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Old 09-11-2013, 04:22 AM   #1
Mossback
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To do or not to do


I joined the forum to try and find out if I am actually capable of migrating from Windows to Linux.

I would describe myself as a mildly knowledgeable user of computers who can get around Windows reasonably well - not exactly the highest of credentials.

To be honest if it wasn't for Windows 8 I doubt I would be here at all. But the vagaries of that OS is driving me to look for alternatives. The ethos and openness of Linux has its attractions magnified by the Microsoft ethos of compliance.

I have downloaded and installed LinuxMint 15 Mate within XP and had a quick browse, first impressions were positive but could not manage to configure my wireless router to enable internet access. Is this the first indication that this transition is going to be beyond me?

I would really appreciate opinions on whether Linux is the right OS for someone of my limited computing knowledge. So please fire away, I wont be offended.

Thanks
 
Old 09-11-2013, 06:10 AM   #2
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
I have downloaded and installed LinuxMint 15 Mate within XP and had a quick browse, first impressions were positive but could not manage to configure my wireless router to enable internet access. Is this the first indication that this transition is going to be beyond me?
When you say "within XP" do you mean you've installed it with some form of virtualisation? VirtualPC/vmplayer/virtualbox? If that's the case then it's more likely the config of the network connection between the host XP pc and the VM rather than an issue with Mint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
I would really appreciate opinions on whether Linux is the right OS for someone of my limited computing knowledge. So please fire away, I wont be offended.
Linux is certainly a learning experience!

What follows are my own personal views having been involved with computers for around 30 years as an end user, 25 years as a software developer and with 15 years experience of administering Linux systems mainly in a server capacity. Individual experiences will vary and I'm sure there are many here who will disagree with my comments.


With Windows things just work! If you download a Windows program from a website the chances are very high that it'll work. If you want the same thing in Linux then be prepared to either have to work out what version you need to be compatible with your chosen distribution, or be ready to have to learn how to compile it yourself from source code, working out what dependencies etc. are needed. If you like that kind of tinkering around then great! If you want to be able to click on the "Download Skype" button and have it work within seconds then stick with Windows.

I love Linux, I use it on a daily basis, our server platform here at work is 99% Linux (We've 2 Windows Server 2012 machines, and even they are virtualised on Linux!) however 99% of our user workstations are Windows 7 with a couple of Windows 8 and a couple of Ubuntu.

If you can get another computer (even if it's older hardware) then put Linux on it and use it as your primary computer for a while and see how you get on, if you can't get another computer then look at creating a Dual-Boot with your existing hardware and again try Linux for a while.

Some people just take to it straight away, some will try it and find that they prefer Windows.

Whatever you decide to do you WILL find a lot of help and advice here as long as you ask questions clearly and with as much information as possible, including what you've already tried.

Good luck and keep us updated with how you get on.
 
Old 09-11-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
Mossback
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenTenths View Post
When you say "within XP" do you mean you've installed it with some form of virtualisation? VirtualPC/vmplayer/virtualbox?
Non of those. When installing Mint from the DVD a pop-up appeared with two choices "Demo and full installation" and "Install inside Windows", I chose the latter.

A little more information on my situation might be in order.

Now that Microsoft will no longer support XP beyond April next year I need to find a replacement OS. The choices are to go to W7, W8 or Linux. There are down sides with them all, the dilemma is which one will be the least problematic for someone with my limited knowledge.

The problem with W8 is that the software I use daily is incompatible with it (thank you MS). Being retired I really don't want nor can afford to upgrade all of the stuff acquired over many years.

Virtually all the software I use will work on 7 but first I have to find a legitimate copy, Ebay has plenty on offer, but!!!!

That leaves Linux, my hope was that by going to LinuxMint and using Wine I could run my old Windows software when needed and at the same time gradually replace most Windows applications with dedicated Linux versions. The bits and pieces that had no Linux equivalent would remain and be handled by Wine.

Is this really feasible?
 
Old 09-11-2013, 11:08 AM   #4
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
Non of those. When installing Mint from the DVD a pop-up appeared with two choices "Demo and full installation" and "Install inside Windows", I chose the latter.
Ah, ok, having never actually installed Mint I'm at a bit of a loss as to why your wireless won't work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
A little more information on my situation might be in order.
The more information the better

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
Now that Microsoft will no longer support XP beyond April next year I need to find a replacement OS. The choices are to go to W7, W8 or Linux. There are down sides with them all, the dilemma is which one will be the least problematic for someone with my limited knowledge.
The more information the better

The problem with W8 is that the software I use daily is incompatible with it (thank you MS). Being retired I really don't want nor can afford to upgrade all of the stuff acquired over many years.[/quote]If that's the case then check WINE compatibility too, WINE emulates Windows but not completely and not everything runs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
Virtually all the software I use will work on 7 but first I have to find a legitimate copy, Ebay has plenty on offer, but!!!!
I know that for business users purchasing new hardware Windows 8 comes with downgrade options to allow you to install Windows 7, but I'm not sure how that reflects to end users buying Win8 off the bat. Win7 Pro comes with an XP compatibility mode which is actually a full version of XP, unfortunately Win8 doesn't

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
That leaves Linux, my hope was that by going to LinuxMint and using Wine I could run my old Windows software when needed and at the same time gradually replace most Windows applications with dedicated Linux versions. The bits and pieces that had no Linux equivalent would remain and be handled by Wine.

Is this really feasible?
It's a logical progression, if your old Windows software runs under WINE, there are also plenty of equivilents of Windows software that are compatible with things like Office, so yes, it's feasible, the issue is really going to be around your old software.

