You can Linux your own way

    I’ve recently fallen in love with Manjaro Sway.

    While things started great, my experiment using a 2012 MacBook Air in 2024 hit a bit of a snag. 4GB RAM can take you only so far these days. So I started looking at Linux distros to replace an unsupported version of MacOS I was able to install thanks to the OpenCore Legacy Patcher.

    I started with Linux Mint, which was great until it wasn’t. And then I tried Debian XFCE, which resulted in the same. On both distros, the desktop would freeze at certain points, and the quickest fix I knew was to hold the power button until the laptop shut off, and then start the machine back up.

    NOTE: This issue very well may have been due to user error and no fault of Linux Mint or Debian. Maybe I could have found a solution if I were a little bit more of a nerd (something like using SWAP at installation).

    Before I gave up on Debian, I had also installed i3 so that I could give tiling window managers another chance. This brief revisit led to my wanting to again try Sway, which is basically i3 with Wayland support.

    NOTE: Don’t worry if you don’t know what all this means. I understand only in the most superficial terms. These technical terms are not the point of this post.

    Eventually, I settled on Manajaro Sway because I like how it’s set up out of the box.

    My (for now) settling on Manjaro Sway is noteworthy only if you go looking for opinions about Manjaro Linux in general. Because you’ll find plenty people saying not to use Manjaro. That it’s stupid to do so. That there are much better options out there.

    And there might be much better options out there–much better options for them.

    But, at least for now, Manjaro Sway has been the easiest option for me. That very well may change. But so far, so good.

    If nothing else, I appreciate the option to overlay useful keyboard shortcuts that new users may forget, right on your desktop wallpaper.

    Manjaro Sway Linux desktop wallpaper with overlay of keyboard shortcuts
    ‘Look at that subtle coloring. The tasteful thickness. Oh my god. It even has a watermark’ - A sceenshot of the Manjaro Sway Linux desktop wallpaper with overlay of keyboard shortcuts, courtesy of the project’s GitHub repo.

    And this brings us to an often-overlooked point about Linux. What’s good about it is what’s bad about it: Choice.

    Linux offers a nearly limitless number of choices. You have countless options just within the Ubuntu family tree of distros. And when you consider most distros give the option to install multiple dekstop environments, your options grow exponentially.

    When you have so many options, it’s impossible to say which option any one person should or should not use, unless you are intimately familiar with that person’s use case and comfort with new technology.

    But online–and especially in the Linux world–you can easily find people shouting from the rooftops about why their opinion is the only right opinion, with only limited context and with no understanding of when their preferred distro may not work for someone else.

    My advice is to keep trying different setups until you find the one that works for you. Yes, setting up multiple distros is annoying and time consuming. But you can reduce some of the pain of switching by learning how to back up and restore your Home folder using rsync.

    In life in general, the loudest voices are often the ones you should listen to least. The wisest voices are often harder to find. The Linux world is no different. In fact, perhaps the Linux world is the worst example of this universal truth.

    Fortunately, cooler heads can be found, even in the Linux world:

    As I’ve already said, what’s great about Linux is what’s bad about it. But let’s focus on the positive side. Linux offers an abundance of choice. That means how I Linux is not how you have to Linux.

    You can Linux your own way.

    Jake LaCaze is on a quest to remind the world that things are far more grey than we are led to believe.


    The song that, at least in part, influenced this post:

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    In my constant quest to expand my skill set, I’m looking at how I can position myself for jobs in the oil and gas/energy technology sectors.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any ideas.