Ubuntu!

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Maestro, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Maestro

    Maestro Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have an old laptop that I've replaced as my primary home computer due to some virus and heatsink issues.

    Out of sheer boredom, interest, and masochism, I dragged it out of the closet today and switched the OS over to Ubuntu 12.10.

    There was a time when I was somewhat knowledgeable about computers, but that time has long since passed. I had neither the time, the intellect, or the money to keep up. But, some of my more tech-savy students extol the virtues of the various linuxes.

    What have I gotten myself into?
     
  2. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Ubuntu is a very solid OS, that's more appropriate for a moderate level computer user, as it does require some command line functions, even with a robust GUI. Still, a few growing pains from now, you'll wonder why you ever went without it. I love the OS, myself, and use it alongside Windows 7.

    Ubuntu is stable, reliable, and pretty damn fast, too. It uses fewer resources than most modern fully realized OSes, and there are a lot of programs available for it, for just about any need you might have.
     
  3. Maestro

    Maestro Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, the command line stuff is way outside my capabilities right now, but that doesn't mean I can't learn... I hope... ;-)

    Right now, my only complaint is that I can't seem to get the wireless card to work with it, so I'm digging about for information. It looks like a pretty common issue to get the drivers set-up.
     
  4. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Linux will never be suitable for "normal people" until you don't need a command line to do simple, necessary tasks.

    I haven't used Ubuntu in a while, though. J, what tasks require the command line, that a "normal user" would need?
     
  5. farmkid

    farmkid Commodore Commodore

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    I've tried Ubuntu a little, but I use Fedora most of the time. I find that I can do just about anything with the GUI and only need to use the command line for a few specific things that most users wouldn't need to do once it's all set up and going. Even then, I think a lot of users could probably install it and use it without ever needing to use the command line at all. Also, I find that a few quality minutes with Google will give the commands I need for whatever I need to do with the command line. Saying that, however, I do use the command line for a lot of things that I could do with the GUI because it's just easier and more efficient.

    From what I understand, Ubuntu is even more user-friendly and aimed at general users than Fedora is, so I expect that one could probably do even more without ever opening a terminal in Ubuntu than Fedora.
     
  6. Shaytan

    Shaytan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ubuntu is user friendly. You don't really need to use the command line except for some specific things maybe but in this case, it's a very well documented distro and the doc will tell you what to do precisely.

    I use OpenSuse for the moment, it's also a user friendly distro, I never use the command line.
     
  7. Santaman

    Santaman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    U/Xu/Ku/Lubuntu is frightingly boring.. I've got a whole bunch of machines ranging from an old P-4 2 Gz to an Intel Core Quad and its stable, never asks anything, figures out stuff on its own when installing and then runs and runs and runs and runs... one of my older machines went from 7.04 to 7.10, 8.04, 9.04, 10.04, all the way up to 12.04 and even when doing a version update it still never crashed or complained about anything, never crashed and its still running..
     
  8. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    "Frighteningly boring" is probably the highest compliment I could imagine giving to an operating system. :lol:
     
  9. Santaman

    Santaman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    LOL, yeah, I'm a techhead and like to tinker with stuff, with (X)ubuntu I never have to... *sniff* ;)
     
  10. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Well, for myself, removing the guest account required me to use the terminal. I remember thinking at the time, a simple check box in the control panel to remove the guest account would have been nice.

    Then there was one point where I had issues with one of the libraries, and had to reinstall it via the terminal. When I installed a couple of new themes, I had to go through the terminal to get them activated properly.

    When I went from 12.04 to 12.10, I had some display driver trouble, and had to use the terminal to fix the problem, which took about half an hour.

    On all of these I had to use Ubuntu support, on their forum, so even though I do have to use the terminal from time to time, their support is very good.
     
  11. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    My perspective is that, if I have to spend time screwing with the OS to make it do what I want, I'm not spending that time doing anything productive, as in using actual productivity software or developing software myself.

