Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ubuntu: Year 1

It's been almost a year since I permanently switched to Ubuntu from Windows.

About the only complaint I have is that Skype doesn't always work. Either my microphone isn't working or my speakers. I haven't been able to detect a pattern to it either, which is maddening.

Other than that though, it's been remarkably smooth.

At times, too smooth.

Recently I installed Dokuwiki downloading the .deb package directly from the site. After installing it, I had no idea where the program files were. Took me an hour to find my Apache installation (Synaptic Package Manager) to update httpd.conf.

That and other small items are mostly due to my lack of understanding of Linux in general. Sometimes it seems to go into /usr/bin, sometimes /usr/sbin. Sometimes it ends up in my /home directory. I can't figure out why or how (yet).

To add to that much of the software installed needs to be run via command line. I'm still not quite there yet. Thankfully though Google is my best friend.

And once you get comfortable, it's pretty easy to do just about anything.

Want to combine multiple pdfs into one?
pdftk *.pdf cat output 20100521_receipts.pd
Of course there are other cool, under-utilized by me, command line tools like vi, awk, sed, strace, etc. I've only scraped the surface with those.

I haven't even tried scripts yet either. Man, so much to do.

I have managed to install an Oracle client, JDeveloper, SQL Developer for my development needs.

VirtualBox runs like a champ. I have 7 or 8 images already. 11gR2 running on Oracle Enterprise Linux. Windows Vista Ultimate. Windows XP. Fedora (for fun).

I use GIMP for an image editor. Picasa for a photo manager.

I use Chrome and Firefox as my browsers.

OpenOffice for my spreadsheet and document creation.

One of my favorite things has to be the ability to print to pdf from any program. I had to install different programs (which inevitably popped up ads on completion) on Windows.

Overall I'm happy I switched. I don't know the exact value it's given me, it might take a little more time to figure that out. But I'm happy with it. Ubuntu has made it incredibly easy for me to switch and I'm thankful for that.


Brad Tumy said...

What have been using for MS Office documents or what about things like Visio or MS Project? Those were the only hang-ups for me. I really liked Ubuntu, have actually started using Mac OSX this year ... and surprisingly (to me) I would be hard pressed to use Windows or Ubuntu again. I do have a stand-by XP Virtualbox image that I have been using for the apps that I don't have Mac equivalents for:
- MS Visio
- Neat Receipts

I made the full time switch to Linux (OEL 4) when I was at Oracle (2007) because my laptop only had 2GB of RAM and I couldn't run a decent VM with the IDM stack ... so I switched to Linux and ran the stack directly from my laptop.

oraclenerd said...


When I can, I use OpenOffice or Google Docs. I don't do a whole lot in either one really, tried to wean myself of Word years ago (a la 37Signals and their idea that you should focus on content rather than formatting...which I did abundantly). The only time I use a word processor like OpenOffice is for my resume (which I guess is a lot in the past few years).

Visio is my remaining hold out. I use it constantly and I've found no decent replacement for it yet. I've tried gliffy and the new Google Draw, but I just find Visio so easy (10+ years at it).

Someday I may get a MBP...I simply cannot afford one right now (well, one to my specs anyway). Everyone who gets one raves about them...and I am jealous/envious.


Gary Myers said...

locate is one of my favourite *nux commands. Want to find httpd.conf, type locate httpd.conf and it will list all the files or directories of that name on the drive(s).
If it is a very recent install, you may need to "sudo updatedb" for the new files to be indexed.

PS. OpenProj can open MSProject files. I only every have to look at them, not edit them though, so don't know how functional it is.

oraclenerd said...


Thanks...that's awesome!

chet@cdj-laptop:~$ locate httpd.conf

Exactly what I needed.

I just don't know/understand how everything is laid out yet...for quick things, I do it on Windows first (since I understand it, quirks and all), and then move onto the other environment.

Now if I could just figure out how to shut down the apache server when I am not using it. :)

rnm1978 said...

I was a full-time convert to Ubuntu, until I got my new laptop with Windows 7 pre-installed on. It's more lack of time than anything else I've not blitzed it yet, but I must admit, It Just Works.
Even the most zealous Ubuntu-ite cannot claim that It Just Works. Don't get me wrong -- the figuring it out is definitely worth it, and it's getting better all the time. I'll probably install Ubuntu 10.04 on my laptop when I get chance, but only dual-booting.
A few things I still had to boot into Windows for on my PC:
- iTunes (iPhone)
- Printing (my Lexmark doesn't work on ubuntu)

I use Google Docs for all my Office-y stuff.

This site can be good for throwing up alternatives eg. to Visio :

Noons said...

Done Suse for many years in one of the laptops, but the main desktop remains Windoze. I'm still a bit on the off side with all these VM-capable OSs.
My main problem is: I have an enormous Windows baggage in terms of files and apps that I need all the time, how on earth can I manage to install ubuntu or go MacOS AND also keep my current XP boot and its setup, exactly as is? Until I can find a good solution for that one, I can't get away from Windoze. At one stage, I thought moving boot with Partition Magic would get me there, but that didn't work at all: the contents of the XP partition couldn't be easily virtualized into a VM, so it was back to square one. Dual boot wasn't a workable option either...

Tom said...


So shutdown apache when you don't need it?

locate apachectl

ps -ef | grep httpd

Is it running as you or nobody? Should be nobody but is spawned by root.

sudo apachectl stop

Make sure you put the full path to apachectl

to start it use start instead of stop.