Meta: Happy Holidays!

This is a meta-article from Linux Tips. I figured many folks will be celebrating the holidays and that this was a good time to take it easy. Oddly, my family tends to do everything the evening before Christmas, so I’ll be around today.

It’s this time of the year that many people are celebrating various holidays and we here at Linux Tips can do some celebrating as well. It’s amazing how well the site has done. I figure I’ll share some quick stats with you.

We’re up to 128 articles on L-T.
This month we’ve had an average of 290 daily visitors.
There’s about 118 unique visitors per day.
The site is chewing through ~8 GB of traffic per month.
Google supplies the most unique visitors.
Linux.org supplies the most repeat visitors, Reddit is a close second.
Neofetch vs. Screenfetch is the most popular article.
The second most popular disables sleep and hibernation.
Third most popular is about BalenaEtcher.

Ads and donations don’t even begin to cover the cost of hosting, never mind covering my time. That’s okay. I’ll continue to write and the hosting will keep getting get paid. Someone did donate $5. I will probably apply it to the hosting costs, or maybe just donate it to the animal shelter.

If you’re not wanting to donate or click ads, you could share the links elsewhere so that the site gains in popularity. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc… There are even links at the top of each article that make sharing the articles even easier. 

More Meta – About The Community:

I often speak about appreciating the Linux community. It truly is special. 

The other day, I lost a near-and-dear to me online friend. They’re someone I had known for a long time. The older you get, the more you experience death (two in about a week). At least they went peacefully in their sleep. However, I felt a real loss and had real grief.

Anyhow, it reminds me of the Linux community. Pretty much every day, my online friend and I would exchange at least greetings. More often, we’d exchange a ton of messages in between our other activities. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone this way. It’s also amazing how close you can become.

But, again, it reminds me of the Linux community. We often spend time with each other and develop true friendships. I mention this because I think it’s important to realize that there’s a real person behind each account. 

Yes, behind each account is a real person. They have hopes and dreams. All of them have accomplishments and faults. Yet they are dedicated to the same things we’re all dedicated to – making Linux more accessible and getting you up to speed with Linux.

So, while we’re celebrating holidays, let’s take a few minutes to thank those who give to the community. Let’s keep in mind that those people helping are real humans and appreciate their efforts. They put in hours and hours just trying to help a project they’re passionate about. Without them, we’d have no Linux. Without them, there would be no Linux community. They deserve our thanks and our kindness.

If you’re one of those people, we thank you. Thank you for the hours, thank you for the consistency, thank you for the passion, and thank you for your additions to said community.

You know who you are… Give yourself a hearty thanks and know that you’re appreciated.

Then again, if you’re on the outskirts of the community, it doesn’t take much to get involved. You don’t have to dedicate all your free time. Help where you can. Contribute what you can. But, most importantly, don’t be afraid to get involved.

More Meta:

I’d like to take a minute to point back to the first section and make sure you realize how much more this is than I expected. I never expected the site to grow this much. I never expected this much traffic, and I never expected the feedback.

Not so many of you comment here – but many of you comment elsewhere. That’s okay, as I know where to find you. It’d be just fine if more folks replied here to ensure future readers got the benefit of their wisdom, but that’s just fine.

I want to thank you for this. You made this as much as I did. Your encouragement, readership, and feedback are all motivations for me to continue. So, go back up to the first section and realize that those numbers are because of you. Without you, those would be meaningless numbers. To me, those numbers indicate value – and I appreciate it.

I never expected readership levels to be this high. Nor did I expect the site to be of value to so many people. While I did the writing, it’s you the visitor that has made it so. 

I’ll try to put it into perspective with just one image. This image isn’t what I’ve done, it’s what other people have done. This is just the search results from Google – but it’s a good example of growth:

Google search performance.
Those are just the Linux-Tips.us Google Search Performance numbers.

That’s right, there are now thousands of impressions and dozens of clicks every day. All I did was write the articles. Y’all are the ones providing the growth. The growth in traffic overall is rather amazing. I expected maybe a dozen daily users and used to be stoked when I had 20 visits per day!

I used to have to manually submit my new links to Google. These days, the habit remains but more often than not Google already added the new link to their index. For some reason Bing hates the site, but it is what it is and I can’t figure out why. Still, Google sends an excellent amount of daily traffic.

