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My Linux Origin Story

As the name suggests this is about my journey of getting into this wonderful world of Linux, it started in August 2018 when I bought an amazing mid-range Android phone Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. Wait, Android? But it says ‘My Linux Origin Story’, doesn’t it? Hey don’t you know that Android is just heavily modified Linux? Yes it is but that is not the point here.

Actually I am going to sound little boring or off the track here. Apart from calling/texting and internet usage camera is the third most important thing of a smartphone in my use case. When it comes to camera performance there is no phone in comparison to Google Pixel (it may be debatable but this is my opinion) and we all know that the real magic lies in the software, Google Camera. Since Google camera is only available for Pixel devices there is no chance of getting that brilliant piece of software on any other make of smartphone. But open source nature of Linux (and Android) comes to the play here and thanks to the XDA developers there are Google camera versions available specific to almost every smartphone model, called G cam Mod.

So when I have a decent piece of hardware and there is availability of the software I dream of why would I not just install it and click those perfect pictures till now I only used to see on internet? Well I did the same, went ahead and downloaded and installed a G cam mod available for device. I was ready for clicking those stunning shots, started the google camera app and fish, it says ‘camera app stopped’. What the hell? Why is it not working? Uninstalled reinstalled several times but result was the same. Searched for the possible reason behind the failure of G cam and came across the term Camera 2 API term. This is something which needs to be enabled in the device for G cam to work. OK, searched about this magical camera2 API and how to enable it for my device. With every step I think I am getting close to the working G cam and there comes one more thing I must know about, huh. Now there is something called adb and fastboot tools which I need for enabling the camera2 API.

Reading about adb and fastboot brought me to the fact that these processes required the use of the command line. This is interesting, till now I only had heard about command line and how it being more powerful than GUI. Searched for the tutorials and came across many articles about ‘how to use adb and fastboot’, tried many times but could not succeed.

There always was an error in my Windows install which used to pop-up every now and then, about some .dll file being missing. I had heard about Linux being superior OS and command line usage being so frequent in Linux, the idea of installing Linux on my laptop got sowed in my brain.

Now the journey of getting Linux starts. Searching about Linux made me aware of Linux being a kernel and there being tons of Distros based on that kernel. Every other article about Distros brought me closer to this fun journey ( or Distro Hopping or Sliding into a Rabbit Hole or whatever you wanna call it). Which Distro should I be using is the most important question for the time as I have a 2nd gen Intel i3 laptop having only 2gb of Ram.

Reading different articles on internet about Distros made me aware of Ubuntu being the most popular Distro on Earth, one of the most user friendly Distros, one of the most recognized and supported Distros, Arch being the most bleeding edge Distro and how installing Arch is no child’s play and how people using it take pride in saying “Hey, BTW I use Arch”. All these things made me fascinated about getting Linux on my machine.

As they say, more the choices more the confusion. I chose Ubuntu to be my Distro, thanks to the internet articles telling me about Ubuntu being the most popular, supported and user friendly Distro and Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

Dr. Cooper? Who? Yes yes the famous, brilliant, eccentric and socially awkward Sheldon of the super-hit American sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory’. OK, but how and why? Well there was an episode where instead of going out with the gang he chose to remain inside the house doing the full backup and restore of his hard-disk. He says “O Ubuntu, you are my favourite operating system.”

I downloaded the .iso file of Ubuntu 18.04 ‘Bionic Beaver’ but now was the question of how to prepare a bootable pen-drive with Ubuntu in it? Searched on internet for the ways to prepare a bootable USB drive, found unetbootin to be suitable for me.

So loaded the .iso file in the USB drive, put it in my laptop and restarted it and bam… I was seeing the beautiful desktop screen of Ubuntu 18.04. It felt very fast and nice and easy. But this was not the victory. Why?

I installed Ubuntu on the hard disk with the option of erase and install, turned off the laptop, removed the USB drive and turned on the laptop but nothing was there. Windows was gone and Ubuntu was not there, but why? I did the installation process several times but result was the very same, nothing. I got so much frustrated with these failures that I stopped trying for many days and when after some days my anger and sorrow subdued I started to wonder about the possible reason behind this failure. Lots of things came to my mind but the most logical seemed to me was Ubuntu 18.04 being a modern and resource hungry distro and my laptop being a 6 years old 2nd gen Intel i3 laptop with only 2gb of RAM.

So I started searching for some light-weight distro that I could install on my ancient machine. In this search endeavour I came across some very great distros like Mint, Lite, Puppy etc. I chose Linux Lite to be my next candidate for installation. But with Windows gone and Ubuntu not installed now I had the problem of live USB. I borrowed a friend’s laptop and installed unetbootin. Once again made a live USB with Linux Lite and installed the distro on machine, this time it worked. After turning off the laptop, removing USB drive and turning on the laptop again Linux Lite was there and suddenly an idea just struck my mind. There was little difference in the processes of making live USBs of Ubuntu and Lite. While creating the live USB of ubuntu with unetbootin there was a box which I ticked but in case of Lite that was not there, so it occurred to me that I should try with Ubuntu without ticking this box.

With a new energy and enthusiasm I did it and this time Ubuntu got installed on the hard disk correctly and finally I succeeded in my endeavour.

This may seem like the end of the story but actually this is just the beginning of the story named Distro Hopping.