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Old 07-06-2013, 05:24 AM   #1
InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker
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How do I make an easy transition from Microsoft to Linux


Crawling out the dark ages of Software, on an …lite path to being the ultimate thing words cannot place. My tale begins here. Hi im Temwani.. Usename:InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker. Password: *******.. § I hope I can be helped out by everyone here. my first question(s) is: how do I make the transition from Microsoft to Linux, while being able to run and keep my current Microsoft Apps on the linux system(if possible). Do I honestly have to run a dual boot plan of having 2 OS on my pc or is there a much more efficient alternative?.. Where does WINE fit into all of this?. Im a newbie.. So if I might have made a couple of ignorant statements, please understand that I am here to learn.

Last edited by Tinkster; 07-07-2013 at 10:06 PM. Reason: poor grammer
 
Old 07-06-2013, 06:16 AM   #2
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker View Post
how do I make the transition from Microsoft to Linux, while being able to run and keep my current Microsoft Apps on the linux system(if possible). Do I honestly have to run a dual boot plan of having 2 OS on my pc or is there a much more efficient alternative?.. Where does WINE fit into all of this?
actually, I think that installing two OS's (like Windows and a Linux distro) alongside and switching between them would be the simplest approach. That way, you can boot into Linux whenever you want, but you can also decide to boot into Windows if need be. If you need help setting up that dual-boot configuration, you're welcome to come back here and ask.

On the other end of the scale, there is virtualization - from my point of view the most comfortable and powerful, but also the most sophisticated way to go. It implies that you install a special software on your computer which, simply put, simulates an entire PC inside another PC. You could keep your current Windows, install VirtualBox, for example, and then install your preferred Linux distro inside that simulated, virtual PC. The advantage is that you can have both systems active at the same time, and you can easily exchange files or even clipboard contents among them.
The downside is that you need a fairly well-equipped PC. CPU power is not the main concern, but you need plenty of RAM. You need enough RAM to satisfy the added requirements of both systems.

Finally, WINE is a bit of a compromise between the two. WINE is a so-called compatibility layer that allows running Windows applications in Linux - assuming they're good-natured, that is, they must not use undocumented Windows features or features that aren't present in Linux. That's why you can't run every application in WINE.

[X] Doc CPU
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:03 AM   #3
InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc CPU View Post
Hi there,



actually, I think that installing two OS's (like Windows and a Linux distro) alongside and switching between them would be the simplest approach. That way, you can boot into Linux whenever you want, but you can also decide to boot into Windows if need be. If you need help setting up that dual-boot configuration, you're welcome to come back here and ask.

On the other end of the scale, there is virtualization - from my point of view the most comfortable and powerful, but also the most sophisticated way to go. It implies that you install a special software on your computer which, simply put, simulates an entire PC inside another PC. You could keep your current Windows, install VirtualBox, for example, and then install your preferred Linux distro inside that simulated, virtual PC. The advantage is that you can have both systems active at the same time, and you can easily exchange files or even clipboard contents among them.
The downside is that you need a fairly well-equipped PC. CPU power is not the main concern, but you need plenty of RAM. You need enough RAM to satisfy the added requirements of both systems.

Finally, WINE is a bit of a compromise between the two. WINE is a so-called compatibility layer that allows running Windows applications in Linux - assuming they're good-natured, that is, they must not use undocumented Windows features or features that aren't present in Linux. That's why you can't run every application in WINE.

[X] Doc CPU
Thank you for your reply. After a good 5 minutes of reasoning, I(under the influence of your reply, as well as my inexperience with linux) have decided to go ahead with a dual system. I currently have 4gb of RAM on my Lenovo G580, but it should not be hard to upgrade that. Then I will install a Linux OS and keep my Windows 7. When I am fully knowledgable of Linux, I will make it my sole OS. Im tired of dealing with anti-virus trouble such as activation and re-activation (not to mention other Ms OS let downs). Im still comparing the two OS to see which one will suite me best in the future.
 
