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Old 07-12-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
dflo404
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Exclamation Good with Windows and new to Linux - Few Questions


Hey all, I've always been a Windows user, and I never considered switching to Linux because I felt it was an unnecessary change. However, because of my recent interest in open source software, and my above average knowledge of computers in general, my friends tell me that I seem like the kind of guy who would use Linux. So, I've decided to give it a shot, I've been fiddling around with it on and off for a few weeks now.

I downloaded Ubuntu 9.04 - Jaunty Jackalope, and I have a few observations/questions.

This is what I (think I) understand so far:

- GNome is my desktop environment
- The command terminal is very important/useful
- Everything can be accessed by the command terminal
- The environment is customisable, but in order to really form it into exactly what you want you need to tweak settings that aren't obvious to access
- WINE allows you to use many (not all) Windows applications
- At first this operating system seems very glitchy and dated, but with a little research and education it can become just as good, if not better, than any mainstream one.

I would love to permanently switch to Linux, as it really does seem like the operating system for me, but there are a few issues that are holding me back.

The biggest issue is that I use a few programs that are very important to me, and (from what I've seen) not replicated with open source software to the extent that I need. Those programs are AutoCAD and Finale PrintMusic. I go to college for Acoustic Engineering and Music, so these two programs are very important to me, and I really can't settle for any watered-down open source versions.

I've tried to install and run PrintMusic with WINE, but was unhappy with the results. Every time I start the program, I get a message telling me that the program encountered a serious problem and needs to close. I hit "OK", but the program stays open. So I try to use it, and there are a few minor graphical glitches (such as a strange looking bar line), and I can't get the MIDI sound to work for the life of me.

I realise that these are minor issues, and can most likely be fixed, but my main concern is that it isn't flawless. I may sound a bit spoiled, but I really need a program like this to work flawlessly for what I do. I haven't even tried AutoCAD, but I want to get through this first.

What are the chances of getting a program like this to work as if I was running Windows? I know I can do a dual-boot with Windows and Ubuntu, but I really don't want to have to switch to Windows just to use these programs.

I guess what I'm asking is, is Linux really the operating system for me if I frequently use such Windows based programs?

Oh, and one other quick question. I dragged a few icons onto a one of my panels, including Firefox, Pidgen, Evolution mail, GIMP, and Open Office Writer. After restarting the computer, all of the icons had disappeared, with the exception of Firefox. Why is that?

Sorry for the lengthy and jumbled first post, but I appreciate any help you can give.

Thanks,
Dan
 
Old 07-12-2009, 11:22 PM   #2
weibullguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflo404 View Post
At first this operating system seems very glitchy and dated, but with a little research and education it can become just as good, if not better, than any mainstream one.
Huh? You mean Windoze right? I can't think of anything off the top of my head Windoze does that Linux didn't do first (except suck).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dflo404 View Post
I guess what I'm asking is, is Linux really the operating system for me if I frequently use such Windows based programs?
Linux isn't for everyone. Maybe it's not for you. That's a question you need to answer for yourself. If you can't get the Windoze apps you need to use working and you don't want to dual-boot, then probably Windoze is the OS for you. If Wine isn't working, you can try to install Windoze in a virtual machine and see if that works better for you.
 
Old 07-12-2009, 11:22 PM   #3
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflo404 View Post
- GNome is my desktop environment
If that's an affirmation expressing your preference, then ok, if you mean that the desktop is always gnome that's untrue, there are many.

Quote:
- The command terminal is very important/useful
It certainly helps to be proficient with it. However there are distros that are easier to use than others, Ubuntu falls into that category according to the general opinion. However, being grown with DOS, I really don't consider that text applications are necessarily more difficult to use than graphical counterparts. Lots of times I find it's the other way around.

Quote:
- Everything can be accessed by the command terminal
It depends on what do you exactly mean. Some programs will not work without an X server, and some tasks can't be done in a text console.


Quote:
- The environment is customisable, but in order to really form it into exactly what you want you need to tweak settings that aren't obvious to access
That really depends on what do you want to customize. If you are talking about the interface, some DE's are more configurable than others. Gnome's configurability is not the best (in fact, it's pretty limiting). KDE on the contrary gives lots of options, maybe too much of them sometimes, and all of them are easily accessible through the kde control center and the relevant configuration dialogs for each application.

Other DE's and WM's vary, some of them will let you do heavy customization but will require from you a deeper understanding, i.e. fvwm.

Quote:
- WINE allows you to use many (not all) Windows applications
Rrrright.

Quote:
- At first this operating system seems very glitchy and dated, but with a little research and education it can become just as good, if not better, than any mainstream one.
I assure you that's not either dated nor glitchy, some distros are more polished than others though. For an example, and even when I am not a fan of eye candy, the 3d desktop and the fancy effects were real in linux with compiz much before that Windows users even knew about them (january 2006). They didn't arrive to Windows until vista, as far as I know, and they are nowhere as configurable and powerful as compiz fusion is nowadays.

