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Ubuntu as a daily driver

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

I recently had an issue on my work computer where the Windows boot drive became corrupt. I tried to reinstall windows on the same drive, which failed, then tried to install Ubuntu on that same drive. Both failed though as I suspect this particular drive had bad blocks. No fun! In the end, I found a spare drive in my car and was about to install Windows 10 again when I thought - "hold on... this could be a fun experiment. Why don't I try Ubuntu in a Windows world and see if it's too inconvenient or if it would be possible?".

This was essentially my "Day #1" of using Ubuntu as a daily driver, and below is the story from the next 4 days of using this system.

Strap yourself in for some fun learnings of my adventures using ubuntu as a daily driver!

Day #2: Ubuntu as a workstation with no vm's - had some issues with a palo alto vpn last night but found my way in via an alternative (related to licensing of globalprotect vpn client). Fun fact: if you don't have the "linux and android" license purchased for your VPN blade of your PAN firewall, you won't be able to use globalprotect or openvpn to connect in. A way around paying for this almost $1000 license fee is to use "OpenConnect" vpn client, which is essentially the same shit but with slightly different protocols. Insight: It has been an easy transition so far, as most of what I do at work is inside containers in firefox. I try to keep everything web based and synced to my email address just in case I need to reference it quickly from another device. Thing's i've had some small issues but not a "show-stopper" are teams inside linux with video calls, graphics drivers (this always happens lol), and of course, the VPN I mentioned earlier.

Day #3 I caved. I now have a windows 10 virtual machine inside vmware workstation player, but I have a good reason! The issue I was running into today was because of powershell - something I use very often but have never had to run inside native linux before. 2 issues here; 1. the version of powershell in linux (v7) is good, however there are many commands missing as well as a few modules that simply don't exist. I tried running visual studio, powershell ISE through wine and by trying to break into the source of the terminal to fix this. No joy unfortunately. 2. The modules I really really wanted (AzureAD and MSOnline) have to run in 64bit windows. Everything else is unsupported (wtf?) In other news, I also managed to lock a password manager accidentally which is used by the entire company (lol). I ran a sync of the database while connected to the VPN back into the office, then disconnected my VPN thinking it had completed when in fact it had not. This corrupted the file, but it was easily fixed by me reconnected to the VPN, running the database sync of the password manager and letting it complete (took a few minutes).

Day #4: Ubuntu Daily Driver Today has been business as usual. Now that I have a VM with Windows 10 64bit solely dedicated to run powershell scripts, it's back to smooth sailing as usual. I've focused my efforts today towards using the computer as I normally would be completing the pentests/ automation jobs I normally do while also monitoring my own business (data-sec) virtual SOC (cloud based anyway so no drama here). A few cool things I like so far is that the system remembers if you've connected to monitors before and automatically moved windows to those screens. I usually go between a few different clients each day and setup at a station there to do internal tests/ reports, and having the system remember each of these monitor sets is really quite cool. Saves me 10 seconds of moving my screens around when I set up (first world problems lol). I've also now setup my favourite terminal (fsh), as well as changed the desktop wallpaper (super important) and made a few little tweaks to suit my own style. I've been thinking if I should bother with windows managers, but honestly, I don't feel there is much need for this. I might re-visit that as an option if I get bored later on.

So, to wrap this one up, I am currently writing this ending paragraph from my Ubuntu workstation. It's a bit slow, it's not QUITE as functional as when I had Windows 10 on here, but hey, it works! I'd like to have this running on a system that, you know.. is of this century (this machine is very outdated hardware-wise), but yeah... not a bad user experience at the end of the day.

Disclaimer - Always confirm with your IT department if this is allowed to be done before wiping the OS of a workstation.

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