User:AnarcoBuda/Experience Report

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I am using the ParabolaWiki user Theova's experience report as a reference to write this page.

I started using Parabola GNU/Linux-libre around October 2019, after searching for a distro that approached my thoughts on free software. I initially tried PureOS, but I had a few issues with the company behind that system. After that, I searched through the FSF listed operating systems and decided to try Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre, however, I prefer the 'rolling release' model over the 'long-term support model' offered by Hyperbola, even though LTS is frequently preferred. I now use Parabola as my day-to-day OS.

Since I've been really impressed with the OS and the community that stands for it since day one, I feel like sharing this report is a valuable way to both convince interested people in this great operating system and to encourage new users to also give their feedback.

1 My Experiences with GNU/Linux before Parabola

Before I write any experiences with GNU/Linux, I wanted to say that I've always used non-free (proprietary) operating systems since I was a child. What made me change my mind was the 2013 global surveillance disclosures and some leaked diplomatic cables revealing that even the president of my country was spied by the US government. These events made me research into ways one could protect their privacy and be safe online and offline, and I ended up finding about the free software movement, which have been warning us of the dangers of non-free (proprietary) software since the 80's.

That said, I've used a bunch of Linux distributions, such as Kurumin, Ubuntu, Trisquel, and a few others, including Arch, but I never felt satisfied. With Arch, actually, I was close to feeling happy, but the permissive use of non-free software bugged me a lot. It bugged me until I found out about Parabola, which shares the same 'DIY' philosophy, but also advocated free software, which was exactly what I was looking for. I've never felt more satisfied with an operating system since then.

2 The Migration Process

The Arch and Parabola installation processes are similar to each other, so I've had some kind of experience before, but I had some troubles with the Parabola installation, mainly because I tried the OpenRC system init, and at the time I tried it, the written guide needed some updates. The main problem I had with the Parabola systemd installation was my lack of tech wizardry, but very carefully reading the Beginners' Guide eventually meant the installation was a success. It felt really accomplishing, and it made me understand why some Arch users are addicted to installing the system from scratch over and over. I'm not going to lie, I wish I could install Parabola in every computer my family owns.

3 The Community

For me, probably the most attractive part of Parabola. The people around here, users, developers, administrators, are caring and understanding of each other. Parabola's community is guided by the Parabola Social Contract and the concept of 'adhocracy', meaning we do not seek vertical relationships with each other, as in hierarchical divisions between those who develop the system and those who use it, or even more subtle Foucauldian power relations between two different levels of knowledge. This is generally avoided and it's so graciously done so that you can't tell an user from a developer by posting on the forums.

4 Summary

I really don't have enough words in English to express how satisfied I am with my experience with Parabola, but in Portuguese there's a saying, "de boa na lagoa", which expresses not only satisfaction, but a sense of serenity, which is basically what Parabola and the Parabola community make me feel. I sense that everyone here is eager to enhance the operating system and help each other in every way possible, so it's by far the best computer experience I've ever had.