When a Linux system boots, it enters its default runlevel and runs the startup scripts associated with that runlevel. You can also switch between runlevels – for example, there’s a runlevel designed for recovery and maintenance operations.
The X server on Linux provides your graphical desktop. If it crashes, you’ll lose all unsaved work in graphical programs, but you can recover from the crash and restart the X server without restarting your computer.
Many Linux users reboot into Windows to watch Netflix, but you can watch Netflix on Linux without rebooting. Unfortunately, the solution here is inefficient – while Linux geeks have explored a variety of other clever solutions, none of them work.
On Linux, the magic SysRq key can send commands directly to the Linux kernel. You can use it to recover from freezes or cleanly restart your system, even if nothing appears to be responding.
You’ve probably heard that it’s important to use your display’s native resolution – assuming you’re using an LCD flat-panel monitor instead of an ancient CRT monitor. With a LCD, using a lower resolution will result in inferior image quality.
If you’ve used Ubuntu a while, you might remember GNOME applets – icons that sat on your panel and gave you access to controls and information. If you miss panel applets, try installing third-party indicator applets for Ubuntu’s Unity desktop.
By default, Ubuntu uses a two-finger tap for right-click and a three-finger tap for middle-click on laptop touchpads. You can swap this behavior, but Ubuntu doesn’t provide a graphical utility for configuring it.
Linux is very flexible, but the amount of power it puts at your disposal can sometimes be overwhelming. These quick tricks for your Linux desktop will give you something you can put to use immediately.
The Ubuntu Software Center is a solid, user-friendly application, but sometimes you need more power. The Synaptic package manager – previously included with Ubuntu by default – can do many things the Ubuntu Software Center can’t.
You’ve probably heard that you always need to use the Safely Remove Hardware icon before unplugging a USB device. However, there’s also a good chance that you’ve unplugged a USB device without using this option and everything worked fine.
Ubuntu, like many other Linux distributions, is a community-developed operating system. In addition to getting involved and submitting patches, there are a variety of ways you can provide useful feedback and suggest features to Ubuntu.
While Ubuntu One might seem like a Ubuntu-only file synchronization service, it’s more than that – you can use Ubuntu One on Windows, Android, iOS, and from the web. Ubuntu One offers 5GB of free storage space to everyone.
You may have seen instructions that tell you to “uncomment” or “comment out” lines in a configuration or source code file. This is a simple process, but may not be self-explanatory to people that don’t understand the file’s structure.
AppArmor locks down programs on your Ubuntu system, allowing them only the permissions they require in normal use – particularly useful for server software that may become compromised. AppArmor includes simple tools you can use to lock down other applications.
AppArmor is an important security feature that’s been included by default with Ubuntu since Ubuntu 7.10. However, it runs silently in the background, so you may not be aware of what it is and what it’s doing.
VPNs and SSH tunnels can both securely “tunnel” network traffic over an encrypted connection. They’re similar in some ways, but different in others – if you’re trying to decide which to use, it helps to understand how each works.
VLC includes a fairly easy-to-use streaming feature that can stream music and videos over a local network or the Internet. You can tune into the stream using VLC or other media players.
Ubuntu and Linux Mint come with a “Guest Session” account, which anyone can log into from the login screen – no password required. If you’d rather restrict access to your computer, you can disable the guest account.
One of the defining features of Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems is that “everything is a file.” This is an oversimplification, but understanding what it means will help you understand how Linux works.
Ubuntu’s Update Manager keeps your packages at the latest version, but occasionally a new package version may not work properly. You can downgrade an installed package and lock it at a specific version to prevent it from being updated.
Linux logs a large amount of events to the disk, where they’re mostly stored in the /var/log directory in plain text. Most log entries go through the system logging daemon, syslogd, and are written to the system log.
Private Browsing, InPrivate Browsing, Incognito Mode – it has a lot of names, but it’s the same basic feature in every browser. Private browsing offers some improved privacy, but it’s not a silver bullet that makes you completely anonymous online.
There are several ways to change your default applications on Ubuntu. Whether you’re changing the default application for a particular task, file type, or a system-level application like your default text editor, there’s a different place to go.