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Old 05-19-2011, 08:21 PM   #1
socratesk21
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Question What is the benefit of using Linux, for a non-programmer?


Hi, I have been wanting to switch to Linux, for a few years now.
I have been hesitant because, my software programs I have purchased and used, are not for Linux.

So, do I simply, let go of that software (ex. Family Tree Maker 2011), and try to find a Linux equivalent?

I know, that I can switch to OpenOffice, for my "Office" needs, since OpenOffice will be open my documents, even though the set up, may be different or I can use Google documents, if I wish.

I usually use Firefox and Google Chrome, for web browsing, and I see both can be used on Linux (though I must download a Linux version of Chrome).

Other software, like my weather station, I'm not sure I can find a Linux compatable, version.

My Q? is, given the capabilities of Linux, it's speed, for one, for someone who simple uses his PC for web browsing (ex. Firefox or Google Chrome), genealogy research, gathering of home weather station data, using lots of spreadsheets and documents, is it worth my time to switch to Linux, no offense intended, please.

At this time, I have chosen Ubantu version, I have a Live CD, that I downloaded and can use (and boot from it), but I also have chosen to install it to run concurrently with Windows (so when I boot up, I can choose Ubantu). In other words, I have not "jumped in the deep end", if you know what I mean.

Please, direct me to a section or URL which will tell me, "what's in it, for me?"

Thank you, for your time, consideration, and cooperation, I truly appreciate it.

[If I mistakenly posted this, in the wrong section, sorry, ahead of time.]
 
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:37 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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You'll have to play with it to see if it suits your particular needs. My family has both Windows and linux in the home, and all parties (including my girls ages 3-7) can use either one comfortably. The windows box typically gets used for iTunes and a few other programs we've gotten used to running. I'm sure I could find suitable alternatives, but I've been too lazy so far to do so.

The only specialty stuff my linux box does is MythTV. Otherwise, we browse on both and do documents and stuff on both. Even do photo editing on both (gimp on linux, Paint.net on Win7). I use GnuCash on linux, but there's a win version if I wanted.

As for genealogy, I tried GRAMPS a few years ago and thought it was good. Of course, I was starting from scratch. As long as your stuff imports in, you should just try it. Export your data from Family Tree Maker into one of the acceptable formats and then play with it in Ubuntu also.

Mostly, I figure I'll have to decide on Win vs linux when the last Win box dies. It may be cheaper to buy a decent one than build one and I just go with the cheaper option. I'm not really idiologically married to either. But I must say I can do much more with my linux box if I want to than I can with the win machines (at least for less cost in software).
 
Old 05-19-2011, 08:49 PM   #3
socratesk21
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Question Thank you, for your insight

The most difficult thing, in Life, is trying something different.

I'm so use to doing things, with Windows, but I'm sure, given enough time, I can get just as use to using Linux, especially, if it's quicker.

I mean, if I can use the same browsers, there's one point solved.
If I can use OpenOffice, instead of the other, another point solved.
Then it's simply a matter, of software issues, and like you said, I can find, many alternatives, or simply use both (when necessary).

I may not be a "programmer", but when it comes to checking out new software, I enjoy that very much.

I guess, I must "dip my toe in", before "wadding in, from the shallow end", instead of immediately "jumping into the deep end"
May I ask, if you know, is there a section or post, about getting started with Linux?
 
Old 05-19-2011, 09:04 PM   #4
snowpine
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There is an application called Wine that allows you to run some Windows applications in Linux. They have a searchable database of which apps are known to be compatible/incompatible, for example:

http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManage...ation&iId=7309

I think you have chosen the right path by "dual booting" between Linux and Windows. This allows you to choose depending on your needs that day.
 
Old 05-19-2011, 09:24 PM   #5
sundialsvcs
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Personally, if you have Windows apps that you use regularly ... I'd buy a second computer. It doesn't even have to be "the latest and greatest."

While I happen to enjoy using Linux very much, I use it professionally. I also have Macintoshes and, yes, PC's. Each machine is bought and equipped for a purpose, not so that I can have a warm, fuzzy feeling from running this OS or that one.

I think that it's useful to know Linux, not only to learn new things, but also to see how fast an "older" computer can actually be, without "all that Windows cruft on it." But once again, if I've got what is to me "a killer app" that is designed to be run in Windows, then I'm going to avail myself of a Windows machine with which to run that app, and I would not seriously recommend otherwise.

