At present I use Windows 7, and I’m seriously considering changing to Linux. Above all I think a change would be nice, and I find the idea of having much more control over my computer quite exciting. I like the idea of having such a wealth of various open source software, and also I think the file system on Linux is far superior. I have a raspberry pi with the Raspian distribution, so I have a rough idea of what Linux is like, but changing the OS on my computer is quite a bit more drastic! I just want to check that it is actually the right decision for me!
As for usage, I do a lot with my computer, however I do very little media editing and absolutely no gaming (Which I know aren’t Linux’s strengths anyway). I do quite a bit of programming, particularly in Python, and I’m also trying to learn assembler for a bit of fun. I stream the odd video online. I do a lot of word processing, particularly homework essays. I am starting my A levels next year (The final school exams before university in the UK, started at 16 and taken at 17/18) and I plan to use my laptop for taking notes and such, so word processing will be very important. I use spread sheets a lot, and I do the odd Powerpoint. I download and listen to quite a bit of music (iTunes and Spotify mainly). I edit images, admittedly only using paint, but I think without those capabilities I’d be at a loss for posting pictures on Facebook and such like. I also use Skype occasionally. A lot of my usage is maths and science orientated; I use python a lot to look in to maths formulae (I’ve downloaded the ScyPy stack), and I have Geogebra which I use to plot graphs of functions and other things.
Things that I would particularly like included in an OS are a sleek and attractive GUI, yet not to go so far as to significantly reduce performance, because I would also like it to be clean and efficient. Obviously I would also like it to suit my usage.
I’m not too worried about the shock of changing OS (Maybe that’s naivety apart from anything else ), I can teach myself things quickly (I’m teaching myself to program), and I know the very basics of the Linux terminal from using the raspberry pi.
I just have a few concerns about compatibility and such. Firstly, will I be able to open and edit my existing Microsoft Office files using open office? My memory sticks are all formatted as FAT32, and I believe Linux uses a different one, so will it be able to read my memory sticks?
I’m also concerned about all the hardware and peripherals; will things like Bluetooth, wifi, my keyboard, trackpad, USB ports, HDMI, jacks, VGA, Ethernet still work, or will I have to set them up manually? Also will my speakers and controls still work? I ask these because windows came pre installed on the laptop, so I don’t know what will happen once it’s uninstalled. Also driver software for things like printers (At the moment I have an Epson one); will the driver software work with Linux?
I’m also concerned about setup. Will it take a long time and a large effort?
Finally I’ll tell you what I’ve looked at and what I like the look of. Firstly, Arch Linux. I know it’s really throwing myself in at the deep end, but I also know I get a very high level of control and customisation with it. I’ve also looked at Cinnamon, as I really like the GUI. And finally Ubuntu.
So basically my question boils down to: Will Linux work with my hardware, and which distribution should I choose? (It doesn’t have to be one of those 3)
Many thanks for any answers