OK, Tech experts: Turn me on to Linux

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Neubill, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. Neubill

    Neubill Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Southern Kelehfornya
    Nothing against Windows or Apple, but I want to hear from people who use Linux. Basically, convince me why a regular guy like me should use it.

    I would describe my level of computer expertise as NOVICE. I don't build or swap components myself. I learn by reading instruction books and asking intelligent people questions.

    90% of my computer usage is:
    • Office production (word processing and spreadsheets)
    • Checking e-mail
    • Browsing on the internet (I use Firefox)
    • Using a player (i.e. Real Player) to listen to radio stations

    Occasionally, I use Adobe Premier (Elements) for putting family videos together, but that's it.

    So if Linux is good, tell me why a regular guy like me should use it. BTW, 'L-eye-nucks' or 'L-in-ucks,' which is the correct pronounciation?
     
  2. nancyb

    nancyb Member

    Jun 30, 2000
    Falls Church, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  3. nsa

    nsa Member+

    New England Revolution; Boston Breakers
    United States
    Feb 22, 1999
    Notboston, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    For the average Joe or Jane, $$$ may be the only reason to change.

    But it ain't easy.
    On your check list, you'll get 2 of 4, maybe 3.

    I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to computer hardware having written proprietary array processor microcode and PC BIOS. I know my way around a command line pretty well, too. That said, I found the SlackWare Linux installation on a 1999-vintage PC a tad daunting. You really need to know what's under the hood. It's up and running; looking to use it as a web server in a training lab.

    A few years ago I installed Red Hat on a new production note book. It was unhappy with the sound chip. I gave up trying to find a Linux driver that worked.

    I've used Open Office and found that it's not 100% compatible with M$ Office so you can and will find that newer Word and eXcel docs will fail.

    Internet and e-mail - no problem.
     
  4. Daniel from Montréal

    Aug 4, 2000
    Montréal
    Club:
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    I spent 5 months with a G3 iMac outfitted with Ubuntu PPC and it had all sorts of trouble, the biggest one being that apparently, I couldn't play Flash files on it!

    I functioned with it for school and browsing / MSNing, mainly, but as someone that's good with software (but not computers), I didn't like it too much.

    Coming back to my iMac and OSX was niiiiiiiice.
     
  5. noaihmtch

    noaihmtch Red Card

    Mar 12, 2005
    Great Japan
    stay away from linux. it's not for anyone it does't matter if you are novice or professional. it's just sooooo unproductive. be wise to spend time better way
     
  6. JeremyEritrea

    JeremyEritrea Member+

    Jun 29, 2006
    Takoma Park, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Personally, I wouldn't recommend Linux for any "novice" user, but that's just me. I've been a professional programmer for over 20 years, and I've really never found any compelling reason to use Linux myself.
     
  7. chapulincolorado

    Jul 14, 1999
    McAllen, Texas
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    I think Ubuntu has the capacity where you can use it without installing it fully so you can test drive it. I personally have received the free CD and did a test drive, but......eh....didn't see much reason to change to Linux.
     
  8. Daniel from Montréal

    Aug 4, 2000
    Montréal
    Club:
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Yeah, I burnt a "live cd" but my computer was soooooo slow to run it and since I had OS9 as the operating system, I figured it couldn't be much worse. It wasn't, but I wouldn't recommend it over OSX or even Windows (if you know how to protect yourself).
     
  9. nsa

    nsa Member+

    New England Revolution; Boston Breakers
    United States
    Feb 22, 1999
    Notboston, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A giant condom over the 'puter. ;)
     
  10. patrickdavila

    patrickdavila Member

    Jan 13, 1999
    Easton, PA
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've been running Linux as my main OS since around 98. It has grown by leaps and bounds and has become very easy to install. In fact easier and faster than a typical Windows install. For a noobie I recommend Mandriva, Ubuntu/Kubuntu or even Linspire. Linspire is the easiest as it basically comes with everything you need out of the box. With Ubuntu you might have to do a little configuring but it's not daunting if you're comfortable with computers. Say goodbye to viruses, spyware and paying for all your software.
     
  11. chapulincolorado

    Jul 14, 1999
    McAllen, Texas
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    I am not expert on viruses and spyware so can't comment on that. But. As far as free software and MSWindows, for newbies or for those who use computers for basic things, you can get a lot of free software for a Windows OS. Most of the stuff that I use is freeware.
     
  12. JeremyEritrea

    JeremyEritrea Member+

    Jun 29, 2006
    Takoma Park, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You can't debate with a religious zealot.

    :D

    Whatever the case, I would judge a "novice" user as someone at my sister's level. I would never tell her to install Linux because I know my phone would be ringing off the hook.
     
  13. chapulincolorado

    Jul 14, 1999
    McAllen, Texas
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    :D

    Before I get head cut off. Just my 2 cents on free this or free that. I just don't think "free programs" is good reason to change OS. There are good number of free programs available for Windows that you don't have to buy MicroSoft products. Just to name two programs that might be used alot: FastStone Image Viewer and OpenOffice.
     
  14. nancyb

    nancyb Member

    Jun 30, 2000
    Falls Church, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I used a Mephis install disk that I purchased off eBay for about $10. I only have Linux set up as a Samba server, but I found Mephis pretty easy to use. It's got a graphical interface. I ran into problems with my Samba, but that was caused by my router doing weird stuff, not Linux. It required me to spend a fair amount of time with the Linksys folks to get it resolved. Interestingly, the router issues are what got the Linux thing going in the first place as Windows kept 'losing' the connections between my two networked computers. Foosinho, moderator of this board, suggested I try Linux to fix that problem.

    Like others on this thread have mentioned, I wouldn't recommend it for a novice. I like to try out different things on the computer and I don't give up easily, so it was a sort of fun thing for me to mess around with. However, if you've got an old computer kicking around and want to see what it can do, I say go for it. That said, I did get frustrated with the Samba business and it took one of those lightbulb moments to figure out the problem was not with Linux, but with the router.

    Here are some things I've found I have to deal with it on my Linux system:

    The ethernet connection, though the monitor says otherwise, is never functional after a reboot unless I start and stop it. Same thing with the Samba.

    Linux is running fine on a Pentium II processor. It's a bit slow, but since I'm just using it to put files on, I don't really notice it.

    I was glad I had that box when my son 'fixed' one of our other computers recently (see thread in this forum). It gave me another computer to do internet research on and BS posting while it was out of commission. (I have three family computers functioning now, includin the Linux box. My college age son has his own computer, too, but that is currently out of commission likely due to a hard drive problem.)

    When I buy a new computer in the next 6 months, I intend to put Linux on the Pentium 3 processor computer that is currently running Windows XP.
     
  15. patrickdavila

    patrickdavila Member

    Jan 13, 1999
    Easton, PA
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I got my dad using Kubuntu for over a year now. He's definitely not technical. I installed it and setup his printer. I also installed all the extra "non Free" stuff via Automatix. Apart from a couple phone calls the first week asking "how do I do this" I haven't had to hold his hands at all. Every time I go for a visit I ask him how's he doing. He usually says "the computer is working fine". He does email, browses the internet and writes an occasional document. Linux works for him just fine.
     
  16. nsa

    nsa Member+

    New England Revolution; Boston Breakers
    United States
    Feb 22, 1999
    Notboston, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  17. Neubill

    Neubill Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Southern Kelehfornya
    I should have posted a poll. According to the BigSoccer community, it looks like Linux is not for the novice user like me.

    My thanks to all who posted in this thread. I'd like to use Linux in the future, and I'd be very interested to use the product when the install and configuration issues are resolved.

    I'll continue to check this thread for updates from my BigSoccer brethren.
     
  18. Daniel from Montréal

    Aug 4, 2000
    Montréal
    Club:
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    It's for a tech pro or for a true novice (like your grandma), but only if supervised by the pro.
     
