Windows vs. Linux: Questions from a Beginner

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
curly lambeau
Posts: 668
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:42 am

Post by curly lambeau » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:33 am

I am a huge Linux fan, I've been using it for six years now.

I just tried the Linux-based, bootable backup program called Clonezilla, and it is fantastic. It allows you to back-up and restore entire hard drives or partitions. It's totally free and blows away all that Norton/Symantec Ghost stuff---simpler and faster. Almost all the default settings are just fine, basically you just need to tell it whether to copy the whole disk or a partition, and where to copy it to.

Here's the link to Clonezilla Live for home users: http://www.clonezilla.org/clonezilla-live/

You boot it from a CD or USB stick. You do not need to install Linux! This works with any PC or Intel-based Mac.

There's also a server version you can use for multicasting disk images to several computers.
Last edited by curly lambeau on Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
jiclemens
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:52 pm
Location: North Augusta, SC

old laptops

Post by jiclemens » Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:49 pm

My XP finally blew up on my old HP Pavillion N5195 and I decided before buying a new computer I would give Linux a try. Not enough horsepower for Vista, computer too old to be interested in troubleshooting why XP blew up. Used Linux some at work along with some other Unix implementations. OpenOffice and Mozilla products. For old equipment (pre-2000), I had to test-drive a number of Linux vendors and found the one that best suited my hardware was Mandriva. I tried Ubuntu and like it but think Mandriva was more robust out of the box for this particular computer. It has older CD/DVD player and an older wireless card and some hotbuttons that I was surprised to see supported. Connecting to wireless networks is intuitive. If I had a newer computer I wouldn't hesitate to try Ubuntu again. Linux saved me a fortune in buying either another computer or Windows. Maybe I am blissfully naieve but I do not run any antivirus, but do run adblockers. Mandriva supports an intuitive software installer and that should be a consideration for a new user spoiled by Windows.
Regarding Vista, my newer desktop runs Ultimate flawlessly. No complaints about Vista (except price) or Mandriva Linux with KDE desktop (which I will also gladly pay for eventually).
Best wishes,
John

linenfort
Posts: 2241
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:45 pm

curly lambeau wrote:I am a huge Linux fan, I've been using it for six years now.
Do you have a favorite flavor of Linux?

User avatar
CyberBob
Posts: 3264
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:53 pm

Post by CyberBob » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:06 pm

linenfort wrote:Do you have a favorite flavor of Linux?
One of the most confusing things about trying out Linux for the first time certainly has to be the huge number of distributions available. Distrowatch makes mention of more than 400 different distributions. It's much less confusing, though, when you realize that many distributions are just modified versions of the two major distributions Debian and Fedora.

When you ask someone there favorite flavor of Linux, it's actually a hard question to answer. Linux, at it's heart, is really just a kernel or the core part that doesn't do too much until you attach other programs on to it. For most desktop users, the GUI is what may give a particular distribution a particular flavor. Although this isn't always the case, as many major distributions allow you to choose from several desktop environments. I just mention this as many people associate a distribution such as Ubuntu as 'nice to use', when in fact, the majority of that niceness comes from not the actual distribution, but the desktop environment Ubuntu uses, which is Gnome. Other popular GUI desktops include KDE, XFCE, as well as some more minimal window managers like Awesome or Fluxbox.

Another thing that give a distribution a particular flavor is its package manager, which is used to install, remove and manage programs. Some flavors of package managers being APT, Yum, YaST, Pacman.

So if by asking about 'favorite flavors' of Linux you are really asking for a recommendation, then the answer is...it depends on your needs/wants.

Or, if you are just asking a general question about what people like, then put down my vote as going to Arch Linux running the LXDE desktop. After years of distro-hopping, I think I've found my operating system Holy Grail!

Bob

mortal
Posts: 459
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:15 pm

Post by mortal » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:01 am

I've used linux pretty much elusively for 5 years now. I'm actually more comfortable with it than windows, if I'm honest. I got into it because it had all the compilers that I needed to write my own software.

I'll admit, it's not for everyone, heck, like a mac, it's probably not for most. For me though, it is absolutely rock solid. To be fair, 2k and XP were also fairly solid when I used them at work/school, but nothing beats linux for downright boring reliability. The thing I hold against vista, is it does the same thing as xp, and xp did the same thing as 2k. Yet with each release the OS requires many times more ram.

Until recently, I would have conceded that, for the average computer user, windows was really a better choice. However, if the average user, running average hardware, has to choose between vista and linux, imho linux is hands down the better OS, even for joe sixpack.

technofox
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 8:25 pm

Post by technofox » Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:06 am

I have used linux off and on for server and desktop user. Linux is very strong as server operating system, but as a desktop OS it has been fairly week until the last few years.

If you are going to give linux a shot use Ubuntu, I almost consider it as easy to use as Mac in regards to functionality. Other distros would Mepis and PCLinux; there are others also, but ease of use will probably decline.

I personally prefer Fedora Linux, as an overall linux distro of choice for server and desktop use, but I have Windows Vista as my desktop environment for daily use.

