Why I fell in love with Antergos Linux

The path to the perfect operating system can be long and circuitous. Here's how I found my way to Linux Antergos.
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How Linux became my job

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I am not an expert in anything. There, we took care of that piece of important information right up front. What I am is a very accomplished user.

I have worked with Apple, Microsoft, Deneba, and Intuit as a beta tester for Windows and OS9 and X. I have been helpful to these companies because I can look at a piece of software and say, “Uh-uh. That’s too confusing, too difficult, or just plain wrong.”

So when I learned about Linux, I was intrigued.

Of course, lots of people can do those things, but I would provide graphic mock-ups of what might work better, and a lot of my work has been implemented. Programmers think in very logical ways. I am by no means a programmer, but I will work the you-know-what out of a piece of software for my own needs. I understand what the average person needs to see and use. I know this because, for the most part, that is who I am too.

So when I learned about Linux, I was intrigued.

My first experience with Linux was with Ubuntu 9.4. I installed it as a dual-boot with Windows 7. Dual-boot, for those who are new to Linux, allows you to choose whether to use your computer with Windows, Linux, or another operating system. It was my first adventure in something completely different from mainstream computing, and while I was intrigued, I couldn’t get hardware like my new printer and scanner to work with Ubuntu. That was not the only deal-breaker; I was also unable to open or convert some files so that my Windows-using friends could see things exactly as I did. I appreciated where Ubuntu was going, but it wasn’t ready for prime time to me.

Later, I tried Ubuntu 10.4, 12.10, and so on. I tried other variants of Linux as well, but each one presented a new set of challenges that I frankly didn’t have the know-how, aptitude, or time to deal with. I’m sure they were fine because many other people used them all the time. I’m geeky, but I’m not a power-geek—I know my limitations. It was back to Windows for me.

I tried Win 8, Win 8.1 (better!), and eventually Windows 10. All the time, my computer would work great with the newly installed Windows iteration, but then it would start to slow down until I was not only making coffee during boot, I was enjoying my first cup with breakfast while opening Outlook or a browser. Egads—frustration incarnate! I needed a change.

So I went back to Ubuntu 16.04, and I was pleasantly surprised. Smooth, stable (to a point), and it could work with everything I needed. But after I had used it for a while and tried all the tips, tweaks, and tricks I could find on the web, it was still using a lot of resources. I began to wonder if I shouldn’t just ditch the whole Linux scene and let Microsoft and Google take over my life. Luckily, I’m like that little Jack Russell terrier that won’t let go of the cuff of someone’s pants. I experimented.

I tried Manjaro. I like Manjaro, but things kept breaking on me, and I couldn’t sit around and debug my computer with every update. I do believe the problems were my fault, but that “I’m not an uber-geek” thing kept coming back to bite me. I’m sure I could have fixed it if I had the time and the desire, but I had neither.

I tried Linux Mint with Cinnamon. Pretty! It’s very useful, and since it was based on Ubuntu and Debian, I could easily get software and tweak the OS the way I wanted it. Big smiles all around—until the resource thing bit me in the RAM. Once again, I saw my memory and processor usage increase farther on my aging laptop than I was comfortable with.

Now that I was savvier with different Linux variations, I decided to go back to Manjaro and try the GNOME version. For some odd reason, all of the official variations wouldn’t get past the hardware install on my laptop. The community-based versions would install, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I looked into Arch and nearly hyperventilated from the installation instructions involved. I can do some basic work in a terminal, but Arch required much more knowledge of my computer and software needs than I could handle at the time.

I found an alternative Arch platform, though. I read a lot of comments, installation tricks, and articles about this type of Linux and decided to give it a try. Instead of dual-booting with Windows and a Linux OS, I decided to ditch the Windows partition altogether. I kept my Linux Mint installation and installed Antergos Linux.

I love Antergos Linux! Yes, there were some different types of commands to learn. There were also different ways to secure software for the things I needed, but they were all there with their own repositories (software stores), and I was also able to access the vast collection through Arch called AUR. Wow! I didn’t have a lot of bloatware. I could choose what I wanted and needed. Although not as fully pick-and-choose-what-you-want as the original Arch installation, Antergos is pared down enough that I was able to install only what I needed. Amazing! (If only cable companies presented their channel lineup this way.)

