Full Migration from Windows to Linux - Report #3 Distribution

Sense my last report quite a bit has gone on in my migration and how I've managed to make it complicated, though better for it overall. With just about three months passed, a whole lot has happened in both the Linux world and the Windows world.

Windows 10... oh my. So the main thing that fueled this train-wreck towards Linux was my laptop. It had Windows 8 on it, so moving to 10 didn't seem like a big decline, in fact a major improvement to get rid of the metro screen! Before making the move however I looked around online but only for the things I was looking for (which is a major pitfall when trying to see if you like something or not), mainly benchmarks for games and overall performance. Was seeing if there was another Vista situation going on.

The big picture of Windows 10 didn't seem bad at all, so when the upgrade was ready for my laptop I took the dive. With Win8 I used the BitLocker function to encrypt my laptop, it's a portable system with my information on it so making sure all of that is safe even if I loose the laptop is a pretty high priority to me. After downloading and some "Yes I Agree" buttons I was finally able to enter information about encrypting my drive. This is the very moment I can recall flipping the table.
The Bitlocker was telling me to have my device encrypted, it must back up a unlocker key to Microsoft. No, this isn't Microsoft's laptop it's mine.
Spent the better part of an hour searching everywhere to see if skipping this was an option but no it's not an option.

After that hair-pulling event, everything was reverted back and for the most part left alone until I can "deal" with it later. Then the events of what was brought up from Report #1 happened and knew that learning Linux had to happen now.

To top everything off I've been discovering that Windows 10 tracks, well everything there isn't any part of the system where it isn't collection analytic data about what you're doing, sure it has some switches to toggle it off but that's putting trust into the system that it's keeping it's end of the bargain and with updates you have no choice but to accept immediately whats to prevent it from turning them back on. Then the ads. I go out of my way to pay for services or a product to make sure ads are ass far removed from my life as possible, putting them right into my desktop is just pure anger.

Sure I could go through the hassle of installing 3rd party tools in preventing the tracking of every single thing I do and block ads but Microsoft will go out of it's way to subvert such things and the problem is, I shouldn't have to. Before with installing Windows from disk/usb was the clean install, now it comes hard coded with bloat already on it.
To be honest as well, I'm tired of using a large swath of 3rd party tools over the years. Trying to make Windows my machine, well that's just chasing the dragon, you'll never reach it but it feels so close.

With most Windows users (I assume) the first Linux distribution to try is Ubuntu, which does it's best to be as user friendly as possible, sadly as a windows user it felt like I was just only using a reskinned Apple UI with about the same kind of frustrating (lack of) utility.
Luckily there was Kubuntu. I did use this for nearly 2 months and was a great platform for learning Linux while having the safety bubble of having a start menu and overall similar layout. However I was using Kubuntu 15.10 and things were bleeding edge with the new Plasma desktop and it was pretty much just as crashy as Windows Explorer. It was a bit more bloaty than I was really comfortable with, sure it ate memory but it wasn't that, it was the fact Plasma had so many extra functions I didn't need.

Kubuntu wasn't doing it for me so I had to find a solution. Linux Mint used Cinnamon as the desktop which gave me a nice warm blanket feeling but it always felt behind in both Linux Kernel version and program repositories. Even after all this I went back to Ubuntu (by this point it was 16.04) and ripped out the Unity Desktop and put in Cinnamon, I did my very best to try and make it work seamlessly, but even after looking up all sorts of fixes and work around the community tried to come up with I wasn't able to get Cinnamon to work as cleanly as I'd hoped. For example the desktop icons would vanish and the background would change (I found the fix for this but still it didn't hold that well), then there was when I tried to shut down from the menu it gave me this.

Needless to say I was tired feeling as if getting back on track using my computer would never come. The main thing that kept me from looking at other distros is that I enjoyed the LTS of Ubuntu based distros, but it wasn't working for me, so I had to give up LTS and PPAs and get myself something that made me happy to use.

