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A summary of Linux

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A summary of Linux

As an older lady with very little technical/computer experience and knowledge (as you Linux laddies know), I am on my way to being converted.
Just thought that I would throw in a few comments in summary of my experience.
Have had a niggle that I wanted to try out Linux for a very long time. Eventually bit the bullet and tried out live CD of Ubuntu and then (with help here) with Wubi. Got frustrated over one or two issues and packed it in.
Tried again after a month or two with the live CDs and installing PCLinuxOS on a laptop over the whole disc. Again, wireless problems and got cheesed off, especially when I read up and everyone was saying 'open a terminal and type.......'.
Often it didn't work and I was not sure what I was doing anyway.
Suddenly decided to give it another go and this time, with Mint Gloria, have got things up and running with dual boot Vista and I am much, much more comfortable.
It's got me wondering because if I had used Linux first and Windows second I feel that the latter  would have been very complicated after Linux.
Aside from the wireless issues (which a lot of folk have, I understand), it is simplicity itself. Take installation - all done in about 30 minutes or so, it boots up and it's ready to go. Updates take 5 minutes - no rebooting. Printer/scanner take a couple of minutes if that. PDF documents opened straight away - no need for additional software. Adding programmes from the list is a doddle.
Contrast this with a new installation of any of the Windows OSs. These take several hours by the time you have put on all the service packs (unless you have them on a disc), added all the security stuff and other software/hardware that is necessary.
Admittedly, I am very inexperienced but it seems to me that the whole Linux thing, when you get down to it is much simpler than Windows - the problems only seem to lie with compatibility.
More people would probably use Linux if computers were readily available with it preinstalled. Aside from the Dell offerings and the mini notebooks the offerings are scant. LinuxEmporium are better but their prices seem high when compared to other suppliers - it's often cheaper to buy a laptop with Windows on it and replace it with Linux. Also, why can't you buy a laptop with no operating system? After lots of looking, I gave up.
In retrospect, for inexperienced people like me, I think that it is possibly easier to install Linux on a dedicated computer instead of dual-booting - it takes the anxiety out of the process. Taking one step at a time is also a good idea - it can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Also, would advise anyone who is interested to try several live CDs. I've got Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mint, Xubuntu and PCLinuxOS. All have got their plus and minus points but at the moment my preference is for Mint which I tried thanks to biker's review so am sticking with it so as not to complicate things.
9 REPLIES
JonJon
Grafter
Posts: 91
Thanks: 6
Registered: ‎24-05-2009

Re: A summary of Linux

Glad you like it!
I am also a recent convert (for 2 days!) to Linux Mint (Gloria), having used Windows all my life.
As you said, the installation was a Breeze and I haven't yet found anything which I am not able to do.  I didn't even have issues with wireless drivers, as it found these automatically!
JonJon
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
Thanks: 258
Fixes: 21
Registered: ‎16-02-2009

Re: A summary of Linux

Hi poppy, glad you are finding Gloria to your liking, I have used it (Mint) for the past year and really like it, the new version is even better  Smiley
WRT "bare laptops" there has been a discussion on the Ubuntu UK mailing list about these, the general consensus is that the larger manufacturers get XP at a low cost (like $25) and put on a load of "trial" software that is paid for by those companies so the real cost of XP becomes zero. This is going to change with Windows7 as according to recent posts the cost is likely to double and so prices will rise, whether they will offer a Linux pc then is doubtful, since joe public, walking into PC World or WHY is going to want to install some disc of a magazine/newspaper and then bring it back and say "It doesn't work, I want a refund", until there is a transparent way to run these then I don't think Linux is ready for the general public. To some one who has never used a pc before then Linux will be easier to use/install/maintain than windows, but getting people past the I cant run my favorite "xxx" program on it is the hurdle.
Gamers will always be stuck with M$ or a console (my choice as the games will run at the correct frame rate etc guaranteed), but if all you need is to browse the internet/email and write letters &simple spreadsheets then an install of a recent Linux distro will provide you will all of that, without having to download/buy/install any other software.
The problems arise when the manufactures of the hardware (the wireless chips/network cards/video cards) don't release any details of them to the community, and only supply a M$ driver, it can take a while to get them supported, although the reverse is also true, my old scanner a Mustec Bearpaw wouldn't work in Vista, even though it was reasonably new (only a couple of years old) and there was two options buy a scanner (for the few times I needed it) or try something else. I tried something else, Ubuntu 6.04 (then) I needed to install a driver file and then it just worked. That and issues with vista not brining my network card up when it woke up meant that I gave up on it.
The latest version of Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) allows you to run a lot of windows software and virtual pc's allow a lot more. But things like the M$ Zune player will NOT work under Linux, they need a (digital) certificate signed by M$ to allow them to accept files, so they don't work, but a lot of the mp3 players do.
It comes down to need in the end, that is why Apple sold computers originally to run  Visicalc, nothing else would run it, so if you wanted to use it you bought an Apple PC. Now there is a lot of choice and I believe that it is better that way, we don't have to by brand X to run app Y. You may find that app Z suits your needs, like running Open Office instead of M$ Office, or Thunderbird instead of Outlook. (I have been using them for several years using the Portable Apps Version in the end which let me carry not only my documents on a memory stick but the application as well)
Anyway glad to have another convert, if you need any help just shout out and someone will try and help, elther here or on the Mint forums
K.
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,182
Thanks: 304
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Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: A summary of Linux

