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Old 06-10-2011, 03:11 AM   #1
veeruk101
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Maybe getting rid of Windows forever - what to do before transition?


I'm thinking of using CentOS 5.6 as my home laptop as well, to finally get rid of Windows and to become even more comfortable for using it which can't hurt for the basic server admin side of things.

Of course before I begin I'll back up all my data.

What do I need to know before making the switch? How do I check hardware compatibility, is there any reasonable way of knowing whether things like wireless, etc will work out of the box? I'm using a 5 year old HP Pavilion laptop. And if it doesn't work out of the box, how can I go about setting it up?

Am I in for a really tough road ahead, or do things just tend to work nowadays (of course the fact that my laptop is 5 yrs old won't help I'm sure)...

What things do you still use Windows for - e.g. things you still need or want to run in a Windows virtual machine on your Linux box, and for what reasons do you still need it around?
 
Old 06-10-2011, 03:22 AM   #2
EricTRA
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Hello,

Great decision to move to Linux all the way

As you already mentioned, backup is the primary issue here. Take into account everything you consider important and back it up. Don't forget to verify your backup and to check if you can restore correctly. You wouldn't be the first person to confide in a backup that for some odd reason got corrupted, leaving you without the data you needed.

The newest releases of most distros do a pretty good job in detecting and enabling hardware so you shouldn't have a problem with that. The fact that your laptop is 5 years old doesn't cause a lot of problems I think. It would be more problematic if you went out and bought the latest technology/hardware available since, most likely, there wouldn't be Linux drivers for it. A good starting point to check what hardware gets detected, what gives errors and so on is the output of
Code:
dmesg
after booting. You might want to pipe that output into 'less' or 'more' to paginate.

If you have any problems with hardware not being detected you can first try to Google for it, or post a question here, being as complete as possible in the problem description.

As answer to your last question, I still use a Windows virtual machine to control our VMWare server farm using VSphere client and VMExplorer since I cannot seem to get them to run using CrossOver/Wine.

Kind regards,

Eric
 
Old 06-10-2011, 03:25 AM   #3
ButterflyMelissa
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Smile

Hi,

In one sentence:

smart move

I did the full move, did'nt look back one second...

Quote:
Am I in for a really tough road ahead, or do things just tend to work nowadays (of course the fact that my laptop is 5 yrs old won't help I'm sure)...
No you're not, you're in for an educational but fruitfull ride.

I listed what software I used on a regular base and found the counterpart, looked at it and did a comparison. As an example paintshop pro versus Gimp, edora express versus Evolution, ie versus FireFox and so on. If of course you're a gamer, things could be tough. A colleague of mine is considering the same move, but he's into World of Warcraft, that's windows and Mac only...but even then there are options.

The age does'nt matter, not even the condition...Linux is a very flexible, gratufull and fugal system that can set a foothold on just about anything.

Quote:
Of course before I begin I'll back up all my data.
Smart indeed...

Next, try to figure out what hardware there is. One way to do that is to start the laptop with a Live CD, open a console and issue "lshw" in the console, jot down what it says and ask the questions...in this very forum, maybe even as a follow-up in this thread.

But, all in all, you're in for an educational and technical ride. If you're into this, go for it. Linux requires you to think things through, to keep a cool head and to just enjoy this.

Smart move indeed...you're half way there

Thor

Last edited by ButterflyMelissa; 06-10-2011 at 03:26 AM.
 
Old 06-10-2011, 06:45 AM   #4
16pide
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the important things have already been said above.
I'll just add what I still need windows for:
- Microsoft Office when communicating with someone who wants "pixel correct" compatibility with his Microsoft office machine.
- Itunes to backup, add content, or upgrade idevices. Maybe iOs 5's icloud will help there ...

And for games, I would run them from a dual boot Windows for performance, but i don't do games, so ...

When installing a recent Linux distro, you are offered the possibility to shrink your existing windows partition, and create the dual boot config. I generally do this, and keep 40GB or so for Windows.

otherwise, for a VM, I use virtualbox, it's really easy, and low maintenance (especially when kernel gets upgraded).
for my work related VMs, I use KVM because, but that's another story.
 
Old 06-10-2011, 12:11 PM   #5
roygbiiv
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And also don't forget to celebrate!
 
Old 06-10-2011, 12:19 PM   #6
PrinceCruise
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Good luck.
Keep posting the updates of your move here, if possible .
 
Old 06-10-2011, 12:33 PM   #7
bigrigdriver
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To satisfy your concern of whether or not your laptop hardware will be detected and configured "out of the box", go to distrowatch.com and download a couple or three liveCD distros. Burn them to cd and try them out. If they detect your hardware, you shouldn't have any problems with installation.

