Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

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lightheir
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Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by lightheir » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:41 pm

Curious - has anybody here dumped Windows or MacOS entirely, and successfully transitioned to all-Linux for PERSONAL (not work) computing? I bring it up as it seems that free software is increasingly powerful today and web-based services are no longer OS dependent, so it may be feasible for some to entirely forgo the standard OSs and go to an all-open source setup like Ubuntu. The appeal of having a free, open source OS that's readily updatable and reinstallable on multiple computers is very appealing.

I've only dabbled with Ubuntu, but the inevitable incompatibility with some of my USB peripherals kept stopping me in my tracks.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:54 pm

Yes, I'm pretty much exclusively linux these days. I can boot to Windows, but I only do that so that I can call customer support people, who blame everything on linux, lying *****s with conviction.

Linux does have some problems with cutting edge peripherals, but it seems to catch up after a year or so, and I can still use my 25 year old dot matrix printer, which Windows no longer supports.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by livesoft » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:58 pm

Mac/OSX is essentially a variant of Linux, so I am puzzled by that aspect of your question.

I develop software that runs on Linux, Mac/OSX, and Windows on various hardware platforms. I use X Windows on my Mac almost exclusively, so it doesn't even look like I am using a Mac most of the time.
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by whomever » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:17 pm

I use linux exclusively except for:

a)the occasional program that is only available for windows
b)netflix and dvds. Others can give chapter and verse more accurately than I, but I think the cliff notes version is that you can as a technical matter get linux to play dvds, but doing so involves, maybe, theoretically, violating the DCMA. Or not. Google 'libdvdcss2 legal' for discussions.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by DSInvestor » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:19 pm

What do linux users do for tax preparation software? Turbotax sells windows and Mac versions which is great for tax prep and running tax scenarios. I assume the online editions are good for tax prep, but what about running tax scenarios?
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by ThatGuy » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:13 pm

Yes, I use Linux exclusively at home both on my desktop, as well as my HTPC. I run Arch Linux on both.

I've found that I can fulfill my personal needs with free open source offerings such as GIMP, LibreOffice, and SciPy. In terms of tax software, they do offer either online versions of all the major brands. Or I can use my spouse's computer :D
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Bengineer » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:38 pm

Linux for personal use since the mid 90's. I develop on whatever environment my clients need.
I'd have to admit to using TTax on windows. I've also found it difficult to work with complex word / excel documents that clients have authored and so often have to resort to the MS versions when editing back-and-forth with a client. Similar issues with PowerPoint, MS Project, etc. Documents I create are less troublesome.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:42 pm

I use spreadsheets for tax planning. Usually of my own construction, but occasionally I download one.

Personally I do not like turbo-tax for tax planning. As an analogy I'd compare turbo-tax to a set of turn-by-turn instructions while the spreadsheet (or at least the formulas in it) are a map. Turn by turn instructions are okay for getting from here to there, but a map is more useful for planning, since it shows all the places you could be, rather than just were you are.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by mackstann » Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:12 pm

I've been using only Linux for about 10 years. I'm a pretty hardcore nerd though, and in those early days I was willing to make some sacrifices in order to avoid Windows (which I really, really dislike). These days, using Windows would be a huge sacrifice for me. I actually had to at my current job for a while, but I eventually figured out how to get my work done on Linux, and eventually nearly the entire company transitioned over to Linux on the desktop as well (we're mostly software developers so it's actually quite natural and convenient).

Dual booting is always an option, but in my opinion it's even more convenient to run Windows in virtualization if you need it -- you don't need to reboot or stop what you're doing in Linux; you just run Windows inside of it.

For office-type stuff, I use Google Docs. I can easily share and collaborate on them with my wife, which is pretty awesome.

What are the USB devices you're worried about?
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Norbert Schlenker
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Norbert Schlenker » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:23 pm

Linux (xubuntu 12.04) more than 99.9% of the time, but not 100%. The exceptions are, in descending order, ...

