# The Ubuntu Experience: Adventure in Motion

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Tiassa, Dec 20, 2011.

1. ### ChipzBannedBanned

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I'm shocked Debian worked where Ubuntu failed. In my experience the only difficulty of Debian is the complete lack of pre-installed content (which I think is a plus anyways). Since you apparently had no issues with drivers, you're likely already in the clear. Unfortunately Xfce is in a state of perpetual brokenness... despite being so light. Slightly less broken and not any more resource intensive is LXde which is very much the look of GNOME 2 -- a little easier to navigate than Xfce and a lot less intrusive than GNOME 3.

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3. ### AlphaNumericFully ionizedRegistered Senior Member

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I've an Ubuntu related question someone might know how to answer which doesn't deserve its own thread. I'm using & and disown on a terminal command to return me to the prompt once the program is loaded and to split it from the terminal (ie if you close the terminal the program continues). Is there a way to include them into symlinks? I have some program which is called by, lets say, foo. Typing foo loads the program but ties up the terminal, so I use foo & disown. Although typing foo&disown works you cannot symlink lets say boo to it via ln -s /usr/local/bin/foo&disown boo. Instead I renamed foo to goo and then write a single line script which implements goo & disown and put it in /usr/local/bin (I'm so used to typing that I reach for the tab button to fill it in!).

Given the plethora of shell scripting magic so many people use I'm sure I'm not the first person to consider something like this. Can you add in shell options to a symlink and if so how? Google is not terribly helpful when I search for symlink, disown and obviously putting an & into Google doesn't help much. On a side note why do a number of people who develop programs and software have the annoying habit of naming them after commonly used words? I'm using Processing and Google obviously gets lots of unrelated hits. I suppose it's like my pseudonym, searching for AlphaNumeric will get a lot of unrelated hints (which I happen to prefer).

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5. ### ChipzBannedBanned

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838
I'm not sure I understand the issue entirely but here's some tips. Any passed arg to a command can be wrapped in quotes; I assume your issue with executing the symlink is your bash interpreter is interpreting the &.

Code:
ln -s '/usr/local/bin/foo&disown' boo
(note single-quotes) will symlink with the special ampersand character in the name to boo. Second, the & character in BASH is called a fork -- searching BASH fork will return much more useful results. If you are doing a disown to every job, what you're likely looking for is nohup which is executed at the beginning of the script rather than after (like the disown). Something like this.

Code:
nohup some_command > /dev/null &
Will accomplish the same goal as
Code:
some_command &
disown


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7. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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35,312
The damnedest thing

In a way, so am I, but the nearest thing I can figure is the PPC architecture, which is an issue beyond my mundane comprehension. Kubuntu installed, but the display was utterly shot. Ubuntu's installer showed similar problems to the point that I couldn't see anything on the screen to advance the process. I couldn't get the MintPPC installer to run properly; again, there were display issues. I was starting to think Apple had somehow spiked the machine against Linux. But one or another of those websites referred to the POWER4 and POWER5 architecture in the installation instructions, counting my G5 as a POWER5 PPC chip. I found a Debian installation that specifically included POWER4 PPC, and it worked; I mirrored from Carroll during the successfull installation after the USC mirror failed at the bootloader.

It took a while to find the Xfce shell, but that's only because I wasn't looking right under my nose; the session selector is found at the login screen, and the basic Debian GNOME gui is about as annoying as it gets. Xfce looks too much like Windows for my general taste, but I moved the taskbar to the top, and that's good enough since it works.

The downsides are tough; Sciforums looks like hell on this system, though I can fix that once I find a font package that I like, and Synaptic or the Software Center can install. But right now it looks pretty bad in Epiphany, and the font display is entirely screwed in Iceweasel. Firefox disagrees with the PPC architecture, or so says package management. And I'm going to have to figure out how to manually install everything in its proper place if I want to try to force Firefox onto the system and show up in the launcher.

Life goes on. At some point, I'll figure a solution that likely includes a different flavor, but for now Debian 6.0.6 is the one that actually installed, so life goes on.

I still have the Ubuntu machine for the internet needs Debian doesn't cover, but the G5 Tower also has a 500GB internal, and either way, I need that storage space. With OSX collapsing around me, it was a wasted drive. As it is, I need to start migrating a bunch of video files into the void; my internal on the Dell/Ubuntu is ... well, it's smaller. 100? 150? I forget, and don't feel like looking, but yeah, I need the data space.

