I Moved to Linux and It’s Even Better Than I Expected



  • Shared mostly for the header image:

    Looks like he's supposed to be holding a football in that one arm/wing. Someone add a football.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Looks like he's supposed to be holding a football in that one arm/wing.

    I think he's just getting ready to pimp slap you.



  • Judging by the Windows logo, he moved from what, Windows 98?!


  • SockDev

    @loopback0 said:

    Judging by the Windows logo, he moved from what, Windows 98?!

    nah. not a big enough improvement to exceed expectations.

    I'm betting this:



  • I read the title, then read the user, and thought that the hell froze over for a while. It crossed my mind that @boomzilla could be trolling blakey or something. I got it after reading the post again.



  • That's a click-bait title in a post made by @blakeyrat if I ever saw one.

    I like the image, stealing it for my avatar collection.

    As for the article... meh. Desktop linux is OK for development, but noobs should stay clear. That was true 10 years ago, it's true today.



  • @accalia said:

    Windows ME

    You could move to a basic calculator and get an improvement over that :laughing:



  • That depends, my father use the computer most for watching movies, internet banking and browsing the web. That is all fine on Ubuntu. My mother uses it to browse facebook and play candy crush, that is perfectly good too.

    I don't do anything on a computer that would be much better on windows too. I don't use office, and my laptop doesn't have the power for playing games.



  • @fbmac said:

    That depends, my father use the computer most for watching movies, internet banking and browsing the web. That is all fine on Ubuntu. My mother uses it to browse facebook and play candy crush, that is perfectly good too.

    Noob running linux is like balancing on a rope over a chasm. Everything is cool as long as you stay within your safe tested workflows and don't look down. The moment you lose balance, you're fucked. There's no going back. Better call your IT friend/son/sibling who convinced you to switch to Linux in the first place.

    I came into linux as a "power user", and I still remember the despair I felt when things got borked and I had to troubleshoot. I usually had to pave everything over and start again. Still do that sometimes (keep backup VM-s for just such an occasion).

    Also, if all you need is to soak information through screen, tablets are increasingly the better solution (although far from perfect).



  • @cartman82 said:

    I came into linux as a "power user", and I still remember the despair I felt when things got borked and I had to troubleshoot. I usually had to pave everything over and start again. Still do that sometimes (keep backup VM-s for just such an occasion).

    Especially CentOS. I don't know what the deal is with it, but a perfectly good CentOS system will refuse to boot after sitting switched off for a couple weeks. I wish I could charge Red Hat for all the time I've spent repaving test installs that have about 20 minutes of actual use time on them.



  • At home everyone runs Linux, even my 8 and 6 years old kids run Xubuntu, Ubuntu and Android.

    Except for Minecraft, everything they use is on the browser, so while they have Chrome, everything should be fine.



  • He has the same Saturn-eclipsing-the-sun wallpaper I used to use.

    ...I'm sold! Where do I download Gentoo?



  • It's going home time and I'm too lazy to try to spend time to fix this post, so posting it as is.

    I'm going to cherry pick some points from the article.

    On a spring day in 2012

    OK, but...

    I’ve run Ubuntu on four different ThinkPads since switching.

    So, wait, in the past 3 and 3/4 years this guy has gone through 4 different computers?

    Is he running into issues like @cartman82 mentioned and getting a new computer every time he runs into a problem he can't fix?

    One of the things I like best about Linux is the frequency of software updates.

    OK, so I run a Ubuntu server just to host a test game server and Mumble. I end up rebooting this machine roughly weekly because that's how often the kernel is updated on Ubuntu.

    Sure, it means the kernel is fixed more quickly, but keep in mind that's 4 times the reboots that a Windows server needs in the same time period.

    Ubuntu is also an acquired taste because Canonical has a distinct vision of how things should work.

    and

    Mint strikes me and many others as perhaps the best Linux for people who’ve been using proprietary systems and want the easiest possible transition. I’m sometimes tempted to switch myself, but will stick with Ubuntu unless Canonical totally screws it up, which I don’t expect.

    Fun fact: One of the reasons that Mint took off is because Canonical continually changes directions and people are tired of it.

    OK, so now he goes over the bad points.

    No one should ever have to open a command-line window and type “sudo apt-get update” or other such instructions.