1. a Windows XP virtual machine (under virtualbox) to run
(a) Excel/Word to handle a club mailing list (twice a month)
(b) tax filing software when I volunteer to help low income and elderly folks file (weekly from February-April each year)
(c) ancient portfolio management software that only runs on XP (once a quarter)
2. a netbook in the kitchen which is the recipe computer, using 15 year old software that runs only under XP
3. dual booting Windows 7 to
(a) download and install 50-100 Windows patches (quarterly?)
(b) benchmark something or test hardware with software that only runs in Windows (maybe twice a year)
(c) flashing a BIOS (rare but not unknown)

I can't get by without #1, the virtual WinXP machine. Those pieces of software do not run under Linux and their functions can't be reproduced or replaced by anything available there (and for (b) and (c), not in Windows 7 either). If I could get rid of them, I would, but I've tried and it's not going to happen.

#2 is more my wife's baby than mine, but here again, there is no getting around ancient software not runnable on newer hardware/software combos, whether it's Linux or a newer Windows. Any replacement for this particular function isn't likely to be Linux in any case. Maybe an Android tablet once they're cheap? But then how does the existing "recipe book" get converted?

#3 is rare but unavoidable as long as hardware manufacturers will not supply Linux drivers at product introduction. When a printer/scanner/fax breaks and I get a new one from Best Buy, and it won't work under Linux, the first thing one tries is booting Windows 7 to see if the darned thing works at all. It can't be helped, I'm afraid. That more than 95% of the time this machine ever spends awake under Windows 7 is devoted to patching security holes that have accumulated since "the last time", and that it takes hours and a few reboots every time, is just another reason to make these occasions as infrequent as possible.

As for tax planning, I second Epsilon Delta's comment. I do my tax planning with self built Libre Office spreadsheets under Linux, first because I want to understand how things work and why Y changes when I do X, and second because no consumer grade tax filing software can handle what I need.

I encourage the OP to try Linux again. There's a learning curve but it's not particularly steep these days. For what most people do with computers at home, a Linux box will do the job. It will run on old cheap limited hardware that Windows will choke on, and the user experience is not just adequate but in fact quite good and pretty familiar to any Windows user.
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by THY4373 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:47 pm

I am on Linux about 95% of the time. Mostly Debian/Ubuntu/Mint variants both on physical and virtual machines. My exceptions are as follows:

1). My high end HP printer (bought used) came with Windows software that is more powerful than the free Linux counterparts so even though the scanner works in Linux I use it in Windows mostly (host is dual boot).
2). USAA online banking for scanning checks to deposit (only works in Windows and OS X).
3). Netbook is dual boot. AMD drivers suck so bad for Linux that I have to watch videos/movies (when travelling) on the Windows side since the CPU doesn't have the horsepower to do on its own. I am in Linux for everything else.
4). Home theater PC this mostly because I have it working exactly the way I want it and don't want to mess with it again (it is Vista and I won't even upgrade to Win7 for the same reason).

Edit: For taxes I use my dual boot box and run it in Windows or on a Windows virtual machine.

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CyberBob
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by CyberBob » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:59 pm

All GNU/Linux here.

Debian on my server.
Arch on my desktop.
Rat Poison window manager is the greatest thing ever! :D
Core utils/command-line programs for virtually everything other than web browsing for which I use the keyboard-friendly Conkeror browser.

Upside is that my computer is wicked fast.
Downside (for other people) is that nobody can use it other than me - no mouse connected (wouldn't matter since there aren't any icons); all keyboard controlled - it's heaven.

Bob

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by vshun » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:46 pm

Yes has been with Linux for the last 4 years at home as main computer. All I need works well including Java development tools and kids seem to like LibreOffice programs for typing work for school.

There are occasional issues with some software programs required for outside usage by the family (like Microsoft publisher for volunteering PTO wife does, or when kids are required to bring to school work in PowerPoint or Excel as our schools seem averse to Google Docs or PDF) in which case laptop computer comes in handy.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Boglenaut » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:02 pm

lightheir wrote:
I've only dabbled with Ubuntu, but the inevitable incompatibility with some of my USB peripherals kept stopping me in my tracks.
I had a Windows Me computer I switched to Ubuntu, It was fine ... could web browse and use Open Office. But I never could figure out how to install other software on it. I stopped ubuntu once the computer was so old I gave it away.

I liked Ubuntu but wasn't enough of a geek to make it my primary system.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:23 pm

I keep a Windows virtual machine for general web browsing and non-secure communications (such as this forum), but otherwise I'm fully Linux in my home setup. I can use Firefox on Linux to log in to Vanguard, manage my bank accounts, buy stuff, watch videos on Hulu or Amazon Prime. About the only thing I needed IE for recently was when UPS just didn't want to redirect a package to Will Call when I used Firefox, but that may have just been a glitch.

Edit: Oh yeah, and I am NOT an Ubuntu fan. I use Slackware Linux personally, but I realize that can be intimidating to a new user. Debian Mint is pretty good too.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by magellan » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:36 pm

I have a Dell XPS M1530 laptop with a broken LCD screen that I turned into HTPC running Linux Mint. I use it for web browsing, youtube, and misc other streaming stuff.

Over the years I've used several linux distros and while I'm sure the other distros have been advancing too, IMO Linux Mint is a great choice for novices. I burned the install dvd, dropped it in my laptop and in around 20 minutes it was fully functional with working wifi and even sleep.

Unfortunately, I'm tethered to windows for my personal laptop because I use Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Quicken, Powerpoint, and Excel.

Jim

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by LazyNihilist » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:44 pm

Ubuntu for 4 years, then Debian for 5 years exclusively.

I have VirtualBox and run windows in it for watching Netflix.

VLC/Firefox/Chrome/Pidgin(IM)/OpenOffice/GnuCash -> These are the programs I use often and they are all cross platform. So almost makes no difference to the user.
These days, almost everything is within the browser, there is little use for other programs. Sort of like how Emacs was a couple of decades back.

Some awesome programs in addition to the above
rtorrent
wget
ssh (use as a proxy to browse from outside your home securely)
openvpn - Get a vpn provider to avoid snooping by your ISP's and others.

And the scripting you can do to do stuff is great. All this without the hassle of Anti-Virus and licensing issues.
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stlutz
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by stlutz » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:55 pm

I've been all-Linux for quite a few years now as well. A few notes:

--Software-wise, I'd use the same stuff on a Windows machine as I do on Linux--LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird for the usual stuff, but I'll also use some more specialized stuff like Quantum GIS for some mapping work I do for a club. From this perspective, I'm just cheap--I'm not going to pony up for an MS Office license in any case. I also refuse to pay for tax software as taxes are expensive enough already. So yes, there is software that you can buy that will only run on a Windows or a Mac, but you have to pay for it.

--Linux appeals to my lazy side. I'm really used to typing 2 commands to not only update my operating system but all of the software on my system. I find the scenario where Windows has it's own updating system, Firefox another, Adobe another, others none at all to be really annoying. Moreover, with Linux I can run one software program that will download and install whatever software I want to use--no more looking around the web trying to find something. Distributions in the Debian ecosystem (incl. the 'buntus, Mint etc.) have a huge amount of software easily available, all of which can be installed with the click of a mouse button. Years ago I liked fiddling with computers at home; now I don't--I'd rather post on Bogleheads instead. Using Linux means I spend less time babysitting the computer.

--Dabbling in Linux is actually harder than just committing to it. Why do I say that? Once you've committed, you start looking for specific features when shopping for hardware--Intel graphics and wireless; HP printers. If I'm going to buy a digital camera, I'll run a quick google search "XYZ Linux" real quick to see if there are all sorts of problems using it or not. Nothing a Mac user wouldn't do either.

In short, there was a time where being a Linux user was the sort of thing only an uber-geek would do; nowadays I do it because I'm cheap and lazy. :D
Last edited by stlutz on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:00 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by mortal » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:56 pm

I've been using linux since high school. I wanted to be able to write computer programs at home, not just in the school lab. Linux had developer tools for *every* language that wasn't MS exclusive. It was awesome. Parents were convinced it was somehow a ploy to play video games, which is ironic because support for video games on linux is abysmal.

