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Old 08-02-2005, 11:11 PM   #1
bigmattxxl
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Unhappy Want to leave XP for Linux


Hello!

I've been using Windows XP Pro forever now, but I'm tired of viruses/etc and the general Microsoft nonsense.

I guess I'm looking for a Linux setup that will do everything XP Pro does for me, minus the BS. I'm not sure where to start, though. I'm scared that I'll go through with it, and none of my stuff is going to work. Do ordinary windows progs work on Linux? What about games (Battlefield 2, etc.)?

Help me out fellas!

XXL
 
Old 08-02-2005, 11:21 PM   #2
kencaz
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Linux is not a replacement OS for XP... If you want your Linux box to do everything your XP box does then your better off sticking with XP and the BS...

If however, you want some alternatives to your current windows applications and are willing to do a little research on Linux, then I would suggest first starting out with a duel boot system until you get used to how Linux handles diff programs and if it is right for you...

Again... Linux is not XP without the BS...

KC
 
Old 08-02-2005, 11:34 PM   #3
2damncommon
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A good place to start is one of the Live-CD (now, sometimes, Live-DVD) versions.
The premier Live distribution is still Knoppix (www.knoppix.com). It is free to download and there are places to purchase it for 5 or 10 bucks if you don't want to download it. It runs entirely from the CD with no hard disk installation. Although that means it is slower, it will give you more of an idea what Linux is and can do.
Reading interesting posts in this forum while you try out the Live-distro will answer more of your questions.
Good Luck.
 
Old 08-02-2005, 11:51 PM   #4
jrdioko
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To answer one of your specific questions--in general, Windows applications will not work on Linux, whether they're games or normal programs. Just like you can't take Mac programs and run them on the PC, Linux is a different operating system and will not run Windows programs. Also in general, Linux is not good for gaming in the Windows sense. A very few games have released their source and have Linux versions, and some can be run through an emulator of sorts (Cediga) with a cost. The same goes for other applications. In rare cases you can use Wine to get something functioning semi-well, but most things simply won't work.

However, if you want to drop the Microsoft BS, learn (a lot) more about your computer, and don't mind learning a new way of doing things, Linux is a great way to go. You'll have to change your mindset in many ways (Linux is fundamentally different, and many of the "newbie" problems that come up arise from trying to get Linux to work like Windows when it is, in reality, quite different altogether).

There are Linux programs similar to Windows ones in many areas (OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Word, pico instead of Notepad, gaim instead of AIM/MSN/YIM, beep-media-player instead of Winamp, etc.), and you'll find they're much more stable, are developed much faster/better, and give you more flexibility when you want to change things. I remember when I used Windows using "registry hackers" and "resource editors" and weird programs to change sometimes the most basic aspects of how my system functioned, but in Linux almost everything can be accessed by changing a line in a config file somewhere.

Hope this helps, just thought I'd throw in my two cents. To put my opinion bluntly, if you come to Linux trying to make it work like Windows and expecting to be able to move everything over to Linux the way it is, you're probably going to get very frustrated and fail. If, however, you come with an open mind looking for a better and more flexible way of doing things, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Last edited by jrdioko; 08-02-2005 at 11:53 PM.
 
Old 08-03-2005, 12:00 AM   #5
PusterRacing
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Yes, what they said. Find a few Distros and try the Live CDs.

Knoppix
LinspireLive!
PCLinuxOS
SUSE LiveDVD 9.3

Are a few to download and try out. There are plenty to choose from out there though. I still keep XP around for gaming only, everything else I do in Linux or OSX. There are companies that specialize in making Windows software run in Linux, but I prefer to run native Linux software.

But download a few LiveCDs and give them a go. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Unfortunately right now, the biggest department Linux is lacking in is gaming, so you might want to keep an XP partition for gaming. Until more publishers start releases their software for Linux we'll have this problem.
 
Old 08-03-2005, 12:30 AM   #6
aysiu
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Apart from trying some live CDs, you can also take this poll that'll recommend some distros that are most appropriate for your user needs:

http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/index.php

I have to agree with an earlier post, though: Linux is not Windows without the BS. It's a completely different operating system. It can accomplish many of the same tasks (sometimes more), but it will not necessarily use the same software and the same methods.
 
