[Fixed] A Rambling Post About Switching To Linux

Today, we’re going to talk about switching to Linux – in what I believe will be a brief article. This article is just based on some observations, and I think we can have some fun with it. (Ed. Note: It’s not very brief.)

Note: I hit the publish button instead of the Schedule button, so the article was briefly published and notifications went out about this. Sorry ’bout that. I’m an idiot. In my defense, I get it correct the vast majority of the time!

Moving on…

First, for this article, if you want to ‘help’ and ‘contribute’ then please do so as  a comment – you’ll see why before the article ends. Adding your comments as a comment here makes more sense.

When people take piano lessons, and history/experience tell me that this is similar for other instruments, 90% of them will quit within the first year. That is, they will have paid for equipment and formal lessons (as that’s where this data was drawn from) and they still quit taking lessons within a year.

Sure, you can learn a lot in a year – including how to give yourself further instructions. But, are they really quitting taking lessons for that reason – or are they quitting taking lessons for other reasons, like not making progress fast enough, not enough reward for the effort put in, or simply not having enough time to continue with a hobby when life has more pressing problems? Have they truly quit playing Piano?

And, well, I suspect the number is similar for people who try to switch to Linux. I strongly suspect, but have no data – simply observations – that approximately 90% of the people who try Linux will give up and return to using their previous operating system – be it Windows or MacOS, or what have you – within a year.

Let’s talk about …

Switching To Linux:

I get it. It’s hard. If you’ve been using Windows since Windows 95, you’ve got some serious muscle memory going on – and you have some legit knowledge built up. You’re pretty much an expert with Windows by then – or you’ve spent a whole lot of money to get other people to repair your computer for you. I suppose the latter is possible, but let’s just ignore that subset. You’ve still invested a ton of hours into learning how to use Windows itself – never mind the hours invested in learning to use the applications you are used to using.

Right now – and this is what prompted it – I am on my 4th day without smoking. (I am taking the drug Chantix. It’s awesome, at least for me.) 

I’ve tried quitting before – and I’ve even gone extended periods without smoking. I dare say that I’ve quit smoking so many times, I’m an expert at it! However, your odds of success get better every time you try to quit. I’m being optimistic, even though I’d kick a nun for a cigarette. (That’s a figure of speech… Well, it’s my figure of speech. Please don’t send ninja nuns to my house to beat me up.)

I can hear  you now… “Alright, David… What are you on about?”

Well, I’ve written about switching before – but this is a different aspect. See, when you make the switch, you’re not just starting to learn how to use Linux, you’re quitting using Windows. That’s a lot of habits and oh so many countless hours invested in learning to use Windows – and you’re giving up on all of that and all the benefits (and limitations) that entailed. You have things you know and those things you know are now things you knew – ’cause those things you knew ain’t true with Linux.

I don’t want to talk about formalities. This isn’t a technical article. Instead, I just want to show you one of the motivators I keep using to not smoke out of habit. (My cravings are kinda gone, I think. It’s just now the times I’d smoke out of habit.)

Please, click this link to see a timeline of benefits you get from quitting smoking:

What happens after you quit smoking?

Edit: Here’s a link from a .gov site, so maybe having more authority.

Ideally, that link will take you to the anchor – which is a timeline of benefits you get when you quit smoking. If not, scroll down until you get to said section. Those benefits are what’s keeping me motivated. Those are my rewards for putting up with the discomfort. (I dare say they’re pretty good rewards, but that’s a topic for an article on a different site.)

I have a point to this! It’s coming!

Timeline of Benefits:

If you have followed the link(s) above (and please do before commenting), you’ll see that there are benefits as soon as 20 minutes has passed. That’s right, just 20 minutes after quitting smoking you’ll have some benefits.

So, for this exercise, I want you to tell me what benefits you’d have (at those, or other) various timed intervals after quitting Windows and switching to Linux.

Like, so…

After 20 minutes of quitting Windows, you’ll see that you actually decide when your computer is updated and rebooted! So far so good!

After 12 hours of quitting Windows, you’ll see that you don’t have to hunt for software because everything you need to get started is available in the default repositories – and it’s free! These are benefits you get from switching to Linux!

After 24 hours of quitting Windows and switching to Linux…

(And carry on like that…)

You don’t have to do the full list unless you feel like it. You can even change the timeline hours/days/weeks/months, whatever – just have fun with it. It’s not some school exercise, it’s just for fun.

