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Jumping To Ubuntu At Work For Non-Linux Geeks 181

Posted by timothy
from the there's-no-ubuntu-topic dept.
twigles writes "I'm a network engineer, meaning I spend my days dealing with things like selective route advertisements, peering, and traffic engineering; I'm not a Linux admin or developer. About 6 months ago I finally got fed up enough with my experience on Windows XP to jump ship to Ubuntu 8.04, despite not having much Linux experience, particularly on the desktop. Read my ramblings for an engineer's take on taking what can be a pretty intimidating plunge for us Linux noobcakes."
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Jumping To Ubuntu At Work For Non-Linux Geeks

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  • Yawn (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    No offense but this isn't very enlightening or insightful.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pnevin (168332)

      Speak for yourself. I just learned that someone's apparently still listening to The Prodigy.

  • Traffic Engineer? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Repeat after me, you are not an engineer.

    Until you go through the same hell in college that degreed mechanical/electrical/aero/civil engineers go through in college and have a chance to obtain a PE, you are not an engineer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      He's also quite madly irresponsible, if he's advocating non-techie people switching to Linux in work without the support of a sympathetic admin. Sounds like a sure way to lose that promotion.

    • Repeat after me, you are not an engineer.

      Until you go through the same hell in college that degreed mechanical/electrical/aero/civil engineers go through in college and have a chance to obtain a PE, you are not an engineer.

      Repeat after me, you are not an engineer.

      Unless you work on / maintain an engine, you are not an engineer. Or.... perhaps that word has changed a bit over the years. First to include the structural & eletrical fields, then to include anything where you methodically apply technical kno

    • Titles (Score:4, Insightful)

      by srobert (4099) on Monday January 26, 2009 @12:49AM (#26604599)

      I've got some special insight into this argument since I've been on both sides of it.
        I've been through all of the hell that you described above and gotten my BS in Mechanical Engineering from an accredited university. I've now worked as a Civil Engineer for several years, and have recently taken the PE exam. (I'll be retaking it soon. My score was one point too low).
        Before I got my degree, I was working my way through college part-time as ...an engineer. (Note what I'm doing with Capitalization here). Specifically, I was a stationary engineer and a member of the International Union of Operating engineers. I served a four year apprenticeship in order to be a journeyman stationary engineer. There can be a certain amount of "hell" associated with that process too (that most academics would underestimate).
        The title is traditionally applied in two different (and probably more) senses. The first, Engineer, is given to a range of professions requiring a high degree of mathematical, scientific, and a well-rounded academic education, that is (supposed to be) typical of at least a four-year college degree. The second sense, engineer, is to refer to members of a range of vocational trades that branched out of heavy equipment operations, (especially steam-powered equipment) in the nineteenth century. Both of these traditional uses of the term have well-established precedent.
        Today the academic Engineers would like to restrict the use of the term to distinguish themselves from the vocational engineers. But the latter naturally object to the loss of the respected title. My take on this is that vocational side underestimates the expectations that the most recent use of the term Engineer evokes. I would continue to have considerable respect for current members of my former trade, if they were to use the titles of "technician" and "operator" instead. But I suspect that many of my current colleagues, i.e. Engineers, don't adequately appreciate the difficulties encountered in acquiring a skilled trade and don't have much respect such titles or vocations.

      • by smithmc (451373) *

        The title is traditionally applied in two different (and probably more) senses. The first, Engineer, is given to a range of professions requiring a high degree of mathematical, scientific, and a well-rounded academic education, that is (supposed to be) typical of at least a four-year college degree. The second sense, engineer, is to refer to members of a range of vocational trades that branched out of heavy equipment operations, (especially steam-powered equipment) in the nineteenth century. Both of these traditional uses of the term have well-established precedent.

        Here's another: my alma mater [poly.edu] offered (not sure if they still do, don't think so) an Engineer's Degree. It was a professional-level degree, intended to be parallel to a law or medical degree - three years full-time beyond a B.S., just short of a Ph.D. Getting it didn't mean you were licensed, but you certainly had more education than the rank-and-file B.S. going out into the workplace.

  • A Flock Of Seagulls? (Score:3, Informative)

    by auric_dude (610172) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:34AM (#26597331)
    Submit an article. Get people to view your hair style. Profit ??
  • by mangu (126918)

    FTFA:

    my company had installed so many things on my laptop that it crashed or locked often, and booting took more than 20 minutes. There was no way around this while still on the domain, and if you run Windows here, you have to be on the domain

    One of my goals was to have everything be as easy as Windows.

    So, what he's looking for is how to make a boot in Ubuntu take more than 20 minutes?