    Um, why are you not using Ubuntu's update manager that exists in the GUI?

    No one should be confronted with a warning that space on a disk partition is too low to permit an operating system update, requiring the not-simple-for-novices removal of out-of-date OS components.

    Here's my experience with this one:

    • The package manager keeps all old kernels around
    • "Best Practices" are to have /boot as a separate partition of 250MB.
    • New kernel updates happen roughly weekly.

    So, not surprisingly in about a month and a half, kernel updates start failing because you run out of space on the /boot partition.

    I can understand keeping the previous kernel in case the new one bombs, but why is every single one kept, particularly since kernel updates happen weekly?



  • @mott555 said:

    I wish I could charge Red Hat for all the time I've spent repaving test installs that have about 20 minutes of actual use time on them.

    If you'd have used RHEL, maybe you could have. :tropical_drink:



  • Almost four years later, here I am, writing this piece on a laptop computer running the Linux* operating system

    Take note, people on this forum, this Linux cheerleader says he's running "the Linux operating system" so stop getting on my case when I do the same.

    Can you say mobile “duopoly?”

    Can you say "rhetorical device only a 7-year-old would find clever?"

    Copyright is key to what my friend Cory Doctorow has called the “coming civil war war over general purpose computing,”

    My good friend Cory Doctorow isn't very good at proofreading. My best friend in the entire world, Cory Doctorow, who BTW is my friend put the word "war" in there twice. What a great pal, that Cory Doctorow.

    Cory told me he was using Ubuntu, on a Lenovo ThinkPad. I was already sold on ThinkPads,

    Have you met my pal Cory? I'm totally on a first name basis with Cory now. Cory's my best friend in the world. BTW, he uses those shitty black laptops from China with the nipple-mouses, so I use one too. Cory says they're the best. He's so dreamy!

    I was also leaning toward Ubuntu, a Linux version created by a company called Canonical, which is headed by a former software entrepreneur named Mark Shuttleworth, whom I’ve also known for some time.

    Did I mention my other friend Mark Shuttleworth? He's a great friend, almost as good a friend as Cory. Don't worry, in another 2 paragraphs I'm be on a first name basis with Mark also, I guarantee.

    Hardly a week goes by without security fixes for the operating system or accompanying software applications— much more timely than I was used to seeing from Apple.

    Gee, it's almost as if Apple is a complete and utter joke when it comes to security updates. Hm. I wonder what my pals Cory and Mark think about that.

    When problems occur, the communities that have emerged around free and open-source software are incredibly helpful.

    HahahahhahAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH

    Some super-experts in these forums can be condescending or even rude if one asks something they consider trivial

    Oh. So he was lying.

    Helpfulness and occasional intemperance are also part of Windows, Mac and mobile ecosystems — hardcore Apple devotees can be astonishingly abusive to the non-faithful — but there’s a special spirit among open-tech folks who are working for the common good.

    Yes. Like, for example, they are all huge misogynists.

    Here’s the thing, though. I like to pay for software, because I want to ensure, as much as possible, a) that if I need help I’ll be able to get it, and b) that the developers will have an incentive to keep fixing and improving it.

    Good for you, but you're swimming against the current using Linux.

    Linux is still a second-class citizen, at least officially, when it comes to playing DVDs. You have to install software that the entertainment cartel calls illegal in order to play the disks you’ve purchased.

    It is illegal. They're not just making that up.

    Ubuntu is among many in the open-source world working on mobile operating systems; it’s spent years moving toward an OS that can transcend devices.

    Really? I thought they gave up on theirs.



  • @powerlord said:

    "Best Practices" are to have /boot as a separate partition of 250MB.

    Why?

    The tendency of Linux users to make like 47 different disk partitions always mystifies me. It's not necessary in any other OS. (And I wager it's not necessary in Linux, either, they just do it because... uh... because?)



  • @powerlord said:

    I end up rebooting this machine roughly weekly because that's how often the kernel is updated on Ubuntu.

    Sure, it means the kernel is fixed more quickly, but keep in mind that's 4 times the reboots that a Windows server needs in the same time period.