  19. patrickdavila

    patrickdavila Member

    Jan 13, 1999
    Easton, PA
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Have any of the naysayers tried Linspire? For all intents and purposes it wipes your ass and holds your weiner while you pee. It's that easy! I say try out out a bootable distro such as Kanotix or Knoppix and see if you can deal with it. You can always setup a dual boot. That's what a lot of gamers wind up doing.
     
  20. nancyb

    nancyb Member

    Jun 30, 2000
    Falls Church, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Again, I'd say my install went well and once I figured out that the internet connection was resolved by stopping and starting it (with a graphical interface included with my install) it was easy. But, like I said, I don't really interface with it much. Also, I think my network issue is more of hardware problem than a Linux issue. The computer is about 8-10 years old, and the network card is an old one.
     
  21. JeffS

    JeffS New Member

    Oct 15, 2001
    Cameron Park, CA
    Club:
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Lot's of mis-information on this thread.

    That's Linux's biggest hurdle.

    People assume that Linux is hard, isn't compatible, is only for techies.

    All myths, at least when one considers "newbie friendly" Linux distros.

    That's the key. There are lot's of different Linux distros, all of which have been tailored for different purposes and philosophies.

    Some distros cater to the highly technical crowd - Slackware, Arch, pure Debian.

    Some cater to the Enterprise server or workstation - Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSe, etc.

    Some cater to the desktop, and within that category, there are two sub categories:
    1. Desktop oriented distros that don't include proprietary plugins, codecs, or drivers by default - this is the "pure free software" type of distro. Ubuntu, for instance, which is currently the most popular, is a great desktop oriented distro. But it does not ship the proprietary stuff out of the box. That stuff can be easily installed and downloaded after installation. But that often turns of newbies because they don't know what to do.

    2. Desktop oriented distros that do ship with proprietary plugins, codecs, and drivers by default. This type of distro is the absolute best for newbies. 99% of stuff will work out of the box. Installation will be a snap. All hardware will be auto detected and configured. Flash, Java, MP3, etc, all will work.

    The best of these types of distros, in my experience, are as follows:

    PCLinuxOS
    Mepis
    Knoppix
    Freespire

    The first three run as LiveCDs. The first two are Live CDs, and install to HD from Live mode, and the install takes 10 minutes. The last one doesn't run live, but it is great nonetheless.

    Of these, PCLinuxOS has been the all around best.

    With any of these, pretty much everything will work, and you don't have to be a technical user in any way, shape or form.

    Try it.
     
  22. JeffS

    JeffS New Member

    Oct 15, 2001
    Cameron Park, CA
    Club:
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Office production - a no brainer on Linux. You have three great choices:
    1. OpenOffice - the big daddy of the group, very full featured and powerful
    2. KOffice - another nice, full featured office suite, but lighter on resources
    3. AbiWord and Gnumeric - word processor and spreadsheet, light, fast, and works great.

    Checking e-mail - a complete no brainer, with multiple great choices:
    1. Mozilla Thunderbird
    2. Kmail
    3. Evolution
    4. Sylpheed
    ... and many others.

    Browsing the Internet - fantastic on Linux:
    1. Firefox
    2. Konqueror
    3. Opera
    4. Seamonkey
    5. Epiphany
    6. Flock

    Photo album software on Linux is good, too:
    1. JAlbum
    2. Ksnapshot
    3. Kuickshow
    ... etc

    Now, don't be intimidated with all the choices, either. Most distros just default to the best and/or most popular titles for each category, then give you instant access to other titles via their repositories and package management software.

    As far as pronunciation, I believe it's 'L-in-ucks,' because Linux original creator and principle maintainer Linus Torvalds said that 'L-in-ucks,' is closest to the proper Swedish (his native tongue, even though he's from Finland - there's a Swedish speaking minority in Finland) pronunciation.

    Let me re-iterate Linux is EASY!!!

    ... that is, provided you choose a distro that is very much oriented to desktop usage and newbies in particular. And there are good ones (all free downloads).

