Linux and Coderetreat

So, I haven't posted in a while. I guess I've been busy? I dunno. I have been organizing/coordinating the Salt Lake City event for Global Day of Coderetreat. I guess that is keeping me busy. We have a facility, a facilitator and meal sponsor, so we are getting pretty close to ready. Good thing, since it is only 3 weeks away! Oh yeah, we're almost sold out too, so if you wanna come, you better register soon!

The other thing eating up my free time is Linux. Specifically Ubuntu. As you may remember, I decided to run an Ubuntu VM on my Windows 7 laptop. I really want to expand my skills in new (and somewhat uncomfortable) directions and this seemed like a great option. I have been going through the 7 Languages in 7 Weeks book with the Utah Software Craftsmanship group and it seems like the Linux support for a lot of these languages is better/easier.

Here is my experience and what I have learned so far:

The first thing I did was use the Wubi installer to create a dual-boot, pseudo-vm of Ubuntu 11.04 on my laptop. I used this for a while and it was fine. I had RubyMine running and I had some decent success using it for learning Io. Despite my initial assertion that I would use Linux for everything I could and only fall back on Windows when I needed to or felt stuck, I found myself booting Windows more and more often.

Eventually, Ubuntu 11.10 was released, and on one of the rare days when I loaded up Ubuntu, I decided to accept the upgrade. After the download and install, there was an automatic reboot. That was the end of my VM. It never again booted past grub. I tried several times to fix or reinstall it and never got anywhere. Eventually, I had the Linux guys at my office help me out and they couldn't get it working either, so we started over...

We used gparted to create a real partition for Ubuntu (60GB) then installed 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx. It turns out that for me, I have no reason to be on the newest versions of Ubuntu. A nice, stable version is a perfect place for a noob to play. I have learned about some of the nifty UI tools that are build in and I have been enjoying the multiple workspaces even more than I did before I broke my 11.04 install.

With a moderate amount of struggle, I managed to get RubyMine 3.2 installed (I couldn't work out the environment variables and the java version.) I have also have MonoDevelop up and kinda running (it gets a weird error when I try to run NUnit tests.)

My next steps are:
  • Learn enough VIm to be dangerous
  • Get a Rails app running
  • Run through the Erlang tutorials in 7 Languages
  • Build an ASP.NET app with MonoDevelop
  • Continue using Ubuntu daily as my primary, at-home OS

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