Rambling about Linux vs. Windows

After Effects alternative? Blender!
GNOME for example uses it to create their 2D info graphic animations and AFAIK you can also add effects (which After Effects is all about)

Anti-cheat, I must say yes..that’s a thing, but that’s anti-competitive behaviour from Windows developers. Some developers even check and block Wine!

LibreOffice is a great office suite, it has everything I need and I even wrote my college papers on it. Works great!

CAD software is a whole different story and I hope there will be some good programs to do it right, same for very specialized Windows software for let’s say big machines.

These are just Windows/Linux side-by-side…but the end-goal of Linux is not growing bigger, it’s just to have a perfectly capable operating system for most people next to the proprietary walled gardens we already have for decades now. I think where Linux can shine is 1) everywhere else, but not on the desktop 2) the average grandma user that just wants to write them e-mails and surf “The Internet”.

Sure Linux has its advantages, but if we want to help it to grow we should get all the rather inexperienced people onto the boat and then laugh about hardcore Windows gamers then. But again: Linux’s end goal is not to grow bigger, it’s just an alternative (or better: a break) from all the garbled mess we have on the desktop.

What do I like about Windows?

  • Great hardware compatibility
  • Modern features well supported (disk encryption, TPM module configuration, OEM boot logo etc.)
  • Powerful applications (Adobe, MS Office etc.)
  • Games (sorry, Linux)
  • A “known” thing everyone knows how to use it (because they probably already have a Windows computer at home)

What am I not liking about Windows?

  • Privacy
  • Annoying nags (Cortana, Windows Update etc.)
  • Inconsistent user interface (Win32 VS UWP)
  • Almost empty Windows Store (Developers, Developers, Developers)
  • Stuff breaks more easily, especially after updates
  • Messed up Spooler (printing is hell on Windows, really)
  • Gets slow over time forcing me to switch OS or hardware
  • Preinstalled bloatware
  • Stressful user interface
  • Almost no freedoms changing things around to suit your needs
  • Costs money even though they already serve ads and mine data
  • Installer doesn’t like more than three drives and Windows Home only likes up to 16GB of RAM, Windows Pro only 2TB (but I would never be able to afford a machine with more than 2TB of RAM)
  • Community is almost dead, at least I barely get any help for my Windows system and have to fix stuff on blind luck alone
  • Updates require a restart

What do I like about Linux?

  • A stable, fast and efficient system
  • Hackable down to the core, literally
  • Easy to use interface
  • No bloat, nags or crap
  • Free (both cost and actual freedom)
  • Updates actually fix stuff
  • Doesn’t slow down after more than half a year of use
  • Simply is my friendliest companion
  • Development is easy! (especially developing stuff for servers as they already run on Linux most of the time)
  • Installation just works (except if you use Ubuntu lol)
  • If you don’t like it patch it out
  • Generally smaller and less bloated (see above)
  • Hell lot of customization features (see above)
  • Somebody probably has a fix for it
  • Huge and active community
  • Updates don’t really require a restart and updates update everything on my system, both my software and my operating system

What am I not liking about Linux? (and yes, it’s not perfect)

  • It’s free if you don’t value your time
  • Games (Windows just has too much of them)
  • Hardware support may be spotty (which is today almost not a problem and most of the time there are workarounds…thanks HP)
  • Not many vocal vendors selling Linux machines (which is the #1 reason why the Linux desktop isn’t there yet even though Linux was initially thought as a desktop OS)
  • Some OSS software isn’t as good as their proprietary counterparts (nothing can beat Adobe and it annoys the hell out of me that I can’t close Spotify to tray)
  • Fragmented choice of user interfaces and system base structures (makes it harder to optimize for one platform only, QT or GTK, does it have systemd etc.)
  • Butthurt /g/ community wanting to make Linux as inaccessible to “normies” as possible
  • Some radical opinions about FLOSS and Stallman which I am not a fan of
  • Chicken-egg problem (with users come developers, but developers want users)

TL;DR computers are garbage and society is shit. Linux rocks, but Windows does as well. I would prefer Linux though, because most of the time I spend on a computer is doing actual work and that’s where Linux can shine.

How to plan and host a Mastodon instance

As you might have heard I host my own Mastodon instance with a few other people. You might plan to host your own as well (and in most cases create a single-user instance). Maybe you are not okay with the server you’re currently on or you want to get into the dirty bits of hosting and maintaining a Mastodon instance. In this guide you will find recommendations on how to host your own Mastodon instance and what issues you might encounter while running it.

Resource consumption

So before we start I’ll tell you what koyu.space consumes (a Mastodon instance with 2.1k users, an averaged-sized instance):

  • 12GB RAM in idle
  • 40GB database storage (on a SSD, because we get a lot of queries)
  • More than 120GB of media (on a CDN, because it’s cheaper to host that many media files plus we don’t have the bandwidth to stream all this)

So that might sound a lot, but that’s because we host user data of 2.1k people which are quite a lot. Your single-user instance might be happy with 2-4GB of RAM and 20GB for the DB and OS plus a CDN (because maybe you have way too many cat pictures to post).

Hosting providers

masto.host

masto.host is a very friendly and easy way to start your new Mastodon instance. Just sign up and it works. Hugo is a nice guy and fixed a lot of issues I encountered when I was having my instance over there. The only downside is that you don’t get into the fun stuff on actually hosting and maintaining a Mastodon instance, but it’s a good thing if you have no idea what you’re doing and you’re still not ready to play with the big guns (a Linux console). You can get a Mastodon instance up and running in 24 hours and servers start at six bucks a month. You can choose a subdomain (which is free) or bring in your own (they usually start at 90 cents per year, especially .xyz domains). If you plan to modify Mastodon and want to run it then you can’t do it here for security reasons.

DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean is the next host I can recommend for people who want to tinker with a Linux system and want to set up everything by themselves. They also have been successful if I had any issues. The only problem is that it might get expensive over time. Otherwise their servers run stable and fast as well which is pretty much needed for Mastodon (especially disk bandwidth for the database).

Setup and Help

If you use Masto.host your Mastodon instance is already set up. It’s fully-managed hosting after all meaning you get a Mastodon instance without lifting a finger. On DigitalOcean on the other hand you have two options where one has been proven the most successful. First the DigitalOcean Markteplace already has an image with Mastodon preinstalled, but most of the time it’s a very outdated version and I am not even sure if it works correctly once set up. The other option (which is also the best) is to install it manually. You can follow the instructions over on docs.joinmastodon.org which are very detailed and explain the topic very well. If you plan to have users and want them to receive e-mails you also have to get an SMTP server from somwhere. I was pretty happy with mailbox.org which want 2,50€ a month so they can continue to offer their services while being privacy-friendly (and their mail service is very fitting for a support desk+Mastodon mailer). Also a good thing about their service is that I was able to pay with my debit card over PayPal, because I don’t own a credit card, but they also offer more payment options one of which is the anonymous Paysafecard (which you can get in every gas station here in Germany and pay with cash which is the most anonymous way to pay).

So these are my recommendations on how to get started on hosting your own Mastodon instance. I hope I could open up your eyes a little bit and if you need a little help you can reach me on IRC at irc.koyu.space or via e-mail on me@koyu.space. Thanks for reading!