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Old 10-28-2006, 08:06 PM   #1
BluECliQ
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Changing from Windows to Linux


Hi everyone, I saw various other threads more or less asking the same thing but I had some other questions. I wasn't sure if I should make my own thread or hijack someone elses so I just made a new one (Hope thats alright!). Anyhow, Linux has always interested me for various reasons but I was always lazy to make the switch.

How much skill do you need to properly use it? I consider myself to be above average in my knowledge of computing..building them, fixing problems (In Windows), etc. I don't have a lot of experience programming. I know some basic Java but that's about it. Will I go from what I considered myself to be an advanced computing user to a complete noobie trying to learn Linux? Or will I catch on you think?

Also, I hear there are some compatibility problems with Linux and games and such. I don't play many games, but the ones important to me are World of Warcraft and Warcraft III, maybe Final Fantasy XI also. Will I be able to play these? Also, I hate asking questions that have been asked many times as being someone who helps Windows users often. Is there a popular well informative FAQ or something that someone could point me toward? Thank you for any responses.
 
Old 10-28-2006, 08:20 PM   #2
KimVette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluECliQ
Hi everyone, I saw various other threads more or less asking the same thing but I had some other questions. I wasn't sure if I should make my own thread or hijack someone elses so I just made a new one (Hope thats alright!).
Just FYI, 99.999% of the time it is better to use the cleverly-hidden search feature (see the menubar above) and post in an existing thread than to start a new one. This helps to prevent dilution of search results for the people who try to use search.

Quote:
Anyhow, Linux has always interested me for various reasons but I was always lazy to make the switch.

How much skill do you need to properly use it?
About the same as running Windows or Mac OS X. It's not any harder, it's just different. What is more difficult is picking compatible hardware; if you buy a bleeding-edge motherboards and want to run an older distribution with the stock kernels, you can expect a few problems here and there.

Quote:
I consider myself to be above average in my knowledge of computing..building them, fixing problems (In Windows), etc. I don't have a lot of experience programming. I know some basic Java but that's about it. Will I go from what I considered myself to be an advanced computing user to a complete noobie trying to learn Linux? Or will I catch on you think?
OK here is what you will need:

man -k {topic} will help you find man pages (help files) on various topics.
info {command} will often provide additional info on various topics

When you run into issues, this site is a great resource, but always try searching first. If you need to post a new thread, use something descriptive, not something saying "Help" (yes, we know you want help) or "Urgent" because those will often lead people to IGNORE you rather than help you.

Quote:
Also, I hear there are some compatibility problems with Linux and games and such. I don't play many games, but the ones important to me are World of Warcraft and Warcraft III, maybe Final Fantasy XI also. Will I be able to play these? Also, I hate asking questions that have been asked many times as being someone who helps Windows users often. Is there a popular well informative FAQ or something that someone could point me toward? Thank you for any responses.
It is not a "compatibility problem" per se, but exactly like a Playstation Vs. Xbox issue; a game written for one platform won't run/play on the other. Linux is a different operating system than Windows, with different APIs, different binary formats; everything is different. however: There are excellent compatibility layers (think of them as Windows emulators) such as wine, crossover office, and Cedega which will allow you to run many (most?) Windows games on Linux - natively, in some cases reputedly giving you better framerates on Linux than when run on Windows itself.
 
Old 10-28-2006, 08:37 PM   #3
yttrium88
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I think another huge part of becomming used to linux is learning the system of directories in which linux has everything hidden (oraganized) in. Definately go for it, if nothing else, you can just try it out part time with a Linux-live cd. And even when you install Linux, you can keep windows hanging around on another partition.
 
Old 10-28-2006, 08:46 PM   #4
David the H.
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If you're comfortable with computers and aren't afraid to take the time to learn, then you shouldn't have too much trouble. It will take you some time to "unlearn" things that you have become used to with Windows and to learn the *nix way of doing things.