Other things that linux does better (and that linux did much sooner than Windows) are security, network integration, run on a wide range of architectures, multiuser support, encryption, patch vulnerabilities on the day 0, and that's to name just a few. I'll admit that you have to be a bit careful when buying hardware, though. But well, we can't blame linux just because the hardware manufacturers decided to offer drivers only for one or two OSes.

Quote:
The biggest issue is that I use a few programs that are very important to me, and (from what I've seen) not replicated with open source software to the extent that I need. Those programs are AutoCAD and Finale PrintMusic. I go to college for Acoustic Engineering and Music, so these two programs are very important to me, and I really can't settle for any watered-down open source versions.
I suggest you to check the wine application database at their web site. Failing that, and if you really can't find a suitable replacement, there's always the possibility to install windows inside a vm, like vmware or virtualbox.

Open source doesn't equal to low quality, there are quite a lot of good examples that you might use even when in windows, like firefox.

Quote:
I've tried to install and run PrintMusic with WINE, but was unhappy with the results. Every time I start the program, I get a message telling me that the program encountered a serious problem and needs to close. I hit "OK", but the program stays open. So I try to use it, and there are a few minor graphical glitches (such as a strange looking bar line), and I can't get the MIDI sound to work for the life of me.
Look up on timidity, or fluidsynth. You will need either of those to emulate a midi synth using software, since most cards nowadays do not include a proper hardware synth. Windows does the same trick behind the scenes, however it is enabled by default so you never need to care about it.

Quote:
What are the chances of getting a program like this to work as if I was running Windows? I know I can do a dual-boot with Windows and Ubuntu, but I really don't want to have to switch to Windows just to use these programs.
You can always open a bug report in the wine site, if the program doesn't work as expected. If you manage to pick the attention of a developer that uses that program there's a chance that a future version of wine will run it better.

Quote:
I guess what I'm asking is, is Linux really the operating system for me if I frequently use such Windows based programs?
Well, if you are going to use linux it only makes sense to use linux programs. Except when there's no alternative. If you are going to use only windows programs, I'd stick to windows.

Quote:
Oh, and one other quick question. I dragged a few icons onto a one of my panels, including Firefox, Pidgen, Evolution mail, GIMP, and Open Office Writer. After restarting the computer, all of the icons had disappeared, with the exception of Firefox. Why is that?
I really can't help with gnome specific stuff. I don't use it. Hopefully someone else can guide you on that one.

In any case, welcome

Last edited by i92guboj; 07-12-2009 at 11:26 PM.
 
Old 07-12-2009, 11:34 PM   #4
jdkaye
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Hi and welcome to LQ
It's generally a good idea to stick to just one or two questions per thread. That way it's easier to answer your questions quickly and to keep the thread reasonably clear and coherent.

One of the first skills you can learn is how to obtain information by searching. With respect to your software needs, to take one example, you can do a search on the LQ site using LQ's search function. If that turns up nothing useful then remember the old saying "Google is your friend". If searching does not turn up anything, then is the time to ask.

Doing a google on autocad and linux I immediately found this:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=228890

I'm not sure why you wanted to install PrintMusic with wine? There seem to be a plenty of linux music notation editors:
http://linux-sound.org/notation.html

If you are handy with computers as you say, then maybe Ubuntu would not be your best choice. You might want something more like Debian, Gentoo or Slackware to learn on. My impression is that Ubuntu is more about ease of use than really learning anything.

cheers,
jdk
 
Old 07-13-2009, 12:34 AM   #5
dflo404
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Thanks for the replies and for clearing a few things up.

In response to jdkaye:
Quote:
I'm not sure why you wanted to install PrintMusic with wine? There seem to be a plenty of linux music notation editors:
http://linux-sound.org/notation.html
I fiddled a bit with some of the available editors and just wasn't too fond of them. The main issue is really that I have hundreds of PrintMusic files. I've been using it for years, I am very comfortable and fluent in it, and I have several projects going on with it. That is why I want to use PrintMusic rather than starting over with a new application. Besides, I did pay for PrintMusic, and it is in fact a very good application and I would dare say that it was worth it. Again, I don't question that the open source notation softwares out there are just as capable, but I don't feel that it would be a wise decision to ditch PrintMusic at the moment.

Quote:
If you are handy with computers as you say, then maybe Ubuntu would not be your best choice. You might want something more like Debian, Gentoo or Slackware to learn on.
Thanks, I will definitely look into some of those. I was under the impression that Ubuntu was the standard, most up-to-date version.

