Running Linux vs Other OS?

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Alexa9
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Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:30 am

Windows: Pros: Most Software/Games, Cons: Virus/Malware, Clunky UI
Mac: Pros: Smooth OS, Better UI Cons: Limited Software
Linux: Pros: Most Secure Cons: Least Popular

Anyone have any other input, especially with running Linux? Looking to build a PC or NUC. The Mac Mini is almost 4 years old so debating between Windows 10 and Linux. Might be a fun project to try Linux (it's free!) and I can always switch to Windows.

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timboktoo
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by timboktoo » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:33 am

What, specifically, are you wanting to do with the machine?

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Spooky
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by Spooky » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:36 am

You can set up your machine to run both, with a partition. I am not sure about the details of how to do, as my husband did it for me, but then you can use both.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:36 am

Mac OS/X is close enough to Linux for me.

Windows 10 offers a Linux-like shell as part of the OS.
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randomizer
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by randomizer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:51 am

I wonder what the most Bogleheads OS is... Linux has a low expense ratio, but it is not simple. Windows smacks of active management, and I guess macOS does too. In the end I use macOS because I like the apps.
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by pangea33 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:12 am

My initial experience with Linux was back in the mid-90s and required a LOT of savvy. Gave Ubuntu another try when some Windows installs were no longer supported by Microsoft.

The new GUI is incredibly intuitive and provides an experience much more familiar to Windows users. Pretty much every bit of software is available for free and you can tap into the advanced Linux features as your skill and comfort levels increase.

You can always install Windows into a second partition if you miss it, but you can also run Ubuntu off a DVD or Flashdrive if you just want to check it out. Be advised that performance is lower than you'll experience with installing directly to a disk. Alternatively, buy a cheap drive off Craigslist and give yourself 30 days to see how quickly it stops feeling awkward when fully installed.

The releases are numbered as YY.MM and come out in April and October. April releases on even years are called LTS (long term support) and they assure that security updates will be provided for 5 years. I'm running 16.04 LTS and will upgrade when 18.04 is released next year.

https://www.ubuntu.com/

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by investor997 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:27 am

I use Ubuntu 16.04 running inside a virtual machine all the time. I'm also interested in basing my next machine on it. I'm trying to come up with a list of tools or other software I require that I won't be able to run under Linux natively and the list seems quite short. One question I have is tax software - what options are there for the typical H&R Block user?

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by rec7 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:40 am

I run linux mint on my backup computer. I am guessing you could keep a computer running 20 years on linux. That is why I put it on my backup computer that is 10 years old. A lot of computers that go to the trash with age would run linux just fine. Where as windows can run on a computer maybe 8 or 9 years if you are lucky. I use a windows computer because I think it runs smoother or faster. But for free linux is great if that is the road you take.
Last edited by rec7 on Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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telemark
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by telemark » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:49 am

Some software doesn't run on Linux, for example the desktop version of Turbotax (the online version works) or the Sonos controller. In some cases it's possible to get these working with Wine, but I never had any luck when I tried. But Netflix now works well in both Chrome and Firefox.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by inbox788 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:50 am

Most days my decision is iOS vs ChromeOS vs ChromiumOS.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by jebmke » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:56 am

I use Windows (10) and Linux. My desktop runs W10 and I have Linux virtual machines that I use for various purposes.

I don't view popularity as an important criterion for choosing a system.
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by nobleGas » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:08 pm

I switched to Ubuntu because I couldn't figure out how to work Windows 8. Ubuntu is a lot like Windows 7. I had to learn a few things to switch over but now I would find it hard to switch back.

The only software I use that's not available on Linux is some games - only about 1/3 of the top games are available on Linux. Fortunately there are a lot of games out there so this is not a big problem.

A tip if you switch - instead of googling "how to do x on Linux", use "how to do x on Ubuntu 16.04" since the answer will vary depending on the distribution version just as it would on any other operating system.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by fishboat » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:36 pm

I run two computers, both about 10 years old. One is a stock OEM 2008 Dell Inspiron 531, the other is a stock OEM 2008 Dell Latitude D830.

The Inspiron started out as a Vista machine that was updated to Win 7 SP1 which was then updated last year to Win 10, which was again updated to Win 10-Creators a couple months ago. While the Vista OS had its issues, I've had no problems with hardware or software since Win 7 went in. I just ran a full stress-diagnostic on the machine this morning..and was given a perfect bill of good-health. No issues with drivers, software, or hardware not running correctly under Win 10.

The D830 I bought used for $85 and it was running Win 7 Pro when I got it 4-5 years ago. It was then updated last year to Win 10, which was again updated to Win 10-Creators a couple months ago. I've had no problems with hardware or software under Win 7 or Win 10. I just ran a full stress-diagnostic on the machine yesterday..and was given a perfect bill of good-health. No issues with drivers, software, or hardware not running correctly under Win 10.

