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Switching to Linux?

Topic title apart (I'm not at that point yet), I would like to ask CTE's Linux users what distro they are currently using for actual work.

This would be my fourth or fifth attempt with Linux, but this time I'm (more) determined than before. I tried many live CDs and I narrowed down the candidate list to Bodhi (Ubuntu-based) and Elive (Debian-based), both being version-based as opposed to running-realease.

My main concern is "how much" your linux breaks upon receiving substantial upgrades and how easy it is to repair the installation in order to reduce down times to a minimum.

Many thanks in advance to whom will answer citing their experience and, of course, giving me useful suggestions.


Best Answer

@mario The things I absolutely love about this Linux is no lags after the laptop is woken up from sleep, connects to the mobile router on its own (Windows in the same situation would often fail to connect), and when brought home, it connect itself to the home router on its own, though I did not configure it, the Wifi access point has a slightly different name at home but the password is the same - so is Ubuntu able to make inferences? :-)

Also, Autokey and pyautogui work like a charm. 

P.S. @Piotr: yes, Autokey is a fantastic application.

Would be interested to hear what you're using it for (maybe on the autokey thread).

Inadvertently I marked piotrbienkowski's post as "Best answer". (I'm not saying that it's not a good answer, but I pressed the button too early without knowing exactly what the effect would be). Sorry!

amos: You've pretty much persuaded me that I need to splash out on either a) a spare machine, b) ... or c) ...

In my opinion, while choosing solution c) would make much sense from a purely operating point of view besides being the cheapest one (provided you have at least 16G RAM), although the most expensive solution a) would give you more peace of mind in case of hardware failure.

By keeping two PCs adequately synchronized and installing, for instance, CTE on both Linux and Windows and an open source Office suit on Linux and Microsoft Office on Windows, should one fail you still have the other one to continue working.

I have become a sort of maniac when it comes to this, and the idea of being unable to deliver a translation on time——it cost me a good client in the past!—convinced me many years ago to set up an Ethernet network with my 3 PCs and my wife's 2 PCs, plus a number of USB backup units and a cloud connection, constantly connected and almost constantly synchronized.

But, speaking of what the best solution would be, probably Jean's long experience on Linux would be much more helpful than mine.

piotrbienkowski: Also, Autokey and pyautogui work like a charm. (Thank you for reminding me that I need to try them)

Apart from the obvious advantages that you mentioned, the list of things that makes Linux so smart (compared to Windows) is long indeed. But, let me add Conky: as far as I know, Windows has no comparable way to display the PC current real-time working status and I wonder why nobody has come up with a similar solution yet.

On the other hand—but this is probably due to the fact that I have been working on Linux since a couple of months only—I still feel more comfortable on Windows, which I've been using since more than 40 years!). And to be entirely honest, certain things still work better on Windows 10, and if were not for the sloppy upgrades and their ways to force on you what you may not like, it takes away from the user much of the burden that still affects Linux.


amos: as an additional solution, have you considered Wine or Crossover? As fare as I know, Wine allows you to use an old version of Office for free, while Crossover a more recent one but paid.

Hi Mario,

I've long ensured that I always have a spare machine if one should fail. I think this is a must for all professional translators.

My machines are permanently synced fully automatically via an NAS, so if one does fail, I can instantly pick up where I last saved.

If I always worked from a permanent base, no problem, I'd have a Windows box for final checks, but in practice I'm often working either from a co-working space in town or in France, and in neither case do I want to be lugging 2 computers around. So I think either a VM or a dual boot (or switching back to Windows entirely) is probably the answer.

I've tried Wine and CrossOver, but have found VirtualBox to be a much better way of running old office versions. (Indeed, if you've got a fast enough machine and enough RAM, even more recent versions, though that sort of hardware doesn't come cheap, plus Windows gets more and more resource hungry every year.)


Just to throw in my two cents, I have never used MS Office professionally in over ten years as a freelancer, even when I was still using Windows. It's always been OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Simply put, my work is translation, not formatting, and while there are some basics you are expected to preserve, I don't take jobs that don't provide usable source files (e.g. raw PDF files with complex formatting that I'm expected to rebuild from scratch) or that require me to deliver a picture-perfect file in a proprietary format. The agencies I work with handle the DTP aspect themselves, so it has never been an issue. For the occasional project where I work directly in Writer, I've never received complaints about broken formatting, except when proofreading a friend's files.

That said, I don't understand the people who keep claiming that OpenOffice or LibreOffice are perfectly compatible with MS's equivalents. Just open any file with fixed elements like frames or images or advanced text effects and things get weird really fast. PowerPoint files are a nightmare that I stay well away from, though to be fair I would do the same even if I used MS Office.

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