    • he said "as easy as windows", not "as fast as windows". 20 minute boot time isn't easy nor difficult, just slow and frustrating.
  • No SFTP? (Score:4, Informative)

    by dvice_null (981029) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:39AM (#26597347)

    From TFA: "Also, there's no SCP or SFTP feature that I can find comparable to SecureCRT."

    I don't know what SecureCRT is like, but you can use the file manager as SFTP client and bookmark pages if you want to. Or you can install Filezilla (the new version can handle SFTP also). Not sure what version comes with Ubuntu 8.04.

    • by kerashi (917149)

      From my reading, it's not a matter of having no options that can handle it, but a matter of having them all in one single easy to use client with a large feature set.

      Unfortunately, SecureCRT is proprietary. So no go on a Linux version, and just a quick search doesn't turn up much in the way of alternatives. One thing it DID turn up was SecPanel, which is a GUI for SSH and SCP. I doubt it has quite the feature set, and I haven't tried it, but it might be worth looking into.

      • by Kjellander (163404) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @12:09PM (#26598915)

        It's so much easier to just mount the remote dir with fuse, that to use any client.

        sudo apt-get install sshfs
        sshfs user@host:dir/ dest/

        And you're done. Use the normal file handler after that.

        Don't want to type in passwords? Use ssh-keygen and ssh-add. Don't wanna type in the mount line? Just put them all in a bash script and mount them all first time you log in. Or get the old ones with 'history | grep sshfs' and tun it by typing in the number in front of the command after an exclamation mark, like so: '!679'

        • by atrus (73476)

          Depending on what applications you're use, and if you have gnome's FUSE VFS thing running, you can bonk the URL into Nautilus, and its transparent.

          I don't use Gnome or KDE however.

        • Or get the old ones with 'history | grep sshfs' and tun it by typing in the number in front of the command after an exclamation mark, like so: '!679'

          You have one of those new-fangled keyboards without ^R, I see.

    • I think both scp and sftp are installed with the openssh package. Command line tools of course.

      And in the menu 'Places' there is an item 'Connect to Server...' that launches Nautilus using the sftp, ftp, webDav, smb protocols. You might have to install openssh for that too, I'm not sure.

    • From TFA: "Also, there's no SCP or SFTP feature that I can find comparable to SecureCRT."

      WTF ?? Nautilus does handle mounting file system over ssh. It's just as simple as connecting to a samba share.
      It's event better than secureCRT since it's completely integrated.

    • Or you can be a real programmer, and use the command line.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Matt Perry (793115)

      SecureCRT uses tabs in a window for each session you have open. You can open a new tab with a "sftp>" prompt and enter sftp commands, although I think that using filezilla or a file manager like you mention is much easier.

      The best part about SecureCRT is that you can install the lrzsz package on your Linux boxes and then use sz and rz commands in the remote session to send and receive files to/from your local computer. No need to mess around with scp, sftp, or opening other windows or tabs. It's very

      • zModem support is the *best* feature of SecureCRT. Much easier then the alternatives. While I've switched to PuTTY, I sure miss it.

      • SecureCRT uses tabs in a window for each session you have open. You can open a new tab with a "sftp>" prompt and enter sftp commands

        Or you can just use a tabbed terminal, like Gnome-Terminal, Konsole, or pretty much any other, and create a session which just runs the 'sftp' command. If you don't like having to enter a password, use ssh keys.

    • On ubuntu you really don't need an ftp or sftp client because gnome applications already speak those networking protocols.

      Just open up nautilus, and give the networking path instead of the file system path. sftp://my_username@myserver.com/my/path

      Using gedit or other gnome programs you can even open up the files remotely without manually copying them to the local disk.

      This also makes setting up an smb server unnecessary since as long as you have ssh access you can access the whole remote filesystem through n

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:48AM (#26597387)

    For password management try using KeePassX http://www.keepassx.org/
    It's free and cross platform.

  • From the submission:

    My experience in switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu 8.04 has not been all positive, but overall I'm incredibly glad I did it. I used to hate my entire computing experience, now I just hate my email client. My coworkers say things like, "wow, it took Notepad over 10 seconds to load," and I chuckle. It's tempting to interpret this to mean Windows would be a better choice in an environment not bogged down by constant security scanning and filtering, and to some degree that's accurate. However I've found that most of the pain in switching comes from having to tinker a little to get the Linux equivalent of your Windows program working.

    Remember the author had time to try to make things work. How many folks have time to tinker with text config files or a system help mechanism that is incomplete at best? I wish Linux fan boys can put their bigotry aside and listen for once.

    For Linux to become main stream the following must happen.

