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Updating My Linux Journey

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posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 02:28 AM
Helping a member, just a few minutes go gave me pause to think about my computer operating system more than I normally would. It's been about five months since I posted this thread, announcing that I had downloaded, and was connected to ATS via a Live session, on Ubuntu 12.04. This was a moment of both pride and trepidation for me. You see my first run-in with Linux happened in the mid nineties and did not go very well.

Actually it did not go at all. I had purchased a fairly expensive book that came with an install disk for, I believe, Red Hat Linux. For the sake of honesty, I'll admit that, though the book was expensive, it was not so for me. At that time I was managing a Best Buy and got it wholesale - which as far as books go - is usually dirt cheap. At any rate, just trying to install it, I hit a snag that I could never get past. Linux, at that time, did not like the model of CD player my computer had. I spent weeks surfing message boards and asking my friends for advice - to no avail. It just so happened that there were one or two models of CD players, at the time, that no Linux kernel would recognize. Mine was one of them.

This event put me OFF of Linux for a very long time. Well from about '95 until late in '12. So it certainly left an open wound - one that I was not eager to pick the scabs off of.

Thus posting from a Linux live session, for me, made me feel about like Captain Hook wearing an alligator jacket - or maybe Ahab enjoying some rather pale whale meat.

A lot has happened since then.

Not long after I posted from that live session, I became really bored ( and honestly pretty lost in ) plain old Ubuntu Unity. On the surface it was prettier than Windows, in ways... but it seemed to be years behind to me, at that time, also - in other ways. I couldn't find the bells and whistles I suppose. It did not take long for me to discover a site called distrowatch - where I began fervently trying to find a version of Linux that would give me some "oomph" in the visual department.

In hindsight I think much of my obsession over oomph was really my pride refusing to admit that, after years of pointing, clicking, and mastering MIcrosoft products... I really was sort of lost in the woods where Linux was concerned. Now I understand that Linux is much, much more intuitive than Windows will ever be. At the time, however, I was thoroughly indoctrinated by Microsoft.

That first install of Ubuntu lasted about a week. Then I decided to give Mint a try. Then Mint felt even more boring to me, so back to Ubuntu... and back to Mint.., Then onto Bodhi, Mandira, Zorin, Puppylinux, Crunchbang, back to Mint, and eventually back to Ubuntu. Only this time I got really upset...

My computer is a Dell and getting old. One of its personality quirks is that it has an onboard graphics processor. An Intel 82865G to be specific. Before Linux I would have never had cause to find out about these things, much less have it memorized... but it was the darned CD drive situation all over again. My graphics processor, which isn't all that bad, just happens to be one of the two that gives modern Debian builds issues. My two favorite Linux builds, Ubuntu and Mint both happen to be children of Debian. Sadly, neither of their newest versions will install properly on my machine ( though I am now smart enough to understand that there might be a way to trick it into working - one that I have yet to discover. )

Upon this discovery, my rebellious streak kicked in. I downloaded Ubuntu 12.04, which will install on my machine, without any hiccups, got my dander up, and swore that, come Hell or high water, I was going to make things work. I would NOT surrender this time around!

Best damn computer based decision I ever made! Even if it was made in anger.

Fueled by spite I began really researching and studying things. I'm not too proud to admit that on four separate occasions I typed commands into my terminal that left me with no choice but to format the partition and start from scratch. On two of those occasions I also had to pop in my Windows rescue disc to salvage my boot sector. ( Yes, I still have a dual boot - actually a tri-boot currently. When Wine will finally let me play my Sims 2 game in Linux... I'll get rid of Bill Gates ugly child. Until then, it stays.
) The point is that each time I killed my kernel and found myself scrambling to save my machine - and get back to ATS... I learned. I kept getting back on that horse and I kept learning!

That led me to Gnome... FTR I am now unsure of what I love most... my most recent ex - who was the love of my life - or Gnome. Good GOD Gnome is exciting!

The plain bar menu in Unity and Mint were the things that always left me wanting "oomph"... well thanks to Gnome - I've got more OOMPH!!! than I can handle:

How freaking sexy is that?!?! Ubuntu, Gnome shell, Conky Lua, Cairo dock, and a few personal modifications - an ongoing process that might well lead to yet more reinstalls and starting from scratch events.

In summary?

~$ sudo killall doubts-about-Linux
~$ sudo apt-get happiness


posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 03:02 AM
I have a stack of Linux distro CDs about 8" high. (That's counting the paper sleeves.) Much of what you describe parallels my own experiences.

