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.
If you’re using Linux, you don’t need VirtualBox or VMware to create virtual machines. You can use KVM – the kernel-based virtual machine – to run both Windows and Linux in virtual machines.
Installing software on Linux involves package managers and software repositories, not downloading and running .exe files from websites like on Windows. If you’re new to Linux, this can seem like a dramatic culture shift.
The Nautilus file manager included with Ubuntu includes some useful features you may not notice unless you go looking for them. You can create saved searches, mount remote file systems, use tabs in your file manager, and more.
If you’re coming from Windows, the Linux file system structure can seem particularly alien. The C:\ drive and drive letters are gone, replaced by a / and cryptic-sounding directories, most of which have three letter names.
Steam’s offline mode is notoriously problematic. To ensure it will work properly, you should perform a series of steps while online. If you don’t, Steam is supposed to prompt you for offline mode – but this doesn’t always work properly.
An IP address (or Internet Protocol address) identifies each networked computer and device on a network. When computers communicate with each other on the Internet or a local network, they send information to each other’s IP addresses.
VLC includes a web interface, which you can enable to access your VLC player from a web browser, controlling playback from another device – particularly useful for a media center PC. VLC also offers a mobile web interface for smartphones.
PowerShell Remoting allows you to run individual PowerShell commands or access full PowerShell sessions on remote Windows systems. It’s similar to SSH for accessing remote terminals on other operating systems.
People often “tether” their computers to their smartphones, sending their computer’s network traffic over the device’s cellular data connection. “Reverse tethering” is the opposite – tethering your Android smartphone or tablet to your PC to use your PC’s Internet connection.
Ubuntu One, Ubuntu’s built-in cloud file storage service, allows you to make files publically available online or share them privately with others. You can share files over the Internet right from Ubuntu’s file browser.
Like CCleaner on Windows, BleachBit frees space by deleting unimportant files and helps maintain your privacy by deleting sensitive data. And, just like CCleaner, there’s more you can do with BleachBit than just clicking a single button.
Use Nautilus-Actions to easily and graphically create custom context menu options for Ubuntu’s Nautilus file manager. If you don’t want to create your own, you can install Nautilus-Actions-Extra to get a package of particularly useful user-created tools.
Like most things on Linux, the sudo command is very configurable. You can have sudo run specific commands without asking for a password, restrict specific users to only approved commands, log commands run with sudo, and more.
Ubuntu doesn’t use a separate /home partition by default, although many Linux users prefer one. Using a separate home partition allows you to reinstall Ubuntu without losing your personal files and settings.
If you’re a PC gamer, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Valve’s Steam and use it regularly. Steam includes a variety of cool features that you might not notice if you’re just using it to install and launch games.
Windows RT is a special edition of Windows 8. It runs on ARM and you’ll find it alongside Intel x86 machines in stores, but you’ll be surprised just how much Windows RT differs from the Windows you know.
Whether you plan on using Windows 8 or not, everyone buying a PC in the future will end up with the Microsoft-driven Secure Boot feature enabled. Secure Boot prevents “unauthorized” operating systems and software from loading during the startup process.
Some Android apps on Google Play claim to be incompatible with various devices. There’s a good chance that these apps will run fine on many of these devices – you can bypass this check with root access.
If you have a single wired Internet connection – say, in a hotel room – you can create an ad-hoc wireless network with Ubuntu and share the Internet connection among multiple devices. Ubuntu includes an easy, graphical setup tool.
You’ve probably noticed that Ubuntu comes with a Public folder in your home directory. This folder isn’t shared by default, but you can easily set up several different types of file-sharing to easily share files on your local network.