Linux First Post

Jul 23, 2020

Here is my first Grumpy Gamer post from my new Linux laptop!

Installation basically went OK. There was some confusion because I don't want to dual boot into Windows, I want Windows gone gone gone from this laptop. I had to disable a thing call RST and turn some stuff off in the BIOS I don't understand, but in the end it's all working with a minimal amount of swearing.

Two issues I see right away is I really miss Little Snitch. It's a great Mac firewall that monitors all out going internet connects by program and allows you to selectively block them for a given duration (with a nice UI including a map showing where in the world it's trying to connect to). If you've never run with something like this, it's damn scary how many programs try and connect to the internet. Not sure if there is anything like it on Linux.

I use One Password a lot. There is a Linux version, but it seems to only be available with their horrible subscription. I'll have to investigate more.

--- Update 1 ---

I miss dropbox. That might be an issue for working the game as we rely on dropbox a lot. It's not that there aren't other services like it, it more that the entire team uses it and I can't make everyone switch. I might be stuck using the web interface.

Slack won't run. It launches and then quits. I can use the web interface if I have to.

I really miss the cmd key for copy/paste in the terminal. My laptop has one of those silly Windows keys, I want to remap that so it can copy/paste/undo across all apps.

It's going to be at least a week before the machine "feels" right.


Gabriel Jul 23, 2020
Hey Ron! Congrats for the new adquire! A powerfull PC!
are you going to program a new game?

Guillaume Jul 23, 2020
For passwords, I recommend KeePassXC, it's good and free.

Ron Gilbert Jul 23, 2020
First, I'm going to spend 3 days getting my terminal looking just right.

Guillaume Jul 23, 2020
Try Cool retro term with a C64 font!

Zbyl Jul 23, 2020
Dropbox has some Linux support: https://www.dropbox.com/install-linux

And good luck setting up the copy/pasting. I have tried multiple apps for that, but haven't found one that works consistently.

grumpycats Jul 24, 2020
why the move away from MacOS to Linux? (besides of the lower pricetag)
(and please spare me the 'open source' lullaby 😀 unless you will really REALLY modify some source code.

Marco B Jul 24, 2020
I'm not sure there's a different copy/paste process on the terminal other than select text (copy) and mouse middle button (paste).
Dropbox should work fine on Ubuntu with their official app.

Ron Gilbert Jul 24, 2020
I worry about the future of the Mac.  With each release of OS X, Apple locks it down more and more and it feels less and less like my computer.  I understand (and agree) with the need for security, but there becomes a point where Apple has turned my computer into a locked down appliance and I can't get work done.

Ron Gilbert Jul 24, 2020
For the terminal, I could remap the Windows key and I use it now for copy/paste.  There doesn't seem to be a way to do that across the whole machine.  I don't have a middle mouse button.

MSilva Jul 24, 2020
You may play with xmodmap and xsetkbmap, but all depend on the Window Manager that you are using.

MSilva Jul 24, 2020
I forgot about xev, to see what codes generate your keyboard...

Ping Jul 24, 2020
Just out of curiosity, why don't you want to work with windows?

Marco B Jul 24, 2020
I just discovered, after many years of linux terminal usage, that SHIFT+CTRL+C for copy and SHIFT+CTRL+V for paste works as well. Nice.

Marco B Jul 24, 2020
It feels like Microsoft is trying to follow the steps of Apple, closing down its ecosystem a bit more each time they have the opportunity.
Using Linux is like being on international waters on your sailboat: it's incovenient at times (maybe even dangerous), but you're the captain and the sense of freedom is unmatched.

Ron Gilbert Jul 24, 2020
> Just out of curiosity, why don't you want to work with windows?

Because windows isn't a real operating system.

ArmstrongArcade Jul 24, 2020
Once you're 'comfortable' what're'ya going to be working on?

Ping Jul 24, 2020
Fair point.

grumpycats Jul 24, 2020
> I worry about the future of the Mac....

😞  Secretly I was hoping for an "less convincing" answer...  maybe its time to explore Linux and get out of my cosy Mac cave, as I feel more and more "bullied" by my own computer to follow Apples update path or to simply accept changes I really REALLY did not asked for.

