My long route to Linux (Pop!_OS)🇬🇧

It is done.  I really like Pop!_OS. I have finally a setup I really enjoy. 

I have my Huawei Matebook Pro X for more than a year. It was my playground to learn Linux. Debian didn‘t work well during installation. So I chose the save route using Ubuntu.  But I had to reinstall it several times. Issues with encryption during install with LUKS etc. Then I screwed up with various sdm/gdm managers. I installed it several times just to find out something else was missing, e.g. hibernation.

I could not get VeraCrypt running. And I did not like snap. I ran into issues with Firefox and snap installation. 

In VMs I tried fedora, mxlinux (which I still like a lot, in a VM), elementaryOS (nice GUI but sort of felt like macOS done bad and issues installing apps), and many more. I tried Pop!_OS in a VM on my Mac and liked it. Installation went smooth, it „felt“ right. So I gave it a try in VirtualBox on my Ubuntu on Huawei and could not get it installed. Damn. Then I learnt about Ventoy and installed various OSes on an external harddisk with Ventoy.

And with this I also copied the Pop!_OS installer onto it. Next to Tails and some others. Great tool, I love Ventoy and can recommend it.

When I had to reinstall Ubuntu again, because I screwed up getting hibernation properly to work, I thought I should try Pop!_OS directly. It worked beautifully well. No idea why.

So I started installing Apps, playing around with it and so far did not screw anything up. No snap package manager (comparable to windows or Apple Store). Great. 

I ran into a few issues with StandardNotes and Portmaster but could fix them. So all my needed tools, but one, work now flawlessly.

But again, no hibernation. Closing the lid meant suspend and after several hours the battery was dead. After more than 20 years with Mac, I don‘t understand it. Why can Microsoft and Apple install the perfect setup out of the box but Linux can’t? With my failures on Ubuntu in regards to hibernation because Pop!_OS is based on Ubuntu, I was concerned. And seriously considered to get a MacBook Air, install LittleSnitch, block all telemetry, get UTM and using it mainly as a basis for virtual machines. Seriously. When I spoke to the guy at the Apple Store he left me alone when I told him :-).

I want to use as little as possible the Terminal. In 2023 I think this should not be necessary.

I know vi, and all the other command line tools. But I still ask myself why I need them in 2023. I am not a techie, not a nerd and I dont want to be a unix admin. I want to use the machine. Not make it a hobby. I was a unix sysadmin in the 90s, HPUX, AIX, Interactive Unix, Motiv, X-Windows, Looking Glass, SunOS, Solaris, but then, thanks God, NextStep. The best OS I ever came across.

Getting back to Pop!_OS. They explain why hibernation is not setup by default. And give a very good, even excellent, explanation, how to do it.

I followed it step-by-step without any issues or problems. Uff.

It shows the professionalism and care of System76, the builder and maintainer for Pop!_OS, for the users. 

I love the screen of the Huawei and the keyboard is the best I used in recent years. I wish I could get the hpdevone or a System76 notebook preinstalled with Pop!_OS. But now I have a state I am totally happy with. I really like using it. And compared to windows and macOS, there is very little to no telemetry. There is only one issue left.

I could not get VeraCrypt to work. I can install it. I can create volumes, but can’t read them. Neither volumes created on my mac, nor on my Pop!_OS, nor with the same application. Creating, opening, error message. Fat, exfat, whatever. 

I use VeraCrypt a lot. It is crucial to me. If I do not get it wo work, I may not be able to access data on my Pop!_OS and would need to find work arounds which I don’t want.

Will I give up my Mac? Hell no. I have lots of data, after more than 25 years with Next and Apple, which I would have to convert. This is not without a lot of work and hassles. The Mac is still a great machine to manage my photos, write articles and books and use my videos and music. With the LittleSnitch way of stopping Apple‘s telemetry and UTM, to run virtual machines, it is still very valuable. But for accessing the net, taking a notebook with me on the road, etc. I will use the newly installed Huawei with Pop!_OS. And happily so.
I will, out of curiousity, try to see how much effort it needs to convert my data to a Linux lifestyle. I am sure I will curse, scream and spend nights to figure things out. And every time I need to get to the terminal pray for a user friendly Linux. But it will be fun. I hope. Else I will stop. No rush needed.

From my data privacy heart, I have achieved lots with this now. I have to indulge in something for the hard work and tenacity.

Last step in my digital privacy progress: Replace iPad with pixel tablet and get GrapheneOS on it. Waiting for May, when it is supposedly launched by Google and the developers already stated to port GrapheneOS to it. Can‘t wait for the next challenge and supposedly a minor one.