Wednesday, March 25, 2009

making yourself at home in Linuxville

Linux is more like a move-in ready fixer-upper with lots and lots of built-in amenities. The looks are quite clean and you can add/remove/improve just about everything or relocate them.

The secret to mastering Linux is that skills are transferable. Come on, it's a computer.

Skills learned while using Macs or MS Windows are also used in using Linux. The way some talk is as if you are expected to fly a plane after years of driving cars. Typing text is still typing text, clicking icons and folders are all standard user interface interactions you know and love.

"But the names have been changed to inflict the innocent"

OK, wallpaper is called a background. You know some detest lingo but if you don't speak the dialect or know the "buzz words" it's hard to communicate well. This is true also in the Mac and MS worlds. Each computer world is a sub-culture.

You should have confidence that the operating system is able to do its' job which is:
1. to tell the computer parts how to process data and what data to process.
2. to manage computer resources and put them at your fingertips.
3. to respond to your input and give you output.

Under your fingertips are two interfaces, the console or command line or terminal and the GUI or graphical user interface or desktop. When you learn how to "work it", become comfortable with it, it is natural to want every system to be like that. Difference and change can be a frustration when you've become attuned, accustomed, trained and indoctrinated. I have kept my skill set open by using MS at work and Linux at home. Being flexible is insightful, my options have improved and my limitations have lessened.

Space, the final frontier. Ever wonder why we get hot over 500 gig hard drive options when the computer only comes with 1 gig of RAM, sometimes less. And they will tell us to run Vista on that. If you want Vista in any form to run well, get at least 2 gig of RAM. Linux will run in 512MB but again, if you want it to run well, get 1 or 2 gig of RAM. Then repeat the mantra: RAM is for running programs, Hard Drives are for storage. Buy RAM first, then choose a hard drive according to your use. Let me paint a picture.............

I have an 80 gig hard drive in my Xubuntu Linux PC. 21 gig is for DreamLinux on my test partition. I have two 1 gig swap partitions. My Xubuntu partition is about 54 gig. Of that 54 gigs, 24 gigs are unused. That leaves 30 gig of files. 19 gig is my home user folder and of that 19, 17 gig are videos I collected from YouTube. That means 2 gig are personal files. And that means the operating system and all the application software files reside in about 11 gig. So, if you aren't collecting large video files, you could get away with a smaller hard drive and save money. 100 to 250 gig is fine for most people. And Linux doesn't have to be defragged.

Big hard drives are for multi-media collections. I'd rather burn my videos to DVDs and CDs.
1 floppy disc holds 1.44MB (megabytes) = 720 typed pages or (1) 9"x6" .png image@ 1.3MB

128MB Jump Drive = 88 floppies

1 gig Jump Drive = 704 floppies

8 gig Jump Drive = 5632 floppies

80 gig Hard Drive = 56,320 floppies

This is just to give you a feel for what space on a hard drive is like. Huge hard drives are bought and wasted because big numbers seem powerful. Big hard drives do not make a computer more powerful unless you need it and use it. Most could get by with 150 gig max, but drives are cheep these days and size sells. Just consider the RAM first, then the hard drive.

So in Linuxville you can have the country estate and the amenities of the city at the same time.
Pretty cool huh!

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