Meta: 200th Post

Today’s article is just a quick note, nothing long or important, that marks our 200th post. It has been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. I’ve had some help along the way, but I’ve written all but a few of the articles. Yeah, we’re at 200 articles on Linux-Tips.

I initially said I’d do this for a year. That year passed a while ago and I’m still going. I’m still not out of ideas for articles, so I keep writing them. Of course, getting to do a non-article type of thing (like this) provides a bit of a break from writing the regular types of articles.

I’ve done these meta types of posts before. In those posts, I pointed out ways you could help. None of you seemed all that interested in helping, so I’ll just skip that section this time around. If you want to help,  you know how to do so. If not, well… I’ll just keep doing it by myself. After all, I got us to the 200th post!

At The 200th Post Mark:

So, the site’s search engine traffic is growing slowly but steadily. In the past 28 days, I’ve had 3100+ visits from just Google. Overall, site traffic increases a little and we’re hovering at about 7500 unique visitors per month. They visit about 13,000 times each month. This excludes bot/scraper traffic, of course. I get quite a bit of non-human traffic but it makes no sense to include them in my records.

The search engine traffic is nifty. They’re most interested in:

screenfetch vs. neofetch
changing the default terminal
Ubuntu’s restricted errors

Those three pages and search terms (combined) make up most of the search engine traffic we get. We rank in the top 10 for a whole mess of keywords. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but I’m glad it did.

That traffic is mostly from the United States, with 80% of the traffic being Linux users – most of whom using Chrome as their browser. However, a large chunk (35%) are unknown browsers. 

The average user also spends about 3m 12s on the site. Excluding those visitors from search engine results, the most frequent referrer is Linux.org. Imagine that? I think that’d be expected. Also to be expected, Linux.org visitors tend to be repeat visitors more than any other visitors – and are so by a very wide margin.

Closure:

I’m not sure what other stats you’d be interested in. Long gone are the days where I visited more than anyone else (meaning the admin control panel was the most opened page). It hasn’t been like that since about a month after I got the site finished. If you’re interested in any other stats, I’ll see what I can dig out – just ask.

The search engine traffic amazes me. I’m always a bit surprised to see so many people using my site – with so few questions, meaning I must be doing something right. Once in a while I get a correction, and I always appreciate that. Google refers to my site as ‘high traffic’ but I’m not sure what they compare us with. Sure, most sites get no traffic, but we really don’t get that much traffic.

Anyhow, we’ve hit 200 articles as of this one – which isn’t really much of an article. Still, I’m gonna count it and let’s hope we get to 400! I suppose we just might get there, but it’s gonna be a long road with a whole lot more articles than I ever dreamed I’d write. So, we shall see!

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Running Away From Windows

There are many new Linux users, people interested in Linux, that are running away from Windows. Instead, what they should be doing, is running towards Linux. When asked ‘who should use Linux’, my answer would be ‘anyone that wants to’. But, in all the years I’ve been involved in the community, I’ve learned a few things about who is most likely to have more success. 

Today’s article won’t be tech or jargon, or even a how-to… It’s just a bit of a short essay about some observations made over the years. As I said above, I’ve learned a few things. Let me try to explain them as best as I can. (Besides, it’s a nice day to not do a how-to article. A change of pace is always a good idea.)

Important: I don’t want to seem elitist. This is not about elitism – it’s about your point of view and your reasons for the actions you take.

In fact, I figure pretty much anyone can learn to use Linux if they want to and they’re sufficiently motivated to do so. But, I find those that ask the most questions and need the most help are those who are running away from Windows instead of running towards Linux. The folks that are running towards Linux are the ones that read the documentation, search before asking questions, study the books, troubleshoot effectively, etc…

Let me try to distill this into easy to grasp concepts:

A person who is running away from Windows says, “I hate Windows! I’m switching to Linux!” 

A person who is running towards Linux says, “I’m curious about how Linux works, and I want to make it work for me.”