So, thank you my kind readers. Thank you very much. The site’s success is a great motivator to keep on going. My official ‘year’ will be ending in just a few more months, but it seems likely that the site will keep on going – simply because of the success it has had.

Closure:

Well, there’s another article. This one isn’t very technical, but it is important. Well, I (for one) think it’s important to thank people. It’s also a fine time to remind us all of the community behind this and a fine time to suggest folks have a happy holiday. (My birthday is coming up in a few days, but there should be articles aplenty.)

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Why I Use Linux

Today’s article will be short and simple, about why I use Linux. I’ve wanted to write it for a while, and it may end up being another one of those articles that gets updates over time. (Note: This article is from the defunct site, due to a death in the family.)

I tend to use Lubuntu and that’s my preferred desktop system – even after the change to LXQt. It’s visually simple and familiar. It’s light on resources, even though I have plenty.

I don’t use Linux because I hate Microsoft. You’ll never see me call them a derogatory name. I don’t have any major anger towards Microsoft or their products.

I don’t even care if the product I’m using is opensource. Being closed-source doesn’t bother me. I care that the application works and lets me do the things for which I installed it.

I am using a closed-source browser as I type this. Like Linux, it just works for me. It gets out of my way and lets me accomplish my computing goals.

That’s what I really like about Lubuntu. It just gets out of my way. Once it is configured, I don’t have to keep tinkering with it. I don’t have to continually pay attention to the operating system – it just keeps working and I just keep updating it.

I love the simplicity and efficacy of the terminal. When I boot my computer, a terminal emulator is one of the first things I open. I often have two or three of them open at once.

I never have any hardware issues that I can’t resolve. Sure, it may be a bit difficult to find your wireless driver – but once you do then you needn’t worry about it again. In the mean time, tether your phone and connect that way. Then again, I always have an adapter that works well enough for me to get the drivers for any built-in hardware.

I don’t see the process as any different than Windows. You have to put some effort in to make it work. But, once it’s installed, all of my updates are done at the same time and with just a single command. The concept of a package manager is fantastic and you get a wide variety to choose from.

I like both the sense of community and the actual community. If I really want to put the effort in, I can find the person what wrote the driver for my wireless adapter. I don’t suppose that’s really true with any other operating system. With Linux, I can find the person(s) who put my OS together – and, in fact, I do. I try talk with them at least once a week at the online team meeting. I recognize many of the names I see across the ‘net and I’ve known some of them for many years.

I suppose that I do like having access to the source code. I don’t tend to make (m)any changes, as my programming skills aren’t that great these days. Still, I do sometimes make a quick change, apply my own patch, and compile applications on my own.

I like that I have the freedom to have as much, or as little, operating system as I want. I can have a distro with everything installed or I can have a distro that barely has a terminal installed – and you’ve gotta compile that yourself. There are so many choices. There’s a Linux for everyone and, if you’re willing to learn, there are seemingly infinite combinations. I like being able to pick my desktop environment, favorite terminal emulator, favorite window manager, etc…

I like that it’s always changing. I legitimately like systemd, for example. I like learning Netplan. I like learning the new features. I like understanding what’s going on under the hood – or having access to people that can actually explain it. I also like that no matter how hard I try, I will never truly understand everything. There’s always something new to learn. There’s always something new to ‘geek out’ with.

I guess, with the above, you could say that I like the constant innovation. Sure, sometimes Linux is trying to ‘keep up’ with the other mainstream operating systems – and sometimes it goes out on the edge and the community does things you simply can’t find elsewhere.

Linux isn’t perfect. There are bugs aplenty and flaws we’d maybe not tolerate in an operating system we paid for. Sure, we overlook the warts and call it our own – but we really can call it our own. We can meaningfully contribute to a project, to a distro, to an organization, and to the community. There are so many ways that we can give back, and that is awesome.

Anyhow, I don’t want to make this too long. Feel free to write a sentence or two below, letting me know why you like Linux. If you’d like, instead of responding where you’d normally find me, respond here so that folks can see this in the future and see your contributions to the subject.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: I’m Now An Official Lubuntu (And Ubuntu) Member!

It goes without saying that I’m a pretty big Lubuntu fan. The reason it goes without saying is because (as anyone that knows me knows) I have said it plenty of times already! This ‘award’, becoming an official Lubuntu Member, is recognition for past activity in the Linux (specifically in the Lubuntu/Ubuntu sphere) community.

