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Old 11-22-2007, 04:35 AM   #1
Mysticle31
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Newbie thinking of switching to Linux from XP/Vista. Options and Advice...


Hello guys,

I've been using XP on my computer now for some time. Every year or so I do a complete backup and reformat of my computer. This being the season of new OSs I thought I'd borrow a Vista DVD and see if I liked it. If I did, I'll get it, if not then I won't.

Well, I like it. I like the updated interface. I like the sidebar with the nifty things you can put there (I have all kinds of system monitors and volume/what's playing controls there, and weather on the desktop.) I like the file transfer details, including speed of transfer. I also like the flip 3d and the new look in general, which I can't use because BeyondTV (my DVR functionality) will turn off Aero, so no flip 3d and no popups, and no skinny X button for me. I couldn't care less about glass.

What I don't like is that this thing is taking up 582megs of my 1024 just sitting here typing this out. If I keep vista, I plan on doubling the memory. I don't like, as a usual Microsoft product, I had to go tweak it to make it work even reasonably when I got finished putting all my stuff on it, DNS was WAY slow. At times Vista can be very lethargic on my humble 2.8ghz p4. What I'm sure I won't like, someday some DRM update will block me from my MP3s.

I don't do any gaming. If I ever did (I almost got addicted to a game where you make portals, from the same people that did half-life) I'd just boot into windows. Are the Linux equivalents of programs as "good" as the windows versions? Can open office read a docx file?

I've tried a couple distributions of Linux before. The last one was Corel Linux, years ago.

The catches - I use a Tablet PC, it's an older PC that really needs a 7200rpm hd and more ram. I would like to run the same OS on both my desktop and tablet, will linux work well on a tablet?

I have a pocket pc (HTC Apache Smartphone) Can I still sync with Linux? I would just love to be able to sync to google's services.

Are there some nice GUIs for Linux? I've heard of a couple that have some 3D features.

I'm not even sure where to begin in researching Linux. There are so many distributions and I'm not even begging to know some of the lingo associated with features and things. Debian Knoppix, Ubuntu (which is Debian right?) Maybe it's time I sit down and learn all this and try to cast off windows.

I realize I've written a book here, and not the most interesting reading at that. Thanks for your advice. I may break this up into smaller posts at a later date.
 
Old 11-22-2007, 04:52 AM   #2
bigrigdriver
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To minimize your effort and to maximize your ability to find a Linux distribution (distro) that works for both computers, I'd recommend that you go to distrowatch.com. Scroll down the page to see (on the right) a list of the top 100 distros.

Better yet, at the top of the page, click on the Search word in the list to get the search page. Scroll down a bit, and find the place to enter search parameters. Select "liveCD" from the list to get a list of liveCDs you can download and try. It'll cost you the time to download, and a few cds to burn them.

Try them out as liveCds to see if they detect your hardware. You have a variety of destop environments to choose from. Some of the liveCDs may have cheatcodes that allow you to choose which desktop to load on boot (Knoppix does; not sure about the rest). You have the chance to 'try before you buy' (not meaning that you have to buy them; meaning try it before you install it).

And yes, OpenOffice.org can open windows .doc, .xls, and .ppt files. Also edit them, save them in the same format, and send them back to windows and windows won't know the difference (unless Micro$oft has coded Vista to reject files that have been touched by Linux systems).
 
Old 11-22-2007, 04:55 AM   #3
Amir Menesy
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first of all, im still new to linux as well, ive tried a couple of disto's but still the most easiest and pretty well equipped too one is ubuntu.
you can add beryl or compiz or compiz-fusion (both beryl and comiz together) which add the 3d effects to your computer alot more 3d effects with less cpu and it will not use more than 250mb ram while doing nothing it wont use any of your cpu only when you are personally using your computer or ofcource if you are playing music or anything like that but if you keep it idle it wont use any cpu at all i have a 1.8 ghz sempron on my laptop and i can still use all the 3d effects and run windows xp virtual machine together it wont make any problems.
vista does look nice although it has loads of side effects first of all it has loads of bugs can stall at any time they should have released it as experimental not as a full version quite yet maybe in a couple of years they could but anyway,
linux for me has only showed me that it will become better.

hope this will help you a bit its probably not the best advice hope you make your mind up.

ps i dont know anything about tablet pc's sorry cant say anything about that but i think there is dsl (damn small linux) maybe that will help