The everyday stuff...email, browsing, text editing...won't be very much different from what you're doing now. You simply open up the program and use it. The hard part is in configuration and maintenance, where you need to understand the file systems, file permissions, basic shell commands, and lots of other little things that make the system work. It's not necessarily difficult, but it does take time to learn. If you're not afraid of working with command-line interfaces and editing configuration text files, you should be ok. And of course, there are lots of friendly people in forums like this to help you out. You don't need any programming experience, but it does help to know some basic scripting and programming concepts. Of course, the more you know, the more you can do.

There are some areas in which Linux is still behind Windows in usability. Getting certain items, such as scanners and printers, wireless networking, tv tuners and such, to work can be a challenge. Other things, like multimedia editing, that can be done with a single Windows program, may take several steps with different programs to do on Linux. It can be a challenge sometimes to get things to work. But then again, the satisfaction you feel when you do succeed can make it all worth it.

As for your last question, it is possible to run some Windows programs on Linux using wine, but it's far from perfected at this moment. Games especially are not so well supported due to the challenges of translating DirectX system calls. But it is being actively worked on. Your best bet for games is Cedega, a commercial version of wine that's designed especially for running games. Look there to see what runs and what doesn't.
 
Old 10-29-2006, 06:54 AM   #5
soldan
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im still in the 'noob'(but growing legs) stage of development after about a year of learning linux, and like what has already been said, i think you will definatley need to spend some time reading and asking questions. about distributions, i started out with Fedora Core 4 and almost gave up with linux altogether, there was no mp3 support, nothing would compile for me then i tried Vector Linux and i could actually see what a final solution might look like, alot of things are configured for the user, like mp3 playback, video etc, and it gave me encouragement to try things like using the commandline to move around the filesystem, and to compile a .chm ebook reader. i made the switch to Slackware about a month ago, and its a little bit more challenging but im enjoying it
 
Old 10-29-2006, 01:04 PM   #6
bigjohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldan
im still in the 'noob'(but growing legs) stage of development after about a year of learning linux, and like what has already been said, i think you will definatley need to spend some time reading and asking questions. about distributions, i started out with Fedora Core 4 and almost gave up with linux altogether, there was no mp3 support, nothing would compile for me then i tried Vector Linux and i could actually see what a final solution might look like, alot of things are configured for the user, like mp3 playback, video etc, and it gave me encouragement to try things like using the commandline to move around the filesystem, and to compile a .chm ebook reader. i made the switch to Slackware about a month ago, and its a little bit more challenging but im enjoying it
Whereas, I'm the opposite. I've had to learn. I use linux for moral, social and ethical reasons (MS stuff isn't bad "per se", it's their business tactics that I feel are thoroughly deplorable).

Hence, I don't really care so much how something works, just that it does. Unless you want to amplify the "learning curve" into a vertical climb, I certainly wouldn't suggest Slackware, Gentoo or "pure" debian too start with (though at the same time I've grown out of rpm based distros). So I'd think that you'd be reasonably comfortable with something like one of the debian derivatives - Knoppix, Kanotix and the *buntus will all run "live" in the first instance i.e. from the CD without touching your hard drive. If you like one of them, then what the hell, install them to HDD (in my case I prefer kanotix over knoppix, because it's a bit more polished and makes use of more "proper" debian repositories than knoppix does).

As for the gaming thing, well, just set your system up as dual boot, so you can still do the gaming, until you learn enough to run them through linux natively (if you can).

LQ is a pretty damned good place for assistance. Being one of the largest repositories of info (knowledge + large membership = info) you tend to get the quickest answers, more often than not.

