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Old 06-26-2012, 05:17 PM   #16
ten0rman
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Hi all,

Yes, you could say that Masterfile is abandonware.

In fact, the author, John Campbell, retired many years ago, and yes there is no more support. It is an old program with an ancestry dating back to Sinclair Spectrum days which was when the original Masterfile program was built. This program was re-written for DOS, and later completely rewritten, improved and renamed Masterfile Professional (Mpro). Mpro is upwardly compatible with the previous version. I used Masterfile from 1993 to 1999, and Mpro since then. My main usage is as a home accounts database and has now in excess of 20,000 records in it. Neither the earlier, nor the later version have ever failed to work, other than when I have been poking around or not set it up correctly. In short, it does everything that I want and I simply cannot see any reason why I should change for no good reason other than it is outdated.

I would like to say something about myself.

I'm 69, been using computers since 1979, Sinclair Mk14, ZX80, pseudo ZX81, Spectrum, CP/M, DOS, W3x, W95, W98, W2K, WXp, green & black VDU's, CGA (is that correct?) VDU's, and now LCD's, teletype to remote mainframe at 300Baud & upwards, batch job running to the mainframe, dial-up access into mainframes and a local small multi-processor multi-used machine, various types of dot-matrix printers & inkjets. I've programmed in a few dialects of BASIC (and along with a colleague got paid for a suggestion). I've been delving into what I now suspect may have been a UNIX based machine in order to find the BASIC therein. I've written the occasional small code in something similar to the DOS batch commands. I've even had a short spell as the System Manager for a small system. This does not make me an expert by any stretch of the imagination although it's true to say that I do know a lot more than Mr or Mrs Average with a home computer. Nevertheless, I am now at that stage in life when the fancy glittery stuff no longer attracts - I simply don't need it hence my comments above about plain simple desktops.

As I have already said, WXp works fine for me. I do not get BSOD's or indeed any other type of failure. Yes, it's a pain having to take precautions, but it's no big deal, simply an attitude of mind and a regular weekly check. And I quite happily go diving into the registry. Having said all that, the idea of an alternative OS is very intriguing, but if it is going to involve a lot of time to set up, then frankly, at my time of life I've got better things to do. It is my opinion now, that for Linux to make decent inroads into Microsoft's near monopoly (which I would like to see it do), then it is going to have to be able to run out of the box with a simple easily understood interface, otherwise all those people who suggest it is for geeks are going to be proved correct. It needs to be able to install additional programs at least as easily as Windows does, after all how much simpler can you get than stick in a CD, sit back, answer a few questions (perhaps), restart the machine and it's done. I would also point out that I'm typing this using SUSE - and the keyboard repeat doesn't work! Ok, I could find the setting somewhere, but it shouldn't be necessary, certainly Mr & Mrs Average won't be able to find it - if they can be bothered (see below). Incidently, I've just looked for it and found it disabled. Enabled it and all is now ok. Why is it like that? What was the programmer thinking? To my mind, and this isn't only Linux, a lot of so-called programmers are more concerned with showing how clever they are, instead of making sure that the program is user-friendly. A good example I came across recently was with a large bank, where there was a drop-down box of options which a) did not even include the obvious options; and b) they weren't even in alphabetic order. And this is my chief gripe about SUSE. Or rather KDE: it simply is not user friendly, and yes, I am aware that it is customisable.

During the late 1980's and early 1990's, I became involved in setting up some PC's. Ok, they were only running W3x, but I was amazed at the number of installations where the user simply either didn't know, or didn't care, that the default installation was American. They just put up with incorrectly labelled keys. And only the other day, I discovered that a friend of mine had gone and bought Microsoft Office - he did not know about Libre Office! This is what Linux is up against!

With that, I'll shut up. I've had enough of SUSE & Gnome/KDE. I'll try some other distro next. Oh, and there's another thing - jargon. I know what a distro is, but does Mr & Mrs Average?

Regards,

ten0rman
 
Old 06-26-2012, 09:30 PM   #17
guyonearth
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You're making a couple fundamental mistakes in the way you view Linux vs. Windows. First, Windows is a commercial product, aimed at the broadest spectrum of users. It has one publisher, one codebase, and is closed source. Windows is Windows, regardless of what the end users do to it. The source code is closed, not completely documented, and is not available to the general public.