Lucas Jul 24, 2020
Good luck with Linux, I hope everything works well for you. Personally I don't like Ubuntu and I hope you find a better distro to develop your games in. I know you will!!

move.l Jul 24, 2020
Little Snitch can be an eye opener, how globally cross-linked everything is. The terminal in macOS is pretty good. A beautiful, consistent, balanced GUI of a Linux desktop environment is yet to come.

You could post shots from your desktop (stages), so that we can feel your pain. :)

Stevo Jul 24, 2020
Hej Ron. Have a look at Autokey (it's similar to AutoHotKey in Windows) for system wide key bindings. Slack and Dropbox offer install packages on their websites.
And sometimes it's easier to find programs as AppImage (https://appimage.github.io/apps/) or Flatpak when they are not in the OS-repo.
BTW: I use Debian or LMDE. What OS do you use?

Darragh Jul 24, 2020
Hi Ron! Have you tried installing Dropbox and Slack using Flatpak <https://flatpak.org>;? It's an alternative way of installing Linux apps that works across lots of Linux distributions. Apps are installed in containers and are kept separate from the system using permissions (like on Android and iOS). It won't replace Little Snitch fully, but you can restrict internet access to Flatpak apps by changing their permissions. You can browse available Flatpak apps at <https://flathub.org>;.

If you're looking to try out a different Linux distro in the future, Fedora might be worth a look. It's created by a mixture of Red Hat staff and community volunteers, and it's used by a lot of developers that contribute to the GNOME desktop project. Here are a few features that might interest you:

* Flatpak support built-in
* Toolbox or Podman: Keep containers on your system for different software projects so all the build dependencies don't clutter up your main system
* Regular kernel and graphics driver (Mesa) updates so you don't have to wait for the next OS version to get the latest hardware support and fixes

If you do end up trying Fedora, consider installing Dash To Dock to get a Mac-like dock for launching apps <https://micheleg.github.io/dash-to-dock/>;. It should be available from Fedora's built-in Software app.

Jei Jul 24, 2020
I'm sorry if this isn't the right place to bring this up, but I noticed that the Thimbleweed Park development blog now points to a page that simply says, "Hi". Is this intentional? I regularly re-read the blog, and I really hope that you're not going to remove it permanently.

Ron Gilbert Jul 24, 2020
I'm in the process of moving the dev blog to a new server.

Jei Jul 24, 2020
"I'm in the process of moving the dev blog to a new server."

Oh, great! Thanks!

Moschops Jul 25, 2020
"First, I'm going to spend 3 days getting my terminal looking just right."

Oh yes. I have spent so much time doing this. Font. Font size. Font colour. Background colour. Transparency of the terminal window as a whole. How do I feel today? Do I want a green font so bright that it bleeds into the pixels nearby? Hmm... better switch to that CooLRetroTerm, see how that looks. Add some screen artifacts to make it look like a CRT monitor from the eighties. Or maybe that one with the orange text. Add a rolling pulse to the terminal, simulate a slowly failing CRT.

So much time spent making modern hardware look like I'm working on a something I found in a skip outside a bankrupt IT firm in the mid-eighties :/

Winfried Maus Jul 25, 2020
"Because windows isn't a real operating system."

That hasn't been true since Windows NT was released. If Windows isn't a real operating system, then what is that castrated wannabe-Unix with a Fisher Price look & feel called macOS?

Besides, with WSL, you can use Windows 10 just like you use Ubuntu - fully supported by both Microsoft and Canonical.  With WSL 2, shipped with Windows 10 2004, now even Linux-GUI-apps can be run on the Windows desktop.
https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/05/run-linux-apps-on-windows-10-wsl-2

But let's be frank here for a minute: All three options suck in their own individual ways. With Linux you might be in full control, but for that you pay the price that the industrial world has left you behind and it's hard to find commercial quality software. In Linux, it's not that you -can- do everything yourself, you basically -have to- do everything yourself. In Linux land, people also refuse to pay for software - that's the real reason why they are using Linux in the first place: Everything -must- be free as in beer, not speech. And most of the time, these exact same people who don't want to pay for software license fees use free and open source software to create and sell proprietary services - which unfortunately is the only feasible way to make a living with Linux.

As for things like Little Snitch: Why would you need something like that in an Open Source ecosystem? In any case, it seems this Open Source app could be what you're looking for: https://douaneapp.com/

C/C++ IDEs: I don't code in C, but Code::Blocks looked quite nice. Small footprint, fast, limited support for other programming languages, and the "good old" Borland look & feel.
http://www.codeblocks.org/

If Code::Blocks doesn't feel right, maybe you want to take a look at the C++-modes for the big Java IDEs, NetBeans and eclipse.

Visual Studio Code - or its fork VSCodium - actually is a decent code editor. Telemetry can easily be switched off in the original Microsoft build of it, and the only point of the VSCodium fork is that is has telemetry switched off by default. However, in both versions you still have to check each and every third party plugin - some of them bring their own telemetry "radios" with them.  https://code.visualstudio.com/
(In direct comparison, Atom sucks - and since Microsoft bought Github, it's now also a Microsoft product, so religious arguments don't count anymore.)

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/install-linux

Doesn't Ubuntu even have a built-in dropbox client that you can activate under "Internet accounts"? Truth be told, I trust Microsoft more and rather use OneDrive instead...

Other than that, you might want to look at Nextcloud as an alternative for --all-- these needs. There are also companies out there who host Nextcloud instances and you just rent an account there, if you don't want to host Nextcloud yourself (which you should).
https://nextcloud.com/

Those XPS notebooks are the best on the market - Enjoy the new Linux machine!

Ron Gilbert Jul 25, 2020
1) With Dropbox, it's not about trusting Microsoft or anyone.  This isn't a choice I get to make, all the people I work with are on Dropbox and it's unrealistic to get them all to change.

2) Something like Little Snitch is necessary in an open source environment because that doesn't mean there are not bad actors.  I can't audit all the code I run, so I'm relying on others and trust them to do that.  Also, code like Dropbox, Slack or any game from Steam or GOG will also run and they are not fully open source.  I want to know what program is connecting to the internet and block it.  It's amazing that something like Little Snitch doesn't exist on Linux.

Phil Jul 25, 2020
You can setup a firewall and create a specific user who has no permission to access the internet. from then on, you could run apps that should not access the internet with that particular user while being logged in as your main user.

Stevo Jul 26, 2020
@Ron: Have you seen this...
1)  https://github.com/gustavo-iniguez-goya/opensnitch
2)  https://cryptomator.org/  May be you can convince your Dropbox opposites to give it a try...

IMHO: Dropbox or MS or whoever does not matter: all data (at least important data) in the cloud should be encrypted by ones own. THEN one can use whatever one like!

@Winfried Maus: WSL is mightiness of Linux packed with surveillance of Windows. Best of both worlds!  :-P

Fred Berry Jul 26, 2020
Ye old hearties!

Welcome to Tortuga - Ye Banished Privateers - Songs and Curses

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnVKiWE2ka8

Winfried Maus Jul 26, 2020
>  It's amazing that something like Little Snitch doesn't exist on Linux.

So this https://douaneapp.com/ does not do what Littel Snitch does? From what it says on the project webpage, it sounds like it provides similar funcationality - and it was designed for Linux.

Simon Simon Jul 26, 2020
As a Little Snitch replacement, I second the recommodation to look at opensnitch. (make sure to use the active fork by Gustavo, the github page was posted here by Stevo).  opensnitch has a well designed json-based config. I have never tried douane.

Rob Crowther Jul 27, 2020
Copy paste into the terminal is Ctrl+Shift+C and Ctrl+Shift+V (at least Gnome terminal), everywhere else Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V should work.  Though I sometimes have issues with Firefox, never worked out why.

As others have said, there is a Dropbox Linux client, works pretty well in my experience on every distro I've tried.

