Journey to Linux

This year, after becoming increasingly exhausted with Windows updates (why do I have to use Skype, Teams, etc.? Come on!), I decided to commit to Linux (Ubuntu). Here’s the process I followed with links where available:

Leaving Windows: Switching from Windows to Ubuntu is very simple. The first step is just to get a bootable version of Ubuntu on a flash drive. You can do that here.

Basic setup: Getting an initial setup is also very easy. Here are a few key programs that I use just based on my personal preferences:

  1. Google Chrome: Download the .deb file, wget, and install using dpkg, sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb. More info here.

  2. R and RStudio: Installing R is as simple as sudo apt-get install r-base. To get RStudio, you can download the .deb file here and install using sudo apt install ./rstudio-1.3.1093-amd64.deb (depending on the file that you downloaded).

  3. Text editor: I miss Notepad++. There’s not really a clear Linux option, but you can do it via snapd…sudo snap install notepad-plus-plus. The functionality is pretty limited though, and interface is clunky. So I moved away from Notepad++. Now I’m using Visual Studio Code for all of my non-R text/coding work.

  4. Email: I use Thunderbird as my Outlook replacement. It’s an improvement because I can also include gmail, but some of the standard outlook features are different. Overall, I think I prefer Outlook but Thunderbird is a more than sufficient substitute. Plus it comes pre-installed on Ubuntu.

  5. Windows: Gasp! How can you switch to Linux and still use Windows?! Well, I use OneNote heavily, and the only way to use OneNote with Linux is with a web-version. The web version doesn’t have the same functionality as the desktop version, and there are some major latency issues. To solve this problem and gain full access to desktop OneNote, I had to resort to a virtual machine running Windows.

    • Creating a Virtual Machine. These instructions worked well. One error I ran into was that the virtual machine wasn’t connecting at first. I had to run sudo virt-manager after installing with sudo apt-get install -y virt-manager, after which everything ran smoothly. Note that you must have a the right version of Microsoft Office account for this to work. There are a lot of steps here.
    • Once you’re set up, just run virt-manager from the command line to see your virtual machine and launch when needed.
    • Note…WinApps looks like a nice a way to launch several Windows Applications through a virtual machine in Linux. Much of the process is supposed to work in the background, so once things are setup, you should be able to open a program as you would any other program on Linux. This didn’t work for me though, and since I really only need the virtual machine for OneNote, I don’t mind the manual launch process. Still, if you want to give WinApps a shot, here’s a guide.