Reconsidering Minimalism

I ran into a few posts this week that got me thinking about my Xubuntu laptop.

The first is an older post on downsizing your digital life.

One of the things I like about Xubuntu is that it’s minimalist by nature. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles. It’s not about its look. It’s really simply about doing work. Plus, it’s highly configurable. For the most part, it does what I want in the way that I want it.

Xubuntu is good, because it responds to my workflow, but it’s really good because it forces me to think about my workflow. It’s the type of synergy I just don’t have with Windows machines (or, to be more precise, the type of synergy that takes hours upon hours of tweaking and workarounds to create).

Plus, I love that most default Xfce programs tend to be minimalist by nature anyway.

The past few weeks, I feel like all I’ve read about is Ubuntu’s move to Unity and Wayland. I’m kind of relieved to not have to deal with it with Xubuntu. And if Xubuntu decides to move in that direction, I like knowing there are other distros that can give me the Xfce-driven experience I want.

The freedom of Linux allows me to maintain my minimalist lifestyle.

Aberinkulas recently had a post about so-called minimalist programs and how so many Linux command line utilities allow people to practice a minimalist lifestyle. It’s an interesting point, but I would take it a step further. People should look for good software that does what they need it to. If it’s minimalist software, that’s great, but if it isn’t, that probably means the person needed something beyond minimalist.

I could work in vi, in theory, but I need a spellchecker, so gedit makes more sense for me. It’s my minimal basement, while some people probably see it as excessive. It’s a relative concept, but one that every computer user should work to define for themselves.

The idea I keep coming back to with Xubuntu (and Xfce) is that it’s not about how well the OS works. It’s about how well it works for me and what I want to do with my computer. Xubuntu is great because it meets my personal expectations. And if it ever doesn’t meet my expectations, I can probably either find another distro that does or tweak Xubuntu into what I want.

The beauty of Xubuntu, and Linux as a whole, is that it allows every user the opportunity to create their own minimalist experience. Even if their minimalism is excessive.