Becoming technical increasingly means learning #Linux, which is becoming the modern equivalent of literacy. The technical wars have been fought and Unix/Linux won. Proprietary systems are a dead-end, reserved for disposable consumer products—they’re not something to base you career on, unless you plan on becoming a pigeon-holed specialist. Become a tech generalist first, embracing the right portions of #FOSS… and only then, specialize.
You’ll know the foundation better, because—with all due respect to Jeff Atwood—Unix/Linux is the plumbing of the knowledge era. If you’re a student or a child, you will understand the power of the “old-school” ways. If you’re an adult, it’s never too late, and you won’t need no stinkin’ technical co-founder. Get into the technical state of mind.
Here’s a FAQ on Unix and Linux in general
And here’s a FAQ about the tiny embedded-like Linux server that is my violin
After a fairly long search, I've determined that the absolute tiniest version of Linux that runs well on a virtual machine that provides networking services with virtually no effort is Tiny Core Linux. You can run Tiny Core Linux on almost any virtualization product using its boot image, but I find that the way it combines with QEMU is particularly useful, because between GPL licensing and the lack of an "install" procedure with QEMU, you have a fully working virtual machine that you can distribute or run directly from USB drives or Dropbox without an install. Now even though you have networking services from Tiny Core Linux, you're still working within QEMU's networking context, meaning you have a virtual LAN that requires some port redirection between host and guest computers. It takes awhile to really get it, but you can download Levinux
and pick it apart to see how it can be accomplished.
Yes, absolutely! Tiny Core Linux's stripped-down design makes it an ideal choice for both virtual and real appliances—along with it's sister-version Micro Core Linux, which doesn't have the graphical desktop. Because it is is based on the BusyBox single-file replacement of the GNU commands, tinycore has a lot in common with embedded systems. There is therefore less file-bloat, making your appliance smaller. There is less software running (surface area), making your appliance more secure. The knowledge and know-how you acquire in getting through such a project will familiarize you with many of the issues of embedded systems. And finally, tinycore's creative incorruptible design makes your appliance uniquely resistant to corruption due to power-loss, malicious software, and general software cruft accumulating over time. It is always as pure and pristine an installation as the day you released it.
I know that there is a lot of interest in this question, and although I have investigated this, I do not know the answer. I will participate in the Tiny Core Linux community a bit more, and post the answer here when I have it.
And here’s a FAQ about the Workstation Linux that makes it ready for prime time on the desktop and tablets
By far, it is how every system upgrade keeps turning back on the defaults for the printscreen feature. While it's wonderful to have such an easily accessible screen capture capability, come on! The PRTSC key is just so prevalently positioned on so many keyboards, that it's just impossible not to hit time to time. You can dismiss it with repeated taps on the ESC key, but it is really jarring and disrupts your work-flow like a punch in the nose. To turn it off, go into System Settings / Keyboard / Shortcuts tab / Screenshots, click on "Take a screenshot", hit CTRL+PRTSC on your keyboard (which should be the default), then close out of System Settings. Repeat with every system version upgrade.
I'm only on the first public release beta right now, but one of my favorite features is turned off by default: workspaces. To turn it back on, just go to System Settings / Appearance and click the Behavior tab and check Enable workspaces.
The answer is MyUnity. If it's not on your system already, get it from the Ubuntu Software Center. It is the "less dangerous" replacement to CompizConfig Settings Manager. Load MyUnity, and go to the desktop tab, and adjust the H Desktop and V Desktop numbers. If you're on a dual-monitor system, let me suggest 1x3.
