On Declouding [Part 1]

With all the mass AI scraping [3rd party and 1st party], I've started taking a serious look at what I'm running on a day to day basis, and what I can shift away from or otherwise minimize my usage of.

The first thing I looked at was Windows. I'm, as you all probably can tell, a major Windows fanboi. I've got several windows server licenses with the requisite CAL's and RDS CAL's, a full MS tenant with an e3 license among others, and more. Having the E3 license giving me the ability to run Windows enterprise at home has helped me feel a little bit better with Windows 11, as most of the more intrusive stuff is easily disabled by GPO.

But, with the initial announcement of Windows Recall [even with the subsequent walkback], I'm feeling less confident with my future use of Windows. That was a huge misstep, and in light of their recent security issues, it really left a bad taste in my mouth.

Enter alternatives.

Mac! Ha, no thank you.

Linux! I've gotten more confident with Linux over the years. Most of my self hosted external stuff runs on Debian, and I've run Linux on my secondary systems in the past.

So I figured, I've got 2 NVME's in my main system [Asus ROG Strix G16 (2023)], why not consolidate and run Windows 11 on one, and Debian on the other?

This process started off stupid-easy. Dual boot was a breeze, even with both OS's encrypted (bitlocker for Windows, and...whatever Linux's is). Installed some apps, installed Steam. Synced Vivaldi and 1Password, and I thought I was golden.

And then the screaming started...

No Man's Sky, while not OFFICIALLY supported on Proton runs just fine. But it was dropping frames like crazy. Checked settings, and it was running on the Intel card [Asus Strix have dual GPUs with a MUX switch]. Started googling for Asus support on Linux, and found a helpful 3rd part library (https://asus-linux.org). Got it installed, switched the GPU, and rebooted.

And whoops. There goes Wayland. Blinking cursor. Back to the googles! Figure out how to use GRUB to boot console only. Download the Linux drivers for nVIDIA, and compile them myself [complete with my own MOK key]. Reboot again, and suddenly my desktop works.

Feeling relieved, I go about my day, and power off. Boot up to Windows the following day since I needed files. Reboot to Linux, and BOOM. Blinking cursor. Turns out that Windows was still setting ASUS to Hybrid and not a single static card. RIP ME.

At this point, I'm kind of cranky, so I start googling. I see recommendations for KUBUNTU as a more "solid" distro for dual GPU systems, so, having nothing to lose, I download that, and blow away Debian [while checking 3 or 4 times to make sure I'm wiping the right drive :)]

Kubuntu loads up, and lo and behold, the display just works regardless of what GPU I'm running. Huzzah!

I've been running this now for about a week and a half, and besides some college stuff that requires Windows, I've not had to go back to Windows at all, so that's pretty cool.

Next time, we're going to talk about APPLICATIONS on linux, and what I've found to do what I need to do!

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