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Thread: I'm starting to feel it...

  1. #1
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    Apr 2019
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    I'm starting to feel it...

    This last week I've managed to put Linux on all my old systems and its installed great on all of them (Except sadly my current desktop, Some weird issue involving the DVI -> VGA converter maybe you can help me? https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2416481 I'm having to run Ubuntu in a full screen VM there).

    So I'm currently looking at my desktop and there are several terminal windows all open each connected to an old system. I don't think this is something I could have ever done on windows and it does feel pretty cool (Although my office is a total mess with all these old laptops and towers humming away). However I am starting to get that feeling that is best described by the LinuxChix logo.

    Trouble is this really is about the extent of my knowledge when it comes to this kind of thing. I know how to install it and how to use this to web browse and type the odd command in the terminal but I still have mountains to learn about everything else.

    So what I'm wondering is if there's any real point to doing this? Outside of the learning experience of course and making me feel a little more confident with SSH, which seems to be a pretty important skill.

    With their powers combined can these systems summon captain plan....uh....work together somehow?

    Many thanks from a complete rookie.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Brussels, Belgium
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    260
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    Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    You're looking at it from the opposite side. First, there should be a need to do something and then you collect hardware and then you try to achieve whatever you wanted to do. Here, you say that you have this great network and ask what to do with it but that's not a question another person can answer. What do you do with a Windows computer? First of all, simply work...

  3. #3
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    Apr 2019
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    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    Well I probably do need to spend some more time getting to grips with the basics of the system and I do understand that. I want to try living in the command line for a few days soon just to really get to grips with it. I understand you can listen to music with it and web browse in a very limited sense and do just about everything the GUI can do if not more. It still feels very weird to me to be using it so much and I want that weird feeling to go away.

    I think what I'm really looking for is more inspiration for projects out there, just as a topic of conversation rather than asking specifics about my network. Is distributed computing really much of a thing that people do or is that more that people use one machine for one task. It would be great to hear what people do with multiple machines. I do need to stop being so lazy with my computers and doing little more than web browsing though because I know they can do so much more. I just need to get my head in the right direction.

  4. #4
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    Ubuntu Mate 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    Quote Originally Posted by tempest-anastasia View Post
    ... I want to try living in the command line for a few days soon just to really get to grips with it. I understand you can listen to music with it and web browse in a very limited sense and do just about everything the GUI can do if not more. It still feels very weird to me to be using it so much and I want that weird feeling to go away...
    If you are new to linux and want to get further into learning the command line one useful resource for that is --here-- (link in the blue text). linuxcommand.org is a good starting point for getting some skills on the command line and scripting.

    If you do find you like working on the command line but don't like so much typing then "bash aliases" are worth setting up. A long command can be replaced with just a few characters saving much time and effort. By adding an alias to the file ~/.bash_aliases allows you to use such typing shortcuts. In case you haven't come across it already the "~" symbol indicates your home folder eg /home/<your-username>.

    Some longer examples from my ~/.bash_aliases file ...
    ... this one is for taking a screenshot while using a console (tty consoles accessed with Ctrl + Alt + F#, where # is 1,2,3,4,5 or 6). The second one shown is for setting a time delay on the first one; note how I've strung the first alias within the second. Aliases can be "daisy chained" together for some interesting effects. This particular example requires the fbc and imagemagick packages installed to work.
    Code:
    alias fbc.tkss='sudo fbcat > ~/Screenshots/screenshot.ppm && convert ~/Screenshots/screenshot.ppm ~/Screenshots/screenshot_$(date +%d-%b-%Y_%I:%M:%S-%p).png && \rm ~/Screenshots/*.ppm >/dev/null 2>&1' 
    alias fbctkss.dl='sleep 5 && fbc.tkss'
    ...these next 2 are for viewing images on the console; the second one finds many different common image types and lets me view them with the "fbi" (framebuffer image) package.
    Code:
    alias fbpic='fbi --noverbose -a >/dev/null 2>&1'
    alias viewdir='fbpic $(ls $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.jpg") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.JPG") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.jpeg") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.JPEG") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.png") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.PNG") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.bmp") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.BMP") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.tif") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.TIF") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.tiff") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.TIFF") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.gif") $(find $PWD -maxdepth 1 -name "*.GIF") | sort -u)'
    The last ones here are for video display on the consoles using mplayer (just 2 shown of the 10 sizes I've set up for mplayer output)...
    Code:
    # 960x540 output...
    alias mplay.med='mplayer -vo fbdev2 -zoom -slang en -x 960 -y 540 -geometry 95%:50% -cache 16384 -cache-min 30 -cache-seek-min 50 -nolirc >/dev/null 2>&1'
    
