History of my Desktop

Wanna see the desktops of the computers I've owned over the years? No? Tough luck.

2014

This is as far back as I have screenshots of. This was on my first computer, a dinky little Inspiron laptop I got for Christmas one year. Ironically, I remember wanting a Wii U and being dissapointed by the laptop instead. With the gift of hindsight and knowing what my passion is now, I'm glad I got the laptop.

The laptop came with Windows 8.1, which I only have one measly photo of. This is the super old Minecraft launcher. This was part of a tutorial I posted a random old Minecraft server forum about how to downgrade your Minecraft version to fix an issue with skins or something.

When the free upgrade to Windows 10 was offered, I took it and remembered liking it at first. However, it began to slow down my aging laptop, and around 2016 I got into computers and Linux. I was only curious about it at first, however after accidentally causing my system to not boot after changing something in Windows, I got fed up with it and wiped the entire drive and replaced it with Linux Mint. I didn't even bother to save anything, which I deeply regret. Speaking of Linux Mint...


2017

Thankfully, I do have screenshots from this era. Not a ton, but a couple that I took to show off my desktop at least. Linux Mint actually saves your screenshots you take to the hard drive by default, while Windows only copies them to the clipboard. I actually mained Linux Mint for about a year without ever touching Windows from what I remember, as the games I wanted to play (mainly Minecraft and Team Fortress 2) worked well enough on it. I also learned to get into older FPS games like Doom and Quake to make the most of my weaker hardware, and source ports of them ran great. This screenshot is of the Cinnamon desktop that Linux Mint came with circa March 2017. I think I customized the window bar at the top but that's about it. I actually miss this design of Firefox a lot.

Later in the year, I got into various Linux customization related communities and wanted to try something new. So, I installed the LXDE desktop, a desktop that is meant to be more lightweight on system resources than what I'd been using before. It probably actually didn't impact my daily usage that much, but I enjoyed tweaking my desktop and it made me feel cool, so that's what mattered. I also learned a little bit of the terminal, so here's my neofetch circa August 2017, with an appropriately angsty color scheme.

Some time in late 2017, I think I did something to my Linux install that caused it to not be able to boot. I also wanted to play games on Windows that didn't run well under Wine for me, like Cuphead. So I abandoned my little neckbeard for a while and actually installed Windows 7 onto the laptop, which ran great and I was happy with it. I don't have any screenshots from that, but I did use the Classic theme, so I guess even back then I was a hipster.

Thankfully, my parents let me get components to build my own PC with a shiny new GTX 1060 for Christmas, so I wouldn't have to be stuck with that laptop anymore. This leads into the next section...


2019

On my new PC, I installed Windows 10 since I didn't want to have to replace Windows 7 later down the line. I was happy to finally play more graphically demanding games like PUBG and DOOM 2016. For my desktop, I wanted some widgets that didn't look too flashy or out of place, so I found some for Rainmeter that fit that criteria. They also didn't work half the time but I still liked them. This desktop is from January 2019, but it didn't change much at all from 2018 all the way to 2022.

Does that mean I stopped wanting to play around with Linux desktops? Of course not. Over the next few years I had various dual boot setups that I created, wiped, and created again. I forget how many times I did this, but it was a lot. A lot of stuff is lost from these because I never bothered to keep any files I had on the Linux installs I set up. This one is of an Ubuntu desktop changed to look vaugely like Mac OS, circa June 2019. This one actually looks pretty good. I like how the icons on the dock look.


2021

Skipping a year again, since I have nothing from 2020 saved. As you can see, as of January 2021, the Windows side of things barely changed for me at all. Just some widgets moved around, with a new weather one added that only partially worked.

On the Linux side of things, here's a random Ubuntu install I set up around February 2021. I think I was trying to make it feel more like Windows, but evidently I didn't get very far.

Later, in April, I tried out an Arch-based distro for the first time, EndeavourOS. Basically it's Arch Linux but with a graphical installer. I tried my hand at using a tiling window manager, i3. As you can see, I didn't manage to configure anything too impressive. I'm pretty sure I just copied someone else's config for the bar at the top. I learned that I didn't really like tiling window managers all that much, since my dumb monkey brain defaults to using the mouse.

After this, I would move to my current desktop of choice, KDE Plasma. Here is a screenshot of my multi-monitor setup. I was using a custom theme called Commonality that makes KDE look more like CDE, a Unix desktop from the 90's. I was actually trying to modify it to give it a nice purple and pink color scheme, but it only ever got half-finished. The second screen is actually an old CRT monitor that was just sitting on a neighbor's porch waiting to be thrown out, so I snagged it for myself. You may notice a familiar wallpaper on the second screen. As for what I'm editing on GIMP, your guess is as good as mine.

I actually tried to change my desktop up every season, so there would be a color scheme for fall, winter, etc. but I don't have any of them saved sadly.


