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Thread: Sell me on Linux

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    Sell me on Linux

    I've had something of a psychotic break this week (partly due to a 36-hour straight paper-writing binge) and I'm seeing the world a little differently. I've been dabbling with some open source software and so far I like what I see.

    Now I'm toying with the idea of defenestrating completely and taking the Linux plunge. But I still have some reservations and a lingering fear that something important isn't going to be supported. The only major thing I've found so far is that Quickbooks Pro is something of a problem, and what solutions there are are not free.

    So, somebody sell me on Linux, particularly from the point of view of somebody who is still going to have to be technologically interdependent with Microsoft colleagues. It seems like Open Office will take care of a lot of the compatibility issues, but what else might I be missing? (And don't bother with the security stuff; I already know that is a major Linux advantage.)
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


    Freedom, Security, Convenience -- Choose Two. –Dan Geer

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    Re: Sell me on Linux

    If you're talking about going to Linux on an existing PC, you could always just partition your drive and keep Windows on the other partition. It's worked well for me (Red Hat on the main partition, Windows on the other "just in case") -- I don't think I've booted into Windows in a year or two.

    Quickbooks won't work on anything very well outside of windows (the Mac version is terrible, too). If you have programs like that you'll probably want to keep Windows around at least for that. I can't really comment on the "solutions" for Quickbooks, the only person I know who has tried one was not really pleased (I think lingering trouble with the Database Server Manager), and switched to GnuCash I believe. I have also heard positive things about Quasar, though I do not use either of them. My experience with OpenOffice has been great, though. Never had any trouble with that.

    If you're looking at switching an existing computer over, you may also want to ensure all your hardware is compatible before you take the plunge -- most of it probably is by now, but better to find out sooner rather than later.

    All in all I would say I'm very happy with the change. My computer runs faster, and I can't remember the last time it crashed. Most of what I do with the home PC (Linux box) is word processing and surfing BB&B, which Linux does flawlessly. I leave the financial stuff on the work (Windows) laptop.

    Let us know how it goes...
    "For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else."
    --Sir Winston Churchill, November 9, 1954

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    Re: Sell me on Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by dawgcrazy View Post
    If you're talking about going to Linux on an existing PC, you could always just partition your drive and keep Windows on the other partition. It's worked well for me (Red Hat on the main partition, Windows on the other "just in case") -- I don't think I've booted into Windows in a year or two.

    Quickbooks won't work on anything very well outside of windows (the Mac version is terrible, too). If you have programs like that you'll probably want to keep Windows around at least for that. I can't really comment on the "solutions" for Quickbooks, the only person I know who has tried one was not really pleased (I think lingering trouble with the Database Server Manager), and switched to GnuCash I believe. I have also heard positive things about Quasar, though I do not use either of them. My experience with OpenOffice has been great, though. Never had any trouble with that.

    If you're looking at switching an existing computer over, you may also want to ensure all your hardware is compatible before you take the plunge -- most of it probably is by now, but better to find out sooner rather than later.

    All in all I would say I'm very happy with the change. My computer runs faster, and I can't remember the last time it crashed. Most of what I do with the home PC (Linux box) is word processing and surfing BB&B, which Linux does flawlessly. I leave the financial stuff on the work (Windows) laptop.

    Let us know how it goes...
    Well, I was starting with a clean harddrive, so I installed XP in one partition, created a partition for them to share, and loaded Ubuntu on the other partition. I love the features I could get to in Ubuntu. The only problem I ran into is that my sound card and graphics card are not fully supported. But that is a pretty huge problem, as the computer is pretty much the entertainment center. I scoured the internet for fixes, but didn't find anything that worked.

    I also wasn't happy with the performance. I was comparing a clean install of Win XP with a clean install of Ubuntu 7.04 and Win XP was much, much faster on startup and shut down, and it was also noticeably faster just running basic apps. There may have been some tweaking I could have done to get more out of the Ubuntu, but "out-of-the-box" I wasn't real impressed with the performance. (But let me reiterate that I really like the look, feel, and many of the apps available.)

    So I've already deleted the Ubuntu partition(s). I'll probably take another stab at it someday, but I just don't have time to work through the issues right now (and I need the harddrive space for now). In the meantime I'll just keep taking baby steps into the open-source world with Windows apps, and I'll also keep checking for better drivers for my multimedia devices.
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


    Freedom, Security, Convenience -- Choose Two. –Dan Geer

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    Re: Sell me on Linux

    I slept a couple of hours and decided not to give up on Ubuntu yet. So I re-installed it this morning. I am going to try to use a shared drive between Windows and Linux so that, to some extent, I can work in either environment. I know I shouldn't have problems with the office files (as I will be using Open Office in both set ups). Where I am really rolling the dice is sharing media. I'm planning to download Xine for the Linux partition and I hope to be able to use that to listen to my music when I'm on the Linux side, and still be able to use Media Player to access those same files when I'm on the Windows side. We'll see how it goes!