Linux is completely different. First of all, Linux is a kernel, not a complete operating system. The various distros are complete operating systems, but they are all different, all customized, all designed to suit the perceived needs of the intended audience, market, or userbase, whatever it might be. Many distros are designed by one person to their particular interpretation of what an operating system should be. That being said, Linux distributions contain software packages and desktops of many different types, from many different sources, and representing many different philosophies of software and user interface design. It's up to the end user to find what suits them. There are many distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, ZorinOS, PCLinuxOS, etc, that are aimed at novice users and Windows converts. There are many more that are aimed at more advanced users that want more customized systems, more stripped-down systems, or systems specialized for a particular purpose. Your quibbling about small aspects of the interface don't make a lot of sense in the context of Linux, since you could easily change them. You could easily install KDE, Gnome, MATE, XFCE, LXDE, or any number of desktop environments on your SUSE installation and try them out and tweak them to your heart's content, but apparently you'd rather keep trying different distributions randomly, or keep using an woefully outdated version of Windows instead. A little bit of reading and experimentation would go a long way in your case, you obviously know how to install and set up the systems, you just need to figure out how to customize it the way you like. It would also behoove you to just try something different and use some of these different desktops. I used to be very much a KDE person, but I'm now using Gnome 3 and Unity without any issues at all. It just takes an open-minded approach. If you try new things, who knows what you might find that you like?
 
Old 12-02-2013, 11:15 AM   #18
ten0rman
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Don't know whether or not if this will appear anywhere reasonable, but here goes.

A quick trawl through the previous entries will show that I am looking at changing to Linux with the minimum of fuss, palaver, problems etc. And that I have found that certain desktop environments are, well, rubbish in my opinion. Also that I wanted certain facilities.

I have been experimenting and am now more or less settled on Mint with the MATE desktop environment which in general does what I want. I am using v.13 LTS which I will change to v17 LTS when it comes out. In addition I have discovered how to use Oracle VM to load Windows XP thus allowing me to easily use my DOS based database program. (DOSBox/DOSEMU - can't remember which - simply did not give the same facility as does WinXP. Also Wine attempts to force one onto DOSBox/DOSEMU.) Wine appears to work satisfactorily with my CAD program, if not then I can always revert to using it with XP. Paint Shop Pro may work with Wine for what I want, although long term I would wish to transfer to The Gimp once The Gimp allows for the individual sections to be all joined into one big screen as it does for the Windows version. It has to be said that there are problems with Wine & Paint Shop Pro - it all depends how serious these are.

All in all then, I have achieved a reasonable Linux based solution, albeit with some compromises. I am able to use a graphical environment, use WinXP in a virtual machine thus eliminating, or at least severely reducing, the possibility of virus attacks via the notorious Windows holes.

Regards,

ten0rman
 
Old 12-04-2013, 09:11 PM   #19
guyonearth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
Don't know whether or not if this will appear anywhere reasonable, but here goes.

A quick trawl through the previous entries will show that I am looking at changing to Linux with the minimum of fuss, palaver, problems etc. And that I have found that certain desktop environments are, well, rubbish in my opinion. Also that I wanted certain facilities.

I have been experimenting and am now more or less settled on Mint with the MATE desktop environment which in general does what I want. I am using v.13 LTS which I will change to v17 LTS when it comes out. In addition I have discovered how to use Oracle VM to load Windows XP thus allowing me to easily use my DOS based database program. (DOSBox/DOSEMU - can't remember which - simply did not give the same facility as does WinXP. Also Wine attempts to force one onto DOSBox/DOSEMU.) Wine appears to work satisfactorily with my CAD program, if not then I can always revert to using it with XP. Paint Shop Pro may work with Wine for what I want, although long term I would wish to transfer to The Gimp once The Gimp allows for the individual sections to be all joined into one big screen as it does for the Windows version. It has to be said that there are problems with Wine & Paint Shop Pro - it all depends how serious these are.

All in all then, I have achieved a reasonable Linux based solution, albeit with some compromises. I am able to use a graphical environment, use WinXP in a virtual machine thus eliminating, or at least severely reducing, the possibility of virus attacks via the notorious Windows holes.

