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Old 12-26-2007, 03:57 PM   #1
AllenO
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Windows to Linux Desktop 101


I am looking for Linux teaching curriculum materials to be used in a "MS Windows to Linux Desktop 101" class I am trying to put together. This is going to be free class to help people change from MS Windows to Linux Desktop users. I DON'T want to focus for the course to be for computer scientist;IT professionals; or code writers. I trying to reachout to average desktop users who are looking for something better than the "MS" market place and bring them into the Open Source/Linux world.
 
Old 12-26-2007, 04:23 PM   #2
mcmillan
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There's probably lots of stuff out there, if you can be a little more specific about what kind of things you want to include people might be able to give you a little more direction. One place to start might be The Linux Documentation Project
 
Old 12-26-2007, 04:45 PM   #3
David1357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenO View Post
I trying to reachout to average desktop users who are looking for something better than the "MS" market place and bring them into the Open Source/Linux world.
I recently replaced my 60 GB laptop hard drive with a 120 GB drive and converted the Windows XP installation into a dual-boot Windows/Ubuntu setup. The process of getting Ubuntu setup properly was not easy or painless. I had to use a lot of my background as a computer power user and programmer to get everything working.

I may get heavily insulted in these forums for saying this, but I would not recommend any distribution of Linux to "average desktop users", due to the amount of manual labor that is involved in maintaining a Linux installation.

If you really want to help a group of "average desktop users" use Linux, you can learn how to maintain a Linux distribution and be the local point-of-contact for your group.
 
Old 12-26-2007, 08:21 PM   #4
XavierP
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Marcel Gagne has written a couple of books on moving to the Linux desktop (published by Addison Wesley) - link to Amazon listings: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw...+gagne&x=0&y=0

They are pretty accessible. I disagree that the average user can't move over, many distros are now focused on ease of use for less technical people - Ubuntu and Linux Mint spring to mind.

That said, a LUG is always a good idea and if there isn't one in your local area you can always start one. Check the stickies and the other threads in our LUG forum.

And welcome to LQ
 
Old 12-26-2007, 08:34 PM   #5
Philosopher
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Quote:
I may get heavily insulted in these forums for saying this, but I would not recommend any distribution of Linux to "average desktop users", due to the amount of manual labor that is involved in maintaining a Linux installation.
I don't know, why anybody would insult you for posting your opinion or experience with Linux?!

I agree with you, that setting up a Linux Distribution on a laptop can be very frustrating, due to the fact that the hardware is often something unusual or manufactured by the vendor especially for a certain model. Definitely not something, I would recommend to an average desktop user.

But talking about a standard desktop computer, I really don't know where the problem is. Most modern linux distributions ship with an easy to use graphical installer, and if the used hardware isn't say 'bleeding edge', in most cases everything should work right out of the box.

Main point for Windows user switching to linux still is: Is it somehow familiar to use? And that brings us
1) to the daily work like browsing the internet, writing and sending emails or using a spreadsheet application
2) maintaining the system.

I think both points are not too hard or too different from what people know, that it's for them impossible to manage:
1) KDE and Gnome are both mature working environments, in some points IMHO even better than windows. Plus some applications (e.g. Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera, OpenOffice, Azureus, etc) they probably already use under windows, are also available for linux so in that case they don't even have to learn something new.
2) People should understand the difference between *.rpm / *.deb packages and *.exe files, including how to use the distributions own update manager. Checking for updates once a week can't be too difficult, can it?

So when you also consider that most users are actually also not capable of maintaining their windows system, I don't see any reason (besides the laptop/ hardware issue), why one wouldn't be able to use a linux desktop instead of windows.
 
Old 12-26-2007, 09:26 PM   #6
David1357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philosopher View Post
But talking about a standard desktop computer, I really don't know where the problem is.
The problem is "wireless networking". With Windows it is an out-of-the-box experience, with Linux it is trial and error, and frequently failure.

My brother gave up on Ubuntu because of poor wireless networking support. I spent several man-weeks getting my USB wireless adapter working on my Fedora Core 4 box. I spent several man-days getting my PCI wireless adapter working on my Ubuntu laptop. And if I move my laptop too close to the FC4 box, both adapters lock up.

Unfortunately, most people want to use wireless networking these days, and unfortunately, unless you are good with the command line, getting it working on Linux is a bit of a mine field. Thus I would never recommend it for anyone who isn't a bit of a computer expert.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 04:42 AM   #7
XavierP
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Wireless networking with Windows is absolutely not an "out of the box" experience. I have a few wireless cards at home that will only work with W2K and nothing else. And whether your card is certified or not, you still have to get the drivers. "Out of the box" means you don't need drivers.

