LinuxQuestions.org
Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 11-29-2012, 09:44 PM   #1
jakordas
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Nov 2012
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
New to Linux from Mac


I am currently using a Mac computer and have been running into a few barriers as far as programs are concerned. I am getting involved with civil engineering and some of the programs I need to use are not available on Mac. I do not want a pure windows based computer so I am going to need to use dual operating systems I think. I know I can run 2 operating systems on my Mac but I hear that Linux is a more powerful system when it comes to computation. I also would like to get a computer that I can edit myself such as a thinkpad w520 or 530.

What I would like to know is what form of Linux would be best for my needs? What I will be doing is math computation such as Mathmatica, Python, and MatLab. Various CAD programs. Office programs such as word and excel. and other programs. In a nutshell I am looking for a "work horse" operating system.

* Please note that my programming skills are virtually non existant.

I just want to thank everyone in advance. I also appreciate criticism if im going about things the wrong way.
 
Old 11-29-2012, 10:07 PM   #2
snowpine
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Posts: 4,037

Rep: Reputation: 1099Reputation: 1099Reputation: 1099Reputation: 1099Reputation: 1099Reputation: 1099Reputation: 1099Reputation: 1099
Welcome to the forums! I recommend Windows for your Windows-application needs. Some Windows apps can be run non-natively in Linux using an emulator called Wine but it is not perfect. You should look up each application in the Wine App DB to see whether it is realistic to run this software in Linux (each app is rated gold/silver/bronze/garbage): http://appdb.winehq.org/

Of course if you decide Linux is best for your needs, we are here to assist.

Last edited by snowpine; 11-29-2012 at 10:08 PM.
 
Old 11-29-2012, 10:25 PM   #3
suicidaleggroll
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Nov 2010
Location: Colorado
Distribution: OpenSUSE, CentOS
Posts: 5,258

Rep: Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947Reputation: 1947
A "work horse" operating system implies that you do not want a cutting-edge distribution which is prone to cutting-edge bugs like Fedora. You are also looking into laptops, which means you don't want one of the bulletproof server distributions like Debian or RHEL/CentOS since they typically have issues with new hardware, especially wireless cards. You want a distribution that is relatively new (meaning pretty up-to-date versions on the kernel and the standard libraries), but not so new that you're running more-or-less untested versions of the same libraries.

You mentioned your programming skills, but what about your general computer skills? You've been using a Mac, so how comfortable are you with dropping to the command line to fix problems when you encounter them?

If you're very uncomfortable with the command line, a "user-friendly" distro like Ubuntu or Mint might be your cup of tea, but be aware that the more a Linux distro isolates you from the command line, the more difficult it is to fix something that goes wrong via the command line. If you're comfortable with the command line, something like OpenSUSE might be more applicable. Still pretty much user-friendly, but it doesn't isolate you from the command-line back end to typical programs (meaning you WILL have to drop to the command line at some point, for some reason or another, but google is your friend).

I HIGHLY recommend two things before picking a distribution
1) Download a few live CDs for distributions you're interested in to try them out. Make sure that the video works, resolution is correct, audio works, wifi works, etc. If you run into problems, give it some time/effort and see how easy they are to resolve.
2) If your computer has enough RAM, install VirtualBox or VMWare and set up a few different distributions as virtual machines. Experiment with them, see how they work and what bothers you about them. Try installing some software, such as Google Chrome, Matlab, etc. See what problems you face during the installation and how easy/difficult those problems are to resolve using Google as your reference.

Hopefully, after performing the two tasks above, you'll be better equipped to decide which distribution is best for you.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 11-29-2012 at 10:26 PM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 11-30-2012, 09:24 AM   #4
overdoseattitude
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Oct 2012
Location: Bangalore
Distribution: CentOS, Ubuntu, OSX LION
Posts: 8

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakordas View Post
I am currently using a Mac computer and have been running into a few barriers as far as programs are concerned. I am getting involved with civil engineering and some of the programs I need to use are not available on Mac. I do not want a pure windows based computer so I am going to need to use dual operating systems I think. I know I can run 2 operating systems on my Mac but I hear that Linux is a more powerful system when it comes to computation. I also would like to get a computer that I can edit myself such as a thinkpad w520 or 530.

What I would like to know is what form of Linux would be best for my needs? What I will be doing is math computation such as Mathmatica, Python, and MatLab. Various CAD programs. Office programs such as word and excel. and other programs. In a nutshell I am looking for a "work horse" operating system.

* Please note that my programming skills are virtually non existant.

I just want to thank everyone in advance. I also appreciate criticism if im going about things the wrong way.
You can try ubuntu or Mint OS.. but i suggest you to go for windows 7 using Bootcamp or Parallel desktop on Mac OS. Office apps works like charm on windows and you can run python and CAD programs too
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 11-30-2012, 12:03 PM   #5
DavidMcCann
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: London
Distribution: CentOS, Salix
Posts: 4,158

Rep: Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223
Office software is taken care of by LibreOffice or OpenOffice. I've heard it claimed that Gnumeric is a better spreadsheet if you're doing maths rather than finance. Linux has Mathematica and other stuff:
http://linuxappfinder.com/scientificandengineering/math
and some CAD:
http://linuxappfinder.com/graphics/cad

I'd suggest you look at Mint and OpenSUSE: very different user interfaces. I'd steer clear of Ubuntu, because I think its user interface is designed for recreational users rather than professionals; Mint is Ubuntu debugged and made more usable.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 12-01-2012, 12:02 PM   #6
jakordas
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Nov 2012
Posts: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Thank you everyone for your detailed responses. I truly appreciate it.

Suicidaleggrole,
Thanks for breaking things down for me about user-friendly and command line use. I don't know much about command line use so I would probably need to use something that doesn't require major user command line usage. I can learn anything I need to for it but I just need to put some time and effort into it. Work my way up to a stronger, better distribution of linux.

DavidMcCann,
Thank for the links about linux software. That is really going to come in handy when it comes to planning my approach.
 
Old 12-01-2012, 12:21 PM   #7
cantab
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2009
Location: England
Distribution: *buntu, Vector
Posts: 499

Rep: Reputation: 102Reputation: 102
If the civil engineering programs you need to run have Linux versions, their developers will probably provide packages for specific distributions, so use one of those distributions!
 
Old 12-01-2012, 01:50 PM   #8
floppy_stuttgart
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2010
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Distribution: Debian like
Posts: 710
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 68
my wide came from mac and went to ubuntu 10.04: she was not happy with the openoffice instabilities etc. but woman can have a less tolerance for SW. After 2 years she is ok because she see the money saving we had (a linux notebook is LESS expensive than a mac notebook). I came from windows to linux and Im happy.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
xen linux guest mac acquiring mac 00:00:00:00:00:00 linux_fever Linux - Virtualization and Cloud 0 12-04-2009 03:52 PM
Linux / UNIX OS for Motorola RAZR v3 -- Sync it with OpenBSD 4.2/Mac 10.5/Mac 10.3 Doctorzongo Linux - Laptop and Netbook 0 04-30-2008 02:27 AM
LXer: Linux vs. Mac: Should I Get a Mac? LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 09-24-2007 03:30 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:11 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration