Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

Back to Ubuntu

Published on in 👨‍💻 Dev
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Ubuntu was the first Linux Distro I “really” used. Before that I sometimes used Knoppix to disable some time limits on my PC my parents set me (but that’s another thing). I used Ubuntu to revive some old PCs I got from school, including my first laptop. Ubuntu is the distro most people start their Linux journey with, wether it’s on the desktop or a server.

But I’m always a specialist in trying to customize my system too much and somehow destroying it along the way. And that is pretty easy with Ubuntu, because you just need to add the wrong PPA, upgrade and your whole system is screwed. I also used Mint, Debian, Fedora and some other of the main distros each for some time until I settled for Solus. I was so amazed by Solus that it was the only Linux distro on desktops I used for over a year. But Solus has it’s problems too. So I started hopping again.

Due to new experiences I got while working with servers, I got in love with Docker and containerization. I thought about using a Docker exclusive system on my desktop too and got highly inspired by Jessie Frazelle, she did amazing work in this field. But after thinking and trying a lot about that, I gave up this idea and tried NixOS instead. NixOS is probably the best OS for me, because I can’t destroy the setup by messing with packages etc. But after using NixOS for a few days, I also noticed some disadvantages there and it needed just too many workarounds. I wanted to use the newest Linux Kernel and VirtualBox with the extension pack, but that wasn’t possible somehow. I even installed VirtualBox in a Docker container. It worked, but only to some degree.

I got so sick about all those workarounds, that I decided to ditch NixOS. But I also didn’t want to stay with Solus forever, because somehow the development started to slow down more and more. I suddenly got the idea of trying Ubuntu again. I followed the news about the 18.04 update online and I got the impression it improved over the years since I last installed and used it. There’s the GNOME desktop now instead of Unity and it also supports Snaps and Flatpaks quite well. I just tried it in a VM and was amazed.

But because I learned from my past mistakes, I decided to document my installation process. I wrote down every package I installed, every PPA I added and every configuration I changed. If it happens again, that I destroy my system, it’s just a matter of hours to setup everything again like it was before. And for cases where I don’t have this hours, I keep Solus as a backup on a second SSD inside my laptop.

Ubuntu is often considered as a system for Linux noobs and beginners. But after using it for a few days now, I can say it’s a system “that just works”. It’s like the MacOS of Linux distros. Friendly for beginners but flexible enough for experts. Im’m happy to finally have a system again that just lets me do my work and get’s out of my way. I’ve been as productive as never before the last days.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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