    Start with Knoppix. Knoppix specializes running as a Live CD, which means that it can run the OS live from CD without having to install to HD. This is completely safe and easy. All you have to do is download it, burn the ISO to your CD, then reboot. Then joila', instant Linux. Knoppix is stellar at hd detection, and runs fast from CD. Then when you're done playing with it, simply reboot, and it pops itself out of the CD drive, and you're back to your Windows/MacOS.

    Anybody can pop a CD in the CD ROM and reboot, right? What could be simpler than that???

    Anyway, Knoppix is awesome for getting your feet wet, to see what Linux (running a KDE desktop) looks like, and to see what really good apps it has. It's extremely simple and painless and totally fun.

    But once you've gotten your feet wet, go with a distro that is great for HD install as well as running live (again, Knoppix specializes in running live, and isn't as good for HD install).

    For this, the best in my experience is PCLinuxOS, for these reasons.

    1, PCLinuxOS's hd detection is stellar.
    2. it's fast.
    3. it has a great selection of default apps
    4. it's beautiful (a very nicely configured KDE desktop).
    5. it ships proprietary drivers, plugins, and multi media codes
    6. it has great GUI configuration tools. With this distro, you pretty much never have to go into the command line, unless you want to.
    7. it's installer is super easy, and super fast (takes about 10 minutes).
    9. it runs live, which gives you the chance to try it out risk free, and then you run the installer from live mode.
    10. very good documentation - there's a new user guide with a desktop icon
    11. great community - the PCLinuxOS forums and Wiki are extremely helpful
    12. Great package management, and a large repository - over 5,000 packages

    Other desktop oriented distros are good, too:
    Mepis
    Freespire
    Xandros
    Ubuntu (after running it's "Automatix" script to get the proprietary stuff).
    Mandriva
    ... and others.

    But, again, after trying lot's of different distros, PCLinuxOS has impressed me the most for overall features, ease of use, speed, and stability.

    And, once again, LINUX IS EASY!!!!

    Please do not let flamers or MS fan boys or others intimidate you from trying it. As I've said, it's easy and risk free, and free of cost (other than the cost of a blank CD).
     
  23. Neubill

    Neubill Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Southern Kelehfornya
    Thanks, JeffS!
     
  24. JeffS

    JeffS New Member

    Oct 15, 2001
    Cameron Park, CA
    Club:
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I love that line. :D

    The same can be said of pretty much any of the heavily desktop/newbie oriented distros.

    They really are that easy.

    Linux is easy, free, stable, fast, secure, full-featured, and ... fun. :)
     
  25. JeffS

    JeffS New Member

    Oct 15, 2001
    Cameron Park, CA
    Club:
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes, it is, if you get a newbie/desktop oriented distro that ships proprietary plugins, media codecs, and drivers.

    No, in my experience, all things on the checklist will work.
    Slackware is awesome - super stable, clean, simple, secure. But it ain't meant for newbies. It requires lot's of command line configuration, and someone who is quite comfortable in a Unix environment. But it's documentation is great, and someone who can follow directions, even newbies who are patient, can get it up and running.

    And, of course, there are newbie friendly desktop oriented distros that automagically detect and configure everything - no fuss, no muss.

    "A few years ago" is the operative word here. As time goes by, more and more drivers are included in the Linux kernel by default. Also, fewer and fewer hardware manufacturers don't release Linux drivers, or provide docs so the open source community can write the drivers. In short, Linux just keeps supporting more and more hardware, and it supports it out of the box - no drivers disc necessary (like it is after a Windows install).

    Those same Word and Excel docs will fail on older versions of MS Office as well. MS keeps changing the file formats, so as to keep people upgrading, and keep them locked in. But the open source community invariably catches up. with file format definitions. Also, anecdotal evidence shows that probably 85/90% of Office users and their docs can convert to OpenOffice with no troubles. It's mostly the most advanced features, that few users actually use, that don't convert well.
    True. In fact, the Internet and email experience is even better on Linux, due vastly superior security.
     

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