Well, I am considering ditching Windows 7. It's possible that I no longer benefit from it due to the way I use my sig rig these days, and I think that I'd still have just as problem-free of an experience with Linux (or Unix, if that's recommended) as I do with Windows 7. I heard today that Linux is way faster, and so I have decided to begin looking into it.
Based on what I do with my sig rig as well as what I might want in an operating system (as seen below), which Linux (or Unix?) would I be happiest with?
This is a list in very random order (right off the top of my head, completely unrehearsed) of the things I use my computer for, things I can't give up, and what I think I'd like in an OS:
Of course we have Firefox
- I need all of my Firefox extensions to work. I can list them all if I need to.
You'll have to check the extension website for those ( would be easier than having us check them , but most should work fine )
- I do the occasional "offline" viewing of a PDF document.
There are plenty of PDF viewers, including Acrobat Reader
- E-mail (Outlook 2003 - I paid full price for it, so I refuse to give it up
- Word Processing - very rare (Word 2003 - I paid full price for it, so I refuse to give it up)
While according to the Wine App DB these should work ( only received silver and garbage ratings ) I would at least suggest trying out LibreOffice for your rare word processing and Thunderbird ( by Mozilla ) for your mailing needs. I know Outlook provides a few other features other than the mail, but if you aren't using them then I would say try it.
- Bi-weekly MP3 playback of a 3-hour internet radio show archive
- I play the occasional downloaded video (like I recently purchased an instructional video and it plays in PotPlayer which is my absolute most favorite media player right now)
- DVD movies
We've got a plethora of Media players for every kind of user
Never an Issue
Overclocking in Linux is a bit more painful than Windows. It uses the CPU more efficiently and because of so is a lot more sensitive to OC's, just start from the ground up and follow your normal routine to find a stable OC.
- I use CPU-Z, Real Temp, Prime95, Core Temp, IBT, LinX, etc.
We've got several programs, lm_sensors is our sensor program and is the backend of many of the GUI versions, I believe we have a Prime95 in Linux, not sure about IBT or LinX, though we do have a native linpack and if you want more bench suites you can check out the Phoronix pack.
- I have the Microsoft Intellimouse Optical and I'm not giving up the Intellipoint software
You'll have to do a bit of Google-Foo on that yourself.
- I have the XtremeGamer and I'm currently using Daniel_K's X-Fi Support Pack 2.5. I don't want to give up the Console Launcher which contains all of the adjustments that can be made.
You'll have to do a bit of Google-Foo on that yourself.
- I have no hard drives, just solid state
Not a problem.
- I would like an OS that's very fun to use, visually entertaining even for the simplest of operations and tasks. I want something that's alive with smooth 3D animations. It has to be visually quite stunning. I want it to blow me away.
Don't confuse different distro's with different Desktop Environments and Window Managers. You can install any of them on any Linux distro, so find a distro that manages itself the way you want ( frequency of updates, package management, etc ) and give all the DE's and WM's a shot ( or look them up on youtube and what you can do with each )
If you want to look around youtube do some searches for....
Just a few of the more popular ones, should be a good start for you to see which you would like in terms of features and visuals.
- I need the Time, Day, and date (with the year) displayed at all times. With my lifestyle, it helps me keep track of what time it is, what day of the week it is, and what the date is. The year is fun for me to look at because I kind of can't believe it's 2013 already.
This is Linux, this isn't a problem
- The time has to be synchronized with atomic time over the internet
Not a problem.
- I need to be able to customize the list of time servers because I have a few that I prefer to use that I had to add in myself
Check out NTPD
- I'd like to simultaneously have an analog clock on my desktop, just like the Windows 7 clock Gadget
Again, Linux, Customization is out middle name. I'll suggest Conky here, if you've ever used Rainmeter or equivalent in Windows, Conky is similar. Easy to use, loads of features.
- I need the OS to be extremely and easily customizable
Welcome to Linux.
- Installing software needs to be easy, just like it is in Windows: open the installer, click Next, wait, and it's done.
Installers? Ha. Try package managers. We don't travel the vast world wide web to find programs, we open up the package manage, type what we want, search, install. Software management has never been easier.
- It needs to be an easy transition from Windows
I'm going to be honest here, if you're absolutely refusing to give up some things here, it may be a bit difficult. But if you give it and some alternative programs a try, it shouldn't be too painful. Other than that, Linux is as much, if not easier than Windows.
- It needs to be easy to do a dual-boot with Windows 7, as well as being easy to remove if I don't like it for some reason
Common this is Linux, a free ( as in freedom ) kernel that has no room for playing favorites and has no intention to block anything. Dual-booting is a cinch.
- I can currently open any pinned item on the Taskbar by pressing Windows Key + 1, or +2, or +3, etc, all the way up to +0 for the 10th item on the Taskbar (starting from the left). I need to keep this ability.
Linux, Customization, need I say more?
- I'm all about keyboard shortcuts.
So is Linux, you two should get acquainted
- I love the Windows 7 Start Menu search where I can instantly pull up and open any file that exists on my drives by simply typing and pressing Enter to open. I also love how there's no delay between keystrokes: each new keystroke drives the search results just like it's quickly reading from a text-only file.
- I have 618 wallpapers that I have going in the Desktop Slide Show. I'd like something very similar to this where I can easily customize nearly all aspects of its behavior - including the transition time, the type of transition, how long each wallpaper stays up, etc.\
Not a problem here, we had that back in the old XP days.
- I use a tiny app called PureText that allows me to paste formatted text as plain text. This means I don't have to paste it into Notepad first and then copy that text just to make it plain. I need to keep this ability.
Not sure on this one honestly
That's really all I can think of right now. I know it's a long list, but this post is the only effort I've ever put into researching or looking into this so far. I mean, I literally created this post before doing anything else because the existence of this thread will make it easier for me to follow through and at least try Linux (or Unix if it's recommended).
So, what I'm looking to find out is: can I make the switch and keep everything in this list? If so, then which Linux (or Unix?) do you recommend that might make me the happiest?
From what I've seen, most things are here on your list, a couple might not be, and a couple might just need a little work, but overall you seem to be ready As for distro's...
Ubuntu : The most popular and known to the wild, been around a while, great support, very stable, backed by money.
Mint : Built on top of Ubuntu, but provides non-free drivers and such the instant it's installed, I would suggest Mint for it's overall ease of use.
There are many more, but I feel those would be the easiest for you to start with for the time being.
Thank you, everyone. I'm looking forward to getting into this!
P.S. I have an 8GB bootable USB flash drive that has 5.96 GB free.
Wow, that was a long list, lol.