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Old 08-02-2006, 10:59 PM   #1
mkpovak
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Looking for some input...scared


Okay here is the deal, please excuse any mistakes I make this is my very first post to this forum, my desktop is running windows 98ME. Windows 98ME does not make me happy, we are considering converting to kubuntu but we are really nervous to do so. My husband feels really attatched to his comfortable office products and is afraid that the open office products "won't work" and that we will "lose everything". He is also concerned that many of the programs he likes to use aren't on the kubuntu run disk thing that we are playing with to figure out if we (okay really him I am all for jumping in to a new pool with both feet and learning all I can my approach worries him).

Anyway can some of you provide some additional information to help us make this decision?

Will we lose all of our files?
WIll we ever be able to get back to our old windows system again?
WIll we ever be able to run windows programs again?
Am I possibly jumping in over my head here? (I consider myself to be pretty good with computers)

Thank you for any help!

Mary Kate
 
Old 08-02-2006, 11:13 PM   #2
rickh
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The obvious solution, if you have enough disk space, is to clear enough room for Kubuntu and Windows to run side by side on the same PC. Having both available will allow plenty of time for judicious decision-making.
 
Old 08-02-2006, 11:26 PM   #3
Mountain Man
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Hi mkpovak,

I would definately back up all of your important files before doing something like this. In fact, this is a wise thing to do even if you don't make the change. As long as you have your data files backed up and your windows (and any other software) install discs then you can always get back to where you started if for some reason you need to.

One other suggestion would be to try Open Office from Windows first and see how you both like it. Aside from this, as the previous poster suggested you can install kubuntu in a dual boot configuration. I've never had any problems with a linux distro setting this up (coincidentally my dual boot machine currently has kubuntu on it), but nothing is fool proof so as I said before make sure you back up your data. I've read that it is important to defrag the hard drive in windows before doing any repartitioning, and this seems to make sense to me.

Best of luck! I think you will both really like linux.
 
Old 08-02-2006, 11:36 PM   #4
ErrorBound
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As for using the software that you are already familiar with, Wine is a very well-known Linux application which allows you to run (most) windows software under Linux. Microsoft Office for one is known to work very well with it, if you can't get used to Open Office.

Kubuntu is an excellent choice, by the way. I recommend it to a lot of people.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 12:46 AM   #5
davimint
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Look's like your willing to try something that will challenge you to learn, due to the fact that your tired of the same old boring stuff. Sure, he doesn't want you to mess up that comfortable little world but you don't have too.. You could always try some live CD's like knoppix, from my experience it does a real good job of picking up hardware even on a new system. Just some information from a newbie. I happen to like Slackware because it's stable and there's a ton's of info on the standard boot loader of lilo on the net. I jumped head first into linux and trashed my system several times before sticking with Slackware, but I still boot Debian, Fedora, & also use a live cd of Knoppix also... I like playing and learning but that's what I found so great about linux and you have so many ways to learn. Also, this forum is great. If you decide to test your skills here is some advise that may prove to be helpfull. First, try a live CD just to get used to the shells and commands.. Second, be sure and back up your windows stuff just in case. Three, use a good partition software ( I use Gparted live CD) so you can resize,format,and delete partitions. Four, if you have a floppy be sure and boot from it and don't install boot loaders to MBR or Boot until you learn.

Last edited by davimint; 08-03-2006 at 12:54 AM.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 01:09 AM   #6
Oxagast
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Also, as live CDs such as Knoppix were mentioned above, you should also take note that linux (or any other operating system) running off a live CD will be manyyyy times slower than it is when actually installed on the hard drive. This is because every file you open is on the CD and the drive has to read it... cdrom drive access is almost always slower than your hard drive access. I just wanted to mention this so that you take this into consideration if you try linux from a live CD, as if you did not know that, you would probably be unimpressed with the speed from the get go. Live CDs also ususally have a pretty limited selection of applications and functionatlity compared to a full hard drive installation, as they are usually only used to either try out linux before installing it on the hard drive, used as "rescue discs", or used in machines lacking a hard drive... basically, don't try to work all the time on a live CD, it'll suck. Knoppix and the like are great for what they're designed for, but as a full time distro... ew.

Last edited by Oxagast; 08-03-2006 at 01:10 AM.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 08:17 AM   #7
Hangdog42
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I've been running my small business on Linux and open source software for a year now and I can honestly say that I haven't missed Windows at all. The only time I use Windows now is for Quickbooks, and that is just because my accountant insists we use it.

In general, OpenOffice is a decent substitute for MS Office. There are a few bugs and it does work differently so you have a bit of a learning curve, but the only times I've run into trouble is with really complex Word documents or Excel spreadsheets with lots of macros and formulas. However, for documents and presentations that I've done entirely in OpenOffice, they look every bit as presentable as anything MS Office churns out. I've even gotten a few "What's that?" comments from audiences as I've set up Impress presentations. It can be a decent way to break the ice. And the ability to cread PDF files on the fly has been a VERY nice feature that MS Office simply doesn't have.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 08:37 AM   #8
sundialsvcs
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If you have a desktop unit, put a second disk-drive into it. Then you can boot from that drive, just by using the BIOS "Setup" screen to select it.

Now, you can experiment safely. You can install Linux on the second drive, mount the first drive from the second when you want access to your Windows files, and maintain a known fallback-position: an absolutely-unchanged, known-to-work Windows installation available upon reboot.

It is drop-dead easy to install a new drive. Just buy the drive and the mounting-hardware and follow the directions. Cost around $100 USD.