    # Full screen 1920x1080 output...
    alias mplay.hd='mplayer -vo fbdev2 -zoom -slang en -x 1920 -y 1080 -geometry 95%:50% -cache 131072 -cache-min 40 -cache-seek-min 60 -nolirc >/dev/null 2>&1'
    As you can see you can save yourself heaps of time and typing with aliases; my current alias count is about 670 .

    A screenshot of video viewing on a console...
    Big-Buck-Bunny_on-console.jpg

    I must admit I've never had anything to do with distributed computing, but I do have a local network set up with 3 raspberry pi units and a laptop. Using VNC any of the rPi-s can have full desktop control of, and file access from, my laptop. VNC has limitations with passing video over the network so videos/files on my laptop can also be watched/accessed by any of the rPi-s over samba as well. Depending on your Ubuntu flavor VNC may not be usable without a lighter desktop installed, I either use XFCE or Mate with VNC and they work fine; I have heard the standard DE on Ubuntu may be a bit heavy for VNC usage. There may also be some security concerns with VNC if not set up right so very strong passwords should be used etc.

    I mentioned samba in the previous paragraph; my laptop is located in my bedroom so with one of the rPi-s connected to the TV in the lounge I can watch videos/movies stored on my laptop on the much bigger TV screen. With VNC I also often sit in the lounge on the large screen and do my web surfing and general computer usage. Using a much bigger screen in the lounge is the main example for network use here .

    Enjoy exploring your new network and set up, cheers, yeti.
    Last edited by yetimon_64; 5 Days Ago at 11:48 PM. Reason: punct.

  5. #5
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    Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    Quote Originally Posted by tempest-anastasia View Post
    Trouble is this really is about the extent of my knowledge when it comes to this kind of thing. I know how to install it and how to use this to web browse and type the odd command in the terminal but I still have mountains to learn about everything else.
    You don't need to learn about everything else. Not really. To the extent that you want to do a particular task, or a particular item doesn't work as you'd like, you might need to learn about that particular area, but there's no licence requirement before you're allowed to use your own computers.

    Some parts are interesting, but which parts those are varies by person. That's why we have all this software at all: someone was interested enough to write a thing, and someone else was interested enough to contribute to the thing, and someone else was interested enough to use the thing. For each value of thing.

    Just keep using your computers for whatever you use them for, and pick up new information and skills as you go. Then, pass on that information and the benefit of those skills, that you have and others lack, to those other people here.

  6. #6
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    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    If you really think about it, every interface is text-based, more or less. The titles of the icons, (some are more like symlinks than filenames, though still text-based) the alt-text of images on the web, the query you type into Google-- the URL that brings you to this forum, as well as the HTML and other text that creates the webpages (including this forum.)

    Strip away the mostly unnecessary (sometimes helpful!) graphical elements of any GUI, and what you have left is the text. That's what the term is-- a very efficient system, when you're doing repetitive tasks.

    To someone less familiar, (familiarity takes time and practice) the command line seems like a waste of time, There are wonderful, time-honoured reasons for many of the things that dont make any sense. Why call it "ls" instead of list? Well, how many times do you want to type "list"? (tab-completion is wonderful.)

    Remember that even the command line can be customised. Although with experience comes (for most) less desire to customise, you can enjoy creating links to commands just as you create icons with graphical applications. If you really prefer "list" to ls, you can make a link for it.