Regards,

ten0rman
"Notorious Windows Holes"? Huh? To be attacked by a virus, you need to download and execute one, something I haven't done in 20 years. If you're talking about browser-based vulnerabilities, they exist in all browsers regardless of OS. WinXP is long past end-of-life, you have no reason to expect it to be either secure or functional. But since you're using Suse 9.1, a distro that is also far outdated and unsupported, I'm not surprised by the contents of your post, but you should educate yourself a little more. Good luck with Mint, it's one of the more solid distros.
 
Old 12-04-2013, 09:44 PM   #20
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
WinXP is long past end-of-life, you have no reason to expect it to be either secure or functional... Good luck with Mint, it's one of the more solid distros.
In fairness to Redmond: XP will be 100% fully supported through April 2014. By pure coincidence that is the same end-of-life date as my current Mint 14. So in this case, the XP user and the Mint user are in the same boat in terms of longevity of support. Microsoft supports their releases for 10+ years, which is something very few Linux distros have historically accomplished. I think the average lifespan these days for a new Linux distro is less than 6 months.
 
Old 12-05-2013, 12:45 AM   #21
wstewart90
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Linux doesn't work for you. You work for linux!
 
Old 12-06-2013, 11:51 PM   #22
guyonearth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
In fairness to Redmond: XP will be 100% fully supported through April 2014. By pure coincidence that is the same end-of-life date as my current Mint 14. So in this case, the XP user and the Mint user are in the same boat in terms of longevity of support. Microsoft supports their releases for 10+ years, which is something very few Linux distros have historically accomplished. I think the average lifespan these days for a new Linux distro is less than 6 months.
Windows XP is in it's legacy extended support phase now. Only security patches are released, and only on a monthly basis. This is not "100% fully supported" in my opinion.
 
Old 12-09-2013, 12:47 AM   #23
Lantzvillian
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Perhaps "tombstoning" your machine into a VM might be part of a solution. Then you can have snapshots of it running and rollback if something catastrophic happens + you can easily move it around despite OS and hardware changes.
 
Old 12-09-2013, 05:18 AM   #24
salasi
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A little background reading for you

http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
http://alternativeto.net/
 
Old 12-10-2013, 09:28 AM   #25
sundialsvcs
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Quote:
but if it is going to involve a lot of time to set up, then frankly, at my time of life I've got better things to do. It is my opinion now, that for Linux to make decent inroads into Microsoft's near monopoly (which I would like to see it do), then it is going to have to be able to run out of the box with a simple easily understood interface, otherwise all those people who suggest it is for geeks are going to be proved correct.
Maybe I, too, am "close enough to an old phart" to agree with you ... with your sentiment, that is, not necessarily with your conclusions.

Not too many years ago ... you were there, so was I ... the digital computer was an expensive rarity. Now, it's an appliance. And, when that happened, people began to treat computers more-and-more in just that way. There were still "proud, card-carrying geeks" (I've got mine, right here!), but "geeks" became less and less necessary. This trend will only continue. And, it should.

(But that doesn't "doom Linux." Quite the opposite, in fact. And it most-certainly does not "crown Windows," which in my opinion is already yesterday's-news. Read on.)

When the motor-car was young, the rich people who could afford them could also afford to ride with a mechanic, his sturdy box of tools and spares, and a picnic lunch. "When the motor-car was young," you needed that. But Henry Ford changed all of that, giving us not only the cheap-but well-enuf-built car, but also the junkyard.

Today, computers really are "appliances." They're phones, and tablets, and cheap PC-class equipment. Their owners never change the oil. Never update anything unless the machine updates itself. Learn as little as possible (ideally: nothing, because nothing is required) about how it works. Don't use it efficiently. But, nevertheless, they use it. Papers get written. Emails get sent. Memory-cards full of dumb pictures of you as a six-year old wind up quite regularly in your dropbox, courtesy of your aunt.

Most(!) of those machines, by numbers, today run Linux, or else Unix (OS/X = iOS). But, their users neither know nor care. Their attitude is quite properly what it always should have been:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Typical User:

"Linux? So what?"
"Say, while you're here, I've got a question ..."
What you said to them is perfectly true. (Your phone probably runs Linux.) But, they do not care, because they do not wish to have to care, and because a well-engineered "appliance" does not oblige them to care.

A modern car is probably the most computerized thing you're ever likely to encounter. But you don't have to think about anything with regards to computers in order to drive it. (In fact ... *SCREECH* Look Out! You damn fool, stop texting!!" ... you don't have to think about anything at all.)

