Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Moving from Windows 10 to Ubuntu - Conclusion

I have been trying Linux for a few weeks on my laptop and the results have been surprising.

I found a new world when it comes to operating systems with lot's of wonderful things and some bitter one's.

The initial impressions were good but after some time my experience got worse.

Starting with the user interface, although Unity has a nice look and feel I just couldn't use because I wasn't feeling productive.

There's nothing particularly wrong with it, i just don't like the default workflow that comes with it.
So I looked for alternatives and installed XFCE. Not only it was faster but it was also more familiar for me as a Windows user.

Although things were starting to go well, i started having random panel crashes. Since i couldn't figure why these problems were happening and i hadn't changed much on the system , i decided to create a usb installation drive with Xubuntu do a clean install.

Then i started noticing some new problems:

Network
For some weird reason my wired network speeds were very poor.
They were basically at wireless speed levels!
I even disabled my wireless network card just to make sure but now dice.
Probably using an old or wrong driver ?

HDMI Audio
I tried with nouveau, i tried using nvidia drivers from Additional Drivers functionality, i even installed the drivers manually using nvidia official website.
Nothing. HDMI audio just didn't work!

Looked everywhere for solutions but no one had a solution for the problem.
The HDMI sound doesn't even show on the list of devices.
Even posted a question on askubuntu, but i was down voted.

Nvidia Optimus is just killing Linux.

Freezes
I had some random freezes without any apparent reason.
The only time that it made some sense was when i tried to create a vm in VirtualBox and the system just crawled when the virtual hard disk was being stored on the drive.
I have an ssd so i didn't expect this kind of behavior. Even without an SSD the operating system performance shouldn't drop so bad.

Conclusion

It was a cool experiment and i learned a lot about linux by forcing myself to use it as my main OS.
If i dual booted i'm sure i wouldn't learn so much.
Still it's not a viable alternative for me, and i actually feel a little sorry because i think linux has a ton of potential. Although we don't see a massive publicity or mentioning to Linux it's everywhere and it's a very important operating system.

The speed specially during boot, smoothness, easy install (loved apt-get) and freedom of choice was something i really liked about it.

But i was displeased by bad battery life, hardware that didn't work well and lack of solutions for my particular case.
Sure linux has come a long way since i last tried, at the time Fedora didn't exist, only Red Hat and we were living the RPM hell. Things are a lot better now but it's still not enough for mass market PC consumers.
For instance, Nvidia Optimus is still an issue on linux, and most laptops nowadays have hybrid graphics.
It's a massive downside for any potential linux user.

I really hope that in the future linux can be used in a more consumer like way than just for the geeks and critical mission cases.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Moving from Windows 10 to Ubuntu Linux

I've been using Windows 10 since the  anniversary update, i tried to use it since it was released but I always had issues.


Since I'm a persistent fellow, i was able to install it but I always had the feeling that i was using an unfinished, buggy and inconsistent product, something that i didn't experienced with Windows 8.



Since i'm not able to install the tons of Windows updates after a fresh Windows 8 install ( for some reason they fail to install)  i decided to try Linux. Since I don't have any experience I went the easy path with the most popular Linux distribution: Ubuntu.


Prior installation steps



Backups


Just plugged an USB hard drive and copied my personal files.

Although this is a simple and basic step, sometimes we just forget it.



Download Ubuntu


Just go to Ubuntu website and download the latest LTS version.

Since I'm a beginner, LTS would be the safest choice.

At this moment, the latest version is 16.04.



Download Rufus


Since I have USB flash drives I prefer to install Ubuntu via USB.

Rufus allows you to create an usb bootable device in a very easy way.


You can download it here 


Installation


We're now ready to perform the installation.

Just plugged in my usb flash drive and booted from it and started the installation.


The setup process is very easy, I swept my entire sdd and choose automatic partitioning. The rest of the process is very straightforward.


After rebooting you'll be ready to start using Ubuntu.


My Ubuntu Desktop


First Impressions


It's fast as hell! I can boot to desktop in 6 seconds.

