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sundialsvcs 11-09-2005 05:24 PM

Linux to Windows? Do I jump? Some advice...
Let's face it: simple familiarity with "Windows NT and No More" is no longer enough. Linux is here, Linux is big, and you need to know Linux! Even if you do not (now) use Linux every day, the day will soon come when Linux enters your workplace and you will be at least partly responsible for keeping it humming. But how do you begin? A few bits of hard-won advice:

(0) There's no good business reason to "ditch" Windows: No matter how you feel about Bill Gates, if you own a copy of Windows and it's doing useful work for you, there is no need to "throw it away." Unless and until you find that there is absolutely nothing you intend to do that either requires Windows or works-best there, keep it. You can learn Linux quite well, without throwing-away your existing setup.

(1) Don't touch your Windows computer: You need that computer, for doing whatever it does and for giving you quick-n-easy Internet access when you have a :confused: and need to :study: . It's probably also useful for getting-paid, and is likely to be so for quite some time. Instead, grab another computer out of your closet. If it was built within the last few years, it should be just fine. If you don't have one, it's usually very easy to find a recently-built surplus machine.

(1a) If you can't get a second computer, get a second drive: Usually your BIOS will be able to specify any installed hard-drive as the boot-device. You can install Linux entirely onto that second drive, and leave Windows precisely where and how it is. "Never the twain shall meet." If your computer doesn't have two disk-interface chains on the motherboard, a hard-disk driver expansion-card costs next to nothing ... and with it you can boot another drive.

(1b) Learning how to make Windows and Linux work together is a very useful skill! Having two machines around at the same time is an excellent way to study that.

(2) Get a distro, and fool around with it: Kick the tires. Push the knobs and see what happens. You can use DistroWatch for a good run-down on the available distributions. All of them can be downloaded.

(2a) Strongly consider working offline :eek: to the Internet! At least at first. Bingo... now you have a completely isolated world that no one can touch and that will stay exactly as you left it for as long as you wish. (Your existing [Windows] computer will provide all the Internet access you may need while working.)

(3) Prepare to be overwhelmed: Remember, this is a spare computer, or a spare drive. You can trash it and it won't hurt anything. (And actually, you won't "trash" it.) The Linux system will blow your mind, several times! It will make you feel very uncomfortable at first, "cast adrift." Be prepared to feel that way -- it's okay, it will pass. You will find yourself overwhelmed with details that you could explore, and if your usual problem-solving approach is "depth first" you can simply get lost and forget just what it was that you were originally trying to find.

(4) Keep a diary: Write down what you did - what you learned - what questions you have. As soon as you have written something down on paper, you won't "lose" it. Now you can choose whether to explore something or to defer it to some other time.

(5) Prepare to be completely blown away! :D The more you learn about Linux, the more it will astound you. There is a reason why people are so enthusiastic about it. Another nice benefit is that, as you begin to understand how this rather amazing system works -- and after all, the entire source-code to everything is right there for your inspection -- the more you will understand Windows.

(6) Get to know the "search" feature of this web-site: This site is probably one of the very best on the Internet. Almost any question you may have .. has been asked and answered already. Use this resource to its fullest advantage.

XavierP 11-09-2005 05:34 PM

I fully agree with and endorse this - especially point 6 :)

Charred 11-10-2005 02:24 AM

Well said!

pritchardtom 11-10-2005 04:13 AM

Very inspiring. Felt like installing Linux on my computer at one point, until I realised that I was lost in the moment and actually had one installed already :-)

Good advice though.

sundialsvcs 11-10-2005 10:32 AM


Originally posted by pritchardtom
Very inspiring. Felt like installing Linux on my computer at one point, until I realised that I was lost in the moment and actually had one installed already :-)

Good advice though.

Come wintertime, it's always best to close the Windows. ;)

Charred 11-10-2005 11:48 AM


Originally posted by sundialsvcs
Come wintertime, it's always best to close the Windows. ;)
Oh, dear. *Shakes head sadly and walks away.

pritchardtom 11-10-2005 01:22 PM

It get worrying when you have to make very bad jokes to laugh at Windows, and try to promote Linux at the same time :-)

sundialsvcs 11-10-2005 06:27 PM

I dunno... driving home this afternoon I caught some radio spot that was "brought to you by linex ... the world's best spray-in bed-liner [for pickup trucks.]"

Hmmm.... does it make Julienne fries, too?

linus_torvalds 11-10-2005 06:54 PM

I agree with all said in the original post however with linux you do have a lot more control over the system than you would ever have on windows. Windows while trying to be very user friendly has created my a problem from it's users, such as disallowing a program to run because it hasn't passed the windows (must be made or endorsed in someway by Microsoft) test. Don't get me wrong though because even though i find that linux is much better windows does have a much easier GUI then linux and linux is harder to get to grips with for a user than windows is. All in all i think that at the end of the day it is down to two things, can you be arsed to try and learn a new operating system this is not a user friendly (for simple people anyway) or do you want it to look cool? It is at this point that i should point out that linux as you should be now have been able to work out is my much preferred OS but like i said windows does 'try' and make it easier on the user.

:Pengy: ~-Thanks for being bothered to read my message-~:Pengy:

Emerson 11-10-2005 07:02 PM


Originally posted by linus_torvalds
Man, this name belongs to somebody else. How dare you.

linus_torvalds 11-10-2005 07:07 PM

It wasn't taken, which by the way i still can't believe

dyw 11-10-2005 07:53 PM


Originally posted by linus_torvalds
It wasn't taken, which by the way i still can't believe
I can understand exactly why. There's something called 'gall.' :) To take steve_ballmer, maybe... but Linus Torvalds :)

Seriously, though - great post, sundialsvcs!

storywizard 11-10-2005 11:44 PM

so I am not going crazy! I have been playing with Suse Linux for a year or so, I have a dual boot XP/Suse 10 and another machine running Suse 9.2 as a Samba server. I find it frustrating sometimes that functions that on Windows are so simple, Scanning, cd burning/mp3 coding can be such a difficulty in Linux, yet setting up a network, and all the web functions are so simple...I really enjoy my time playing with my Linux machines but finding the time to fix the bugs is a real problem, but I guess that is the way things are for now......


linus_torvalds 11-11-2005 05:04 AM

Yes linux is much harder to set things up on, it gives a lot more user input than windows does, but the downside is that it can be hard to work with, i advise looking on other threads for more information if you need help.

pritchardtom 11-11-2005 05:53 AM

Nothing in life is worth knowing if you do not have to work hard at it. It cheapens the effect, the knowledge, the end result.

If linux, or anything in live was easy, people would be, well bored, and unfullfilled.
I think that Microsoft have done a great thing in creating great awareness in computers, but I think MS also dums down computers, so that one day when you really want to know what is happening, or when something goes wrong, people do not know how to handle it.

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