P.S. I had trouble with turbo tax on linux. I switched to using tax act, and not only was it cheaper, it works flawlessly.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by bikenfool » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:16 am

Me too.
For tax software there's a guy that puts together a couple of excel files and make them available to the world (which work with oocalc or librecalc).

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by jridger2011 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:19 am

I used to have a Linux machine on a Thinkpad but after it broke down I gave up on it due to software needs such as MS Excel, iTunes, and printer software. It's been a few years and I am sure Linux has come a long way, but I haven't had the time to consider tinkering with it again.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by nwrolla » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:00 am

I have been running Linux solely for about a year now. I have Windows as a secondary boot option but rarely boot to it. Linux is far more reliable in my opinion once you learn to use the terminal and different command prompts.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by paulsiu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:01 am

I am using a Linux machine now to post. I have over the years tried different distros, but in the recent years have either use Fedora, Ubuntu, or Mint. In general, since linux come with a whole bunch of software, it's a good general purpose OS for people who don't need custom software like Quicken or Office. Unfortunately, due to work, I have to have a PC, the vpn software won't work without windows, though I have actually ran it from within a VM under Linux.

There are several issues with linux. The OS changes a lot compare to windows. Windows XP look pretty much the same for its entire life. Linux desktop can become more experiemental. For example, I am running Gnome, which look nothing like the gnome from a few years ago.

The other issue is wireless can be unstable. On my laptop, an update can take out the wireless. However, I have to note that wireless have steady improve with each release.

Paul

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Mudpuppy » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:18 am

paulsiu wrote:There are several issues with linux. The OS changes a lot compare to windows. Windows XP look pretty much the same for its entire life. Linux desktop can become more experiemental. For example, I am running Gnome, which look nothing like the gnome from a few years ago.

The other issue is wireless can be unstable. On my laptop, an update can take out the wireless. However, I have to note that wireless have steady improve with each release.
The changing GUI really depends on what desktop environment or window manager one chooses. If you choose one with a history of tinkering with the interface, like Gnome, you should expect it to change. Or you can choose one that rarely makes major changes and is highly configurable by the user, like Fluxbox. Likewise, the stability after updates depends on the distribution you choose and the package management system it incorporates. In Slackware, it is very easy to avoid unstable updates since one controls a great deal of the process (Slackware does not really have a dependency-checking package management system so you can manually control what is installed). On the flip side, it's much more work to do a set of standard updates than it would be from one of the apt/yum-based package managers. But you do have the choice, which is more than one can say about Windows many times.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by paulsiu » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:59 am

Mudpuppy,

I was speaking mostly out of the box experience. I suppose many of the distro come in fluxbox. One thing nice about Linux is that you can configure it any way you want, especially if you use a distro like slackware. Compiling a program and installing it is not that hard, but a bit too much for most people.

Funny that Gnome used to be the GUI that changes slowly, the last couple of changes were really radical. For some reason or another, I wasn't very fond of Fluxbox.

One other advantage, Linux is much easier to install than windows. Usually everything just work after the installation with the exception of wireless. With windows, I have to locate a bunch of drivers, and reboot several times.People say Linux is hard to install because their windows come preinstalled.

One disadvantage is that battery life is usually worse under linux than windows, mostly because vendor don't always give out their specifications so developers have to reverse engineer the interface.

Paul

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Mudpuppy » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:09 pm

paulsiu wrote:One disadvantage is that battery life is usually worse under linux than windows, mostly because vendor don't always give out their specifications so developers have to reverse engineer the interface.
powertop is a good tool to get a profile of the energy hogs on a Linux laptop. It used to be just for Intel CPUs (and was originally developed by Intel), but Wiki is saying it has expanded to AMD, Sparc, and ARM based systems. Now, it can't help you fix the energy hogs, but finding them is the first step of the process.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by fishnskiguy » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:34 pm

And all this time I thought Linux was Charlie Brown's best friend!

