My linux history and favorite tips

I have been using windows for almost all of my life. It came installed on every computer or laptop, and seemed to be the only viable option, as far as I knew. I started thinking of alternatives when I started building custom computers.

I did some research, and learned that buying a copy of windows would set me back by about two hundred dollars. This alone was a strong incentive to search for alternatives. I read about ubuntu, and it sounded great. The downside was that it could not run the games I was designing the computer for in the first place.

Fast forward four years, and I found myself in college, with little or no linux experience. To change that, I looked into configuring a dual boot for my laptop between windows 7 and ubuntu. I succeeded, but was completely new to ubuntu, and would become more and more familiar with it as time went on.

Present day, I find I prefer linux over windows. I had been told windows was “bloated”, but never realized how much until I was accustomed to ubuntu. It takes a few seconds to boot to ubuntu, and at least a full minute to boot to windows. This includes every optimization that I could do to windows to increase boot time. I find that I boot to ubuntu in all of my classes but one, for the sole reason that I cannot get the software we occasionally use in class to run on linux. I would stop using windows entirely, but I still require it to run certain programs for school, and video games. I have heard of wine, a compatibility layer for windows on linux, that may allow me to do more of what I want. I believe I will look into it and include my preliminary results in my next blog post.

I suppose I can share some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up on in my time using ubuntu. Three of my personal favorites follow:

First off, if you use google chrome and can’t live without it, I recommend using the chromium web browser, not google chrome. I started on google chrome and found it crashed and was pretty unstable in ubuntu, whereas chromium has been working perfectly. The only difference is that chromium is a blue tinted logo and works much better. However, it has been a long time since I tried google chrome, and they may have since fixed the bugs.

Also, if you use google drive, the folder synchronization is not supported on linux. To get around that, I created a dropbox account and set its location to be within my google drive. This allows me to keep documents in the cloud but still access them using my google drive as opposed to dropbox.

If you find yourself needing to navigate to distant directories in the terminal, you can make a set of scripts to get you there faster. Rather than typing cd Projects/IntrotoUnix/mult, you can simply type bash mult_goto.sh. Make the name of the target directory first, so you can start typing it and complete it quickly with tab. I’d like to even have an icon on the desktop to open the terminal and navigate to directories for me with the click of a button. I’m sure it wouldn’t be difficult, but I’m lazy and/or busy and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I probably will and will visit that for my next blog post.

 

If anyone has additional tips or better ways to do things, please add them in a comment!