Using Linux as my Daily OS


For the past month I’ve migrated both my personal gaming PC and my M1 macbook to a Linux distro. On my mac I have Asahi Fedora Remix 40, and on my desktop I have PopOS. Both distros are very slick, and so far I haven't had a single issue with either one.


This all started with my Steam Deck. I ordered one of the first units from Valve back during the pandemic. It’s come in handy for trips, vacations and bus rides. I am still impressed with Proton. After a while I figured that I could give it a try on my desktop. But first…

Windows 11 broke me.

I’m a hater. Windows 11 broke my spirit. I hated using it. Little pop ups here and there. Notes saying that I should try Edge. Lock screen links. Icons popping up asking me to try different apps from the MS Store. Constant notifications that I need a Microsoft account. I was just done. Since 2020 when I upgraded my NAS, I haven't stored any files I need on my desktop or laptop. It was time to jump ship.

While writing this, MS showed off Copilot+Recall. They can fuck all the way off

Migrating

First my main PC - I went with PopOS. PopOS has a build specifically for computers with Nvidia GPUs. I tried out Ubuntu a while ago and the display would be blank. (drove me nuts) I have had no issues with PopOS since install. Proton has handled games beautifully. The only bug I’ve encountered is when running Helldivers 2 in full screen mode. If you do that it will crash right to the desktop. Running it in Windowed Full Screen works fine however. Other games run fine. You can check ProtonDB for information for your game, but for me, every title works. 

I was already using LibreOffice, Firefox, Gimp, etc. I wasn’t giving up any of the productivity programs I was already using. Since all my documents, images, music, etc are on the NAS, migrating wasn’t a headache.


On the Mac, Asahi has come a long way. I first tried it out before they added  GPU acceleration and sound. However, when they moved over to Fedora (I believe it was Arch based at first) GPU acceleration is now supported, and audio works. MyM1 came with the Touch bar on the keyboard, and Asahi now places F1 - F12 there. Pressing the ‘fn’ key gives you access to screen brightness, keyboard light, search and volume. I consider it “good to go” for day to day personal use. I don’t know if it works well for “professionals” but the work that I have done on it has gone well.
The same apps I use on the desktop work here as well. Although there is some issue with finding ARM applications, I haven’t had the same problem other users have reported.


If you want to “get better” at linux, using it as your desktop really speeds things up. I have many Linux servers set up for both home use and at work. Spending personal time using Linux has had the bonus of increasing my familiarity with it. (no duh Peter)


So any ways, I will be updating this log with any notes, tips and observations.

Useful Links

A Collection of links for people looking into migrating from Windows/Mac OS to a Linux distro.
ProtonDB - Crowd sourced database of proton compatibility for games. Often includes settings/files that need to be updated to get the best experience.

Wine HQ - main page for the WINE project. has a App DB and Wiki for guides on getting Windows applications working.
Asahi Linux - Homepage for the Asahi Linux project.
PopOS - Currently the best distro for users with Nvidia hardware. *NOTE* This appears to be changing as Nvidia is doing more work on their drivers, but I remain skeptical.

First update - 27-05-224

The path of least resistance to migrating away from Windows is to already have a NAS set up. Backup all your important files here. Things like photos, resumes, important documents, etc. Keeping them off your PC will allow you to experiment with applications, distros, and other configurations without having to worry about data loss.

Some more thoughts - 31-05-2024

I want to point out that migrating to a linux desktop (especially for Mac users) is not something that average users are going to be comfortable with. I am an IT guy. Computers, electronics, tinkering, etc have been my hobby for more than 30 years. I am in my comfort zone dealing with issues when they come up. I’ve been using the command line since my dad gave me a 286 computer.

Your average user is not going to want to do this. If you want to use Windows or Mac OS, great. I am not going to criticize or judge you. I would encourage you to learn all you can about your system, but if your interests are elsewhere, and you just want to play CoD, great. More people getting into tech is only a good thing, and (speaking for myself) you are welcome to the hobby.


Sometimes installing an app is annoying.

Installing applications is still all over the place for Linux systems. I’ve had to build a few applications on my machine, set up a new package manager, and just in general poke around online to get some things to work. It’s not difficult. I’ve done it before, and doing it now is just as straightforward as I remember. I do think (for desktop use) the GNU/Linux system distros should agree on 1 standard for installing apps.

Asahi Fedora Remix - 06/07/2024

Asahi is very slick. They are close to adding Vulkan support. Pretty cool. So far, battery life is very good. I have not had any stability issues with the OS either. Dual booting on the Macbook Pro M1 is pretty simple, hold down the power button until the boot menu appears, select Fedora, and it boots right into Linux. You can set up your laptop to boot right into Linux and skip this step, but I still use MacOS for work. 

Step 2 of this project is to move my work flow over to Fedora off of MacOS. MS Teams has a pretty full featured web application, and I think I have a solution lined up to handle all of my work email accounts. The main hold up is all the security software different clients use to connect to their systems. As far as I can tell there is no equivalent available.

Since my Mac is mostly a work machine, this is not a huge deal. The purpose of migrating to Linux was for personal use and not for work. I am going to keep my eye on it in case I can migrate professionally over to the linux desktop, but at the moment, it looks like I will have to stick to MacOS and/or Windows for work.