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Six Months using Linux Mint – An Overview

Linux Mint comes with some sleek wallpaper

Over the last six months I have been using Linux Mint and I have to say I am very impressed with what I have. Lots of Free open-source games and software to use. It’s so fast. I already use Firefox to browse the web. No problem there. For my day job I work from home so this is perfect for working remotely. For those of you who use Remote Desktop Protocol on Windows, I use Remmina (Flathub). Works pretty much the same way. The word processor I use is LibreOffice. It came free. Opens a lot faster than Microsoft Word. Looks and feels like a Word document too. I got to grips with it quickly. If I want any particular software, I can go to the Software Manager, search, download and install. Voila! All done within minutes. I love this level of convenience. I like how the software manager is like a shop where you search for an application, download and install it. Similar to the Google Playstore or Windows store. Again, I like the convenience. Linux is ideal for surfing the Gemini Protocol. A new discovery so I am new to this. Another interesting app I came across was Lagrange which enabled me to browse the Gemini Protocol. It’s a whole new web. An alternative to the WWW. The modern web has been bloated in recent years. Almost every website these days has unwanted features like autoplaying videos, pop-up windows, excessive javascript, adverts, animated banners, cookies, and a whole load of other useless things. They cause your web browser to slow down and consume a lot of RAM on your computer. Why do modern websites require more resources to function than before? It’s a drain on your computer. These websites often have little to no information which was the whole point on the internet in the first place. Access to information. The solution to this problem is the Gemini Protocol. It’s a minimalist text-based version of the web. It’s like a return to the 90’s. Small, simple, clean. Once you download the Lagrange app it will open a whole new world to you in text format with no drainage to your system. I hope to learn more about it. Hopefully in future I will have a Gemini Site of my own. Linux is FAST For Comparison, my Dell PC with Windows 10 has an Intel Core i7 Processor with 32GB of RAM. That should be relatively fast. Right? No. It takes 3 minutes to boot up. Even after signing in, the computer is still sluggish. Maybe it’s because the hard drive is half full and it is 6 years old, I bought it back in 2015. It freezes in between tasks that prevents me from doing any work. Maybe it’s because it’s connected to the internet. My suspicion is the applications and services running in the background communicating with the internet. Unfortunately I can’t turn these off because they will prevent the applications I use from functioning properly. They are always checking for updates and no doubt “spying” on me. However there is another computer I use from time to time. It’s a Dell PC with Windows 10, Solid State drive, 32GB RAM, and also has an Intel Core i7 processor. It works fine. It boots in under a minute. Loads up and works sufficiently. This one is not connected to the internet at all. There are no requests for updates nor any need for them since it works fine. So I came to the conclusion after years of use and installing updates it causes the computer to slow down. The same happens with new smartphones that come with apps you cannot delete and yet it requires constant updates. As time goes by the updates pile up and take up more disk space which causes the overall phone performance to slow down. The best way to get around this is to simply disable the apps you don’t use. But for Linux however it’s different. Updates are few and far between. And Linux doesn’t force you download them straight away. You can delay them for as long as you like and whenever it suits you. I like this flexibility. My Acer Laptop TravelMate 5760 with Linux Mint has an Intel Core i3 Processor and 5GB of RAM. It has a solid state drive with a capacity of 500GB. Boots up within 30 seconds. The speed is immense. This laptop was released in 2011 (according to Techradar).

I bought this on the 13th of April 2021. 10 years old and works like a charm. Unlike most windows computers. Update: Today is the 13th September as I complete this article. I bought this laptop second hand from Gumtree at a good price. I didn’t want to spend too much on a new laptop in case I won’t like it. I tried installing the Linux Mint OS myself but it didn’t go as planned. I downloaded the Mint distribution ISO file, got a clean USB stick, and downloaded the software to convert the file into a bootable disk image. This is where the problem began, for some reason the software that was meant to make the ISO file bootable from USB stick didn’t work properly and I don’t know why. Having spent enough time trying to do it myself, I decided to hire a pro. I went to my local computer repair shop in Southgate. They did a fantastic job installing Linux Mint for me. They even replaced the hard drive with a new solid state drive. Here is my review of their fantastic services on google maps. The only disadvantage is that I have not been able to install my Wacom Cintiq graphics tablet nor use any Adobe software which I have been using for years. This will require many years of practice to get to know and learn how to use the Linux alternatives. I bet a lot of the experts out there are laughing at my lack of understanding and technical knowledge but I don’t have time to learn all the functions of an operating system in order to install something as simple as a driver. It shouldn’t have to require being a Linux pro in order install basic things. I think this is a valid complaint. When it comes to printers, I cannot find a linux driver for the printer that I use which is a HP Officejet Pro 8600. The Hewlitt Packard website does not supply drivers for Linux users, so what they do instead is divert you over to some other website that says it provides a Linux driver for the printer you have, you select your distro and download the file for it. Instead of giving a proper driver file all it gives you is a “shell script.” I have no idea what that is. But every time I tried to run the file it freezes and it doesn’t go any further. So now I can’t print anything from a Linux which is not ideal. Perhaps the Linux community could design a Linux specific printer. I am happy to crowdfund a campaign if there is one. I have looked at various graphic tablets online for their drivers and I only found one that has a Linux driver. The rest are only for Windows and Mac. Again, there needs to be a Linux version of the drivers. If not, at least a Linux based graphics tablet. I don’t want to be a technician in order to install something like this. It needs to be as simple as download and install the driver, plug the device into our computer and it’s ready to go. But Linux hasn’t reached that stage yet. This needs to get sorted out. I hope it arrives shortly. Once the I have a graphics tablet installed I will learn how to use the alternatives to the most popular applications on PC and Mac, eg. Alternative to Photoshop is GIMP. Alternative to Illustrator is InkScape. Alternative to Premiere is KdenLive. Alternative to Audition is Audacity. And so on, I’m sure you can think of many examples. Hell. I am typing this in LibreOffice on my Linux Mint laptop. Of course, after years of using Windows software, it will take years to learn and get good at these alternatives since old habits die hard. I believe these tools will get better in time and so will I at using them. I am eternally thankful to all the developers who made this software accessible for free. They have done a fantastic job. Kudos to them. I conclude this article with a toast to Linux Mint with a cup of Mint tea. Cheers to Linux, it’s the way forward! If you would like to give it a try, you can download it from here: Post Scriptum; Allow me to introduce Chris Were who recently posted video on this very subject. Why Linux Mint is the best distro for new users

He makes a lot of good content. So I recommend you go and check out his channel and social media.

Mint tea seems to go well with Linux Mint
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