(I also would not bother with "dual booting." I have literally bought excellent machines ... at a Goodwill store. They run an excellent retail operation, if you've never been in one.)
 
Old 05-19-2011, 09:44 PM   #6
TobiSGD
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I wouldn't buy another machine just to tun one or two apps in Windows. You can easily do that with Virtualbox or VMware, especially if it is not so resource-hungry software. This saves a lot of space, and you can use Windows and Linux at the same time on the same monitor.
 
Old 05-19-2011, 10:42 PM   #7
nando321
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Hi, I have a problem like that with Windows and Linux. The only thing I need to find for Linux is a software for converting videos of every format to any other video format that I wish because if I have an .avi video and I want to convert that to .mpeg, mp4 or .flv video I just want a software that can do such thing and even converting videos to only audio, and it comes to the case that I have a software like that in Windows 7 called Any Video Converter and finding a software that allow me to do that with Linux is my last goal to become in a full-time Linux user. In other words, I will leave Windows at a side for ever.
 
Old 05-19-2011, 10:57 PM   #8
manzdagratiano
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I used to believe until four years ago that I needed Windows for something or another. I finally got fed up and wiped it, and installed Ubuntu, and not one day have I regretted it.

I could go on for hours, but I will try to be succinct:

1. Speed - GNU/Linux boots faster, runs faster.
2. You have access to a plethora of software on Earth through your repos, and more and more stuff is being supported.
3. You have a humongous amount of choice. Don't like your shell? Change it.
4. If you have a problem in Linux, you can fix it. Or someone can help you out. Or upstream will work tirelessly to fix the bug. With Windows, if you have a bug - and they sure are there - you have to live with it.
5. No more fiddling with antivirus software.
6. Most of the prominent distros offer dependency resolution. Most software is installed by a single click or a single command. With Windows, if there is not a carefully packaged program, you need to jump around in circles and hop website to website. Stuff that needs version X of Asp.net and you have version Y? Such is not uncommon.
7. No updater will threaten to reboot your machine every ten minutes.
8. You don't need to have your license validated every time there is an update.

And many more you will realize once you begin to use it.

The phenomenal effects in the movie Avatar were created solely on Linux.

And these are just for non-programmers. For programmers, heaven falls short of GNU/Linux.
 
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:37 PM   #9
sysfce2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nando321 View Post
Hi, I have a problem like that with Windows and Linux. The only thing I need to find for Linux is a software for converting videos of every format to any other video format that I wish because if I have an .avi video and I want to convert that to .mpeg, mp4 or .flv video I just want a software that can do such thing and even converting videos to only audio, and it comes to the case that I have a software like that in Windows 7 called Any Video Converter and finding a software that allow me to do that with Linux is my last goal to become in a full-time Linux user. In other words, I will leave Windows at a side for ever.
I typically use the command line program mencoder for that type of task, although there are GUI front ends and other standalone programs available. A quick google turned up this: I'm sure a deeper search would turn up a few more.
 
Old 05-19-2011, 11:51 PM   #10
anomie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socratesk21
Please, direct me to a section or URL which will tell me, "what's in it, for me?"
You can turn up loads of Windows vs. Linux "pros and cons" essays with some searching.

My quick version, in favor of Linux, is:
  1. better security
  2. much more flexibility
  3. easier to use

The first two are demonstrable. The third is subjective.

However: if you have highly specialized Windows-only applications, I'd argue that you may be better off sticking with Windows for now. Better to use Linux where it fits your needs properly, so that you can enjoy it (rather than curse it for not being Windows).
 
Old 05-20-2011, 04:25 AM   #11
Adol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nando321 View Post
Hi, I have a problem like that with Windows and Linux. The only thing I need to find for Linux is a software for converting videos of every format to any other video format that I wish because if I have an .avi video and I want to convert that to .mpeg, mp4 or .flv video I just want a software that can do such thing and even converting videos to only audio, and it comes to the case that I have a software like that in Windows 7 called Any Video Converter and finding a software that allow me to do that with Linux is my last goal to become in a full-time Linux user. In other words, I will leave Windows at a side for ever.
Try handbrake.

Its all open source for windows, osx and linux.

The gui is nice and it works well.
 
Old 05-20-2011, 07:58 AM   #12
RichyAD
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I think Linux still suffers from this only-for-programmers image. That idea has been left behind quite a while ago. With the linux community growing and with more and more applications becoming available, I think linux is maturing rapidly as a desktop OS.

