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I'm a totally newbie in Linux (Now Ubuntu is my current OS), and most of my Windows habit is still strong, render me a little awkward on the new OS.

I'm wondering how would a geek use his Linux to make himself most productive, make him get things done faster?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ben N, fixer1234, qwertyuiop, mdpc, Deltik Jan 21 at 12:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Too many questions. You should ask only one question per actual "question" on this site. However, many of your questions are calling for subjective answers, and these are not authorized on this site. Please review the FAQ ( about it. For example, simple questions like "how to setup custom shortcut keys" are legitimate, and could be in a separate question, but asking "what's his choice of GUI" is only subjective, everyone has a different choice. Please rework your question, or it will be closed. – Gnoupi Jan 17 '10 at 8:52
My intention is to ask for how a geek use his ubuntu, and these minor details is just some suggestions to make my question clear. – Phuong Nguyen Jan 18 '10 at 1:05
Ubuntu? Long live Slackware! :) – Molly7244 Jan 18 '10 at 1:18
i'd use ubuntu to download and burn better linux distro. also ubuntu8.04 runs great on ps3 (good for testing powerpc/bigendian compatibility in my own programs). don't see any other use for it though. – Alexey Yakovenko Jan 20 '10 at 10:56


If you are a newbie in Linux, I recommend that you stick with the default settings for a while. Eventually (soon) you are going to get the hang of the operating system, and then you can start trying out new things.

This probably means:

  • Using GNOME at first
  • Going with the default panel layouts (menu panel on top, app switching on the bottom)
  • default shortcut keys
  • launching apps using the menu
  • switching apps using the bottom panel
  • drag-and-drop just to manage files

Over time, you may try KDE instead of GNOME (or switch to using Kubuntu instead). You can rearrange your panels -- for example, I've removed the bottom panel and instead use the AWN window manager or Docky ( to switch between apps and start new apps. You can play around with shortcut keys once you figure out which ones don't really work for you or are getting in the way.

In general, I wouldn't rush to customize until a) you've gotten comfortable with the system, and b) you feel you have a need to change things around.

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+1, great answer. – Moshe Jan 17 '10 at 5:46
This answer has the advantage of transcending the main problem of the question, which is about too many smaller questions, and subjective ones, by taking the actual question "what a newbie in Linux should expect and do" and answering it. – Gnoupi Jan 17 '10 at 8:50
Really a great answer! – dag729 Jan 18 '10 at 0:51
+1 nice answer indeed ... if the question only was: "How does a newbie use his ubuntu" :) – Molly7244 Jan 18 '10 at 2:05

"Geeks" come in all shapes and sizes. We all have our own personal preferences and there is not a guideline we follow when using our operating systems. We do things in a way that's best for us. In general, most advanced users like to:

  • Get things done quick
  • ...using a minimal amount of resources to do it

As you use Linux, you will find what's most comfortable for you. I'd suggest going with Ubuntu to start off, it's a great choice. When you feel comfortable with the basic ins and outs of the operating system, then I'd start customizing, not before.

One of the best ways to personalize your experience is by using a different desktop environment/window manager. Use a theme you like with the icons you like, move things around to suit your needs.

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Back in the time in M$ Windows, I can drag files from explorer window and press alt+tab to switch to another app and drop the file(s) here. Is it possible with Ubuntu? I cannot figure it out. – Phuong Nguyen Jan 17 '10 at 7:02
Yes. You can drag and drop files in Ubuntu and alt+tab works perfectly. – John T Jan 17 '10 at 7:27
you know the rules of this site. Don't encourage subjective questions, as well as badly asked questions (with too many questions in it) by answering them directly, like they were asked. – Gnoupi Jan 17 '10 at 8:48
@Gnoupi you're right. Answer revised with a more general approach. Thanks. – John T Jan 17 '10 at 9:03

Treat Ubuntu as an opportunity to learn different ways of doing thing. Not better, not worse, but different.

For example, I never use ALT-TAB to switch applications: there's a pager at the bottom of my screen which lets me see all my workspaces. It try to keep a browser open in workspace 1, a terminal open in workspace 10, and a few things in between.

If I need to switch to my browser, I click in the workspace 1 part of the pager and I'm there. When I have to use Windows each day at work, I miss the pager.

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