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View Full Version : How to Really Enjoy your Ubuntu (or any Linux) distro?



presbp
January 21st, 2007, 08:48 AM
so I am the guy that had installed Ubuntu 6.10 and has come straight from 15 years of Windows use. I know that Windows is a closed source and commercial operating system while Linux distributions are open source (I think all of them are) and community supported. From what I hear this community support and open-source allows for a complete customization of your operating system. While coming from Windows I am very accustomed to the Windows operating system so I am not really tuned in to the whole customization of the OS thing but I want to learn how to really get into customizing it and having a fun experience.
I am not going to be making the 'complete switch' to any Linux distro over Windows probably ever because the main reason I built my PC was to play PC games. Apart from school work, sporadic Internet searching (mostly youtube.com and google.com) and learning programming and/or webpage creation/editing (currently I am starting to learn how to make simple webpages) all I do on my computer is play videogames. While I play games alot I have gotten to where I can't play games for really long periods of time like I used to.. I have started to be less of a gamer and more of a techie.. so instead of playing 10 hours straight of a game like I used to I usually play 1-1.5 hours then take a break 1-2 hours and try to learn things like webpage editing or a programming language. Right now one of the things I am messing around with is Ubuntu.
I really want to know how to customize my Linux distro and just have a good time with it. Coming from Windows my idea of customization is buying a program to do something that I want to be able to do such as photo editing or something of that sort and I don't really understand how you would customize an OS much farther than programs to suit your needs. Are there any things with customizing that I should specifically try that would be interesting/fun because as of right now Windows does everything that I "need"?

taurus
January 21st, 2007, 08:51 AM
Move to Cafe.

SZF2001
January 21st, 2007, 09:21 AM
First, I suggest above all else installing Automatix (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=177646) so you can use files like .mp3 and other nifty programs to have, like Java and bittorrent programs.

After that - just have fun. I usually, in the Home folder, make sub-folders like "Music", "Movie", etc. just so I can have places to save stuff.

If you run into problems, then you should come to the forums and look around the wiki.

runningwithscissors
January 21st, 2007, 09:34 AM
I really want to know how to customize my Linux distro and just have a good time with it. Coming from Windows my idea of customization is buying a program to do something that I want to be able to do such as photo editing or something of that sort and I don't really understand how you would customize an OS much farther than programs to suit your needs. Are there any things with customizing that I should specifically try that would be interesting/fun because as of right now Windows does everything that I "need"?
Well, you can customise almost anything depending upon your expertise ;)
Anything from changing your icon set to hacking the kernel can be done.

Since you mention that you enjoyed web development, I suggest you get apache up and running and take advantage of the endless amount of build tools that are available on Unix-like machines.
You can do development in a host of languages like Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, or even set up a web application server like Tomcat or with a little luck, MS' .NET platform (I am not too sure about how easy that would be) for rapid development of Business webapps.
As far as software development goes, this is home.

.t.
January 21st, 2007, 09:40 AM
First, I suggest above all else installing Automatix (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=177646) so you can use files like .mp3 and other nifty programs to have, like Java and bittorrent programs.

After that - just have fun. I usually, in the Home folder, make sub-folders like "Music", "Movie", etc. just so I can have places to save stuff.

If you run into problems, then you should come to the forums and look around the wiki.
I would strongly recommend against installing Automatix, for two reasons.
1. It ruins your chance to learn about your system, and why things are as they are.
2. It is very likely to break your system in unforseen ways, and does things that you could easily do by hand; and it does those in different ways. In this way, if you install Automatix, you will receive no support from the developers, and it will be harder for those here to help you. Don't say we didn't warn you.

SZF2001
January 21st, 2007, 09:48 AM
Come on, man. Automatix is key. Yes, it will help you learn a few commands, but that's basically it.

sudo aptitude install (whatever program)

sudo gst-register-0.8 (for stuff like LAME)

That's basically all a new person wants to know - average Joe wouldn't think highly of command lines. Even though those two alone are the most basic, do you think your own grandmother or even other (average, not extremely smart) relatives would sit down and take time in actually finding out what packages they need?

If the Windows to Ubuntu/Linux merge will ever happen, we'll need Automatix for some success (please note I said some). You may as well suggest it to new users since it will soon become the norm.

EDIT: Also, new guy, your going to need to make sure all repositories are on (except for the CD one).

slimdog360
January 21st, 2007, 11:15 AM
I find that the Ubuntu starter guide (http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Edgy) is the best thing out there. Ive been having problems with Automatix the last few times Ive tried it. I think Arnieboy and the team have many a bug to fix before I would recommend it to anyone for anything but to install a couple of codecs and thats about it.

sloggerkhan
January 21st, 2007, 11:34 AM
I I suggest downloadingt themes as a good way to start customizing. GDM Login screens are nice, too. Try gnome-look.org or a similar site.
If you have a graphics card, try beryl. Download a few different desktop environments, maybe gnome and enlightenment. I think using automatix is unecessary in edgy. I would enable backports in your repos, though. (Administration > software sources.)
Doing stuff yourself pays in th elong run and it's not that hard.

There is a lot more to customize on ubuntu than on windows.

On my computer I see a new login window almost every time because I have installed a bunch and it randomly picks one.

I'm using an inverted white on black theme, with beryl goodness, you might try starting with gnome themes, though.

Malta paul
January 21st, 2007, 11:43 AM
I would say that it just comes down to what suits a user best! I myself find both 'Automatix' and 'Ubuntu Starter Guide' very useful.
Being a thicky, I just cut and paste into the terminal 90% of the time because I normally can't remember the correct Linux code :)

thenetduck
January 21st, 2007, 12:01 PM
my I suggest easyubuntu ?

dorcssa
January 21st, 2007, 12:02 PM
I will never use Automatix, it's for sure. But I'd like to know what it is exactly. If it is on, one can't use synaptic, and apt-get, am I right? At least that's what I heard.

rai4shu2
January 21st, 2007, 04:21 PM
http://icculus.org/lgfaq/gamelist.php

Have fun. :)

Choad
January 21st, 2007, 04:42 PM
the funnest things to do are things that change the way your system looks. so get themes, icon sets, change arround the panels to suit you, change the number of virtual desktops to suit, add extra launchers to the panel, change the background picture, change the login screen, change the login splash etc.

then you can really feel like its YOURS

then beryl is always fun too.... but you'll probably end up breaking your system in the process. just experiment. as long as you have a second os to fall back on, yu may as well spend the first month of so of linux just doing silly things to see what works and what breaks your system. finding ouyt the hard way is a great way of remembering what not to do. and having to fix it is a REALLY great way of knowing how your system works. the first time you break X you will have to learn how the xorg.conf file works (or at the very least do a dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg)

wert613
January 21st, 2007, 06:28 PM
I will never use Automatix, it's for sure. But I'd like to know what it is exactly. If it is on, one can't use synaptic, and apt-get, am I right? At least that's what I heard.

no this is absolutely a inflatment of the facts

if you are using it to install something then at the time you are installing
it block the /var/lock/

but the same is true if you are installing something in synaptic at that time you cannot use aptitude or apt-get or even automatix

the things automatix does you cannot do in apt-get or synaptic

heres rooting for you arnieboy:wink:
thumbs up automatix team:D

wert

AndyCooll
January 21st, 2007, 06:29 PM
I would strongly recommend against installing Automatix, for two reasons.
1. It ruins your chance to learn about your system, and why things are as they are.
2. It is very likely to break your system in unforseen ways, and does things that you could easily do by hand; and it does those in different ways. In this way, if you install Automatix, you will receive no support from the developers, and it will be harder for those here to help you. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Your first point I agree with. As you say, if the OP truly wants to learn about Linux, how it works etc, then taking the time to install software yourself is the way to go.

Your second point however is rubbish. Especially the bit where you say "It is very likely to break your system in unforseen ways". Most users of Automatix (or EasyUbuntu for that matter) never experience any problems, and indeed find it a godsend.

I've used Automatix in the past and it was great for quickly getting a system up and running with codecs etc. However, I've learnt more about the workings of Linux and what requires what to run properly since I deicided to install apps and codecs myself.

:cool:

Polygon
January 21st, 2007, 06:35 PM
I would strongly recommend against installing Automatix, for two reasons.
1. It ruins your chance to learn about your system, and why things are as they are.
2. It is very likely to break your system in unforseen ways, and does things that you could easily do by hand; and it does those in different ways. In this way, if you install Automatix, you will receive no support from the developers, and it will be harder for those here to help you. Don't say we didn't warn you.

number two is completely wrong. I have used automatix a total of 6 times, on two different computers, how often has it "broke my system in unforeseen ways"? NONE. Am im sure that the part about getting no support from the developers is completely wrong as well.

although i do agree that at least installing everything manually once, so that way you get to know apt / synaptic a little better.



I will never use Automatix, it's for sure. But I'd like to know what it is exactly. If it is on, one can't use synaptic, and apt-get, am I right? At least that's what I heard.


all it really does is just install stuff like you would in synaptic. it even adds entries to the database and all that so you can just remove it via synaptic or apt if you want to. And the reason that you cant run automatix and synaptic at the same time is because the first program to use the database has a lock on it, and any other program that wants to use it after cant because its locked. The next time you have upgrades for your computer, and its downloading and stuff, try opening synaptic, you will get the same error for the same reason.

teet
January 21st, 2007, 06:46 PM
I too have never had any problems with automatix or automatix2.

For what it's worth, I usually only run automatix 1 time after a fresh install of the latest ubuntu. After it installs everything I need, I let it restore my old /etc/apt/sources.list and only use aptitude/synaptic to install stuff after that. I think in the past that automatix created problems when people with highly customized systems used it repeatedly...

