Isnare Free Articles
Authors Contents [Add OpenSearch]
Distribute your articles to more than 6,000+ sites and 40,000+ email group publisher subscribers for as low as $2 / article...
Index  Article Directory  Computers and Technology
Embed this Article  
Kurt Hartman

Kurt Hartman x 44 articles

Liked the article? Consider buying me a beer!

Most Recent Videos Most Recent Videos

As I was sitting here, preparing to write this article, my mind wandered back to the day I accidentally wiped out a Windows installation with a Gutsy Gibbon CD. I thought I was in trouble. I had just knocked out my work documents, including various templates I made, along with scanner support, and my Adobe 8.0 suite.

It was at that moment I decided to make a go of it with Linux as my sole operating system. After nearly 2 years of tweaking, making mistakes, fixing those mistakes, and then making even more mistakes, I finally feel qualified to give you advice.

In light of this experience, I now present "11 Crucial Things An Ubuntu Newbie Should Know".


1. ps -A: One of the reasons I hated Windows so much was the task manager. When a program would hang, you'd have to open task manager, tell it to kill the program, and wait 5 minutes for the system to kill the application, All the while, it would bog down the processor, hog memory, and be an overall nuisance. 50% of the time, you would have to restart the computer to get the process to clear.

Not so in Ubuntu/Linux. All you have to kill a program is open the terminal, and type "ps -A". This will pull up a list of all the processes currently running, with the name of the program, along with a 4-5 digit number next to it. Then, type "kill -9 PN" (PN should be substituted with the actual Process Number), and hit enter. This will kill the app, no questions asked. It will not ask you any questions, or give you any excuses. That program is now dead, until the time you decide to resurrect it. This will not work with things like Apache, or other process daemons. If you're not sure, just try to kill it. If it doesn't die, then it is probably a daemon. You will have to find the actual documentation to stop the daemon.

Bonus tip: In Ubuntu (Gutsy and later), the command to stop Apache is: sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop To restart: sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start

2. gksudo nautilus: Nautilus is the GUI-based file browser for Gnome, which is the default window manager for Ubuntu. If you are not used to the command line, this command will save you hours when it comes to file operations. Well, it will only save you hours for things that have to be done as root. Things like special system configuration, and other things where you need upgraded privileges will be much faster when you use this command.

Just open the terminal, type "gksudo nautilus", enter your password, and magically you can do anything you want. For faster access, right click the Desktop, select "create launcher", enter "gksudo nautilus" as the command. You can now click the shortcut on your Desktop , rather than opening the terminal and entering a command each time you need access to Nautilus.

3. dmesg: If you have managed to really mess something up, or are having trouble getting things to work, you may need someone with greater experience to take a look. Typing "dmesg" in your terminal window will call up all the messages from your system kernel. Copy and paste this into a text document, attach it to an email, and let a true expert get a look at what is going on with your hardware.


4. Ubuntu's package manager, Synaptic, is a GUI front-end for Aptitude. What you don't know is that Synaptic is set to run in what could be called "safe-mode". It will not go get the latest and greatest versions of the software you are running. It will get the last (often 6 months older) version of the software you want to run. You can upgrades faster by enabling optional software repositories.

To do this, open Synaptic (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager), then select Settings > Repositories. Once you are in the repositories window, select the "Updates" tab. The Ubuntu "security" and "recommended updates" repository have already been selected. To get the newer stuff, you need to check "backports" and "proposed" software. Apply, and reload. This should get most of your software up to date, along with the kernel.

5. The kernel: While having the latest and greatest stable kernel can improve system performance, it can also break little fixes you have made along the way. An example: I had gone through the painstaking process of editing some configuration files to get my webcam to work. The last kernel update overwrote the changes I had made, and in the process, disabled my webcam. This can get irritating, but eventually a kernel release might fix an issue on its own, so I guess it is an ok, if not completely lossless tradeoff.

6. Upgrading to the newest version of Ubuntu: Don't do it right away. Always give a new version at least two months in regular use before you decide to upgrade. I have tried to upgrade for 3 releases now, in the first two weeks of availability for the upgrade. Each time, there has been a major failure, mostly in the area of graphics and sound. If your release is stable, there is no reason to upgrade right away, other than a few minor changes in speed and stability. You forfeit these if you upgrade on the first day of a new release. You have been warned.

Got Help?:

7. You can Google it: If you haven't googled it, do not trounce into a forum and ask the question. People are nice, but they really can't stand laziness. If you have searched, and can't find it, it may be a more advanced question that really needs more expert analysis.

Here's the search formula that reaps the best rewards for me: [manufacturer] [model] [problem] [ubuntu distribution]...(e.g. sony vaio webcam installation hardy). You can vary this formula a little bit, as sometimes it takes a few searches to get the hang of it. The one thing that you should not change is having your version of the distribution in the search. The reason is that fixes, and places where applications install can be different depending on the version you are using. This will ensure that you receive the best solution possible.

