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Old 09-11-2008, 01:37 AM   #1
howardap
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Help needed for selecting and installing Linux basic software


I need help selecting a Linux operating system and internet browser that can run, or compile and run, Visual Basic programs. It should also run some Windows software.

I have been providing children (6-14) year olds in this low income community, free computers. I have been using Win ME because I could find it free.

The kids go online using my wireless, and also use educational software I have written using VB4 (I have version 8 but am just starting to use it. I build these computers using the least expensive new motherboard/cpu combinations with a mixture of new and used componants.I keep Ghost images so that I can quickly restore these computers when the kids mess them up. I have been installing Open Office, which works fine.


I will appreciate knowing which combinations of software I should use that is reilable and simple to install.
I need a Linux operating system and browser that would replace the old Windows. (Old Windows versions are hard to get legal copies now.)


Thanks

Howardap
 
Old 09-11-2008, 01:53 AM   #2
chrism01
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You'll need an MS compatibility option eg http://www.winehq.org/.
See also this page:http://www.codeweavers.com/products/differences/
 
Old 09-11-2008, 02:00 AM   #3
John VV
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to have Microsoft(tm) Visual Basic(tm) programs run install win xp
they will not run on Linux.
But you can rewright them as a shell script ( *.sh)

to run some win.exe program's install wine on any Linux diotro .
http://www.winehq.org/
They may or may not run . If the windows program requires direct X then a fully Open GL 2 complaint 3d card must be installed , that means a new Nvidia card .Wine requires GL2 to emulate win direct x .
As for a web browser almost all if not all Linux install dvd's/cd's come with Firefox 2 or 3
for low end hardware ( except for the $300 - $500 nvidia card )
look at " Puppy Linux "
http://www.puppylinux.org/
"Damn Small Linux"
http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/
Xubuntu
http://www.xubuntu.org/

Last edited by John VV; 09-11-2008 at 02:02 AM.
 
Old 09-11-2008, 02:02 AM   #4
gankoji
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Smile

Kudos, Howard, for your program and providing computers to kids, especially now since you want to start into linux. Linux isn't going to be "easy" in this case, bc you will have some issues, specifically in that VB 4 apps aren't supported very well in wine (a windows compatibility suite that allows to run lots of windows programs on linux). You have a few options when it comes to your educational software.

1. You can check the app database at www.winehq.com and see if wine supports any versions of the VB runtime. If that's the case, then you can install the VB runtime program and your programs should work fine.

2. You can look into updating your programs to a more recent version of VB, such as VB.NET. the .NET framework has been recently supported by the developers of wine, using only one extra programs (mono) as far as I know. If you can do this, it will more than likely make your headaches fewer and further between.

Other than the educational software you have mentioned, you shouldn't have any other problems with any version of linux you choose, as they all come pre-packaged with decent web browsers (firefox, konqueror, and seamonkey to name a few). You can look into Ubuntu and Fedora, as they are both well supported and well documented on their forums.

For wireless cards, you can check here, linuxforums.org and any other forums site, as well as a few driver dev sites, for information regarding the cards that are currently supported in linux. Linux is infamous for not having good support for wireless cards, but more cards are being added to the compatibility list every day.

If there are any other problems you run into or questions that you have, feel free to let us know here. There's always someone willing to help you through a problem.
 
Old 09-11-2008, 02:06 AM   #5
i92guboj
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Hello.

Quote:
Originally Posted by howardap View Post
I have been providing children (6-14) year olds in this low income community, free computers. I have been using Win ME because I could find it free.

The kids go online using my wireless, and also use educational software I have written using VB4 (I have version 8 but am just starting to use it. I build these computers using the least expensive new motherboard/cpu combinations with a mixture of new and used componants.I keep Ghost images so that I can quickly restore these computers when the kids mess them up. I have been installing Open Office, which works fine.
It's not a trivial question this one that you make here. No linux version can run windows software natively. Being that said, you can use wine to run *some* windows programs. You will need to test your programs to see if they can work in wine.

However, this is not what I call a long term solution. A long term solution would be to use a linux native language to develop your software from now on, instead of learning a new VB version. Note that most times (not always, but most times) wine will run better older software. If you want to use the latest and greates VB version then you are likely to have more problems.

If you are proficient with VB, you might want to try GAMBAS: http://gambas.sourceforge.net/

It is not an VB clone, but it's very similar, and porting your applications should be possible with minimal effort. Then those apps would run natively under linux, and you wouldn't have problems in that regard.




About web browsers, I doubt you will have problems. Most of the famous browsers that are available under windows (firefox, opera) can be used under linux. And there are many more options.



Let us know an average of the hardware that this will be running on, so we can suggest you some distros that can fit the power of your hardware adequately.



All in all, I wish you luck on your new quest.

Welcome.
 
Old 10-10-2008, 04:13 AM   #6
Fred Caro
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hardup helper

Dear Sir/Madam,
ah hem. This is a problem I have encoutered (work for a charity) in that you cannot really afford the Microsoft licience fees but compatability with their peers is a problem. Wine 1 is easier to install than previous verions but to explain it to others takes time.
Open Office is a good compromise as this is largely compatable with Windows and represents the essential common usage. Games can be played on a native version in many cases and are free over the internet.
It is perhaps worth noting that the Gui is much the same on Windows as Linux but bare in mind icons/graphics are copy-writable where as numbers and dictioary words are not, therefore, there are slight alterations but they are slight.
Easiest to use Linux include: Mandriva (includes 3D ) Mepis and Suze.

Fred.
 
  


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