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Old 05-08-2006, 09:42 PM   #1
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Is Linux the answer to my problems?


I recently purchased a Dell Inspiron E1705 laptop which is currently running windows xp media edition. Stupid me decided to get MCE instead of professional. You see I really wouldn't care but I am a Treonaut (I use a Palm Treo 650) and plan on using devices that run Palm OS for the life of my new laptop.

However Palm Desktop does not work with MCE for some reason. So I am left without the ability to syncronize my beloved smartphone.

I contacted people at other forums who said it should work, but it does not. Palm reccomends an upgrade to Windows XP Professional, which will cost me over $200!!!

I really don't want to switch to Pocket PC Treos!

Anyway to make a long story short my economics teacher told me about Linux and I thought it would be worth a try.

My question is is there Palm OS compadibility, and how easy would it be for a damned fool like me to run apps like Word and Age of Empires and Firefox on linux?

Thanks in advance,

Old 05-08-2006, 10:17 PM   #2
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Yes there is Palm OS compatibility in Linux. Linux can run all those applications you listed and more. I say go with Linux, but don't expect Linux to be an easy OS to learn at first. With a little dedication and spare time on your hands you should have no problem adapting to Linux. What do you have to lose?
Old 05-09-2006, 03:33 AM   #3
Registered: Dec 2005
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the linux version of firefox is, as far as i know, the same as the windows version.

one should however warn you, that word and age of empires are both, as far as i know, programms written by microsoft for the windows operating system. now, the intelligence of geeks is somewhat superior to the intelligence of microsoft, so other people have got these running on other operating systems. just don't expect it to be easy to install word on a linux computer. there are alternatives to word, which are comparably powerful (sun microsystems open-sourced its own office package and called it 'open office'. this is a huge, badly organised heap of adequate software (in comparison to microsoft office, which is an even bigger, even more badly organised heap of adequate software))

most linux distributions (suse et al.) come with (or offer through download repositories easy access to) a software called WINE. this is an open-source implementation of the windows operating system, running as a programm in linux. this allows a large amount of windows programms (not all, because of microsoft's paranoia) to run natively (and usually faster) under linux. i don't know if aoe is supported.

your best bet may be to dual-boot your laptop. then you can use linux to connect to your palm treo (assuming it works), and windows to play games on. you could also of course use linux to get into the net (enjoying the advantages of being virus-free etc.), act as an internet router, print server, web server, ftp server, DHCP server, NIS server, sql-database server, programming environment for C, C++, java, mono, perl, python, php, etc. etc. etc.

you probably won't want to do the last lot immediately but it's nice to know that your system will grow with you without you having to spend tens of thousands of dollars.

Old 05-09-2006, 02:58 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input. It seems that this will be my only choice if I want to keep my current computer. I'm thinking dual boot would likely be the best option for my situation.

Now could anyone reccomend me a Distribution.

I'm looking for a no frills, easy to learn, close to windows distribution. I don't care if it is free or not.

Also if I have music files downloaded on Windows, could I access them on Linux? Probably not right?
Old 05-09-2006, 03:19 PM   #5
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There's tons of threads on this forum asking which distribution, and they tend to degenerate into people recommending whatever they use, but you can probably get some useful information by looking for some of them. Other good resources are distrowatch and also this survery might be of some use to you.

For your music you should be able to play them, though some distros require you to install some extra stuff to be able to play mp3 files. Linux can read windows formated drives fine, but writing to them is a bit trickier. My reommendation is to have a third partition that is fat32 format instead of NTFS (the default for XP). Both linux and windows can write to this, so it can be shared by both os. I have a similar setup, and this partition is where I keep all my music, pictures, and random personal files I want to keep.
Old 05-09-2006, 03:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cairaiii
My question is is there Palm OS compadibility, and how easy would it be for a damned fool like me to run apps like Word and Age of Empires and Firefox on linux?
Hard to say---we don't know just how much of a "damned fool" you are.....

Don't try Linux expecting it to be "like windows". It's not. You can make the interface look familiar---and there are lot's of common features in the user interface---eg alt-tab to switch windows, logical commands mapped to the right button on the mouse. Beyond that, it is a different world--one in which you cannot make assumptions (eg "where's the C drive").

The way to answer a question like yours is "Just try it". Get any of the free distributions and dive in.
Old 05-09-2006, 05:51 PM   #7
Registered: Dec 2005
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another word of warning. one of the biggest problems with linux is that it is free. it is also being written and developed by people with enormous programming skills. looking at the linux kernel or the gnu-c-compiler, these are mamouth programms at an incredibly high standard, and that's why 78% (and rising) of supercomputers use linux.

but the problem is that it is free.

you see, the world of computing often works like this:
company A has a data format. it produces software which can create documents in this format and open documents in this format (examples being microsoft word format (*.doc) or various sound and video codecs).

sometimes this company sells rights to other people/companies allowing these companies to write software to also open or create files in this format. these rights can be expensive. sometimes these rights are not available at all.

that is the reason why certain functionalities are missing from certain linux distributions. in order to support dvds, mp3s or many other video and sound formats, the maker of the linux distribution would have to pay a certain amount of money per copy. the implementation would be technically trivial, the money just isn't there.

what makes this particularly annoying is that other companies develop data formats which are free to implement and often technically better (e.g. ogg theora and vorbis for video and sound, odt for documents). these companies however lack the money to bribe microsoft to support these formats.

that means you will be able to rip cds under linux and create ogg-vorbis files, which have a higher quality than mp3s, but anybody with a windows computer who also wants to enjoy this superior format will have to install (free) software to do so.

if i were being negative, i would say at this stage 'welcome to the world of playing dodge-the-patent and compatibility problems'. however, i feel like being positive, so instead i say 'welcome to the world of taking responsibility for your actions and thinking about other people'.

a propos linux distributions. in your case i'd say ubuntu is a good bet. it's a polished distribution containing not much bloat. it doesn't do many linuxy things, (by which i mean i don't think google could get there servers running using just a standard ubuntu install cd - they could most certainly do this using a standard suse install dvd, for example), but it tends to work well, and has some nice gui-tools to make life easy for the newbie. you will also have the benefit of being able to update to the new version as soon as it becomes available in june(?).

but linux is just as much a philosophy as an operating system. it's a way of interacting with a computer as much as the software itself. so my advice to you is LEARN SOMETHING! get ubuntu and install it and then download a c tutorial, or a python tutorial or whatever and learn how to programm. see if you can find a book on shell programming. the linuxianer is like an explorer of the 19th century, traversing the congo and finding innumerable treasures along the way. but he has to go to africa himself, he himself has to want to explore.



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