Linux detects and installs, genuinely out of the box, far more hardware than Windows ever did or does. And as to the wireless card, a little research before buying it will cut down on the late nights trying to configure it. Also, Linuxant, Ndiswrapper, MadWifi and other wireless projects are making running and using wireless cards far far easier.

And is installing a wireless card any more technical than trying to decipher an error code in Windows when a program won't run? I have had to manually compare DLL files in Windows before.....
 
Old 12-27-2007, 12:00 PM   #8
David1357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XavierP View Post
Wireless networking with Windows is absolutely not an "out of the box" experience. I have a few wireless cards at home that will only work with W2K and nothing else. And whether your card is certified or not, you still have to get the drivers. "Out of the box" means you don't need drivers.
Well, we have different definitions of "out-of-the-box". Also, all of my wireless networking experience with Windows has been on XP. All of it was easy and none of it required using a command line. The hardest part was shipping around the pre-shared key, but I was able to do that using notepad and a CD or a thumb drive.

All of my Linux wireless networking experience involved heavy use of the command line. And two setups required writing a custom init script to get the interface up correctly and setup wpa_supplicant properly. Also, one setup requires an extra cron job to ping the gateway and restart the interface if necessary. Not even close to how easy things were on Windows XP.

When you throw in the fact that the a laptop running Windows XP can be moved very close to an FC4 machine with a USB wireless adapter with no problems, but when the same laptop is running Ubuntu with the native drivers it causes the laptop adapter and the USB adapter to both lock up, I definitely have to give Windows the prize for ease of use in the wireless networking department.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 01:59 PM   #9
XavierP
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That's quite weird. At the risk of sending this off at a slight tangent, what were the wireless devices? I have quite happily had a Linksys card, a Windows CE phone (wireless enabled), an HP iPaq (wireless enabled) and an ancient 3Com wireless card all sitting quite close to each other and not interfering at all.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 02:33 PM   #10
David1357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XavierP View Post
That's quite weird.
Yes it is weird, after you get over the feeling of extreme annoyance.

I think it is caused by the fact that the native driver for the Broadcom wireless NIC in the laptop does not appear have support for power control.

When I move the laptop closer to the Linksys USB wireless adapter connected to the FC4 box, the Broadcom adapter probably ramps up it's signal because it detects interference. Then both adapters get into the radio equivalent of a shouting match from which neither one will back down from until I reboot the laptop.

If I move the laptop away and reboot, the cronjob on the FC4 box resets the Linksys adapter within one minute. If I repeat the experiment, but manually reset the Linksys adapter, the Broadcom appears to continues to stay inoperative until the laptop is rebooted. Looking at the log files gives no helpful information. However, on the laptop I see a lot of this:
Code:
[17512.892000] Inbound IN=eth1 OUT= MAC=ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:00:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX SRC=X.X.X.94 DST=X.X.X.255 LEN=229 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=30 ID=14534 PROTO=UDP SPT=138 DPT=138 LEN=209 
[17521.940000] printk: 2 messages suppressed.
[17530.240000] printk: 6 messages suppressed.
[17530.240000] TKIP: received packet without ExtIV flag from 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
[17531.160000] TKIP: received packet without ExtIV flag from 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
[17540.064000] printk: 4 messages suppressed.
Since these problems do not occur when I am running Windows on the same laptop, I have to blame the Linux native driver.

As a side note, the FC4 box is using ndiswrapper, so it is using the Windows driver.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 02:44 PM   #11
farslayer
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Actually if you do your homework and purchase a supported wireless card, it's drop dead simple to get it working in Linux...

Some hardware manufacturers actually "get it" other don't, so I leave their product sit on the shelves. Blaming Linux for the failings of the hardware manufacturers is just silly. I ALWAYS research hardware before purchasing, so I don't waste my time and money, and support the manufacturers that support Linux by providing native drivers or community support for drivers..

ralink is one suggestion.. .

the Free Software Foundation also has a list of cards that WORK using free drivers.

and to keep on topic Linux for Windows Administrators

Linux in a Windows World O'reilly

Last edited by farslayer; 12-27-2007 at 02:45 PM.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 02:59 PM   #12
verdeboy2k
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Actually most Windows users can't install a wireless card without help either so I think that particular point is moot. If I had to recommend a Linux distribution for an "average desktop user" I'd pick *buntu or PCLinuxOS because they both install painlessly and if installing on a clean disk and not dual booting with a minimum of mouse clicks. I book I'd recommend is Just Say No to Microsoft. Not only is it humorous, it also makes good recommendations for alternatives to Microsoft products, even if you're not willing to stop using Windows.
 
  


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