My application was voted on and approved on the 14th of November, so just a few days before you saw this. I actually missed the email notification (just an automated message informing me that I’d been added to a group) and didn’t notice until the congratulations started pouring in. I’ve since received guidance from my mentor, thankfully.

If you don’t know what it means (and what responsibilities you have) to be an official Lubuntu Member, you can learn more about the Membership by clicking this link. There’s more to it and I’ve not yet gone through all the benefits, but I’m pretty happy to have been voted into a rather exclusive club.

Darned right! Not a whole lot of people on the planet can say they’ve been official Ubuntu Members! I guess there are ‘more than 500’ of us currently, which is still a tiny drop in the ocean that is Linux users and the general population at large!

So, yes… Yes, it does make me happy to be a member. The recognition is nice and it’s comfortable to say ‘my peers’ – even though they all pretty much know so much more than I do.

My Lubuntu History:

You should probably start by reading my article here:

What it’s Like To Beta-test Linux, Specifically Lubuntu

That’ll give you most of the information you might need.

Anyhow, Lubuntu has been around since its official recognition in 2011. I’ve been using it nearly as long, as I was really happy to have an Ubuntu official-flavor with LXDE – my preferred desktop at the time. I dare say that it’s still kinda my official favorite DE, but I really have grown to like LXQt. It grows on you in time and is maturing nicely.

About 14 months ago… You know, it’ll take a minute, but let’s get some numbers for posterity! 

Alright, it began officially in October of 2020, when I said the following:

I have some free time coming up. I can toss some hours at this, but not for this release. Do you want testing on bare metal, or is testing in a VM adequate? Is the #Lubuntu IRC the place to go?

Which is the official start of my testing – so to speak. I jumped in just a little while later that month, after 20.10 was released. That means 21.04 was my first full-cycle participation. We’re now testing 22.04 and watching the changes has been informative and interesting.

One of my continued goals has been to learn more while helping. And, man… Did I learn a lot. I’m still learning a lot, and I now have a much better understanding of how Linux works behind the scenes. My troubleshooting abilities have increased because of it. I highly encourage others to get involved. Jump in at the deep end. The immersion helps!

My Lubuntu Future:

After the first cycle, I was actually able to (and was heavily encouraged to do so) apply for official membership. I decided to not apply at that time and to give myself a additional cycle before applying. It seemed prudent to make sure that I was really going to keep helping. 

Sure, the membership is about past contributions but, to me, it implies a level of commitment to future contributions. I plan on keeping on doing what I’ve been doing for the duration. I plan on continuing my education and stepping up to help with the tasks I am able to complete.

Man… It does feel nice to say ‘my peers’, but so many of them know so much more about Linux than I do. I am not even a programmer, at least not a very good one – and time doesn’t seem to be improving that ’cause I don’t have time to learn more. So, I definitely have a bit of that Impostor Syndrome going on.

Just reading the #lubuntu_dev chat has been super informative. Fortunately, I can jump in at any time and ask questions. They’ll help me understand, and point me towards additional educational resources. Everyone I could hope for stood up to help me get my feet on the ground and become a better tester.

It probably doesn’t need saying, but the people in and around the Lubuntu project are pretty awesome. Without them, I’d not be here – of course. I’ve spent a goodly number of years in academia, and it’s comforting to be able to surround myself with the smart people that make up the Lubuntu project.

My contributions elsewhere probably won’t change. I’ve been able to, and fortunate enough to, manage my time – and I’ve been able to set aside blocks of time for different tasks. So, I suspect this means I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing for the foreseeable future.

This also bodes well for the site. If I’m doing what I have been doing, that includes keeping this site active, interesting, and regularly updated with new content. I might as well… If I still have stuff to write about, I might just as well keep writing.

Still, this isn’t set in stone. This site eats a ton of my time. I’m still only planning on a full year – but it seems likely that I’ll just keep pounding the keyboard while hoping an article pops out the other side. It has been a pretty good run so far.

Closure:

For the record: I sure as heck didn’t get here by myself. In fact, if it wasn’t for the many, many positive messages and prompting me to apply, I probably still wouldn’t have applied. I don’t think I’d have felt qualified, if it hadn’t been for the urging. 