For all its apparent limitations, Debian is still worth the change. I'm a strong believer that in today's information marketplace, solutions exist and one only needs to find them. That's the whole point of getting a Linux system, anyway. Okay, maybe not the whole point, but yeah, you know what I mean.

8. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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Debian Xfce Desktop

Debian Xfce Desktop

It's an odd perspective, I admit. I'm so much more accustomed to an OSX appearance.

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9. ### ChipzBannedBanned

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I prefer the KDE look to any other desktop out there...

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10. ### rpennerFully WiredRegistered Senior Member

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I don't know why you feel the need to supply an argument to disown -- if you supply no argument, disown operates on the "current job" which is the most recent command put in the background or suspended. A synonym for the current job is %+ if you want to make it explicit. And background jobs can be fairly complicated, with sub-shells and command-line arguments.

Code:
bash$( sleep 60 ; yes 'This is a test' | head -3 | cat -n) & echo 'Before Disown' ; jobs ; disown %+ ; echo 'After Disown:' ; jobs [1] 2229 Before Disown [1]+ Running ( sleep 60; yes 'This is a test' | head -3 | cat -n ) & After Disown: bash$  ps -xp2229
PID TTY           TIME CMD
2229 ttys000    0:00.00 -bash
bash$1 This is a test 2 This is a test 3 This is a test bash$ 
It's a little more involved if you want to bulletproof the background process against signals from the terminal driver:
Code:
bash$nohup sleep 60 <&- 1>/dev/null 2>&1 & echo 'Before Disown' ; jobs ; disown %+ ; echo 'After Disown:' ; jobs [1] 2281 Before Disown [1]+ Running nohup sleep 60 0>&- > /dev/null 2>&1 & After Disown: bash$
bash$ps -xp2281 PID TTY TIME CMD 2281 ttys000 0:00.00 sleep 60 bash$
bash$bash$ ps -xp2281
PID TTY           TIME CMD
bash\$

While I am convinced you cannot use symlinks to create complicated shell commands (symlinks are about the file, so a symlink to "/usr/bin/sleep 60" would be a link to the non-existant file "sleep 60" in the /usr/bin directory), you have two options.

If you want to make a one-word command for others to use, a shell script is a valid option:
Code:
 echo #!/bin/bash > /usr/local/bin/sayitlater
echo "( sleep 60 ; yes 'This is a test' | head -3 | cat -n) & disown %+" >> /usr/local/bin/sayitlater
chmod a+rx /usr/local/bin/sayitlater 
Any executable file that doesn't start with a compiled executable header recognized by the kernel or #! is interpreted as a shell script which usually means /bin/sh -- with #! one may specify the script reader, like bash or perl.

Alternately you may do the same thing privately to yourself as a shell function in your .bashrc or .profile files.

Code:
sayitlater() {
( sleep 60 ; yes 'This is a test' | head -3 | cat -n) &
disown %+
}

Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
11. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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End of an Experiment—Debian Done

End of an Experiment

Well, after I installed Debian 6.0.6 on my G5 Power Tower ....

Yeah.

It had all sorts of problems, let me tell you. And while many of the problems were probably user errors, the PPC POWER4 architecture just didn't find any friends. The software updater absolutely failed. The system couldn't access certain directories on my external drive, and since those were the media files, well, yeah.

In the end, I was left looking at three quarters of a terabyte of disk space I had managed to make either inaccessible (external) or useless (internal).

I need that space. Was a time when I would have laughed at the idea of 150 gigs not being enough, but at present I have thirteen gigs available, and that's after destroying some media files that had been sitting around, unused, long enough, and weren't so valuable to me that I archived them to DVDr.

I don't know, maybe the WD 250GB drive would have worked fine with Ubuntu, but since it was originally used for OSX, I had hooked it up via FireWire. And, now, well, you guessed it, I have no idea where my USB cable is. And since it's a proprietary split cable, I don't have any random substitutes sitting around.

I'm not going to badmouth Debian. It was just a bad match for this particular computer and my particular (lack of) technical skills.

On the other hand, once I figured out why my OSX installer wasn't working (10.2, disc 2 ... duh!), and located my 10.4 installer, the hardest part of the install was deciding how to partition the master drive, and what to name the things. For that, at least, I can deal with Apple, despite the fact that my operating system is essentially obsolete.