2022

This year, I wanted to try something a little different. First, I decided to actually install full Arch instead of just EndeavourOS. And of course, by that I meant install EndeavourOS and run a script that replaced the branding with Arch branding. I wanted to get more experienced with manually configuring a window manager without having to force myself to learn to use tiling. That's why in March, I decided to give Openbox a shot, which is a floating window manager, not a tiling one. That means it actually lets you drag windows around with your mouse instead of controlling everything with the keyboard. By this time, I was starting to become interested in old desktops from the 2000s, so I wanted to give the window manager a feel of being from that time. This first one is meant to look like something you'd see on GNOME 2.

I wasn't too happy with it, however. It was a light theme, so that means it'd be eye-searing at night. Just a few days later, I went back and changed it to look more like Windows Vista mixed with KDE 4. I don't consider this to be "angsty" like the 2017 desktop, since I was going for a more endearing "2010 super customized linux desktop with neon colors and gradients" look. I even added basic tiling functionality with scripts, so I guess I had the best of both worlds. This is probably one of my favorite desktops I've had over the years.

After a while, however, I got tired of having to do things like manually mounting drives whenever they randomly changed IDs, and I wanted the creature comforts of a full desktop environment again. So crawling back to KDE I went.

Late this year, I managed to get a new PC to replace my aging one from 2017. I gave the old one to my younger brothers, since it still runs games like Fortnite decent enough. The GPU was delayed by almost 2 months, to the point that I got it after Christmas. This leads into...


2023

First, I decided to install Arch Linux on my new PC the proper way instead of just faking it. This is still dual booted with a smaller Windows drive, however, as there are a couple games and programs I still need Windows for if I want to run. Other than that, 90% of my computing has been under Linux, and I've been happy with it ever since, as the number of games and applications that I can't run under Linux has been dwindling.

Since I have an AMD GPU now, I can take advantage of the new features of Wayland, which is the new windowing system replacing the aging X11. Most of the year I just stuck with KDE, as you can see with this screenshot from September. I suppose this desktop is a little angsty.

Also, there's this one from October. I liked to just switch up the icon theme and color scheme every month, in this case to be more festive for the season. (The color scheme is called "Dracula" after all.)

However, later this month, I decided to give the window manager lifestyle another try. Since the only floating window manager that is similar to Openbox I could find, LabWC, wasn't as far under development as I'd have liked, I decided to give a tiling window manager another shot. I chose Sway, since it is very similar to i3, which I'd already used. This time, I actually tried my best to make it look good and not just copy someone else's configs. I set up a script to select an area to screenshot, just like Windows and KDE. The top bar is still based on someone else's config, but heavily edited to the point of being unrecognisable.

Sadly, I would only end up using this for about a month, as I got tired of forcing myself to use the keyboard for everything, meaning that the monkey brain won again. I switched back to KDE. However, I decided to change things up from my usual standard of using the default theme with a different color. This was around the "Fruitiger Aero" trend started to become popular, and I wanted to experience a desktop that was more reminiscent of that early 2010's glossy look, as I had fond memories of using Windows 7 in school. I became interested in Oxygen, the theme that KDE used during the KDE 4 era, lasting from 2008 until 2014 where it was replaced with the Breeze theme used today.

The current version of KDE still lets you use the Oxygen theme, however. I found an edited version of it on the KDE theme repository called Vulpinity, giving it a red accent. I decided to use it to give my desktop a nostalgic, glossy look for Christmas. This was taken right before upgrading off of the fabled Linux 6.6.6 kernel.


2024

After the holidays, I decided to keep the theme I had going, and I replaced and tweaked some stuff to lean harder into the "edgy early 2010's linux desktop" thing, just like I did with my 2022 Openbox desktop. I wanted to make it look like the desktop of a 2010-ish hardware enthusiast, so I set the wallpaper to this gaudy but endearing Radeon wallpaper. Someone I showed it to said it had "shadow the hedgehog colors." So mission accomplished, I suppose.

In March, the newest version of KDE, KDE Plasma 6, hit the Arch Linux software repositories, so I installed it without hesitation. Unfortunately, it had a bunch of bugs on release that broke the theme I was using and forced me to switch off. So I was stuck on stock KDE for a few weeks, changing to the default colors to reflect this.

Unfortunately, one of the headlining features of KDE 6, the improved scaling, doesn't work well on anything but the default Breeze theme. Since I had gotten a 1440p monitor recently, I was forced to set the scaling to normal and set the font size larger so I could still read it comfortably. Also, there were a bunch of bugs with font rendering when using scaling anyway. So I then switched to normal default Oxygen theme, with a dark theme added and the proper icon set in place, and this is the current setup I use right now. I think it looks pretty nice, and I'm happy with how it's set up right now.

So, what was the whole point of this exercise? I don't know, really. I think looking the the evolution of how I used my computer is interesting, since it's an extension of myself in a way. I'll probably update this if I make any other changes to my desktop as long as I remember that my Neocities exists.

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