So I was bored the other day. Weve all been there. It was one of those days when theres absolutely nothing to do. No work that needs to be done, no big projects that absolutely have to be finished now or else horrible things will happen, all your friends, family, significant others past and present are giant dorks who dont want to do something as simple as going to the freaking mall cuz theyre all a bunch of oooh, I just want to take a nap lazy bastards. Yup. It was one of those days. One of those terrible days we all think we want when were busy as hell, but realize theyre about the worst thing ever when we happen to get one. Its usually days like that when I end up doing something dangerous. Fortunately for my life, limb, and future well being, Im out of gunpowder and magnesium strips (no homemade fireworks), so I had to find some other stupid way to occupy my time. I could watch movies, but eh. I want to do something. At least something that looks productive at first glance. Something hands on that requires at least a little effort, even if it does end up being a complete waste of time in the grand scheme of things. so I hit up the internet to look for porn. But theres really only so many times you can do that in a single day before you start chafing, so I had to find something else to do. It was around then that I decided to try what Im now dubbing The Great Nerd Experiment Or in regular yakkity talk, me wiping my computer and installing Linux with the intentions of using it for a month. Yup. Linux and internet porn. Im always the life of every party I go to! This entire post will be about my experiences over the last 5 days. A journal only three people here will find interesting. Ive tried Linux before. Dabbled in it anyway. Usually on days like Ive already mentioned and griped about above. But its always been a dabbling. Ill goof around with it for a couple of hours, then usually wipe the partition and go back to normal when I find things too ugly and stupid dumb. It had been about 2 years since I last tried it out, and Ive heard things have improved considerably for the FOSS zealots OS of choice during that time. I decided to go whole hog and immerse myself in the experience. And so it began. I picked Ubuntu Gnome cuz it looked to have the nicest UI of the bunch, slapped it on a thumb drive, and spent all of 20 minutes going through the install process. Thats one plus for it. Its about the fastest, simplest installation Ive been through. It wouldve taken even less time if I let it wipe and set up my whole harddrive itself. But since Im a nerd on a great nerd experiment, I decided to do all that myself. My first experiences on booting up? At least as far as looks go, things have improved by leaps and bounds. Back in the day, Linux looked exactly like what it was. It looked like an OS made by a lot of geeks with a tremendous amount of programming talent, but no knack for design would make. Now? It has a very OSXish style to it without aping it directly. Everything is brightly colored, the text is bold, clear, and easy to see, and it all fits well together. The UI itself is like an interesting take on mission control, but doesnt group windows by programs, and still has a useable set of virtual desktops. One things for sure, its very clean, and easy to organize. Even without the usual minimize and maximize buttons on my windows. Gnome 3 is set up to keep all your windows open at once, and you sort through them by exposeing them around or moving them to other desktops. Weird at first, but I started liking it pretty quickly. Im already able to get around to everything a little quicker and easily than I could in Windows. Linux is just about good enough to have an excellent out of the box experience (provided you pick the right distro). I didnt have to futz around with various themes to get it looking halfway decent. Other than getting a new icon set, I was ready to roll right after install. Software? Still lacking in a lot of ways (OH GOD NO PHOTOSHOP), but better than it ever has been before. Im writing this in Scrivener, and listening to Spotify in the background. I dont have to rely on alright, but not quite as good open source alternatives there at least. Games? Ive got Steam installed, though Ive only got 18 of my 80 something odd games available to me. At least theyre pretty fun ones, and looking at Kickstarter shows me even more is coming around the corner. Still not absolutely spectacular, but so much better than it was 2 years ago. Modo is also coming to Linux soon, which is a huge, HUGE plus for me. But no Photoshop. Im about to try it out in WINE, but Im not expecting miracles. Thisll probably be the one thing that pushes me back to Windows. And the most important part: stability and ease of use. Is it truly ready for your average grandma to use? This is a mixed bag. A yes and a no situation. One thing Ive noticed over the last 5 days is that when Linux is working, its working well. Everything is smooth, runs clean, and pops up instantaneously. Hiccups and hitches are a rare thing. Its quite nice. but there are no little problems in Linux. Oh no. This isnt a good thing, because when something goes wrong, it goes wrong HARD. As in, I have to spend an hour on my iPad looking up solutions to problems that require 30 lines worth of bash commands to do because installing Dropbox off the Ubuntu Software Center is buggy, it hangs when it tries to install after download, eats up 100% of your CPU cycles, wont let you turn your computer off without a hard reset, wont purge the problem itself, and will keep falling into the same trap each and every time you go to download a new program. Or my network settings randomly wanting to use my router internal DNS server as the internet gateway, ignoring anything else beyond it. I had to force it to use Googles 18.104.22.168 if I wanted to download files consistently. Plus my syslog file is currently almost a GB big (er GiB, rather) because I had an issue with my network card, and it kept writing error logs to it over and over and over and over again, eating up 100% of my CPU cycles just writing more and more logs until I fixed it. I thought it was just my mouse lagging at first. I was wrong. At least the nice people over at the Ubuntu IRC channel were kind enough to help me out on this front. Yeah. IRC. I havent used that in almost 10 years now. Yup. No little problems in Linux. Just gignormous ones thatll freak just about anyone out. Things are running buttery smooth right now, but how long will that last? Is everything finally stable? Will I have another catastrophic failure? I might be able to fix it, but thats a little too much trouble for your average grandma to deal with. So anyway, this is my incredibly long post about Linux. I could go on, but its already a little overly long as it is. Just thought Id share all my little moments with you all for educational purposes.