And, on the upside, no more Unicode for my bullets and long dashes.

No, really, I can't tell you how important those are.

Oh, yeah. And I get my Safari RSS reader back. Haven't found anything to compare with that on Linux.

.... And the installation is finished. Now it's just time to play around with settings and profiles.

As far as the Ubuntu experience is concerned, I have no complaints. Debian just wasn't the right tool for this particular job.

Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
12. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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I been getting use to Mint 14.1 KDE, ever since they made gnome3 and mint incompatible with compiz, how am I suppose to show off how awesome linux is if I can't make it fucking flashy?!?

13. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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"End of an Experiment"

[applause]

Seriously man, you tried and like most people did before you, you failed. Ubuntu is not for the average user, period. I never swore so much at hardware,software when I was tinkering with Linux.

Again, for average people, I see only 2 practical usages for Linux:

1. If you have kids, grandparents,etc. and you are worrying about viruses hurting your hardware you can make them use Linux as the only internet browsing OS. Of course file handling will be difficult for them, but I am just talking about plain browsing and cruising. A 7 years old doesn't need to download anything....

2. If you have an old XP machine, putting more memory in it with Linux can breath new life into it and can be used as a dedicated net browser.

So as cheer up note, it is not you, it is Linux...

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14. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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Tiassa was talking about Debian, not Ubuntu, and I quote: "As far as the Ubuntu experience is concerned, I have no complaints. Debian just wasn't the right tool for this particular job."

15. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Sure but the thread's title is the Ubuntu experience, and he didn't say he was going to switch to another version. It sounded he gave up on it altogether.

But I dare him to try another one!

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16. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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I don't think he needs to, for the job he was doing (getting an oboslete G5 working) I doubt anything would work better then the operating system ment for it: Mac OS.

I have a 5 year old Dell Inspiron 1420 for work and research (Open Office, R, Zotaro) and I have had nothing but ubuntu and mint on it and it works great, my only complaint is that the fuckers keep making new versions of ubuntu/mint like every 6 months and I'm tempted to upgrade.Peronsally my Mint 9 partition works perfectly, while the latest Mint 14 I had to switch it to KDE to get the flashy effects working again (and the power button) and I hate KDE: its layout is pure evil! For me the partical uses I got from linux was that it worked, I wrote my thesis on this linux laptop, I went to africa with this linux laptop (never got a virus but everyone else did and I had to clean their frash cards with my linux laptop!) and it just does not stop working, got it new batteries, new screen, and just replaced the hard drive with a SSD and it boots in under 10 seconds flat now!

My stepfather uses linux: Uses it to complie imbedded systems using (you guess it) uClinux, he even had clients from MIT and they used CentOS. As for the average person, most of them are already using linux or its progeny Android on their smart phones and tablets.

17. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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But seriously, like they ever have to mess with it... When was the last time an average person went inside the smart phones OS?

18. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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I don't know what you mean by "went inside the smart phones OS"? I have not needed to do anything technical to get Linux to work on that Inspiron other then install it, the only time things got technical was when I wanted the flashy special effects, desktop cube and such, as those are now no longer supported for some moronic reason.

19. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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That they had to mess with the smartphones' software. Average people don't do that, so your argument is irrelevant to this discussion.

Anyhow question for Tiassa: Are you done with Linux? If you like to tinker, get a cheap Windows laptop on ebay, and put Linux on that.

20. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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Define "mess with smartphones software?" As for computers I had to do nothing more with Linux then with windows to get it working: insert CD, click install, wait, done.

21. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Good for you. At one version I couldn't even figure out how to install it. Not intuitive at all... Installation wasn't that click and wait either... I have like a dozen distros burnt...

But I dare you to put Linux on your relatives' computer and see what happens. just be ready for the IT calls....

22. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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My 15 year old sister uses it. I even install it on a tiny little old netbook for my mother, never got a complaint. And my mother is particularly computer inept!

23. ### ChipzBannedBanned

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838
Your mileage will vary dependent on hardware. In some more cheaply built systems certain devices might not even be uniform and theoretically one HP SKU system won't work with another of the same SKU will.

If your hardware is not from a Linux compliant (such a thing actually exists) distributor, like say Lenovo or Dell... you will likely have problems. No one ever blames their X-BOX Games for not working on a PS3, so I am not sure why people blame Linux for not working on non-compliant hardware.