To me, Linux is the best operating system when it comes to working with audio, graphics and python programming. Learning Python is my 2021 goal and I am so excited to master this powerful programming language that I started four weeks ago. The main reason for moving from OpenSUSE to Ubuntu is Python. Ubuntu seems to have been made for creative individuals and if the user experience continues as it started, then I found my daily driver.
What are my needs
Anyone who solves problems knows that planning is key to success. Finding the best Linux distribution works the same way. To succeed, I need to first know what I want to achieve.
My creative work can be divided into three equal parts:
- Audio and video recording
- Graphics and web design
Audio and video recording
My software of choice for audio and video recording is Reaper (DAW) and Shotcut. I have picked those software programs because of their rock solid performance and workflow.
Graphics and web design
All of my 3D modeling tasks are done with Blender. If I work on industrial design projects, I use FreeCAD and if I need to print a model, I use CURA.
I am new to programing and have not yet finalized which IDE to stick with. Currently, I am trying Visual Studio Code, Pycharm and SublimeText but need more time to be sure.
Now that I have mentioned the most important software applications, it’s time to find the best Linux distribution to run those programs.
One more thing. The above mentioned software is spread out over a handful of computers. This way, while Blender renders, I can keep working on something else without losing time.
Ubuntu 20.10 first impressions
I have used Linux off and on since 1999. It’s safe to say that I’ve installed many different distributions on many different computers. My judgement of a Linux distribution begins upon installing. Here are the main points:
- Overall install time
- Package selection
RedHat Linux was my first distribution that I have ever tried. I bought it on a CD in 1999 and was hooked. A few days ago, I downloaded Fedora 33 and tried to install it on a Dell computer which has only one 256 Gig SSD. I am always working on multiple projects but for some reason, I wasn’t able to install because the practitioner gave me no logic choices.
With only one hard drive, the install should have been easy but I gave up at that stage and never got to actually try Fedora. Fedora is not a popular Linux distribution and if I can’t install it, many others will give up to.
In contrast, when it comes to creating paritions, Ubuntu is way ahead of Fedora. Some of my computers have existing operating systems and Ubuntu always made the best possible decision. OpenSUSE Tumbleweed needs babysitting when it comes to specifying the needed partitions but still manageable.
Overall install time
Usually, the install time doesn’t bother me because I do other stuff while the computer downloads the latest updates which were not available at the time the ISO was posted. Still, if a distribution hangs at some stage, that too is important to me because I tend to reinstall the OS every other month. If the install process is not smooth and triggers error messages then I tend to look for a different Linux distribution and for some reason, what one distro is not able to mange, another can. If anyone experiences issues during the install then my advise is to check out if another distribution is better suited for that particular computer.
When it comes to using the latest and best software packages then Arch Linux distributions such as Manjaro or ArcoLinux have a big advantage. The AUR has everything my heart desires. Want the latest beta version of FreeCAD? No problem. It’s in the AUR.
Unfortunately, the same is not true for OpenSUSE and Ubutnu. But repositories can be added so in the end, one can find the hidden gems with make creating with Linux a joy.
My most important software packages are:
The above list might be short but you’d be amazed of what can be produced with just those titles. A professional animator can make a living with using nothing else than Blender.
A professional writer can produce amazing eBooks with nothing more than LibreOffice and GIMP.
A professional web designer can do all of her/his work with nothing more than Firefox, SublimeText, Gimp and the built-in file browser which can handle SFTP connections to the servers.
A professional programmer can write software with SublimeText or Visual Studio Code.
All of the above listed software packages only require one additional ingredient which is skill. Without skills, no software will ever produce anything worth while although some commercials promise to turn us into app developers with their new drag-and-drop invention.
In essence, if it’s easy to make then many people can make it and the product will be of little value.
I am investing as much time as I can into implementing Ubuntu as my main operating system. My first impressions are very good. Ubuntu, while hated by many (why?) does a lot of things right. Before Ubuntu, only OpenSUSE Tumbleweed was able to install LibreOffice with spell checking ready to go. YouTube has countless tutorials of how to set up spell checking and other LibreOffice tweaks. To me, a good Linux distribution does all of that for me.
Ununtu offers the best out-of-the-box network setup. Out of all the distributions that I have used so far, only ArcoLinux comes close but it still takes a lot of time to set up SAMBA. Ubuntu on the other hand assumes that I have other computers which need to exchange files with one another.
If you have heard negative things about Ubuntu or haven’t tried it for a few years then it is worth your time to at least live-boot it and check out all of the improvements. A long time ago, someone made a YouTube video which showed that Ubutnu is slow and because of that, I never tried it out since Manjaro and especially ArcoLinux seemed to perform amazingly fast. I regret believing some nobody and now wish that I had discovered Ubuntu sooner.
These days, we consult YouTube to learn much of what we need. There are many people who review Linux distributions but most do it poorly. If you watch a review that does nothing more than click the menus and complain about the limited selection of wallpapers then do yourself a favor and move on. I won’t name anyone because they probably mean well but believe me, YouTube reviews of a Linux distribution have little value if any.
Instead, find a distribution that interests you and check their online forums as well as YouTube tutorials which can help you with specific configuration needs.
A few months ago, I’ve run Manjaro and for some reason, VirtualBox did not work. To save time, I googled and when nothing suitable came up, I posted my plea for help on their forum.
My mistake was not knowing that the then latest Linux kernel was not yet compatible with the version of VirtualBox Manjaro included and because of that, it would not compile. Although I admitted my fault of overlooking such a basic fact, I was criticized by the moderator and told that if I don’t like the existing solution to code a new one to which I responded “that is a moronic thing to say” or something like that. I don’t mean to harm the Manjaro project in any way but with a support forum of such low class, I gladly moved on and by doing so, discovered OpenSUSE.
If you are new to Linux then consider that the value of a specific distribution lies in the information which YouTube and the forums provide. Everyone needs help once in a while and Linux distributions that don’t have a good user base are simply not worth investing time in. So far, I haven’t had the need to involve the Ubuntu community but am certain that they would help because they have helped for over 10 years.
Thank you for reading. As always, if you have questions then post them bellow and I shall do my best to provide additional answers if I can. Happy new year!