Sunday started off like any other day. I normally get up at 3 am or so and today was no different. With hot coffee in hand, I walked to the office. I looked to the great graveyard of computers awaiting their chance at refurb loading and I selected one to work on this morning.Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it lacked the ever present Windows COA required to reinstall the operating system. Rather than go to another, I decided this would be a great time to do a Linux install. I have played with Ubuntu Linux on a few occasions and always wanted to see what it would do in a more permanent setting around the office. And as of late, WordPress has become my new passion. So Linux and Ubuntu it would be.
Ubuntu Desktop version seemed as though it would give me the best of the packages that I would want with possibly some user friendliness thrown in for good measure. After about a 1o minute install process on a Pentium P4 1.7 GHz with 1 GB of RAM, I had Ubuntu up and running. This wasn’t, however, my OLD Linux. I used to run Linux for my primary systems several years ago back around the century mark. It got however a little painful trying to support people all running Windows while I was staring at a RedHat screen.
This new Linux immediately notified me of updates that were available – about 200 of them. It offered to update them all by itself. This is a welcome change I have to say. ANY updates to the older Redhat 5-6 versions required a lot of time, pain and very bad words. Most things required figuring out what was dependent on what which was dependent on something else, and further on down the line. Just installing a small application was frequently a several hour ordeal of tracking down cascading dependencies frequently ending in some sort of failure when something just couldn’t be compiled properly and would bring the whole process to a grinding halt. So this whole, “It’s time to update, shall we do it now” treatment was VERY welcome.
A reboot was about all that was required on my part. All my hardware was recognized – which used to be a bit of a problem.
There were no surprises and there was no MAJOR internet searching needed to get the machine not only running but with Apache – and WordPress – to support my new fascination. I did get a bit fancier later and added in the Citadel Mailserver – which I REALLY like and that did require a bit of searching and tweaking. Issues ensued with my IP configuration and port choices which required getting dirty in there but a few “sudo” commands later, it was in place.
The one thing that I can say about Linux that I have always loved is that there is a lot of text file configuration involved. Once you know where the file is located and what controls what, configuration is frequently just a change in a text file.There is no going through menu after menu of confusing admin windows as in Windows. Granted, I’ve gotten REAL familiar with Windows and it’s array of menus and wouldn’t give it up for the world (all my clients use it), but it is refreshing to just be able to hop in and do things easily in Linux. Ubuntu does allow a number of easy access GUI config tools, but the text files are always there to do the job as well.
The thing that takes the most getting used to for me is the whole admin/su thing. Linux really doesn’t promote you just running all the time as admin – which is frequently the norm for Windows users. But after having been a sys admin for years, it makes good sense and I can appreciate and work with those parameters fine – just takes a different mindset and approach. And a few terminal windows 🙂
I smell a new server in the near future. And it’s name will be Linux.