The Alternate Reality, Episode 8: 10 year Anniversary of running Linux on my Desktop

Mat Newman  July 24 2020 18:25:09
Figure 1: Ubuntu Linux  

10 years ago today I made the switch to Linux as my primary OS, and I've never looked back.

Through 4 machines, I have imaged and restored the HDD to the new laptop (AND Edited/Resized partitions while doing so). I have never lost any data, seamlessly transferred between machines, and upgraded through 4 LTS releases without any hassles.

One of the things I love most about this platform (besides how stable it is, oh, and how flexible/customisable it is, oh, and how performant it is ... yeah there's lots to love πŸ˜‰), is that I can choose when updates occur. And when those updates do happen it doesn't usually require a reboot - or excessive downtime - unless a major Kernel update occurs, which is not that frequently.

Have just rebooted my machine for the first time in 2 months, due to a kernel update. It took less than 20 seconds to restart. That's it. 20 seconds was my total down-time for a major system update, in addition to over a dozen installed apps having updates applied as well.

I am currently running Notes, Sametime, Safelinx, Domino Administrator (under WINE), WPS Office, 3 browsers (all with multiple Tabs/Windows), Terminal, Monitor, Wireshark, Remmina RDP, and a Domino server running in VMWare Workstation. My CPU is hovering around 10%, and I have 4.2 GB memory being utilised.

Compare that to the OS running on my corporate Thinkpad P53 beside me. It was down for 2 hours this morning while it downloaded and installed updates.

That machine is currently running Notes, Firefox, Powerpoint, and Safelinx. It too is hovering at around 10% CPU, BUT it's chewed up 8.7GB of Memory. #WTH? 8.7GB to run four apps?

Anyway ... back to the point of this post. 10 years ago today, a catastrophic BSOD completely borked my HDD. Windows Install couldn't recover the drive, and GParted couldn't recover the partition tables.

After a few moments contemplating a re-install, I thought to myself: "Bugger that, I'm done with Windows, why not try Linux?"

Having used Linux on servers at that point for a couple of years, and knowing how much faster and more reliable they were than Windows, I made the decision to install a Linux Desktop on my own machine.

My choice at the time was Ubuntu. It was simple to install straight off a bootable USB, and I had been playing with it anyway in a VM while testing some Notes apps to ensure compatibility with Linux.

So, a quick installation later, and another couple of hours restoring files from a backup I had taken the night before, I was up and running in my new system.

As I started poking under the hood of my new environment, I quickly came to appreciate just how flexible this system was. I want a Mac-style dock, "sudo apt-get install cairo-dock". Done. I want Windows to behave like this. Discovered Compiz. WOW! Rotating Screens, Multiple Desktops, special effects. The options seemed limitless. Wish I had a keyboard short-cut to ... Easy!

And the best thing - Performance!

The same machine only a day before had struggled at the thought of Notes, Office, and the 4 simultaneous VM's running to make a demo Domino/Connections/Sametime environment work. Linux hardly raised a sweat. THAT was what really impressed me.

Have I had any issues in the past 10 years? Sure ... there's been a couple of 'interesting' experiences. I'm sure a few of my friends here remember the Userblast presentation in 2012 that started late because I was still restoring my machine back to it's previous state when the session was supposed to start. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚  Scott Vrusho can testify to helping me diagnose and fix my Notes client after that session so that it worked with the system update. Turned out that the update removed a couple of libraries that were included in the Notes Depends file. After we removed them, everything worked fine.

A couple of minor hassles with device drivers, a couple of flaky app installs that caused issues with other apps, but nothing insurmountable. And once I discovered how to run apps in full debug mode, I quickly learned how to fix almost any issue myself, or at least to understand what was actually happening. That really is the beauty of Open Source.

Overall, I can say with confidence that my work-life has been greatly enhanced by the reliability, flexibility, and performance provided by working within a Linux Desktop.

Thanks Linux for 10 years of service.

I am looking forward to many more. πŸ€—πŸ’›

1Uwe Brahm  07/24/2020 21:51:04  
The Alternate Reality, Episode 8: 10 year Anniversary of running Linux on my Desktop

Thanks for sharing these insights.

Could you elaborate your Linux Notes client setup? Which version of Notes are you running on Linux and which Wine-Version do you use.

The official listtings at:

are not very helpful.



2Sachin Chauhan  07/25/2020 1:48:18  
The Alternate Reality, Episode 8: 10 year Anniversary of running Linux on my Desktop

Mat, Thanks for sharing such wonderful experience with Linux past 10 years. I also big fan of linux (Suse). Also agreed with you that it make you in hassle while installing driver etc. I faced lots of issue to installing WiFi Lan on my Desktop.

But no other match on key points.


Notes/Domino installation

Domino Partitioned server

3Hogne BΓΈ Pettersen  07/26/2020 20:51:09  
The Alternate Reality, Episode 8: 10 year Anniversary of running Linux on my Desktop


>"sudo apt-get install cairo-dock


And that sums up why Linux will never more than a OS for geeks :-)

Itried Ubuntu over ten years ago, and ran Notes and other stuff with it for a couple of years. I wish I could say it was hazzle free, but it wasn't. Whenever an update happened, or I made changes, there was a dependency that stopped working somewhere.

Finally I had no sound and no wifi, and I just went back to Windows. I was much happier running iOS on my iMac and MacBook Pro for almost a decade, but Windows 10 works very well for me these days.

Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

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