Old 08-03-2005, 06:30 AM   #7
bigjohn
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Further to the other suggestions, i.e. live distros etc, it would be my suggestion that you "dual-boot" (initially-anyway). It gives you the security blanket of having something to fall back on should you experience problems.

So, I'll list out a few ideas/suggestions that I think that I would have benefitted from when I first installed linux (which I did purely by luck as I didn't even know what linux was).

firstly, your partitions. an app like partition magic is helpful. If you have room on your existing hard disc, or a second hard disc, it's often better to have an extra windows partition that if formatted as FAT32, because there are still issues about windows writing to NTFS formatted windows partition, but not FAT32. So if you have that available, you can always put data files in there that you want to try between the two differing OSs'.

Secondly, you will need somewhere to put the linux install (partition wise). A lot of the mainstream distros will offer the option of using some unused space on a windows partition. Personally, I've never done it that way, I've always had partiton(s) to put the linux into.

Next, is when you are actually doing the install, I favour the option of having a seperate /home partition. Most of the mainstream distros will default to putting the /home directory into the / (known as root) partition. The benefit of having a seperate /home partiton (as opposed to just a directory) is that if you get this sorted OK, any data and/or customisation stuff etc, can be kept intact when/if you have to re-install the distro (or different one), by just not formatting the /home partition. Since I found that, it's been an invaluable time saver.

After that, theres the file systems issue. There are quite a few of them. Though if you opted for ext3 (a journalled version of the older ext2 fs), you shouldn't be able to go wrong. Below is a copy of the section about some of the file systems available - it's taken from the Gentoo linux install documentation (and NO I don't recommend gentoo to start with - it's one of the distros that's considered a "power user" distro - thats not to say that you wouldn't be able to do it, but IMO, it requires some prior knowledge/experience - the learning curve would be nigh on vertical, rather than just steep - which is pretty much the norm when you first get started).
Quote:
Now that your partitions are created, it is time to place a filesystem on them. If you don't care about what filesystem to choose and are happy with what we use as default in this handbook, continue with Applying a Filesystem to a Partition. Otherwise read on to learn about the available filesystems...

Filesystems?

The Linux kernel supports various filesystems. We'll explain ext2, ext3, ReiserFS, XFS and JFS as these are the most commonly used filesystems on Linux systems.

ext2 is the tried and true Linux filesystem but doesn't have metadata journaling, which means that routine ext2 filesystem checks at startup time can be quite time-consuming. There is now quite a selection of newer-generation journaled filesystems that can be checked for consistency very quickly and are thus generally preferred over their non-journaled counterparts. Journaled filesystems prevent long delays when you boot your system and your filesystem happens to be in an inconsistent state.

ext3 is the journaled version of the ext2 filesystem, providing metadata journaling for fast recovery in addition to other enhanced journaling modes like full data and ordered data journaling. ext3 is a very good and reliable filesystem. It has an additional hashed b-tree indexing option that enables high performance in almost all situations. You can enable this indexing by adding -O dir_index to the mke2fs command. In short, ext3 is an excellent filesystem.

ReiserFS is a B*-tree based filesystem that has very good overall performance and greatly outperforms both ext2 and ext3 when dealing with small files (files less than 4k), often by a factor of 10x-15x. ReiserFS also scales extremely well and has metadata journaling. As of kernel 2.4.18+, ReiserFS is solid and usable as both general-purpose filesystem and for extreme cases such as the creation of large filesystems, the use of many small files, very large files and directories containing tens of thousands of files.

XFS is a filesystem with metadata journaling which comes with a robust feature-set and is optimized for scalability. We only recommend using this filesystem on Linux systems with high-end SCSI and/or fibre channel storage and an uninterruptible power supply. Because XFS aggressively caches in-transit data in RAM, improperly designed programs (those that don't take proper precautions when writing files to disk and there are quite a few of them) can lose a good deal of data if the system goes down unexpectedly.