    So far I'm not real impressed with the Evolution application that came bundled with Linux. The only thing I like about it is that the calendar/schedule is linked with the system clock and calendar. Anybody know if Sunbird does that? I may just use Thunderbird and Sunbird rather than Evolution.
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


    Freedom, Security, Convenience -- Choose Two. –Dan Geer

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    Re: Sell me on Linux

    if youre not planning on media/gaming with your comp, linux is fine. I used Ubuntu for about a year until my laptop died. But that laptop was too old for games anyways, so now that I have a better laptop, I couldnt part with Windows.

    Ubuntu was fun and useful, but too many things are windows-dependant right now.

    I do have an Ubuntu virtual machine set up on VMWare though. Just for when I feel like messing around in Linux.
    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Re: Sell me on Linux

    Most Linux distros these days are all GUI based and really easy to install. You end up using a web browser 90 percent of the time anyway, and Firefox is universal.

    No reason not to use it. It's free.

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    Re: Sell me on Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by Luminaire View Post
    No reason not to use it. It's free.
    That's a lot of it right there!

    I have had some ups and downs, but right now things are going well with Ubuntu. I switched to KDE (so I guess technically it Kubuntu) and am really liking that.

    The remaining issues I have are:
    1. There is some glitch (not sure if it's just Ubuntu or what) that won't allow you to use SCIM (which I use for Chinese input) with several apps, most notably OpenOffice. Not only that, but if SCIM is running (and it must run as daemon to work at all) OO will crash before the splash screen even gets going well.

    2. I burn a lot of home movies to DVD, and I like to tinker with them a bit along the way. I know this is possible in Linux, but I have not yet got it worked out. (Any suggestions?)

    3. Quickbooks. I have talked for years about switching to something else because it is way more than I need (no payroll, for example) and because it doesn't use OFX, etc., for importing directly from bank/cc websites. The rub, though, is exporting all that data, especially the old stuff. (I'm not really sure how far back I need to keep but at least the previous year for sure). And I'm not at all interested in manually entering all of that.

    4. I have just begun using OpenOffice, so I've yet to test how easy it will be to work with my MS Office coworkers. As I've mentioned, we pass a lot of documents around, especially Word documents, and some folks love to add comments. I played around with an old one and found the track changes to work fine, but I don't have one that I know for sure has comments to see if that feature also migrates back and forth well. (Anybody got experience with this?)

    5. I found a way to share Thunderbird and Firefox profile information between my Linux and Win XP platforms, but Ubuntu does not yet support Tb 2.0, so I can't try it out yet. Similarly, I am hoping to put my media files (especially music files) in the shared partition and be able to access them in each environment. I haven't tried this yet. (Any suggestions?) One issue is that I really really like Win MP, so I'd prefer to use that one in XP and find something similar for Ubuntu. Maybe I can run Win MP through WINE?

    Anyway, for the reasons above (except 5) I am still Windows dependent, and really haven't had any performance or other issues with the dual boot, so I guess I'll cruise with this for a while.

    Sorry to post so much on this. I only have time for one message board, and I'd hate to part with BB&B just for computer stuff.
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


    Freedom, Security, Convenience -- Choose Two. –Dan Geer

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    Re: Sell me on Linux

    In case anybody cares, my Linux evolution continues. I have resolved issues 3 and 5 above as follows:

    3. I installed VMWare Server and created a virtual machine to run Win XP from within Linux. I then moved my QB data file to a shared folder, which I can access from my virtual machine as well as my native Win XP partition. Any changes I make in one are present for the other. Cool!

    5. It turns out that it doesn't matter that I'm running two different versions of Thunderbird. So, whether I log in to Windows or into Linux I am accessing exactly the same mail folders.

    Still haven't worked through the other issues up there. I've also found that the MSNMessenger-emulators are adequate, but not nearly as good as Windows Live Messenger for video chat. Similarly, I also haven't played around with getting my dual display working.

    If you are thinking about trying out Linux, I highly recommend it. Just do your homework first. The main normal-usage area that the Linux distros still lag in is support for high-end graphics. Many of the graphics card, web cams, etc., companies simply don't invest much in driver and application support for Linux. If those things don't matter to you, you may find a lot in Linux that you like.

    Okay, sales pitch over.
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


    Freedom, Security, Convenience -- Choose Two. –Dan Geer

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