They’re two very different mentalities and, as one might expect, often have very different results. No, not always will the results be different – I’m speaking about averages and observations. It’s very much possible to run away from Windows while becoming a very proficient Linux user. The opposite is also true, you can run towards Linux and fail. This post just speaks to generalities. Outliers exist.

Running Away From Windows:

These folks tend to ask questions that can be easily answered. They rely on you to do the work for them, and expect to be spoon-fed the help they need. I saw a good example thread today where someone was asking about Python and when they were fed all the information they needed, they responded with “… Now what?”

These people fight with Linux rather than embrace it. They never take the time to understand that Linux is not Windows. They’re not that interested in actually learning to use Linux, they’re interested in not using Windows.

Six months later, they’re still  making the same mistakes only now they’re convinced that Linux is broken – and they have the answers about how to ‘fix’ Linux. When they wear out the welcome mat at one support forum, they’ll move to another. Odds are very good that they won’t use Linux for a full year before they quit. They’ll go back to Windows for various reasons, but mostly because they refused to learn. They’ll say things like how Linux is too hard, not ready for mainstream, or fundamentally flawed to the point where it’s not useful as a desktop operating system (even though many, many millions of us do so every day).

Think of it like a zombie movie… The people who are running away are the ones that get captured and eaten. They spend half their time looking back to see what’s chasing them. Their fear leads them to irrational decision making. They lack purpose, confidence, and cognition simply because of their mindset. It doesn’t have to be that way. What they could have been doing was running towards something – like a weapon and higher elevation.

Running Towards Linux:

Now these are the folks I prefer – and for obvious reasons. They’re hungry for knowledge and really eager to learn as much as they can. They’ll burn out, of course, but quite a few will make it through and maybe become proficient forum helpers themselves some day. You can spot ’em pretty easily. They have laser focus. That is, they have clear goals that can be articulated, and the drive needed to reach those goals.

They ask precise questions – questions that can actually be answered. If you want, you can just give them a few keywords and send them out searching on their own, knowing that they’ll do just that. They’re the types of people who try, try, and try again – and then ask for help about the specific area where they got stuck.

They don’t want to be spoon fed, unless they ask for a detailed answer. They don’t need to be spoon fed, because after reading your answer they either understand or they’ll go searching to find more information. They are ‘self-starters‘ with ample motivation.

I don’t want to say that these are the kinds of people who should be using Linux. After all, I think everyone can use Linux – provided they put the effort into learning. (I think people also tend to overlook how long it took them to become truly proficient with Windows, Apple, or whatever OS it was they have been using. They seem to expect their prior knowledge to be some sort of shortcut, even though it’s not that applicable ’cause Linux ain’t Windows!)

But, I will say that those people running towards Linux are more likely to have a better time of it, and remain a Linux user longer, than those who use Linux because they’re running away from Windows. If you’re going to decide to use Linux, make sure you have good reasons to do so. Run towards the goal, not away from a fear. The motivation behind switching to Linux matters.

Final Thoughts:

When you’re running away from something, you’re not making good choices. You’re not looking where you’re going. You stumble and fall and the zombies chasing you end up cracking open your skull to dine on the delicious gushy bits within. 

When you’re running towards something, you’re focused. You don’t just want success, you want to get there as rapidly and as best as you can. You want to know everything you need to know to win the race and you’re motivated to pull yourself up over and over again.

So, before you decide to give Linux a try, you should stop and think about why you’re doing so. Are you running away from something? If you are, maybe think about it a while longer and try Linux when you’re running towards it as a goal – and not when running away from something else as your priority.

The goals and priorities are very different for each mentality and you’ll have a far better time if you’re running towards Linux than you’ll have if you’re running away from Windows (or Apple, or Chrome, or whatever else you might be using).

Just some food for thought.