    There are times when you get a couple in a single week, but sometimes you go for weeks without them. Even if it's more frequent, the actual downtime is still probably less given how long Windows takes to update anything.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The tendency of Linux users to make like 47 different disk partitions always mystifies me. It's not necessary in any other OS. (And I wager it's not necessary in Linux, either, they just do it because... uh... because?)

    It's not necessary in Linux either. The default in most installers nowadays is to create a smallish swap partition for extended memory, and use all the remaining space for '/'.

    It's probably the combination of legacy Unix crap and the mentality of Linux champions who are promoting these kinds of "secure" setups.



  • @cartman82 said:

    is to create a smallish swap partition for extended memory,

    ... why?

    Also, what is "extended memory"? You mean virtual memory?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @blakeyrat said:

    The tendency of Linux users to make like 47 different disk partitions always mystifies me.

    2, actually. Any distro creating more partitions by default is stupid.

    @blakeyrat said:

    It's not necessary in any other OS.

    Well, IIRC, with UEFI you now need a seperate boot partition. Also:

    1. Why would the user care? Just don't change the default settings in the installer, and you're fine.
    2. On my Surface (where I've never re-installed any OS ever) Windows created five partitions, one of which is labeled "EFI partition". Three of the others are labeled "recovery partition", the last one is C:. Why Windows needs 3 recovery partitions, both (logically) before and after C:? Who the fuck knows. But if you claim that Linux uses more partitions than Windows by default, you're outright lying.


  • @blakeyrat said:

    ... why?

    Also, what is "extended memory"? You mean virtual memory?

    Yeah, virtual. That's the word I wanted.



  • Did you upgrade it to Windows 10? Your old OS is in one of those recovery partition. (If you have multiple failed upgrades, possibly more than one copy of it?)

    Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard to remove them if you're happy with 10.



  • @cartman82 said:

    Yeah, virtual. That's the word I wanted.

    That answered one of my two questions.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @blakeyrat said:

    Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard to remove them if you're happy with 10.

    I'm pretty sure I already did that. Also, only one of those partitions is larger than 450MB, so even if one of them is Windows 8.1, that leaves two recovery partitions. One of them is for BitLocker, I suppose, but the other one?

    Edit: Just checked, the old OS is definitely gone. So the 5.3GB recovery partition probably contains a Windows 10 recovery image.



  • I dunno what they are then. I've been meaning to do some shopping for a Surface Book, but I haven't bought one yet, so I have no Surface experience.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    That answered one of my two questions.

    I don't know why it needs a separate partition.

    Especially since you can create swap memory in a file too, like on Windows.



  • Hm. Someone must know. SOMEONE MUST KNOW!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Hm. Someone must know. SOMEONE MUST KNOW!

    NO ONE GETS TO LEAVE THIS THREAD UNTIL WE GET SOME ANSWERS!


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @cartman82 said:

    I don't know why it needs a separate partition.

    Especially since you can create swap memory in a file too, like on Windows.

    If you have 8GB+ of RAM, you'll probably never need swap space anyway. Unless you're using Firefox and Discourse for hours in at least 20 different tabs.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election



  • @asdf said:

    If you have 8GB+ of RAM, you'll probably never need swap space anyway. Unless you're using Firefox and Discourse for hours in at least 20 different tabs.

    On my Linux VM, I have 8GB RAM + 5GB swap. I regularly start chewing swap after a few hours of work. The other day, I filled in all the swap without noticing. Everything ground to a halt to the point I had to reboot.

    Maybe YOU don't need swap, but I ALWAYS need more RAM.



  • @asdf said:

    Just FYI, this is (approximately) what my partition layout looks like as well:

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro-surfusingpro/recovery-partition-is-empty-many-unused-small/47389516-bbbb-48d8-b9a0-4ad05cab351a?db=5&auth=1

    Wow! That one is like 8GB on a 100GB drive! Hope you can trim that fat a bit.



  • @cartman82 said:

    Desktop linux is OK for development, but noobs should stay clear. That was true 10 years ago, it's true today.

    Installing and tweaking desktop Linux is not something most n00bs will be capable of. Once set up by somebody else, though, it needs less ongoing intervention from Family Technical Support than Windows does.

    Anybody capable of installing and tweaking Windows or OS X could do the same with a modern desktop Linux and arrive at a comparably satisfactory end result. Blakeyrat excepted, obvs.



