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Never been convinced by Linux? Here is a challenge for you.

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post #1 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Edit: This is a rewritten version. My original post was a little outdated, and I thought I could improve it.

Linux.

This is a thread aimed at the people who have heard the name, maybe tried it in the past. This is a thread aimed at trying to get people to try - and I mean really try - Linux. I see a lot of people commenting on Linux, saying why they don't use it, and a lot of what is being said is flat out wrong, misguided, or without proof or reason.

So, this is my thread that poses a challenge to you - Try Linux properly (read on for what I mean) - and then form an opinion. One outcome could be you running Linux, but at the same time, the outcome could be you saying "Linux simply isn't practical for me to use daily." or "I tried it, I dislike it, and here is why." - this is not a thread of zealotry telling you Linux is the best operating system made and everyone should run it right now, no exceptions. That simply isn't true.

Now, I'm a long-term Linux user, and like many you may have come across before, here I am telling you that Linux is worth trying - that you might find it better. There is a reason for this. Linux is an extremely good OS that has a lot of upsides. Linux users tend to be pro-active about their OS, partly because that's part of the FOSS philosophy, but also because they were sat in the same place you were before runnning Linux, not really bothered, but then they 'saw the light' - so to speak.

There are a great number of reasons why you might want to run Linux. 'Free' 'Open Source' 'Secure' 'Better' might be arugments you have heard before, but I am trying to avoid them as the average user doesn't see Windows as a cost as they have it already, and the others might not really matter. I'm going to try and give some real reasons.

1) Package Managers
Package Management is a wonder so many people miss and it can make or break your experience under Linux. A lot of people start Linux for the first time, go to google, go to a website, and download a .tar.gz archive of source code for a program, and have no idea how to install it - or worse, go and download a Windows program and try to run it under WINE.
Most Linux distributions have a Package Manager. This is a piece of software that handles all of the software on your (Linux) PC. One can think of it as a glorified add & remove programs, except with far more power. Under Ubuntu (the focus of this guide, as most newbies will run Ubuntu), this is 'Apt', although you'll probably be more interested in dealing with 'Synaptic' - the graphical front end for Apt.
Installing software is as easy as opening the package manager, doing a search for what you want 'Email client' say, and then clicking on something that looks good, and hitting install then apply. That's it. It'll do the rest for you.

2) FOSS Software
You might not care about Open Source Software as an ideal, but you might care on the free as in money aspect. Having access to thousands of applications that are just as good as, if not better than, 99% of the Windows programs out there, at the click of a mouse is brilliant. It's fast, easy, and free.

3) Customisation
One of the things you notice after running Linux for years, then going back to Windows, is the lack of choice that you have. I want more than one panel (task bar) on my screen, that's easy in Ubuntu, under Windows, it's not possible. The same with rearranging what is on them and where they are. This is true not only in panels, but across the entire system. Linux is infinitely customisable, to a huge level. You can replace and change virtually everything. If you are a fan of Firefox's extensions, you'll probably be a fan of Linux.

4) Looks
It's purely cosmetic, but Linux looks better every day. The gnome desktop is very sleek, looks good, and is very consistant across the board. KDE's 4th generation now looks absolutely incredible, getting OS-X like in style. Add in things like Compiz-Fuzion - allowing you to apply 3D effects to your desktop and it's very, very cool. KDE4.1 has Plasma, an amazing set of desktop widgets that add functionality and looks to the desktop. No longer is the desktop just a place for icons, now you can choose what goes there. Some of these features not only look good, but can provide improvements in productivity. (Of course, some can be distracting, but that's what the 5-year old in all of us wants).

5) Performance
Linux is generally faster than Windows, especially if you take the time to tweak your system to speed it up, you can make it blisteringly fast. Small things like not having to defragment (Ext3 deals with that.) help out a lot too.

6) Reliability
Linux is known for being reliable. Linux rigs tend to have a far higher uptime than a Windows rig (that might just be not having to reboot every time you install a piece of software though).

7) Innovation
Linux and the FOSS software that supports it is known for being a breeding ground for new ideas and innovation - if something cool is happening, it generally comes out for Linux first. Ubuntu, for example, has a 6-month release cycle - that's a new version released every six months. This means cooler, newer stuff you get to use.

9) Choice
There are a million Linux distos out there, you can switch at any time - even make your own if you really want. This gives you choice. But not only that, FOSS software uses FOSS formats - open formats that any other program can read (well, documentation is out there (and patents are not) so developers can write in support to any program) - this means you are not locked in.

10) Not a resource hog.
Linux distros are mostly optimised well, and use less resources. This may be less important for you on a power rig (although every little helps), but if you have old hardware, Linux can give it a new lease of life.

These are just some of the reasons you might want to run Linux, it's hard to put into words all of the things that make Linux worthwhile to run.

