Linux has Changed...
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  1. #1
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    Default Linux has Changed...

    For those who don't know linux is a free, open source operating system - like windows, or Apple OS proprietary operating systems. Open source means that the programming source code is freely available for anyone who programs to noodle about with it also means that linux has been developed completely by a world wide community of programmers. Linux has been around for a long time, and has always had the reputation as only being used (or usable) by serious computer nerds. I've dabbled with it several times over the years, but I've never been quite nerdy enough to really embrace it.

    That has changed - linux has become much easier for the casual computer user to implement and use. You still have to be willing to use a command prompt every once in a while, and the user has to do a bit more configuration. But that also means that user CAN do more configuration. Anyway, it's not for everyone yet, but if you can remember what autoexec.bat and config.sys were and were able to do that, then you can do linux.

    I took the dive, because my 10 year old windows XP computer finally gave up the ghost (main board) in a way that I could no longer repair without buying a new operating system. And honestly I'm fed up with Microsoft - the constant push "security upgrades" and the corporate bloatware that they cram into every installation - not to mention that they seem to consider their loyal customers to be thieves. My wife's aging HP laptop came with a piece of corporate malware called "Vongo" that apparently can't be exorcised without a team of priests - not MS, but still corporate malfeasance. With all the bloatware, and the antivirus programs, and the "Please wait while windows does something that is way more important than what you want to do" I was ready to give linux a fair trial.

    So I ordered a bare bones kit (MB, CPU, RAM in a case) and downloaded Ubuntu Linux (Linux comes in several flavors - distributions - Ubuntu is probably the most main stream) and burned it onto a DVD. When the hardware came I installed my hard drive (an SSD - great upgrade to any system BTW) booted to the Linux DVD, copied all of my data to an external drive, rebooted, and did a fresh install allowing Linux to format and over-write the internal hard drive. Really painless - Easier than the last time I installed Windows.

    All of my hardware worked - WiFi, Bluetooth, mouse, monitor, audio, everything - without any fiddling about - seriously that has Never been the case with a new Windows install. All of the software that I use also works, although that did require a little bit of fiddling. Even windows software (picasa FE) runs great on linux using an emulator like program called WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator.) Chrome - which I probably use more than anything - is identical on Linux, which means that gmail, youtube, etc, everything you do online is the exact same experience. No learning curve at all.

    Also there are lots of high quality native Linux programs - office suites, graphics, games, etc - that are freely available. However if you try it and use it, it's pretty cool to make a donation. Anyway you could set up everything you need for a student or small business computer without paying a cent for perfectly good software.

    And malware on Linux is almost a trivial threat (not completely non-existent, but rare) for various reasons. So no anti virus program hogging up your processor. No bloatware, no "buy this" push software. So Linux is fast. My machine boots up in about 10 seconds - ready to work (or goof off like I am now,) not just ready to scan for viruses and check for updates.

    So far I give it 2 thumbs up.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 10-29-2015 at 09:54 AM.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    I run all Linux at home except for a couple of tablets. I haven't run a Windows or Mac machine at home for about 8 years now. Just upgraded to Ubuntu 15.10 last night.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    Cool - then do you think I got all that more or less right?
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    I've been using Linux for over 15 years, and I don't consider myself an uber-nerd--more of a cheapskate with a stick-it-to-the-man attitude toward Micro$oft and other software profiteers. It's true that back in the day it took a lot more tinkering and trial-and-error to get things working. Now not only is the hardware support better, but with online resources like linuxquestions.org, it's a bit easier to find answers when you get stuck. And since it's free you can try out all the different distros, see what you like, and continue to educate yourself. I started with Slackware and have mostly stuck with it, though I have tried Redhat/Fedora and Debian (the mother of Ubuntu) at various times.

    Good luck, and don't forget there is help out there when you need it!

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    This thread is encouraging. I was just doing a little Linux research a week or so back. I have a still normally ok-for-what-I - do eMachine with XP on it. I was thinking that Linux might help it overcome the arthritis or whatever it has.

    This is definitely encouraging!

    Thanks for posting this.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    Yup, you have it right. I actually started using Linux in 1998. Ran a modem to a Linux box and used IPCHAINS to share internet in the house. When distributions started becoming available on thumb drives I started booting up Linux on Windows machines to avoid the proprietary Microsoft issues and to be more secure. By then, Linux was already on lots of devices like firewalls, routers, etc. After a while I found I wasn't using Windows any longer so I just wiped the partition and put Linux on it. Built a small server for the house to backup all the devices we own and to offer a central location for music, pics, etc. Then, I just wiped all the machines and put Linux on them. Nowadays, people are used to different experiences so the transition is very, very easy. Our local library runs Linux on their public PC's and offers Linux classes which is kind of cool.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    Thanks for the info guys. I am going to make the shift on my laps to start. I just put new drive in them and the op syss are gone.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    >> So I ordered a bare bones kit (MB, CPU, RAM in a case) and ...