8. The Forums: Most of the time, Googling the problem will send you to the Ubuntu forums. Get a user name, log in, and be respectful. Be sure you try everything they tell you to before griping that it won't work. The help and advice is free, and usually very helpful in nature.

9. Launchpad: This is a bug reporting service that Ubuntu users use to get bugs and various other problems fixed. You can reach the project at . Once you get there, click on report a bug, and follow the instructions. Be sure the problem has not been reported already, as they will ask. Provide as much information about the incident as possible. They will keep you posted on the progress as far as the problem being resolved, and assign a priority rating based on the severity of the problem. I've had to use it 2 or 3 times. Even the minor problems have been resolved in 2-3 weeks.

10. Don't Be Afraid To Break It

This is the most important rule. This ain't your Granny's china. Stuff will break, you will be the one to break it. You will also be the one fixing it, along with your friend Google. Be patient, be persistent, and walk away for a bit if the solution just won't come. Vindication will come, and when the fix is done properly, or you changed a variable that caused performance to increase, there will a mountaintop rush. Chances are, your significant other won't care, but that won't matter. Feel free to prance around in your boxers, and act like you just won the Nobel Prize.

11. Everything in Windows can be replaced with Open Source software: Really, it can. It takes a little time to find it, but when you do, a whole new world will open up. You'll start to see how things work better than you expected. Things will play that would not on Windows, you'll be able to open every attachment you ever wanted to. Productivity will increase, thereby giving you more time to make your system work faster, and work on your own open source program.

I can't include everything I've learned over the past two years here. There are some other articles that I have written on software packages, and the pros and cons of each. Just google my name and iSnare to get a full list of what I have written on the subject. In conclusion, have fun with Ubuntu, share your knowledge with others, and fear God. Seriously.

That's all the advice I have for you.

Rate this article:
Kurt Hartman has been using Linux as his primary operating system for the past 2 years, and has loved (almost) every minute of it. He uses it regularly in his role as Head of Employee Training for Mobile Fleet Service. They sell Titan Tires in addition to several other brands, including Michelin, Bridgestone, and Goodyear. If you enjoyed this article, please search for Kurt over on iSnare, or read his blog at .
Important NoticeDISCLAIMER: All information, content, and data in this article are sole opinions and/or findings of the individual user or organization that registered and submitted this article at without any fee. The article is strictly for educational or entertainment purposes only and should not be used in any way, implemented or applied without consultation from a professional. We at do not, in anyway, contribute or include our own findings, facts and opinions in any articles presented in this site. Publishing this article does not constitute's support or sponsorship for this article. is an article publishing service. Please read our Terms of Service for more information.

Most Recent Articles

Renovate Your Lawn Beautifully With Lawn Care and Maintenance Services

An Article by LAZICH LEO in Gardening

3 months ago

An unkempt and ugly lawn is not only an eyesore, it also creates a negative impact on your property. If you have let go of lawn care so much so that it is over run with weeds or shows bare patches, a lawn renovation is in order. Repairing your lawn may be a good idea if the about 25% of your lawn is in bad shape...

Custom Hanging Signs Sydney - Affordable Way of Promoting Your Business

An Article by Mike Layman in Marketing

3 months ago

Hanging Signs are not just an amazing and highly cost effective way of advertising your products and services; they are easier to setup in comparison to other advertisement signs – just hang them from a pair of hooks or whatever and you're done. Needless to add, this also makes them more economical than other outdoor or indoor advertisement material...

Armor Your Laptop in Style With Printable Laptop Sleeves

An Article by Rohit B in Finances

3 months ago

To help you with both of your purposes, let us discuss about such a service which will help you out here to create your own laptop sleeve. So as I told you in the above paragraph, which I would have started my personal service or something to help you out of this situation. But let me inform you what you must be thinking is just something hypothetical, but that’s not true...

Start School in Time by Using Automatic School Bell

An Article by Vivency Global in Education

3 months ago

School is first place where children learn discipline, good manners and punctuality. The automatic school bell solutions are really important and makes away from manual errors. Humans may ring the bell at in appropriate time but the machine cannot. The most of the school are digitalized with interactive boards, automatic bells, CCTV and many...

Applying For No Credit Check Mortgage Loan? – Expert Tips to Follow

An Article by Roy Robbins in Finances

3 months ago

Interestingly, the option of no credit check mortgage loan has been made available by some lenders. So, one does not need to undergo tedious process of credit assessment. However getting quick approval for an affordable mortgage no credit check loan is not easy. Some stringent approval criteria may apply...