Although I still run Windoze on all of my machines, I do have a couple of dual-boots. I love Linux--or more accurately, I guess, I love the idea of Linux. I simply wish there weren't so many things I must do on Windows because it's either very difficult or impossible to do them with Linux. Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, for instance. Or, for that matter, Photoshop. I don't care how many times people yell "Gimp! Gimp! Gimp!"--for the sake of production I just have to use Photoshop. If Gimp is every bit as good as Photoshop, I've yet to find the magic menu selection that says "Be As Good As Photoshop."

It's well past my bedtime, luckily, so I won't be sticking around to argue the point. 'Night, all....

edit on 2/24/2013 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 03:44 AM
Like you, I toyed with a few Linux installs, with multi boot options, and your post has inspired me to pick up, where I left off, so to speak.

You see, I like the oomph, but don't really need it, I need to tackle the code.

My pc is a dual windows, win7, and xp, but the xp install can now be sacrificed, leaving plenty of space for Linux.

To be honest, it is not the intrigue, or the open source coolness that drives me, I am driven by need.

I operate a dedicated hosting server, plus a few shared hosting accounts, that run on Linux for my business, and am staggeringly dumb, when I need to access them via putty.

Putty gives me SSH access, which I think means secure socket hub, whereby I can access the server, at the command line level, this is where I need to get up to speed.

Having a modern windows sever to compare against, I can testify that Linux is blisteringly efficient, and stable.

And, yes, cool too!

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 05:17 AM
I REAAAALLLY loved a version called "Sabayon" or something... It had a mental 3d box, which while cool was probably a bit bonkers. I think the record I've ever achieved was about 5 hours.
Apart from Mint which I managed to get to work on an old laptop far better than XP would run. And then I preceeded to give it away.

HOWEVER! Steam is now available for Linux!
Not even Beta, a proper version apparently! This has peaked my interest mildly. But I must confess, I love building houses in Sims 2 as well.

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 05:20 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

sudo apt-get install happiness

heff !

or you'll wonder why it won't arise...

Now when ATI pull their finger out I'll be right there with you.. no full screen HD without tearing and I'm not happy.

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 05:26 AM
reply to post by winofiend

Well on the bright side... now I know why the last 51 things I downloaded haven't shown up on my screen yet.

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 07:22 AM
I'm running Centos on my eMachines Netbook which is basically a re-branded Red Hat Enterprise Linux build. It's not overly pretty. Well, I'm using xfce4 which means I do get transparency.. that makes Terminal look like a darkly tinted piece of glass or perspex and I also have Conky running very close to standard appearance settings, but that's more for function than pizazz.
But I'm not too worried about how it looks, I just want it to behave really well. I don't really want to reinstall any more than I need to.
I'm going to try and get RHCE this year, so I think it's handy having a distro running that's based on the Red Hat source code while I'm studying.
Ubuntu is quite a good distro, but have you ever considered running Debian?
Hey, have you seen the new Ubuntu based phones and tablets? I don't need anything like that, but they do look pretty nice.

Watchfull, I could be mistaken, but I believe SSH stands for Secure SHell.

This is fun to play with:

P.S: Forgot to mention, that emulator has GCC.
edit on 24/2/2013 by Recouper because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 07:53 AM
After years of trying many many distro's, finally have pclinuxos (my favorite, but alas only 32 bits) on one hardrive and mint on the other, 64 bit. I love KDE though.

I don't dual boot with windows anymore, but the kids do have windows, they seem to suffer greatly from not having every little thing not work as planned, though until we got windows 7, my son kept getting virus'd up ever 2 weeks, for a while, so I ended up giving him linux and installing his windows in vmplayer, like containing a virus in a vault. But alas, some side made it that even though webcams and such worked on the player, supposedly, they didn't in practice. And nothing online after weeks of searching helped. That wasn't a linux problem, that is the kind of thing, that is done intentionally to cause frustration and for people to return to windows. After finally purchasing windows 7 for him, he has only gotten virus'd up in roughly a year, so its a better platform for him.

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 12:54 PM
I'm really happy to hear others are making the big plunge and moving to Linux. I was also a very reluctant convert, despite technically using it for years off and on for every web server I've ever had. Seeing an operating system via Shell command prompt leaves A LOT to be desired though, doesn't it?

I'm not sure when I'll be able to break 100% with Windows and may never entirely. That will be a pure result of software I have to be able to run in relation to college. Close enough isn't good enough when a course is dedicated to a Microsoft product or suite (Like Office for my CIS this semester).

Having noted that little annoyance for why Dual Boot is likely a fact of life, my laptop has been a full conversion since December or so and I couldn't be happier. It's faster, more powerful and far more responsive than it ever was with Windows on it...and by a large margin. Nothing subtle about that.