I do ask that you leave these replies as comments here, so that others can find and read them down the road. If you’re unwilling to do that, feel free to leave them on Reddit or on Linux.org, but here would be ideal. So far, in all my years hosting sites, I’ve never sold anybody’s data – and I’ve never had your personal information compromised. Commenting here is pretty painless and relatively low-risk.

Like I said… Don’t just have fun with it, be funny with it – if you want. The sky’s the limit. Do what you will with the idea!


By the way, I think users HUGELY underestimate how many hours they’ve invested in learning to use Windows. It’s just like how they don’t recall how many hours they took to learn to walk, to talk, to spell in their native language, etc… They don’t seem to realize they’ll need to put in a similar number of hours to learn to use Linux. Ah well…

Have fun with it. “In 15 years, you’ll be a wizened old graybeard writing shell script like a wizard cast spells, with Windows being naught but a dim memory only recalled when drinking heavily or in the feverish nightmares of an old man.”

What was it like when you were switching to Linux? What was your timeline like? If you’re just switching, what do you want your timeline to look like?

What was the timeline like for you? Feel free to make it an accurate summation of events as you witnessed them. You do what you gotta do, but leaving them as a comment will mean they’re attached to the post ‘forever’ (or as long as I keep paying the bills). So, be funny, be real, be optimistic, or be you. 

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Author: KGIII

Retired mathematician, residing in the mountains of Maine. I may be old and wise, but I am not infallible. Please point out any errors. And, as always, thanks again for reading.

4 thoughts on “[Fixed] A Rambling Post About Switching To Linux”

  1. This is certainly a complex and interesting subject matter…i’m gonna start with the analogy of quitting playing an instrument after a year of lessons. I think a huge part of that has to do with at what point in your life you decide to try something new, or how hard the skill is. For example, I’m pretty typical, I play guitar. I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years, I’m not one of those people who quit after a year of lessons, even i became disinterested in lessons pretty quickly. Part of the reason I didn’t quit is because listening to rock music gave me a passion for learning it, even though learning it was really difficult. Luckily, I knew people who could guide me through those rough patches by pointing out why it’s difficult…the first two months playing guitar your fingers really hurt and you can’t play anything fun, you’ve got to feel motivated to continue. I recently tried to learn recorder and violin because I’ve been playing guitar so long, and i quit them both because they’re just so freakin’ hard, and i get more of a therapeutic value from playing guitar.

    It’s kinda similar to learning linux, and adjusting to not having the same habits as you developed on whatever else you used…most likely windows. It’s hard to remember things on command line, some of the linux software is outdated and can’t be installed so easily, fewer people use linux as a consumer-desktop/laptop environment, but other than that i’ve found it to be easier than being a musician overrall, that might just be me though!

    I don’t know one way or another, but i’ve read that there’s no “muscle memory”, it just has to do with habits…doesn’t matter because i know what you mean.

    1. I’d definitely say there’s muscle memory – as I do things on guitar without even thinking about it anymore. The same’s true for Linux – as in I’ll start to type the wrong commands (like apt on Manjaro) without thinking about it too. I’ve got apt pretty much committed to memory, it seems.

  2. Coming from a nerd who was actually interested in understanding how an OS works, back in the very early 2000s:
    0 minutes – “Linux, what’s this weirdness? I looks like DOS, but none of my commands work.”
    5 minutes – “fu–”
    20 minutes – “fu– –ck”
    1 hour – “fu– this, I’m going to bed.”
    3 months – “Ok, let me try this again.”
    3 months + 24 hours – “Look ma, it booted! Yay!”
    3 months + 2 weeks – finally, a gui working.
    1 year – Something broke, and I don’t know how to fix. I’ll just reinstall like I do with Windows. But I’ve forgotten all the things I did to make my NIC work the first time, and I didn’t take notes. Ugh!
    5 years – Happily going along, solving problems by installing Linux servers, and using Knoppix Boot CD to run diagnostics and recovery on my user’s Windows computers. Realize the freedom and security that comes with Linux and FOSS in general, and begin to understand how different those concepts are from the commercial market.
    10 years – No longer in the server admin game, Linux gets reduced to use on my home laptop, partly because I refuse to return to Windows, but I just don’t really care any more. My laptop goes into disuse for years while I concentrate on raising offspring, playing console games, and rebuilding old game consoles.
    18 years – Some new interest in my laptop. Maybe do some scripting. Maybe see what’s new. Download a few distros and see what’s happening. Begin relearning some of the knowledge I’d lost being “out of the game” for so long, and learning some of the new stuff as well.
    21 years – Subscribe to the axiom “those who can’t, teach”, start actively participating in forums, help when I can. Lead astray when I can’t.

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