Neck-deep in Linux

This has been a month of Linux for me. I’ve worked with Linux and Unix for years (webservers, TiVo) but never on a daily basis. I just now made the switch on my main desktop PC (which is also my file server for music and movies).

So far, Ubuntu Desktop 6.10 has been somewhat frustrating but tolerable. I dislike how it’s not as easy or familiar as Windows. My biggest complaint is that many of my media programs don’t have suitable equivalents (such as a CD ripper with AccurateRip support or an easy-to-use Video editing program for TiVo files.) But those problems aside, the file server feature (that serves movies to my home theater computer) is running much better than it did under Windows Server 2003 and there are fewer glitches in general.

What finally prompted me to make the switch? A drive in my HD TiVo failed, so I spent a bunch of time backing up shows, re-imaging, and re-modifying my TiVo. Pretty much all of that time was at a Linux command prompt. Forgetting which command I needed to type into the command prompt was frustrating. But figuring out what to do and doing it properly was rewarding. The experience was positive overall and is really what gave me the courage to switch my server over to Linux. I felt working with it on a regular basis would keep me thinking and better prepared for future trials.
I’ve also started writing Linux shell scripts to automate some tasks on my TiVo. It’s very similar to some DOS scripting I did years ago. I read a couple of tutorials, looked at a sample scripts, and had very few problems with my first attempt. I guess I like the challenge of learning something new, because I’ve definitely spent more time working on the scripts than I did saving time running them.

Written by in: Tech | Tags: | Last updated on: 2014-May-27 |


  • mike says:


    as an ubuntu user, the worst thing you can do is install the default multi media pack with everything.

    on my computer it makes the sound not work and several video formats will not run.

    But when I install selected programs (most of the media pack actually) everything runs smooth and without an issue.

    as for editing programs have a look around because I remember something was pre-installed in SUSE 10.0 when I was using it a while ago. should also work from ubuntu just need to find it and add the repository.

  • Carlton Bale says:

    Thanks for the advice. I definitely need to look for more programs. I’m sure there are suitable alternatives for most of what I do. Unfortunately, there is no suitable alternative for Quicken, so it looks like I’ll be running a Windows PC, dual booting, or a creating a VMware virtual machine. Also, I haven’t found anything that offers all of the features of AnyDVD + CloneDVD, which I use to backup the DVDs I purchase. Linux has many advantages, but the wealth of easy-to-use software is the decided advantage of Windows.

  • Roberto Trujillo says:

    Hola Carlton,
    For a quicken workalike try gnucash, for backing up DVDs try K9copy. You’ll need to install libdvdcss for your DVDs and I’m not familiar with how Ubuntu handles this. You should be able to find the appropriate .deb file here:
    For video editing unfortunately there’s nothing that will approach Final Cut Pro or even Adobe’s woeful Premiere. There are some workable solutions out there according to my colleagues, alas their names escape me at the moment.
    I highly encourage you to check out the list of software analogs at the following URL:
    I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the free software communities offerings.

    Feliz año nuevo,

  • robert says:

    have you looked at gnucash as alternative to quicken? has been around for many years and just recently released v2.0 i believe. i haven’t used quicken for years and not sure of the entire feature set anymore thus can’t say how gnucash compares, but for desktop finance gnucash is a good solution.

  • Ron says:

    Not really an analog to Quicken, but a useful financial tracking consolidation web service is . Fidelity and other large firms use Yodlee to offer additional services to their customers.

  • MIke says:

    This really says it all. It’s the learning that keeps you from being senile. Exercise for the brain.

    >>I guess I like the challenge of learning something new, because I’ve definitely spent more time working on the scripts than I did saving time running them.

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