Linux, text books and Gruyère

Grützi, ladies!! A couple of weeks ago I started my Biomedical Engineering Masters at ETH (Switzerland) and I couldn’t be happier. It’s an amazing university and so many cool events happen at the same time that you barely have time to sit down and study (or write a blog)!


Among many other cool things, this last week I joined AMIV (Der Akademische Maschinen- und Elektro-Ingenieur Verein), the ETH Entrepreneur Club and the BEEZ (Biomedical Engineering ETH Zürich) and I am pretty sure I’m still missing a lot because the possibilities are endless.

Another great change in my life has been my computer. I’m still working with the same but now it runs on Linux! Linux is generally more light-weight and less resource heavy than Windows which is great for my old friend. For those of you that might not know what Linux is, I recommend you the following tutorial on youtube. 


As commented in the introductory tutorial, although a lot of work has gone into making desktop Linux distributions more user-friendly over the last ten years, there is still a pretty sharp learning curve. This is why first it may be a good idea to install Linux into a virtual machine such as VirtualBox and decide afterwards if you are ready to make the leap. In easy words, a virtual machine is an application that allows you to install additional operating systems, known as “guest systems” within another operating system “host”, each with its own virtual environment. For example, you could install different GNU/Linux in VirtualBox installed in Windows 10 or vice versa.

There are also many online courses to get you started and some books for Linux beginners. However, learning Linux might still take you some time and effort. This is why I decided to join a series of workshops organized by, an ETH student organization that wants to encourage usage and comprehension of Free and Open Source Software (also known as FOSS) as an alternative to proprietary software. LinuxDays are starting next week and will continue all month so hopefully by November I won’t be a newbie anymore. Wish me luck!



One thought on “Linux, text books and Gruyère

  1. The Penguin Whisperer says:

    First of all, good luck with your first steps both into Linux and into ETH!
    I just wanted to add some comments on the Linux distributions (Aka distros) from my personal experience. As Linux is open sourced anyone can contribute to it. All this contributions are packed into groups that become what is known as distros. If you browse the internet you can easily be overwhelmed by the huge amount of distros out there and their relations graph (yes, some distros are created using other distros as the base, the first time you browse for them it’s really frightening!).
    It’s probably not necessary for you to know a lot about the distro system, but there’s a couple of ideas I wanted to share with you. First of all, my recomendation is to use either Ubuntu or Mint to start using Linux (I’ll explain why now, but I save you the pain of reading stuff on distros if you’re not interested into it 😉 )

    There are two main distros that are made (almost) from scratch and that are used as base for many other distros: Debian and ArchLinux. I wouldn’t use them at the beginning because they are not user friendly, but they will appear everywhere, so it’s good to know about them.
    Then there’s Ubuntu. It’s based on Debian and it’s much more easy to get into (it has a software and package manager that helps you install or control installed programs in a way similar to Windows). There are a lot of distributions out there with similar names: Xubuntu, Kubuntu, … Most of them are mainly versions of Ubuntu with different graphical appearence, so you can choose the one that fits you the most.
    If you only need Linux as an alternative to Windows but you only need to do daily life actions as browsing the web, writting documents, … you may want to use Mint. It’s Ubuntu based, but it provides more stability and has more build-by-default applications as browsers or document readers.
    Finally there’s also Manjaro. I have not used it but, from what I’ve heard it’s similar to Mint but ultimately build on ArchLinux instead of Debian.
    I also add a video about the most popular distros:

    I hope this is useful for all of you!


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