I have a confession to make. For decades, and yes I can use that word accurately, I have been a solid Windows user. Of course over the years I had worked in Linux environments for one project or another and with the move into penetration testing, it’s a must.
Over the years I’ve played with Raspberry Pi’s and of course using Linux in virtual machines as that was the easiest way to be able to work in both Linux and Windows easily. I’d also from time to time, download a distro and reload my laptop with it as my main system for the experience and the fun.
The big hold up from moving to Linux full time for me was the support for applications that I use and gaming side of things. I used to play a lot of PC based games and while there is ever growing support for gaming for the Linux PC arena, it’s mostly a Windows PC world.
Truth be told, I’m not the gamer I used to be. I don’t have that need for a Windows based gaming rig anymore. If I have the urge to play games, there are options for Linux. Steam, Lutris and GameHub have a pretty good library of games should I want some diversions other than Minecraft.
So that leaves the only hang up being replacing the other desktop applications I use with the Linux counterparts.
10 years ago, that was a big hurdle. Five years ago not so much. Today, yeah, not really a problem.
- Hardware support is not really an issue save for some distros having distinct issues with drivers for Nvidia cards as of late. My system is a few years older, shouldn’t be an issue.
- Web browsers, not an issue. The major players are on all platforms.
- Office suite of applications? With Windows it’s the Microsoft Office 365 stuff, LibreOffice for Linux is what I like. Support for all Microsoft document formats. Of course, with a Office 365 subscription, it’s very easy to use the web based versions for most of what I need.
- Virtual Machine support is also not an issue. I use VMWare Workstation Pro and that’s been supported on Linux for a very long time. I would still be able to run my Kali VM and or course, a Windows 10 Pro VM to keep up to date on that side of things.
- Password management? Enpass works on Windows, Android, iPhone and of course Linux, no problem there.
That leads to the next question, which distro to use? There are many from which to choose. Which is the best? That is a debate that has been ongoing since the dawn of Linux to be honest. I’m not going to engage in that debate here, there isn’t enough storage on the Internet to move that discussion here.
Something I would advise though, avoid using Parrot OS Security and/or Kali as your main system. These are penetration testing based distros and you would not want to make that your main system for the simple reason that they are changing all the time either through frequent updates or by your own actions for a specific engagement. Run these as VM’s so that you don’t find yourself with a main system that’s unstable.
To test a distro you like, the best advice I can offer is to download a distro, make the USB boot drive for that distro and boot your computer using the ‘live mode’. Test it out. See how it feels, see how your devices are supported and identify any issues and/or possible solutions to those issues.
When you decide on a distro you want to use, I’ve found that running the install from the boot menu to not always be the best way to go, especially when it comes to WiFi drivers on a laptop. Boot the distro in live mode, connect to your WiFi network and run the install from there. Trust me, this will save you a lot of headaches.
Which distro did I decide to use? Well, if you didn’t get the hint from the blog post title, I went with Mint. I had tried several distros, Bodhi, Ubuntu, etc.. They are all good and worked well with my aging Dell XPS 8930 from 2018. Mint was the choice that won out in the end.
I chose it for many reasons. For a Windows user, it was very easy for me to find any settings I wanted to find in the GUI. Mint is a polished distro with solid with great visual appeal, it’s stable, has a huge device driver support library and is resource friendly.
To date, I’ve had a Kali and Windows 10 Pro VM both with 4 GB of ram configured for each running along with email, chat and a web browser running, steaming video. Add a round of Minecraft to the mix and it was stable and peppy. Granted, I have 32 GB of ram on my system and SSD’s for the storage, but Windows 10 Pro would begin to become sluggish after 10 minutes. This thing was solid and responsive. I was impressed and that’s what won me over.
So, will I keep Mint as my main OS? In a word, yes. As I become more and more fluent with Linux, until I have that comfort level I have with Windows, I’ll be running Mint for the foreseeable future.
Of course, some day, I might just decide to dive into Arch, but I don’t want to go off that deep end…yet.
Until next time, have a good one!