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LinuxGnu 04-16-2007 02:34 PM

LinuxGnu Introduction
My first job was as a Field Service Engineer for mainframe computers back in the days of the keypunch but I immediately gravitated to software, so although I've held many titles I'm basically a retired computer programmer. I've worked on a great many interesting projects, including the design of various unmanned spacecraft subsystems (including the Cassini spacecraft now in orbit around Saturn), a couple of space shuttle (STS) flights, including the Shuttle Radar Topological Mission (SRTM) that mapped 80% of the earth's surface in greater detail than ever before, an automated asteroid acquisition and tracking telescope control program, a so called "3D Analog Neural Net Processor" that consisted of a solid cube of silicon about 1 CM on each side and comprised of 64 layers bonded together so that all 262,144 analog processors operated in parallel (it was for an unclassified Air Force acquisition and tracking system), and many more interesting projects.

I have a couple of dual boot systems but still use Windows2000 as my primary OS, but have seen the handwriting on the wall as Windows2000 gradually becomes incompatible with newer Windows s/w and I refuse to purchase any more MicroShaft s/w (including WindowsXP because of their so called "Product Activation" and of course Windows Vista not only because of "Product Activation" (ie; product rental), but because of the draconian DRM measure it uses), so I'm looking for a *Nix/BSD distribution to make my home.

I've tried most of the major distributions and I suppose if I were given a choice right now it would probably be Debian Linux for me, but I want to spend more time shopping around and try to make the right choice in the first place to save myself grief later on.

Basically I'm looking for something that will make my transition from Windows2000 to Nix/BSD as painless as possible while importing as many of my Windows settings (Firefox bookmarks, Thunderbird email, and various other settings that are pretty much OS independent) as possible. Ubuntu would be a good choice I suppose but all the necessary utilities to copy DVD's etc., have to be downloaded and installed separately and it's kind of a hassle. It seems that only the pay versions of Linux (Linspire, etc) come with everything a person typically needs already pre-installed.

Note: This intro is grudgingly hammered out because of the dictatorial requirement to post in this thread before being able to post helpful links for others in the general forum, and already leaves a bad taste in my mouth regarding this forum. I'll reserve judgement until I get a feel for the place however. I've been in forums before where the site owner ran the site strictly in order to exercise power and control over the forum members rather than trying to maintain any air of neutrality or make an effort to help others. I try to avoid those types of forums and I hope this isn't one of them.

phantom_cyph 04-16-2007 04:35 PM

You sure seem to want a lot from Linux, and that is to be expected, but not for Windows-Linux compatibility. This forum is very helpful, Jeremy and the moderators run this forum very well. Note that all masters of this forum are human, and therefore may make mistakes. They follow the rules stated for this site to the letter.

As far as a distribution, I personally have never wanted anything that resembles Windows. However, I have installed and used some of these distributions for other people. The most common are: Freespire, Linspire, Linux XP, aLinux, PClinuxOS and Xandros. You can run some M$ programs under Wine or other Microsoft emulators. No version of Linux is fully compatible. If that is what you want, consider sticking with Windows.

LinuxGnu 04-16-2007 07:53 PM

Ok thanks kalabanta. Maybe I've inadvertently become to "curmudgeonly" in my old age due to all that I've seen, but I do hope to be an asset to this forum rather than a liability.

I didn't mean to imply that I'm looking for an OS *like* Windows, I just want to be able to relatively easily import some of my settings, bookmarks, and email from FireFox and Thunderbird, and transfer my other files across from NTFS to Ext3. The latter should be pretty easy since most distributions can at least read from an NTFS file system. Also I'd like to have some programs that I can use to rip and burn DVD's regardless of any copy protection or DRM and do file conversions, even if I have to pay for such programs commercially. Most of the other programs I use (Maple, and some of the tools for FPGA design from Altera, Actel, Xilinx, Lattice, etc., will either run natively under Red Hat Enterprise edition (and I'm told they also run well under Fedora) or under Wine, but I haven't yet tried installing these programs into any of the other distributions. I plan to try CentOS next).

Also I'm here looking for the best backup technique. Saving my own home directory isn't a problem, but it seems to me that tar and gzipping a running virtual memory operating system would be suicide at worst or foolish at best since it would probably be worthless because it would be saving old system files that hadn't yet been updated from RAM. It might make sense under Run Level 1 or 2(?) or from a live CD, but I want to be very sure about being able to create and restore a complete system backup before I make the switch to Linux/BSD permanently. This is probably something better addressed in one of the other sub-forums however.

phantom_cyph 04-16-2007 08:03 PM

I have never tried to transfer bookmarks and emails from one to another because I just wanted to get rid of Windows. There are many programs for the above that you mentioned, i.e. mail programs like evolution, and dvd/cd rippers.

I just used CentOS, and it seemed powerful but it froze on me a lot, so I changed to Debian. Debian is probably my favorite so far. It is powerful and also has a very good package manager.

brianL 04-17-2007 08:38 AM

Just try as many distro's as you can - perhaps as live CD's first. The only real differences are in ease of installation, package-management, and how much post-install configuration has to be done. I like Ubuntu as an easy distro, and Slackware as one that needs more tinkering. I haven't got room for both though.

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