Pro Tip: Don’t Give Up When You Hit a Wall on Linux

One of the biggest detractions from using an all Linux environment is that sometimes things go wrong. That isn’t to say that things don’t go wrong when you use Windows, but when it comes to Windows problem solving, most people go to their laptop manufacturer for troubleshooting. On Linux, there are so many places to get help, but there is no guarantee of service from your fellow Linux users.

I’m a distro hopper, and I’m proud of it. That being said, my current distro of choice is Arch Linux, and it’s a bit more tricky to set up than your typical Ubuntu or Mint install. I’m also having a steamy affair with KDE plasma.

You see, KDE works just fine on my brand new Dell laptop, but on my 10-year-old HP desktop that runs an AMD Athalon 4 core processor and a NVIDIA 2GB graphics card, not so much. Every time I would give KDE a try, I’d get horrendous screen tearing, making my computer unusable for very long.

Like other people, I went to the handy tool Google and searched for the problem. I found a lot of solutions, but none worked for me or were all very complicated command line options that I didn’t feel comfortable performing.

So, I would routinely give up. That, my friends, is a rookie mistake.

Linux is very stable, despite its reputation as a “niche and nerdy” operating system. Yes, if you’re around long enough, you’re going to encounter problems. But the best thing to do is not give up. I abandoned KDE, despite my absolute love of its customizability, and went back to GNOME-based Budgie. I gave up too soon and didn’t have the confidence to try and try again.

Because you see, every Linux problem has a solution. If you look hard enough and try enough solutions, you’ll fix the issue you’re having. It’s almost guaranteed. There are so many people using Linux, and so many who participate by helping others, chances are your problem has been solved, it’s just a matter of finding that solution. (for those experiencing the KDE screen tearing issue, this article is what finally solved it for me, though I had to install the NVIDIA Settings Manager for it to work)

Giving up too soon means you’ll miss out on the best Linux has to offer. You’ll never know how great KDE is, or how awesome Gentoo is to use if you get hung up on a problem and fail to persevere towards a solution.

I’ve done it many times, and often it is what is the main cause of my ‘need’ to switch to a new distro. I’ll come across a problem (like the screen tearing on KDE) and say it isn’t worth it, and I’ll go back to what I know works. But that isn’t the way to do things.

So, my tip for you today is to not give up. Go that extra mile to find a solution, and you’ll likely find what you’re looking for.