Can I suggest that you take out a (free) e-subscription to http://fullcirclemagazine.org/?
Whilst intended for Ubuntu users, it's mostly directly applicable to any Linux - especially a Debian based one.
You get a monthly magazine, downloadable as a pdf file with an eclectic mix of "Howto" examples.

Not applicable

Re: A summary of Linux

Thank you for the feedback and interesting comments. I think that biker has hit the nail on the head re people like me who just need a computer for basic things like  Internet, e-mail and documents - Linux is spot on. We don't need or want all the bloat that comes with Windows - I have a pet hate for all the trial software that biker mentions.
Also thanks for the link - will subscribe although doubtless some of it might be above me head! 
Heloman
Grafter
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: A summary of Linux

Your experience closely resembles mine, Poppy. I first used a computer when I was given one as a retirement present.
Took me a few months trial- and-error to  learn how to use it and  even to get on-line. Then had to eventually pay out for new OS's (Win98 then XP).
Kept having boot errors with XP which needed complete re-install . That spread over 2 days. Install, update, reconfigure XP.  Download, update, and reconfigure A/V,  Anti-Spyware, Firewall. etc, etc
Eventually went for Linux and have never looked back!
Taking out the element of learning how to use a computer, I'm certain that learning Linux took, at very least, no longer than learning Windows.
And probably less. But with one big proviso. I'm far too old and grey to have to deal with Command Lines, which is why I like distros like PCLOS and MEPIS where I've never had to. You can do it all from the desktop (or GUI ?)
With PCLOS there is a Remaster facility. so I can burn off a DVD of my installation and , if necessary,  have it re-installed fully configured in less than 30mins.
I totally agree with your suggestion that you should try out various Live Distro CDs. For the beginner my suggestion would be PCLOS, MEPIS, or Mint .
But everyone's favourite will differ; there's something there that will suit you.
I'm lucky in that my daughter gave me a subscription  to Linux Format magazine, which has cover-discs of all the latest Live Distros. This month it was Mint7.  Smiley
Not applicable

Re: A summary of Linux

Well, don't want to start yet another thread and sorry to be a Linux bore but I am (again) astonished. Just clicked on the Listen Again link (Radio 4) and hey presto - the BBC i Player Console has just popped up and am now listening.
When I've set up Windows I have always had to download Real Player or Real Alternative. Everything that I  need seems to be here and so simple.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
Thanks: 258
Fixes: 21
Registered: ‎16-02-2009

Re: A summary of Linux

Thats one of the benefits of Mint, all the codec's you need are installed. (Although I think Ubuntu also has the player for BBC installed by default now)
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,182
Thanks: 304
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: A summary of Linux

Any codecs that aren't already installed are automatically offered for installation on first use in Ubuntu.  Smiley

Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
Thanks: 258
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Registered: ‎16-02-2009

Re: A summary of Linux

True, BUT when you first run Rythmbox and try to get it to play an mp3  Shocked
Can be a bit daunting for a new user.
I am not saying that Mint is better than Ubuntu, it is just an extension to the base set, making it easier for some people, some people hate it and prefer Ubuntu straight, others prefer Suse, there are plenty of different distro around to try out. I like Mint and use it daily, I also <i>had<i> a Ubuntu Jaunty 64bit running which was also used daily. (until one of the hdd failed and am still trying to recover data from my LVM)
When you are an experienced user you know what you want, but it is nice to be open to alternatives, like always buying Ford cars, try a Hyundai.  Grin