30 Day Trial: Only Open Source

Posted on November 6, 2009

On Monday, I’ve decided to embark on a new 30 day trial: I will use only Open Source Software (including operating system) for 30 days.

Wait, wait, wait… Huh?

Alright, let me back up a bit. First, what’s a 30 day trial? A 30 day trial is a method of creating new habits. It enforces that you try something out for a full 30 days, then evaluate and decide whether the habit is worth keeping. I’ve done this many times in my life with the most un-expected success being that I became a vegetarian for 3.5 years.

This process forces you to deeply understand the habit, and make a clear decision as to whether it impacts your life in a positive way or not. I find it to be a great framework for learning and evolving my understanding of potential habits.


I’ve been using open source software in my work life for a long time. I program in open source languages. I develop on top of open source frameworks. We deploy to open source environments running open source software and open source tools. I see and understand the benefits of the open source communities which develop and maintain these projects, but what do I do to give back?

Both myself and Orange Peel in turn have decided that we need to do more to get involved in the open source communities which we rely on. While we have many plans on how we’re going to do this, I would like to do a full evaluation of using an open source operating system on my primary machine.

The purpose of the trial for me is to dive into a bunch of new software, then evaluate that against my current stack. Who knows, maybe I’ll love and embrace Linux or maybe I’ll quickly run back to Mac OS in 30 days. Either way, I will complete the 30 days and gain a bunch of knowledge about what works best for me.

What I’ll Use

Screen shot 2009-11-06 at 7.31.26 AM

For this trial, I’m going to use the brand-spanking-new Ubuntu 9.10. I currently run a 15″ 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro as my primary machine. I’ll continue using this machine, however I will dual boot Ubuntu.

Things I’m Going to Miss

Textmate: I spend most of my day in Textmate. I love textmate and have amassed an army of snippets that make me productive. I plan on starting off using GEdit on linux (mostly for ease of transition) but have also been evaluating if I want to spend the time ramping up on Emacs.

Launchbar: I hate using folder structures and the mouse. I love Launchbar. It has amazing functionality and is so easy to build plugins for. I’m going to try out GNOME Do, and hope it can fit into my workflow. This may be the toughest piece to get used to for me.

Mac OS X: I’ve been using Mac OS exclusively for the past 6 years. I’ve come to love the simplicity of the design and colours. However, I’m excited to try something new to either re-kindle my passion for OS X or understand the shortcomings of the operating system.

Here We Go

I plan on writing here a fair bit about my transition as well as ups and downs of using Ubuntu. Here’s to hoping things go smoothly!

5 Replies to "30 Day Trial: Only Open Source"

  • Matt
    November 6, 2009 (3:19 pm)

    But wait….. what about your iPhone? Shouldn’t that be open source too?

  • Greg Bell
    November 6, 2009 (4:57 pm)

    Hahaha. Yeah it probably should… However, I’m making the rules… And I’m not ready to leave my iPhone yet!

  • Nik
    November 8, 2009 (8:09 pm)

    Good luck Greg, I don’t think I could leave LaunchBar behind. At least you can take advantage of the new open office mouse http://openofficemouse.com/pr110609.html

  • Joseph Holsten
    March 31, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    Have you found a FLOSS Flash?

    • Greg Bell
      April 4, 2011 (8:08 am)

      No I haven’t. Although I haven’t exactly been looking, since I’m back to Mac OS now 🙂

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