Tell Me What Fun Things To Do With Ubuntu (Linux)

I just got a new hard drive for storage (1 TB) and I got a free CD for the ubantu (Linux) operating system.

I have Windows Vista sp2 and am quite happy with it.

But I thought I would put ubantu on my other drive, just so I could play around with it.

So I thought I’d ask people here, what ideas or fun things I could do with it, or should do with it. I like to experiment or learn things, so any comments would be appreciate it.

The only immediate question I have is I want to partition of part of the new drive for ubuntu, how many GB should I partition for? Or should I just run it off the disc. The instructions with the disc say this is possible

I can’t help you except to say I like Ubuntu because it loads very quickly.
I only have it on one machine, the obsolete one in the den, banished there for being too slow for normal work.
But now it’s great for looking up quick questions while I’m watching TV, like if a movie will repeat later in the week, or what other movie that guy was in. You know, that guy from the movie with Kevin Bacon…

One tip, if you rely on Favorites a lot, is to Export them from IE to a spreadsheet, re-save the file in .htm format, and then email it from one machine to the other to use as a links page, bypassing Bookmarks altogether.

Running Ubuntu off the disk is good for trying out the OS for a couple of hours, but if you really want to use it, you should defenitely install it.
10 Gb or so would be more than enough for Ubuntu, if you want to save the disk space for Windows, a couple of GB will suffice for Ubuntu.
Personally I would give it somewhere around 100 GB, just to avoid the hassle of running out of space later on.

As for things to try, setting up your own webserver is very easy, and kinda fun, if you can be bothered to make an actual website to put on it. :slight_smile:

Otherwise, look through Synaptic for any programs you would like to install.

If you already use and like Windows, then there’s really not incentive for your to move to Ubuntu, especially for “fun.” If you’re worried about viruses, network intrusions, and so on, then there’s a definite incentive for you. If most of your programs run on Windows and there aren’t Linux packages available, then they’ll run best on Windows (most can be made to run on Linux, though, via WINE, depending on the particular program).

I’m not trying to dump the hate on Linux – I have a full-time Linux box that’s a central aspect of my home, and I’m quite adept at managing it via the shell (mentioned to demonstrate that I’m not a Linux coward). I have run Ubuntu in a VM on my Mac (and do run Windows in a VM when necessary). There’s nothing at all appealing about Ubuntu that my Mac OS or Windows don’t already do, for day-to-day desktop stuff.

I guess, then, that “fun” doesn’t enter into it, but if you have an identified “need,” then you certainly can’t go wrong with Ubuntu. Identified “needs” are the only reason I resort to running Windows in a VM sometimes. I’ve not identified a reason for Ubuntu, though.

While I agree that windows and mac can do pretty much everything Linux can, and not always vice versa, I would just point out that often the fun lies in actually figuring out how to use the OS.
Learning how to use Ubuntu really took me back to the days I spent trying to figure out how to do stuff in DOS. Great fun. :slight_smile:

Do this. In the past year or two, I’ve exerted enough self-discipline to avoid it, but I used to spend hours just browsing the available packages after a fresh install. (Debian and dselect, actually, but close enough.)

One beauty of open source is that much of the software is the result of someone “scratching an itch”. Assuming your idea of what’s fun skews a bit geeky – and if it didn’t, you’d never have posted the OP in the first place – surely you’ll find something of interest. More than likely, you’ll find more than you’ll ever actually be able to examine in any depth.

I can joyfully spend hours giggling like a maniac with the “compiz” desktop effects. Mrs G is unimpressed. “But look, I can make the window wiggle! Heeheehee! Look at it! And raindrops!”

One fun thing is to spend hours and hours and hours and hours trying to get wifi to work!

Don’t remind me…

Anyway, if you’re into programming, Linux has an incredible amount of languages available. Most serious languages also run on windows and OSX, but quite a lot of the lesser known ones work best on UNIX-like systems. - Then again, I’m not the best guy to ask about fun - I’m planning on trying out distributed Clojure/Terracotta on multiple linux machines this weekend :slight_smile:

Also: Celestia is amazingly cool.