Linux finally crossed the ONE major boundary that always turned me off and had me leaving Linux as a PC operating system. Plug N Play. It's been hit and miss, at best, for most of Unix/Linux history. I spent enough years in the late 80's and early 90's matching IRQ's and configs to make devices work with MS-DOS and Win 3.xx (well..they called it working to ever do it AGAIN. Now that Linux has made that PnP jump for idiot proofing?

I just can't see any good reasons not to ditch Winblows anymore and not move to a breath of fresh air...even if Dual Boot remains a necessity for some things.
(If Windows 8 isn't enough reason....nothing will be. To think..we're going to use their new ways because THEY say so? Ha!

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 01:42 PM
reply to post by Ex_CT2

I use Zorin.It is a likeable Linux system.It does some windows applications, but not all.
but it looks a lot and its gui is a lot like windows.check it out some time

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 02:04 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

I've Been running Linux on my laptop now for about 2 and a half years and haven't looked back. My hardrive died while I was in school, there was some sort of corruption on the MBR that killed my Windows 7 installation. It also turned out the sticker with the cd key was on the bottom of the laptop and by this point had completely worn away. My options it seemed were to pirate a copy of windows 7 (damned if I was paying for another copy) or to install linux. Thing was, I didn't want to wipe the drive because there was a lot of work left on it. After a lot of researching from my Xubuntu 11.04 live session, the only option seemed to be to install linux onto three separate flash drives a 4gb and 8gb and a 16gb. So I set up the partitions and installed Xubuntu across 3 flash drives. That really made feel like a wizard or something, I've always been pretty handy with computers, but to see those three little flash drives blinking away running an operating system installed across 3 of them, that not only ran almost as fast as my windows 7 install, but allowed me to rescue the contents of my hard drive and back them up on my server (also running linux).

Eventually I got frustrated by the usb drives (one little bump and the whole system would do some crazy things), and tried wiping the hard drive and reinstalling linux onto the hard drive. It worked! What I thought was a dead hard drive came back to life and seemed to work better than ever. This was for about three months and then the drive died for good.Luckily by then I could afford to get a new one. Needless to say I wouldn't dream of going back to windows. I run xp in a virtual machine every once in a while when I need to use office software (LibreOffice doesn't use the same Basic dialect for their macros so I'm stuck using MS office for complex stuff).

As for oomph, I would recommend either E17 or KDE 4.10. I used e17 as my desktop environment for most of the 2 years. It's light weight and easy to customize and has some really nice desktop themes and effects for such a lightweight environment. The only downside is that it's kinda buggy still, but it plays with GTK and gnome programs nicely. KDE 4.10 is more fully featured than E17 but you can make it look like whatever you want. Everything is customizable and there are some really nice themes. The newest release (4.10) is what made me a convert though. I'd read lots of horror stories about older versions of KDE, but those are non-existent now from what I've seen. So far it's been faster and has a lot more 'oomph' than any other environment I've used yet. Also, I would just ignore those people that say Gnome is for peope who like the mac look while KDE is for people who like the windows look. My desktop looks and behaves nothing like windows and so far has been really fun to sit and tinker with.

Well that was a lot longer and more rambling than I thought it would be. Good Luck and Happy journeys with Linux!

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 03:58 PM
reply to post by Recouper

Isnt CentOS the windows clone which can run executable files? I wanted to try and install it but it didnt seam to work and i gave up fairly quick if it can run executables it would be a lot faster than windows considering it is only 67 mb

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 05:50 PM

Originally posted by definity
reply to post by Recouper

Isnt CentOS the windows clone which can run executable files? I wanted to try and install it but it didnt seam to work and i gave up fairly quick if it can run executables it would be a lot faster than windows considering it is only 67 mb

I think you're thinking of [url=]ReactOS[/url. It's not based on linux but is supposed to be an open source operating system with binary compatibility with Windows NT. I've found it to be not very compatible with a lot of things I've tried.

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 05:57 PM
I know nothing of that type of set-up and thought I might learn something reading your post.

I did not realize you were going to write the post in some foreign language that I don't comprehend...

I guess I'll stick to windows since I am borderline computer illiterate.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 01:47 AM
reply to post by mwood

It is not nearly as complicated as it might have sounded. My OP included some terminology that a casual Linux user probably wouldn't need to understand. My version of the Ubuntu environment is fairly heavily customized. The standard install looks much different. Though Ubuntu is arguably the most commonly used version of Linux, it is also the one least like Windows to begin with ( though with a bit of research it can be made to be almost identical to Windows 7 ). Most versions of Linux - including Mint - which is the most popular variant currently, would feel very familiar and comfortable to a Windows user. The format of a bar, along the bottom, with a "start" style button on the far left is universal in that regard.

