Thursday, September 27, 2012


I'm building a shape analysis program and writing an 18-page research paper in one night.  So, before I go completely off the wall I need something to distract me.

Some of the more perceptive of you might have noticed I've switched to Linux.  Specifically, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.  And it's absolutely beautiful.

A quick dry run:

  • XKCD jokes are a ton more enjoyable when you understand them.  This is by far the biggest pro.
  • No more linker errors.  Or at least, it's less of a problem.  Everything typically installs to your /usr/ folder so it's all system-wide.  (Although arguably the same can be done on Windows, it's more hassle-free on Linux).
  • Very flexible Terminal; more (useful) arguments available and it's almost possible to control your entire computer GUI-less if you know what you're doing.  (Windows' Command Prompt falls behind just a tiny bit).
  • Installing anything is a breeze.  Either find it in the Software Center (which has a slew of great programs, both free and paid) or find the package name and install it with:
 sudo apt-get install [package-name]
  • Super resilient to viruses.  Compared to Windows, very few people spend time making viruses for Linux systems considering they make up a minuscule portion of the market.
  • Workspaces let you essentially quadruple the size of your screen, allowing you to push groups of windows around very easily between the four quadrants.  (Same goes for Macs, I believe).
  • I hear it's fantastic for networking and server maintenance but I can't personally attest to that.
  •  Lack of Windows program support.  You'll be leaving all your favorite Windows programs behind.  There's WINE, of course, but it's fairly buggy.
  • As far as I know, there's no task manager.  Crashes for good, and the proper restart procedure is a really masochistic key combo: Alt-PrintScr + R E I S U B, in that order.  Seriously.  Why.
  • Not much point in using it if you're not a programmer.  It's clearly built around convenience to coders.  Stick with Windows if you're not having problems with static libraries or what-have-you.
  • Cross-compiling is kind of a pain.  It's also a necessity, since you're programs will likely be distributed to Windows users.
Overall I'm really glad I switched but I won't be getting rid of my Windows partition anytime soon.  If you're coding in any library-dependent languages then I highly suggest at least VM'ing it and testing it out.  Brilliant OS.

(I just wasted 20 minutes that could've gone to that research paper.  Go figure.)

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