JFS is IBM's high-performance journaling filesystem. It has recently become production-ready and there hasn't been a sufficient track record to comment positively nor negatively on its general stability at this point.
So, with that little lot in mind (yeah, I know, it sounds complicated, but I don't think it's quite as bad as it seems) you should find it (hopefully) relatively straight forward to install one of the main stream distros (mandriva, SuSE, Fedora). If you have done your research, you will know that those are all rpm (redhat package manager) based. I'd recommend one of them (though I've never had much to do with the Fedora, which is a derivative from Redhat, and I don't like lots of their defaults). There are other possible options. As mentioned, debian (proper, rather than derivative), gentoo or slackware, tend to require some prior knowledge/experience (but aren't impossible, especially gentoo, because their install instructions are some of the best out there). A debian derivative called Ubuntu, currently gets very good reviews/write ups etc. It comes as 1 disc, and as long as you don't mind waiting, you can go to this link and then follow the link on the right of their page to the "Shipit - free CDs" page, and they'll even send it to you on CD free of charge (I think the minimum is 10 cd's, big deal!). You might have to wait, but to have it on an official discs saves any potential aggro of corrupted downloads etc. Plus, being debian based, you have the APT package manager, which is a vvv clever piece of software (it's mainly command line, but you can also put a graphic front end on it ).

Ok, that should give you something to investigate. Oh and the earlier posts that suggest live cds, if you tried Ubuntu, you'd find that you also get a live cd to try, plus an install CD if you decide to install. The live cd's only usually run from the disc, they don't write anything to your hard drive. So you get to give it a look/go without the concerns of what's that, whats this or how do I ........

regards

John
 
Old 08-03-2005, 07:31 AM   #8
Fritz_Monroe
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This thread contains some of the best posts about switching to linux that I've ever seen. Goo job guys.

That said, about the only thing I'll add to this is if you decide to install to your hard drive, you will need to edit those partitions. Make sure that anything that you can't afford to lose is backed up.

Also, seriously consider starting over from scratch. Back up the data, create your partitions for XP, Linux and linux swap. Install XP, then install your distro of choice. Every distro I've installed has seen my current Win install and asked if I wanted to dual boot. Makes it relatively painless.

Good luck with the switch. I'm still a newbie, but I started using linux to continue learning about computers and how they work. I'm trying to get completely away from Win at home, but time constraints make it a long process.

F_M
 
Old 08-03-2005, 11:58 AM   #9
frankie_DJ
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If you are scared that you might mess up XP with dual booting , get a cheap computer on ebay and install Linux on it just to play with. A year ago I got a 1998 Getaway on ebay (350MHz, 128MB RAM, 9GB HD) for 18.75$. With shiping and handling (~25$) you get an box that you can experiment with for under 50 bucks. You won't ever pay for any software.
 
Old 08-03-2005, 07:26 PM   #10
bigjohn
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Quote:
Originally posted by frankie_DJ
If you are scared that you might mess up XP with dual booting , get a cheap computer on ebay and install Linux on it just to play with. A year ago I got a 1998 Getaway on ebay (350MHz, 128MB RAM, 9GB HD) for 18.75$. With shiping and handling (~25$) you get an box that you can experiment with for under 50 bucks. You won't ever pay for any software.
Ha! My aunt has given me one with a slightly better spec this afternoon i.e. 550 mhz, 448 MB ram but only an 8 GB hdd, that'd have to be about circa 1998 or 1999, the only good thing being that I'm gonna pillage it for the DVDRW which is less than 6 months old and a 15$ network card, the rest will probably be scrap (or I'll donate it to one of those charities that recon's them for the third world).

regards

John

p.s. Oh and I'd suggest something just a little better than the examples above, so to prevent anything nice and graphically pleasing (current KDE/Gnome) runs at a reasonable "rate of knots". After, Damn Small linux is apparently very good, though I wouldn't like to try it as a total n00b.
 