    Support for relevant applications, out of the box - not via a separate repository that must be enabled. (Key word, - relevant)

    A single API for applications so that "Linux" is one platform, not m

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kerashi (917149)

      There are a few reasons I don't use Linux on my main box right now, and this hits the biggest of them.

      Anyone who has ever tried to install a program not in the repository will know what a pain it can be. Getting stuck in dependency hell is still a very real problem, and while repositories help they are no substitute to fixing the problem.

      In Windows, if you get an installer you have a reasonable expectation of being able to run it. Sometimes you hit dependencies, but not often, and they're generally the sa

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Please remember one thing, Linux is not trying to be Windows.

        I wish people would stop trying to lead and or label it that way.

        • by karnal (22275)

          Why wouldn't people think Linux is trying to be Windows? They're both Operating Systems for PCs; they both give you access to web browsing, creating documents, enjoying multimedia files and generally getting work done.

          They may not be targeting the same mindshare for the desktop, but they're both capable of doing the same thing. In that regard, I'd bet most people would compare the two as similar if they had the chance.

      • What to do when a developer distributes a .rpm but not a .deb, or the other way around?

        Use Alien [softpedia.com].

        • I've never heard of anyone ever getting it to work with a real world program.

          The problem is that different linux distros are *not* binary compatible with each other. Some of the core libraries like glibc are compatible, but most binaries link a ton of other stuff. You might as well try installing windows programs or osx programs.

          Alien cannot fix ABI incompatibilities.

          >What to do when a developer distributes a
          >.rpm but not a .deb, or the other way around?

          Install from source.

          On the other hand proprietar

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jamstar7 (694492)
          Or, compile yourself and install via checkinstall [asic-linux.com.mx]. I'd think if you were halfways aware of how to administrate a Linux system, you already know how to compile a tarball. Checkinstall builds the package, .deb or .rpm, and installs it for you. Then, you can add the package to your local repository.
      • There are a few reason I don't use Windows on my main box right now, and this hits the biggest of them.

        Anyone who has ever tried to install a program in windows knows how much of a pain it can be. They don't have a centralized repository for you to download the package.

        On Linux, if you get an installation CD you have a reasonable expectation of connecting to he repository for that distro and getting a wealth of software available from the click of a button. Sometimes you find a package that isn't in t
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ...

        Anyone who has ever tried to install a program not in the repository will know what a pain it can be. Getting stuck in dependency hell is still a very real problem, and while repositories help they are no substitute to fixing the problem.

        In Windows, if you get an installer you have a reasonable expectation of being able to run it. Sometimes you hit dependencies, but not often, and they're generally the same for most programs.

        ...

        Instead, what you get with Windows is programs
        a) forcing their way into unnecessarily running at startup.
        b) forcing their way as the default for any file types they handle.
        c) contacting the internet for who knows what purpose.
        d) interfering with other installed programs, including the O/S itself.
        e) ".dll Hell" I've had far more problems with this than "dependency hell". In fact, I've never suffered from "dependency hell" in 5 years of using Linux as my primary O/S.
        f) DRM

        Not to mention that Windows itself c

      • by s4m7 (519684)
        You're doing it wrong, son.

        1) search for special case repositories, they're out there for darn near everything.
        2) if they're not there, use checkinstall (for debs based distros anyway) to build a package which will then correctly install dependencies for you. (this is almost never necessary)
        3) proprietary apps with binary isntallers for linux work 99.9% of the time.
        4) alien converts debs packages to rpms and vice-versa
        5) you shouldn't bitch about 3D graphics support because any decent card will work
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A single desktop, so that Linux is one desktop, not several. Otherwise the other efforts, such as the help desk, marketing and research all multiply their efforts making everything impractical.

      Many GNU/Linux users like the possibility to choose your own desktop (window manager). The possibility to choose is a feature and advantage of FOSS and who doesn't like it, simply shouldn't use it :-)

      If KDE or Gnome was the only window manager in GNU/Linux, how would be possible to make a lightweight distribution for older computers?

      I don't think GNU/Linux will become main stream neither it's users really want it. //Dan KrÃtký

      • Let me put it this way. Linux should put [all] resources on one desktop environment which should result into a wonderful desktop while leaving the possibility of using another should there be need. What's wrong with that?

        • by skeeto (1138903)
          I think you completely misunderstand how all this software gets developed. There isn't some big company that makes all the software you find in a single distribution.
        • by Draek (916851)

          Let me put it this way. Linux should put [all] resources on one desktop environment which should result into a wonderful desktop while leaving the possibility of using another should there be need. What's wrong with that?

