Nonzero blog

Nonzero blog

How I changed from Windows 11 to Debian and enjoyed it

Egida.00's photo
·Jun 5, 2022·

3 min read

I have been working as a full-stack developer for several years now, and used Windows for a significant part of the journey. At some point late last year I upgraded to Windows 11

However, as many I struggled to find the perfect way to get this working. WSL 2 was a massive improvement to be frank, however it wasn't ideal with beta Windows, besides even a simple setup between the virtual and the host machine was a burden (hyper-v uses different IP range & doesn't work out of the box).

You can't really have a two way binding between the machines. Docker helps somewhat, but it doesn't always work. There are some subtle differences between Microsoft devcontainers & docker registry - at least for me the hot reload wasn't working great (using the devcontainer) - as well as PC was consuming lot of resources (I did try reduce the virtual memory, but it didn't work well)

I also struggled to ssh to my Linux environment, ended up doing workarounds (wsl sudo didn't work for me - I needed a git bash but due to Windows restrictions, I had to add myself through docker). The desktop environment was almost impossible to setup, not only due to USB devices being not recognized (in Linux), but also any installation on Linux, massively increased the storage and required additional tweaking to work.

Only if logged on separately as a system user I was able to do to the admin stuff, however I had constant issues with windows services & ports, user permissions, sessions etc - most of the times I was changing or reinstalling things again and again due to specific bugs or limitations caused by WSL2.

Of course no snapstore or flathub apps worked as well, neither Firefox (in Linux) so ultimately found myself working more and more natively under Windows, started using Laragon, and at least was able to do some work.

Unfortunately the git bash (MinGW) was more limited than a WSL (kind of partial cygwin, didn't do a lot ) and I am not really a big fan of powershell, so I wasn't happy.

I am actually in doubt, that it is possible to run a proper standalone server on WSL (without any help from windows), as the kernel & partition isn't really a Linux one, some sort of compatibility layer masks the environment from a windows system (likely using NAT based pseudo network), just in a limited scope (no D-Bus or serial ports are available and the network share is limited and relies of a number of windows services anyway)

So after some time I finally decided to change this to a real Debian. Without much hesitation (chosen a testing repo) done a full formatting, re-partitioned the disk, removed Windows credentials & installed the Bookworm.

My problems are long gone, PC works like charm (maybe 3x quicker with Gnome 42 ) , perhaps at some point in the future I will change to KDE/Plasma, or will try some other Linux distro, however I am not even in a smallest doubt to look back.

Let me know how many times did you want to do the same?

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