Now, that said, I'm sure a lot of you are reading this and thinking of a few arguments as why not to take my challenge:

1) I can't be bothered. Windows works.
This is true, and ignorance is bliss. While you are running Windows, it seems fine, but run Linux for a month or so, and people often never want to go back. People don't want to have to set everything up and I sympathise with this, but it does pay off. In the end, if you can't be bothered, you can't be bothered. I'm just trying to say I think you should be bothered.

2) I don't want to loose everything!/I want to be able to play my games!
You don't have to! Dual booting is there – Installing Linux does not mean removing Windows. If you want to game, you can boot back and play, then boot into Linux for everything else. It's not a big deal.

3) I need my software!
Most likely there is a free alternative. I admit there are not in some cases, photoshop, for example, but the GIMP is fine unless you really need the features PS has that the GIMP doesn't. If you can use Elements, you can use the GIMP. Try searching the package managers and the internet to find if there is an alternative - more often than not, there is.

4) I tried Linux a while ago and didn't find it interesting.
If this is so, then fine, but - remember Linux is a fast moving operating system - if you havn't tried Linux in 6 months or so - I would reccomend trying it again - you might be pleasantly surprised and find all of your problems have been fixed.

5) Drivers are a hasstle.
The graphics drivers in Linux have historically been hard to install. Now-a-days, however, you can set them up just by using the restricted driver manager in Ubuntu, and it's a few clicks. Everything else tends to just work off the bat, or be an install away. One google search usually solves all problems.

Now, if after reading through, you want to try Linux, that's great. If you are planning to, I reccomend trying with the latest version of Ubuntu. While I personally run Arch Linux, If you are not familliar with Linux, Ubuntu is easy to use and set up. Feel free to try out any distro you like, of course.

There are some common pitfalls to avoid:

1) Linux isn't Windows.
Don't expect everything to be the same. Don't expect to run the exact same software. Don't expect to do everything the same way. Ask around when you need to do something on how best to do it, and go with the flow.

2) Installing it and never booting it.
You won't like Linux if you go in just to 'try it out'. You'll sit there and look at a few applications, and then get bored, and boot back into Windows. Actually do tasks you want to complete under Linux. In fact, I fully reccomend only booting into Windows if you really cannot achieve a task (playing a game, for example) in Linux.

3) Trying it for 10 minutes then deciding it's too much hassle.
Linux isn't hard to use, but if your only expirence of it is setting it up for the first time, you probably won't like it. Remember that you have to take time to customise your desktop and set it up how you like. Remember how long you took installing all the software you use and configuring it under Windows took - it's the collection of a lot of usage. The big hurdle to get past is the first day or so of usage where you are setting stuff up. Once you have everything working, it's easier.

4) Trying to get some linux software, and end up trying to compile something.
If you want to install software under linux, don't go to the site of the software you want to install and download it - what you'll get will be source code, and compiling is a pain for n00bs. Instead, use the package manager. Every distro will have one, and it'll take a few clicks to install software. Package Managers make it a breeze.

So that is it. My challenge is given. Run Linux for a few weeks properly, booting into Windows as little as possible, and see what you think. Please don't respond before doing this - the point of this thread is not to argue my points. If you do this, you might be pleasantly surprised.

I strongly believe Linux is a great OS, and should have a larger userbase, simply because it is a better and easier to use OS than people give it credit for.

Hints/Links/Useful Info/Whatever:
Wireless Networking and Linux: Wireless PCI cards are not always easy to set up. I suggest reading this thread on WAPs - they work great.
Sudo & Root Access in Ubuntu: See this post.
An extremely interesting post - worth a read. See this post.
Linux: The Journey - Suilenroc's viewpoint.

Sig Messages:

Edit: Now with thread tags to let you put more in your sig!

I did Latty's Linux Challenge and I now love Linux!

Code:
I did [THREAD=273216]Latty's Linux Challenge[/THREAD] and I now [B]love Linux[/B]! :heart:

I did Latty's Linux Challenge and I now run Linux!

Code:
I did [THREAD=273216]Latty's Linux Challenge[/THREAD] and I now [B]run Linux[/B]! :specool:

I did Latty's Linux Challenge and I now have tried Linux!

Code:
I did [THREAD=273216]Latty's Linux Challenge[/THREAD] and I now [B]have tried Linux[/B]! :2cents:

I did Latty's Linux Challenge and I now hate Linux!

Code:
I did [THREAD=273216]Latty's Linux Challenge[/THREAD] and I now [B]hate Linux[/B]! :sick:

(Attached is the original post, as a record.)


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post #2 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 04:43 PM
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Here is my challenge: Install Linux, set it up how you like it, and run it for a week or so – and I'm talking really run it – do not boot Windows unless you really have to (so for games, or whatever).
If I have to boot into Windows for games, I'll be in Windows for most of the time I'm using my computer anyway. The rest? Emails, OCN, and typing papers for school using MS Word. Why would I switch to Linux for that?

No offense, and I'm not trying to flame, but Vista works great for what I do and the majority of what others do. So I think I'll stick with a single OS that does everything I need.

