Windows

During the last weeks I saw a few reviews (like this one) about long time experience with the Surface Go. I have mine for a couple of months now and finally finished the first semester where it accompanied me for a couple of different tasks. I planned to use my Surface Go to take notes during the lectures to not waste paper or get too distracted using my laptop. That didn’t really work out, because the professor of two of my courses disallowed the use of tablets and computers in the lectures (or at least set high restrictions that weren’t really worth it for me) and I had to write on paper instead.
Support for Windows 7 ended yesterday. Now you have to pay for future security patches. Therefore it would be advisable to stop using this operating system version and look for another alternative. A common suggestion is to switch to Linux and I agree that you should do so if you are not dependent on any Windows-exclusive programs and there are no alternatives to them. But there are also reasons to continue using Windows (but please version 10).

Yeo Kheng Meng published an article about building a Slack client for the very ancient 16-bit Windows 3.1 (released in 1993) in 2019. It is very interesting to read about the challenges of developing for such an old system. To solve problems, one has to dig in books instead of doing a Google search or asking on Stack Overflow.

It was a fun project, but I imagine there are still systems running in production using software as old as Windows 3.1 and developers who need to do support for those systems.

I use at least eight different operating systems on a daily basis. Windows 10 on my Microsoft Surface Go Ubuntu Desktop on my latpop (Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga S1) Fedora Silverblue on my desktop PC Android on my smartphone (Xiaomi Mi A1) Tizen on my smartwatch (Samsung Galaxy Watch) Ubuntu Server on my mail server (Hetzner VPS) RancherOS on my main server (Hetzner VPS) Armbian on my home server (Odroid HC 2) That sounds like a lot and it’s probably a lot.
If you want to use Linux applications on Windows you have multiple options. Using the Windows version of the application if it’s available, cross-compile the app, use a VM or Docker, or use the Windows Subsystem for Linux with a X Server. A small and lightweight WSL distro is Alpine, which is also quite popular in the Docker world. It’s based on musl, uses busybox and just contains the most important things to be functional.
I just updated my laptop (a Lenovo ThinkPad S1 Yoga) from Ubuntu 19.04 to the new Ubuntu 19.10 (beta). The last time I did a fresh install was one year ago, when I installed Ubuntu 18.10. The whole upgrade process went through within less than 30 minutes, to which I also count re-enabling disabled PPAs (they get disabled to prevent the system from breaking), removing old and obsolete packages and disabling snapd, which got automatically installed, because the native Chromium package in Ubuntu got replaced with the Chromium snap app.
Yesterday I ordered an external SSD to have a bit more storage on the go when using my Surface Go, but also to exchange files between my devices (it has an USB C cable, so it should even work with my phone). I have a huge (4TB) external HDD already, but that needs more power than what comes out of the USB C port on the Surface, so when I want to use that, I have to use a charging cable and that’s suboptimal.

Using Windows

The new semester in university started again and I’m using Windows for university things now. Yes, excuse me, I said Windows. I’m using it on my new Microsoft Surface Go. I try to find a workflow that works best on Windows. In Windows some things need to be done differently, but I think so far I’m ok with it and get used to it. Just a few days ago, I found out about Chocolatey.
It’s probably not that easy to understand, why I (as a strong Linux advocate) bought a Microsoft Surface Go and use Windows on it, but let me try to explain… In about one week the new semester at university begins and I thought about how to take notes during lectures. The last years I often used my normal laptop (a ThinkPad Yoga S1, a convertible, running Linux) but was very distracted sometimes.
Jan-Lukas Else
20 years old student who writes about everything he cares about.