-teet

dorcssa
January 21st, 2007, 06:53 PM
Ok, you get me wrong. I know I can't use two apt programs simultanously. I just thought that while automatix is installed, you can't use syanptic. I was wrong, but still, I won't use it. :)

Henry Rayker
January 21st, 2007, 07:02 PM
I use Automatix right after a clean install too (well, after I get wireless up and running). I've never had a single problem with it. I mean, it COULD be an invisible problem or somesuch silliness....that aside, though, I'm doing just fine.

Insomniac20k
January 21st, 2007, 08:11 PM
go into synaptec and download Gnome Art.

The good news for you and Linux, besides the games (Which may even work under caldega) all the things you listed work great in Linux. You can surf the web and watch youtube and google videos, you can get Nvu which is a pretty powerful webpage editor like frontpage, and what better platform to learn programming on than an open source one? Total freedom. No proprietary road blocks.

sloggerkhan
January 21st, 2007, 09:46 PM
I think there was reason to use automatix in 6.06, but in 6.10 you can just as easy add codecs and such yourself.

xpod
January 21st, 2007, 10:27 PM
AX for me when i landed here was`nt just handy for putting all the codecs,java & flash etc in front of my nose but as quite a new pc user at the time it also introduced me to quite a few apps i might never thought of using otherwise.......not as quickly anyway.:D

Synaptic can be quite a daunting place for new users and even now,6 months later i still click that AX link before i do much of anything else.I`m forever re-installing and doing things differently and AX is just a force of habit now.

I can quite easily do stuff most of the "proper" ways too so i dont think using AX stops you learning in any way either.Who wants to install from source anyway...](*,) lol
With AX you can at least go learn WITH everything working instead of having to learn to GET it working in the first place....just a thought:D

Spr0k3t
January 22nd, 2007, 08:32 AM
I used Automatix2 on my test system to get it up and running as I really didn't know enough about Linux in general to really do much with it. On my desktop system though, I'm doing nothing but using the terminal method to install new packages/programs/tools. I feel as though I'm a much better user of Linux than if I had just stuck with Automatix2 or even the Add/Remove Applications system.

So I say use it to hep you get started, but don't rely on it to work for everything you need/want. As always, you will be a better user for learning how to do the same by command line/terminal.

rai4shu2
January 22nd, 2007, 01:03 PM
I just looked at Automatix 2, and it's entirely Python code. So if it does damage your system, maybe someone could point it out by file and line number.

Tomosaur
January 22nd, 2007, 01:32 PM
Take a look into getting Beryl working. Eye candy-licious!

You may also want to read up about e17. It's still unstable, and you install at your own risk, but it is absolutely fantastic when it's working.

There are lots of games available for linux, although they're generally not commercial quality. They're mostly developed as hobbies, but I personally find them lots of fun. It's more relaxing than many of the Windows games I've played, and there are so many different types, you'll probably find a few genres you didn't even know exsted.

If you're into programming - linux is a far superior development platform than Windows. There are thousands of free tools available to you, and tons of documentation and tutorials floating around for you to get your teeth into it.

Welcome to Ubuntu :)

EDIT: The automatix breaking your system things is pretty much lies. Every program has the potential to go wrong somewhere down the line. There are a few people who just really don't like the automatix team, and try to spread FUD about it. I used automatix once a few weeks ago just to see what it was like - and it does what it does very well. I still prefer doing things manually, but I can appreciate how people love it so much. It really is very good, just not for me.

kazuya
January 22nd, 2007, 02:41 PM
Automatix is awesome for me as well. I know how to use synaptic and apt-get from terminal, but automatix helps show everything at your finger tip.
Sure, you can go and find libdvdcss, flash, media apps on your own, etc, but for users not aware of what those things are, automatix puts them in your face and tells you what each app does.

You check what you want and it is on to installing everything for you. The guys there even give user so many safety options to prevent from bunkling your system.

Was it not for automatix and easybuntu {claimed to be safer}, getting my new users started on Ubuntu may be a longer process. From synaptic, sometimes you have to know which repo to enable and some cases there maybe keys for some rare apps. Automatix does it all for you and thereafter, you needn't worry about it.

Linux is totally hackable. Once you get started on it, it would be hard to go back to windows. I too though windows fulfilled all my computing needs, then after using Xandros, Mepis, Vector Linux, and many more including Ubuntu, then I realized that my needs and wants were sorely lacking on that OS.

Thanks to Linux, I can truly enjoy my computing.

fuscia
January 22nd, 2007, 03:09 PM
if your idea of fun is playing a video game for 10 hours, i don't think you're going to get into changing config. files, right away. i, too, would suggest automatix to see if it has stuff you might enjoy using (be warned, though, it can make the sky fall). changing the look of things is one of the things i find fun. gnome-look.org is a great place for such. also, trying other desktop environments and window managers is fun. you could also try out other distros for changes in default look, speed, etc. and, you probably already know that if you make regular backups, you can get more adventurous with the things you do.
:guitar: