5 Signs That Show You’re a Linux Geek

Austin Luong 17-02-2017

While Linux is certainly very easy to use, there are some activities surrounding it that are seen as more complex than others. While they can be all be avoided easily enough, they do have a certain, geeky appeal. How many of them do you follow?


Are YOU a Linux geek? Let’s find out!

1. The Terminal Is Your File Manager

To people new to Linux, command lines How to Manage Files in the Linux Terminal and Desktop Once you make the change to Linux, you'll find a sensible desktop that is easy to use, from installing new apps and launching them to organizing your data. Read More can be quite intimidating, complicated, and confusing. You however, find benefits of using one outweighs the small learning curve. It’s consistent, and a jack of all trades. Who could ask for more?

While there are lots of great programs to navigate through your folders, you believe the command line reigns supreme 4 Ways to Teach Yourself Terminal Commands in Linux If you want to become a true Linux master, having some terminal knowledge is a good idea. Here methods you can use to start teaching yourself. Read More . It’s a comfort in the ever changing desktop landscape, consistent in its behavior and appearance. You laugh as others scratch their heads, having their file manager changed with their new Linux operating system.

5 Signs That Show You're a Linux Geek Terminal Files

You appreciate how powerful and fast 5 Things Easier to Do in the Linux Command Line Read More the command line can be, even if it’s a little hard to learn at first. In a regular file manager, toggling hidden files usually takes a few extra clicks. The equivalent terminal command requires two extra keystrokes. Simple, clean, and elegant.


But even with all the benefits surrounding it, it’s definitely not for everybody. Regular file managers are far easier to pick up and use at first. As such, if you find yourself opening up your terminal more often than not, you might already be a bit of a Linux geek.

2. Using Your Package Manager Is Child’s Play

Linux makes it easy to install whatever you want using graphical applications 5 Great Tips for the Ubuntu Software Center [Linux] Read More , but there’s something about the package manager A Beginner's Guide to Installing Software in Ubuntu with APT If you've used Ubuntu you have probably used the apt command at some point. But did you know there's so much more to it than apt-get install and apt-get upgrade? Read More that just draws you in. Maybe you like its no-nonsense approach to installations — grabbing all the programs you want at once is much faster than searching for them one by one.

5 Signs That Show You're a Linux Geek Package Manager

You might also like the degree of power it gives to you. After all, there are no extra mouse clicks to hamper your searches. It’s basically a matter of type and go. Of course, you might just use it because there’s something extremely cool about using a terminal. Even if it’s just to install a spiffy new icon theme 9 Beautiful Alternatives To The Default Linux Icon Sets Here's how you can switch icon sets, and which ones I recommend trying out. Read More .


5 Signs That Show You're a Linux Geek Compile Programs

A step further would be compiling programs How to Compile & Install TAR GZ & TAR BZ2 Files in Ubuntu Linux Read More . Rather than letting your Linux distribution provider handle all the nuts and bolts of building a package for you to install, you do it yourself! Granted, there are merits to this: your packages can be as light or heavyweight as you want, and can perform better to boot. Still, it’s pretty full on. You need to keep track of what programs you’ve installed by yourself, and compiling programs can take a lot of time.

3. You Write Your Own Shell Scripts

As you might know, shell scripts 5 Beginner Linux Setup Ideas For Cron Jobs & Shell Scripts With bash scripting, you can do a complex series of tasks in one quick go so it's great for elaborate and repetitive needs. It's also a great way to get to know terminal. Read More are just a list of commands your computer executes that you can run at any time. They’re great at automating mundane tasks that you wouldn’t want to do by hand. For example, if you want to search and rename all of the images you have in a folder, a script would be much preferred to editing them one by one. Even so, they can sometimes resemble an alphabet soup to the uninitiated.

5 Signs That Show You're a Linux Geek Shell Scripts


There’s something empowering about telling your computer exactly what you want it to do. A well-crafted script does just that, with no fuss and little complaint. You embrace every line of the scripts you craft, honing them to a fine edge. It is efficient, and flawless. Your humble text file saves you from a mundane routine of clicking and dragging.

And that’s part of the reason why it’s actually rather geeky. Along with using a package manager, you’re pretty much speaking in a different language: one that connects you and your computer. Except of course, shell scripts can do far more things than a package manager ever could.

4. You Know How to Use Vi or Emacs

There are quite a few console text editors in the Linux world. Some have been around for longer than others, and this is especially the case for both vi and GNU Emacs. Generally, most people will be fine with the nano text editor. Suffice to say, using something other than this is rather rare.

5 Signs That Show You're a Linux Geek Vi Editor


Both vi and Emacs have a rather steep learning curve compared to something like nano. In vi, for example, if you don’t know what you’re doing, just exiting the program becomes something of a hit and miss! The Emacs editor doesn’t fare any better. There are lots of combination keys that do a range of different things. While this might be useful, actually remembering all of them might be off-putting to some.