Of course just to throw another spanner in the works you can could install Win XP in something like virtualbox on Mint and have your old software run on that instance as you need it.
 
Old 09-11-2013, 11:24 AM   #5
snowpine
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What is "the software you use daily" and why do you think it will run in Linux Mint but not Windows 8? Have you searched the WineHQ AppDB for these specific apps to see whether they are rated gold/silver/bronze/garbage?
 
Old 09-11-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
Z038
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Wine will run many Windows apps, but not all. You can check the Wine Application Database (AppDB). For some of the apps you use, there may be a similar native Linux application that might meet your needs.

You can still buy new Windows 7 retail boxed versions. You might consider doing that to buy you some time to make the switch to Linux, and to ensure that you can continue to run any apps that won't run under Wine. Just don't get too comfortable with Win 7; MS will eventually drop support for it as well, as documented here.

If you are serious about wanting to switch to Linux, you'll put forth the effort to accomplish it. It will take time to become fully acclimated and comfortable. Where there's a will, there's a way. I think Windows 8 has given many people the will.
 
Old 09-11-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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By the way, you could install your XP OS under Linux using virtualbox or vmware or similar virtualization software, and continue to run any non-Wine compatible apps there. The caveat is that once MS drops support for XP, there'll be no more security patches to address vulnerabilities, so you might not want to allow the XP system to access the internet once that time comes.
 
Old 09-11-2013, 01:33 PM   #8
Mossback
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
....why do you think it will run in Linux Mint but not Windows 8? .....
Good question and the answer is ignorance! I have declared my limited knowledge and this just illustrates how limited it is. When reading that Wine could run Windows programs I wrongly assumed it meant exactly that.

Last edited by Mossback; 09-11-2013 at 01:36 PM.
 
Old 09-11-2013, 02:10 PM   #9
Mossback
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z038 View Post
......You can still buy new Windows 7 retail boxed versions...
I was told that new retail versions were unobtainable, maybe I should widen my searches. But even if available, as you say it will only tide me over until support for 7 is also withdrawn.

A better long term solution must be to go with Linux, maybe the Virtualbox idea is worth considering.

Alternatively, fit another drive and install Linux on that. One drive for Windows only apps, the other for Linux apps that replicate Windows apps!

Worth a thought isn't it?
 
Old 09-11-2013, 02:19 PM   #10
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
I was told that new retail versions were unobtainable, maybe I should widen my searches. But even if available, as you say it will only tide me over until support for 7 is also withdrawn.
Extended support EOL on Win 7 is January 14, 2020 so a good while yet.
 
Old 09-11-2013, 02:31 PM   #11
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
Good question and the answer is ignorance! I have declared my limited knowledge and this just illustrates how limited it is. When reading that Wine could run Windows programs I wrongly assumed it meant exactly that.
Well... if you tell us which Windows programs you use, perhaps we can give advice.

Z038 gave a link to the Wine AppDB that is a very helpful resource.
 
Old 09-12-2013, 02:40 AM   #12
Mossback
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
Well... if you tell us which Windows programs you use, perhaps we can give advice.

Z038 gave a link to the Wine AppDB that is a very helpful resource.
OK, The most important Windows app that I need to keep using is Filemaker. My last employer uses three different versions for various databases. I was and still am the only person who constructed and can maintain those DB's (not data entry). They call on me to look after any problems, and make alterations as needed. The Wine AppDB shows that the versions they use are rated between bronze and platinum - I'm not too sure if this means all is OK or not, especially with version that has the bronze rating.

The other app I would like to keep using is unlisted in the AppDB (Quicken V6). Now this is only for my personal accounts but has been used since the mid 90's. Its very basic but does the job and, more importantly, is understood by my better half who is technophobic. Although not of major importance I would like to keep using it if possible.

I am still thinking that using two drives, one W7 the other Linux, might be the best way to go. Both the above apps are OK in W7, this has been checked on a W7 machine. Plus lots of others that I use occasionally, like Photoshop, also work on W7. Support for W7 will be until 2020 which should give me plenty of time to get my head round Linux, with the help from this forum of course.
 
Old 09-12-2013, 04:59 AM   #13
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
I was told that new retail versions were unobtainable, maybe I should widen my searches.
Win7 is still pretty easy to get in the UK.

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/s...ratingsystems/

You might find a better price, or a closer store, with this tool-

http://www.staticice.co.uk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post
Alternatively, fit another drive and install Linux on that. One drive for Windows only apps, the other for Linux apps that replicate Windows apps!

Worth a thought isn't it?
While yuo can run 2 OSes from 1 HDD, adding a new HDD (or SSD) to the system for linux use/testing makes sense to me.
 
Old 09-12-2013, 06:32 AM   #14
Mossback
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Thanks for all replies guys.

As it is now obvious that W7 is available I have decided to go the two drive route and over the next couple of weeks install W7 on the original drive and LinuxMint on the new one.

Once again, thanks.

EDIT:

I should have added: Once the W7 installation is complete and up and running I'm looking forward to getting into Linux, just right for the winter months. No doubt more help from the forum community will be needed and much appreciated.

Last edited by Mossback; 09-12-2013 at 06:45 AM.
 
Old 09-12-2013, 07:02 AM   #15
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Just for your info, Mint 15 (and ubuntu 13.04 which its based on) is a very short life release. Its 'out of support' January 2014.

Its fine for some testing, but its not going to be a OS you can run long term.

For something with longer support, maybe try mint 13, its supported til April 2017.

http://www.linuxmint.com/oldreleases.php
 
  


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