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Rick_29T9W » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:00 am

I use Kubuntu 12.04 Linux on my desktop computer at home. I have been using Linux at home for about 10 years now. I also have a slightly older Windows XP computer, which I occasionally use, but the Linux computer is my main computer. The Linux computer is not set up to dual boot, and has never had Windows installed on it.

Linux meets my needs quite well, although I realize that some people may have some particular software package that they want to use, which does not come in a Linux version. If I ever need to occasionally run a Windows only program, I could still run it on my other computer.

Kubuntu is an derivitive of Ubuntu Linux which uses the KDE desktop environment instead of the Unity graphical environment. Norbert also mentioned using Xubuntu, which is yet another derivitive of Ubuntu which uses Xfce instead. Different desktop environments give the user a different look and feel to using the computer. Beyond that, I am not an expert, and do not know exactly what a desktop environment is. Several of the other Linux distros mentioned, are not derived from Ubuntu.
Last edited by Rick_29T9W on Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:43 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by protagonist » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:39 am

I'm not a Luddite, but I am still waiting for somebody to convince me.

Given the above, people running Linux/ Ubuntu seem to lead complicated lives..... this, that and the other thing might demand switching to Windows or Mac....some things don't work but they probably will in a year or so....etc.

What is wrong with Windows? Viruses? I've run Windows for 21 years and never had a virus serious enough to have to bring my computer into a shop. Bloatware? Get rid of it. It's slower? Big deal. What do 99% of us do that our computer's speed in 2012 is a major issue? There is open source software as a substitute for just about everything these days that runs on Windows....Open Office, Picasa, GIMP, Avast, etc. And your computer probably will die before your operating system becomes obsolete.

So what is the draw? I'm not trying to be contrary. I'm really trying to understand. I think open source is conceptually cool. I want to be convinced.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:53 am

protagonist wrote:So what is the draw? I'm not trying to be contrary. I'm really trying to understand. I think open source is conceptually cool. I want to be convinced.
It is somewhat like asking if one should code in C or Java, or if one should use vi or emacs, or many of the other example of choices that have both strong personal and technical reasons for one's choice and neither choice is technically incorrect.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by paulsiu » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:28 am

Mudpuppy wrote: powertop is a good tool to get a profile of the energy hogs on a Linux laptop. It used to be just for Intel CPUs (and was originally developed by Intel), but Wiki is saying it has expanded to AMD, Sparc, and ARM based systems. Now, it can't help you fix the energy hogs, but finding them is the first step of the process.
I do use powertop, but again, something for advance users. Ideally, these things should work in the background.

Paul

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by paulsiu » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:43 am

protagonist wrote:So what is the draw? I'm not trying to be contrary. I'm really trying to understand. I think open source is conceptually cool. I want to be convinced.
There are several places where you may want to to use Linux.

* You're building a system, a windows OEM is about $100, and that is tied to your motherboard so when it dies you have to buy another Wndows OEM or you can spend $180 and get the full version. If Linux serve your needs, you can save that money.

* Revitalize an older system - if your windows support runs out (if you are windows 2000 or XP in a year or two). you'll stop receiving security patches. It will cost about $80 to upgrade.

* Server - it's better to run a Linux server than a windows one unless you are running windows server OS, which is really expensive.

Frankly, in my opinion. Most people see computers as appliances. They get their computer and replace it when it gets old. They don't upgrade parts, so for 90% of the people, the OS that comes with their machine works just fine. Linux in the past and currently still more of a tinkerer's OS. At least this is true for Linux desktop any way. Linux servers are used often in the corporate world.

Paul

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by sscritic » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:51 am

My history (primary OS - prehistory not included):
DOS
OS/2
Windows
Debian Linux
FreeBSD
OS X (starting with an iMac G4)

No linux at this time, although I am still on the Debian and FreeBSD mailing lists.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by stevewolfe » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:16 am

I installed my first linux distribution (Slackware) from floppy disk images in 1995. I ran a dual boot system for years, but for the last 5 years or so I've been 100% linux with the exception of a boot into a Windows VM once or twice a year for Turbo tax. I'll likely just cut over to use Turbo Tax online or switch to a program that works with Wine (Tax Cut has in the past).