I wouldn’t suggest running it off the CD. It’ll be slow as hell. If you want to play around for more then an hour or so, just install it.

The bunches and bunches of free compilers and development utilities are a big draw for me, if you like that sort of thing. I’ve been playing “Battle for Wesnoth”, a turn based strategy game which is in the free software repository.

And there’s GIMP, which is usually part of the default install, and is like photoshop, but with slightly fewer features but also free.

If you’re used to Windows and you want to run Windows programs…yeah, Windows is probably better.

I’m actually running Ubuntu myself, primarily because I was tired of having to shell out $100+ if I wanted a legal copy of Windows, and the authentication BS was pissing me off. I’ve got the computer mostly where I’m happy with it, but being a gamer I keep running into walls. They’re surmountable, but they’re still annoying. You can’t just install a game and expect it to run the way you can on Windows. It requires a lot of fudging and fiddling and research to get a game running, and that’s if it will play at all. The OS interacts differently with games than Windows does, too. For example, I had to turn off keyboard repeating because if I held down W to move forward in WoW, the OS literally interpreted that as me hitting W repeatedly. Fine for typing, not so much for playing.

If you want a new OS to play with, it’s a neat OS, and apt (for which Synaptic is a GUI front end) is a brilliant, brilliant tool. But if you want it to work like Windows, you’ll probably get frustrated. Just a heads-up.

Also, LiveCD is good for quick tests, but I would install the OS if I were planning to do anything substantial with it.

Thanks for the input. I guess I’ll run it off the disc at first.

I would like to learn about it, as lately my jobs have been with computers, and while I have a lot of experience with dealing with Windows, more and more companies are going to Linux, so they can save the fees for licensing.

The start-up’s a dream, definitely. My desktop starts up in under thirty seconds, and boots into the desktop within 5.

The biggest difference is the lack of idle churning you’d normally get on Windows. Windows does all sorts of weird things with the hard drive, and keeps it running nearly constantly when you first start up your computer… Ubuntu boots up, and sits quietly, waiting for your next move :slight_smile:

Casserole you are so right, even with the disc it goes fast. If I buy a lap top, I think I’ll see if I can find one w/o a O/S and put ubuntu on it. Hopefully I can get it for less.

System76 sells systems with Ubuntu pre-installed. Their hardware is also checked against the operating system, so everything should work out of the box, and they provide a driver CD for the ones that don’t.

It’s not much less expensive than a comparable Windows computer, due to the fact that laptop retailers get kickbacks and enormous discounts from software companies, who then include that garbage pre-installed.

I’ve always wanted to buy a System76 laptop… the Darter ultra-portable looks like a nice one.

Well that’s bizarre. I was inspired by this thread to boot into Linux for change and was just noticing the noisy churning of my hard drive when I read this. Its been going since I booted about 15 minutes ago.

I never get any churning in Windows (7) at all with my 3GB of ram.

Have you booted into Linux recently? After a “dry spell”, Linux will do some maintenance tasks (like updating file directories, caches, and such), which does take awhile… I’m guessing that’s what is happenning.

Ubuntu usually does all it’s file maintenance while booting, doesn’t it? I’ve never had it thrash the hd while it was running, despite going several weeks between boots.

If you type “top” into the command line, it’ll give you a list of the top programs consuming system resources, you can probably tell what’s spinning the drive from there.

Not as far as I know – though the periodic fsck might be what you have in mind.

I’d think that the Update Manager will only run after boot up (i.e., at some point after a login screen appears), downloading the repository list then checking against installed files – I wouldn’t know about the timing myself, as I have it set to manual on the boxen I maintain. In addition, there’s updatedb (updates the file/directory list used by the locate command, for one) that I catch running every so often (not sure what the trigger is) and the indexing service (which I also can’t really say much about – I disable it).

I would assume so, but since you don’t need to restart Linux machines as often (if at all - my record was 200-something days), the maintenance tasks usually run a little bit after 12 am, in my experience.