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Ok. Sell Me on Linux





Phil
Just to give a little background about myself, I'm a middle-aged working class guy that has a couple of websites as a hobby. I don't have a tremendous amount of time to dedicate to learning and configuring a new Operating System and tracking down drivers. As of now, absolutely no one in my immediate existence uses linux.
That said, I'd love to try out Linux. I'm quite tired of Windows and the many headaches that accompany it.
What I'm looking for is some people here that are already using Linux to tell me why I should make the jump. What makes it so much better than Windoze?
I'm waiting for my Ubuntu CD as I type. I've heard it's really cool, but I've also read that it has problems with wireless networks. Is this so?
The idea of a dual-boot system is intriguing as well. But is this practical? How safe is it as far as all my current data on my hard drive is concerned?
Jaan
first of all, what are you looking for in an operating system?
Is ease of use above all, or do you need wireless or other services??

More nfo please.

And also, I hope you didn't order the Ubuntu CD, as you can download one and burn it to a blank CD with imgburn, that's if you have a burner.
LostOverThere
As the poster above me said, it depends what you need. How fast is your system? What are you wanting to do?
BlueVD
Congrats on your choice to try out Linux.
To give you an early and good start out, if you plan to use the linux distro as a workstation (or home pc that is), I'd recommend Mandriva 2008. It has a lot of features that imho Ubuntu doesn't. Also, it has a longer history and again, personal opinion, it's more user-friendly than ubuntu. These are just personal opinions.
As to the dual boot: your data is safe as long as you don't format anything. =] The linux partitions are "invisible" to windows (that is windows can't see the files on them by default) but there are programs (free ones) that allow you to read your linux files while on win. Linux can view your files from any windows partition and will allow you to modify them (even if they are on NTFS partitions, at least in madriva 2008).
Now, about the wireless part: yup, there are problems, and here are the reasons: most wireless cards need special firmware and drivers when it comes to different regions of the globe. And not all manufacturers are willing to provide them publicly. But you can use NDIS Wrapper to use the win drivers. Also, Intel does provide linux drivers and so do Asus if I remember correctly... So the wireless part shouldn't be to much of a problem...
Phil
Well, I have a couple of websites I maintain. And a game or two..... nothing to taxing on the system. That's about it, other than daily basic home computing needs. It's a Dell XPS, 300Mz with 3 GB RAM. I want to set a wireless home network here in the near future.
What I'm looking to do is free myself of all the sluggishness of Windows, and all the headaches that come with spyware, viruses, registries and all that stuff.
And no, I didn't order the CD, but I did request the free ones, both Ubuntu and Kubuntu.
Like i said before, my biggest concern is the time involved in learning and setting up a new operating system. I just want to know if Linux would be worth the trouble.
Arnie
300MHz and 3GB? Something must be wrong with those figures Smile

It will certainly cost you time to set up Linux and get used to it. But after that it saves you the money of buying Windows for each computer you get.

Wireless networking will likely cause trouble, but if you haven't bought the network adapter(s) for it yet, you're in a good position. If you invest some more time to research what adapters are natively supported (with the least driver effort required) by the particular distro you're using, buy one of those.
mehulved
Phil wrote:
Just to give a little background about myself, I'm a middle-aged working class guy that has a couple of websites as a hobby. I don't have a tremendous amount of time to dedicate to learning and configuring a new Operating System and tracking down drivers. As of now, absolutely no one in my immediate existence uses linux.
Something like opensuse should suit the purpose. It will keep you away from the hassles of CLI for the most part.
Phil wrote:

That said, I'd love to try out Linux. I'm quite tired of Windows and the many headaches that accompany it.
Well that's a subjective thing. I find the daily maintainance and 1000's of mouse clicks on Windows a headache, when most of it can be done by a simple command in linux. YMMV.
Phil wrote:

What I'm looking for is some people here that are already using Linux to tell me why I should make the jump. What makes it so much better than Windoze?
Gaming is a weak point but well you can always dual boot, it's very easy Smile There are some nice games for linux but it may or may not appeal to you.
Phil wrote:

I'm waiting for my Ubuntu CD as I type. I've heard it's really cool, but I've also read that it has problems with wireless networks. Is this so?

What kind of wireless card do you have? Most of atheros chipset cards are a breeze to set up on Ubuntu, whereas Broadcom can be a bit of a headache.
Similarly, for graphics card, intel works out of the box, nvidia will be quite easy to setup, ati can be a pain.
The way drivers are installed differs in windows and linux/freebsd/etc. In windows, drivers are installed separetly. Whereas in linux, they are usually built into the kernel or compiled as kernel module. Well that shouldn't matter for now. YOu will get it once you go on.
Phil wrote:

The idea of a dual-boot system is intriguing as well. But is this practical? How safe is it as far as all my current data on my hard drive is concerned?

Dual booting is fairly simple proccess. It should be set up quite fine by the installer on many of the distros.

IMO, just give one shot to linux, what have you got to loose? At the most you may not like it and throw it out and get back to familiar old windows. But, if you get used to it, you've opened up new 'vistas' for yourself.
Arnie
mehulved wrote:
IMO, just give one shot to linux, what have you got to loose?
His current Windows installation with all the files on that partition, perhaps?

Making a dualboot requires resizing of the current partition unless you have unallocated space (which is highly unlikely and would have been a waste anyway). And resizing a partition always is risky.
mehulved
Arnie wrote:
mehulved wrote:
IMO, just give one shot to linux, what have you got to loose?
His current Windows installation with all the files on that partition, perhaps?

Sorry yeah forgot about that. But, a bit of precaution can help while taking baby steps. Else there's Live CD's Razz
Phil
Quote:
Sorry yeah forgot about that. But, a bit of precaution can help while taking baby steps. Else there's Live CD's

I have an earlier version (June 2006) of a Ubuntu live CD. I can't access my hard drive though. Tell me, how can I mount my harddrive with the live CD?


