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Linux, should I convert?
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Thread: Linux, should I convert?

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  1. #1
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    Linux, should I convert?

    Someone sent me this email. Can you guys answer his questions?

    I am a desktop user of Windows. I want to move away from Microsoft. I am not a programmer and I think that I would like to convert from Windows to Linux. Am I nuts? So far my attempts at getting information have been in vain. Is it even a reasonable possibility to make the change? Everything I can find in the written word assumes an understanding of Linux, Unix or is grossly incomplete. Almost all articles and internet sites use terms that I do not recognize. Must I learn a whole new language? Is it worth it? If yes, why is it so hard to find any help with this need? A dictionary would be a good beginning. A simple list of things to do in order to make the change would also be good. I would suggest a list that starts at the very beginning and ends after someone has a fully operational desktop workstation available with word processing, spreadsheet, and internet browser. An organizer like Outlook or Lotus organizer would be useful as well as a good financial program.

  2. #2

    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    OK, his question is "Linux, should I convert?"

    The answer is "only you know." If you are willing to spend some time researching and troubleshooting, and learning, and if you feel there is a reason why you'd want something different than Windows, then you should change. If you are not willing to do any of these things, I'd say "Don't bother." Otherwise, it'd be another DSantamassino.

    Now, if after all of this the person decides to try Linux, then This would be my suggestion. I do not want to advocate this as a magical solution, but, Fedora has all the things this person wants, out of the box.
    For documentation, he can check this or this.

    However,

    He has to keep in mind he will need to get down and dirty and be willing to spend time reading and researching.
    There is no "take me by the hand guide to everything you always wanted to know about linux." If the user has questions or is confused on what to do, please feel free to ask.

  3. #3

    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    Basically, it's not as bad as it seems.

    A lot of the docs and howtos were written in 2000/2001 when linux was all the talk. That was when things were a little rougher around the edges. Nowadays, you're just as likely to find a problem with your default linux install as you are with your default windows install. In fact, just this weekend I installed XP on one computer, dual booting with Ubuntu linux ( http://www.ubuntulinux.com/ if the original author is reading). Ubuntu picked up more hardware than Win XP, and gave me less trouble trying to upgrade it after installing too!

    That's not to say that there isn't the occasional hiccup. However, it's no more difficult to fix things in linux than in windows...just like you need to know how to fix them in windows, you need to know how to fix them in linux. Like everyone else said, that's where reading comes in. If something is broken, there's no magic "fix" button regardless of what your OS is.

    I'd say give linux a shot. You can evaluate and see if it's right for you with live cds. A live cd allows you to boot into linux without ever touching your hard drive. You boot off the cd, it loads everything you need into RAM, and off you go. When you're tired of it, just reboot, remove the cd, and you're back in windows again. Of course since it's not an actual "true" linux install it's a bit more prone to problems than your standard full install (ie, I've seen some drivers not work completely), but it's a great way to check stuff out.

    Ubuntu Live CD:
    http://ftp.cs.umn.edu/pub/ubuntu-rel...-live-i386.iso

    EDIT: Your need of a good office suite can be met with OpenOffice.org which ships by default on most modern linux distros. Similarly, Firefox web browser ships by default, as does Evolution 2.0 (organizer/email program very similar to Outlook). Not certain about financial stuff.

    If you're looking for a decent document addressing common newbie issues, there are sites like http://www.fedorafaq.org (fedora linux users) and http://www.ubuntulinux.com/wiki (for ubuntu users) that have all kinds of HOWTOs and solutions to common problems.

  4. #4
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    stryder144's Avatar
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    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    Converting to Linux is a lot like changing underwear styles. You have to experiment to find out which type fits best. Some are tighter, some are looser. You just need to experiment.

    I usually tell people that they need to figure out what they want out of their computing experience. Quite frankly, all he wants is basic computing software. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to purchase that software for windows (thought the OSS versions are way more than adequate). He could download the windows version of OOo and Firefox to get a feel for them. If he enjoys them and wants a more secure (by default) OS to play with, then Linux.

    For a Linux distro, I would suggest that he download ubuntu (both the live version and the regular version) and give it a try. If it meets his needs he can wipe out his windows hard drive and have fun. It is a snap to update and the software will always be the freshest available. Not to mention, it actually has a social conscious! You couldn't beat that with a stick!

    At any rate, that there was my 2 cents.

    Cheers

  5. #5

    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    Regarding the financial software, Fedora ships with Gnucash. I'm pretty sure you could apt-get Gnucash on Ubuntu.

  6. #6

    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    The way I look at it, if someone is questioning if they should convert to linux or not, then the answer is most likely NO.

  7. #7

    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    [quote author=Heckle link=board=12;threadid=10306;start=0#msg92927 date=1111514747]
    The way I look at it, if someone is questioning if they should convert to linux or not, then the answer is most likely NO.
    [/quote]

    Why not? It's not hard to do these days. I've seen people come from both Windows and Mac and be impressed with what modern distros have to offer. Troubleshooting stuff like a non-working sound card or incorrect video setting is usually just as difficult and just as common as doing it in Windows or Mac.

    Desktop environments are a lot like cars...perhaps one day there was a drastic difference between a Chevy and a Ford, but these days unless you do a lot of driving you probably can't tell the difference.

    If you need to surf the web, listen to music, watch DVDs, type email and do your taxes, then Linux is probably the best solution for you. It's brain-dead easy to install, it's free and offers the same functionality as other systems.

  8. #8
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    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    http://ct.eletters.whatsnewnow.com/r...-19650-0-0-0-1
    might be helpful to this person.

    Edit: There seems to be a problem accessing this link. Try http://www.extremetech.com article: Giving Microsoft the Boot

    -Edit: I fixed the link.

  9. #9
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    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    [quote author=cybergal link=board=12;threadid=10306;start=0#msg92933 date=1111566110]
    http://ct.eletters.whatsnewnow.com/r...-19650-0-0-0-1
    might be helpful to this person.

    Edit: There seems to be a problem accessing this link. Try http://www.extremetech.com article: Giving Microsoft the Boot

    -Edit: I fixed the link.
    [/quote]


    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Schotty's Avatar
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    Re:Linux, should I convert?

    I would reccomend handing this person a Novell Desktop or Linspire install disc. Those are the easiest from a default install for the normal user. Power users may shy away, but all in all, that would be closest to the "Windows User Expectation" that linux can provide.

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