    Using a car analogy: I just want to be able to drive my car so I can get to and from work. Having to manually fiddle stuff to fix my car interferes with the whole reason I have it! An OS, like a car, is a means to an end. (Car enthusiasts notwithstanding.)

    Yuck. I remember using some flavor of Linux years ago--possibly Mandrake/Mandriva?--where the audio didn't work unless I manually went in and changed modprobe parameters to use a different audio driver. And this was using a rather common sound card at the time (SBLive!)

    I agree that disabling the guest account should be a checkbox. Driver management should also be point-and-click, and should degrade gracefully if there is a problem. I will grant you that Linux normally doesn't totally shit itself when you have a bum driver (unlike Windows), however I have seen it fail to start X and then drop you to a terminal, expecting you to fix the problem. A regular user just isn't going to stand for this.

    I know a few people who are not what I'd call "power users," and they've used Linux (usually Ubuntu), and they normally just complain about it. Upgrades in particular seem to cause a lot of problems, especially if you are far out of date.

    On the other hand, I recently tried to complete what I thought was a very straightforward operation. I bought a bigger hard drive for my laptop, and I just wanted to clone my existing drive (with Windows 7) to it. I used Windows' shadow volume functionality to do it. Well, the drive wouldn't boot. I used some tools to set up the MBR to fix that. I just got weird messages about how the OS was invalid. Not even Clonezilla could save me. I ended up having to reinstall the OS from scratch onto the new drive, using the recovery media, and reinstall everything else after that--precisely the situation I intended to avoid by cloning! Neither Windows nor Linux were any help in accomplishing what I wanted.
     
  12. Santaman

    Santaman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of course DOS rules! ;)
     
  13. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I was a boss at tweaking my autoexec.bat and config.sys back in the day. Of course, I'm glad that I no longer need to. :lol:
     
  14. Maestro

    Maestro Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm loving it, but I broke it. Something didn't upload correctly after it asked to do an update following install. I completely lost my ability to connect to the Internet. It wasn't working without a cable to begin with, but then it wasn't even talking with the cable. THEN, in my ignorance, I removed the software that allows it to talk to the Internet, thinking that it was new stuff that was causing the problem.

    So, I'm back to running it off a USB stick.

    Anyone know how to get my network connections gnome back in the actual OS?
     
  15. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    True. I'm a Windows power user, so I just like the different flavor of Linux, as it brings me back to the old DOS/OS2 days. Regular users may get very annoyed at Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu uses an easy package manager now, that notifies you automatically of any new updates, and gives you a one click update option, which is very nice. When I updated to 12.10, I was moving up from 11.10, and yeah, it took a while to get the updates. I had a few technical issues, but resolved them. Still, a new user would have been completely lost.

    Yeah, Windows still has a long way to go. Something MacOS has done that works well, is their backup. I mean, you copy everything from one HDD to another, and you update it periodically. When you need to start fresh, you just drag it all back over, and you're done. I wish Windows and Linux could do the same, but their database designs don't really allow for it, which is a shame.
     
  16. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Log back in and get yourself into a "shell" command-line window ... ctrl-alt-t should do the trick. Or go to the dash and start typing "terminal" until you see the terminal icon appear.

    From there, type "ifconfig" -- this displays the current status of your ethernet configuration. You should see entries for each installed networking card (usually just one) and the local loopback (called 'lo').

    If you don't see 'eth0' or 'eth1', try typing "sudo ifconfig eth0 up" -- 'sudo' makes the commands that follow run in "superuser" mode, and the rest sets up your hardware to send and receive information. With a little luck, this is all you need to get your network connection running again.
     
  17. Geckothan

    Geckothan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Of the big distros, I generally prefer Fedora over Ubuntu. SELinux is better than AppArmor, and systemd, while still rubbish (yeah it can do some neat things out of the box that SysVinit can't without some really good scripting, but it's so huge and unnecessary), is still better than Upstart. They're both fairly bloated, but it's easier to trim the bloat out of Fedora, imo.