If I required a cutting-edge machine, I'd get one.

If Win machines crumble into a waste bin after 8+ years then maybe I'm just lucky. Neither of my machines show any sign of software or hardware failing. Both see considerable use and require minimal maintenance, what more is required? I run Malwarebytes Premium and Win Defender(MS Security Essentials prior to Defender) and experience no issues with malware or viruses, though things are caught at the wall now and then. While I'm capable of running Linux on any given machine, and I've futzed with computers and built a couple over the last 25 years, I've never experienced any compelling need to dive into the world of Linux. I was a Mac guy when I started out..not fond of Apple's business practices nor machines.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by lack_ey » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:40 pm

With Linux you have to determine which distribution you want to use.

A lot of the things normal users care about with respect to computing are about UI, how to handle certain tasks, etc., and that has more to do with the desktop environment than anything else, so that's not even directly tied to which distribution you're using (though they come by default with certain ones). Also the impression people get has a lot to do with the default applications, which are of course changeable.

These days Ubuntu is not as popular as before, though it's still one of the most widely used distros around.

For a general user I think I would recommend Mint (which is derived from Debian/Ubuntu, and relatively beginner friendly) with the Cinnamon desktop. Cinnamon does a lot of things that would be familiar to Windows users. For those who want more up-to-date software and packages all the time, maybe Manjaro (which is derived from Arch, and relatively beginner friendly), which uses a rolling release structure. There are a number of environments that are officially and unofficially supported. Community editions here. Some more details generally on desktop environments, especially with regards to the ones offered prepackaged with Manjaro here.

Generally distrowatch has more information on available distros. For reference I've personally used Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, Debian, Mint, Manjaro, Puppy, KNOPPIX (okay, this was just an old bootable version), and Scientific. That said, a couple of those were only via terminal, some not for long, and some only for school or work while others not.

As noted above, certain software not working on Linux is one of the big reasons to use something else unless you have a secondary computer to run that, or want to dual boot. Many things run under Wine but don't expect everything to.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by DSInvestor » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:48 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:30 am
The Mac Mini is almost 4 years old so debating between Windows 10 and Linux. Might be a fun project to try Linux (it's free!) and I can always switch to Windows.
I have a macbook pro mid 2012 that I upgraded to 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD that runs really well. It's running macOS High Sierra and use vmware fusion to run Ubuntu and Windows 10 VMs. If your mac mini has a hard drive, take a look if you can upgrade to an SSD. It's not expensive to upgrade to SSD, add RAM and you'd get a big performance boost. I believe your mac mini should be user upgradeable.
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by CppCoder » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:51 pm

investor997 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:27 am
I use Ubuntu 16.04 running inside a virtual machine all the time. I'm also interested in basing my next machine on it. I'm trying to come up with a list of tools or other software I require that I won't be able to run under Linux natively and the list seems quite short. One question I have is tax software - what options are there for the typical H&R Block user?
My best option for tax software is my wife's computer. I've been running Linux as my primary desktop for about 18 years. The only piece of software I ever need Windows for is TurboTax. I suppose I could move to the online version, but I've always just used the desktop version on a different computer or a virtual machine.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by triceratop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:53 pm

randomizer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:51 am
I wonder what the most Bogleheads OS is... Linux has a low expense ratio, but it is not simple. Windows smacks of active management, and I guess macOS does too. In the end I use macOS because I like the apps.
I co-wrote my own Linux distribution with some of my friends. I believe that counts as active management.

Linux for me.
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:57 pm

triceratop wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:53 pm
randomizer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:51 am
I wonder what the most Bogleheads OS is... Linux has a low expense ratio, but it is not simple. Windows smacks of active management, and I guess macOS does too. In the end I use macOS because I like the apps.
I co-wrote my own Linux distribution with some of my friends. I believe that counts as active management.

Linux for me.
Care to share what Linux distribution you co-write?

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by azurekep » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:02 pm

Linux is liberating.

The people that might have trouble with it may have incompatible hardware -- I believe the GPU is the main culprit most of the time. You can find out what works using a search engine.

The way I did it when buying a new computer (I realize you're building your own) is I went into Best Buy and said I want an inexpensive laptop. The sales guy started walking me over to the laptop area. Then I said, I'm going to use it mostly for Linux. Then he stopped in his tracks, backtracked and went to some boxes that weren't on display. They were the least expensive machines and I guess they wanted only the more expensive ones on display. I took a look at one of the now unboxed items, and deemed it okay. The sales guy then called over to "The Linux guy": "Hey Joe! Will the Dell Inspirion XXX work with Linux?" Joe shouts back across the room: "Yes!" That saved me having to find out if any particular model worked well with Linux.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by triceratop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:06 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:57 pm
triceratop wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:53 pm
randomizer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:51 am
I wonder what the most Bogleheads OS is... Linux has a low expense ratio, but it is not simple. Windows smacks of active management, and I guess macOS does too. In the end I use macOS because I like the apps.
I co-wrote my own Linux distribution with some of my friends. I believe that counts as active management.