Amir
 
Old 11-22-2007, 09:20 AM   #4
nate6874
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well in my opinon vista it no good. it looks nice and thats about it. I would try to download ubuntu live cd, it is easy to use and will be best if your new. Im not sure about the tablet pc, but i THINK ubuntu might have some support. maybe google it or go to www.ubuntuforums.org and ask there. either way i am pretty sure ubuntu is going to be the distro you want. You said you have 1GB or RAM so you will have no problems running the live cd. good luck and before you get started just know that its not going to always be easy, be prepared to be frustrated and upset but its worth it in the end.

also...
you can get open office for windows too. go to www.openoffice.org and try it out....its the same in linux and i like it better than MS office.
 
Old 11-22-2007, 03:12 PM   #5
Mysticle31
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What exactly is a LiveCD? Does the installer launch from the CD, just like windows or does the whole OS launch from the CD?

If I have driver issues is there a Linux community I go to, or my manufacturer?

I guess I'll figure it all out in a moment as I just downloaded Ubuntu, Sabayon, and openSUSE.

Will one Linux with say.. KDE feel and look similar to another Linux with KDE?

Say I used Ubuntu and some other Linux that is more obscure. Can they both run the same programs and the same things? The distribution only means what comes "with" the os? (for example, Ubuntu may come with OpenOffice and Linux X does not, but Linux X can still run open office. Linux X may come with a DVR program and Ubuntu does not, but Ubuntu can sill run the DVR app?) There are greater differences?
 
Old 11-22-2007, 03:40 PM   #6
wet
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i think ill have to say a few good words about mandriva linux here..

i was astonished how smooth the installation went on my laptop (which usually causes problems with drivers, etc, etc).

IMO mandriva is _the_ OS to try as a windows alternative. it does everything by itself, all you have to do during installation is choose a partition to install to. and you're good to go right after it finished installing, all the software is there, looks nice (lots of eye-candy by default, works fast and in case of any problems you can get quite good support on expert.mandriva.com

let's just say it introduces you to the linux world smooth and slowly.. doesnt scare people off, if you know what i mean

so, if you ever happen to try out mandriva, make sure you download the "one" version, with proprietary drivers etc .. just in case you need them

oh, back to your post:
Quote:
What exactly is a LiveCD? Does the installer launch from the CD, just like windows or does the whole OS launch from the CD?
it boots the entire system from cd. so when it's done you get a good looking desktop with all the apps etc. from there you usually just have to find that little app that will copy the system to your hd - not too hard to find since it's usually somewhere on the desktop
Quote:
If I have driver issues is there a Linux community I go to, or my manufacturer?
shouldn't have any with mandriva if you do, as i said, expert.mandriva.com

about the rest.. mandriva will run openoffice, ubuntu will, suse will, gentoo will, they all do. only installation may differ slightly. there's a LOT of software to choose from when it comes to linux (if not too many..). my opinion is: try out different ones instead of trying to stick to one right from the beginning or there's a high chance you'll miss something that really suits you and you'll just get used to some other tool

good luck
wet

PS sorry for the chaotic reply, im in a little hurry
 
Old 11-22-2007, 04:46 PM   #7
puskas
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I'm quite newbie too. Installed Ubuntu about a year ago and I had a great experience. Just all this nice software is tremendous: gimp, inkspace, autmatix, scribus, gftp, gnomebaker etc Think of all time I put on heavy unfriendly windows applications. Much linux software are easy to learn, maybe not as easy as lot of mac software.

I've tried some of the other distros too. Mandriva liveCD I tried yesterday and it went all smooth. Ubuntu is easy and userfriendly but I experience it demands about same resources as XP unfortunately. Xubuntu is the next step if you want a more slim distro and even smaller fluxbuntu. I tried booth liveCD and and if you really have an old bastard computer I suggest DSL - Damn Small Linux. It worked for me on 225 mhz CPU and 32 MB RAM. If you're not a superuser in every program it's enough. I mean: need not all options in open office, need not all options in gimp etc and primarily want to surf the web I suggest DSL on old hardware. Ok, DSL had some problem with my old hardware but beside of that went astonishingly smooth.
 
Old 11-22-2007, 04:48 PM   #8
Mysticle31
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Well I've booted into all three Linuxes from their LiveCD. I haven't tried Mandriva, I will.