    But even better than this, is you can learn to create (not just name) your own commands. It is less work to create command line utilities than graphical ones, mostly. You can even make easy graphical applications (simple ones) with a program like zenity or yad. This may (or may not) seem like it's getting way ahead. Sure, but if you started using computers in the days of DOS, rather than Windows, there wasn't as much to do. Creating a commmand to make a task easier was common. If you gain an interest in that, feel free to post about it on the forum, there are people who can help you learn. There are lots of tutorials as well. But this is something where you can start small, just creating simple tools to help with your computer work. The option is there. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    Quote Originally Posted by tempest-anastasia View Post
    …I want to try living in the command line for a few days soon just to really get to grips with it.

    I think what I'm really looking for is more inspiration for projects out there,

    It would be great to hear what people do with multiple machines.

    I know they can do so much more.
    I gather from the above that you wish to understand the power of the command line over the GUI:

    • It is more compact and efficient. Simple example: command line jockeys can rename a mess of different files in one line without having to mouse through five different menus, select radio buttons, toggle switches, then end up having to type in the same search-&-replace parameters anyway.
    • The above can be stored, easily retrieved and then run at will.
    • One can string together a collection of already powerful command line functions into one awesomely powerful script doing actions too complex for GUI utilities to dream of matching.
    • Using the command line gets you one step closer to the actual inner magic of the OS.
    • Deleting a GUI and replacing it with a CLI-only environment can revitalize old HW and make them useful again. It also eliminates e-waste. It also saves you money. Not least, it is also deeply satisfying. My three servers are all rehabilitated boxes that would long ago have been put out to pasture were they running GUIs. Instead, they give me redundancy, backup, peace of mind, and collectively cost me less than $500 (mostly spent on big new HDDs). Not possible for three GUI machines.

    Consider using CLI machines for:

    • File server
    • Mirrored file server
    • Backup server
    • Torrent server
    • VPN server
    • Printer server
    • NTP server
    • Media server (eg MythTV backend)
    • VM server
    • OwnCloud server
    • Web/e-mail server
    • Gateway/router/switch/WIFI station

    None of the above require GUIs and the possibilities are almost endless. It is true that there is no "need" to use or to even understand the command line. But freeing yourself from the GUI gives you an added element of freedom, flexibility and power that you never even knew existed until you've been exposed to it.

    You may be interested in the links in my sig: A Great CLI Guide & Resources for Newcomers
    Last edited by DuckHook; 5 Days Ago at 04:29 AM. Reason: Added links reference

  8. #8
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    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    My three servers are all rehabilitated boxes that would long ago have been put out to pasture were they running GUIs.
    At the moment I'm not running any old machines with a command-line only environment. I do think it's better to run a server without a GUI, but another nice thing about the command line is that even when you want to run programs like GIMP and IceCat (or whatever browser you like) you may find yourself sceptical of the bloated, resource-hungry GUI environments like GNOME and KDE.

    It's great to just drop down to a modest desktop (XFCE is friendly, and when you are used to the command line, even IceWM works a treat-- using virtually no resources at all) and allocate the ram to things like programs, not desktop jewelry. Though if you have extra ram to throw away, there's nothing wrong with the latter (if it makes you happy.) I would still recommend XFCE over the other large desktops, but it's up to you.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2019
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    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    Thanks for the comments guys, lots for me to think about!

    So I had a long hard think about what is duplicated over my network, then it hit me! Roms!

    I love retro gaming, I have roms on pretty much everything including my partners macbook.

    I've set up ubuntu server on my old acer netbook, found a guide on how to stop it going standby on lid close and how to turn off the screen remotely. Partner saw me turn off the screen from the other side of the room and now thinks I'm a hacker hehehe. I've FTPed some roms over and I've decided to treat myself to a raspberry pi 3 for the living room television.

    Will I be able to open the roms remotely easily when I get the pi 3? Well I guess I'll find out

    This is a new way of thinking and I'll have to learn a lot before it starts to sink in but I'm sure this will be second nature soon :3

  10. #10
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    Re: I'm starting to feel it...

    The main difference with a pi is the bootloader and installing the image. Apart from that, it should be very familiar (as much as Ubuntu is.)

    For the most part, the command line is one of the things that is relatively consistent. So if you're comfortable with it on one system, it should be pretty familiar on others. Slight variations (in terms of what's installed and what's default) may occur. You'll now find that macOS is also pretty familiar, as it has a similar (more traditional UNIX) command line as Ubuntu. It even includes bash and nano.

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