My wife has been using linux exclusively for the past 3 years too, so we joke we have a dark house (no windows). She adjusted to Ubuntu very quickly and prefers it over Windows now.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by linuxuser » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:07 am

Dabbled with Linux since Red Hat 4 or 5.

Because my work is programming in Visual Basic 6, LabVIEW, and VB.NET, I have a Windows 7 laptop (Dell Precision M6300).
My main laptop (Dell Precision M6300) to get on the internet has Ubuntu 12.04, Windows XP, and Windows 7, but I boot in Ubuntu 99.999% of the time.
I have a third laptop with Windows XP on which I will install LabVIEW 2012.

LibreOffice and OpenOffice are good enough for my simple Excel worksheets and my resume.

I don't use tax preparation software.

My Brother printer works okay in Linux.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by protagonist » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:25 am

paulsiu wrote:
protagonist wrote:So what is the draw? I'm not trying to be contrary. I'm really trying to understand. I think open source is conceptually cool. I want to be convinced.
There are several places where you may want to to use Linux.

* You're building a system, a windows OEM is about $100, and that is tied to your motherboard so when it dies you have to buy another Wndows OEM or you can spend $180 and get the full version. If Linux serve your needs, you can save that money.

* Revitalize an older system - if your windows support runs out (if you are windows 2000 or XP in a year or two). you'll stop receiving security patches. It will cost about $80 to upgrade.

* Server - it's better to run a Linux server than a windows one unless you are running windows server OS, which is really expensive.

Frankly, in my opinion. Most people see computers as appliances. They get their computer and replace it when it gets old. They don't upgrade parts, so for 90% of the people, the OS that comes with their machine works just fine. Linux in the past and currently still more of a tinkerer's OS. At least this is true for Linux desktop any way. Linux servers are used often in the corporate world.

Paul
Thanks. This all makes sense. Most of us, even those of us who enjoy technology, are not serious tinkerers or hobbyists- me included. We don't run servers, and we don't worry too much when our security patches run out...when our computers become too much of a pain in the neck we replace them with something newer and cooler. For us, as I suspected, Linux is probably more of a hassle than it is worth, for all the things it does not do. For the "tinkerer" who enjoys writing code, or for the purchaser of a system for a corporation or one who runs a network, Linux has considerable advantages. Is that an accurate overall assessment?

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linuxuser
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by linuxuser » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:44 am

protagonist wrote:
paulsiu wrote:
protagonist wrote:So what is the draw? I'm not trying to be contrary. I'm really trying to understand. I think open source is conceptually cool. I want to be convinced.
There are several places where you may want to to use Linux.

* You're building a system, a windows OEM is about $100, and that is tied to your motherboard so when it dies you have to buy another Wndows OEM or you can spend $180 and get the full version. If Linux serve your needs, you can save that money.

* Revitalize an older system - if your windows support runs out (if you are windows 2000 or XP in a year or two). you'll stop receiving security patches. It will cost about $80 to upgrade.

* Server - it's better to run a Linux server than a windows one unless you are running windows server OS, which is really expensive.

Frankly, in my opinion. Most people see computers as appliances. They get their computer and replace it when it gets old. They don't upgrade parts, so for 90% of the people, the OS that comes with their machine works just fine. Linux in the past and currently still more of a tinkerer's OS. At least this is true for Linux desktop any way. Linux servers are used often in the corporate world.

