installing pop!_os 21.10 on a minis forum um250

Today I pulled the Windows 10 Pro out of my UM250 computer and installed Pop!_OS 21.10. I’d ordered a 1T WD Blue 3D NAND SATA M.2 2280 (WDS100T2B0B) drive to replace the original existing Kingston 512 GB drive on which Windows 10 Pro came preinstalled. The 1T drive was cheap enough at around US$90 from Amazon; Amazon and Western Digital were running a special at the time. And I’d been wanting to do this ever since Microsoft through a Windows 10 update started to nag me about running Microsoft Edge in place of my other browsers of choice, among other annoyances. Microsoft had worn out its welcome with me yet again.

I downloaded the Pop!_OS image from System76 ( https://pop.system76.com/ ) and flashed an old 8GB USB drive. This is definitely old had; there are more than enough tutorials on how to do this, so check elsewhere. After switching the two SSDs, I powered up the UM250 which almost immediately dropped me into the BIOS configuration screens. I tabbed over to the Boot section, and made sure to change the boot protocol from just UEFI to UEFI&Legacy, then saved the change. I plugged my 8GB USB drive into one of the two USB ports on the UM250’s front panel and then reset the UM250. The next boot was into Pop!_OS on the thumb drive. From that point I proceeded to install Pop!_OS.

It took about ten minutes to get the base system installed, then another ten or so minutes for me to tweak a few things to my liking. I’ve just gotten started but I already like the environment a whole lot better than Windows 10. More than likely I’ll need to go back into Windows 10 to pick up some development projects I was working on, but these are written in languages and with tools that are portable across operating systems. The only thing that won’t run on Pop!_OS are Microsoft Visual Studio projects (obviously). I don’t care. If I did care I wouldn’t have switched away from Windows 10.

I picked Pop!_OS primarily because it’s Ubuntu derived. I also picked it because it’s beating back the really bad bits of Gnome 4. I would have preferred to install Fedora 35 primarily because of Fedora’s up-to-date tooling, but I installed Fedora 35 on my big MBP as a Parallels VM and I came to intensely dislike their Gnome desktop. Pop!_OS has reasonably current tools. If I need bleeding edge on Pop!_OS I’m more than capable building and installing them if needed. Pop!_OS might not be perfect in your eyes, but for me it’s more than good enough and it’s not an constant annoyance like Windows 10 evolved into. It will more than do for me.

software bits and pieces using python3, django 4, and powershell core on windows 10 pro

Django

I’ve been in the process of running the Django tutorial ( https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/4.0/intro/tutorial01/ ) and have been quite impressed not only with Django overall, but with the fact that the tutorial is up-to-date (nothing was incorrect). I’m using Django 4.0 ( https://www.djangoproject.com/download/ ) running with Python 3.10.1 ( https://www.python.org/downloads/ ). I have bigger plans than the tutorial, but it was nice to run through it and not have issues.

I turned to Django second after trying Ruby and Rails, and having no luck installing Rails. Rails kept failing to install because it couldn’t build certain Ruby Rail gems around SQLite. After two Rails installation attempts, one of them through Chocolatey, I gave up and went the Python route. When I installed Django and started the tutorial and came to the database section using SQLite, it all worked flawlessly. I’m sure glad I went with Python and Django. I should have turned to Python to begin with, since I’m into all things Python everywhere else.

In the process of building this tutorial wesite, I (re)learned a simple Python one-liner to find where the site-specific files for a pakage are located. For Django it’s:

python -c "import django; print(django.__path__)
['C:\\Python\\Python310\\lib\\site-packages\\django']

Which helps to find the subfolder where code examples are located. Before anybody asks, I have Python installed in the C drive root under C:\Python. Short paths without spaces are always preferable, even under Windows.

Another lesson learned concerns a feature of Chocolatey ( https://chocolatey.org/ ). It’s labeled the package manager for windows. It installs and tracks all the common utilities you need for Windows development such as git, notepad++, and 7-zip, just to name but three. It’s better to use one centralized tool than to hunt them all down individually and install them that way. You can run Chocolatey from the command line or you can install the Chocolatey GUI and manage it all from there.

Written in Powershell, one of the Powershell features you get is refreshenv. I use that command quite a bit when I’m editing environmental variables via System Properties | Environment Variables and I need to update the current Powershell instance without restarting it. I can’t speak highly enough of either Chocolatey or it’s many little helpers. If you’re not using it, you should.