Linux for me.
Care to share what Linux distribution you co-write?
Unfortunately not, for privacy reasons: it is a small team and my name would be easily deducible. It is a source-based meta distribution, though.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by rec7 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:19 pm

fishboat wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:36 pm
I run two computers, both about 10 years old. One is a stock OEM 2008 Dell Inspiron 531, the other is a stock OEM 2008 Dell Latitude D830.

The Inspiron started out as a Vista machine that was updated to Win 7 SP1 which was then updated last year to Win 10, which was again updated to Win 10-Creators a couple months ago. While the Vista OS had its issues, I've had no problems with hardware or software since Win 7 went in. I just ran a full stress-diagnostic on the machine this morning..and was given a perfect bill of good-health. No issues with drivers, software, or hardware not running correctly under Win 10.

The D830 I bought used for $85 and it was running Win 7 Pro when I got it 4-5 years ago. It was then updated last year to Win 10, which was again updated to Win 10-Creators a couple months ago. I've had no problems with hardware or software under Win 7 or Win 10. I just ran a full stress-diagnostic on the machine yesterday..and was given a perfect bill of good-health. No issues with drivers, software, or hardware not running correctly under Win 10.

If I required a cutting-edge machine, I'd get one.

If Win machines crumble into a waste bin after 8+ years then maybe I'm just lucky. Neither of my machines show any sign of software or hardware failing. Both see considerable use and require minimal maintenance, what more is required? I run Malwarebytes Premium and Win Defender(MS Security Essentials prior to Defender) and experience no issues with malware or viruses, though things are caught at the wall now and then. While I'm capable of running Linux on any given machine, and I've futzed with computers and built a couple over the last 25 years, I've never experienced any compelling need to dive into the world of Linux. I was a Mac guy when I started out..not fond of Apple's business practices nor machines.
You were lucky to get a Vista machine over to windows 10 many will not do it. My 2007 in not compatible. But it runs linux like a champ.
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:40 pm

telemark wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:49 am
Some software doesn't run on Linux, for example the desktop version of Turbotax (the online version works) or the Sonos controller. In some cases it's possible to get these working with Wine, but I never had any luck when I tried. But Netflix now works well in both Chrome and Firefox.
As a software engineer if Turbotax will not run under wine it is almost certain an indicator that it is badly written. If you look at what a tax program should do there is nothing exotic, simple input, simple calculations and simple output. There is no need to reach for performance on anything newer than a 286.

I have ported similar accounting programs. It has turned out that the non-compatibilities were using multiple ways to perform the same IO function including dealing with the (emulated) bare hardware layer and several different emulated DOS layers. Cleaning everything up so I could complete the port also resulted in things running more reliably under Windows.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by brajalle » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:01 pm

While technically Linux, I think the OP is missing Chrome on that list.

I'd probably consider it the most Boglehead OS on the list tbh. Probably has the best mix of simple/cheap.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by mindboggling » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:03 pm

I've been using Linux at home exclusively for over ten years. Currently, I have an old desktop running Mint Linux with the XFCE desktop, an old laptop running Lubuntu, and a netbook computer running Lubuntu that I use exclusively for streaming classical music from internet radio stations into a legacy stereo system.

My main applications are LibreOffice for mostly MS-compatible word processor and spreadsheet; and Gnucash, a double-entry accounting program I use for tracking expenses and income.

Currently using the Opera browser, but have used Firefox and Chrome. KeepassX for password manager, and an RPN calculator that I enjoy using.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by triceratop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:12 pm

brajalle wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:01 pm
While technically Linux, I think the OP is missing Chrome on that list.

I'd probably consider it the most Boglehead OS on the list tbh. Probably has the best mix of simple/cheap.
Chrome is basically a modified Gentoo Linux (a source-based meta distribution).
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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by aristotelian » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:54 pm

Aside from security, to me the biggest plus of Linux is that it is free/open source and you are not beholden to any commercial entity for something as fundamental as computing. Of course, that is also its biggest disadvantage. Since most companies are set up to use MS or Apple products, it is not great for work. However, I find it perfectly fine for about 99% of home computing tasks, since just about everything these days can be done in the cloud.

Also customizability is an advantage that I don't think has been discussed. You can use a simple version for old hardware or add all kinds of bells and whistles if your computer can handle it, etc.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by sschoe2 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:04 pm

I use Mint as my main OS on both computers. I have Win 10 on a separate partition on one for the very rare occasions I need windows (Using ODIN to flash my android tablet).