Paul
Thanks. This all makes sense. Most of us, even those of us who enjoy technology, are not serious tinkerers or hobbyists- me included. We don't run servers, and we don't worry too much when our security patches run out...when our computers become too much of a pain in the neck we replace them with something newer and cooler. For us, as I suspected, Linux is probably more of a hassle than it is worth, for all the things it does not do. For the "tinkerer" who enjoys writing code, or for the purchaser of a system for a corporation or one who runs a network, Linux has considerable advantages. Is that an accurate overall assessment?
How do you *know* it is more of a hassle?
Many people don't even bother to try Linux.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by rwm » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:54 am

For us, as I suspected, Linux is probably more of a hassle than it is worth, for all the things it does not do. For the "tinkerer" who enjoys writing code, or for the purchaser of a system for a corporation or one who runs a network, Linux has considerable advantages. Is that an accurate overall assessment?
Accurate only if you need applications that aren't available on Linux, and you don't have the skills or interest to install something like Virtualbox. Personally, I find Windows to be more aggravating than Linux (fussing with anti-virus and malware stuff, slows down over time, etc.), but I used Unix before Windows even existed.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by stevewolfe » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:28 am

protagonist wrote:Most of us, even those of us who enjoy technology, are not serious tinkerers or hobbyists- me included. We don't run servers, and we don't worry too much when our security patches run out...when our computers become too much of a pain in the neck we replace them with something newer and cooler. For us, as I suspected, Linux is probably more of a hassle than it is worth, for all the things it does not do. For the "tinkerer" who enjoys writing code, or for the purchaser of a system for a corporation or one who runs a network, Linux has considerable advantages. Is that an accurate overall assessment?
I think my wife is a general purpose computer user. When she ran Windows, she browsed the web with Firefox. She uses Firefox on Linux. She checked her mail in Windows with Thunderbird. She uses Thunderbird on Linux. She synced mp3's to her mp3 player under Windows via Windows Explorer and she does the same under Linux. She wrote an occasional Word document on Windows and she does the same on Linux with Open Office. She created a couple of Excel spreadsheets for Church and they work fine on Linux with Open Office. When she wanted to print something under windows, we defined our Brother wireless printer as a network printer and she printed to it over the network. The same thing works perfectly fine in Linux. When she plugged in the digital camera on Windows she could copy off the pictures to her local drive - the same as on Linux.

That's it. That's all she (and I'd wager MANY) people do with their computers. And it is no harder or easier on one OS than another. Except that she doesn't accidentally download something that the AV hasn't been updated for yet that infects the machine with some malware, virus or other intractable POS that wastes hours of my time to remove and has a 1 in 4 chance of requiring me to spend the day re-installing her machine. To me, this is priceless.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by KyleAAA » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:28 am

I've done Linux-only in the past. No longer, but it's not at all difficult. It is still true that getting started on Linux is more of a hassle than either Windows of Mac.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Clever_Username » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:38 am

I'm on my second Linux (Ubuntu) laptop.

In my penultimate year of graduate school, I had to buy a desktop to replace the one I was using in my lab (which I had also brought in). It's also a Linux box, and is now connected to my TV for when I watch streaming television (mostly Hulu and the AFL). I don't use it as a desktop otherwise. If I chose to do so, though, it can run some of my favorite games just fine (X-Com: Apocalypse - one of my favorites of all times - runs just fine).

I'm pretty sure my XBox 360 doesn't run Linux, but whether or not that counts as a personal computer is probably one of those conversations we're best off not having.

Since work was mentioned: I do my development at work on a virtual machine that runs Linux, although I connect via a Windows machine at the office.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, _Layer Cake_

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by protagonist » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:06 pm

linuxuser wrote: How do you *know* it is more of a hassle?
Many people don't even bother to try Linux.
I don't know.
That is why I am asking these questions. Maybe I will try Linux some day.
It seems to me from the comments above that it would be more of a hassle than it is worth. So many of the posters speak of the need to use another OS for the things that Linux does not do well, which adds another layer of complication. And If for no other reason, the simple "if it's not broken, why fix it?" argument.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:07 pm

protagonist wrote:I don't know.
That is why I am asking these questions. Maybe I will try Linux some day.
It seems to me from the comments above that it would be more of a hassle than it is worth. So many of the posters speak of the need to use another OS for the things that Linux does not do well, which adds another layer of complication. And If for no other reason, the simple "if it's not broken, why fix it?" argument.
I use other OSes for isolation, not so much the "need" to run anything besides a select few limited programs. One layer of security is to have dedicated purpose machines, so that if something happens, it only affects a segment of your system instead of the whole system. So I have a whole little army of virtual machines for various purposes. Each has check-pointed archives of their virtual disks so if something were to happen, I just copy over a backup and go on my merry way. It's more complex to set up, sure. But day-to-day operations are more secure.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by telemark » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:46 pm