The two members I’d like to thank the most for that aspect are Leok and guiverc. Of the two, I consider guiverc to be my mentor. I’m pretty sure there is an official title of “Mentor” in and among the official members. I don’t think guiverc really holds that title, but they have put up with my many questions and given me great guidance over the past year. 

So, I’d like to thank especially both Leok and guiverc, as well as all the other members who have encouraged me, educated me, or just plain tolerated me when I asked questions. I told ’em back at the start that I’d do my best to make sure their time spent helping me learn would not end up as wasted time, and I’d like to think I’ve demonstrated that and made true on my claim.

To the rest of the well-wishing folks, thanks! You too have likely given me reason to keep going with this, in one way or another. Just reading the site is helping to motivate me to continue learning and publishing. Also, please feel free to leave any congratulatory comments here on this site, avoiding leaving them across the various sites. 

As always, thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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A Meta Post: The State Of Linux Tips

There was one site before this one and we’ll just ignore that in favor of the current site that contains various Linux tips, tweaks, and tutorials. This is an article about the state of this site, linux-tips.us, and is a measure of progress. This is an article about where we started, where we are now, and where we’ll be in the future. Something like that… I should also disclose that this post was authored under the influence of rum.

I think it’s important to first mention what the goal is. It’s not a lofty nor noble goal. I set out to get some of my Linux notes online. My plan has been to write an article for every other day. So far, so good. I’ve even had some help along the way, for which I am forever grateful.

(Don’t worry, we’ll cover some ways you personally can help elsewhere!)

When I think of about a summary of how the site is doing, it’s just “Holy crap!” I didn’t expect the site to do as well as it has. I really didn’t. For example, the site already has an Alexa ranking. Many sites never achieve that level of use. I get a ton of traffic (to me) from search engines, so the site is legitimately answering questions and helping people solve their Linux problems. To me, that’s pretty sweet!

Some Linux Tips metrics:

  • About 400 of my hours have been invested.
  • We chew through 4 to 5 GB of bandwidth per month.
  • We average about 120, and growing, unique visitors a day.
  • 93 articles have been published.
  • That’s about 75,000 words.
  • Which would take almost 5 hours to read.
  • Some 207 tags exist.
  • Only 44 people have commented so far.
  • The longest article is about should you use Linux.
  • The highest ranking article is Screenfetch vs Neofetch.

If you recall, one of the reasons from moving from the old site was that Google hated the .gq domain name (it’s a ‘free’ or paid domain) and those domains are so full of crap content that no reputable email provider would let the email notifications though its filters.

On this site, Google straight up loves us, as do email providers. The ads are doing better than I expected, but not great. Then again, I have no frame of reference, so maybe the ads are doing great. Speaking of which, maybe you could opt to show ads on this site. They’re just Google ads. They’re mostly harmless.

Beyond that, in the past few months Google has shown this site in the results (not very high) like 40,000 times. Only 600 have clicked through, but that’s actually a pretty respectable click-through-rate. 

Bing, of course, is the exact opposite. They mostly refuse to index the site, regardless of what changes I make. I have no idea what I’m missing. To make it even more confusing, Bing kinda liked the previous site.

Linux Tips’ Future:

We’ve come a long ways since the first article six months ago. People keep participating, signing up for the newsletter, registering for the site, and writing articles.

When I started this, I said I’d keep it up for a year. At this point, I can say that’s pretty likely. In fact, if I were to speculate, I’d be inclined to say I’ll keep going even after the year is over.

As far as my notes go, we’ve just barely scratched the surface. Beyond that, there’s always new stuff to learn and share. So, it seems pretty likely that I’ll keep going. After the year is up, I may change the publication schedule a bit. 

I won’t make any commitments until I get there, but I’m enjoying the project and having fun with the hobby. The every other day publishing thing is a bit much, but it hasn’t made me burn out yet. I think a part of that is the lovely feedback that I get.

You can help:

How can  you help? Above every article are some links where you can easily share the articles on your favorite social media platform. It’s nice and easy. You can do that without investing much effort, just share with your friends and groups who are also tech-minded.

There is the donations thing, but I don’t really need donations. The site’s going to stay online regardless. Still, it’s there if you want. If you do donate, I’d consider it more a motivator than a source of income. Who knows, maybe I’ll save all the donations and we can decide on something fun to do with them?

