T Nation

Switched Over to Linux

I made the switch from Windows to Linux today. I’ve never really liked all the problems Windows has given me over the years, but at the same time I never wanted to invest in a macintosh (my current pc is a hand-me-down). The distribution I installed is Kubuntu 8.4, and so far it’s pretty amazing. I can download all sorts of cool software with Adept Installer for free!

There was even a program that lets you construct 3D models of molecules. That’s freakin’ nuts! SOOO much better than Windows! I made it dual-boot configuration just in case I still need Windows for anything in the future.

So does anyone else here use Linux? And if so what are the ups and downs you’ve experienced with it? Are there better choices of distributions I could’ve made?

I was considering switching over to Linux, either with Ubuntu (KDE interface rocks) or Debian, but there’s really nothing I can do in linux that I can’t in windows, with the exception of games.

And I really don’t want to setup a dual boot and have to restart my PC everytime I want to play something. I also do a lot of downloading using newsgroups and have yet to see a decent binary reader in linux.

I personally love XP. I have been having some issues of late with programs crashing, but for the most part it has been smooth.

First of all, congrats on breaking free from the monopolistic inferno that is Microsoft. Although a lot of neat software is Windows-only (for now!), The overhead is too high for me to continue running it. The idea that backdoors are installed for the NSA and other big agencies to snoop on you, is reason enough. Additionally, one might consider the economical cost, modularity and resistance to malware. I mean, XP is quite lightweight if you kill unnecessary processes, but you still have to have an antivirus and other security programs clogging up your hardware resources. With Linux, you don’t feel the need to upgrade machines. With Windows, after some time passes, most computers start dragging their feet (don’t ask me why; I never looked into it) and people would usually take out their checkbook convinced of the obsolescence mantra that the industry is all to happy to dish out. And let’s not forget where the old components end up.

Ubuntu is neat and certainly the most user-friendly distribution today. Also, the community is HUGE! So you probably made the right choice. I personally favor Gnome’s clean look to KDE’s customizability, but it’s a matter of taste really.

The machine is in motion and is unstoppable. *nix will, sooner or latter, dominate the market. We are already seeing all the big boys line up behind Linux at the expense of MS. Nothing earth-shattering yet, but it’s a snowball effect. I’ve been bugging Skype for years to incorporate video in their Linux client. Earlier last year, when the Asus EeePC came out with a Linux distro onboard, the bastards at Skype put up a video-capable Linux client the same week. But Linux versions for specialized commercial software is still lacking. Thanks to the excellent folks at Crossover, Wine (the Windows emulator - or rather non-emulator) is past the beta stage. Which means that it’ll handle a lot of windows apps, but I advise against it. Better find an open and hackable alternative. And as far the Ubuntu repositories as concerned, you won’t have trouble with any of that.

And don’t forget to give back to the community. Get involved, spread the word, file bug reports, learn to code, translate documentation, etc. Your karma will thank you.

I’ll leave you with an IBM ad from a few years ago, before the Ubuntu age (that took Linux to the masses).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwL0G9wK8j4

Long live the penguins!

Linux is the way,the truth,and the light.

I use SUSE Enterprise,and love it.Just received
Ubuntu 8,installed on another box and are busy playing around with it.

Mark Shuttleworth should be nominated for sainthood…

Linux rules. Ubuntu is a great distribution.

In my career as a developer, I find that more and more I’m moving away from Windows. The good news is that it’s not me driving it-- it’s the client base…

Congrats on making the switch. I’ve been using Linux in one form or another for over 10 years now and running Ubuntu on my machines at home since the first or second release. I’m unfortunately still stuck using XP at work, but I don’t even have a windows machine at home anymore (unless you count the xbox).

[quote]m0dd3r wrote:
Congrats on making the switch. I’ve been using Linux in one form or another for over 10 years now and running Ubuntu on my machines at home since the first or second release. I’m unfortunately still stuck using XP at work, but I don’t even have a windows machine at home anymore (unless you count the xbox).[/quote]

Ya I only have two reasons for keeping Windows on my computer, 1) I have a lot of music files on there that I don’t have the cd’s for anymore and I don’t know if Linux will be compatible with them, and 2) for school I’ll need to run certain programs like PBasic Editor for my Boe-Bot, and Visio for my electrical and systems schematics. I’m not a big gamer so other than that there’s nothing of value on my Windows.

[quote]lixy wrote:

The machine is in motion and is unstoppable. *nix will, sooner or latter, dominate the market. We are already seeing all the big boys line up behind Linux at the expense of MS. Nothing earth-shattering yet, but it’s a snowball effect. I’ve been bugging Skype for years to incorporate video in their Linux client. Earlier last year, when the Asus EeePC came out with a Linux distro onboard, the bastards at Skype put up a video-capable Linux client the same week. But Linux versions for specialized commercial software is still lacking. Thanks to the excellent folks at Crossover, Wine (the Windows emulator - or rather non-emulator) is past the beta stage. Which means that it’ll handle a lot of windows apps, but I advise against it. Better find an open and hackable alternative. And as far the Ubuntu repositories as concerned, you won’t have trouble with any of that.
[/quote]
Why would you advise against using Wine? Is it not good enough yet or will it mess up the system?

