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First Steps

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Operating System

I chose to use Ubuntu as my Linux distribution. Not having a lot of experience in Linux, this was a bit of a difficult decision. At this point, I don’t think it really matters which distribution I use. I primarily chose Ubuntu because in my brief search it seems to be one of the most popular – this leads me to believe that it will be easier to resolve any problems I might hit.

I decided to go with LTS. While there is a newer version of Ubuntu, again I felt like the long term support version would probably have more users and therefore more search discoverable support. I first tried Ubuntu 13.10, but it was painfully slow in the VM environment due to video card issues. If I remember correctly, if it can’t find hardware acceleration, it falls back to using the CPU.

I haven’t extensively used a Unix/Linux operating system since college. I am a bit surprised at how familiar it feels. For example, at first I was using emacs to edit files and I remembered quite a few of the key chords. I have since installed Sublime Text 2, which is excellent.

So far Ubuntu seems to be working well. I think I might try Mint next. Ubuntu’s Unity interface is okay. The sidebar navigation is a bit awkward for me. I’ve read that Unity might be a push in the direction of a tablet interface, which may explain why it feels a little awkward to me. Another possibility is CentOS. Again, at this point there probably isn’t much difference for me.

I’m currently running all of this as a guest OS inside Virtual Box on my Windows machine. It seems to be working well. There was one Ruby gem that took very long (30 mins?) to compile – I think that was caused by some strange VM behavior. I may eventually move to a dual boot, but for now I’m pretty content with the virtual machine.

#Ruby and Rails One decision that I did not anticipate was whether I should start by learning Ruby first and then Rails, or Rails and then Ruby. I am trying to learn both at the same time, but the Ruby book I ordered wont arrive for a couple more days.

The Ruby book I have ordered is Eloquent Ruby by Russ Olson Just reading the preview, it seems to not only give a good overview of the language, but also has some good tips on how to code in a Ruby sort of way. The book hasn’t arrived yet.

To learn Rails, I’m following along with the Ruby On Rails Tutorial by Michal Hartl It is very helpful so far.

#Git GUI on Linux - Where are you? One thing that I have not been able to find is a good implementation of a GUI client for git. On Windows, GitExtensions is excellent once you get used to it. There are a handful of git GUIs available on Linux, but I have not found anything even close to GitExtensions. I do use the git command line most of the time, but I find it very helpful to have a good history visualization.