In response to i92guboj:
Thanks for the corrections in my assumptions. Obviously I don't have too good of a grasp of everything Linux yet, so I'll just have to do some more research and learning. I didn't think I did anyway.

Also I agree that open source doesn't always equal low quality. I was referring more towards PrintMusic specifically, and from what I read up on and from what I tried first hand, I couldn't find an open source program that lived up to what PrintMusic can do.

In response to weibullguy:
Quote:
If Wine isn't working, you can try to install Windoze in a virtual machine and see if that works better for you.
If checking the support site for WINE, like i92guboj suggested, doesn't work, I'll look into the VM idea.

Thanks again
 
Old 07-13-2009, 12:40 AM   #6
jdkaye
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Quote:
Thanks, I will definitely look into some of those. I was under the impression that Ubuntu was the standard, most up-to-date version.
Nope. That most definitely is not true.
Re: the music editors. You might just have a look at some of the more promising ones to see how good/bad they are. Switching may be easier than you think. Also it will depend on your frustration level using Wine.
cheers,
jdk
 
Old 07-13-2009, 01:09 AM   #7
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflo404 View Post
I fiddled a bit with some of the available editors and just wasn't too fond of them. The main issue is really that I have hundreds of PrintMusic files.
I though of that. That's a very fair point, and porting all the files might not be possible or worth the trouble. However, as a long term goal, you could check if that program can export scores to another format or something like that. Just in case that you want to migrate to an open source based solution in the future.

Quote:
Thanks, I will definitely look into some of those. I was under the impression that Ubuntu was the standard, most up-to-date version.
It seems to be the standard for new comers, however not so for more experienced users. I never liked ubuntu, but that's no strange considering that I can't really stand any binary distro, I've already had my doses of pain with these during years, and since I changed to Gentoo I haven't ever considered going back. If I had to leave Gentoo I would roll my own with LFS or look for another source based distro. I just can't stand using binary distros any longer because of many reasons.

Ubuntu is easy to start with, however as you adquire experience you might find in limiting in many areas. It tends to hide the details in unnatural ways just not to scare the users, but once you have some background it's the other way around: it's much harder and difficult to customize.

However, that's just my view. I suggest you to try a few of them, that's what livecds are for. Then you can form your own opinion.
 
Old 07-20-2009, 02:32 AM   #8
dflo404
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Alright, I checked out the whole virtual machine deal and I liked it. I think that's the direction I'll go in for the few Windows programs I need to use frequently.

I decided to try out Debian, and now have some more questions. Honoring the "one question per thread" rule, I created a new thread for one of them.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...7/#post3613453

Feel free to help me out there as well.

Thanks for the advice thus far.
 
Old 07-20-2009, 06:48 AM   #9
mmatt
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I recommend VirtualBox for creating and running VMs, mainly because it's free (as in beer), though there is an open version too. It's also very easy to use. If you have a copy of Windows that would otherwise go to waste you may as well be using it. I've found this approach generally works better than Wine, though I hear Wine is much better than when I last used it 3 years ago.
 
Old 07-20-2009, 08:46 AM   #10
monsm
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Good luck with the Virtual Machine. Its been some very big improvements over the last few years in that area. In fact for anyone who have a relatively new CPU, I'd say dual booting is a waste of time.

I did a quick search on that PrintMusic. I am not into that myself, so can't comment, but some people seem to have strong opinions in the opposite direction (saying they hate it). When I moved from Windows to Linux a few years ago, there are some experimentation with different applications. Openoffice made a huge difference for word processing, Gimp is getting better on graphics and photo editing. I'm sure a good Linux alternative is coming for music/notes editing too. Far as I hear there are a reasonable amount of music specialists/composers/sound technicians using Linux. So try applications and check various import/export of file formats.

Mons
 
Old 07-20-2009, 09:08 AM   #11
polarbear20000
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Have you considered using the Musix distro? It is geared toward musicians and various others with inclinations toward audio work. I've used the LiveCD to create my podcast.
 
Old 07-20-2009, 10:45 AM   #12
dflo404
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmatt View Post
I recommend VirtualBox for creating and running VMs, mainly because it's free (as in beer), though there is an open version too. It's also very easy to use. If you have a copy of Windows that would otherwise go to waste you may as well be using it. I've found this approach generally works better than Wine, though I hear Wine is much better than when I last used it 3 years ago.
That's the VM I took for a test ride on Ubuntu, and I was able to get a copy of Windows running fairly quickly, so I'm excited to give it a shot as my temporary portal to Windows when I need it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monsm View Post
I did a quick search on that PrintMusic. I am not into that myself, so can't comment, but some people seem to have strong opinions in the opposite direction (saying they hate it). When I moved from Windows to Linux a few years ago, there are some experimentation with different applications. Openoffice made a huge difference for word processing, Gimp is getting better on graphics and photo editing. I'm sure a good Linux alternative is coming for music/notes editing too. Far as I hear there are a reasonable amount of music specialists/composers/sound technicians using Linux. So try applications and check various import/export of file formats.
Yea, with music notation software everyone will have their own preferences. Some people don't like PrintMusic for it's not-so-impressive MIDI sounds, or maybe a few other small reasons. However, it does suit most if not all of my needs.