Good luck with your endeavours.

regards

john
 
Old 10-29-2006, 04:59 PM   #7
crazybilly
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I'm a serious linux newb, but a pretty solid Windows user. About a week ago, I installed Fedora Core 5 on my laptop as a dual-boot w/ XP. Here's my thoughts:

1. get used to using the command line. Seriously.
2. try to find some good tutorials about the file tree. it's wack, but it'll slowly start to make sense. slowly.
3. if you don't have a wired high speed connection, I'd advise against it, honestly. I'm on dialup. My high-speed options include going to Starbucks and getting on the wi-fi. Or on campus and getting on the wi-fi. Or Dairy Queen and getting on the wi-fi (not joking). But since my wi-fi doesn't work, it's a colossal pain in the butt. Setting up the modem was the easy part. Ugh. If you don't have access to a wired high speed connection, you're going to spend the majority of your time banging your head against a wall trying to get your modem a/o wireless to work, not doing Linuxy fun things (they tell me these things are enjoyable....I wouldn't know, heheh).
4. Get ready to use the command line. Did I say that before? It's worth saying again.
 
Old 10-29-2006, 05:55 PM   #8
Adrian Baker
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I've fiddled with Linux for over a year now and am finally ready to move totally away from windo$e. Linux is different, and as a very knowledgeable Windoze user, starting afresh knowing nothing was hard to cope with. However, it has been SO worth it making the move. Whenever I have time to have a fiddle with Linux, I learn more and also realise just how good it is. Do try it.

As for Distro, I've used RH9, mandrake, FC1 and finally Suse 10.0 which I'm using to type this with. Every Distro has its fans, but as a Windows user new to Linux, I do recommend Suse. Others will disagree with this, but that is the great thing about Linux, try out as many different things as you want!

Dual boot Windows and Linux for a month or two and after a while you'll find yourself booting linux far more often than Windows.

If you have read all the bad things about Vista, then you'll see even more reasons for getting going with Linux!
 
Old 10-29-2006, 07:49 PM   #9
lurko
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Quote:
I consider myself to be above average in my knowledge of computing..building them, fixing problems (In Windows), etc. I don't have a lot of experience programming.
I was in basically the same boat around the start of last summer. I started reading a book called Beginning Unix, and before I'd reached the half way point I felt I knew enough to take a stab at installing a linux Distro. I decided on Slackware, because I knew it wasn't going to be shielding me from the goings-on of my computer with wizards and automagic do-dads. Now I'm certainly not a glutton for punishment, I do like things to "just work", but I wanted my first go at Linux to be a learning experience - and to the uninitiated, Slackware is just that. You could call it the "purest" distro, in that the skills you learn there are transferable to most, if not all other distros.

I certainly did not learn all I could have from Slackware before starting to try other distros, and some things, like compiling software, I never quite mastered. However, limited software options aside (depending on your compile abilities), Slackware is probably the best linux teacher I could have asked for. My hardware is getting old, nforce2/400, and isn't that complicated or uncommon (onboard sound and nic), so I found the Slackware install to be a piece of cake, basically all I had to do after it was complete was add a user and unmute the sound(edit: and uncomment a line in rc.modules to make my usb mouse work properly /edit). Of course before I began, I read the install guide and made sure to read up on anything contained in it that I didn't know about, until I felt I knew what to expect. As I was also dual booting I made sure to read up a lot on that as well. After that though, installation was a breeze.

Now don't get me wrong, Slackware is certainly not for everyone, and I'm not saying it's right for you or that you should use it for your first go at Linux. I'm saying it can teach you a lot, and while it's no walk in the park, IMO you should read up and consider it. I think anyone who can build a computer can manage a Slackware install if they have right background info. That said, you may indeed want to look at something simpler to start off, like PC Linux OS or (K)Ubuntu, you will surely learn things with them as well.

Some things you might want to read:
-The hier,manpage, which will give you the lowdown on the Unix filesystem tree (no more drives C and D and E etc).
-The fdisk manpage might come in handy if you need to do any partitioning.
-The manpage for init is good reading for a newbie who doesn't have other sources for such info(like a book for beginners).
-Shouldn't forget about the manpage for man itself if you haven't heard about manpages before.
-The mount and fstab manpages will also come in handy at some point.
-Device Names in Linux - you don't want to go formatting the wrong drives or partitions now do you...