Me? I ran towards Linux because I wanted something new. I wanted new challenges – and a familiarity of the old (I was a Unix user for part of my life). Additionally, I wanted the comfort that comes from knowing my operating system is gonna be just fine and that I don’t have to worry about it. Plus, I wanted to experience Linux on the desktop as my sole operating system.

Learning new ways of computation was a goal, as was understanding my computer better. I’m happy for those choices and goals and every time I sit down at my computer, I’m still running to meet those objectives. Every day, I make certain to learn more about Linux than I knew the day before.

For the record, I don’t mind Windows users. They don’t concern me. If it works for them, it works for them. ‘Snot my job to change their views. If they want to run towards Linux, we’ll be here to help them. Use the tools you need to get the job done. If that’s Windows, it’s no skin off my back. My ego isn’t so frail that I need people to agree with me about desktop operating system choices. But, don’t switch because you’re mad at Windows, switch because you want to love Linux.

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Turn Your Ubuntu Into A Wireless Hotspot

Have you ever wanted to use your Linux computer as a wireless hotspot? It’s actually pretty easy. Today’s article will get you started and it really isn’t all that difficult. We will actually be cribbing a bit of this article from the software’s homepage, but while some more, rather important, information added.

For many years, I used my own router that I had configured on my own hardware. It was built on Linux. The preceding version actually ran on BSD, but that’s not important for a site called Linux-Tips. Today, you can get a NUC or Pi for dirt cheap and so making a new router is back on my list of things to do. In other words, it’s a fun project that won’t take a lot of money to get into.

All of the varied software and hardware components are already there to make your own router, but I want to enable wireless connectivity. a wireless hotspot, and that’s what we’re going to look at today. The tool we’re going to use is called ‘linux-wifi-hotspot‘ That’s is a great tool, complete with GUI if wanted, written by lakinduakash. It has only been around for a few years, but it’s spoken of very highly – and it just works and works well.

At least it worked the last time I used it. This article is from the old site and I’m just moving it to this site. I actually haven’t bothered much with my own router for the past year or so. So, this information is a bit dated.

Turn Your Ubuntu Into A Wireless Hotspot:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

The software is easy enough to install. If you’re using Debian/Ubuntu, just add the PPA and install the software. To add the PPA, you just run:

On a modern Ubuntu, you shouldn’t need to do this, but you might want to go ahead and run a quick update with:

Then you can install the software, starting to get your system into a workable wireless hotspot. To do that, it’s just:

If you want, you can visit the link above (in the preamble), click on releases, and download the .deb file for the current release and just install it with gdebi. In this case, I’d suggest installing with the PPA – just to make sure

Then, you can go ahead and start it. You can also go ahead and make it start at boot, which would be prudent if you intended to use this to make your own router. It’s really self-explanatory and without specific questions for using it, I’m just going to refer you to the man page and the information at the project page.

Caveats:

But, before you can even do all of this, you need to know that your wireless adapter actually supports doing this. To find out, you need to know if your wireless adapter supports “AP” mode. AP obviously meaning ‘Access Point’.

To check this, you need to run the following command:

The project page is noticeably silent with this, but it’s a necessary step. See, you need to know if your hardware actually supports it before you even bother trying. Come to think of it, I probably should have put this closer to the top of the page! Ah well…

Anyhow, the output should contain one or both of the following lines:

Device supports AP scan.

And/Or:

Driver supports full state transitions for AP/GO clients.

So long as you see one or both of those, you should be all set to proceed. If you don’t see either of them, there’s no software solution and you’ll need to get hardware that supports AP mode. In many cases, that’ll mean doing a bunch of research and may even mean contacting the vendor or OEM.

Nobody appears to have compiled a list of hardware that supports AP mode and I don’t think I’ve ever bought wireless adapters that explicitly stated they do on the box. As near as I can tell, more modern adapters support it just fine, so you’ll probably be alright. Online specs are more thorough than what’s printed on the outside of the box, so maybe searching is okay.

