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During the last year, I have rebuilt my personal computer about 4 times. I rebuilt my son’s computer 2 times so far. I built my mom and sister’s computer 2 times. I live an endless cycle of rebuilding. By the way, rebuilding means to wipe the whole operating system, format, and reinstall everything as if it were brand new.
Why you ask? Well let me tell you. Viruses, spyware, adware, bloatware, malware and every other ware short of underwear.
My son in particular seems to have a very particular natural talent at hitting Sonic and other random sites that load garbage on your computer faster than Sonic himself can collect his gold rings. He is an artist and often requires backgrounds, pictures, etc for his stop motion and other graphic creations, so he browses the web for ideas, content, etc.
Every so often I’ll sit at my computer and notice its going rather slow and the hard disk is grinding. I’ll also see new icons show up on my desktop that I didn’t install, a new homepage shows up in my browser (the latest was a site called ‘www.snap.do’) and that’s when I know that my pc is done.
As I tried over and over unsuccessfully to rebuild my pc with windows 7 I became frustrated and thought to myself that in several months time I’ll be right back here yet again. I tried to consider the possibilities on how I can prevent this:
VMware (Virtual windows sessions)
Ghosts imaging (Disk/image cloning)
And on and on it went with infinite options. As I often do, I posted a rant on my social networks complaining about having to rebuild my pc. One of my old buddies wrote, half joking it would seem, “install Linux”. Linux, woh, I haven’t entertained that idea for years, but rest assured I have entertained it!
Linux is a completely different operating system, unlike windows there is less risk of viruses, malware, etc on Linux. Since not many people run Linux, not many malware people care to write software for it. That’s not to say that someone can’t get you if they want to on Linux, or if you piss them off, but you won’t encounter the same kind of issues as you would on a Windows computer.
So yes, it was finally time, I had already given up on W7 and moved back to installing xp, which was missing almost every driver that the pc needs. Man, that’s it, I decided I’m done combating windows and it’s plethora of issues and malware. For me and my son, it’s time to start navigating Linux.
Now before you become impressed and think I’m some sort of nerd genius, let me say that Linux of today and Linux of past are quite different! I was able to download, create a bootable USB stick, and have the computer completely rebuilt with most core functionality within a couple of hours. Oh, and I never touched Linux in my life. Shout out to the very helpful Ubuntu Linux community.
Initially I had to research the most basic commands, maneuvering, and so on. I am still learning, but I have the core concepts on how to install apps, how to elevate permissions, and I’m learning the GUI layout and some basic terminal commands. The only glitches I encounter at times is with my video and network card. At times the video will slow up and card will display some off weird graphics and other times the network drops, but both issues were something that were easily addressed with a reboot.
Next came the matter of my iPhone. My songs and everything still sits on the Linux box physically on an internal hard hard drive, and all signs seem to point to “no iTunes on Linux”. I decided to bypass that battle altogether and installed iTunes on my laptop which is running W7. This still leaves the matter of accessing all of my songs and playlist from the hard drive. Well, I didn’t want to copy 100 gigs of music to my laptop so I decided to copy the “iTunes folder” to the laptop, then after a little reading I was able to setup a “samba” share to allow my laptop to access data on the Linux pc. I mapped a drive with the same directory structure as my old pc used and tricked iTunes into thinking that I had a physical “f drive” when in fact it’s on the network. It worked like a charm and now I am wirelessly accessing iTunes songs from my samba share.
Yesterday I installed “wine” to emulate some Windows apps my son needs, and I still need to find an equivalent to “sync toy” for backing up my data, but in a unix environment I am certain that finding a “file copy app” will not be an issue.
Overall Linux is much faster, lighter and infinitely more secure than any windows system. There is a bit of a learning curve and things are slightly different, but overall I believe I made the right decision. Now my son can do art searches to his heart’s content without blowing up my pc all the time.
And that ladies and gentlemen has been my introduction to and first few days more or less with Linux on my home computer! In the words of those visionaries, LMFAO, “I’m Sudo and I know it”.