    Also, RPM used to suck a lot when dealing with dependencies compared with dpkg, as it lacked many features and didn't have anything like APT, but the format was still better than deb, and these days, the whole thing is better (though APT is still a better frontend than YUM). The average GUI-only user migrating from Windows won't notice any difference between either package manager, anyway (unless they hit a bug or start messing around with RPMs/debs from outside the distro).

    Gentoo is the way to go, though! Whenever I use binary distros, I'm simply astonished at how much bloat gets pulled in whenever you try to install something as simple as a web browser (Firefox and Chrome/Chromium pull in things like gconf, which in turn pull in most of GNOME, etc), while with Portage, I can simply turn off a few USE flags to disable most unwanted dependencies, and if a certain package is still trying to pull some bloat in, I can just make my own local copy of the ebuild that turns off the offending feature (with EXTRA_ECONF) and removes the dependencies for it.

    All the compiling isn't too painful either if you distribute it over all of your machines (with distcc), keep a compiler cache to speed up rebuilds (with ccache), and compile everything with optimisations that are generic enough to work on all of your machines so that you can use the same builds for all of them (with FEATURES=buildpkg on the machine that does the building and its DISTDIR/PKGDIR shared over NFS).

    Gentoo's SELinux policy is a little bit unpolished (I just use the Fedora one and port over any necessary Gentoo-specific changes), but the support for PaX is very good (I guess SELinux and PaX on a desktop is a bit overkill though, and probably won't help much, considering that most desktop vulnerabilities are in things like browsers and don't even require code execution, or in binary blobs that have to be ignored by PaX to run in the first place).

    The 'ifconfig' tool (which from net-tools) is obsolete btw, use 'ip addr' and 'ip link' instead (which is from iproute2). The only reason it hasn't been removed is because net-tools contains a few things that aren't in iproute2 and that don't have any other alternatives yet. Seeing as net-tools will be phased out entirely eventually, it's better to learn the 'ip' tool instead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  18. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I use CentOS for servers because, well, I'm a cheapskate. Plus, I'm very familiar with it by now.
     
  19. Geckothan

    Geckothan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CentOS isn't a bad choice for servers.

    Seeing as RHEL is basically just an old version of Fedora (RHEL 6 is F12 with backported features from F13/F14, AFAIK) with Red Hat branding and technical support, and CentOS is just RHEL minus the Red Hat branding, technical support and fast updates (not sure if that applies to security fixes though, as lagging behind with those could be catastrophic), that effectively (albeit indirectly and unofficially) makes CentOS a sort of server-centric 'Fedora LTS'.

    I guess a lot of people would consider RHEL (and by extension, CentOS) to be bloated for a server distro (at least by default), but the target market should be competent enough to trim it down to fit their needs.
     
  20. Count Zero

    Count Zero Welcome to the Danger Zone! Moderator

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    None, really. I only had to use it once when the package system got damaged. Ubuntu told me two way to repair it, the first one involving the GUI didn't work.
    I've been using it for a year now, and it's worked really well, I've updated the kernel many times and I upgraded once, all without incident.
    The main problem Linux still has is compatibility issues. If you didn't buy your hardware accordingly you can have some bad luck with some components. Overall, the situation has greatly approved in recent years but there still can be problems, and if you're new to Linux and have maybe more than one of those components in your computer, it won't be such a great experience, I guess. Wireless is still somewhat of a problem although it can be made to work in nearly all cases nowadays. It's one of the reasons I'm reluctant to recommend it to just anyone. Then again, our Windows Vista computer at the office wouldn't boot recently if the newly bought USB mouse was connected. It's a standard one, I use the same one and I've never seen such behaviour before.

    Anyway, welcome to the exciting world of Ubuntu/Linux, Maestro! It's actually not that exciting. I hope you'll have a good user experience with your laptop.