[lug] Why use a Linux desktop? Was: Re: (Virtual)

Steve Litt slitt at troubleshooters.com
Mon Apr 13 03:08:58 MDT 2020

On Sat, 11 Apr 2020 21:46:26 -0600
Maxwell Spangler <lists at maxwellspangler.com> wrote:

> Hi Steve,
> I enjoyed reading your reply's list below of why you use Linux.
> I'd summarize it as you saying: I am comfortable with my Linux
> environment so I continue to use my Linux environment.

I'm not sure how you can read my explicit list of benefits and then
summarize it as staying with Linux for comfort. As a matter of fact, my
first bullet point mentioned that I immediately fell in love with
Linux' DIYability very soon after using it. That means it's not about
comfort, it's about benefits.

> I'm actually in the same situation although our Linux environments
> might different on implementation a bit.
> This is what I was trying to communicate with my original comment:
> 1. I've seen a large exodus of Linux advocate-users away from Linux
> desktops in favor of Mac (and perhaps some Windows?).

That's probably true, but it in no way means there's no reason to use
Linux on the desktop.

> 2. I don't see the Linux desktop market share as growing
> significantly.  It has no killer app on the desktop.

Obviously Linux hasn't grown on the desktop, so you're right about
that. But that doesn't mean there's no reason to use Linux on the

> 3. I continue to see people who have strong politics choose Linux and
> continue to use Linux.  This set of users is consistent, but small,
> and they don't look to spend money on commercial software.
> For these three reasons I'm thrilled when I see commercial companies

And the circle completes. When I busted into Linux in 1998, they told
me I was doing it just for politics. Twenty Two years later, when the
REALLY hip people are using iOS (not OS X) or Android OS, I see the
"just for politics" explanation for Linux is alive and well.

So consider this: I could just as easily say "I see no reason to use
laptops in a world of devices. Who wants to lug around some immense
MacBook Air?"

And I hope that you'd respond to such a statement with a list of five
or six reasons a real computer is handy to have, for you and people
like you, if not for the masses.


I'm a touch typist who does about 50 words per minute. In the time I
reach for the mouse, I could have used dmenu to run two different
programs. In the time I click the two or three menu levels to get
something done and then return my hands to the keyboard, I could have
been working on content or code. I open, close, and resize programs from
the keyboard. I locate a running program I want in the foreground with a
hotkey and keyboard-friendly menu. I use VimOutliner, the fastest
authoring outline processor for keyboard-centric people. When I'm using
Vim or LibreOffice on my laptop, I need to toggle the touchpad on and
off at a moments notice. No problem: I do that with a single hotkey.

If you're a good typist and want to get the kind of speed one gets from
a keyboard, I'll show you how to set up your Linux computer to
turbocharge your workflow. This setup won't make you part of the
in-crowd, nor the leading edge, and in fact some will laugh at you. But
if you feel the need for speed, you'll like the setup I'll show you.


Steve Litt
March 2020 featured book: Troubleshooting: Why Bother?

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