Old 07-06-2013, 07:15 AM   #4
Doug Huffman
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I pulled out the HDD with M$ on it and installed a virgin HDD and installed Fedora. Half measures are the modern Zeno's paradox, you'll never get there.
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
while being able to run and keep my current Microsoft Apps
Can you tell us what "Microsoft Apps" you want to run? Most likely there are native linux applications that will do the same job and often do it better. If you're not doing something extremely exotic, file formats are not a big problem. So tell us what your concerns are and we can determine if you really require a dual boot system.
jdk
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker
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Originally Posted by jdkaye View Post
Can you tell us what "Microsoft Apps" you want to run? Most likely there are native linux applications that will do the same job and often do it better. If you're not doing something extremely exotic, file formats are not a big problem. So tell us what your concerns are and we can determine if you really require a dual boot system.
jdk
Mainly my Code::Blocks, my Dev Cpp, My Ms Office Work, My games(COD, DMC, FIFA, NFS), Photo Editors, Adobe Products(such as Audition and photoshop).. Well I have a tonne of apps but those are my most frequently used. *Thanks for taking note of my thread
 
Old 07-06-2013, 10:34 AM   #7
InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker
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Well it certainly sounds straight forward. I'll add it to my options
 
Old 07-06-2013, 12:18 PM   #8
jdkaye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker View Post
Mainly my Code::Blocks, my Dev Cpp, My Ms Office Work, My games(COD, DMC, FIFA, NFS), Photo Editors, Adobe Products(such as Audition and photoshop).. Well I have a tonne of apps but those are my most frequently used. *Thanks for taking note of my thread
Depending on the exact nature of your work, most of these things can be done with native Linux software. No need for MS stuff. To take one example LibreOffice does pretty much what MSOffice does. Probably the games would be the most difficult to replicate but you have plenty of choice for other games. Or else, you can either use wine or a virtual machine for your games.

I'd say if you leave your games till you get settled, you won't have much problem with the transition.
Ciao,
jdk
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdkaye View Post
To take one example LibreOffice does pretty much what MSOffice does.
and it does many things even better. Compatibility, for example: Exchanging documents between any version of MS Office and a recent LibreOffice causes less trouble than exchanging documents between two versions of MS Office.

[X] Doc CPU
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:50 PM   #10
jdkaye
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Originally Posted by Doc CPU View Post
Hi there,



and it does many things even better. Compatibility, for example: Exchanging documents between any version of MS Office and a recent LibreOffice causes less trouble than exchanging documents between two versions of MS Office.

[X] Doc CPU
My point exactly. This quote is from #5, an earlier post of mine:
Quote:
Most likely there are native linux applications that will do the same job and often do it better.
As they say, "Great minds think alike".
jdk
 
Old 07-06-2013, 02:39 PM   #11
jdackle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc CPU View Post
and it does many things even better. Compatibility, for example: Exchanging documents between any version of MS Office and a recent LibreOffice causes less trouble than exchanging documents between two versions of MS Office.
And I'm assuming you're not even talking about the Mac versions of MS Office... The incompability of those with the Windows versions is frightning!

Anyway, the bottomline is you can get Linux software that is compatible with the data formats of Windows applications, but for the most they will be different applications.

There are however options to running Windows applications inside Linux. At least two/three come to mind:
- Virtualization is one, but one I know nothing about (in the sense I never ever tried to). Doc CPU's first post should be a good pointer though. Whether you want to try Linux inside Windows or run Windows inside a Linux virtual box, that should be your choice if you go that way;
- WINE is the most popular way to run a Windows program inside a Linux box. You can check for compatibility reports (to what degree does a specific Windows program work or not through WINE) on their website: http://appdb.winehq.org/ ;
- Crossover is based on WINE but unlike the former, it's not free (you can do a free trial though). I never tried it myself but it is said it does allow to run Windows programs smoother though, including those that just won't even start with WINE. Site: http://www.codeweavers.com/products/

On the aspect of Windows data compatibility, I can give you a couple pointers:
- LibreOffice (or OpenOffice.org, both available for Windows and Mac too) is nearly 100% compatible with the MS Office documents formats, but you'll have problems with Macros. They are run through VisualBASIC and there is no such native thing in Linux. LibreOffice's translation to its own Macro language still needs a good deal of work. Other than that, you'll hardly notice the difference in (loss of) functionality;
- Games are very demanding software. The first obstacle will be, IMO, DirectX. WINE (and thus Crossover too) does do a translation to OpenGL, but it won't be as smooth as direct DirectX in less powerful machines. Windows games that nativelly support OpenGl should have no major issue concerning graphics though - not much of a gamer myself;
- There is also no Adobe Photoshop version for Linux. The usual equivalent for that is The GIMP, which can load Photoshop files (though I never tried to load one such file, so can't tell about the results);
- As far as Internet applications go, there is of course no Internet Explorer (Firefox and Chrome are good choices), no Outlook (Evolution is a good dropin replacement, Exchange compatibility included, but Thunderbird can do as good a job as it does on Windows), IM protocols, including proprietary ones are not much of a problem (though you can and likely will get the ocasional hickup with the ones that don't offer a native Linux version);
There are too many equivalent applications to go much further about. I guess the ones above give you a rough start.

