Geeks With Blogs
Adventures of a Setup Developer my musings about setups and other things in my life

After a hectic schedule, I decided to give myself a break. So I decided that I will install Linux just for fun to refresh my memory on the linux front. It is also a small bet with my colleague that I could be productive and have fun with Linux just the way I work with Windows. I was arguing on the fact that there is no better learning platform than Linux. I've worked only on RedHat 7,8,9 distros that are distributed with magazines. There is this old joke about Open Source communities vs. Closed source vendors . It goes something like this. "Commercial vendors sell software but give away free T-Shirts. Open source communities give free software but sell T-Shirts."

So, here I am blogging from my linux (yeah!!!) machine. It has been a long time since I had worked on any of the linux distros. I tried downloading Fedora, but it was just too big. So is Novell Desktop Linux. I've got the bandwidth and everything but shelling so much space for it from my hard disk did not seem worth it. Who needs so much stuff anyway. So I settled for Ubuntu. Ubuntu still retains the open source passion that makes it attractive. The installation was lightweight and text based which suits me. I do not want any fancy graphics for the installation. Ubuntu installed GNOME by default and to my surprise had disabled the root account. I first felt a little uncomfortable running as a non-privileged user. We've all got used to running as administrator on our windows machines. People would laugh if you said you did not have administrative privileges on a Windows Machine. But on a linux machine it is normal that you are a restricted user. Everytime I used Nautilus to copy files I was reminded that I was running under a non-privileged user login. Although I could launch Nautilus itself with sudo, I used the command line. I still remembered basic linux commands. That was quite a relief.

Unfortunately, I was not able to listen to LaunchCast and I miss my MSN Radio already. :-( Apart from that I am pretty happy with the distribution. It seems to be pretty stable. I have installed (rather extracted) Eclipse, the latest Java Runtime and the pydev Eclipse plugin. It is a pretty neat. If time permits, I will try to write a small sudoku puzzle solver in Python on my Linux machine. And finally, just for the pure visual treat and to prove that everything is working, here is the screenshot of my desktop.

Posted on Friday, July 1, 2005 8:41 PM Personal | Back to top

Comments on this post: Revisiting Linux

# re: Revisiting Linux
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I think the biggest putoffs with Linux are that the default Fonts are too small and difficult for people over 40 to read. The obscure names given to the programs instead of using descriptive names. Microsoft is very aware of the psychological value of the ease of understanding.
The stability and the fact that you don't need to defragment the hard drive are the biggest reasons for migrating to Linux.
I would like to be able to use the Linux filing system and the Windows programs I am familiar with. The price of the programs available Win4Lin and VM ware are way beyond my pocket.
Left by Tony Trenton on Jul 02, 2005 10:38 PM

# re: Revisiting Linux
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What I didn't like about Ubuntu and other similar distros is that they expect one to have broadband access to the web. In my case, I'm still on DUN.

Being a complete newbie to Linux, that puts a hamper on my use of a distro that doesn't include KPPP from the onset of the installation.

MEPIS & Kanotix, as well as Knoppix will do me fine..., but I hope some day to get Ubuntu to DUN, if only to try something different.

Who needs winderz???
Left by Armando on Jul 03, 2005 10:25 AM

# re: Revisiting Linux
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Good choice, Ubuntu. I'm using it professionally, on my work laptop, and the boss doesn't even know, I'm so cross-platform ready. I use Evolution to access our Exchange server, Open Office for documents, and when something comes up that requires Windows, I've got rDesktop to attach to one of our Terminal Servers.

I write code (php, python, SQL) under Linux, and then export it to the Windows web server. If I had the necessary clout in the department, I'd be migrating the whole school district, at least on the server end, to Linux.
Left by Jason Packer on Jul 04, 2005 11:33 AM

# re: Tony's Comments
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The default font size will depend on the distro you use, and the apparant font size will of course depend on the resolution you choose to run your monitor at. I've always found the KDE based systems I've seen (I used SuSE) tend to have a slightly larger font than the windows default.

And naming conventions are better in windows? Excel vs. Calc, Powerpoint vs. Impress, Word vs. Writer, Explorer vs. Konqueror...

Windows program names don't make any more sense, you're just used to them.
Left by Paul Howie on Jul 04, 2005 2:35 PM

# re: Revisiting Linux
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As a current Windows user dipping his big toe into Linux waters I have to say that Fedora is quite easy for beginners to install and use. My main complaint is that the installation of new programs is netiher intuituve nor easy. Double-clicking a "Setup" icon is a much better process than extracting some tarball and then wondering what to do next. I understand that the OS is a work in progress. This process deserves some attention.
Left by Ernie Udet on Jul 05, 2005 3:13 AM

# re: Revisiting Linux
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Hi Ernie,

All operating systems are work in progress. Apart from the generic tarball format for packages, there is a windows installer type RPM package for Fedora. That is as simple as using msiexec itself. Apart from that various distributions have their own package formats. More diversity means more complexity. I rather like the way Sun packaged their JRE. It was a self extracting archive. And in most cases all you have to do to install an application in linux is to unpack the files. And of course there are these exceptions like module dependencies. Thats when tools like rpm come in.
Left by Vagmi Mudumbai on Jul 05, 2005 8:42 AM

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