Quote:
300MHz and 3GB? Something must be wrong with those figures

Sorry, 3.00 GHz and 3 GB of RAM.
Arnie
Well, that should be sufficient even for a memory waster like the U-distro. I'm not sure how to mount your hard drive there, isn't there some sort of easy icon on the desktop?

The hard way should always work (provided there's nothing really wrong):
Code:
mkdir /harddisk
mount /dev/hda1 /harddisk
This will "open a gate" to the contents of your harddrive in the /harddisk directory. As you can see, the root filesystem / is 'virtual' (in the RAM) but the hard drive partition can be accessed (mounted) in a seperate directory.

You may need to specify the filesystem type using -tvfat (FAT32) or -tntfs (NTFS). Probably NTFS will be mounted read-only for safety reasons... or maybe not, considering the priority our heroic U-distro gives to stability and security. The so-called stable (!) releases of it are actually directly based on Debian's unstable branch (or rather nicked from it without giving much credit).

PS. hda1 means first partition on first harddisk on first IDE controller. hda2 would be the second partition. Other IDE drives are hdb, hdc and hdd (the latter not an abbrevation for Hard Disk Drive, it can be any IDE device such as a CD-ROM). If you're using a SCSI/SATA controller the partitions are sda1... etc
LostOverThere
Although it isn't full proof, it does do a pretty good job of picking a Linux distro for you based on your needs.

http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/
NovaBreak
Ubuntu's a decent distro, I run on Ubuntu myself.
If you want to migrate to Linux you must use the force.

If you learn how to wield the command-line, nothing stops you from world domminatio... err I mean using Linux.

On another note, some games can be emulated on Linux using WINE. And if it's something common like QUAKE or UT, there are ports of it written up by people more hardcore than you. You just have to download them, add the data files, and you're good to go.
ammonkc
If many linux distros are very useable on the desktop right out of the box. distros like Ubuntu and SUSE come configured with all the basics that you would need (browser, mail client, productivity suite). its when you want to get into a little more geekier stuff that it might takes some learning. Some variations of Ubuntu, like Mint, might even be better because they come with all the codecs that you need preinstalled. As far as the installation process, I think that some of the later distros are much simpler than windows. if you have multiple machines, I would recommend installing it on one machine first so that you can still fallback to something familiar if needed. If you only have 1 machine, then I would recommend trying it out with a liveCD or installing it in VMware.

In short, depending on what you want to do with it, there may be a learning curve. But it will still save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run over dealing with everything that come with being a microsoft user.
ocalhoun
Every distro I've tried does have problems with wireless networks. It sounds like you're in an excellent position to try linux out though, have fun!
teko
the good thing is that as there are lots of linux systems on dell laptops so someone has probably resolved any proplems youre likely to encounter. Also the ubuntu forums are very informative and there is a good community on there.

Id also check out the website linux on laptops and you should find someone who has installed linux on your model there

http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/dell.html
csoftdev
the first thing is, it is free of charnge and you can get lots and lots of free softwares with linux. unlike windows, linux is more stable too, and you can change it to whichever way that you like.
xbcd
all i can say is im a guy who when i switched dual booted all the time. I put it there as a back up (just in case). Now i do not think i have booted windows in over 3 months out of which i have only rebooted twice. Linux has great memory management and controls pageing (disk swapping) much better than windows. If my linux distro ever got slow all i would do is log out and log back in and voila it was like rebooting but in only 5 seconds. Having that backup there just in case gives you peace of mind to try linux without worring about not haveing a computer to use. I found if you just use some common knowledege and some help from linux's best friend and have a little pacience for like mabee a week then you will not regret the move. Especiall once you setup and install compiz or berly. You will probably have trouble when using ur windows machines since some super neglected things such as alt-tab replacements and the mac like expose feature (its in berly and compiz) are missing in windows. I know when i go to school i am always looking for that expose feature and you have no idea how much faster your computer will feel. Especially with that 3gb of ram. I do not think i have ever had to use my page file (called swap in linux) when using my everyday programs and i only have 1gb ram. You should not have any problems what so ever. As far a wireless goes. IDK i have an old DSL (damn small linux) box my mom bought at a garage sale with a 1gb harddrive and 128mb ram running a wifi card with NDISWRAPPER (pretty much it uses the windows driver in linux). Hope you found something in this thread helpful cause if not P.M. me and i would LOVE to help.

P.S. Might i suggest Ubuntu 7.10 for only one reason. Their Community is the best i have EVER seen in the linux world. Everyone there will help you since they .... well they just will.
teko
second the Ubuntu community very helpful and very newbie friendly too.
uninverted
Yeah, I've got to agree with the previous Ubuntu nominations. It's the friendliest distro out there, and if you want to dual boot (If you play PC games, you should; just about zero commercial games have Linux versions out) it makes it really, really easy. But I'd recommend getting familiar with a few basic shell commands in case something goes wrong during installation. When I installed it, I had to get the window manager working from a command line, and without a little Unix knowledge, I would have been screwed.

But once you do get it working, Linux is just better than windows. The package manager Just Works, and the open source software available dwarfs the heck out of windows. It's also really, really customizable; any given Linux user's desktop is probably completely different from another's.
Liu
Things just tend to work right out of the box with Ubuntu. I've used Fedora, CentOS, OpenSuSe, SLES, and SLED and I'd have to favor Ubuntu out of all of them. In terms of it being an enterprise OS, it certainly is not - most corp apps tend to run on things like RHEL or SLED/SLES.

However, if you're looking for a side hobby to learn linux, definitely pick up Ubuntu.
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