: Migrating To Linux? Info/Issues/Problems/Fixes
2007-02-01, 12:56 PM
Linux in Early 2007: Overview of the State Of The Art
Trying out an entirely new OS (Linux from Windows) can be an intimidating experience for some folks, an annoying one for others, and a breeze for some. This thread will help with advice, answers, gotchas, warnings, and maybe even some sympathy too if things don't go right. :)
The state of the art in early 2007's major Linux consumer distributions (Red Hat/Fedora, OpenSUSE, Mandriva, Ubuntu, MEPIS, PCLinuxOS, others) is now pretty clear:
easy installation (often in less than an hour for a fully loaded distribution, usually with only one reboot)
mostly Open Source software (free license, usually very low cost or free of charge applications or feature sets)
works on almost all typical PC hardware, including PCs not suitable for running Vista
might not work on some of the very newest hardware if manufacturer doesn't provide Linux drivers
generally with time drivers for such gear will be written by Linux community or manufacturer
has robust, feature packed desktop that will be familiar in most ways to Windows users
amazingly customizable desktop, including 3D
automatic update capability
easy software add/upgrade/remove tools
includes software applications of almost every major type, worth thousands of dollars if it was proprietary software:
office suites (MS Office 2003 compatibility with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
instant messaging (compatible with MSN, Yahoo, AOL, others)
email (POP, IMAP, Exchange Server compatible)
web (browsers, development suites, Flash, Netscape Plugins, etc.)
multimedia entertainment (A/V creation, production in almost every format, proprietary drivers and workarounds are available)
digital cameras and video (hardware support, graphics suites, video editing, CD/DVD ripping/burning, HDTV, DV, etc.)
scanners, printers, digipads, joysticks, other accessories
probably doesn't run most applications created specifically for MS Windows, although many do run using various means such as WINE Windows emulation
more and more games are either being ported to Linux or supported using Cedega Windows emulation
backup, restore, archiving, disk imaging capabilities
online or customer support is available
wide variety of Internet forums dealing with all aspects of Linux support
essentially no viruses or trojans, few OS-level security breaches or even attacks
rapid fixes by Linux developers to security issues (as compared to Microsoft)
newest Linux kernel has internal Virtual Machine capability (similar to VMware)
2007-02-06, 01:03 PM
I've built my own machines since Win 3.1 and installed the various flavours since, but I would like to put together a Linux machine for basic home use. eg. Internet browsing, word processing, spread sheets, MP3 management.
Any recommendations of a Linux package that is a smooth install?
I will check my components for Linux drivers before starting as well.
2007-02-06, 01:04 PM
There are several Linux distributions that are geared towards those coming from Windows with little or no previous Linux experience.
If you are in that category my personal recommendation is Mandriva Discovery. It is preloaded with just about every feature you'd want or expect, has a very gentle learning curve for Windows users, doesn't require that you know anything about stuff like KDE, Gnome, etc. etc. and it automatically upgrades very well if you so choose:
For a more advanced Linux consumer desktop version I recommend Mandriva Powerpack:
I've rarely had any hardware driver glitches with Mandriva over the years - usually just weird accessory gear that only comes with Windows binary drivers, but never any motherboard, PCI card, USB or Firewire issues.
The thing about Mandriva Discovery is the amount of stuff it offers on first install with the need for little or no knowledge of how to configure it. For that it gets my endorsement for newcomers.
2007-02-06, 01:06 PM
For ease of use and ease of installation I would highly recommend Ubuntu (if you want a gnome front-end) or Kubuntu (if you want a KDE front-end). If you have reasonable hardware it is very good at installing everything right out of the box.
2007-02-06, 03:42 PM
Thanks very much. Exactly what I was looking for!
If you are looking for a desktop replacement, then I think you're on the right track. Go ubuntu with OpenOffice productivity suite!
2007-02-06, 06:34 PM
I also would go with ubuntu, or its derivative Linux Mint (http://linuxmint.com/). You don't really need to do any command line stuff unless you want to; tons of software packages; and if you go with linux mint, the mp3 codecs and things are preconfigured for you (although the legality of that is an issue if you live in the US).
2007-02-06, 11:51 PM
openSUSE is another distro worth checking out. I found it to be one of the slickest installs that I've tried but Ubuntu and Mandriva are also great choices. :D
2007-02-07, 01:16 PM
Linux distros are ranked according to popularity here (on the left side of the page): http://distrowatch.com/
Currently I am running Ubuntu in VMWare and it is pretty good. Very easy to locate and install applications using either Synaptic, the built in GUI powered package manager, or using apt-get on the command line.
I have also used Mandrake (now Mandriva), Mepis, and Fedora in the past and they are also pretty good. There seems to be a lot of buzz being generated about openSUSE recently and I might look into it. I usually download the VMWare image (or appliance) for these distros and play with them inside VMWare Player or Workstation running inside Windows XP before deciding which one to install on the hard-drive.
2007-02-07, 11:29 PM
I have ZIPPO experience with Linux, so to get started I am just looking for the easiest to install and get running with basic capability. Thanks for all the tips, I've been checking out the URLs and it looks good.
If you want to try Linux with no risk to your existing system, check out Knoppix (http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html). it is a 'LiveCD', in that the complete OS boots and runs from the CD and does not touch your hard drive. This way you can check out some of the features, applications, and most importantly, hardware support. In my experience, Linux has far better 'out of the box' hardware support than Windows XP. What I mean is, when I install a Linux OS, it usually detects, configures and uses 100% of my hardware. Every Windows install I've done in the last few years involves downloading at a minimum network, sound, and video card drivers.
