- It helps me think it through on a deeper level and understand it better if I can explain it in complete sentences.
- My experience might be useful to others. The blogs I have read about other setup experiences have been very valuable.
- It's my first attempt to give something back to the open Linux community, which has made possible an amazing collection of software and resources.
- So I don't forget what I have done, and why.
- To share with attempts to start a local Python For Kids programming group, starting with my almost-13 year old son.
Over a year ago I set the goal to learn Linux and Python. Why? Because Linux servers pretty much run the world. Even little off the shelf NAS systems such as those by Synology (I use them) are running Linux. The more-or-less preferred Linux admin language is Python, so it ships with all standard Linux distros, even small ones like on Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black.
Plus I am in the midst of a commercial project using embedded Linux on a Beaglebone Black, and at the core of it, the Linux on it is pretty much the same as other Linux.
For over a year now, I've been running Ubuntu (now 14.10) on a Lenovo x131e netbook, with a Core i3, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HDD, 1366x768 TFT screen. It is actually dual-booted with Windows 7 Pro but it has been months since I've booted into Windows. I need to do that and catch up on Windows updates. But I digress. This is the system I take with me every day when I teach at Salt Lake Community College, so I use it to log into the wireless network there. I use Libre Office to edit class materials. I use Chrome and FF to acces the Canvas instructional framework. So far, I have found it as easy to use as Windows 7 Pro. Some things are actually better: battery life seems a little longer, connection to Bluetooth mice (Logitech and MS Sculpt) is more reliable. Boot times are shorter. Ubuntu 14.10 seems a little less stable than 14.04 LTS: occaisonal lock-ups, and sometimes I start an application (e.g. Chrome) but it can't create a window in the display even though it's running (htop or System Load Indicator show it active). But overall, at least as stable as Win 7 Pro.
I travel around locally a lot and find it easier to connect to numerous WiFi points in Ubuntu. Also I tether to Samsung Relay 4G phone, and this is painless: the phone appears as a wired Ethernet connection to Ubuntu, and data speeds are at least 2X higher on average than using the phone as a WiFi hotspot.
So, spurred on by this success, I have built up an AMD quad-core A8-5600K desktop with a 120 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD, 8 GB RAM, etc. It also dual boots Windows 7 Pro and Ubuntu (now 14.10). It's now my second desktop system.
Then a few weeks ago I purchased a Lenovo Yoga 11e netbook with quad-core Intel 2930 CPU, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, and 1366x768 IPS multi-touch screen. It came with Windows 8.1 Pro but I have pulled that SSD and replaced it with a Sandisjk 128 GB and loaded Linux only on it. I'm typing this on that system, running Ubuntu Mate 14.10. An MS Sculpt BT mouse is connecting very reliably. But the touchscreen doesn't work at all, and the trackpad is so-so. But the screen is great: bright, wide viewing angles, good color, but glossy and shows all fingerprints. Also suspend doesn't seem to work correctly at the moment. I'd like to get all these things sorted out.
I'm making some Google docs as I go and will post view-only links to those here.
- Not a windows-hater. I like Windows 7 Pro for the most part and use it daily for my work. Many programs I need to use (Altium Designer for one) are only Windows. USB on Windows is a nightmare: I use many development boards with USB interface and they all seem to assume they will be the only USB device installed on my computer. Wrong. Too often, clashing ensues. It can be a real headache, requiring uninstalling and rebooting, ad nauseum. Still, USB in Windows 7 is a lot better than under XP.
- Not in love with Windows 8.1 since I don't want my PC to look like a tablet or phone, and I don't want to connect with the MS cloud. I don't spend all day on social media or gaming. I don't want a dumbed-down "friendly" screen of tiles: I was fine with the Windows 7 GUI. Is USB a lot better under Windows 8.1? I don't know.
- I'm an electrical engineer with background in hardware design of mixed-signal (that means digital and analog) systems, including embedded controllers.
- Embedded Java enthusiast, though sadly in the US that market has pretty much dissipated due to neglect and stupid licensing by Sun ($100K to make Sunspots commercially? Really? No wonder there were zero takers). My company, Systronix, produced TStik, JStamp, JStik, SaJe, and other (at the time) ground-breaking embedded Java systems.
More to come.