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post #3 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Choggs396 View Post
If I have to boot into Windows for games, I'll be in Windows for most of the time I'm using my computer anyway. The rest? Emails, OCN, and typing papers for school using MS Word. Why would I switch to Linux for that?

No offense, and I'm not trying to flame, but Vista works great for what I do and the majority of what others do. So I think I'll stick with a single OS that does everything I need.
Couldn't of put it better myself, the most perfect of counter arguements.
+Rep.

Not that there is anything 'wrong' with Linux par-ce

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post #4 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 04:57 PM
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Linux is awesome.

I just wish I could use it. No support for most games = a no go

I would put it on my parents' computers, but they can hardly make it through windows... Going to linux would be hell on them.

Anime rules!
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post #5 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lattyware View Post
Linux. If you are one of those people who just don't believe there is a reason why they should run it, you are at the right place. This is a post telling you why I believe Linux is worth using, addressing the issues as to why people do not use it, and then my challenge to you to see which you prefer. You stand nothing to loose, and a lot to gain. At worst, if you turn out disliking Linux you can then say 'I've tried it, I dislike it, here is why.' - and If you can say that, give a good reason, and have really done it – no one can (with any real argument) say anything against you – and everyone wants that! Of course, I believe that you will prefer Linux and I'll have helped someone out and added to the community (the more people using FOSS, the more support it gets, which means it gets better – so in the end, it's me being selfish ).

First of all, I'll start with something, there are generally three types of Linux user. The Fanboy/Activist, who believes they need to convert everyone in the world to Linux and that Windows should be destroyed forever. The mature user, who uses Linux, and will happily talk about it and try to encourage new users, but will not annoy people and will always give a valid argument. Lastly, there are the recluses – the group that believe that if you don't know what to do when you have only a command line in front of you you should not be running Linux.
The three groups can also be sorted as so: Runs Ubuntu, Thinks Ubuntu Is Fine, Hates Ubuntu.
I am personally trying to be in the second group, although can sometimes end up in the first, I admit freely.


Its a good read, but you forgot the user who likes linux, and would use it BUT IT DOESN'T GAME and its stopping him.

...like me. Otherwise I'd use linux.
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post #6 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 05:00 PM
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Let's face it. Windows crashes. A lot. XP seemed more stable than before, and Vista is OK, but I have never had a problem (that I have not caused myself) with Linux. It is nice knowing that you are not facing a crash.
No, it doesn't. I've owned Vista for over 6 months and its never crashed on me. Not once. Not even from overclocking.

Windows XP only crashed a few times when overclocking the FSB without enough voltage. This was an obvious hardware problem that I "caused myself". Other than that, not a single crash.

I just had to add those bits of information because I know I'm not alone. And saying "Windows crashes. A lot" seems misleading, at the very least.

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post #7 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 05:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Choggs396 View Post
No, it doesn't. I've owned Vista for over 6 months and its never crashed on me. Not once. Not even from overclocking.

Windows XP only crashed a few times when overclocking the FSB without enough voltage. This was an obvious hardware problem that I "caused myself". Other than that, not a single crash.

I just had to add those bits of information because I know I'm not alone. And saying outright "Windows crashes" seems misleading at least.
I second this motion, the only problem I've had with vista is theres this one small windows update that won't install and its annoying.
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post #8 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Dezixn View Post
Linux is awesome.

I just wish I could use it. No support for most games = a no go
Same. If it supported games I would use it 24/7.

atm I have a dual boot setup; XP/Ubuntu but I havent loaded up ubuntu in over a month. I love linux, especially the amount of customisation but it doesnt offer me anything above windows to warrant me using Linux for everything but gaming, its just easier (and more convenient to use windows)

Nice post though

EDIT:

The bit in bold makes it sound like its Linux's fault that we can't game on it, its because the games are not developed to do so.

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post #9 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 05:25 PM
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I downloaded Ubuntu the other day but havent got around to trying it out. I came across the Vista (Aero) Vs Ubuntu (Beryl) few days ago and I was very fascinated with Beryl. So I went and downloaded a copy of Ubuntu but havent got the time.

Why cant Linux run todays games? Whats the problem?

I made the jump to Vista month or so ago when I saw that Ultimate had this thing called Dreamscene (yes am a sucker for eyecandy). Is it possible for Ubuntu to have something like Dreamscene? (looped motion desktop)

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post #10 of 1718 (permalink) Old 12-23-2007, 05:27 PM
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if somebody showed me linux and how to use it back when i started using pcs, i would be using linux now. But relearning the whole OS is hard, especially all of the commands. I mean u need to know the command just to install something, its just to complicated for me right now. They also need more driver support for simple stuff like Logitech mice for back and forward buttons, instead u have to configure files. I am not saying linux sucks cause i would gladly use it since its free but its too time consuming to learn it. But i got say with new releases coming out, i might switch in a year or two.


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