Hello! My name is Cameron. I’m an artist, not a programmer or anything terribly technical, though I did work for a small web development company for some years in my twenties. I have a nerd streak that I’ve been nurturing for many years now. I have used Linux as my main operating system since 2016 or so and appreciate open source and ethical software. So I thought I might as well write about it. Other hidden skills include goat milking, spinning yarn, and drinking tea. And I paint silk for my day job.
Linux and Open Source and Free Software are beautiful things that should be accessible to all people, even if you’re not a programmer or “computer person,” and it’s fun to share what I’ve learned.
My Own Linux History
Back in the day I heard Linux mentioned in hushed tones with a deep nerdy respect – out of reach but a magical unicorn, while I and everyone I knew used Windows. I became obsessed with software and enjoyed the search for the Best Text Editor. Twiddling with software is addictive and I twiddled obsessively.
I was totally broke, so I didn’t have money to throw at every program. That naturally pushed me to open source software, and I kept finding programs I wanted to try that ran on Linux, but not Windows or Mac (both of which I used in former times). I told myself that I would have my own Linux machine one day.
After using Mac for a few years, I tried to dualboot my Macbook. It worked, but not well – I found Ubuntu to be crashy and a pain. I reinstalled Ubuntu, which worked better this time. I tried Linux Mint, which worked very nicely. I tried Elementary, which was decent and looked pretty, and gave me courage to commit more fully to Linux. I tried seven thousand different writing and journaling programs, trying to find a way to access my journals from Mac and from Linux. I put my most frequently used data on a usb drive, so I could access it from whichever OS I was booted into at the moment, which is not a recommended way of doing things.
Eventually I set things up to use Linux Mint as my primary and only boot into Mac OS when I needed it urgently, which turned out to be basically never. I have been all Linux ever since – it’s only been since 2016 but I can’t imagine ever going back. I love feeling in control of my own machine.
I became familiar with Linux by researching and not letting it go till I figured out how to do what I wanted. This stuff takes work to learn, but it’s becoming more accessible all the time, and I hope to see that continue. Quality, freedom-y software should be as easily available to grandmas, gardeners and people who don’t like computers, as to server admins. Software that doesn’t exploit you should be for everyone.
I am hoping that my little experiences can be of some use, or at least some entertainment to others on a nerdy path.