The best thing you can do IMO, regardless of the distro you choose, is read up on it. There is more than enough information out there for anyone who's interested to be able to pick up Linux in a very short time. You will be a noobie for a time - just like you were when you began to use windows, dos, computers. Linux is just different from what you're used to, simply using it is not rocket science.

Last edited by lurko; 10-31-2006 at 05:21 PM.
 
Old 10-30-2006, 09:33 PM   #10
josenj
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Just keep in mind that Linux is not Windows. If you keep this in the back of your mind, you should do alright. Some people get disappointed because it is not what they are use to and switch back. Like all things, it will take time to learn. I guarantee that if you stick to it, you won't go back to Windows. Linux has a lot of "cool" things about it. It also lets you "learn" your hardware if you are into stuff like that. I like to program so the gcc compiler (along with many other compilers) and the TONS of libraries that are available makes me a very happy Linux user. Linux also helps me at work (which is a Windows world) with the help of Knoppix when a Windows system crashes. Also, as one poster mentioned, if a piece of device isn't backed up by the manufacture then you will have to spend some time to try and get it to work. So before you buy that next hardware, make sure it's supported under Linux.
Don't let Microsoft control you! Switch to Linux
 
Old 10-31-2006, 12:00 AM   #11
pixellany
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Another "one-poster"??
I'm always leary of jumping in where the OP has not been heard from since the opening shot....Oh well...

Skills required to use Linux:
  1. Ability to find the power switch on the computer
  2. Ability to operate a CD or DVD drive.
  3. Ability to open a terminal and learn a few commands
  4. AND--for anything except setting up a simple e-mail and web-surfing machine--infinite patience.

Of course we find folks that strike out somewhere between 1 and 3, but I submit that 4 is the biggie.

I consider myself fortunate because--while entering the heyday of personal computing--I also was forced to learn a bit of Unix. Somehow I knew at the time the Unix was the way to go, but first I had to suffer thru the early Power-Macs (one crash per day, MINIMUM), Windows 95, VMS, and other atrocities perpetrated on the hapless consumer.
 
Old 10-31-2006, 06:16 AM   #12
IndyGunFreak
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I'll just echo whats been said here, Patience is a virtue. I've tried virtually every "major" version of Linux in the last 2-3yrs. Some I installed, some I was so frustrated getting things to work in the Live CD version, I would give up before installing.

The first one I "almost" got to work, was Mandrake(10.0 I believe, '07 sucked when I tried it). Other than No DVD playback, it worked. Suse, still couldn't get DVD Playback to work, but it was faster than Mandrake. Linspire, is pretty dumbed down, and I got everything to work, but its SLOWWWW. I have a 2.4ghz Processor, and it literally felt like I was back using my Pentium II 400. There's some other distros I got to work, PCLinuxOS being the main one. Its pretty similar to Mandrake.

The first install I got to work completely and quite efficiently, is Fedora Core 5(note, do a search for Grub Error 17). DVD Playback and installing some multimedia codecs was problematic, but following the instructions on the Fedora FAQ(linked below) got everything up and running quite well. Setting up Wine to run a couple of Windows only apps I use/need was gravy following the instructions on Wine's homepage. Only thing about FC5, it cannot be ran as a Live version, it has to be installed to try it. Only thing I never got to work in FC5, was my TV Tuner.

Then I wanted to try Ubuntu 6.06, and it is really the best of the bunch IMO. Most everything worked immediatley. Going through the Ubuntu Wiki(also linked below) cleared up almost everything for me and machine works quite well. Everytihng works quite well, and it is in use by a lot of people, so Google will turn up a boatload of info on what to do if you have a problem. After a couple weeks of trying, even got my TV card working.

http://www.fedorafaq.org

http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Dapper

Edit: This was a good 100th post if you ask me..

IGF

Last edited by IndyGunFreak; 10-31-2006 at 06:21 AM.
 
  


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