Every device works out of the box. I don't need to install a single driver. Even my backlit keyboard and shortcut keys work.

Standby and resume work great and my laptop doesn't wake by itself as it did with Windows.

A like the fact that we can apt-get install <appname>, although is not as discoverable as installing windows software, it's easier and faster to do so.

It sounded like the perfect marriage but i had some issues.


Power Management


The battery was draining like crazy. To be honest, i bought this laptop in 2013 so the battery had better days. Still the drain was way faster than on windows.


To solve this i installed TLP and used powertop to see which devices or invalid configurations were causing this issue.


Powertop detailed information Things are better now, but i still need to take a better look into this to understand Linux power management.


Hibernation is also disabled, need to look into this as well.



USB Devices


I have an iPod nano 7th generation and a TomTom Runner watch.


As far as i know there's no way to sync my iPod in Linux (it's better than having to use iTunes!).


For the watch i usually sync by Bluetooth with my Android so no issues here.


I can't blame Linux since when i bought these devices i knew there was no Linux support for them.



Learning, Learning, Learning


This is all new to me so i need to make an effort and learn some things.

The power management part was a bit of a surprise, since there's so many people with this issue (just google) it should probably be solved by now (tlp installed by default and a powercfg --calibrate after distro install ?).


There are additional things that i want to do but i don't have a clue on how to do them.

Ex, i have two hard drives, i want to format the second hard drive and mount /home on it so i can perform upgrades or even change distro in a easier way.


I'm also a .Net developer so i need to change my workflow and understand how Microsoft technologies are working on the open source world. I might have interesting posts in the future about this.


Interesting times ahead


I wanted to do this for a long time, i find Linux a very interesting operating system in terms of exploration. You can explore it for hours and still have a lot to learn.


I'll update later on how this experience went and if it was worth it.





Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why do people leave their companies




It’s a little ironic when you inform your company that you’re about to leave and management or HR staff tells you something like “You’re leaving ? I’m shocked, i wasn’t expecting that ?”. 

They may not think so but, most of times it’s obvious!

Those statements just express how much lack of attention they are paying to their resources or that there’s a big lack of communication.
There are lots of reasons for leaving a company, but the most important one’s are not financial(although money is important), are human skills related. If you work alone or as a team, eventually people will leave the company if these elements are missing on a daily bases.

Honesty

This is the foundation of trust. It’s better to hear a hard truth then to stall with lies or uncertainty. People want to know what they can count on.
It’s also a sign of courage and strength in leadership.

Empathy

If your team or employee is having issues, help them and support them. This is also crucial for trust. If people feel they are alone in the line of fire, they have to fight for their survival. Sometimes they fight, sometimes they flight. When they run out of stamina there’s only one chance for survival, and that’s when they leave.

Trust

If you can’t trust your team then they can’t trust you. Is as simple as that. A very simple way to trust is by delegating work and sharing knowledge.

Engagement

Making the workplace an inclusive environment also allows everyone to share their opinion and make the best out of their work. If people have a chance to improve things and leave their mark they’ll do it, and will do better because they become engaged. Now everyone has a reason to care about work and not only about the paycheck, because they can make a difference.
This is what makes people go the extra mile.

 Communication

Talk. About the project, about the weather, about cats, about the last episode of your favorite TV show, but talk.
If communication is not a habit, every time people need to communicate it will be harder because it’s an exception and not a norm.
Good communication also helps people get engaged.

Fun

It’s makes the job a lot easier and eases the burden on everyone.
Having a fun and relaxed work environment improves communication and engagement.


Although these look like basic things, things like these tend to fail a lot even on big companies!
It’s not because people are bad in management or have a terrible personality, but sometimes their focus or priorities are on the work itself and not on people.

They are inside a box.

To keep people around, leave the box, lower the priority on work, at least for a few moments and focus on people. Look around, look at people’s faces and check if they are happy or if they’re struggling. Unless everyone’s playing poker, just by looking at people you can see how they are doing. Talk to them, ask how things are working out for them. And sometimes invite people for tacos or pizza, have fun moments and relax.

People are the most important asset on any company, don’t forget to take care of them.