But if you’re one of the people who can use these editors, then more power to you! Both are designed to be powerful and fast despite the high barrier of entry. But really, that’s probably for the best, and perhaps you agree with that notion.

Bonus Linux geek points to you if you’re aware of the holy war between vi and Emacs. Or even participated it in some way or another! Both editors have different advantages and disadvantages, which only further increases their rivalry. For example Emacs, is known for its extensibility — you can even use it as a media player! On the other hand, Vi is more ubiquitous and efficient.

5. You’re Using LFS, Gentoo, or Arch Linux

The number of Linux operating systems out there is large to say the least. Some are harder to use than others, and this is especially the case with Linux From Scratch (LFS), Gentoo and Arch Linux How to Install Arch Linux the Easy Way with Antergos Old PC or laptop need a new lease of life? Thinking about switching to Linux, but don’t know where to start? With Antergos, you can install Arch Linux the easy way! Read More . Each of the three share something in common with each other: you’re basically building your system from the ground up, and you’ll be doing a lot of work in the terminal. The only thing that differs is by how much.

Arch Linux Arch Linux: Letting You Build Your Linux System From Scratch For Linux power users, it's highly desirable to be able to completely customize your system. Sometimes, that can be best achieved from the start -- by piecing together the components that you'd like to include... Read More is relatively easier to set up than the other two. It cuts out a few extra installation steps at the cost of lower flexibility. For example, in Gentoo and LFS, you’re pretty much expected to build your own packages. Instead, Arch provides people with access to downloadable packages like Debian and Ubuntu does. While Gentoo Gentoo: A Linux Distribution Where You Compile Your Own Optimized Software The sheer number of different ways in which Linux can be run is astounding, as there are plenty of choices to go around. While there are plenty of distributions which rely on either the .deb... Read More does this to a lesser degree, you’ll still be compiling the majority of your programs.

Out of the three, it’s LFS Create Your Very Own Operating System With Linux From Scratch [Linux] Do you know how customizable Linux really is? Well you should if you've even heard of Linux or dabbled in it a bit. If not, try taking a look at a list of over 1,000... Read More which is the most technically challenging. For starters, you’d be compiling everything from source. No shortcuts and minimal automation, with only the (admittedly very comprehensive) LFS handbook as your guide.

5 Signs That Show You're a Linux Geek LFS Manual

Basically, they’re all degrees more difficult to install compared to other Linux distributions. Furthermore, using one of them pretty much guarantees that you’ll be doing other ‘geek’ activities along the way.

Only the Beginning

There’s definitely more technical Linux activities than the ones listed here. Linux is as easy or as hard as you make it. And those that find this challenge appealing? Well, “geek” is the best word to describe them! But even if you don’t consider yourself one, you may very well find yourself delving into Linux more than you’d expect.

What Linux feats have you performed or seen?

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  1. ggt667
    February 22, 2017 at 7:03 am

    The thing about vim is that it’s NOT a text editor even though it can be abused as one, if you use the arrow keys in vim you are abusing the application as a text editor, vim is a text synthesizer and that experience starts when you stop using the arrow keys.

  2. slainsavage
    February 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I see a lot of people saying that they have been using linux for 10 and more years, implying that they know what they are doing with linux. Just because one uses something for years does not make you good at it. It is like saying I have been driving my car since 2003 so I am just as good as a F1 driver. A friend of mine has been using linux as long as I have been and he cant do basic stuff like compiling a kernel.

    For those that are complaining about this article, it is mostly a bit fun. I use linux full time at work and home. I never use a microsoft product. VI is one of the best text editors out there, the only one that comes close from a GUI point of view is atom. As for a file manager I use ranger which is a command line file manager and I have not see a GUI file manager that comes close to it.

    I do boot into X but most of the application I use is command line with the exception where it does not makes sense like the web browser (chromium), gimp, eagle and openscad.

    Here is a short list of applications I use on a daily bases; vim, weechat, ncmpcpp, mpd, ranger, bitlbee, ssh, conky (output to console), bspwm, mutt and a couple or scripts and apps I have written.

    I also run my own web, email and xmpp servers from my home computer.

    Well based on this article I guess I am a Linux Geek :-)

    • Jemoeder
      March 31, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      "Basic stuff" lol, you're saying thst compiling a kernel is easy? Definitely a geek.

    • Mike Walsh
      December 14, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      Compiling a kernel is HARDLY what I'd call 'basic', y'know..... lol

  3. Fred
    February 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm started your career using Unix.

  4. Orestes
    February 20, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I wish I was a Linux geek

  5. Luk
    February 18, 2017 at 9:02 am

    What if i use slackware...?

  6. Mathieu Comandon
    February 18, 2017 at 5:18 am

    I've started using Linux in 1997, and its been my primary operating system for more than 10 years. I also write open source software for a living.
    This article is plain garbage, there's nothing true about any of this and I wouldn't care if this kind of post didn't give false ideas to new Linux users.

