Hey everyone, I have one question - Community & Forums Related Discussions

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nikivi
Registered
I just stumbled on this forum and find it very interesting. I have been using OS X as my main operating system for the past three years after moving to it from Windows. I have found this transition of moving from Windows absolutely blissful. I really realised how much interesting unix is and how one can do some really amazing things with the utilities already provided by the system.

However I am really interested in really getting to know more on how everything operates 'under the hood' so to speak so I was looking for a way to really understand that. Reading about it from books can be insightful but I really think unless you really try and play around and understand everything, you won't really fully understand it. I think. So my question is, can you guys recommend me the best way to really get into open source distributions, how they work and what you can do with them. I will probably run these operating systems in a virtual machine on my OS X since I currently don't have a secondary laptop nearby me right now.

I was thinking of ether trying out Linux from Scratch and going through that, or going and setting up arch linux or perhaps go straight to gentoo and try to configure it as my first open source distribution. I also heard about Crux distribution from here but I think it might be a bit too complicated for the first timer like me. What do think?
nikivi
Registered
Found this thread in the forum : https://nixers.net/showthread.php?tid=1617

Which essentially answers my question. I will probably go with the Arch set up path for my first time and then try something more ambitious and interesting later, like crux.

I am curious though what are your guy's opinions are on OS X as an OS? I know its closed source but I really love the way software is build directly for the specific hardware. It really does make a difference in speed and experience but perhaps I am wrong.
venam
Administrators
Simply grab a live CD and try it.

Talking/writing won't lead you nowhere, it's getting your hands dirty that will.
josuah
Long time nixers
I think you can even boot from an USB flash drive without actually installing the OS, if you ever need to...

I learned a bit by doing more things "by hand" with commands in a terminal rather than using GUI that hides what happen. Maybe it can help you understand a few more things as well.

Some distributions, like Arch, invite you more often to do so than others, like Ubuntu. But after using Arch a few, I felt that it handles most things for the user, that has does not have so many things left to handle on its own.

For Linux distributions like Arch, Crux, Gentoo, Slackware, Alpine, Void... and BSDs; there is only a minimal system installed by default. Not even a graphical user interface. They need to be installed, and this helps to figure out what is essential to run the system, and what you can install on-top of it.
pranomostro
Long time nixers
My start with the command line was the huge unix book by O'Reilly with that huge-eyed maki on the cover.

I learned most of the commands by simply reading it from beginning to start and trying the commands.
This is possible in OSX, too, I think.

But like the others said, after some time a free OS is better to gain a deeper understanding.

I am currently using Arch, but I would say that something without systemD (like Void Linux) may be easier to understand (runit
seems pretty cool).

Have fun! See you on the forums!
vain
Long time nixers
(09-06-2016, 12:38 PM)venam Wrote: Talking/writing won't lead you nowhere, it's getting your hands dirty that will.

Yup. Even more so, I'm convinced that, in order actually learn something, you have to properly install a system and use it on a daily basis. A VM is nice for a quick look, but you'll miss a lot of things.

Or, let me rephrase. It's very hard to get to know a system by "looking at it". You learn a lot more when you're facing real problems. Actually, learning is more of a side-effect, really.

For example: You want to get some program running. In order to do that you need to edit /etc/environment. Okay, you do that and your program runs fine. The next day, you SSH into your machine and you notice that your program does not run anymore. Why? You eventually discover that /etc/environment is being read by PAM, you learn a little bit about PAM configuration, and finally you notice that (on your distribution) PAM only reads /etc/environment on "local" logins, but not when logged in via SSH.

So, you learned a great deal about PAM. But, initially, you never intended to look at PAM at all.

Stuff like that only happens when you use something on a daily basis and over a longer period of time.
nikivi
Registered
Thank you so much for the responses. These responses are really great and I agree with them. Especially with learning things as a side effect of using and trying to achieve certain tasks that I need. The reason though that I wanted to run in in Virtual Machine rather than adding it to another partition in my hard drive and trying to use it as my main os is because I customised my system so much that I am certain I will be so incredibly slow on it that it will be somewhat unbearable. In OS X, I have hotkeys for everything, open app with hotkeys, search google and websites through an Alfred prompt (https://www.alfredapp.com). Speaking of it, are there any really good alternatives out there in Linux for it. I suppose you may not even need it but I just go really accustomed to it now and its array of cool things that you can do (http://www.packal.org). I have system wide vim bindings with Karabiner (https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/) as well as remapped keys like caps lock as my esc key. I have a lot of applications that I use that simply do not exist in Linux, like one for task management (http://www.2doapp.com) or one for writing my journal (http://dayoneapp.com). I just really find letting go of my system quite hard, I spent so much time optimising it to my needs (http://i.imgur.com/1gKlfxe.jpg). However I am quite open to trying out new things and seeing what really cool things that exist out there.

I may try and do as you say and really get in it 'dirty' and make it work for me and learn a lot in the process. I also quite like the dark theme of this forum. I find it to be a great touch. :)
xero
Long time nixers
(09-06-2016, 04:43 PM)nikivi Wrote: In OS X, I have hotkeys for everything, open app with hotkeys, search google and websites through an Alfred prompt (https://www.alfredapp.com). Speaking of it, are there any really good alternatives out there in Linux for it.

alfred is really full featured, i would expect to see something similar outside of a full desktop environment.

but, there a lots of lightweight launchers for linux.

if you want fuzzy completions for binarys i use interrobang, but demnu and rofi are also popular choices. lots of people like a simple menu like 9menu or thing menu.


and as always,

Quote:welcome to nixers
Adrift
Members
There's also sxhkd, xbindkeys, xmodmap, xkb, and xcape. Which should be helpful for the hotkeys you mentioned.

As for more launchers, there is mutate, gnome do, lighthouse, launchy, synapse, and kupfer.

Without investing much of time looking over what precisely one might need out of the "task maangement" and "journal" links. These calendar apps may be of use? Or something like osmo? Honestly this google search might be quite useful to you.

Though I knew of a lot of those off hand, anything I didn't took less than 10 minutes off searching. Try to think of what precisely is needed out of those programs and search for something similar with linux as a search term. Mac OSes are really known best for their GUI eye candy, I doubt you will have much actual necessities missing in linux. No disrespect to Macs and all, but I just doubt it.
venam
Administrators
(09-06-2016, 04:43 PM)nikivi Wrote: The reason though that I wanted to run in in Virtual Machine rather than adding it to another partition in my hard drive and trying to use it as my main os is because I customised my system so much that I am certain I will be so incredibly slow on it that it will be somewhat unbearable.

You really really need to checkout this thread or the blog post about it.

Keep the good workflow going!