First time with Ubuntu: impressions from a Windows user

I’m starting off with a fresh install of Ubuntu 11.10 inside a VirtualBox on Windows 7. Here are my impressions as a long time Windows user and occasional Mac user.

My last foray into Linux was a brief stint with Suse Linux about 10 years ago. I didn’t really get on with it.

Ubuntu 11, however, seems to be better thought out, and easier to get on with. It bears more similarities to Mac OSX than to Windows, so if you’re used to Mac’s at all then you’ve got a good headstart.

What do you mean there’s no C drive?

If you’ve used a Mac at all this won’t be too strange to you, but if you’re Windows only then this takes a bit of getting used too. Essentially, everything is based of the root of the machine, like a C: drive, but it’s not named. So rather than having C:\MyFolder, in Linux you have /MyFolder.

This continues when you add external devices or network drives. Rather than adding as a lettered drive, they “mount” a device name into the /media folder.

The launcher

Much like the Windows taskbar or OSX dock, this has a bunch of icons in it that launch programs. Easy!

Switching between programs

Alt+Tab works just that same as in Windows and OSX. Lovely!

The terminal

Almost everything I’ve ever read to do with Linux has involved the terminal, which is essentially the Linux version of the Windows command prompt. So I was surprised that it wasn’t immediately obvious and accessible in the default Ubuntu installation.

It’s easy enough to remedy though: from the dashboard start typing a search for ‘terminal’ and the icon will display – you can drag this into the launcher. Or my preferred option – as a fan of keyboard shortcuts – is to press Ctrl+Alt+T to launch the terminal.

Copying and pasting in the terminal

Much like the Windows terminal you can’t Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V to copy & paste. Ctrl+C in fact will cancel the current operation.

But you can right click and select copy/paste. Ctrl+Shift+Insert also works for* copy *and Shift+insert for paste.

Running a command with Admin priviledges

This one’s simple, put sudo at the start of the command. For example instead of:

usermod -a -G vboxsf yourusername

use:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxsf yourusername

What else? You tell me!

Clearly I’m pretty new to Ubuntu, so please share your tips to help me and other Windows users get the most out of Ubuntu.

All help is greatly appreciated. Thanks :-)