As of a few months ago, there's an easy way to run Netflix on Linux.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

Then run the newly installed Netflix Desktop and enter your email address and password. It runs Microsoft Silverlight under WINE with a patched copy of Firefox, although you don't need to know that to use it.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by SSSS » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:53 pm

livesoft wrote:Mac/OSX is essentially a variant of Linux, so I am puzzled by that aspect of your question.
Isn't it a lot closer to FreeBSD & other related BSDs than it is to Linux?

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by lightheir » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:57 pm

telemark wrote:As of a few months ago, there's an easy way to run Netflix on Linux.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

Then run the newly installed Netflix Desktop and enter your email address and password. It runs Microsoft Silverlight under WINE with a patched copy of Firefox, although you don't need to know that to use it.
Man, I love the idea of using Linux and all, but there is NOTHING user-friendly about the first line of that command chain. Makes me remember why GUIs are so much better for me (and I took the time to learn UNIX at one point.)

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:44 pm

lightheir wrote:
telemark wrote:As of a few months ago, there's an easy way to run Netflix on Linux.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

Then run the newly installed Netflix Desktop and enter your email address and password. It runs Microsoft Silverlight under WINE with a patched copy of Firefox, although you don't need to know that to use it.
Man, I love the idea of using Linux and all, but there is NOTHING user-friendly about the first line of that command chain. Makes me remember why GUIs are so much better for me (and I took the time to learn UNIX at one point.)
You can do it through the GUI, but the instructions run to a couple of pages, and they're hard to write. In part this is because some of the steps depend on the configuration of your system, and the writer has to account for all possibilities.

This is not unique to linux, I've proof read instructions for many OSes over the years, and while the writers think I'm too fussy, customer support people always think I let too much ambiguity slip through.

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telemark
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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by telemark » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:59 pm

This is an almost perfect example of what command lines are good for. I'd much rather copy and paste that text into a command line than try to follow someone's instructions on how to do the same thing through a GUI.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by stevewolfe » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:10 pm

telemark wrote:This is an almost perfect example of what command lines are good for. I'd much rather copy and paste that text into a command line than try to follow someone's instructions on how to do the same thing through a GUI.
Agreed. Starting dual booting slackware in 1995. Been using linux exclusively for years. I keep a Windows VM for doing my taxes, though this year will likely just do that online. My wife (totally non-technical) has been using linux exclusively for 3+ years now.

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Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Post by lindisfarne » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:23 pm

This is a useful thread. I've worked on linux and have thought about having it as a dual-boot option (along with Windows), but never did it on my own laptop (which finally died) and am now using a work laptop. For a few years, I used Linux at work & we had a virtual Windows 98 that ran on linux (which I used a lot for anything I did in Office).

My tech people at work suggested that running linux virtually (on a Windows system) would be just as good as a dual-boot; it would allow you to go back & forth between them more easily. But, are there things that won't work when running Linux virtually? Any opinions?

I'm not really tech-y, although have managed to do quite a bit at the systems level of Windows that most people wouldn't. Linux seemed very user unfriendly when I first thought of it about 6-7 years ago but I'm guessing it has improved. Still, there'd be a learning curve.

I'm not looking forward to Windows 8. Sigh. (I still don't like the Office ribbon & run a little utility (Ubit?) that recreates the menus - although for certain things, I've had to use the ribbon.) At least with Windows 8, they weren't fascist & allow you to go back to the old desktop interface although I've heard people complain that you cannot just set it to boot into that interface. (I haven't actually worked with Windows 8, just read the commentaries & articles.) I don't like this move to icons - I was more of a command user in Office (and now, most people use icons & don't even know there are commands.)
Last edited by lindisfarne on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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