After a few days of looking other distros I've finally came to the choice of using Fedora, it's sponsored by RedHat and they became the first $2 billion dollar open-source company, why not give this a try then. It uses GNOME 3 as it's desktop but if I was going to make a major change in how I use my PC already, might as well go all the...wait, whats this I found; Fedora Spins!

Now this is just fantastic, they offer Fedora pre-packaged with KDE Plasma, XFCE, LXDE, Mate, Soas and even Cinnamon!
The overall opinion I got from most people is that Fedora is semi-close to bleeding edge in it's repositories so it can be breaky at times but not majorly so from the sounds of it lately. This also works greatly in my favor as the major reason I used PPAs in Ubuntu was to have the latest release of things like Darktable and Kdenlive.

Fedora's repositories however are more strict on being free and open-source than other distros so to install something like, Steam I had to get, Fedy which you can grab here. It also lets you install things such as Adobe flash, different types of archive formats, DVD playback, Google chrome, Multimeda codecs, ect. Just lots of useful things for a modern workstation tip toeing on the line of free and open source but you know, functional with everything else. Though I do use OpenJDK for Minecraft rather than Oracles close source one. Even did a test with both of them and the frame rate is the same and in fact I'm pretty sure the OpenJDK loads complicated large chunks faster than the closed source one, so I'm good with that.

Reading the wiki on Fedora there is quite a bunch of interesting tid bits. The main one that caught my eye is that code changes are made upstream to other communities working projects so that any Linux distro benefits, unlike say Ubuntu which has been doing more of it's own thing lately. The lifespan of each Fedora version is fairly short, about 13 months, which at first made me a bit paranoid but with the amount of PPA's I had running before it was pretty much the same.
Every now and then I catch myself typing sudo apt install rather than sudo dnf install but that's just muscle memory tripping me up, I just find that amusing.

Fedora with Cinnamon has been a fantastic treat as it has exposed me to even more different sort of things in the world of Linux and lets me keep my warm blanket feeling complete with hotkeys that I'm already used to.
Wasn't aware of how much in the Ubuntu bubble I was in, until installing this distro.
Some neat-o features is that Fedora comes with SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux) and with a Firewall turned on by default. I am the sort of person to scoff at the notion of some sort of virus or spyware for Linux but it pleases my tinfoil hat to see these things here and that Fedora is thinking about the day when that sort of thing could happen (scoff).

Now to be fair Windows in general is not banished from my life entirely, my S.O. uses Windows as her daily driver with her desktop box and laptop. While she doesn't plan on moving to 10 at any point she can't migrate over as disruption in her workflow would cost money. Also I'm not willing to give up a large portion of my games but I'm not willing to dual boot either. I had built myself a MiniITX SteamOS Box from stuff I could find on sale or craigslist finds, works rather well as a SteamBox but I'm realistic and had to install Windows 7 on it. After installing 7 though I stripped it clean of everything possible, even the pretty eye candy (and sticky keys, nothing but pure hate), so it looks more Windows 98 than 7 at the moment but I'm fine with that, all it has installed is drivers and Steam, which boots at start up then right into big picture mode.
Everything is disabled so it won't randomly become 10 by "accident". For good measure I've also installed Aegis, if you need to hold onto 7 or 8.1 for a while longer I recommend using it.

Finally to bring this all around.
My laptop was the last device of mine to get Linux on it as I needed to make Lightroom backups just in case, changing any PSD files gimp can't open properly (such as CMYK files) and just for putting out fires whenever I needed it.
But at last Fedora 23 was to be installed on my Thinkpad Yoga! During installing I was more than pleased not having to agree to a EULA then being able to encrypt my entire drive and now it feels much more that I own this machine both hardware and software wise.

Slowly catching on to all the little nuances that is Linux, even went as far as to compile Darktable from source and use it without any problems. That was actually quite enjoyable.
In my next report I'll go over what software I've found works best for me and in fine grain detail.
Also a good book to get really into the terminal and understand how things work is The Linux Command Line, it has really cleared a few things up for me rather than trying to search for every single little thing the CLI in Linux can do.