Though many Linux versions come "out of the box" with everything a casual user would use or need - the main difference between Linux and Windows shows up when one wants to install software. Windows users are very much used to everything automatically installing - with little or no input from the user. Just double click, click on a user-end-agreement and that is usually it. With Linux that is possible with many programs too - just through a different interface. In Win a web browser is the primary way to get programs. In popular Linux versions, this same thing is accomplished through a separate program called a software center.

One of the great advantages that Linux does have is that it most can run on your PC without even installing them onto it! With minimal research one can create a "Live CD" that will allow you to run the O/S from either a burned CD/DVD or from a USB storage device. If you have ever burned a CD or DVD on your computer you already know most that is necessary to accomplish this. All that is left is to download an .ISO of the version you want - and to download a very small Windows program to create the disc image onto the media. I use a very small program called "Unetbootin" that is very "Windows intuitive" and easy to understand.

Then it's just a case of knowing how to make your computer boot from something other than the hard drive. On my computer that means simply pushing "F12" during the initial boot. That brings up a menu, listing all the possible options to boot from". Just arrow down to either "CDROM" or "USB storage device" and push enter. BAM - instant live environment in an OS that isn't even installed on ones machine! It's a bit slower than if you install it fully - but it works quite well for just about everything.

If you're computer literate enough to do the above? I'd honestly suggest downloading Mint and giving it a live test drive. That will give you an idea of how Linux is like Windows... and how it isn't.

The analogy that I can make which might be universal is to compare it to being used to automatic transmissions and then, one day, taking the plunge to stick. Yes, for awhile it's irritating and uncomfortable. But after one figures it all out? The stick shift is way, way, way more responsive and fun.


posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 05:47 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Have you tried Steam yet by any chance?

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 06:44 AM
reply to post by Qumulys

I've installed and then uninstalled it twice. The Linux version doesn't seem to like the way I've got my theme set up - and the Steam client opens without buttons, all white, and unable to load anything.

Though that might be a cleared up issue soon. I've found a workaround ( hopefully ) for my GPU issue. As I am typing this, 12.10 is downloading and installing. Xorg had some driver updates that might work. They, at least, stopped the install program from warning me not to proceed.

If it works, and I can boot into 12.10 once it's done? I'll retry steam.

If not? I'll either be trying to revert my kernel or committing my day to a full reinstall of 12.04.

That may not be a bad thing though. I did some messing around and got everything ( Including the Sims 2 ) that I wanted - to run in Wine now. My current install was one with WUBI and, thus, my Linux is effectively on the same partition as Windows. If I have to reinstall - either today or to move up to 13.4 in April? I am now positive that I will dump Windows completely out of my system.

In any case... when things get stable - one way or another - I'll try Steam again to see if it glitches the same way as before.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 09:52 PM

Originally posted by Hefficide

Though that might be a cleared up issue soon. I've found a workaround ( hopefully ) for my GPU issue. As I am typing this, 12.10 is downloading and installing. Xorg had some driver updates that might work. They, at least, stopped the install program from warning me not to proceed.

If it works, and I can boot into 12.10 once it's done? I'll retry steam.

Shortly after saying this... hours and hours ago... I went to boot up my upgraded Ubuntu.

Upon seeing how successful I was ( not )... I went back into windows, opened up Easus partition manager, formatted the Linux partition, loaded up Unetbootin, targeted the Ubuntu 12.04 ISO and started from scratch.

The awesome thing is that even failing with Linux is actually kind of entertaining. I mean, at least I know who is to blame for the death of my kernel. It isn't like the good ole' days, with Win 95 when the BSOD was like a pissed off, evil ninja... striking often, out of nowhere, and when you least wanted or expected it to. At least with Ubuntu it didn't die until I spent hours half-knowingly helping it to.

posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 04:09 PM
One final update to cap things off with a happy ending.

A couple of hours ago I swallowed hard and took the plunge. My computer is now 100% free of Windows. I did a total system wipe and installed Linux exclusively this time around. For the record, I didn't need to do the system wipe - my dual boot was running fine. I simply decided that I couldn't justify wasting nearly 50 gigs of my hard drive upon Windows and the mass of software required to keep it operating as I wanted.

By way of comparison, currently I have my Linux configured nearly the way I want it... and have only used about 5 gigs. A bare bones XP install was 15-ish, if memory serves.

posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 10:41 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Which all sounds very good, actually good on you for persisting with it....


(Obviously that's the most important thing!

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