Windows user, wanna try Linux? Checklist.

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Mrkvonic, Apr 23, 2014.

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  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Here's my latest Netrunner Magazine article. This be the holy checklist of all the things a Windows user must approve before they should decide on moving to Linux. Let's not give them disappointment as their first taste of freedom. Enjoy.

    http://netrunner-mag.com/windows-user-wanna-try-linux-checklist/


    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  2. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

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    People could write books about the issues and deciding factors of what OS to choose, and probably have. Switching from Mac to Windows, Linux to Mac, Windows to Linux, Windows to Mac, etc.(And no, I'm not even going to get into other stuff like OpenBSD)

    It just all depends on if the developer wants to support whatever you want to run on whatever OS you're running. Submitting bugs can be a more of a hassle (some devs just have nightmarish ways of contacting them for support), and that's combined with the fact you're more likely to stumble on a new bug that's never been reported just because you're part of the smaller userbase of Linux- Google your favorite game/program and include "Win7 64bit" and then Google it with whatever Linux distro you're currently running. Good luck finding any Linux related forum threads of other people having your same issue.

    Some other things though are easier on Linux, a big one being updates. On Fedora for instance you can update all your stuff with a simple "yum update". Thankfully too a lot of open source software, like Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp, Pidgin and others have become more familiar to a lot of people and that helps lessen the need to use unfamiliar software; I was even "Oh, this is all the stuff I'd normally just install on Windows" in my first use of Ubuntu years ago. A lot of distros know this and that's one reason they include more well known programs by default (like Firefox) over stuff like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midori_(web_browser)


    It's all, again, what software you use on your current OS and if it's supported on whatever you're switching to. The average user doesn't care how different the program/OS might be under the hood- it's all about visually using it. I don't know of anyone that's gone entirely Linux without owning at least one Windows pc either, less they're some sort of hardcore open source enthusiast or developer.
     
  3. Balthazar

    Balthazar Registered Member

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    Just two words: dual boot!

    Just kidding, I am not a man of few words (unfortunately).

    I think a lot of people are having problems with installing stuff. Installing Linux is not more difficult than installing Windows. Most PC hardware comes with Windows preinstalled. That is the difference.

    In my opinion you have to try out a Linux system for more than just a day. That's not what most reviewers do. Taking a look at their checklist and telling us that youtube works. Wow. Is there a system that does not support this stuff? Probably but the top distros can do almost everything Windows can (talking about the average stuff).

    I do think that for a lot of people there will be „critical problems“ or the „deal-breaker“ like some kind of software, game or multimedia stuff. That's why I have my Linux systems in multi-boot. For me the deal breakers are:

    Software:
    Microsoft Silverlight: I need it for streaming sports events I pay for.
    Language teaching software: only available for Windows

    Hardware: I could get a new TV card but as long as I have Windows on my PC I can spare me the money.

    I do prefer Linux because for me it is easier to work with. That's mainly because Linux is much faster than Windows on my computer. My computer is silent with Linux, with Windows it's like running a vacuum cleaner.

    I still use Arch (Parabola) daily but I have a lot of options on my laptop (Mint, Open Suse, Gentoo, Crunchbang, Win7, Win Vista)
     
  4. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Does it also apply to Debian Stable and CentOS? I found them to have very few bugs and more stable than Windows 7.
     
  5. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    Nice read.

    From my reading around I would have to say that PRINTING/SCANNING are the items that come up most. It is so tough to even find a printer with linux support. Sure you can print when all is well, but try and override a low ink warning! I am sticking with Linux but I truly hate the way printers are NOT handled. I keep windows VM's for a bailout, but I am not happy about it.
     
  6. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Actually I found installing Linux to be much more difficult than Windows. In the latter I just pop in the USB, let it run and then go to Lenovo Dirvers website to get everything going. Granted getting hot key support and trackpoint can sometimes take one day to figure out. But that's nothing compared to 6-8 weeks that it took me to install Linux with trackpoint on my laptop. Not to mention lots of outdated and incorrect information on the Wiki. And almost complete lack of help from the forums (when it came to trackpoint).

    The only reason I really installed Linux was because I had time. I was finishing my university and had several months off and not much to do.