  7. Robert
    February 17, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    This is possibly going to come off as the rantings of a mad man since I am not putting too much into organizing my thoughts. I'm not trying to be a jerk, just stating an opinion and I wanted to get that out of the way. :-)

    I have been using Linux since 2007, I guess you can say a relative newbie compare to some of the others commenting here. I am going to date myself, but I came from a background of using Vic20s, Apple IIs, C-64s, Timex Sinclairs, VMS (VAX/Alpha). I use Linux at work, mostly RH, CentOS, Suse, and Arch (of all things on a Raspberry Pi). At home, I use Fedora and Ubuntu. It used to primarily be physical machines, but lately mostly on VMWare.

    The only reason I go into, what seems like my entire history of using computers, is because I am noting that most of my history has been from a command line, starting with my first computer on a Vic20. It is a hard habit to break and so much easier than firing up a GUI. When you can just SSH into something and accomplish a task without having to start up XWin and sending the output back or using some sort of remote console app. For me that takes more effort.

    Also, running a GUI requires more system resources, which can sometimes be valuable resources for high transaction servers, and more things that can go wrong with a basic server. Most of my installations don't even boot to GUIs. At the end of the day, don't most GUIs just submit something to the command line anyway. The setting changes you make are usually just text files that could have been edited in VI. I would think you would want to get to the bare basics of what changes are actually being done when you click that settings button.

    So taking that into account, if you aren't using a GUI, why wouldn't you use a command line package manager. Yum, apt-get, pacman, etc. make it so easy to find and install what you need, including dependencies when you are pulling right from their repositories. If you need to find an RPM (or even have to compile), you will need to know how to do that from a command line. Not everything you install from licensed software can be done from a GUI. It is important to know how to install, compile, check on dependencies, or any of the other type of tasks for installations. It is best to know how to do this on the fly and have practice doing it.

    • Ginger
      February 21, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Just curious, you're running Fedora & Ubuntu at home on VMWare. So what's the OS installed on your home computer?

      • Robert
        February 21, 2017 at 9:08 pm

        Sorry, I wasn't clear on that. Again, I was just dumping out to the keyboard what was steaming through my head. At work we use VMWare

        At home, I have a machine that is currently running Ubuntu on the hardware (not virtualized), but I have used Fedora, depending on what I feel like installing when I am bored and feel like upgrading (happens every year or so).

        I have 3 desktops all running various things at home. I have a few others with things hanging out I use for testing/messing around.

        I a desktop that I run Windows 10. I use that as my primary machine while I am at home. Before I am called a heathen and dragged behind a car, I only used that as a primary because I play games on it. The Linux machine I actually do real work on when I am not playing games.

        • Robert
          February 22, 2017 at 1:44 am

          Uhg, typing while someone behind me asking for something doesn't make for a coherent post. :-)

          If you have any questions about that last post, let me know.

  8. Mike F
    February 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    I'm a Linux user going on about 15 years, using Linux exclusively for most of that time, but I guess I'm not a true Linux geek according to this.

    Graphical file managers and package managers beat CLI tools any day, although I do know how to use the CLI tools. I hate compiling, and am often not very successful with it. I do know how to create a shell script when necessary. That does come in handy. Vi and Emacs are something I never had a need to use, and when I tried just out of curiosity, they weren't all that impressive compared to other, much easier to use editors. And I'm more of a Debian/Ubuntu/Mint guy.

    • Austin Luong
      February 17, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      You know, the original title of this article was supposed to be '5 Signs You Might Be a Linux Geek' (emphasis on might). This wasn't intended to the be all and end all article in that regard.

      You're clearly very experienced in regards to Linux, and that's great! There's much more out there than terminals and obscure operating systems when it comes to all this.

  9. Kyle Lyles
    February 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I've been using Linux since'94, and I'm not afraid to say that a GUI file manager beats the living tar out of CLI.

    I log into servers using a GUI SCP app and then drop into terminal from within the GUI app.

    It's not the typing, it's the visualization of file structure. When you're into 50-60 radically different servers each day, there's nothing like seeing it all laid out for you. Yep, for most file operations, I use CLI. Not all. But seeing file structure saves me many hours per week.

    • Ingmar Lehmann
      February 17, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      I think the cli tool 'tree' is pretty nice for vizualizing the structure.

      • Kyle Lyles
        February 17, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        Too slow for me. I need a huge terminal window to see the large file structures I deal with. With the GUI tool, I have the fonts setup to display much more then I can see in a terminal tree. Also drag and drop from my desktop is MUCH faster. I'll write a shell script on my desktop, then deploy it to many servers. I don't like going this on the server's as it's a 99.999% available environment.

        • Westerj
          February 18, 2017 at 1:02 am

          How about learning one more piece of regex each week. There is a lifetime supply!! When you run out, there is always send mail for a challenge.

      • ggt667
        February 22, 2017 at 7:05 am

        I prefer: exa -lT

    • 45gvc 457
      February 24, 2017 at 10:50 pm

      I wouldn't use the terminal for file manipulation if Nemo or Thunar wouldn't crash 3 times a day and wouldn't hang on moving files even on the same partition because of some weird bug.