My First Steps with Linux

 

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Microsoft’s Windows software has always annoyed me it tears itself apart over time, requires frequent updates to keep it secure and running and is expensive. I had heard about Linux years ago and I’ve been wondering what the fuss is about. I found out that Linux users have ditched the expensive, buggy and sometimes painful Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) and I’ve never hear of one that’s regretted it.

I’m definitely going the same way…

But why do this if Windows is built into almost all PC machines? Why should anyone put the effort into doing this? for starters, if your machine is two to three year old and has been used well you can probably notice the loss in performance, little niggle breakdowns and the like. Installing a Linux distribution on your machine will mean you will extend the life of your machine and keep it going a good few more years. If all you need to do is office, email web browsing etc… you will need noting else. But you are not limited to this as there are a growing number of supported applications for Linux. The added bonus is that there are only a few viruses for Linux (unlike the many, there are for Windows) making it more secure and less prone to breaking in future. Many software engineers only use Linux to work with as they find it better and easier.

After a little playing I decided to install the Linux Mint distribution onto an old notebook. This enabled me to try the installation without ruining anything important. I created the bootable USB stick required to start off. This all worked very well, from starting the installation to being connected to the the WiFi took about 20 minutes. I was impressed.

There was a lot of advice about post installation tasks like updating and setting up your machine which again was useful, this took about an hour or so to complete and got the new machine running nicely. I could now get on with finding out about this new system. Getting around to using it wasn’t hard, it’s similar to a classic Windows setup with a menu in the bottom left corner. There are a load of games and programs (or apps) that can be downloaded from the software manager. Examples include Skype, Pocket, Chromium (Linux version of Chrome) even Google’s Music Manager is available in Linux (You need to download it from the Music Manager web page though).

Is it flawless? No, Chromium needs to have a Flash Player installed and I’ve not worked out how to do that yet and you cannot get Spotify for Linux either (you can run the web client for Spotify on the Firefox web browser though). Windows is still required to run some software that isn’t supported on Linux.

This brings me nicely onto the Virtual Machine… this is a program that lets you run another operation system (like Windows) within the Linux OS. Looking up Virtual Box in the software manager I installed it onto my systems, looking up how to set this all up on the internet (of course) I eventually got Windows running on the virtual machine. So I can have the benefits of using Linux with the benefits of being able to use Windows software without re-booting.

I’m still getting to know the system, despite a bit of effort in the initial setup, it’s been a rewarding experiment. I’ve found little that I cannot do with Linux and I will be using it more and more on my home and business machines. In order to help anyone who want to try it I’ve put the web links to the sites I used below, feel free to ask any questions and I will try and help.

Linux Mint Page:

http://www.linuxmint.com/

 

Creating a Bootable USB Stick:

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows

 

20 Things to do after installing Linux Mint:

20 things to do after installing Linux Mint 17 Qiana Cinnamon

 

Setting up a virtual Windows Machine:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/faq/id-1853121/setting-virtual-windows-machine-virtualbox.html

 

Enjoy!

Simon 🙂

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The Road Ahead – The Road Behind

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I have to be grateful for 2014, I now realise more and more about how I took much of my life for granted. I have learned that nothing is permanent and to expect the unexpected. Living life for every day and to appreciate what it is that I have is now in the front of my mind, to try and find the amazing in every small thing. I would suggest that if you’re reading this (my apologies if you are reading this rubbish :-P) that doing the same could help you appreciate your life and the world around you more.

Like many other bloggers I’m writing my first post of 2015 wondering what’s ahead and reflecting on the year past. The road ahead is long with hopes and fear along the way.

  • I want to do more of the things I want to do.
  • How will I make ends meet?
  • I want to grow in 2015 and become happier and more confident.
  • Will I keep my job?

Looking at the list, you get the impression it’s kind of broad ranging and yet specific at the same time. This is for good reason.

2014 started well, I changed jobs in January, then 5 weeks later was told that the site was to close and I would lose my job. As you can imagine, this was a bit of a blow. Despite the new start to the year and the slow jobs market to be expected at that time I managed to secure a new job by the time I was kicked out.

Then came the next set of roller coaster events, my mum become very ill and was discovered to have cancer. She died at the end of June and all this was a huge blow. My boss at my new job decided I was a disappointment and decided to make my life very awful. Then came the sudden and tragic death of my 25 year old Nephew.

I made it to the end of the year, feeling a bit battered and bruised. But it’s taught me a lot. I take too much for granted, I wasn’t seeing the world the way I should have – instead focusing on life’s irrelevancies, I didn’t value time. I’m now trying to look at life differently, the magic in the little things of life, the time I spend with family is precious – because I don’t know how long it will last.  I appreciate my humble and delicate existence more now. As a human, it’s made me stronger because I know more what the important things in life are and I want to treasure them.

Remember to keep smiling, no matter what happens this year. I wish everyone the 2015 they dream of.

Simon 🙂