70-345 Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 Study Books

An Article by Chung Crissler in Internet

3 months ago

Examunion offers you a comprehensive look at the best prospects available in 70-345 exam questions throughout the Industry. Not only will you be given theoretical, but also given 70-345 Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 study books which will give you even more practice than before. Try our Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 70-345 exam test today and succeed in your Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 70-345 exam...

Microsoft MCSE 70-339 Practice Exam SharePoint Server 2016 70-339 Questions Material

An Article by Chung Crissler in Education

3 months ago

Maybe on other web sites or books, you can also see the related training materials. But as long as you compare Examunion product with theirs, you will find that our product has a broader coverage of the certification exam's outline. You can free download part of Microsoft MCSE 70-339 exam books from Examunion website as a try to detect the quality of our products...

Gain Weight and Build Muscle

An Article by Arati Shah in Wellness, Fitness and Diet

3 months ago

Several individuals do not succeed in their passion to maintain a healthy diet due to the lack of knowledge of eating healthy at work. When at work, many find it difficult to stay committed to a diet plan due to several unavoidable reasons such as colleagues might request to eat with them, availability of lots of delicious food at workplace, etc...

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR 1Y0-202 Questions

An Article by Kruis Barry in Education

3 months ago

1Y0-202 is a challenging exam, with our XenApp and XenDesktop 7. 6 LTSR 1Y0-202 questions; you can feel safe with our question and answers that will help you in obtaining your successful completion of your 1Y0-202 exam. All of our practice exams including the 1Y0-202 exam will prepare you for success...

VSphere 6.5 Foundations Exam 2V0-602 Dumps

An Article by Kruis Barry in Education

3 months ago

Passcert vSphere 6. 5 Foundations 2V0-602 dumps 2V0-602 help you to save a lot of time and effort. You 2V0-602 also use the extra time and effort to earn more money. Passcert provide you the product with high quality and reliability. You 2V0-602 free download online part of Passcert providing vSphere 6...

Citrix Certification 1Y0-202 Exam Answers Passtcert

An Article by Nigel Reyez in Computers and Technology

3 months ago

Passtcert is a website which can help you save time and energy to rapidly and efficiently master the Citrix certification 1Y0-202 exam related knowledge. If you are interested in Passtcert, you can first free download part of Passtcert Citrix Certification 1Y0-202 exam answers on the Internet as a try...

Benefits to Your Wedding Provided by Limo Service in Pittsburgh, PA

An Article by Iris K. Allen in Marriage

3 months ago

Using professional transportation on your wedding day may seem like a given and a basic booking to make, but considering the effect that it can have, you’d serve your wedding day well to be selective with your booking. Find a worthwhile company and secure every wedding transportation need with a suitable Pittsburgh Limousine...

Mark the Family Wedding With a Denver Bus Rental

An Article by Lucille W. Hill in Travel

3 months ago

The obligatory family wedding comes with challenges, but it also offers opportunities. A Coach Bus Denver will make it possible for your extended family to reconnect, save some cash, and all attend the family wedding as part of a group. Take Note of Transportation NecessitiesComprehensive research into all elements of transportation should come before you make reservation from any of the Charter Bus Companies Denver...

Killtest 2017 Microsoft MCSA 70-764 Test Questions Microsoft 70-764 Practice Test

An Article by Delia Green in Education

3 months ago

70-764 Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure is among the many most respected exams so you can get good work opportunities. We can complete devoid of much frantic use the particular help regarding Microsoft MCSA 70-764 Test Questions Microsoft 70-764 Practice Test that are exclusively made for people who will need advice...

2V0-602 VSphere 6.5 Foundations VMware VCP6.5-DCV 2V0-602 Exam Test Prep

An Article by Morris Porreca in Education

3 months ago

About VMware 2V0-602 exam, you can find these questions from different web sites or books, but the key is logical and connected. Our questions and answers will not only allow you effortlessly through the exam first time, but also can save your valuable time. Examgood can provide professional and high quality products...

MLA Style Citation:
Hartman, Kurt "11 Crucial Things an Ubuntu Newbie Should Know." 11 Crucial Things an Ubuntu Newbie Should Know. 20 Feb. 2009 24 Nov. 2017 <>.
APA Style Citation:
Hartman, Kurt (2009, February 20). 11 Crucial Things an Ubuntu Newbie Should Know. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from
Chicago Style Citation:
Hartman, Kurt "11 Crucial Things an Ubuntu Newbie Should Know." 11 Crucial Things an Ubuntu Newbie Should Know
Copy and paste the code below to embed this article:
<a class="embedly-card" href="">11 Crucial Things an Ubuntu Newbie Should Know</a> <script>!function(a){var b="embedly-platform",c="script";if(!a.getElementById(b)){ var d=a.createElement(c);,d.src=("https:"===document.location.protocol?"https":"http")+"://"; var e=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];e.parentNode.insertBefore(d,e)}}(document);</script>