Here’s another reason why Linux is way cooler than your current operating system

Estimated read time 4 min read

  Here's another reason why Linux is way cooler than your current operating system

Let me paint you the picture.

This morning, I was running a Linux virtual instance with VirtualBox. Everything was going well (as usual) until it was no longer the case. The virtual operating system asked me for my user password (to run an administration task). When I started typing the administrator password, things got messy.

In fact, VirtualBox blocked my desktop. It was not a complete blockage, because I could still move my mouse. But I couldn’t click on anything anymore. Sometimes you just have to wait for what is happening in the background to end to regain control. But this did not happen.

The laziness of restarting the computer

I know what you’re thinking. All I had to do was turn off the machine, restart it. For any macOS or Windows user, this is the logical procedure to follow when the desktop crashes. But it’s about Linux and with Linux… there is a way to do otherwise.

I wasn’t 100% sure that VirtualBox was the culprit, but I was pretty certain (because that’s what I was using when the crash happened). And since this is not my first (nor my last) experience, I knew that there was a much simpler solution. In addition, Linux users don’t really like to turn off or restart their computer. Yes because we like to brag about our uptime. I have had Linux desktops that have been up and running for over a year and servers for even longer. Yes, it is a pride.

Of course, I don’t really worry about that kind of thing anymore. And if I feel that a reboot is necessary (especially when a new kernel is installed), I don’t hesitate.

Here’s what others don’t know how to do

But then, I really didn’t want to restart my machine. First of all, the power switch no longer works, and to restart the machine, I have to remove the case and press another switch, which is difficult to reach.

So, when my computer crashed (with no easy way to restart), what did I do? Something that your operating system probably can’t do.

Here is how it happened:

  • I connected to my MacBook Pro.
  • I opened the Terminal application.
  • I used Secure Shell to remotely connect to my desktop, using the ssh command
  • I checked which application was abusing my system resources using the top command.
  • Once the application in question was found, I located the Process ID (PID) with the ps aux | grep Virtual command, which gave me the PIDs of the VirtualBox application and the virtual machine.
  • I killed the processes with the kill PID command (where PID was the ID of each VirtualBox instance).

  • I closed the SSH connection with the exit command.

Once the two VirtualBox instances were closed, I regained control of my desktop. No restart was necessary.

I understand that this is not something that someone who discovers Linux would know how to do (without the help of Google). But this is one of the many tricks that I have learned during my Linux years. And every time I use an operating system that is not Linux, I know that I can’t do that. Which (in my opinion) contributes to making other operating systems inferior to the open-source option.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not something I have to do on a regular basis. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had to perform such a feat to regain control of my office. The good thing is that the option is there if I need it. Linux is known for its multiple options to meet almost any need, which makes it an incredibly powerful, flexible and reliable operating system.

It may be that you will never face such a situation. But knowing that you have ultimate control of your office can be very reassuring. Especially when you have an important job that you don’t want to lose because of an application that blocks everything.

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