Hey y'all! I'm SonarMonkey, or more usually just Sonar, and I've been using Linux for 9 or 10 years now. Strap in, because I may have accidentally written an essay here. If just a greeting will suffice for you, consider turning back now (or skip to the end).
It all began when I got my start with, as I recall, Fedora 20 on an aging dinosaur of a Compaq laptop.
For a while, I mostly just enjoyed troubleshooting and rabbit-holing on the bizarre issues that would crop up using Linux on such a relatively old computer. I didn't have any particular computing needs at the time, using it more as a hobby project and web-browser.
At some point, I took to writing fiction, and with an early high school hipster-ish fascination with the retro, I made my first foray into the bottomless hole that is tiling window managers. After god knows how many hours, I had a comfy Manjaro-i3 setup on that same old beast of a machine, which I used for quite some time. Though those configs are likely lost, I still pull the old laptop out from time to time, lifting the monster from the depths of my closet to clack away at the keyboard.
When I got the first laptop that was truly my own - a kitted-out ThinkPad - I dipped out of the Linux world for a time, chained to the unfortunate nature of the Windows ecosystem. At some point, I missed the soaring freedom that Linux offered, and dove back in, this time with the added
quirk headache of dual-booting. Clinging to League of Legends and the handful of Adobe apps I used (feel free to judge, I'll understand), but yearning for the love of Linux, I distro-hopped incessantly when I had the time, occasionally settling into systems for longer periods.
In this time, I found my love split between the remarkable customization and novel, hacker-ey feel of tiling window managers, and the comfort and general nature of my first - the GNOME Shell.
I made a few brief passes at Garuda earlier in the project, but my discomfort with KDE and baseless unwillingness to use anything other than the main spin put me off. However, when I delved deeper into Arch and it's direct derivatives, I found it difficult to strike a balance between usability, and the mass of endless configuration and customization Arch afforded.
All of this brings us to now. Having grown tired of the limitations of the Pop!_OS install I'd recently settled for, and finding Windows more and more obnoxious by the day, I chose to act. I backed up my files, waved my goodbyes, and was quickly met by a fresh installation of Garuda's GNOME edition.
It was wonderful. Everything I loved about Arch, most especially the absurd and incomparable wealth of packages that come with the AUR, was all there, wrapped up in a Calamares-colored bow and dusted with the spice of the Chaotic repo. Performance was amazing, especially for a heavyweight like GNOME. Even with my respectable hardware, I'd only ever seen better from my unnecessarily minimalist Arch-BSPWM setups. The various built-in Garuda tools made all sorts of configuration effortless, even offering options I'd never seen before. The automatic snapshots, lovely filesystem configuration, well-configured default, and many more, were just icing on the cake.
My excitement was perhaps over-kindled, though, and I did as most (if not all) Linux users do a handful of times in their career - I made an absolute mess of my system. What might've been approached more simply turned into a time-sink of wiki page after bug report after guide. In my haste, I abandoned some of the common sense I'd developed over the years, and came to in a mess of unchecked and inadvisable tweaks.
I write to you all now in a fresh installation. I have my wits about me, my Garuda feet under me, and am rather more committed to achieving a functional main working machine. The excitement remains, though, and I'm finding it a remarkable experience so far.
If you've made it this far, or taken the more advisable step of skipping to the end, I'd like to say a few things. First, thank you to the Garuda devs for all of your incredible work. Everything I've seen so far tells me I've stepped into something fantastic. I'm happy to be joining what seems to be a lovely community, and am looking forward to seeing what we all do together.