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by Nyc10036 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:31 pm

mindboggling wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:03 pm

Currently using the Opera browser, but have used Firefox and Chrome.
You may want to consider Vivaldi web browser. The people starter Opera started it. :happy

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by SittingOnTheFence » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:56 pm

This week, after decades using linux and other non-windows OS's, I am embarking on the iMac journey, and a very steep learning curve. I am too used to the benefits of linux but I have gotten tired of various aspects of some linux desktop that don't always work to my satisfaction and hope that a Mac will provide me with what I need that linux doesn't easily provide.

For linux, I have been using mostly openSuse running KDE. It is actively maintained (x64 only) but some pieces of KDE do not work well in my environment so I switched. I will continue to maintain my linux desktop for the foreseeable future. KDE provides a very 'windows-like' interface. I've never taken a liking to Gnome but many users prefer it's cleaner interface.

Debian works on i386 if you don't have a newer machine.

In order to run turbotax, I ran it in a virtual machine with Win10. I really wanted to get away from running windows in a VM so tried a Mac In a VM to run ttax. That was extremely frustrating since vBox does not support Mac clients and it took a lot of fine tuning to get it to run at all. It's been 2 yrs now trying to run t-tax on a Mac VM in linux and hence my decision to move entirely to an iMac. I will say that may not be the best Boglehead decision.

Never tried Wine, vBox works very well with other OS's except a Mac. If you go to linux definitely look at one of the virtual machine solutions.

Good luck with your decision.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by madpunster » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:52 pm

If you'd like to test drive linux, you can put the live CD versions on a USB drive via YUMI. Booting to the USB drive will run YUMI and you can test drive whatever versions of linux you've put on the drive. I like Ubuntu Mate and Mint, but lately I've found elementary OS (Mac like) and Zorin OS (Windows 7 like) to be very elegant. I also put the Windows 10 install files on the drive via YUMI since the thrift store computers I pick up often don't have running CD/DVD ROMs and the files sometimes don't fit on a single DVD. 32 bit versions of linux are also useful for older CPUs - I have lubuntu running on an ancient Xeon and xubuntu running on an Opteron 146 (I also keep Puppy linux on an old Celeron laptop because it barks on startup). 32-bit Windows 10 also is a candidate on the older laptops with CPUs which masqueraded as 64 bit but really weren't there yet. Booting off USB drives is easy peasy (usu F12 on starting) and the drives are so cheap. It'll be a great adventure. Have fun with your build! :beer

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by student » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:29 pm

In graduate school during the late 80's and early 90's, I used unix exclusively. Then I switched to linux and windows. Now I almost exclusively use MacOS, with some usage of Windows and almost none of linux. Occasionally, I will go back to its BSD ancestry and use the terminal. These days, I found all three are essentially the same from a casual user point of view.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by azurekep » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:38 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:54 pm
Aside from security, to me the biggest plus of Linux is that it is free/open source and you are not beholden to any commercial entity for something as fundamental as computing.
Speaking of free and open source, I just ran across this Reddit thread...

This is Jean-Baptiste Kempf, the creator of the VLC media player, he refused tens of millions of euros in order to keep VLC ads-free. Merci, Jean!

It even has a picture of the guy with an orange cone on his head. :)

So much of the world is a depressing place these days. It's nice to see people who give generously of their time and talent.

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by azurekep » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:48 pm

madpunster wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:52 pm
I like Ubuntu Mate and Mint, but lately I've found elementary OS (Mac like) and Zorin OS (Windows 7 like) to be very elegant.
After WinXP lost official support, Zorin was one of the ones recommended as being a lot like Windows. I tried it, and as I recall it gave a choice of which version of Windows to look like. It also had Wine preinstalled and ready to run. But Mint was way prettier and had a much larger user community. Now, Mint even has a light version (xfce), so there's really not a lot of reasons for a beginner to not try it. They just need to decide light (xfce), medium (mate) or heavy (cinnamon).

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Re: Running Linux vs Other OS?

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:17 pm

I dual boot Fedora Linux and Windows 7.

I strongly recommend separating your OS on different drives. In spite of compatibility claims, MS Windows is a proprietary format. There will always be some minor differences between the way Linux manages an NTFS drive vs. Microsoft.

For example, I was booting into Windows 7 from my Linux drive's grub2 boot loader. A few hours later, Windows 7 would decide to crash with the Blue Screen of Death. No reason, it just did.

I then started booting into MS Windows from my BIOS boot menu. No more Windows Blue Screens of Death.

I run Fedora Linux because it's the upstream OS distribution of what my employer runs - Red Hat.

I'm giving a friend my 7 year-old laptop. He knows nothing about computers and just needs a browser and email. I installed Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (Long Term Support). Easy. If he doesn't like it, I'll reload it with Windows 7 - what came with the laptop.
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