To upgrade from Ubuntu 12.04 to the 12.10 Apha, open a terminal window and type: "sudo do-release-upgrade -d"
How workspaces work in Unity is in flux. Apple changed expectations with their "as-needed" workspaces, and Gnome 3 followed suit with a workspaces panel that does about the same thing, but Unity does not ship with it. So, you're stuck with four virtual screens right now, but you can get the Gnome panel with "sudo apt-get install gnome-panel" (probably only works in Unity 3D). But there are two other ways (in Unity 3D): both MyUnity and ccsm (CompizConfig Settings Manager), neither of which ship with Unity but work just fine with it. Ubuntu is trying to phase out ccsm because of the amount of damage you can do to your system. If you need it, go to a terminal and type "“sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager”. Run it, and go into General compiz options / Desktop Size to adjust your workspace. MyUnity is a much safer way to customize Unity without damaging your system. If you're using MyUnity which you can get from the Ubuntu Software Software Center, run it and go to the Desktop tab and adjust your H Desktop and V Desktop numbers. But if you're on Unity 2D, you have to go into gconf-editor (either type gconf-editor from a terminal, or configuration in Dash) / apps / metacity / general / num_workspaces and change the 4 to another even number (because it automatically does the x by y grid). Log out and back in. If you want one column of virtual screens, or as with the Mac, one row of virtual screens in Unity 2D... well, too bad.
One of the biggest annoyances for me in Ubuntu is how by default the screen snapshot feature is SO easy to invoke, and with a dual-monitor setup, this is particularly annoying because the screenshot is of such a large space, and takes that much longer before you can hit the ESC key to dismiss the unwanted screen capture. To turn off this feature, simply go into System Settings / Keyboard / Screenshots, and highlight "Take a screenshot" and that will put you in new hotkey capture mode. Set it to something much less likely to be hit by accident. I use Shift+Ctrl+Print, which seems pretty logical. Unfortunately, this setting seems to be lost occasionally through updates. You can also just hit backspace to clear the keyboard shortcut.
By default on a dual-monitor system, you're going to get the app launcher on the left-hand side of both monitors, with an ultimately annoying magnetic sticky effect when you drag the mouse between monitors. Now, I understand the reasoning, and whether this is good or bad depends on how you use dual monitors. It sucks for me, I'm turning off the second launcher. Rumor has it that you can change Edge Stop Velocity with CompizConfig Settings Manager if you re-installed it. Wrong. Another rumor has it that turning off Sticky edges under System settings / Displays is supposed to do it. Wrong again—though you do have to turn it off as part of the solution. The right answer is going into the X config program (in my case, NVIDIA X Server Settings) and fiddling with the "Make this the primary display for the X screen" checkbox, until you have just one launcher, and when you do (if the monitors are on the wrong site) make your life easier, and just switch monitor cables. Trust me. You will win back hours per week in dual monitor sticky mouse frustration.
Update: check out this post on Ask Ubuntu
Ahhhh, the old full-screen remote desktop in Ubuntu question—particularly on a dual-monitor system. Okay, here's the scoop: it's still flaky. All RDP clients suck for one reason or another. Remmina is the least bad, but still it has problems with full-screen, particularly on dual-monitor systems. I won't get into all the nuances like the technically accurate, but odd definition of what "full screen" is on a dual-monitor system (where full-screen mode spans both monitors). But you are MUCH better off allowing Remmina to keep your RDP session window "framed" in an Ubuntu window, but maximized to full-screen with the full-screen gadget or with a double-click on the window's drag-bar. This way, you can make it behave and live nicely on just one of your two monitors, which is probably what you want, and you give up only a little bit of vertical screen real estate. The trick is figuring out how large to set x by y resolution for your terminal window so that when you maximize, you neither have black stipes or scroll bars. My magic numbers are 1912x988 on a 1920x1080 monitor. So in summary, just use maximized windows instead of full-screen mode, and just live with it until things get less flaky.
Yes, Precise Pangolin looks better, handles multiple monitors better, handles logging in and out better. But most importantly, it performs better—including a more responsive DASH. I am currently working on a Commodore 64x Basic, which has an Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz Dual Core CPU, which is actually pretty weak (upgrading soon to Ivy Bridge), but the performance is totally sufficient for day-to-day work (multiple web browsers, lots of terminal windows, 2 1920x1080 24bit monitors, etc.). Also, I am gradually getting used to the Super-button for Dash and tapping the Alt key for HUD... potentially transforming of how I use desktop computers... the further reduction of the absolute need to use the mouse, and increasing the ability to "get into the zone" while you work, without being jarred out of it by re-orienting your hands on the keyboard and mouse. A big step in the right direction for desktop OSes.
The Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Long Term Support (LTS) is scheduled for April 26th. Feature freeze happened on February 26th, and it's all been about inching in on stability and user interface refinements since then. Ubuntu uses a controversial but reliable six-month release schedule system, resulting in the next version being "whatever we can get in" rather than "whenever it's ready"... but it does keep things moving forward quite nicely.
You don't. Workspaces was moved to a configure-on-the-fly model that keeps pace with both Macintosh OS X Lion and Gnome 3, which have foregone "fixed" workspaces, in favor of a workspace-when-you-need-one. So, when you hit the "Super+s" key combination that shows your virtual-screens, you will always see your current one, plus a 2x2 quadrant, with the 3 unused quadrants "greyed out" until you drag something onto one of them.
No, you are actually the cool one, recognizing that there are advantages in using a polished Linux desktop that doesn't necessarily sport infinite customization, but instead focuses on practical conventions. These conventions may not be mainstream yet, but they are well reasoned, are undergoing rigorous testing, and intended to provide a consistent experience across platforms (phone, tablet, netbook, desktop, etc.). While contrary to much of the customization spirit of the Linux community, it is exactly in this spirit that Canonical is free to proceed in this direction. I for one am going along for the ride, because features like HUD
really speak to me, and my hatred of dropdown menus. I support you here, Mark Shuttleworth
, you crazy space tourist
This is harder than it used to be, because of the removal of Compiz Config Settings Manager (ccsm). So far, I have managed to not re-install ccsm on my Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin system, trying to do it the "Ubuntu Unity Way", but this was the deal-breaker that forced me to re-install it. I need this keyboard shortcut, as it is fundamental to my day-to-day workflow—I don't know how this is not a first-class keyboard shortcut! After installed, go into ccsm, and scroll down to Window Management / Put. Check Put (activate it), then click into it. Enable "Put to Next Output" for the keyboard (not the mouse), then tell it to grab your keyboard combination. I use Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar, which it translates into <Control><Primary><Alt>space. Once done, press Ctrl+Alt+Space and marvel.
Ubuntu Unity is increasingly trying to prevent you from blowing up your own system. You can blow up your system with Compiz Config Settings Manager, so it is not included. Also, if you go to the Ubuntu Software Center, it will look like Compiz is already installed, but this is not CCSM. If you want the old controls, go to a terminal, and type: "sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager" (without the quotes). Now, you can type compiz in dash, and launch CopizConfig Settings Manager, but it will give you a warning that you may cause damage to your system. There is a movement to provide MyUnity
as a less dangerous Compiz, which still provides some level of Unity customization. I ended up putting ccsm back on 12.04 but ONLY to move windows between dual screens with a hotkey
The way Workspaces work has been significantly changed in Ubuntu 12.04, following the model set forth by both Gnome 3 and Apple OS X—workspaces when you need them. In other words, on-demand workspaces. This takes a lot of getting used to for people who have trained their muscle memory to know exactly where their fixed workspaces "were" and how to get to them. You really now have to use the Super-s key combination or the Workspace manager icon that is now left out on the Launchpad to drag open apps to a ghosted, greyed-out or inactive Workspace, which then suddenly becomes active.
Change it to something more obscure, like Ctrl+Shift+PRTSC or press Backspace to clear the keyboard shortcut. On a side-note, Ubuntu is chock-full-O' great screen-capture shortcuts that don't actually interfere with day-to-day work, such as my favorite: Shift+PRTSC, which immediately gives you the cross-hairs to capture a region of the screen. To re-assign the keyboard shortcut for a full screen capture, just go to System Settings / Keyboard / Shortcuts / Screenshots... go to the SECOND listing of Take a screenshot, click on it, and enter your new keyboard shortcut. I chose Shift+Ctrl+Print to get rid of the annoying BAM in your face that you get when you accidentally hit that key while typing.
