Go on back to Linux will ya!

I’m back in the world of Linux on my desktop machine again. Well, mostly.


Desktop Linux has been a “thing” for so long now it’s a cliche but I used it as such for well over a decade and it wasn’t until I was lured away by the shiny games offered by Steam that I installed Windows on a machine. Well, time passes and Linux support for games improves. Many fabulous indie games now have Linux versions. I’m glad I can play Kerbal Space Program, Prison Architect, Papers Please, Luftrausers and more without booting into Windows!

I’m mostly back in the Linux fold. There are still apps I use regularly that don’t work in Linux. Lightroom and Ynab are the main offenders. Both run to a certain degree in Wine, and the latter runs quite well, but I’m afraid I’ll be cheating on Linux. I have a Macbook laptop here too that runs Lightroom just fine. My 1TB of photos (and some videos) resides on an external drive in my Linux box but with the catalog copied over to the laptop, Lightroom runs reasonably well.

It hasn’t been plain sailing either. I corrupted one external drive when I let Ubuntu try to resize and partition it. It was probably my own fault for not defragging it first. I thought I had lost everything as Windows couldn’t see anything on it. Luckily, after booting into Linux on a USB flash drive I could see everything I wanted copied off.

I have an Nvidia graphics card and I noticed ugly tearing in web pages in Chrome. I found a page that suggested enabling “Override software rendering list” in chrome://flags/ but while that worked it also stopped my cursor changing when hovering over links and hover actions on menus didn’t register. Luckily I found this thread that suggested disabling the “Composite” module in the X server. (That’s the program that displays things in Unix)
I couldn’t find the file, /etc/X11/xorg.conf in my Ubuntu 14.04 install but I found Composite was mentioned in /etc/compizconfig/unity.ini and when I removed it, restarted X and logged in again Chrome scrolled like melted butter on hot scones. (yum)

Unity is a lot nicer than I remember it, or maybe it’s because I have a better machine now. I have no doubt I’ll get bored of it and start installing Gnome, KDE, Xfce and everything else to play with, before coming back to it again. I fondly remember the days of Windowmaker.

So, Linux is back.

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

3 thoughts on “Go on back to Linux will ya!”

  1. I noticed an odd error from apt-get about ttf-mscorefonts-installer. It said I had to agree to a EULA but I hadn’t seen any while installing Ubuntu. There’s even a really old bug describing this.

    The solution was found in a pastebin saying I should reinstall with the following command:

    sudo apt-get install –reinstall ttf-mscorefonts-installer

    That shows the EULA that you can agree with. Phew.

  2. You may be interested in http://fixubuntu.com

    from the site: If you’re an Ubuntu user and you’re using the default settings, each time you start typing in Dash (to open an application or search for a file on your computer), your search terms get sent to a variety of third parties, some of which advertise to you.

    1. Nice! Thank you Blau, that’s really useful! I had already removed the Amazon store from the sidebar and had noticed but ignored the various Internet icons that showed up as they were generally wikipedia or fairly harmless links. I hadn’t considered the leakage of private data that was happening.

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