If you haven't tried any liveCDs yet, be aware that they run slower than installed systems because the files are compressed, and need to be decompressed and loaded into ram in order to run. Otherwise, they run just like an installed system, and give you a chance to explore software, hardware detection, and anything else you might be concerned about.
 
Old 06-12-2011, 08:43 AM   #8
veeruk101
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Thanks for all the input. I've created a CentOS 5.6 LiveCD and started gathering some information, but I need some help on a few points:

1) Some hardware integration is working but not totally, for example when I press the mute button on my keyboard, the sound mutes but the keyboard button doesn't light up to indicate that it has actually been muted. For an example like this, how would I go about figuring it out: I ran commands like lshw, lspci, and dmesg as per the comment in this thread, and the only seemingly relevant piece of information I could find is this:

00:14.5 Multimedia audio controller: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 02)

But googling ATI drivers took me to the AMD site which eventually redirected me back to HP's general drivers page...

Going to the HP drivers site for my product (http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/s...&lang=en&cc=us) it says that it offers no Linux drivers for my system. I'm so confused right now on how to begin


2) In order to get wireless to work, I have to do as described in http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Laptops/Wireless/Broadcom. I don't have the 'make' command in my CentOS LiveCD, and because wireless isn't working, I can't do "yum install kernel-headers kernel-devel gcc" either as mentioned in that guide. Is there a way to know which RPMs I'll need to manually download in advance to get the equivalent of "yum install kernel-headers kernel-devel gcc" and the make command? (Is there a yum command that lists the associated RPMs?)


3) Is there any special configuration that is needed to get my USB stick recognized so that I can transfer files between Windows and Linux? Doesn't seem like it would even matter, unless there's an out of the box way to get my LiveCD to recognize a Windows file system?


4) I've noticed that after working with the interface for a while, it's very difficult on the eyes compared with Windows XP which I'm using currently. Everything looks smaller, crisper, and sharper in Windows. Even the terminal in Windows PUTTY looks far better than my Linux terminal. Is this something I'll have to live with, or is there some other configuration I should/can do?

The interface is fine for casual use, but if I were actually making it my main workstation which I spend more than half of my day on, I'd end up getting headaches etc. I guess Windows has spoiled me and my expectations How do you guys resolve this, or if it's not possible, then how you cope?
 
Old 06-12-2011, 09:20 AM   #9
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veeruk101 View Post
Everything looks smaller, crisper, and sharper in Windows. Even the terminal in Windows PUTTY looks far better than my Linux terminal. Is this something I'll have to live with, or is there some other configuration I should/can do? I guess Windows has spoiled me and my expectations ?
No, Windows made you think that everything is built in to the OS and unchangeable. You can freely modify your theme, font, and even how the font is rendered. Linux nas no native GUI, it's all just user-space programs.

If you're using GNOME 2, then the options should be under the "System" menu.
 
Old 06-12-2011, 11:36 PM   #10
DrDwayne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veeruk101 View Post
I'm thinking of using CentOS 5.6 as my home laptop as well, to finally get rid of Windows and to become even more comfortable for using it which can't hurt for the basic server admin side of things.

Of course before I begin I'll back up all my data.

What do I need to know before making the switch? How do I check hardware compatibility, is there any reasonable way of knowing whether things like wireless, etc will work out of the box? I'm using a 5 year old HP Pavilion laptop. And if it doesn't work out of the box, how can I go about setting it up?

Am I in for a really tough road ahead, or do things just tend to work nowadays (of course the fact that my laptop is 5 yrs old won't help I'm sure)...

What things do you still use Windows for - e.g. things you still need or want to run in a Windows virtual machine on your Linux box, and for what reasons do you still need it around?
Hello VeerUk,

if you want, you can do what I did. . .

Download VMWare Player (it is free with no limitations that I know of), run it on your windows system, and install Linux.

Then you have a complete linux system that you can play with all you want. . . fully functional in all degrees. You will also have your full blown Windows Version to play with also.

You do not have to dual boot at all with VMPlayer.

Try this out, and see what you think. . .You can't lose, it cost you nothing, and it is a perfect way to try all all aspects of lunix without changing one thing on your computer.

If, after a month or two, you decide that Linux is right where you want to be, you will know what you need to do. . .what to back up, and what fits you best.

What is even nicer, is that if you decide to compeletly change to Linux, you can use the same VMPlayer and run Windows inside LINUX!!! You have the best of both worlds. ..

You can even "copy" the "windows" virtual disk (that VMware Player makes) to a new name, and have two separate Windows operating systems. You can use one to play with viruses without affecting your system or original windows operating system.

Dwayne
 
  


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