Closure:

Alright, there’s your article for the day. I have no idea if you want to make a wireless hotspot for your Linux box, but now you know how. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and you shouldn’t have any questions. If you do, you know where to find me – or to find others who can help you – at Linux.org.

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.

Change Ownership Of Files And Folders

Today, we’ll be covering how to change ownership of files and folders. This is a pretty basic task and one every Linux user should know. This needn’t be terribly complicated, so this article will explain all you really need to know about changing ownership of files and folders.

When dealing with file management, permissions are important. It’s a security matter and a usability matter. You can assign various file and folder permissions, such as read and write permissions, a subject for a different article. However, files and folders all should have owners – owners who can do anything they want with the file or folder.

Curiously, your account should not always be the owner. While maybe not all that intuitive, you shouldn’t have ownership of all the files. This is why you have to use elevated permissions to perform certain tasks. This is to keep things segmented and secure.

Remember, Linux is designed to be a multi-user operating system. That’s not just human users, but different processes and applications may also be associated with users. For example, look at all the users on your system by running the following command in your terminal emulator:

You can also see all the groups on your system with this command:

Obviously, if a user is a member of a group they share permissions with that group. Files also only have one owner and one associated group, of course. So, if you want two people to have control over a file, one way to do that would be to make sure they’re both members of the same group. There’s all sorts of creative things you can do with permissions. This article will be covering just one aspect, it’ll be about how you can …

Change Ownership Of Files And Folders:

Like oh so many of these articles, this one requires an open terminal. You can do so using only your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Go right ahead and stay in your home directory. You can check the various files and their permissions with the following:

The output of that command will show you the user and group, with the two being listed in that order as in the image below:

ll listing user and groups
See? I even gave you handy arrows. The order is owner:group, to repeat myself.

To change the owner, the format is:

To change the group, the format is:

If you want to recursively take ownership, you need the -R flag. For that, you’d want something that looks a bit like this:

You can actually just use chown to change both the owner and group at the same time. You’ll most often do this with your own user and group, so I’ll show the command that way:

As you can guess, the -R flag will work there and an asterisk will cover all the files and folders within that directory. Obviously, this applies to folders and not to files.

Closure:

There you have it. You have yet another article and this one has hopefully taught you how to change ownership of files and folders. It may not be one of the most interesting articles, but it’s a skill you’ll eventually want to have and another tool for your Linux toolbox. 

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.

Backup Optical Media To .iso

In today’s article, we’re going to learn how to backup optical media to .iso. If you have optical disks you want to backup, this is an easy way to go about it. It will not work with all disks, especially those encumbered with DRM.

This is useful for data disks, for example. It’s also useful for music CDs. It’s less likely to be good for things like game DVDs or movies. Those use various methods to stop you from copying your discs. While there are ways to backup some of them, this article won’t be getting into it.

Instead, we’ll just be using ‘dd’ for this exercise. If you’re unfamiliar with ‘dd’, it stands for:

convert and copy a file

If you’re unfamiliar with the command, you should pay extra attention to the way it is used in this article. It’s a powerful tool and using it with just the slightest error can (and will) make you run for your backups.

So, with all those things in mind, let’s learn how to …

Backup Optical Media To .iso:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal now open, we should probably figure out where your optical disk is. One way to find your optical media drive is with this command:

Inside the results of that command you’ll find something like “[sr0] scsi3-mmc” from which you can glean that /dev/sr0 would be your optical drive. With that information at hand, you’ll fun this command:

Be really sure that the path to save is correct, though this command is less likely to harm you than other ‘dd’ commands.

Anyhow, you can verify the integrity of the file created. That’s an easy enough step to take and looks a bit like this:

That should spit out two numbers. Those numbers should match. If they don’t, then something has gone wrong and you might want to try it again.

Closure:

There you go… Another quick and easy article. This one teaches you how to backup optical media to .iso, a handy skill if you want to preserve the data on the disks before they get worn out, broken, or lost. 

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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