Old 08-03-2005, 08:06 PM   #11
DeuxXmachina
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I don't see much about xandros in this space, but I swapped my wife's windows box for a xandros box with cross over office. That way she could run most of her windows apps and I had the benefits of linux networking and security.
xandros, like many of the others, feels a lot like windows and you can try it with a free downloadable version. To get the cross over piece, you've got to purchase it.
 
Old 08-04-2005, 02:37 AM   #12
pukeblaster
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Sleepless in Redmond

Yes! I switched & it was incredibly easy.
Not to be contradictory for its own sake, but there is virtually nothing one can't do in linux that is done in XP. For instance, most of the distros I've seen come with OpenOffice.org, an office suite that reads just about any windows comparable file. For almost any MS-based program there is a linux counterpart...that is free!

As for Xandros, it's klunky and a bear to upgrade (unless you pay, a concept that escapes me when in conjunction with linux). Linspire (another money-hungry distro) is equally horrible: KDE (an environment similar to explorer) is MSwindows-like enough to be comfortable for an XP user.

However, the live CD that offers install (as stated) is a great way to make a non-commital-until-satisified transition.
Ubuntu http://www.ubuntulinux.org/ is user friendly, though a bit troublesome on the admin-side.
Kanotix http://kanotix.com/info/index.php is what I currently use (500MHz, 64MB RAM, IBM A20m laptop) which runs 100x faster than on XP & is easy on so many fronts.
Dyne:bolic http://www.dynebolic.org/ is great if you wanna keep using MSwindows without partitioning (or save space on a really small HDD ) and just run off of CD. Dynebolic has a lot of stuff for the multimedia enthusiast

Oh, and the NTFS problem is taken care of with Captive NTFS (comes with Kanotix), a program that allows safe read/write mounting of NTFS drives/partitions. Of course, you can almost always read files in NTFS drives and save them into linux, FAT32 partitions or usb pen drives. There is also a way to make a debian liveCD that uses CD-RW's which you can then allow to write back to the CD and save files/preferences...but that is another post.

Last edited by pukeblaster; 08-04-2005 at 02:54 AM.
 
Old 08-04-2005, 02:50 AM   #13
npaladin2000
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Something else I recommend to Windows users who are considering Linux is to try out some of the Linux applications first...several Linux apps are now available for Windows, you lucky n00bs you!

The GAIM multi-protocol instant messenger (gaim.sourceforge.net), OpenOffice suite (www.openoffice.org) Firefox web browser and Thunderbird mail client (www.mozilla.org) are all now available as Windows applications too, so that those who fear Linux or OS installs can still enjoy the power and freedom of open-source software.

I install these on every PC I provision. Anyone who ends up mainly doing their buisness with these 4 applications (a surprisingly large number) can handle being switched to Linux easy, though some can't handle the install on their own.
 
Old 08-04-2005, 06:02 AM   #14
bigjohn
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Quote:
Originally posted by npaladin2000
Something else I recommend to Windows users who are considering Linux is to try out some of the Linux applications first...several Linux apps are now available for Windows, you lucky n00bs you!

The GAIM multi-protocol instant messenger (gaim.sourceforge.net), OpenOffice suite (www.openoffice.org) Firefox web browser and Thunderbird mail client (www.mozilla.org) are all now available as Windows applications too, so that those who fear Linux or OS installs can still enjoy the power and freedom of open-source software.

I install these on every PC I provision. Anyone who ends up mainly doing their buisness with these 4 applications (a surprisingly large number) can handle being switched to Linux easy, though some can't handle the install on their own.
Thats a good suggestion, though theres still a bit of a caveat to add. with OOo.org, firefox and thunderbird - sure, these are what I'd consider as "proper" cross platform apps. Gaim? well I don't know, as I don't use IM applications (but I did about 15 years ago, though that was a limited military system that just happened to have IM type abilities).

But the caveat I mentioned is the one about documentation. I for one, would like to learn to use the gimp properly, but as I don't even know the basics, plus all the docs that I dug out/found for it, are not very helpful. Perhaps if I'd learned to use PSP or something when I still had windows installed, then I might have a grasp of the fundamentals, but as now I only really have gimp related documentation to fall back on - it's a bit of a bugger!
 
  


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