Now, after more than a decade using Linux as my main OS at home and even a couple years or so with no Windows at all on my PC, I recently reinstalled Windows XP on my system. The main reason for this is: hardware. Most good hardware (Hewlett Packard is my preferred in this aspect but there are other very good ones) will run just as well with Linux on as they did with Windows, actually they will usually run better.
But more crappy hardware (webcams, modems and the like, some CD/DVD/BD drives, ...) can sometimes cause driver-support trouble - in these cases I like to test them on a Windows system first, just to make sure it's not a hardware problem.
Updating the firmware on several devices is also a sensitive operation that can cause permanent hardware failure. It's not a common task but it is annoying when you do need to do them and there is no safe (or at all) Linux way to do it...
And as I do have the thing (Windows) on my computer, I also do use it at times for some software compatibility.

There, I guess that's about it, my view on the Linux / Windows interoperability.

I have no doubt whatsoever though that Linux is a much superior system.
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 03:45 PM   #12
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdackle View Post
And I'm assuming you're not even talking about the Mac versions of MS Office... The incompability of those with the Windows versions is frightning!
of course I'm not, because until now I didn't even know there is a version of MS Office for Mac. I know, however, that Powerpoint was originally a Mac software that Microsoft simply assimilated - as they did with Visio, formerly an independent sketching program.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdackle View Post
Anyway, the bottomline is you can get Linux software that is compatible with the data formats of Windows applications, but for the most they will be different applications.
True, but many real good programs are available for both Windows and Linux (or maybe the other way round). A Mac branch of the same program seems rare, but there are a few, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdackle View Post
There are however options to running Windows applications inside Linux. At least two/three come to mind:
- Virtualization [...]
- WINE [...]
- Crossover is based on WINE but unlike the former, it's not free (you can do a free trial though). I never tried it myself but it is said it does allow to run Windows programs smoother though, including those that just won't even start with WINE. Site: http://www.codeweavers.com/products/
Apart from Crossover, which I don't know, that's what I suggested earlier. However, my own experience with WINE is not encouraging, so that I wouldn't recommend that way. I'd always go for virtualization, or better even, a separate physical machine. Both virtual and physical machines have their pros and cons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdackle View Post
- LibreOffice (or OpenOffice.org, both available for Windows and Mac too) is nearly 100% compatible with the MS Office documents formats, but you'll have problems with Macros.
There are a few more. For instance, Excel allows for diagrams as sheets of their own, while LibreOffice/OpenOffice can only have diagrams as objects superimposed on a table sheet. So if you exchange an Excel document containing a diagram to LibreOffice/OpenOffice and back, it will be changed: The diagram that used to be a sheet of its own is now converted into a table sheet with the diagram on it. That's nothing serious, but it's odd. Plus, I find it odd that neither of these office suites allows for Word/Writer objects as one sheet inside an Excel/Calc document. That's something I've been wishing for years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdackle View Post
- There is also no Adobe Photoshop version for Linux. The usual equivalent for that is The GIMP, which can load Photoshop files (though I never tried to load one such file, so can't tell about the results);
For imaging, I'm still a fan of Micrografx Picture Publisher in a Windows VM. PP is commercial, closed-cource software, but the company had the courtesy of selling the second-most recent versions at bargain prices. AFAIK, Micrografx doesn't exist any more. What a pity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdackle View Post
- As far as Internet applications go, there is of course no Internet Explorer (Firefox and Chrome are good choices)
No, not "good choices". They're stopgaps. The best browser by far in my eyes has been Opera up to now - though I regret Opera's new orientation to Blink/Webkit. The recent Opera release looks more like a castrated Chrome. :-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdackle View Post
Now, after more than a decade using Linux as my main OS at home and even a couple years or so with no Windows at all on my PC, I recently reinstalled Windows XP on my system.
Hehe, I did the same a few weeks ago, but not for myself - I prepared a PC for somebody else who'd been used to XP for years and insisted on sticking to it, support or no support. During installing and configuring a Windows PC again after a few years, I came to realize that I'd become too stupid for Windows over the past five years. I realized that Windows had so many pitfalls, so many things to be wary about, and more than once I was amazed at how simple the same task would have been in Linux.

