recent posts related to linux and unix

Notes on how to configure HTTPS with Nginx

Without any introduction or discussion, here are the notes I made while learning how to get HTTPS working with Nginx. These are just for me, but if something helps you, cool.

Cerebro, a Spotlight-like launcher for Linux

I recently “made the switch” from MacOS to Linux Mint, and was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have Alfred on Mint. But then this morning I learned about Cerebro, which, if it’s not Alfred yet, at least it’s Spotlight for Linux. has this good intro article on Cerebro.

Cerebro is written as an Electron app, and as a result it’s available not only for Linux, but Windows and MacOS as well.

Linux Mint (and Ubuntu): Suspend vs Hibernate (meaning)

When I put Linux Mint on a few of my computers recently I quickly encountered the words “suspend” and “hibernate” when attempting to put a laptop to sleep:

LInux Mint, Suspend vs Hibernate

“What the heck is the difference between Suspend and Hibernate,” I wondered. “I’m used to just having a ‘Sleep’ option on my MacBook Pro.”

How to install a ‘deb’ file on Debian Linux (dpkg, apt)

As a quick note, this page has some good background information on how to install a deb package file from the command line on Debian Linux (which in my case is Ubuntu 16.04). The short answer is that if you have a deb file named google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb, you’ll want to run these two commands, one after the other, as shown:

Hints for writing Unix tools

Marius Eriksen has a good article titled Hints for writing Unix tools. Some key points: a) consume input from stdin, produce output to stdout; b) output should be free from headers or other decoration; c) output should be simple to parse and compose. There’s much more to it than that, and it’s a good read (or reminder).

An ArchLinux page on Improving Performance alvin January 21, 2017 - 12:25pm

Ubuntu is running great on my old 2008 iMac, but if you’re having Linux performance issues, here’s an ArchLinux page titled “Improving performance.”

Optimizing Linux for slow computers

This is a link to an article titled, “Optimizing Linux for slow computers.” Note that this article links to this more thorough resource on

Here are a couple of paragraphs from it:

When tuning a server, you'll really want to tweak for performance and high throughput. That's where most Linux configurations really shine over the competition: they come better tuned to get the most out of server configurations.

How to type smart quotes on Ubuntu Linux

There seem to be a few different ways to type “smart quotes” on Ubuntu Linux, including using keys (keystrokes) like AltGr and Compose. In this tutorial I’ll document an approach that works best for me: creating simple macros I can assign to simple keystrokes rather than having to use more-complicated keystrokes.

An Ubuntu screensaver shell script to rotate images

This is a Bash shell script written for Ubuntu (Linux). I just switched from Mac/MacOS to Ubuntu, and I don't like the default blank screensaver in Ubuntu. I just want a screensaver to rotate my collection of images, so I'm considering using this rather than Xscreensaver. The script comes from

Ubuntu running on a 2008 27” iMac

As shown in the image, I just installed Ubuntu on my 2008 27” iMac. The UI is interesting, a combination of MacOS and Windows. From what I’ve seen, I think I’ll like the Ubuntu UI (Unity) more than Linux Mint, but I’m open. So far Ubuntu is also significantly faster than the latest versions of MacOS were on the same hardware, though that may be because MacOS had a few hundred thousand more files on it than Ubuntu has at the moment.