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Diving into Ubuntu

File_000Last year I bought a nerd magazine that was dedicated to the Ubuntu flavor of Linux. It came with a current version of the OS on a CD with tips and tutorials to follow along with all the articles. I am no stranger to Linux. I decided a couple years ago to burn a .iso to disk and see if I could mangle and old rickety Windows OS and convert it into a revived and speedy Linux machine. It went well. I was rather frustrated not knowing what was what, but I tinkered with it long enough and updated everything that needed to be.

I had one last Windows Vista laptop hanging around and I felt in the mood to vaporize another Windows PC by wiping the hard drive with refreshing copy of Ubuntu again. As expected, it went smoothly and quickly.

The Back Story

I am not a great big huge fan of Windows. I laugh at myself because I have spent the most of my early nerd years growing up using Windows. It is a love-to-hate long relationship which I chose to leave from irreconcilable differences. However, I can humbly say that the lines are graying for web development between Mac and Windows these days. Enter Ubuntu with me late to the party.

I have to say that Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code is beginning to gray the lines even more as a robust code editor. As far as I can tell, the first non-IDE to have linting and Emmet as a core features.

So most of my testing, tweaking and nerd curiosity was geared to seeing if I could replicate that which is my everyday rock solid development environment in Mac, to Windows and Ubuntu 15.10.

I bow in honor to the graying and blurring of the lines. Sure, it takes some time to set them up and get them purring like a kitten with a belly full or warm milk, but my inner geek can say with confidence: “Yes, it can be replicated.”

The two old laptops that I sacrificed to Ubuntu, wiping it’s hard drives of Windows and resurrecting them with new life are:


Dell1 – 32-bit

Laptop 1 – 2007 Dell Inspiron 6400, Intel Core Duo 1.86GHz, 2MB RAM 533MHz, 80GB HDD, Windows Vista Home 32-bit







Dell2 – 64-bit

Laptop 2 – 2009 Dell Studio 1555, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.1GHz, 4MB RAM 800Mhz, 250GB HDD, Windows Vista Premium 64-bit






They will now be known further in the article as Dell1 and Dell2

I think I found the magazine in a Costco. You might also find a Linux Magazine in Barnes and Noble. Ubuntu 15.04 was installed from the disc and were both upgraded online to 15.10.

The Install

There is a way to burn a copy from an .iso file to a CD and I did that a long time ago, it worked, but I definitely would save the hassle and buy a magazine with one ready for you. The magazine had a list price of $20 and it was very helpful with almost a 100 pages of tips, tricks and recommended apps to use. I read it and made notes before I did the installs.

Word to the wise: After working with both machines – I highly recommend trying to find a 64-bit machine to sacrifice. I found that for code editors and other software, I am running into roadblocks with 32-bit 15.10. I am not wanting to downgrade to 15.04 and wipe another version (for now) to find out. Ruby for 32-bit only goes so far and then things that depend on it to a certain version can’t be installed. I felt like I was chasing my tail in a dark rabbit hole trying to find work arounds and getting dead ends.

Anyway, Dell1 had an easy install and the wifi worked upon the resurrection install. During the install, you get the option to load into memory without actually installing if you want to test drive it. I went for the jugular and wiped the hard drive for a clean install which only took about 10 minutes for each one of the machines – 20 minutes total. Something went wrong with the upgrade with Dell1 from 15.05 to 15.10 and had to start over with the disc. All is well now.

Dell2 was another story. I was about to give up since the wifi wouldn’t work upon the initial startup after Ubuntu took over. Be aware that there is a hard and soft wifi on and off state. One is a wifi setting in the BIOS and the other is a physical switch either on the chassis or a keyboard combination. If the keyboard combination was in the off position before the kill/hard drive wipe, in my case the Fn+F4, then you will have to figure that out by pecking at the keys. But the keys themselves do give icons to lead you in the right direction. I kept hitting key combos until the wifi symbol was activated in the right corner of the menu bar.

Needless to say I am working more with Dell2, since it is a 64-bit system and there are more software options. Not sure when the day will come when the 32-bit will say goodbye. It may be around the corner faster than we think. So go with 64-bit!

Brackets did not work in 15.10 32-bit. Info stated it worked in 15.04 and I did not want to downgrade.

Code Editor Ubuntu 32-bit Ubuntu 64-bit
Brackets NO YES
Sublime Text 3 YES YES
Visual Studio Code YES YES


Browser Ubuntu 32-bit Ubuntu 64-bit
Chrome NO YES
Firefox (installed) YES YES

Terminal (installed)

I found another Terminal replacement to the vanilla Terminal app that was preinstalled. I am use to toggling on and off the appearance of the terminal so I went in search for my web dev necessity. I came across Guake. I was able to assign my favorite keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+` to toggle it’s appearance! Available in 32-bit and 64-bit

Getting ohmyzsh installed and as shell command:

I followed the official zsh installation but was having problems getting the Guake Terminal to run zsh as a command on startup. When I got to the command sh install.sh below, it told me I had to remove the folder home/username/.ohmyzsh. Once I did that and ran sh install.sh again it was install properly and got the ohmyzsh logo in the terminal with a permission password to install. To avoid this headache, follow the 5 commands below and it will be installed the first time properly:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install zsh
sudo apt-get install git-core
curl -L http://install.ohmyz.sh > install.sh
sh install.sh


Koala is a free Linux preprocessor. I am a Jade/Pug fan, but Koala does not process Jade/Pug. No worries I have two options:
1. Use a terminal window and have Jade/Pug watch my project folder:
jade --watch --pretty jade/index.jade --out ./

2. Install the Jade/Pug autocompiler plugin for Atom. I always have to go back to the documentation on the plugin to remember how to write the front matter at the top of each file that needs compiling. I have put to memory (easier for me), the 1. choice above. Along with an alias in my .zshrc file of gojade that starts that replicated workflow for all my projects that use Jade/Pug

FYI: Jade/Pug read more: https://github.com/pugjs/pug
Not sure when the official switch will be. Hope there will be good documentation for that. But for now they are still linking to jade-lang.org


No worries here. Just head to the Installing Node.js via package manager – https://nodejs.org/en/download/package-manager/ and click on Debian and Ubuntu based Linux Distributions.

Screen Grabs and Gif Video

Kazam is ok, in a kinda sorta way. I was hoping that Licecap made a Linux version but alas they do not.

PHP Environment

Seems that Xampp is the only one that has a 32 bit version for Dell1. But alas it would not install. I tried installing it all via the terminal and it failed miserably. I did get Apache and mySQL installed and running but when I went to install phpmyadmin, I messed up on a password question. Then I couldn’t uninstall phpmyadmin because of a locked file. Tried some runarounds and never got anywhere.

So I back to the drawing board… A fresh install of 15.04 from the disc I go…