Linux is Hard!

Or is it just different?

People used to walk everywhere, which is pretty easy, right? Unless of course you can’t walk, but let’s not be too pedantic here. Eventually, most of us learned to drive or ride a motorbike. Is that inherently easy? Could ease ever be described as something that needs contrast to be so?

I’ve always said that Linux has a steep learning curve, or something to that effect. I appreciate that about Linux now. Yes, it can be a tough nut to crack, particularly when compared to the likes of Windows and Mac. I know it sucks when things don’t work, but guess what, they can get it wrong too.

It took me a while to realise this myself, but a heck of a lot of people go into Linux with Windows firmly in mind, expecting it to be Windows, however, it’s a totally different operating system; an entirely different platform! That’s like stepping into a car and expecting it to drive like a motorbike.

I watched a video recently of a guy raging because he couldn’t deal with Linux not working as he expected. I’m not going to spout nonsense about how Linux always works or something, because the truth is it can be a major PITA. That said, this comes to mind:

“You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can’t put anything in. Before I can teach you, you’ll have to empty your cup.” – Master Ryutan.

Granted, you can’t really get a fair chance to mess with your cup if the thing doesn’t even work at all, which is why it took a while to get to the point at which I could learn all this stuff and get so involved with GNU/Linux, as some people insist on calling it.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully accept and understand that it’s not everyone’s idea of fun to fill your screen with virtual terminals and type out command after command. I know many people feel typing jargon is like going back to the days of MS-DOS, when such apparent gibberish meant you got something done.

Well, you still can get things done, and far more efficiently — why do you think the Linux command line has survived all this time, even in the age of such excessive hand-holding like the so-called “free” Windows 10? Your games and programs were created from lines and lines of code, or a program with a UI made from yet more lines and lines of code.

I loved Windows for years, but Windows 10 was the final straw. Ultimately, Micro$oft and Mac lock you down, but, provided it works on your hardware, then Linux will set you free. Is that always a good thing? No, as there are many opportunities to screw up if you overlook something, especially for a “power user” like me who loves to tinker and tweak.

I hope Linux will continue to mature and rise up to the challenge of appealing more to those whom refuse to use a terminal and want a more “user-friendly” environment. I want those things too — I’d love not to need the terminal for anything, and that’s coming from someone who loves it! I want the option not the necessity to use it.

Linux has achieved a lot, but there’s still quite the journey ahead for desktop users.

Keep up to date with Taut with Thought’s Twitter page!
https://twitter.com/tautwiththought

Search Linux Apps without Fluff

Thought I’d try this while messing around in the repos on my PeppermintOS 7 installation of Linux, or GNU/Linux, if you prefer. I found it useful, because I was sick of browsing through the repositories only to find fluff after fluff.

Using wc -l at the end shows 9,691 which is still pretty sizable. I’m sure quite a few are being filtered out, unfortunately, but I can’t think of a way to avoid that at the moment. I’m quite happy with this many for now!

apt-cache search " " | sed '/[a-z;0-9]-/d; s/ - /£/' | column -t -s £ | sort | less

If you want to see only the package names on one column:

apt-cache search " " | sed '/[a-z;0-9]-/d; s/ - /£/' | awk -F "£" '{print $1}d' | less

This one could be a good base to use for searching. So, you could add this function to your .bashrc for more user-friendly searches:

function acs(){
read -p "Package name to search for: " package_search
apt-cache search " " | sed '/[a-z;0-9]-/d; s/ - /£ /' | awk -F "£" '{print $1}d' | grep "$package_search"
return
}

The 2nd line within that function, replace it with the following line if you want to see the descriptions as well:

apt-cache search " " | sed '/[a-z;0-9]-/d; s/ - /£/' | column -t -s "£" | grep "$package_search"

Yeah, so some of that isn’t exactly necessary, but I like playing around with this stuff and getting a layout that appeals to me.

I’m not sure what this will and won’t work on, so you’ll have to just give it a try. It probably will only work on Ubuntu-based installations, however. I’m using bash 4.3.46(1)-release, if that helps at all.

Let me know if you find this useful.

Keep up to date with Taut with Thought’s Twitter page!
https://twitter.com/tautwiththought