Though, I will undoubtedly test as much open source music notation software as I can, as long as I get PrintMusic up and running.

Quote:
Originally Posted by polarbear20000 View Post
Have you considered using the Musix distro? It is geared toward musicians and various others with inclinations toward audio work. I've used the LiveCD to create my podcast.
I haven't heard of that, but it seems very interesting. Has anyone here had any experience with it?

This brings out another general Linux question from me. I notice all of these Linux distros, and how people seem to casually change from one to another. At first I treated the different builds as if they were different operating system, as in they were all their own thing. But it seems to me like it's a little more relaxed than that. Are all of these builds generally the same thing, with slight differences? For example, you mention this Musix build. What would stop me from just downloading the programs that are featured on the Musix build in Debian? Is there something deeply integrated in that build that I can't get on Debian?

I just want to avoid spending weeks setting up a build of Linux, then realizing that I should change to a different one.
 
Old 07-20-2009, 10:59 AM   #13
mmatt
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Many Linux distributions are very similar mainly because they have similar roots e.g. Debian based, Gentoo based, etc. The main differences from a new user's point of view are mainly the package management (if any), whether it is a binary or source distribution and how 'easy' it is to use and configure. Many distributions don't care to create a GUI for simple admin, others would do this realising that it hides the details from the user (and wanting to do that!).

I found this tool, Distro Chooser, to be quite enlightening/entertaining when I started a few years ago...

A rough heurstic is this: The more work you have to put in to setting up, the more customised/suited the outcome is to you. A quick visit to the distros site will soon give you the impression of what kind it is, and if you're still uncertain, try the Live CD.

p.s. once you've installed a few, the process gets much quicker. From days down to hours (or less for small distros!).

Last edited by mmatt; 07-20-2009 at 11:02 AM.
 
Old 07-20-2009, 11:22 AM   #14
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflo404 View Post
This brings out another general Linux question from me. I notice all of these Linux distros, and how people seem to casually change from one to another. At first I treated the different builds as if they were different operating system, as in they were all their own thing. But it seems to me like it's a little more relaxed than that. Are all of these builds generally the same thing, with slight differences? For example, you mention this Musix build. What would stop me from just downloading the programs that are featured on the Musix build in Debian? Is there something deeply integrated in that build that I can't get on Debian?

I just want to avoid spending weeks setting up a build of Linux, then realizing that I should change to a different one.
All the distros share the same components, mostly. Only very specific bits, like the package manager and some minor tools, are specific to each distribution.

All of them share the same kernel except for a few -usually minor- patches. All of then use the basic gnu tools and the gnu toolchain. Most distros (and all the mainstream ones) will be able to run the same stuff, however it's true that the official selection of packages can vary. However, it's always possible to roll your own package from source if something doesn't exist for your distribution of choice.

Being that said, some distros might suit you better for a given purpose, if only for the sake of having to spend less time installing, finding and configuring your software. But, unless you are tryly doing something very specific, I wouldn't worry about that too much.

When people speak about distros that are specific for music, they often mean kernels patched for real time, jack as the default sound system, and maybe some preconfigured pieces of software like wineasio, which you definitely don't need nor want just to edit scored. Those are modelled for real time music recording, the kind of thing that you do on a music studio where you really need real time mixing and an instant response and feedback from your hardware.

And, in any case, that's perfectly doable on any other distro as well.

With this I am not saying that Musix or any other is not worth it. I am just saying that if you like any other distribution, you shouldn't need the urge to change to musix (or whatever else) just because of that. Anything is doable on any distro with a bit of work. And most times, updates, availability, and support, are far more important, and you get these on mainstream distros.

But, as with everything in life, there's no straight response. It all depends on your concrete needs.
 
Old 07-20-2009, 11:35 AM   #15
dflo404
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Thanks mmatt and i92guboj. I actually used that distro chooser before, and got Fedora as the #1 result. I did it again with a little deeper thought, then got Debian. However, I once again tried it, now that you mentioned it, with even deeper thought, and got Fedora again.

Also, one big mistake I realized I made is that I downloaded Debian assuming I have a 32-bit processor. However, I didn't realize that the Intel Core 2 Duo (my processor) is actually 64-bit. You'll have to excuse my oblivion as this is a fairly new laptop.

I'm thinking of trying out Fedora. Do you have any objections?

Last edited by dflo404; 07-20-2009 at 11:36 AM.
 
  


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