Eri0o Jul 27, 2020
Hey, Slack SHOULD run, it would be good if you could contact them and tell it isn't working for you or posting online which distro you are facing problems with. Slack should be available directly from them and also through Snapstore - I don't remember if Slack is also available as a flatpak. I think mine was Installed from the website .Deb files.

Ernst Jul 27, 2020
I don't think Budgie is the best choice, writing a high performance low latency window manager is really hard and the collaboration around Gnome with Mutter (Redhat + Ubuntu) is the only mainstream choice that gets it right there.

Quantum Jul 27, 2020
Have you looked at Flatpak for some of your applications (Slack, Dropbox, etc.)? It's a distribution independent method of distributing applications, so it should work on your machine. Flathub (https://flathub.org/home) have (unofficial) ports of the slack and dropbox clients (though these are likely little more than electron clients).

chmodx Jul 27, 2020
I've switched to Linux a couple of years ago and haven't looked back. (although for me it's almost exclusively for coding). Running it on a Dell Xps 9560 (2017).
I'm surprised you're having issues with slack. Don't know how you installed it, but I would stay clear of the ubuntu store. It installs snaps by default - which have their issues. I prefer a plain old debian package. Works fine most of the time.

Regarding the IDE, I'm impressed by the Jetbrains IDE suite. I mostly do Go, C# and some javascript. But there's  https://www.jetbrains.com/clion/  for c/c++. Maybe try it out.

Good luck!

el0j Jul 27, 2020
The XPS13 is a great little Linux laptop, but I could never really get over the cursor keys and pgup/pgdn on the XPS13 I had. The cursor keys were so small, and the placement of pgup/dn mean I was constantly pressing them by mistake when moving around in code.

Maybe they've improved it, or it's just not an issue for you.

dada Jul 27, 2020
Just read this article: https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2020/07/ron-gilbert-developer-of-thimbleweed-park-is-switching-to-linux

First thought that came to my mind was - don't count the chickens just yet.
Ron, the whole Linux gaming community is hyped and looking up to you, no backtracking now!

Kalao Jul 27, 2020
There are alternatives to Little Snitch for Linux, especially Open Snitch (https://github.com/evilsocket/opensnitch).

Slack should work, if it does not you might want to file a bug report. It depends on the Linux distribution you use and how you get that software (and what from).  You can also try alternative clients such as Franz for example.

You should be able to copy/paste in your terminal just as well, it depends on the terminal emulator you use of course. In general CTRL+SHIT+C does copy, and CTRL+SHIFT+V does paste in most terminal emulator anyway.

Gerry Jul 27, 2020
Slack works perfectly for me on stock Ubuntu

Try launching it from the terminal and you might get some debug output that allows you to easily google the problem you are hitting.

kontroll Jul 27, 2020
"For the terminal, I could remap the Windows key and I use it now for copy/paste.  There doesn't seem to be a way to do that across the whole machine.  I don't have a middle mouse button."

No no no. Anything is possible on Linux... it's just scary and often convoluted when you're digging into these kinds of things. ;)

The second post in the following thread ended up being how i remapped my Caps Lock to function as Esc while still retaining Caps functionality (even though I never use it), for example: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=248433

There's other ways too, but that ended up being the more interesting choice for me. I imagine what you would want, if using that approach, is "ctrl:swap_lwin_lctl" (Swap Left Win with Left Ctrl).
Keep in mind also that in some contexts keys are called "Super" rather than "Win", and "Meta" instead of "Alt". Plus if you're super into extra hotkey 'layers' you can probably switch one key out to become a "Hyper" key. Check out the Space Cadet keyboard for some really outrageous keyboard history. Outrageous and frankly a bit lewd.

Alonso Jul 27, 2020
Hi Ron, I'm using elementary os https://elementary.io/, which is awesome, pretty attention to detail, and with many first-party apps. Take a look!