I like to think that every computer programmer's ultimate mission should be to work himself or herself out of a job. To do things so well, and so very seamlessly well, that: "It Just Works.™" If you want an "app," you just tap a few buttons and ... presto, there it is ... and it Works. "No Geeks Required."

(And, mind you, "it takes Highest Geek-dom" do achieve that. To make it look ... to be ... "easy." But do not expect recognition. If you get recognition, then: "Padewan, there is a Higher Level Yet, that you have not yet Attained."

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 12-10-2013 at 09:31 AM.
 
Old 12-24-2013, 05:20 PM   #26
ten0rman
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guyonearth,

I'm not using Suse9.1. Never have apart from a limited experimental mode. Perhaps I need to update my particulars.

Also, whilst XP may be an ancient OS, it works, and, provided one takes care, works well and doesn't readily succumb to nasties. Like you, I have never had a nasty in all the 25 years or so that I've been using Windows & DOS.

For the future, I aim to set up Mint v.17 when it arrives. If, as I understand it, it will be supported until 2020, then if I am still "compos mentis" (I will be 77) I may well update to whatever the latest LTS version is.

lantzvillian,

Whether its "tombstoning" or not is irrelevant as far as I am concerned. What IS important, is that I can accomplish a changeover to Linux relatively easily, and with a minimum of re-learning. I have absolutely no doubt that given sufficient time, I can become just as proficient in Linux as anyone else - but I don't have that time. And that is the important point, time, or lack of it. Don't forget, I've had almost 25 years of using Windows and learning it. If I'm lucky, I should have another 10 years before mental/physical deterioration fully sets in. If I'm very lucky, possibly 15 years. And if I get 20 years, then I'll consider myself blessed indeed. Therefore, the objective is to get away from what is to become an unsupported system by whatever means possible at least cost to myself. And so far, it looks as if I will be using Firefox, Thunderbird, Libre Office Writer and Libre Office Calc just as I do now, whilst Design Cad Pro v.17.2 and Paint Shop Pro 7.04 will work satisfactorily via Wine and Masterfile Professional (the DOS based database) will work very well indeed via a stripped down version of Windows XP working as a guest system with no internet access (hence little or no chance of any nasties). This only leaves a Self-Assessment tax calculation program which may work via Wine, but if not, should work via XP.

salasi,
Read your offerings. Don't understand the second one, but agree in some respects with the first.

sundialsvs,
I really do regret the fact that modern cars are computer controlled as this prevents me from doing my own repairs and maintenance. Not that I would at my age, but I don't like it. I also regret the fact that my 1998 caravan also has some electronic gadgetry in it which appears to be designed to prevent people from flattening the car battery. Apart from the fact that the provided circuit diagram does not appear to work, I am quite capable of looking after my own electrical equipment, and I don't need looking after like this, especially after spending 35 years in an electric/electronic environment.

The point is that I have now got a working OS with a hybrid solution for my must have programs which does not involve me spending years learning how to use new programs. In effect, I've done this with little or no help from the various forums. To be fair, I can understand why some people are taking the attitude that they do: I would suggest that to those people, the computer is a hobby, whereas nowadays, I simply want it as a tool.

Regards,

ten0rman
 
Old 11-06-2014, 02:49 PM   #27
ten0rman
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An update.
First of all, I have two systems, named main & backup for obvious reasons. Initial experimenting was done on the backup system.
Linux Mint v.17 didn't work properly on my main system so I've remained on v.13.
As expected no problems with Firefox, Thunderbird, Libre Office Calc & Libre Office Writer.
Design Cad Pro v.17.2 working via Wine did not work properly on the main system. Reverted to Design Cad 2000 which worked a lot better so have now standardised on that.
Paint Shop Pro is now working reasonably well after having had to set up a Workspace which has to be loaded manually.
Mpro, the DOS based database, works ok via Oracle Virtual Box & WinXP except that it stutters when scrolling. Using Mpro via DosEmu is better in that scrolling is dead smooth with no scrolling. Unfortunately, despite using "Speed" to set DosEmu as fast as possible, Mpro searching is slower than via Virtual Box/XP. Nevertheless, overall DosEmu is reasonably usable and doesn't need to go through 2 stages before I can do any work.

Overall, then, I now have a reasonably working Linux system which meets all my requirements.

Regards,

ten0rman
 
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