          "The mythical man-month", for starters, the issue of the philosophy underlying The One And Only DE (simplicity, flexibility, aesthetics, which one takes priority over the other two?) for another, and then there's the fact that if another desktop enviroment is at all developed, then it's not "all" resources and we're back where we originally were.

    • by downix (84795)

      Let us analyze the following:

      >Support for relevant applications, out of the box - not via a separate repository that must be enabled. (Key word, - relevant)

      Then you become dependent on a single source for what applications are available. By allowing, and enabling multiple repositories means that you can offer more choice, and choice is good. Imagine a world with only Coke products. No Coffee, no Tea, no 12 year aged Scotch Whisky, just Coke. Do you complain that you need to go to a seperate grocery s

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hello sir,

    I think i read that KeepPassX can be used in Linux and Windows,
    using the same repository.

    Check it out!

    Cheers

  • Just export as PDF.

    This is something that I still don't get: Why do businesses require all printable documents to be written in a WRITABLE format? Oh, right. Word doesn't have one by default. Why Innovate when you got 100% of the market?

  • Why did he not replace Visio with Dia?
    • by Jantastic (196238) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @09:21AM (#26597873) Homepage

      Why did he not replace Visio with Dia?

      Because he was running late for his appointment at the hairdresser

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dia is fine if he is creating a non-shared, vanilla, block diagram illustration. If he needs to work with existing Visio diagrams already on the main file server, or use templates provided by vendors like HP and Cisco, he doesn't have a recourse.

  • A pretty impressive set of tools, now you only left out this one [elitecarcare.co.uk]

    --

    click on reply, nothing happens, fire up textpad and type in what you were going to say, before you forget, back to slashdot as the page has finally loaded .. :)
  • Linux not Ubuntu (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by markdavis (642305)

    Here we go again with another example of the word "Ubuntu" being used in the title instead of "Linux", which would be more appropriate. In general, the subject of the article (more of a blog) is about using Linux instead of MS-Windows. It is not specifically about using Ubuntu.

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=344745&cid=21176921 [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1095787&cid=26502007 [slashdot.org]

    If MS-Windows were (generically) a car, and Linux were a motorcycle, it would be like titling an article

  • by DanWS6 (1248650) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @11:10AM (#26598509)
    Two main problems that I'm trying to overcome:

    Exchange support. Evolution just doesn't cut it. It won't load my global address list and it doesn't seem to handle the "location" field for meeting invites. That means when I get an invite or try to send one I have no clue where our meeting will be.

    CVS. I really like TortoiseCVS and can't find an equivalent that is as easy to use. I guess it's not a big deal, I could go back to using the cli, but what can I say, I am lazy. :)

    Everything else has been good so far.
    • I never tried invitations, but you can try http://www.claws-mail.org/faq/index.php/Connecting_to_MS_Exchange [claws-mail.org]

      • by DanWS6 (1248650)
        Thanks I'll check it out. My latest attempts were install outlook 2007 through the latest version of wine. That's been an effort in futility as well. I can get it installed, but then when I run the account setup wizard the pages are all blank. I managed to snag one of those free serial numbers for Codeweavers CrossOver when they were giving them out back in October, maybe I'll give that a shot.
    • by TheNarrator (200498) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @03:14PM (#26600551)

      We almost got roped into exchange at my job but I made them go with Zimbra. Zimbra acts like Exchange and windows users can't really tell the difference when using outlook. Now the windows people are happy and the Linux people are happy.

      I think if we got an Exchange server it would have eventually sucked the whole company's IT infrastructure into Microsoft proprietary only. If there's one thing you can do at a new startup to save money it's to avoid MS Exchange and go with Zimbra. That's because once the camel's nose is under the tent the whole IT infrastructure gets sucked into the MS black hole and you're paying the yearly Microsoft tax on every component of your IT infrastructure. Zimbra helps limit the bottom line damage that the obligatory windows licenses create.

    • CVS. I really like TortoiseCVS and can't find an equivalent that is as easy to use. I guess it's not a big deal, I could go back to using the cli, but what can I say, I am lazy. :)

      How about tkcvs?

    • and I've had good luck with it in thunderbird.

      However, I don't think there's linux program that handles exchange calendaring well. There's a plugin for thunderbird, but it doesn't work very well.

      My advice is to use outlook web access for calendaring if you don't have a windows box on hand... although honestly I just keep my corporate laptop with winxp next to my linux workstation for when I need the calendar.