Myles Jul 27, 2020
Wow, neat! I've been a macOS user since 1995 and have installed Linux on a new desktop the same day. Looking forward to experiencing the journey in parallel! If Ubuntu/Budgie doesn't work out for you a lot of Mac folks recommended Elementary and I personally opted for Pop_OS for the easy driver management

mussol Jul 27, 2020
didn't try it myself, but you got a little iptables frontend here: https://gitlab.com/douaneapp/douane-installer

also ufw is installed by default on ubuntu

Steve Jul 27, 2020
I'd imagine most issues you're having with apps are down to snaps with Ubuntu forces on you. If you want a nicer experience I'd recommend going for Linux Mint, install Flatpaks and go to flathub and install your software there (you'll easily get your slacks, spotifys etc from there). If something doesn't work out of the box then install a program called "Flatseal" which allows you to edit the permissions the Flatpak sandbox offers the application. Tweaking these is an easy way to sort problems out, also you can restrict the programs more and what they can access which sounds like something you might be interested in. You probably already know this as you use C++ professionally but for an IDE choice you can always go for CLion.

Hovakim Jul 27, 2020
Please install snap and flatpak. It will make your life much easier.

Install slack from snap store and Dropbox from flathub. This will solve all incompatibility issues.

DanMan Jul 27, 2020
If you're looking for software to replace the ones you know from a Mac, I recommend https://alternativeto.net/ Go to the program you know, and see what popular alternatives there are: https://alternativeto.net/software/little-snitch/?platform=linux

Ron Gilbert Jul 27, 2020
Slack was installed as a snap.  I haven't fully investigated why is crashes yet.

Jack Jul 27, 2020
There is OpenSnitch ! a clone for linux but its still a beta and not very active afaik...
I wouldnt trust cloud storage at all. If i must put somethin on the cloud it would be encrypted with a 25 char password.
Thank you master.

marcomausf Jul 27, 2020
About the copy-pasting issue: you can use ctrl+insert to copy, shift+insert to paste.  Or you can configure your mouse to emulate the middle mouse button when pressing both mouse button at once.  Switching from 2 buttons to 3 might prove difficult after 20+ years of training with 2.

Dropbox shouldnt be much of an issue. It's well integrated in the Gnome-Desktop, so the tools are available.  IIRC you can use Dropbox via webdavs, too?

Richard Jul 27, 2020
I just switched from 1password to Bitwarden this week. Has apps for Linux and Mac, iPhone and Android, and half a dozen browsers. Plus Web interface. Syncs between all devices. It's free and open source.

Sslaxx Jul 27, 2020
The guys at GamingOnLinux have said they'd be happy to help out. Plenty of other Linux users out there too who'd help as well, I'm sure.

Peeves Jul 27, 2020
There's a way to get dropbox as a folder on your computer - you can use their WebDAV, or use a software called rclone https://rclone.org/dropbox/

I'd recommend rclone - not only because it's a fairly simple procedure:
- make a folder
- set up rclone dropbox with `rclone config`
- mount dropbox onto the folder with `rclone mount --daemon` (https://rclone.org/commands/rclone_mount/)

but also because rclone is a great tool to learn in general for moving files between computers/servers/services.

Hovakim Jul 28, 2020
That's strange that slack version of snap crashes , but there is another option Ferdi (https://flathub.org/apps/details/com.getferdi.Ferdi) from FlatHub. You can connect slack, teams and many other services through one app and it is open source. As for compilation of source codes maybe docker can help.

Hovakim Jul 28, 2020
You can also try to install slack from flathub, if that one also crashes, then maybe something is wrong with Ubuntu budgie. My personal favourite is Pop OS 20.04, which is developer oriented, great laptop support, and Pop shell (Window tiling) is awesome. Whish you good luck Mr. Gilbert.

nho Jul 28, 2020
I'm trying to remember what you mean by hotkeys for copy-paste in terminal.
As far as I know, anything selected goes into one of buffers and gets pasted on middle mouse button.

Jeffry Houser Jul 29, 2020
On Windows machines, you use control-c to copy, control-x to cut, and control-V to paste; not the command (or Windows) key.  

I have no idea how this translates to Linux.

Ron Gilbert Jul 29, 2020
I don't use Windows. I use a Mac and you use cmd-c, cmd-v to copy paste.  The cmd key is in the same place as the "windows" key on my Linux machine, so I want to remap them.  I'm looking into it.

