The Story

My first time using linux was in 2013, when I was still a high-school student. I had been frustrated with how windows performed on my then Intel Atom Computer. It was too slow, almost impossible to work with. Then there was the fact that I was beginning to hate paying for every version of Office and Windows that came out. It didn’t make sense, for every little upgrade, I was expected to pay even when the system wasn’t stable. Remember windows vista and windows 8. Those were terrible. Okay, enough ranting. Windows really wasn’t working for me so I began searching for alternative operating systems, not knowing that a whole new world of design and performance was about to open for me.

Linux was of course one of the very first search results that came up from a quick google search. I had no idea what that word even meant at the time, so with wide eyes and an eager curiosity I clicked randomly on a suggested linux distribution. That distribution turned out to be Ubuntu. I read through the installation section for Ubuntu, skipped the backup part(I just wanted a clean start), learned how to create a USB-bootable disk and I was ready to go. 2 hours later I was running a brand new operating system on my then weak, small Acer Aspire mini-notebook with a struggling Intel Atom processor. With Ubuntu installed however, the thing was fast! Setting it up was a breeze and I have to say a beautiful experience as well compared to the Windows setup. Then after everything was done, I sat staring at the unity Ubuntu desktop in wild confusion!

Discovering Linux - Ubuntu Os

Everything on the desktop appeared to be all wrong, the launcher menu was on the left, there was a panel on the top with system options, I had no idea what to do. I took a deep breath, opened up firefox which to my great happiness came pre-installed and began studying this new complex OS.

My search string went something like this:

What to do after installing Ubuntu?

Lucky enough, it turned out I wasn’t the only person in the world who had been clueless after installing Ubuntu. There were a number of useful tips and suggestions and for those who are new to Ubuntu or considering to install it, here are some that I found very helpful. Now before I list these, there is one thing I must say. You, like I did, might get intimidated with installing software using the terminal(the equivalent of cmd) but trust me, when you allow yourself the time to learn and get comfortable using it, you are going to love it! That being said, here is a list of things to do after installing Ubuntu.

  • Install restricted packages:

Without these, you aren’t going to be able to play any media files and if you’re like me that simply is unacceptable. There is an option to install these during the Ubuntu setup but it requires an internet connection. I didn’t selection the option the first time but it would be a useful shortcut for those who haven’t installed linux yet. To install the restricted Packages:

Open up the Terminal and type:

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

#Press enter and let the magic happen(You'll be asked to enter your password after pressing enter and don't be confused when   you don't see any characters appear, that's just how the linux terminal does things, sleek and simple)
  • Check for and install updates
$ sudo apt-get update

#Then install package upgrades:

$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

This is all for now, for additional packages, a quick duckduckgo search will help(Eventually, Google stopped being my primary search engine). Here is a link that might help: Ask Ubuntu

After I’d gotten around to using Ubuntu comfortably, I began loving the sense of control the system gave me especially after becoming familiar with Terminal commands. Even more important for me was the fact that I could easily use open-source tools to do things that required hundreds of dollars to do in Windows or Mac. Hint: Gimp vs Photoshop. I began little by little to fall in love with Linux, even more than I thought I would. Oh, and did I mention? No need to install Anti-virus software. Linux is BOSS.

Loving Linux

Depending on what you do, your taste and passion, there are many ways Linux can adapt to fit your character. By this I mean there are many many ways of customizing Linux to produce a system that you’ll love and since I cant possibly list them all, I’ll list those which I like. For more tips you can browse through the OMG Ubuntu website.

  • Consider using a Unity Desktop alternative. I am currently using the Budgie desktop because of how minimalistic and simple it is. If you’re interested in giving it a try, here is how you can install it.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:budgie-remix/ppa
$ sudo apt update && sudo apt install budgie-desktop budgie-welcome
#Then logout and select the Budgie session by clicking on the Unity icon just beside your user name.
  • If you do stick with the Unity Desktop, install the Ubuntu Tweak tool. It adds more customization options like icon styling to your Unity Desktop. Install it like so:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update && apt-get install ubuntu-tweak
  • Adding an icon theme to your Unity Desktop. One of my favorite icon theme is Oranchelo icon pack. It is a flat icon pack with sleek colorful icons that I think you’ll love. Here is how to install this theme.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oranchelo/oranchelo-icon-theme
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install oranchelo-icon-theme
#Then select it using the Ubuntu Tweak tools
  • Spice things up by adding widgets to your desktop. Yes linux recently got some sleek widgets designed by PlexyDesk(Thank you PlexyDesk, you just moved Linux one step closer to heaven). I recommend using them on the budgie desktop, it’s a personal preference but it does really look nice, especially when desktop icons are turned off. Here is how to install it:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:plexydesk/plexydesk

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install plexydesk

# Launch it using the terminal by typing: plexydesk

Keeping it

Using linux and using it efficiently requires to you stay up to date with the latest linux developments. There are many ways to do this, one is of course browsing through linux news sites. Here are my two favorite:

  • OMG Ubuntu If you’ve paid attention, you’ll notice I used resources from this website quite a lot in this article
  • Itsfoss This is another favorite of mine. It covers a lot of open source news and if you’re going to keep using linux, you’ll need to be aware of how the open source community is just AWESOME. Linux is after all the product of work from many many open source communities.

A lot has changed since I first used linux, one is that I now run Ubuntu 16.04 on a more powerful machine, an EliteBook with an i5 processor so things have gotten a lot faster and smoother. Another thing is just how much more I want to learn about Linux and of course how much I’ve already learned. Thanks to using linux, I quickly took an interest in web development and will be getting into more detail about that in another article. I’ve tried many linux distributions, but I’ve always come back to Ubuntu, something about it fits with my taste. And then there’s the meaning of the word. ‘Ubuntu’, a quick search will tell you that it is a South African word which means:

I am who I am because of who we all are.

It is perhaps this beautiful philosophy that attracts me to Ubuntu and if you are up for it, I recommend you give Ubuntu a try.

Update: I have since switched to Elementary OS and I’m loving it