You too can participate. Go ahead, register. It won’t hurt. Leave a comment now and again. A small number of you are coming in from Linux.org, but you can still comment here. You can even write an article. It’s not that hard. If I can do it, you can figure it out. Heck, you don’t even have to register to write an article. I’ll even do the proofreading, formatting, and scheduling.

Most of those ways mentioned above are things that motivate me, things that make me more inclined to keep going. If nothing else, I’ll certainly finish the year – but it’d be nice to be motivated the whole way. It’d be nice to keep going and stay motivated even after the year has ended. For whatever reason, the interactions and climbing metrics make me enjoy it more.

As I mentioned above, you can still do that whole whitelisting this site in your ad blocking extension. 😉

Closure:

Yup. It has really been a full fix months already. It has probably been a full year if you count the previous site. I’ve invested a ton of hours into this hobby. It is pretty fun, as well. I encourage you to hop in and get involved. If you don’t want to do so here, start your own site with Linux tips. The more the merrier. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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The State of Linux-Tips.us, a Meta Post

Wait a minute… There was an article yesterday! There shouldn’t be an article today! Indeed, there shouldn’t. This is a meta post, letting folks know the state of the site.

Linux-Tips is a personal project, though one I encourage folks to join. The goal has been, and will continue to be, to write an article every other day. I figure that I’ll do this for a year and see where things are at before deciding if I should keep it up.

The feedback has been awesome. The participation is not much but it’s actually better than I’d expected – especially considering how new the site is and how little promotion I do. Most of the feedback seems to be at the sites where I link this site, and not here on this site. It is what it is…

Speaking of which, if you want to help you could help by sharing the articles on social media. It’s just a few minutes every other day! I should also point out that each article is published with a permissive license. You can use ’em for anything you want, with attribution.

I think things are coming along just nicely. I increased the available bandwidth due to some hammering on the server, but that didn’t happen last month. I’m okay with that. I’d prefer a steady growth. It’s less pressure, I think. I figure I’ll share the meta information with you now and again. I’m not sure how often I’ll do this.

So, how about some meta?

By the time you read this, there should be 39 articles published. That’s keeping with my schedule. I still have tons of notes, old articles on the old site, and ideas for articles. Don’t let that stop you from making suggestions or writing the article yourself!

The stats are all over the place. Every analytics software does it differently. There’s Google’s Analytics that doesn’t count anyone blocking ads, and Awstats that counts everything under the sun. We only used about 4 GB of traffic this month but we did average ~140 unique visitors per day.

Most of June’s referred traffic came from Reddit. This was followed by Linux.org. Only a small amount of traffic comes from search engines (so far), and most of that was from Google. Perhaps due to some SEO efforts, some of the articles rank fairly well at Google.

Not a whole lot of people are signed up for the newsletter. You should sign up for that! I promise, there won’t be any spam. There may also come a time when I stop sharing the links at the various sites, and this will be your way to keep up with when new articles are published.

In June, 688 people visited my article about will your hardware work with Linux. Most of those visitors came from r/linux on Reddit. The page counter is horrible and I should probably disable it. I have more accurate stats from the server itself.

More Info!

Site-wise, I’ve invested about 250 hours according to a plugin that monitors this stuff. Sadly, I didn’t install the plugin at first, so that doesn’t include most of the time I spent building the site’s architecture.

I did remove the adblock nag. I figured that was just annoying people. Alas, nobody clicks on the ads and Google prohibits asking people to do so. They’re pretty strict about the rules. So far, there has been a single donation. To them, I say thanks! The site will (almost certainly) stay up and running even without donations. You can help cover the server expenses if you want. If not, I’ll just cover the costs. I ain’t scared!

I dare say the site is feature-complete. Everything is running as it should. The site updates itself. It backs itself up both locally and remotely, each with duplication for a truly robust backup strategy. It does this daily, so the odds of losing much data are pretty low. If you can think of a feature you want, let me know.

The site’s security is quite robust. There have been no breaches as far as I know. Then again, I don’t ask for much in the way of personal information. I figure if I don’t collect your information then I’m not obligated to protect it. Still, everything is reasonably secure, using multiple layers of defense that I’ll avoid detailing here.

Closure:

And, I guess that’s it. That’s the state of things at Linux-Tips.us. That’s about all the meta I can come up with. Things are going fine and I look forward to saying the same thing a month from now, though some more activity would be nice. I guess I’ll include my standard closure text…

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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