Ungenious Jul 29, 2020
I've also just begun using Linux after continual Mac disappointments.  I'm over some of the initial speed bumps, but please share if you've find a way to remap OS-wide commands from Ctrl to Cmd.  Just changing the workspace related keybinds had me change the normal keybind settings, install a keybind tweak utility, and repeat a handful of command-line incantations.
Hopefully, Macs take an unexpected turn for the better in the coming years.

Mike Jul 29, 2020
Hey Ron,
Concerning Little Snitch, here's an active fork of OpenSnitch that you can try out:
https://github.com/gustavo-iniguez-goya/opensnitch

tokrot Jul 31, 2020
Ron, if you are having issues with Slack install the "normal" version using apt install of course that means that you have to remove  snaps but removal of snaps is a good thing :) Read all about it here.
https://www.kevin-custer.com/blog/disabling-snaps-in-ubuntu-20-04/

I am rubber, you are glue. Aug 03, 2020
Hi Ron, I can't read all the answers, so I don't know if what I'm writing could help you or not, you maybe already got what you need:

1. Why have you chosen Ubuntu (by Canonical)? Y would you recommend a really community driven Linux Distribution like Debian (+ Cinnamon and/or Gnome 3). I'm really happy with it and its philosophy, and as I can understand, you would like that more than Ubuntu.

2. About the annoying Ctrl + Shift + C (etc) default configuration (same for pasting) you have to go to Preference => Shortcuts => And once there, reassign the keys to  Ctrl + C (etc)

3. Some time ago I installed Slack on Debian with no problem.

lhl Aug 04, 2020
For some better copy and paste (and potentially getting used to the clipboard vs the cut buffer, I like this tool called ClipIt. If you're familiar with ClipMenu/Clipy for Mac, it's the same idea.

There are ways to map the Super Key (or Alt key) globally to copy and paste involving xmodmap or other futzing (which terminal you use might change the copy and paste shortcuts) - i'd recommend searching for "global copy paste shortcut linux" for some good results. "Binding Super+C Super+V to Copy and Paste" seems to be an article describing what you want.

I run an old version of the Windows 1Password via WINE on Linux, but the browser extensions have started  falling apart and I'll be transitioning completely to Bitwarden soon. We'll see how that goes!

JBK Aug 04, 2020
I'm not sure what I'm missing here with the comments about Dropbox?

For a number of years now I've been running Ubuntu/XFCE through Crouton on an old Acer Chromebook, first Trusty and now Xenial, and I've always had Dropbox up and running. I installed from the terminal, and it auto starts with the laptop, little icon up by the clock, synchs in the background, shows as a folder that I can access through window or command line...haven't needed the web interface ever.

I do remember though that installation wasn't an entirely obvious process.

Dom Aug 06, 2020
Quite, the last time I used Dropbox you downloaded the deb or whatever that was from their website, installed, it downloaded the closed source part, you logged in and that was that.

Maybe something's changed, though. I had to go off Dropbox when they limited filesystems supported on Linux to just ext4 and I'm running cryptfs and I moved to Nextcloud. As far as I know, however, they've since reversed that decision.

TT Aug 23, 2020
Linux has opensnitch, but it has problems. I'd recommend removing  the old firewalls (iptables and ufw)  and installing the newer nftables firewall. Nftables lets easily set up advanced  incoming/outgoing limits by ports and ip addresses. E.g. no outgoing traffic on port 80.

I'd also recommend creating a bash script for initial system setup that removes / installs packages and does customizations. This way when the OS is re-installed, doing the customizations will take a second instead of hours (dconf and gsettings commands are your friends).

Ubuntu is basically Debian Testing with Ubuntu packages that slow the system down.

Jojowcow Sep 05, 2020
https://github.com/evilsocket/opensnitch That's beta, however.

I think I've used the slack web interface. I'm not sure how uptodate snap packages are now. Have you tried downloading from their webpage. They probably have a package available.

Your little snitch problem is interesting. An ipfilter rule could be created to scoop all the outgoing connections and only allow them if a script says they can pass.  I may have an idle look at the problem later

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