  • @asdf said:

    If you have 8GB+ of RAM, you'll probably never need swap space anyway.

    You don't need/need it, but you really want/need it.



  • @cartman82 said:

    Noob running linux is like balancing on a rope over a chasm. Everything is cool as long as you stay within your safe tested workflows and don't look down. The moment you lose balance, you're fucked. There's no going back. Better call your IT friend/son/sibling who convinced you to switch to Linux in the first place.

    Same applies to Windows.

    The key difference is that when Linux wastes your time, it's usually because you can't figure out how to make it do something you want it to do. When Windows wastes your time, it's usually because you're desperately trying to make it stop doing stupid broken craziness you never asked for.

    I fix a lot of PCs for a lot of people. My Windows-running n00bs need far more support each than my Debian-running n00bs.



  • @cartman82 said:

    It's not necessary in Linux either. The default in most installers nowadays is to create a smallish swap partition for extended memory, and use all the remaining space for '/'.

    Having /boot separate allows having the rest on a software RAID or encrypted volume. Windows has a separate boot partition since (I think) windows 7, but it is invisible. This definitely exists when booting in BIOS mode; I do not know whether windows needs its own boot partition when a UEFI boot partition also exists.

    Having /home separate or on a file share allows easier multibooting, or reusing the home partition on multiple hosts. Windows allows something similar with user directories on a fileshare.

    Having /usr remote saved disk space back when that was an issue. AFAIK, it is now redundant.

    I'm not sure on the reasoning for having /usr/local separate, but it is related to having /usr separate.

    I'm not sure off the back of my head of the exact advantages of a swap partition over a swap file nowadays, but linux supports both. I know in the past one reason was that in case of problems it provided for an amount of scratch hard disk space to load a tape (with OS) onto if the main partition was not available.



  • @flabdablet said:

    Same applies to Windows.

    The key difference is that when Linux wastes your time, it's usually because you can't figure out how to make it do something you want it to do. When Windows wastes your time, it's usually because you're desperately trying to make it stop doing stupid broken craziness you never asked for.

    I fix a lot of PCs for a lot of people. My Windows-running n00bs need far more support each than my Debian-running n00bs.

    Strange.

    What other factors are at work?

    Do they get to pick which OS they get? Do they have (local) admin rights?



  • Having home in a different partition allowed me to test and change from different distros with less work.

    I found that Ubuntu LTS is more stable in my laptop, the Mint version I tested had frequent GUI hangs, and so did Kubuntu.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I wager it's not necessary in Linux, either, they just do it because... uh... because?

    The historical reason is because of boot loader limitations, especially if your root partition was on top of software RAID or logical volume management or started beyond the LBA that your shitty old BIOS could address with INT 13H or whatever. Since the GRUB 2 boot loader has existed (at least ten years now) there's no longer any good reason to use a separate /boot partition on x86 boxes.

    I believe most of the commonly used ARM and PowerPC boot loaders still require it.



  • When a family member asks me for some free support I just ask what Linux distro they want me to install. They no longer ask me for support.



  • @PleegWat said:

    I'm not sure off the back of my head of the exact advantages of a swap partition over a swap file nowadays, but linux supports both. I know in the past one reason was that in case of problems it provided for an amount of scratch hard disk space to load a tape (with OS) onto if the main partition was not available.

    Didn't know about that reason, but I can conceptually understand it. If you need it for that reason, you're probably in "oh fuck, I'm screwed, let's see what I can save" territory anyway.

    Two reasons for a sufficiently big swap partition that I can think of:

    1. A dedicated swap partition is (was?) more performant than a swap file on a regular partition. If the kernel wants to access a dedicated swap partition, it doesn't need to go through the filesystem code (and doesn't incur the overhead) that it would have to go to for a swap file on a (say) ext4 partition.
    2. Suspend-to-disk is done by dumping the memory contents to a swap partition. That doesn't work with a swap file. The resume-from-suspend code looks for a magic value in the swap partition.

    Using a swap partition vs. a swap file may have more advantages, I just can't think of any right now.



  • @fbmac said:

    Having home in a different partition allowed me to test and change from different distros with less work.

    I found that Ubuntu LTS is more stable in my laptop, the Mint version I tested had frequent GUI hangs, and so did Kubuntu.

    Don't see the advantage over just copying the directory over.