Having said that, I don't think there is a "right" choice between linux and windows. Don't get me wrong I love linux and I use it both at home and at work for most day-to-day applications. It's free, fast, stable, flexible and, most important of all, secure. It boots quickly and you don't really have to worried about viruses. And with all the different distributions around, everyone can find one to fit their taste. But, as you say, the problem is that there are applications that don't run on linux. Sure, there are alternatives around for some applications, but a lot of them simply don't (yet) measure up to their windows counterparts.

Options like virtualbox or wine are nice for developers, but not for normal use. For virtualbox you still need to use windows, so why not reboot. And wine is typically buggy, unstable and difficult to set up. I would recommend you stick with the dual-boot option. Just start using Linux for your day-to-day applications. Then, if you need to use a specific windows program reboot into windows. You'll notice that over time you'll reboot less and less ... Maybe you can even help out the linux community by trying out the linux alternative applications and providing feedback.

I hope my two cents help ...

Cheers,

Richard
 
Old 05-20-2011, 09:08 AM   #13
sundialsvcs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
I wouldn't buy another machine just to tun one or two apps in Windows. You can easily do that with Virtualbox or VMware, especially if it is not so resource-hungry software. This saves a lot of space, and you can use Windows and Linux at the same time on the same monitor.
If you are comfortable with doing that, then, "I agree with you." I run both Windows and Linux instances in virtual machines on my Mac.

But ... if that is not your cup-of-tea, well, we do now live in a world where hardware can be considered cheap and plentiful, especially given the number of "cast away" machines that are now out there.

I cordially dis-agree with RichyAD's comment, "why not re-boot?" and counter it with, "why reboot?" It is very cumbersome to switch from one environment to the other by hard-starting the computer, and the changes needed to make it actually work are, in my humble, quite intrusive and potentially de-stabilizing. Your intentions with regards to Linux might be "to put your toes cautiously into the water" when your primary (business?) reliance is still grounded in the Windows environment. And, if you describe yourself as a "non-programmer," the risks of "losing the baby in the bathwater" might well be prohibitive ... disaster.

We had to do such things when Intel chips didn't have the virtual-machine support that they do now. We also had to do such things when hardware was a lot more expensive and hard-to-come-by than it is now.

All that I can express, of course, is "what I myself would choose (did choose...) to do, and why." Your Mileage May Vary.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 05-20-2011 at 09:14 AM.
 
Old 05-20-2011, 09:09 AM   #14
audragon
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Red face Linux only for progammers

This is unfortunately for linux users themselves.

Try any google search for command line vs gui and the comments from linux purists is that linux <is> a programmer's operating system, and if your not using the command line for <everything> then your missing the point.

keeping in mind that command line was developed on machine with less than 1Mb of memory and maybe 20MB hard drive, and now we have 1000GB hard drives and 2GB of memory, and 256MB just for video cards.

The only reason linux was for programmers back then is that they had to be - there were very few apps available and they didn't work on your system unless they were modified to make them work. But now we have fast internet and a mile long list of apps to try.
 
Old 05-20-2011, 10:17 AM   #15
SL00b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audragon View Post
Try any google search for command line vs gui and the comments from linux purists is that linux <is> a programmer's operating system, and if your not using the command line for <everything> then your missing the point.
I couldn't disagree any stronger. If my technophobe grandmother wanted a desktop system so she could exchange emails, family photos, and manage documents, I'd build her a Linux box and show her around the desktop environment. It'd be faster, more stable, more manageable (for me), and most of all, I wouldn't have to worry about someone who isn't internet street-wise getting hammered by every social engineering attack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audragon View Post
keeping in mind that command line was developed on machine with less than 1Mb of memory and maybe 20MB hard drive, and now we have 1000GB hard drives and 2GB of memory, and 256MB just for video cards.

The only reason linux was for programmers back then is that they had to be - there were very few apps available and they didn't work on your system unless they were modified to make them work. But now we have fast internet and a mile long list of apps to try.
At the time Linux emerged, this was true of every operating system. Technology has evolved, and so have the operating systems. I'd argue that Linux has handled this evolution better than some. Does anyone remember when Bill Gates famously said no PC would ever need more than 1MB of RAM, and designed his OS accordingly? And does anyone remember the consequences, when all RAM addresses above 1MB had to be paged in and out through the conventional memory area one tiny page at a time?
 
  


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