Incidentally, you might buy two. Most systems have two on-board disk controllers, allowing four drives. "Extra space" is always a good thing, even in (ick!) Windows.

While I have no concerns whatsoever that "OpenOffice won't do it" (it will, period), your husband is correct in having reservations about making that large of a change with no fallback-position. Instead, build a fallback position for yourself. Engineer a way out, in advance.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 08-03-2006 at 08:39 AM.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 08:40 AM   #9
laceupboots
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Dual boot. Which means you can keep your Windows system and have Linux too. It works for my family and it's quite easy to do.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 09:11 AM   #10
mkpovak
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Thanks guys!

Here is the computer we are running: 60GB harddrive, 1GHZ AMD athalon processor, 512 MB RAM...not a super machine by today's standards but believe it or not when I bought it four years ago it was!


Is that enough space to do a dual boot system? I think that would make the transition easier for me and DH. Will the live disk install dual boot on it's own or am I going to have to frig with it? I am confident enough to do quite a lot on my own but this is all a bit new for me.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 10:24 AM   #11
ErrorBound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkpovak
Is that enough space to do a dual boot system? I think that would make the transition easier for me and DH. Will the live disk install dual boot on it's own or am I going to have to frig with it? I am confident enough to do quite a lot on my own but this is all a bit new for me.
That's quite enough space for a dual boot. I do it (although never boot windows anymore) on a laptop with a 30GB drive. You will need to partition the disk, and something that is a very good idea is to create 3 partitions, one for Windows, one Linux, and the third as a shared space that both Linux and Windows can read/write. Then you can access your documents from whatever OS you are currently using.

The live disk install of Kubuntu will in fact dual set itself up to dual boot. You just need to pay attention to the installer's questions and answer appropriately.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 01:01 PM   #12
Oxagast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErrorBound
That's quite enough space for a dual boot. I do it (although never boot windows anymore) on a laptop with a 30GB drive. You will need to partition the disk, and something that is a very good idea is to create 3 partitions, one for Windows, one Linux, and the third as a shared space that both Linux and Windows can read/write. Then you can access your documents from whatever OS you are currently using.

The live disk install of Kubuntu will in fact dual set itself up to dual boot. You just need to pay attention to the installer's questions and answer appropriately.
She may have to play with the BIOS options to get it to boot the cdrom before the hard drive. If the cd does not try to boot when you stick it in the machine and reboot, try getting into the BIOS (usually press Del, F2, F10, something like that... it'll ususally tell you what to push to get into it durring the memory check on boot), then go to an option ususally called boot sequence, then you can set the order in which the computer tries to boot from differnet devices... set the first one to cdrom, then ususally floppy (if you have one), then hard drive (may be called ide or scsi). This way it will try to boot from the cdrom first, if theres no cdrom in the comp, it'll try to boot from a floppy disk, if theres no floppy disk in the drive, it'll move on to trying to boot from the hard drive... this is usually the default setup, but incase it got changed sometime, if hard drive is first, it wont boot from the cd.

Edit: This thread should maybe be moved to a more specific topic... newbie, or something where it'd get more exposure... and damn it, I want my post count to increaseeeeee.

Last edited by Oxagast; 08-03-2006 at 01:05 PM.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 01:50 PM   #13
mkpovak
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Thanks again guys! I had reset BIOS to boot off the CD Drive prior to sending out this message.

I think we are going to take the plunge and I will set it up to dual boot for now. Will the live disk help me set up 3 partitions or will I have to do that myself?

This forum is great thanks so much for all of your help!
 
Old 08-03-2006, 02:16 PM   #14
Oxagast
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I don't know about Kubuntu installation specifically, but most distros will help you set up the partitions, and provide you with a default recommended layout (although you can change it if you like). If you want to just wipe the disk and install Windows 98 back on a smaller partition and Linux on another, that'll be pretty easy with fdisk or cfdisk. If you want to resize the Windows 98 partition... probably fat32, you'll have to use a partition resizing utility such as parted to make the Windows partition smaller so you have room to create a few linux partitions (most linux installations have multiple partitions... mine has 4, /, /boot, /home, and swap), I'm not sure if that is included on the Kubuntu instllation disc, though it probably is. Before you try to resize the Windows partition BACK UP the important files on it, because if something goes wrong in the resize, it will courrupt the partition and it'll be inaccessable (not perminatly, you just wont be able to read the data you had in it). I would try resizing first, and if it screws it up (which is unlikly), just wipe it and create all the needed paritions (probably 4 or 5), put Windows on first then install linux. Also, live CDs ususally refer to entire linux distros designed to be booted and ran from the CD (such as Knoppix) rather than hard drive distros and their installation CDs (like Slackware, Gentoo, Fedora, etc), although technically those are live discs, just to avoid confusion.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 03:32 PM   #15
rickh
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Some reiteration here, but said my way. Back up your data. Reinstall windows giving it about 12 GB. Use Windows utilities to format about a 30 GB FAT32 partition. That'll leave you about 18 GB for Linux OS. If the installation process gives you a chance to put the /home directory on a separate partition, do that. Save about 10 GB for /home and give the other 8 GB to /. (/=root)

After the setup is done, you have to include a line in the file /etc/fstab like this:
Code:
/dev/hda5       /mnt/home32     vfat    umask=000,rw,owner,user,auto      0       0
hda5 is just a guess. the installation will assign hda(something) to the Fat32 partition. (Actually, I think I've heard that some distros add that line automatically, but I'm not sure.)

Here is a slideshow of the Kubuntu installation screens, which may be helpful to look thru before you get started.
 
  


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