No need to wipe your hard drive! I started from a CD-ROM install media for Ubuntu 11.04, then upgraded to 11.10, then set my Update Manager to work off of the developer-release repository, and allowed the 12.04 alpha 2 upgrade to install, which carried me along to 12.04 beta which, which I am now on. Every step of the way, the installer offered to remove files that are no longer required. So, an upgraded Ubuntu to all appearances is as clean and pristine and installing it from scratch. This I believe is due to Ubuntu being derived from Debian Linux, which maintains a giant database of dependencies and software interactions. The kind of .dll file accumulation and registry cruft that happens on Windows just doesn't plague Unix (or any other Debian-derived Linux).
All you Ubuntu / Mac crossover fans are finding my site on this question. While I'm quite confident you can do this using VirtualPC or VMWare Fusion, I don't really know if you can multi-boot, which I know some people are trying to figure out. If you have the answer, please leave a comment here so I can update the answer. Thanks!
HUD is a type-in alternative to dropdown menus in Ubuntu, starting with late 12.04 alpha releases. It was a result of Mark Shuttleworth's observation that users lose lots of time hunting through arbitrarily organized dropdown menus, when they already know the name of what they're looking for—for example, "crop" in GIMP. If you know you want to crop, why can't you just start typing it? And now you can! It loosely resembles the Macintosh Spotlight feature, but for finding product features rather than documents and files.
Just briefly tap the Alt key with any application activated. HUD ships included and turned on since the late alphas (now released). It takes some getting used to, but is worth it. I think we finally know why the Alt key was created. To use the Alt key in the old way, simply don't quick-tap. Instead, do a typical multiple-key hold-and-modify, such as Ctrl+Alt+Del.
To upgrade from Ubuntu 11.10 on a desktop system, press Alt+F2 and type in: update-manager -d. This will also work if you just open a terminal by whatever method you prefer, and type the same thing. You will now see an "Upgrade" button in the lower-right of Update Manager, and it will take care of the rest for you. You now have the developer-release sources in your repository, and the updates will be more frequent, but less prompted. Go into update manager often. You will further be promoted from alpha to beta releases, and so on. Alternatively, you can download the install images
One of the improvements to Precise Pangolin Ubuntu Unity 12.04 in the current Beta 1 released March 1 is the putting the launcher or launchpad on both screens in a dual screen system. Currently, it only appears to be supported in Unity 3D, so if you're using Unity 2D, you are only seeing the launcher in your main screen. If your hardware supports Unity 3D, just log out, and check the 3D option under the login options, and log back in.
Here are some articles about Linux and Unix:
- The History and Future of Unix in 4 Paragraphs I’m currently using OS X and Linux for my development work, and was curious about the origins. I found this long post on faqs.org and thought I’d sum up Unix’s history in a few paragraphs. Unix was invented at Bell Laboratories between 1969 and 1971 by Ken Thompson on an already obsolete DEC PDP-7, before ...
- Welcome to MikeLev.in (was ShankServer.org) Welcome to MikeLev.in. It used to be ShankServer.org until I decided to unify all my sites. If the name invokes images of a concealed server being slipped from under a shirt to shank someone, then you’ve got the right idea. With cloud computing and micro-servers upon us, the days of the old school sysadmin are ...
- How To Format and Mount Hard Drive in Linux Everything so far has been rudimentary file copying, unzipping, and command lines. This is where it starts to get interesting. We’re going to build a minimal booting, networking install of Debian into the virtual drive. From the Windows DOS shell, make sure you’re in the directory that has the recently fdisk formatted virtual disk. It ...
- Debootstrap, HowTo in Debian and QEMU Now that we have used the LiveCD to prepare the hard drive, we can use a piece of software called debootstrap. The “de” in debootstrap stands for Debian. Debian is ideal for making bare-bones Linux systems, in-part because this utility exists, also in-part due to the wide array of hardware Debian supports, and also in ...
- Why Learn Linux? Why not learn Linux right now? Download Levinux, a Linux Server that runs with a double-click from the desktop of your Mac, Windows or Linux without even an install"great even for total newbies.
You learn Linux to become a more capable individual, employee, and citizen. Linux is similar enough to Unix—a computer operating system that dates ...