Antergos Linux is my full-time go-to operating system, with all the happy-happy-joy-joy I could ask for. My computer is now able to run without overworking. I can run Windows 8.1 almost as quickly in VirtualBox (an OS virtual environment) as in its native iteration. I use Windows 8.1 for only one piece of software, which runs a vinyl cutter to make T-shirts and such. Otherwise, I wouldn’t need it at all. All of my equipment runs perfectly from the time I plug it in and turn it on. All of the software I need for day-to-day operations is available, and my Windows friends don’t know the difference when I send them Word files (I use WPS Office, not open source).

There are three other advantages that have made me a Linux convert.

  1. I don’t have to worry as much about viruses.
  2. I can make my Antergos look and run the way I want it to, rather than how a huge corporate entity decided the OS should be.
  3. I’m not rich, and the open source community and even those proprietary companies that I use on occasion do not charge for their hard work. I recognize this work, and one day, when I grow up and am rich and famous (I’m 58 years old, by the way), I will do what I can to donate to the fine people who are currently helping me find my way in the writing profession.

If you aren’t happy with your current operating system and want to see what options are available, consider the many different flavors of Linux. There are more than Apples and Windows to consider these days. Wouldn’t you like to use something that feels both safe and easy to use? I hope you’ll give some of the options I've discussed here a chance. Do some reading, ask questions in forums about the systems that interest you, and know your limitations.

Good OS hunting!

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I am a Science Fiction author who likes to write articles about Tech for the Average User.

16 Comments

I'm a stickler for resource hogging too. My go-to for solving that problem has always been variations of MATE desktops (either Mint MATE or Ubuntu MATE). I suppose I could go Xfce but MATE seemed to strike the right balance for me. I'll have to give Antegeros a whirl. It sounds and looks a lot like Solus on first glance.

I hope you like what you see with Antergos, @HankG. I've tried Solus with Budgie Desktop Environment, too. That is a very interesting distribution. Very promising. Thanks for the read.

In reply to by HankG

Antergos + KDE is Awesome!

Great article ... thank you Adam! BTW: just out of curiosity, which desktop are you using? Also, I notice there are only two download options, minimal & live (full). Does that mean you choose your Desktop at install time?

Hi @Michael. Thank you very much for the kind words. :-) I use the Gnome Desktop. I know there are other less resource heavy environments, but because of my hybrid Mac/PC usage, Gnome flows very easily for me. Regarding your other question, the Live install has six different desktops that Antergos comes pre-bundled with. They are (From the Installing Antergos Page):

Cinnamon: Gnome 2 - forked from Gnome Shell

Deepin: Deepin Technology Co

GNOME: Gnome 3 aka Gnome-Shell

KDE: Plasma is the KDE workspace

Mate: continuation of GNOME 2

OpenBox: extremely standards compliant WM

Xfce: a light-wight but complete DE

That's quite a nice selection to choose from without having to download each Desktop Environment separately. Installation for me went perfect the first and second time. I have another article about "why" I had to install it again!

In reply to by Michael

I rescue dual-core systems I find at Estate Sales, install Linux (Mint Cinnamon in my case) and upgrade the RAM (to max), graphics (adding a card if it is desktop; laptop you are basically stuck)) and an replacing HD (if present; some come without one) to an SSD. I then use the systems to run my business.

You simply referred to your system as an "aging laptop". If you haven't already, I'd suggest maxing out the RAM and replacing the HD (laptops often have 5400rpm or slower drives) with an SSD.

Congrats on looking around and finding what you like. I kept getting bugged by Microsoft to 'upgrade' my Windows 7 system, so I did...to Linux Mint 17.3 (the last week of 12/2015; I had briefly tried Ubuntu earlier in the year via dual-boot). I've moved that SSD to another laptop after the first died and that install is STILL working fine in the completely different system (try that with Windows)!

