3 Ubuntu Tips for NVIDIA Jetson

The Jetson Developer Kits are currently running a custom version of Ubuntu 18.04. If you are making the switch from another computer OS to the Jetson, here’s three tips. Looky here:


The current versions of the Jetson Developer Kits (Jetson Nano, Jetson TX2 and Jetson AGX Xavier) are running L4T 32.2.x. L4T is a custom version of Ubuntu 18.04 with built in support for the Jetson Tegra processors.

L4T uses the Unity desktop. While the Ubuntu desktop is similar to other computer OSes like Windows and Macintosh, there are some differences.


Tip 1: Arrange your Launcher

The bar on the left of the desktop is called the Launcher. Once you start an installed program (which you can do from the Dash as shown in the video), an icon appears in the Launcher. Similar to Windows and MacOS, you can lock the icon to the Launcher, and arrange them.

This seems simple (because it is!), but saves valuable time because you don’t have to hunt around for your frequently used programs/apps. You will also want to get rid of the application icons that you do not use frequently to get rid of visual clutter, and make selection faster.

Tip 2: Open the Terminal using a context menu

When you are developing, sometimes you are looking at files through the GUI file browser. If you are unfamiliar with Linux, sometimes it can be difficult to translate the location of the file in the browser to the actual location in the file system.

There are a couple of tricks to know. Typically when people talk about directories (like most programmers) they are coming from a place of dealing with the file tree from a Command Line Interface (CLI). Users who come from the GUI world tend to talk about folders, which they see in the file browser windows.

As you probably know, directories and folders refer to the same thing! In fact a file browser is just a graphical representation on the file system. However, it’s not clear as to how navigate between the CLI version, and the file browser version.

As it turns out, there is a context menu (right mouse click in a file browser window), with an entry ‘Open in Terminal’. This will open a Terminal with the current working directory set to the place shown in the file browser. As shown in the video, you can see that the two addresses can be quite different, even though they represent the same place.

Also, you can drag and drop the location of a folder from the file browser to the Terminal. This makes it easier to navigate to a folder from a visual representation. You can also type in a file location into the “address” bar of the file browser (where the breadcrumb of the file location is shown) to navigate to an absolute path.

Not shown in the video is the ability to copy an address from the Terminal and navigate to it in the file browser. Use the pwd command to bring up the current working directory, copy and paste it in the file browser, and there you are.

Tip 3: Templates

Templating is a very useful feature. The idea is that you place a “template” of a file in a special folder (~/Templates). Then from a right click menu in a file browser window or desktop, you can select ‘New Document’ and the template you want to use.

Your templates can be of a file type, or a file that has a lot of information already in place. This is really useful for shell script files and Python scripts, where you may want to have headers with special prefaces, licenses, copyrights and so on.

Ubuntu will instantiate a new file based on the selected template. That way, you can create new files with all the boilerplate already in place for your projects!

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