    David, would you mind identifying what hardware+vendor you used for this?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    I run ubuntu on a few older machines. it really speeds them up without the bloat and works great for internet and picture storage. I work in the corporate world though so my day to day work is on a PC and I do like it for what I have to do.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    This thread motivated me to get off the stick and make the switch to a a Linux based box before my current (8 year old Windows) box gets any worse or just plain dies outright.

    I decided to start out with a small footprint processor box and ordered an Intel NUC!




    photo credit
    As you can see, a NUC is a very small box, about 4"x4"x2".

    No, Intel has not expanded into the bee business, a NUC is their "Next Unit of Computing". Start with a NUC, add some RAM, and a drive (I chose an affordable 120 Gb solid state drive - no moving parts). Download and install Ubuntu, and shazam - I'm a Linux user!

    I have never had hands on with Linux before, and this install process went very smoothly - less hassles than the last time I installed Windows from scratch. By shopping carefully, I have a very functional Ubuntu based NUC with 8Gb ram and 120 Gb SSDrive for about $220, using a keyboard/mouse and display that I already had. Note that there are many different flavors of NUCs, and the different prices reflect the wide variety of CPU choices and installed options. Check the specs carefully before making a choice.

    Thanks for the push, David!

    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 11-06-2015 at 07:12 PM. Reason: typos
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    That's pretty neat. Maybe I'll do that for my shop. I use a tablet out there but sometimes I need more. Space is a concern and that would solve the problem. I have a TV out there which I could use as my monitor and I have a spare wireless keyboard. Hmmmmmm.......and I don't need a lot of local storage since I'd just store everything on my Ubuntu server back in the house anyway.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    The NUC box I got came with a bracket that can be used to mount the NUC to the VESA mount of a monitor if desk space is a concern.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    That's pretty cool Rader - do those have a cooling system? It seems like you could use it for a coaster to keep your coffee hot without it.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    Congrats, Graham! That NUC looks pretty cool. Amazing how they can pack the power into tiny spaces these days. I'm still a decade behind hardware wise, but keeping my eye on the possibilities.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    Yes, there is supposed to be a fan in mine, although I haven't seen or heard it yet. But I have only been using it for about 60 minutes so far.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    I've run Linux on a couple of boxes since 2002. The Ubuntu speed and polish has indeed gotten pretty fine for utility computing.
    I have a Mac and a Windows 7 virtual machine on the Ubuntu boxes to run InDesign and ArcView.

    The virtual machines were installed outside the native Ubuntu version (software update) system, and remain an awkward kludge.

    Some software that is otherwise beautiful (QGIS, an open source GIS is my current grump) require some uber-nerd hacking to introduce needed components that fall outside Linux license. The particular hassle with QGIS is support for the MrSID image compression -- MrSID is now universal on the ArcView side for packing down big earth images. One has to build from source the graphics driver to support MrSID on the Linux side, and every version requires a new source build with truely arcane code flags in a terminal window. My dedicated GIS box is at Ubuntu 12.04 --- all because the source build of the MrSID support takes me 4-5 days of hair pulling.

    Flash (Adobe) support on the utility side had a similar hassle for years, but recently it just a one click addition to over-install the components.

    I originally rolled Linux to use the "R" statistical package -- that's less compelling now because the Mac implementation of R Studio is really polished. Yesterday, I was running RStudio inside the Mac virtual machine on a Ubuntu laptop, and dragging the text output out on to the shared virtual disk. Weird evolution.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    See - I only kinda understand about 25% of that, but I can still use Linux for everything I want to do so far.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    Graphics drivers have come a long way but I still get weirdness every once in a while. I get every release so that I can play and sometimes things just don't go as planned. LTS stuff is usually pretty good.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Linux has Changed...

    I started using Ubuntu about 3 years ago on a very primitive pc that would barely run XP. Ubuntu ran so nicely on it I am still using it today. I did make one mistake.... My Swap Partition is really too small for the limited memory this old pc has, I know how to fix it but just have not got around to it. Nice to have no Malware or viruses to deal with.

    My daughter tells me I need to switch to Fedora.... may check it out.
    "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve."
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