Shifting to Ubuntu

May 23, 2014 • Dhaval Kapil

Initial days…

I had started coding on Windows. I began to get familiar with the graphical interfaces of NetBeans, Visual Studio, Eclipse etc. As I got to know more about programming and developing I began to hear about a certain thing called ‘linux’. This word kept popping out in many articles of stackoverflow or other resources that I used to depend upon. At first the name gave me the image of a computer with a pitch black screen with just plain text appearing on it. I then came to know about the power of the linux terminal. As I already had a little experience with bash scripting in Windows command prompt, I began to realize the usefullness of such an operating system. But due to my busy schedule I couldn’t delve further in this topic at that time.

A few years later one of my friends told me that she had installed Ubuntu on her desktop PC. I knew it was one of the Linux distribution. Then she started comparing it with Windows. This increased my interest in Ubuntu and I began to think of switching to it from Windows. I also heard from some other resource that the graphical interface of Ubuntu is sufficient for people to start working on it without any prior experiences. This set my mind and I finally installed Ubuntu in parallel with Windows.

Switching over…

During the initial days I started to use the graphical interface of Ubuntu for my work. Side by side using various references I got to know more and more about the terminal. Although it took me around a full week to download all my softwares required for various programming languages and to get them working right, I learned a lot about Ubuntu. From then on I used to code in Ubuntu while did other work in Windows. Within a few weeks I had started using the terminal excessively. I had stopped using IDEs and used the text editor ‘gedit’ and terminal instead for compiling and running programs. Within another few months I stopped using Windows entirely except for very few softwares for whom I couldn’t find replacements in Ubuntu.

Some features of Linux over Windows:

  1. Customizability: The customizability of Linux is virtually limitless. If you don’t like something you simply change it.
  2. Stability: linux operating systems are much much more stable than Windows. You could leave a Linux desktop on for several months without any performance degradation. In case you leave Windows on for even a few days it starts crashing.
  3. Perfomance: Resource management of Linux is pretty good. It knows how to allocate proper memory and utilize the processor more efficiently than Windows.
  4. Developing: If you are a developer then no doubt you SHOULD use linux. There are a whole bunch of tools that you would be missing out on in Windows. Apart from that developing any application is much more easier in Linux than in Windows. I’d like to give you an instance of it - When I had started learning PHP in my Windows days, I had a lot of trouble in setting up PHP server on my pc. I was so fed up that I completely removed it. Infact I used to host my PHP pages on a free PHP hosting website. Imagine the time it took me to make any change. I first made changes in my files locally then used ftp to transfer them to the server(which was running apache on linux). Instead when I had to use PHP on Ubuntu it hardly took me 3-5 minutes to get LAMP(Linux-Apache-MySql-PHP) installed. All I had to do to view my changes was to press the refresh button!
  5. Price: Linux is completely free!
  6. Terminal: The linux terminal is extremely more powerful than the Windows command prompt. I could do tons of things using extremely short commands.

A screenshot of my laptop

Present situation…

Currently I do practically all my work using the terminal. Whenever I open my laptop my first keys are Ctrl-Alt-t which opens the terminal and last keys are sudo shutdown -h now which shut downs the laptop. I’ve started loving it. Now I even download files, download videos from youtube, send mails and use facebook(yeah even this!) using the terminal. It has made things much easier and systematic. Imagine liking and commenting on 100+ posts on your birthday and compare it with hardly a few commands at the terminal doing the same thing. It saves a lot of time. Apart from that I use ‘Sublime Text 2’ for writing code, ‘vim’ when I need to change a few lines and ‘chromium web browser’ for browsing the web.