If you just surf the web, e-mail, and do office apps, then linux can work for you. If you play 3D Windows games, then I highly recommend staying away from linux. As for hardware support its all based upon the distro you use for example: Ubuntu includes proprietary third party drivers from hardware manufacturers, whereas Fedora may not. Hardware has become less of a problem then it was several years ago.

As for Wifi, you can always use an NDIS Wrapper program to use a windows wifi driver; you just need to do a little bit of reading, and learning to use the command line interface (its easy if you know DOS).

Other than that, you can always buy a Mac. I like them for their simplicity and third party support (Games are getting better) and it uses a Unix back-end that makes geeks like me think of hack-ability to customize the OS to my desires. Mac also has great tech support and overall quality of design. Basically its like buying a lamp, you plug it in and use it, that's it.

TheEternalVortex
Posts: 2556
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:17 pm
Location: San Jose, CA

Post by TheEternalVortex » Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:26 am

I prefer Kubuntu (because KDE > GNOME), but I guess my favorite overall is Gentoo. It's a huge time suck, but it's lots of fun.

linenfort
Posts: 2241
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Post by linenfort » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:19 am

CyberBob wrote:So if by asking about 'favorite flavors' of Linux you are really asking for a recommendation, then the answer is...it depends on your needs/wants.
Bob
Certainly, I don't need to run a server. Simple desktop needs.
I think the applications I use
all have Linux versions: firefox, skype, picasa and not much else.
All my docs are done online ("Google OS").

My final concern is hardware compatibility:
My router has been set up for years, and I'm pretty sure I could
just plug a new computer into it without changing anything and it would
be fine.
If I could use my current printer and scanner and skype phone w/
ubuntu, I'd switch this afternoon.

User avatar
CyberBob
Posts: 3264
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:53 pm

Post by CyberBob » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:31 am

linenfort wrote:My router has been set up for years, and I'm pretty sure I could just plug a new computer into it without changing anything and it would be fine.
Undoubtedly it would. But routers are easy as any reasonably mainstream router allows access to the administration screens from any web browser. (Usually at the address http://192.168.1.1)

Bob

User avatar
curly lambeau
Posts: 668
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:42 am

Post by curly lambeau » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:51 am

I recommend Ubuntu.

Valuethinker
Posts: 39047
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Windows vs. Linux: Questions from a Beginner

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:06 am

CountryBoy wrote: It is my understanding that MS will stop supporting XP Pro effective August or sometime in the next year. I am seriously thinking of moving to Linux so as to simplify my life. But the question is will it truly simplify my life?
CountryBoy
CB

Is this really true? I believe they will support until after 2011?

allsop
Posts: 1046
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:08 am

Re: Windows vs. Linux: Questions from a Beginner

Post by allsop » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:22 am

Valuethinker wrote:
CountryBoy wrote: It is my understanding that MS will stop supporting XP Pro effective August or sometime in the next year. I am seriously thinking of moving to Linux so as to simplify my life. But the question is will it truly simplify my life?
CountryBoy
CB

Is this really true? I believe they will support until after 2011?
Microsoft intends to not sell any new XP Pro licenses after July 2009, but MS will still support XP for a few years. I wrote "intends" since this was supposed to happen this summer, but MS Vista is quite simply not ready for prime time and business customers balked.

Valuethinker
Posts: 39047
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Windows vs. Linux: Questions from a Beginner

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:56 am

allsop wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
CountryBoy wrote: It is my understanding that MS will stop supporting XP Pro effective August or sometime in the next year. I am seriously thinking of moving to Linux so as to simplify my life. But the question is will it truly simplify my life?
CountryBoy
CB

Is this really true? I believe they will support until after 2011?
Microsoft intends to not sell any new XP Pro licenses after July 2009, but MS will still support XP for a few years. I wrote "intends" since this was supposed to happen this summer, but MS Vista is quite simply not ready for prime time and business customers balked.
My understanding is that even the great god in Redmond is now focusing on Vista II (whatever it is called) and not talking so much about the great things Vista will do.

This is a company that is a crack shot: right at its own foot.

linenfort
Posts: 2241
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Post by linenfort » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:24 pm

CyberBob wrote:But routers are easy as any reasonably mainstream router allows access to the administration screens from any web browser.
Bob
It's the scanner and printer I'm really concerned about. I know Linux
gurus can figure out how to make things work, just like they can
write their own patches, but I just don't know how to do that.
ValueThinker wrote:My understanding is that even the great god in Redmond is now focusing on Vista II (whatever it is called)
I think it's called "7".

User avatar
jpsfranks
Posts: 995
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:45 pm

Post by jpsfranks » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:34 pm

linenfort wrote: It's the scanner and printer I'm really concerned about. I know Linux
gurus can figure out how to make things work, just like they can
write their own patches, but I just don't know how to do that.
If you're going to go with Ubuntu, you might find the following links useful:

Supported printers

Supported scanners

I would second (or third or whatever) the recommendation to try Ubuntu. I've used many Linux distributions over the years and Ubuntu is just fantastic. I love everything about it except the name.

linenfort
Posts: 2241
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Post by linenfort » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:55 pm

Good info, thank you!

User avatar
CyberBob
Posts: 3264
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:53 pm

Post by CyberBob » Fri Oct 10, 2008 4:14 pm


Post Reply