Why and how I completely left Windows for Linux

For years now, I always kept a dual-boot at home with a Linux system (currently Gentoo) and a Windows system. At work, I only use Gentoo. This week-end, I decided to completely remove it and migrate the applications I used on Windows to my Gentoo system.

Why Windows ?

So first things first, why was I keeping the Windows system ? For several reasons:

  1. Games :) Unfortunately, most of the games I play are not natively compatible with Linux.
  2. Office. I always liked Microsoft Office. As I hate OpenOffice/LibreOffice, I never wanted to remove it For schools we always had several teachers forcing us to use Microsoft document formats.
  3. Hardware support. I always found that hardware support in Windows was great. Most of the time when you add new peripheral, there is nothing, it just works, which is great.
  4. Applications. I always had some applications that I didn't found good enough Linux equivalents for. For instance, Newsleecher, iTunes or TaggedFrog.

On the other hand, I work on Linux for years now and I would like to have to work on Windows again.

What Changed ?

This weekend I upgraded my hardware configuration (Motherboard, CPU and RAM). I was afraid that I had to reinstall my Linux configurations (because of Gentoo compiled with march=native), but I never thought that I would have to reinstall Windows. I turned out the contrary: my Gentoo installation worked just fine and my Windows totally crashed (BSOD at each startup). I finally made it through Windows after disabled AHCI mode on my motherboard, but then activation was invalidated (of course...) and online activation was not working. I decided to install the new chipset drivers and launch the Windows update and after that, Windows decided to boot without any USB support (WTF...). After that, I decided that Windows what not so great at all for   hardware support...

Another reason I left Windows is Windows 8. I find that Window 7 was really great, but I really don't like Windows 8 and I would never have upgraded my Seven to it. Moreover, I recently bought Microsoft Office 2013 and it turned that I had to create an account at Microsoft to install it... Seriously ??? And moreover, it turned out to be worse thant Office 2010 (which, again, was great).

So all these reasons made me remove Windows.

How to migrate everything to Linux ?

First, I had no problem with my data. Most of my data are on a personal NAS and the remaining is on Dropbox, so no problem on this side.

I still had some problems to resolve. First of all, I needed my games to run on Linux. I currently play only Diablo III. As I had received a year free of Crossover, I decided to give it a try. Crossover is based on Wine and ensures that some software are running correctly under it and provide technical support. After some tuning, Diablo III was running almost flawlessly on my Gentoo machine :) Problem 1 solved. I will totally buy a license of Crossover, once my free year is over.

I still add some applications to replace. I use iTunes as my main music player and library manager. Some time ago, I tried a lot of programs like Amarok/Rythmbox/Banshee, but I didn't liked them a lot and they were not running very well on large library of music files. This time, I tried Clementine. Even if not very beautiful, it had all the features I needed and worked very well. I decided to stick with it. Another program I like a lot on Windows is TaggedFrog. It is a very simple program allowing to put tags on any file on the system and then search by tag on them. I haven't found a total equivalent. I first tried Tracker that is a Gnome project, but I was not satisfied with the search interface. After that, I tried the very simple TMSU. It is a command-line based tagging manager. All the tagging must be done in command line. In my case, it is not a problem, as I don't mind using the command-line and I don't tag files very often. What is very interesting about TMSU is that it can create a virtual file system (based on FUSE). In this file system, you have all your tags  as folder and you can see directly all the files of each tag. Moreover, you can directly make cross search (has tag X and Y and Z) by just going down in the tag folder. It is really great and has everything I needed. Finally, I also needed something to replace Newsleecher. I haven't found something as great (especially no replacement for the Supersearch function), but I installed Sabnzbd which works really well and is very simple. For now, I just use the web interface and haven't installed any other front-end, but that will perhaps change in the future.

I haven't replaced Office for now on. It occurred to me that since I left school, I haven't used it a lot, so that will probably not be a problem anymore. I will change to write the few letters I have to write on Latex and if I have Office documents, I'll probably read them on Google Drive.

Conclusion

Even if I lost a lot of time with all that, I think it is a great think. It makes one less configuration to maintain and some less costs on the future. Moreover, I will save some time, because I won't have to switch between Linux and Windows for different tasks. And now, I have a second SSD ready for something else, either for RAID 1 to ensure redundancy on Linux or to mount on a server, I'll see later.

I will probably have some more problems in the future, but I'm convinced that there will be Linux solutions to it :)

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