Hi Mister Goldiloxx. I do like Linux Mint Cinnamon, and I think it's a great distribution. I have an Acer 7750 (Walmart model...times were lean). I immediately boosted it from 4 GB to 8 GB RAM, and it made a huge difference. You mention SSD. I recently upgraded to that as well. The system is lightning fast. (I'm proposing another article about "why" I had to upgrade to Opensource.com.) Yet, I am dealing with a 6 year old laptop that has seen better days. I work this thing relentlessly, and I can honestly say I've been very grateful to have it. I tend to run some very intensive applications (video/audio editors and Virtualbox), so the upgrades have definitely come in handy. Much less than buying a new laptop! For my computer, Antergos has been rock solid. It has not once locked up on me, and I have yet to overtax it (except when I'm running Windows 8.1 in Virtualbox).

I'm sorry you also had to deal with the Windows 7 Upgrade Virus...um...Feature. The path you chose was a wise one indeed. ;-) Thank you very much for reading and remarking about this article. I appreciate it very much.

In reply to by Mister Goldiloxx (not verified)

Hi Adam,

Thanks for your article and kind words about Antergos. Things like your article really encourage us to keep up with our work.

Cheers!

Karasu - Antergos Team

Thank you, Karasu, and your team! Antergos has made a difference for me in computing. Please keep up the great work!

Adam

In reply to by karasu (not verified)

Exactly like me except I threw Fedora into the mix for a bit. Windows 10 was the last straw for MS. I was happy with Ubuntu/Mint until the last LTS started dropping wifi connections. Ran Fedora for a while. Never could get Manjaro to boot. Installed Antergos with Gnome a few months ago and have never been happier!

Hi @Billy Cantrell! I only played with Fedora. Not enough to really count, but I wasn't having much success. I'm sorry to hear you had problems with Mint and Manjaro, though. Both are fine OS'. However, Happy Antergosing! :-D

Nice article, Adam, thanks for that.

You mentioned that you gave back a lot to the Apple, Microsoft, Deneba and Intuit devs by contributing carefully documented test results and redesign ideas. I hope you are doing, or are going to do, the same with the packages you use on Antergos; that's a great way to give back to the community.

Good luck!

Hi @Chris Hermansen. Absolutely! I hope I get an opportunity to contribute. One thing that makes Gnome so easy for me is that it seems to be Distribution Agnostic. It looks and pretty much acts the same way no matter which Distro you're using. I don't even know if I could be of any help in the installation process as it went very easy for me. However, there are always something that might stand out. If that happens, I'll be happy to add my 2 cents. :-) Thank you for the kinds words on the article, as well!

In reply to by Chris Hermansen

My first experience was with an old version of Red Hat on floppies I found at a Buddhist community garage sale back in '04 or so that got me interested in Linux. I then tried Fedora, openSUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, etc. but just couldn't break the Windows habit.

I ended up with an ASUS Windows netbook with 32 GB storage & 2 GB RAM as my only computing device for a couple years. There was not enough room to dual boot Windows and Linux, so I dumped Windows in favor of Linux Mint. I liked Cinnamon the best, but Xfce ran a lot better with the limited RAM. The funny thing is, not everything worked out of the box at all due to proprietary Broadcom Wi-Fi, BlueTooth & sound chips with no Linux support whatsoever. However, some awesome folks on the Ubuntu Forums compiled a working kernel that eventually supported all of the above.

The challenge to get things working and with the support of an awesome community is really what got me to stay with Linux. Also the many articles I came across about Microsoft releasing buggy / broken Windows Updates constantly and the privacy issues with Windows 10 steered me away.

With 'buntu based distros, I got tired of software being out of date and not being able to do the things I wanted to do without adding multiple PPA's and/or or compiling from source.

I read many an article about various rolling release distro's and decided that's what I wanted. I also realized I was learning a lot from the Arch Wiki
every time I Googled an issue I had. I also learned about AUR and saw I could install just about anything with access to it.

I ended up choosing Manjaro over Antergos. I think what led me to Manjaro besides many people recommending it online was that it had a Cinnamon desktop community edition. Also the Adapta theme is my favorite and they use a customized version out of the box.

I still have that netbook running Manjaro Xfce and my desktop is running Manjaro Cinnamon. I still dual boot on my desktop with Windows only for Windows games that don't work well in WINE.

Hi @MarkDubya. Great narrative! I think there are a number of us out there that went down similar paths (though, Red Hat on floppies? WOW!). I always enjoy hearing how people find what they want while looking for something they need. Happy Times, eh? :-)

In reply to by MarkDubya (not verified)

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