Learning Linux as a Science Student


     So it must be roughly a year or so now since I first began seriously using Linux. The reason was the release of Windows 10, while i've always been a techy sort of person and had no trouble the rest of my colleagues, friends or family complained about there were several items that pushed me away. Mostly: the retraction of user control over the OS and data mining. Where I really lost it was when I started seeing advertisements on my desktop. So the first OS I ever tried was Fedora 23.A system crash from a kernel upgrade motivated me to explore other distributions. So I explored Linux Mint and eventually Ubuntu. But why post this here? I've come back to Fedora.

     Linux from a science student's perspective is far more useful than Windows ever was. There is almost nothing from Windows I need anymore aside from running documents through Word before submission to check for formatting errors, but that is more due to specific requirements of a certain professor. One may think that something like productivity software would provide little difference over Windows, this would be incorrect. One aspect of LibreOffice for example that is far better suited to a STEM student is how it handle math equations. While math equations are still based on a LaTex-like code that imports perfectly from LibreOffice, what is a pain is the fact that, unlike LibreOffice, one cannot enter LaTeX code directly and when you have 20 equations that go into a report its very, very tedious. LibreOffice allows me to use short LaTeX style code and type that directly, which [i]greatly[/i] shortens equation entry time rather than graphically like word - which can still be done in LibreOffice. I also find jobs like solving differential equations numerically to be more suited to the Linux environment for both speed, up-time reliability, and how easy it is to get the necessary tools and libraries to run such a job.

     The major reason I returned to the Fedora OS was due was due to the fact that I want to be on the "bleeding edge" as you hear around different communities. However in my case at least it was a necessity. At the time of this writing only Fedora and Ubuntu 16.10 are able to handle the fact that I run a GTX 980 effectively. Another thing more basic is that those two distributions also give me fewer issues trying to simple things like connect Bluetooth devices - an issue I wasn't expecting to encounter. Ultimately however Fedora generates no issues at all, something I cannot say for Ubuntu 16.10. For me so far, Fedora is the only distribution that lives up to the phrase "work out of the box". What I thought was a system crash initially turned out to be my BIOS messing with my OS boot order and it actually tried to load a dead instance - in fact I reloaded for nothing. Fedora's mission has honestly translated, for me, into less worries when I do little things, like buy a mouse - and much more.

 

© 2016 Zachary G Wolfe -- Remember to turn your brain off for a reboot sometimes...