[quote]
And don’t forget to give back to the community. Get involved, spread the word, file bug reports, learn to code, translate documentation, etc. Your karma will thank you.[/quote]

One bug I already found is when I tried to drag something to another spot and it told me I couldn’t by changing the cursor to that no-smoking sign without the cigarette. So that’s cool, but now whenever my cursor is in the taskbar area the cursor is permanently that no-smoking sign. I haven’t tried restarting yet to see if that fixes it, but it’s kind of annoying.

By code do you mean learning how to use the command prompt or actually learning the high level assembly language used to create Linux software? Because that might take a while!

Linux Rocks. I’ve been using it for a bunch of stuff for years. However let us not kid ourselves that it is anywhere near ready for prime time on the desktop. It is still 1000 times harder to deal with than Windows. At least when anything is less than utterly click through\Plug n Play.

I know plenty of mid range users who can get themselves out of a hole with Windows, but are lost entirely if they can’t get an app or a piece of hardware to run in Linux, even with very user friendly distros.

[quote]HardcoreHorn wrote:
Why would you advise against using Wine? Is it not good enough yet or will it mess up the system? [/quote]

It’s philosophical more than anything else. Also, by using Wine, you actually perpetuate MS’ monopoly.

It’s easier than you might think. I recommend you start by learning Python.

As for the command line, it’s a no-brainer really. It’s a must to unleash the true power of Linux.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
I know plenty of mid range users who can get themselves out of a hole with Windows, but are lost entirely if they can’t get an app or a piece of hardware to run in Linux, even with very user friendly distros. [/quote]

Not in my experience. Many of the people I’ve introduced to computing, get themselves out of holes on their own. And they range from kids to the elderly. Sure, I get the complaint now and again about running that game they borrowed from a friend. I tell them to take it up with the software publisher who did not provide a Linux port. Granted, none of them had to “unlearn” the Windows way of doing things.

So far, none of them corrupted their system in any serious manner. Give a bunch of people who’ve never used a computer Windows machines and see what happens.

Cool, I’ll look into this Python you speak of.

WINE is for games. Using it for anything else is redundant.

Linux > Windows > Mac

Long live Ubuntu! Long live Shuttleworth!

If you need advice on what programs are the best for certain functions, just ask. I had a lot of trouble with the variety in the beginning.

The command line is insane at first, but as you continually copypasta code, you’ll pick up A LOT. I can do so much more now than I could six months ago, and I’ve put not even a minute into directly learning how to use the terminal.

Ya ok so it seems that Python isn’t much different from the other programming languages I’m used to. It’s just little things that I find weird about it. For instance, I’m used to actually having to define a variable, like this:

gillyweed VAR Byte
gillyweed = 1

With Python you just have to do this:

gillyweed = 1

Also, I’m used to doing loops like this:

DO
gillyweed = gillyweed + 1
DEBUG? gillyweed
LOOP WHILE gillyweed < 255

But in Python it would be like this:

while gillyweed < 255:
[indent]gillyweed = gillyweed + 1
[indent]print gillyweed

In the first example the code to be looped is enclosed at top and bottom by the DO … LOOP WHILE commands. In the Python example you have to indent the code so it knows it is included in the loop. That seems potentially problematic to me for more complex codes and nested loops, but I guess it’ll just take some getting used to.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
However let us not kid ourselves that it is anywhere near ready for prime time on the desktop. It is still 1000 times harder to deal with than Windows. At least when anything is less than utterly click through\Plug n Play.
[/quote]

Not true at all. The X GUI’s and O/S interfaces have made great progress. In fact, there are trends in large corporations and Government entities to migrate toward X-Desktops.

The open-source stigma is gradually going away as these entities realize that they get the same level of service and productivity with, say, Open Office (read: Linux) suites than with Microsoft office. There are tangible and measurable savings in licensing and maintenance costs. Open Office provides excellent handling of common MS formats (.doc, .xls, etc).

Along that front, I’m seeing more demand for Linux from the Enterprise Server front as well. For example, one state I work with who has standardized on the Oracle database platform (running on Windows servers), is moving to Linux based servers and is investigating the feasibility of even moving toward an open enterprise database (ie PostgreSQL). We’re not talking chump change here-- state government IT infrastructure is, as a group, on the largest drivers and consumers of technology.

Even EOM hardware distributors are offering more Linux options with their products.

That’s not to say that Linux desktops are going to seriously threaten MS in the ‘home consumer’ space, but it’s certainly threatening in the ‘pro-sumer’ and Enterprise spaces.

[quote]HardcoreHorn wrote:
Ya ok so it seems that Python isn’t much different from the other programming languages I’m used to. [/quote]

Python is a great little language. Small footprint and flexible.

If you’re looking for some sweet web productivity tools, let me offer 3 little words: “Ruby On Rails”

Congratulations. I find that after using Linux for a while, most people cannot be happy enough to convert others once they’ve seen the light. I switched completely a few years ago. No more viruses, malware, crashes. Just smooth, solid computing with tons of free software and stable as a rock.

I did try quite a few distributions, but PCLinuxOS was the first I stuck with. Beautiful distro, check out their site. The “Distro Hopper Stopper” Great community, geared to work out of box amap, incl codecs etc, Synaptic software manager is awesome, very tight and well planned distro.