  • @fbmac said:

    Having home in a different partition allowed me to test and change from different distros with less work.

    Wanna hear how you could change Mac Classic versions without even formatting the disk? Up and downwards?

    @OffByOne said:

    1. A dedicated swap partition is (was?) more performant than a swap file on a regular partition.

    Measurably so?

    @OffByOne said:

    2. Suspend-to-disk is done by dumping the memory contents to a swap partition. That doesn't work with a swap file. The resume-from-suspend code looks for a magic value in the swap partition.

    How do other OSes do it? That exact feature works better in Windows and OS X than it does in Linux.



  • @asdf said:

    with UEFI you now need a seperate boot partition

    To be fair, that partition holds second-stage boot loaders for every OS installed on the machine, and is not typically where you'd put your Linux kernel.

    It's also not where Windows Setup puts the Windows kernel by default either. It typically creates a small separate partition for that. The rationale seems to be to allow Windows to boot into various kinds of recovery mode even if the main Windows partition gets b0rked.

    That same rationale used to apply to Linux as well, but given the easy availability of full-scale "live" distros built specifically to boot from optical discs or USB media, there's no longer a good reason to put up with a cramped single-user environment with 90% of its userland missing when doing Linux recovery.



  • @cartman82 said:

    @fbmac said:
    Having home in a different partition allowed me to test and change from different distros with less work.

    Don't see the advantage over just copying the directory over.

    Why would you duplicate your data and have it get out of sync? A dedicated home partition keeps your data and config files in a single place, accessible by all distro's you have installed and install later.

    Also, any decent distro installer allows you to say "mount existing partition X on /home and please don't format it first".
    Copying over the data from your old home partition requires more manual intervention and you have to take care to copy all hidden files and directories, specify that permissions and possibly creation dates from the original files must be kept, ...



  • @cartman82 said:

    Do they get to pick which OS they get? Do they have (local) admin rights?

    Nope. They get what I gives them and they likes it. Currently my Linux customers are getting Debian Testing with Xfce. One or two are still quite happily running Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron (fuck knows how, but they're doing it).

    Yes, they know the root password. No, most of them have no clue what to use it for. Two were curious enough that they actually found the Synaptic package manager and used it to install extra stuff; most of them call me when things stop working.

    Historically, the thing that's resulted in the most support calls has been Flash Player becoming obsolete and websites declaring themselves incompatible with it.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @OffByOne said:
    1. A dedicated swap partition is (was?) more performant than a swap file on a regular partition.

    Measurably so?

    I'm too lazy to look up exact numbers or to run a benchmark. It's what I've read somewhere or have been told (I don't remember exactly where I heard the advice).

    It makes sense that accessing a partition formatted as swap directly incurs less overhead than accessing a file formatted as swap through a filesystem layer.
    It's one level of indirection less to go through.

    @blakeyrat said:

    @OffByOne said:
    2. Suspend-to-disk is done by dumping the memory contents to a swap partition. That doesn't work with a swap file. The resume-from-suspend code looks for a magic value in the swap partition.

    How do other OSes do it? That exact feature works better in Windows and OS X than it does in Linux.

    I don't know about other OSes. Look it up and tell me?

    The fact that Linux suspend isn't working perfectly (to say the least) has more to do with shitty ACPI implementations and vendors caring more about it working on Windows than where the memory is dumped during the suspend.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @OffByOne said:
    1. A dedicated swap partition is (was?) more performant than a swap file on a regular partition.

    Measurably so?

    Unlikely; once a swap file is initially opened, the kernel knows where all its disk blocks are and no longer has to scruffle though filesystem code to find them.

    In any case, if your swap file is in heavy enough use that you actually care about its performance, you need more RAM.



  • Ok, but running several different OS-s and having them share a home partition is a pretty niche use case. Also sounds like a recepe for disaster if software versions drift too far apart.



  • @flabdablet said:

    Yes, they know the root password. No, most of them have no clue what to use it for. Two were curious enough that they actually found the Synaptic package manager and used it to install extra stuff; most of them call me when things stop working.

    If they have admin on windows, that's probably the source of most your troubles.

    Unlike Windows, there's few things you can outright dowload and run on linux, even if you have root.

    Other than that, I don't have an explanation for your experience.


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