I feel really stupid asking this, but I'm used to seeing C:, D:, ..etc. So when it askes me what partion I would like to use I have no idea what to choose. What is an SFS Type partition? My television drive is a Windows Dynamic Disk. Will it even show up in the partition manager? I can re-raid the disks in Linux later.

My MB has an onboard raid controller and in windows, vista included, i have to load the drivers off of a disk. I don't even know if the drivers are loaded and my Raptors are being seen by Linux.

So far, just by booting up into the Live CD and going "UHHHHHHHHHHH...Device Manager..Device Manager..." Sabayon worked the best. I coundn't figure out how to get my NIC to work in any of them. For some reason Ubuntu was giving me IPv6 DCHP addresses. Ubuntu didn't like my wireless mouse and keyboard and went for my wired mouse and keyboard that I keep stashed under the desk.

As to applications being supported. Openoffice was just an example. I just want to make sure that they all, or the major ones, can do everything that the others can do and that I'm not locking myself out of--whatever--because I choose the wrong distro.

Thanks for the responses guys.
 
Old 11-22-2007, 04:52 PM   #9
bcfriesen
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Quote:
If I have driver issues is there a Linux community I go to, or my manufacturer?
Some companies write their own drivers for Linux, in which case you can probably find support directly from them. Most of the time I just copy and paste the error message into a search engine, and 99% of the time the solution to my problem is on the first page of search results. If it's not, forums like this one are wonderfully helpful.

Quote:
Will one Linux with say.. KDE feel and look similar to another Linux with KDE?
Some minor things tend to vary among different distros, but the overall feel is usually very similar.

Quote:
Say I used Ubuntu and some other Linux that is more obscure. Can they both run the same programs and the same things? The distribution only means what comes "with" the os? (for example, Ubuntu may come with OpenOffice and Linux X does not, but Linux X can still run open office. Linux X may come with a DVR program and Ubuntu does not, but Ubuntu can sill run the DVR app?) There are greater differences?
Most programs have certain dependencies, but the vast majority of software on which they depend can be installed on any Linux distro. For example, the sound editor Audacity requires the package wxWidgets, but both are freely available as source code and can be installed on virtually any Linux machine.

Since compiling programs (especially big ones) from source code can be kind of a pain in the butt, many of the popular distros support certain types of pre-compiled binaries which make installation go MUCH faster. Ubuntu and Debian use .deb packages, Fedora uses .rpm, etc. Some programmers publish their programs as source code as well as in the varies binary formats, so rarely will you be unable to install a program because you could only find it as an RPM and you're running Ubuntu.
 
Old 11-22-2007, 07:20 PM   #10
Mysticle31
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When it comes to compiling programs, I canalways do that myself right?

I'm a long ways from knowing anything about programming, Although I home to learn someday. I think the local collede only offers VB classes though... anyhow.

Is there a good page of equivalints from windows to linux? For axample device manager in lixux is X and here is what it looks like?
 
Old 11-22-2007, 07:22 PM   #11
Mysticle31
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Sorry for any spelling or punctuation errors, I'm on my HTC Apache and not quite used to this little keybord yet.
 
Old 11-22-2007, 08:08 PM   #12
bcfriesen
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Quote:
When it comes to compiling programs, I canalways do that myself right?
Right. And it hardly requires much programming skill. The usual routine is described quite nicely in this tutorial.

Like I said earlier, if during the install process your computer starts screaming at you that you're missing this or that file, you can usually copy and paste the error message into a search engine and find the answer very quickly.
 
Old 11-22-2007, 08:10 PM   #13
AceofSpades19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mysticle31 View Post
When it comes to compiling programs, I canalways do that myself right?

I'm a long ways from knowing anything about programming, Although I home to learn someday. I think the local collede only offers VB classes though... anyhow.

Is there a good page of equivalints from windows to linux? For axample device manager in lixux is X and here is what it looks like?
yes you can always compile programs yourself, I think you should read this before doing anything in linux
http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
 
Old 11-22-2007, 10:42 PM   #14
chrism01
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Linux SW equiv windows as requested:
http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/...ndows_software
enjoy
 
Old 11-23-2007, 02:05 AM   #15
nate6874
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i run both mandriva and ubuntu and i would say the ubuntu install goes much more easy. i would also say ubunut is easier to use. and as far a KDE i would really suggest Gnome, it is better laid out, not as cluttered and for most has a better feel. you can download mandriva gnome (thats what i have) and ubuntu is gnome stock.
 
  


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