[X] Doc CPU

Last edited by Doc CPU; 07-06-2013 at 04:21 PM.
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker View Post
... how do I make the transition from Microsoft to Linux, while being able to run and keep my current Microsoft Apps on the linux system(if possible).
You pretty much have three choices.
  • Boot Windows and run Linux in a Virtual Machine
  • Boot Linux and run Windows in a Virtual Machine
  • Dual Boot Windows and Linux
Before you try to dual boot Linux and Windows, I suggest that you become familiar with Linux using a Virtual Machine (VM). I recommend using VirtualBox. Install VirtualBox in Windows. Create a virtual machine and install Linux in the virtual machine. You can try a number of different Linux distros (distributions) to see which you like. Virtual machines have limited support for 3D graphics acceleration. You will probably not be able to run 3D games in a virtual machine.

After you have become familiar with Linux you will find that some Windows applications do not run properly in WINE. You can use VirtualBox in Linux to run a Windows operating system as a virtual machine. The "seamless" feature of VirtualBox can combine the desktop windows of both Linux and Windows applications. Using a virtual machine will probably not work well with 3D games.

You can dual boot Windows and Linux. Installing a dual boot configuration can be complicated depending on the version of Windows. I recommend that you create a backup of your Windows system and files first. Also, create a Windows Setup DVD that can boot on your computer and is able to repair or reinstall Windows. Make sure that you have a copy of your Windows license key or create a backup of the Windows Activation files. You can also install virtual machine software in both Windows and Linux, then run a copy of the other OS. Generally the copy of the OS in the virtual machine will not be the same copy that you are booting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker View Post
Do I honestly have to run a dual boot plan of having 2 OS on my pc or is there a much more efficient alternative?
Mostly what you get from a dual boot configuration is execution speed and 3D support. Does your processor have hardware for virtual execution? If it does then a virtual machine will run nearly as fast as a directly booted OS. If your hardware does not support virtual execution then a virtual machine will probably be slow. It is certainly worth trying to run Linux in a virtual machine before you install Linux to boot separately.

Do you care about the 3D "eye candy" of Linux or Windows? If you want transparent windows and other graphical effects then you need to boot the OS. To play some 3D games on Windows you will need to boot Windows. The KDE desktop and some other Linux desktop environments can make use of 3D effects. You usually have to boot Linux to get those desktop effects to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InfiniteKnowledgeSeeker View Post
.. Where does WINE fit into all of this?
WINE provides a limited Windows compatible desktop environment in Linux. It can run some Windows applications. Some programs run without problems but most will require some effort to make them work correctly. You may have to install additional DLL files, fonts, change settings in WINE or the programs, or do other special things. Games that make heavy use of 3D may not work at all or may be difficult to get working. I have had very little success with WINE. Most Windows programs that I've tried have some display problems and features that don't work quite right. If you are willing to invest time you may be able to get programs to work better. I tried Cross-Over (software that can be purchased) and it does make older versions of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office work better with WINE. I did not have much success with the newer versions of Microsoft Office and WINE. The alternative to WINE is a virtual machine running Windows.

Here are some things to consider.

You need additional RAM (memory) to run a virtual machine. For example, a Windows virtual machine requires 512MB to 1024MB of memory depending on what software you run in Windows. A Linux virtual machine requires 256MB to 768MB of memory. If you are planning to run a virtual machine, I recommend having at least 2048MB or more of actual RAM on your computer.

You should try to use a computer that has support for virtual execution. Examples of that are Intel Core i7 processors, and AMD Turion. Without hardware support for virtual execution, a virtual machine may be too slow to use. As an example without virtual hardware support, I have a Pentium 4 system with a 3.2GHz CPU and 2048MB of RAM that barely can run a virtual machine. The Pentium 4 is painfully slow.

When you dual boot you must consider how you will get files between Windows and Linux. One way is to create a separate partition that they both can write into. I do not recommend allowing Linux to write into your Windows operating system partition. I also do not recommend letting Windows write into your Linux operating system partition. I created a separate partition for Windows and Linux to share files. Linux can read and write NTFS (Windows) files. There is add-on software that can allow Windows to read and write ext2 (Linux) files.

If your computer uses any kind of RAID (Redundant Array of Individual Disks) to combine disks for speed or mirroring then you should check carefully to see if Linux is supported. Many PC RAID controllers do not work with Linux or require special configuration.

Plan your disk partitioning and dual booting carefully before you start making changes. Make sure that you have all the needed boot disks and setup disks to install and repair both operating systems. I recommend using an external hard disk to make a complete backup of your existing hard disk before trying to install a second operating system. You may want to get partition image backup software so that you can back up everything.

There are a few different Desktop Environments (DEs) for Linux. Some distros include only one DE and some include a few different DEs. Some examples of Desktop Environments are GNOME, KDE and XFCE. KDE is the most similar to Windows. XFCE is good for less powerful computers. GNOME is somewhere between XFCE and KDE in terms of the features and required resources.

Some distributions to consider are Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Slackware, Fedora, Debian, Arch and OpenSUSE. There are a lot of other excellent distros and some people have very strong opinions about which one is best.

When you are looking for a distro it helps to think about what is important to you.
  • Does your processor support 64-bits? Do you want to run both 64-bit and 32-bit applications?
  • What Desktop Environments do you like: KDE 4, GNOME 3, XFCE, GNOME 2 KDE 3, others?
  • Do you want most software already installed, or do you want to install your own?
  • Do you want a central Personal Information Manager (PIM) for your E-Mail, social contact sites, etc?
  • Do you want the most up to date software, or is it more important to have well tested software?
  • How often do you want to update your software: all the time, occasionally, or almost never?
  • Do you need or want some kind of package manager to keep track of installed software and versions?
  • How much do you want to know about installing and configuring your Linux distro?
  • How many different computers will you be using and do you want them all to run the same Linux OS?
  • Is there someone who will help you and is familiar with a particular Linux distro?
  • Which distro has a WIKI, book or documentation site that you like and understand?
  • Where do you plan to ask for help: a WIKI site, distro support, Linux Questions?
  • Do you have any hardware that might not be compatible with Linux?
  • Do you care if the Linux installation is completely automated including disk partitioning?
  • Will Windows boot first, or will Linux boot first?
  • Do you have a preferred boot loader (LILO, GRUB, GRUB 2)?
  • Does your computer use BIOS firmware or the newer UEFI firmware?
  • Will you boot from a a disk larger than 2048GB that requires GUID Partition Table Support?
So that you don't get frustrated, here are a few things that may be difficult to get working in Linux. If you have problems ask for help and try not to get discouraged.
  • Special Laptop hardware (sound, wifi, displays, buttons, software modems)
  • Some sound card/chip features
  • Some wifi chips/cards
  • RAID controllers
  • Software (dial-up) Modems
  • Web cameras
  • Scanners
  • Some inexpensive ink-jet printers
In most cases I have been able to get the above kinds of hardware to work with Linux. Software (dial-up) Modems and PC RAID controllers have been the biggest problem for me. Sometimes it's easier and more economical to upgrade or add hardware that does support Linux instead of spending time solving problems.

The last thing that I will mention is some software that I have found very helpful for doing a number of things with Windows and Linux. In addition to performing partitioning and backup, the software can make a Windows OS boot after it has been copied to new hardware or a virtual machine. The software is called Paragon Hard Disk Manager Suite ($50) or Paragon Hard disk Manager Professional ($100). You can make a rescue boot DVD based on Windows to restore your entire hard disk from a backup copy. There are other programs including free ones that will do many of the same things. The important thing is to think about how you will do backup, restore and boot repair for your computer. When booting multiple operating systems that becomes more important since you are more likely to change partitioning or have unexpected problems that prevent booting.
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 06:58 PM   #14
frankbell
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You've gotten some excellent advice and several alternative approaches to consider. I'll just add one thing on a more meta level.

Windows is not Linux. (It is ultimately, in my experience, simpler, more versatile, and more logical than Windows, once you know your way around.)

Do not expect it to work under the hood the way Windows works under the hood. Expect there to be things to learn. If you do that, you'll be okay.

Last edited by frankbell; 07-08-2013 at 06:40 PM. Reason: grammar
 
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:05 PM   #15
jamison20000e
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...searching before posting...

Last edited by jamison20000e; 07-10-2013 at 08:39 PM.
 
  


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