      If you get sick of switching back and forth between windows, a good option is to use rdesktop:
      http:/ [rdesktop.org]

    • by ianare (1132971)
      I use SVN and had used the nautilus SVN scripts which let you do basic SVN commands (update, commit, add, etc) before moving over to netbeans for all my development, which has built in CVS and SVN support. In any case, there are some nautilus CVS scripts [schnuckelig.eu] which could be helpfull to you.
  • by Jim Hall (2985) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @11:39AM (#26598707) Homepage

    I've been a Linux user since 1993, when I was a student at university. Until 1998, I ran Linux as my primary OS, but kept a Windows partition on my home system to run some games. And since 2002 I've been fortunate enough to run Linux full-time at work. It has been a great experience so far. I didn't have any issues exchanging documents with others at work, and certainly my previous bosses didn't mind. But times change, I suppose.

    I've been asked to move back to Windows, at least for work. The difference between Windows (XP) and Linux (Fedora 9) has been shocking, to say the least. Since you often see blogs or tech articles (like the parent post) when long-time Windows users experiment with Linux for the first time, I thought it might be equally interesting for this long-time Linux user to blog about my first experience running Windows in over 6 or 7 years:

    Linux in Exile [umn.edu]

    The short list of things I have run into in my first week of running Windows:

    • hardware support is definitely not plug-and-play (had troubles getting a simple laptop mini-dock to get recognized, same with the external display.)
    • programs look and act differently from each other (no common themes, inconsistent behavior, etc.)
    • MS Office (2007) makes it hard for me to write the documents I need to create for work.
    • Font rendering is poor.

    I haven't written yet about program look-and-feel; I'll do that soon. But I have noticed that MS Office acts differently from Notepad, from Media Player, and from the Windows local file browser.

    Also, ctrl-backspace is implemented differently just about everywhere - in some cases, it backspaces to the start of the word or field (what I expect) and elsewhere it only backspaces once, and in other cases it inserts a ctrl-backspace character!

    • by Mspangler (770054) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @02:06PM (#26599923)

      "MS Office (2007) makes it hard for me to write the documents I need to create for work."

      Office 2007 makes it hard for EVERYONE to write the documents they need to create for work. It's very egalitarian in that way.

      Everything except 'paste values' in Excel is one extra click away from where-ever you are than was the case in Excel 2003, because you have to click on the menu to get the correct ribbon, then drill down into the tiny little arrow to get the dialog that has what you want.

      I actually do most of my word processing in Wordpad, as it lets me write without helpfully formatting everything the Ballmer Way. Then paste the text into the official company memo template, resave, and done.

      Fortunately I have no need to use Powerpoint. For this boon I hold my employer in great regard.

    • by dargaud (518470)

      Font rendering is poor [in Windows]

      Strange, I find the exact opposite. I've been fighting with fonts forever on Linux: they are what I call 'horribly out of focus' (but developers call them 'aliased'), and their sizes make no sense (I've been trying to get the same look on both OSes for months for two user interfaces I develop).

      ctrl-backspace

      On some other progs it's also used to 'redo' after an 'undo'.

    • by msormune (808119)

      Why is not possible to use the same software to write the documents you need? After all, no one's resisting you from using open source software in Windows?

      Also, are you saying programs in X don't have a different look and feel from each other? Like Gnome and KDE applications?

      Is the hardware MORE plug-and-play than in Linux?

      • by Jim Hall (2985)

        Also, are you saying programs in X don't have a different look and feel from each other? Like Gnome and KDE applications?

        Sure, GNOME and KDE apps look different - but under Fedora, where GNOME was installed by default, all my apps were GNOME. So Firefox, Openoffice, Terminal, the text editor, ... all looked identical.

        Yet under Windows, apps all look different - they use different themes - even "first-party" apps from Microsoft. Office looks different from IE or Firefox, different from Media Player (our phone system emails me my voicemails as WAV files), ... it's all different. Nothing feels the same.

        Another example is keyboar

  • Keep in mind, this is a list of things which I believe to be viable alternatives, not necessarily good ones, and not necessarily better. Just things you might not have known about, or considered.

    Mostly, just in case people read TFA, try one of his suggestions, and find themselves thinking "this sucks!" Well, Linux is all about choice -- and here is some choice:

    Vanilla SSH is good, but...

    To replace SecureCRT I chose SSH Menu along with the stock OpenSSH client. This keeps track of my connections, allowing me to avoid having to memorize IP addresses of jump off boxes, and it also remembers my window sizes.

    For the IP addresses, I would suggest a host file and possibly some aliases, if you have a few you connect to often enough

  • Actually his writeup hits a point I've been struggling with for a while and one that is making me reconsider Linux as my desktop OS.

    Is there a diagram editor that works on Linux? I've tried Dia and it seems clunky and lacking. Is there anything out there with the functionality of Visio, but runs on Linux?

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