2007-02-09, 03:36 PM
Excellent point, rpr - Knoppix is the best known of the Live CDs, and I know Mandriva has a Live CD version too as well as a USB drive version:
2007-02-10, 11:57 PM
Take a look at the Kubuntu 6.10 DVD. Installation is very smooth since it has a huge amount of hardware support on the disc. It runs live or can be installed. The Ubuntu/Kubuntu CDs will not run on my system (due to lack of hardware support) but the DVD has no problems. The only thing it did not recognize was my Promise RAID array. (I installed it on a separate SATA disk.)
Kubuntu may be easier for some because the desktop is more like Windows than Ubuntu.
2007-02-13, 10:04 AM
Any guidelines on minimum system requirements for a Linux install? Do different distributions have different requirements?
2007-02-13, 10:58 AM
I used to use linux back in the "day". maybe year ago. its all i used to use. but needing some programs only avail to windows :( i had to install XP.
Just wondering, any of yous still using Linux, will Linux write to an NFTS partition still? i remember there was issues with it last when i was using Slackware, so im just wondering if all linux flavors can write to it, or not now?
2007-02-13, 11:49 AM
will Linux write to an NFTS partition still?yes. mount or ntfsmount commands will read/write to them ok.
2007-02-13, 12:34 PM
yeah NTFS is what i meant ;) sweet thanks, i remember back in Red Hat 8 or something it wasn't allowed...but nice.
2007-02-13, 01:17 PM
Any guidelines on minimum system requirements for a Linux install?If you have an X86 system you need to make sure you're getting a Linux distribution made for X86. There are Linux distros for a wide variety of architectures (PowerPC, Alpha, Sparc, etc.) so this is important to check at first.
With a completely bare-bones command line Linux system you could use a 386 or a 486. :D
Okay, that is absolutely true but lets get realistic here. You can run the newest Linux distros with most of their windowing features enabled (using KDE, Gnome, or others) on everything from a Pentium 200 or AMD Duron all the way up to today's latest Intel and AMD CPUs. Just remember that the more windowing features and software applications you want to use, and especially the 3-D desktops, the more you will require basically the same level of gear that Windows XP would require.
As with Windows, 256MB of ram is a good start. 512MB is just great. Higher amounts are of course excellent if you want to spend some $$$.
If your PC is a Windows 98 or ME box with a Pentium or Pentium II (likewise the AMD Duron and early Athlon CPUs of the same era) you can run KDE or Gnome desktops but you'd probably want to shut off the minor desktop bells and whistles like shadows, mouse effects, etc. after some test drives to see if performance improves. I would put lots of RAM into such a machine, whether it is still on Windows or on Linux.
If you're migrating from Windows 2000 or XP to a new Linux distro and your system is running a Pentium II through Pentium IV (or equivalent AMD CPU) everything should be fine as far as all the gear inside the computer, but the occasional external device might need some tweaking or downloading of drivers, and sometimes there just isn't Linux support for the device if it has some sort of manufacturer's secret sauce in it. This is getting rarer, but it unfortunately still happens.
A Pentium III box should be able to do more than that and can probably support almost all the desktop bells and whistles. I ran an AMD Thunderbird 1400 for a few years with no performance issues.
A Pentium IV or recent AMD Athlon will fly with any new Linux distro.
2007-02-13, 09:41 PM
Any guidelines on minimum system requirements for a Linux install? Do different distributions have different requirements?
Yes. You can trade off desktop eye-candy versus performance versus low resource usage. Ubuntu-based distros are currently the most popular for beginners. They differ in the DE (desktop environment) they use.
The original Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/) uses GNOME and Kubuntu (http://www.kubuntu.org/) uses KDE. The GNOME/KDE difference is almost like religion. They're both heavy-duty eye-candy that looks a lot like Windows, and use a lot of system resources to support the eye-candy. And just like religions, you'll get heated arguments, with each one's proponents proclaiming superiority, and outsiders have a hard time telling the two apart.
Xubuntu (http://www.xubuntu.org/) uses XFCE as its desktop environment. XFCE is a bit more plain than GNOME or KDE. The trade-off is that it uses less system resources.
Note: you can run the same apps on Kubuntu and Xubuntu as you can run on Ubuntu; only the eye-candy differs. I tend to run apps in fullscreen mode mode, and where I can I much prefer true textmode console apps. So eye-candy is unimportant to me.
I've discovered how to tweak standard VGA cards to give 80x48 (yes, fourty-eight) text mode using 10-pixel-high fonts, NOT the 8-pixel-high fonts you get in Windows with VGA 50 line textmode. It's much more readable than the VGA-50-row display... and no, you do NOT need SVGATextMode. This is all via standard config files. An 80x48 textmode console makes email, usenet, and programming much easier in textmode.
2007-02-20, 02:38 PM
I'm really tired of XP and I don't want to switch to Vista. I've been thinking a long time about giving Linux a go. I was wondering what your opinions are on the OS. I backup alot of DVD's and stuff (usually with CCE SP etc.) on my XP system. Other stuff I use it for are the usual, a few games, internet browsing, chat etc. Also, is there a iPod program for Linux?
So, in all...I'd really just like to know if I should give it a shot and if I do, which is a good version of it to use (Linspire, Xandros, Mandriva etc)? Thanks for any help.