    Things have changed a bit. You can use office online for free and/or save LO documents as PDF. Both cases will retain MS office formatting 100% of the time. Office online lets you save as docx format too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  7. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

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    I'd personally love to make the switch over to having all my machines run Linux. Any Windows machine I work on or own I'm always installing some sort of open source software that would be included in a Linux distro. But my personal deal breakers are:

    Drivers. Everything usually works "good enough", don't get me wrong. But there are times when the included open source driver or the proprietary driver give some hassle.

    Games. It depends on the game engine the game was made in and how willing the devs are to porting to Linux (and that usually depends on the demand). With all the Directx hype with games, I don't know if that'll ever fully change.
    Also worth a mention: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTM5Mjk

    For some software/things you use on Linux I mean and not always the distros themselves as a whole. I was going to use the example of games and driver bugs when I posted that earlier. Or it could even be just getting nouveau/official nvidia drivers going for basic display. Depends on the hardware you have too.
     
  8. keithpeter

    keithpeter Registered Member

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    I found the linked article to be thought provoking but easy and 'fun' to read, as always, well done.

    Just a thought: are we sure that ordinary people are actually the *target group* for desktop Linuxen? I get the impression the target might actually be enterprise desktops, certainly for RHEL and possibly for Ubuntu LTS as well. Hundreds of thousands of desktops configured with tools like puppet and operated by 'knowledge workers' in big offices... Most of your Enterprise coders will have Oracle Java/Eclipse or NetBeans set up. The other big desktop use is call centres - I believe one of the big OpenSource call centre packages is based on CentOS 5.x and running fine...
     
  9. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    even if you had all the money in the world you still could not buy a decent file manager for Linux.
    well, with all that money you could probably have one made for you. ;)

    there's nothing even remotely as good as Directory Opus or XYplorer.
    Dolphin is not too bad but friends don't let friends install KDE distros. lol :argh:

    for general computing it certainly is a very decent alternative to Windows.
     
  10. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Depends what kind of user you have in mind. For me Thunar 123 will do.
     
  11. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    yeah, it's about as bad as Windows Explorer. lol ;)
     
  12. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Simple user like me has simple needs :)
     
  13. Baserk

    Baserk Registered Member

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    Thunar can be made all-powerful, by installing catfish and adding the command /usr/bin/catfish %f to Thunar 'special action'.
    Well, perhaps not all powerful but Thunar can be enhanced, like with a search function.

    Nice article btw. Expectations and meeting them, or not.
    Especially the whole smartphone ecosystem will be a stumbling block, besides printers, cameras etc. and basic hardware compatibility.
    To avoid the whole LibreOffice-resume debacle, I recommend a Microsoft Live account and using OneDrive and it's online Word/Excel apps for (new) linux users.
     
  14. Balthazar

    Balthazar Registered Member

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    Well, even if you know nothing about partitioning your hard drive and Linux in general I don't see your point here. You could buy a Linux DVD like the Windows DVD assuming you don't know a thing about burning an ISO (knowledge you could acquire in less than 5 minutes). Both systems have a graphical installer and are pretty much self-explanatory. There is not much you can do wrong because we are not talking about multi-boot. Just do it.

    What you are describing is a problem with your hardware. There are hundreds of thousands of different configurations and surely a lot of things could go wrong. Without searching for proof I'd say the most popular distros are probably compatible to most configurations, not all. Windows can be tricky as well (I had to search for days until I found working drivers for my graphics card). There are pretty good lists regarding wifi and Linux compatibility. I bought a stick for 8€ and so far it has worked with every system I tested.

    It is a pity that you had so much trouble with trackpoint (I never used it) and if it's your deal-breaker then so be it.

    Humans are creatures of habit. If something works, don't change it (or never change a winning team). That's what's happening after Snowden's revelations. You can even read it here on a security forum regarding lots of topics. Most people don't care about their mails being read. They still use Google and Gmail, just to name one of the big companies. It takes 2 clicks to change your search engine. If that's too much to ask than to me it's no surprise that changing (or enlarging the choice options) operating systems is way too complicated. (Of course, I know there are other reasons for switching to Linux).
     
  15. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

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    I don't know, I find myself actually installing Libre Office on my Windows systems. I know a lot of people claim to have to issues with Libre, but I think I'd rather use it then deal with exploits associated with Microsoft Office. But I rarely use a lot of office software anyway, so the learning curve going from MS Office to Libre wouldn't be as bad for me.

    This is an age where people have everything about themselves on Facebook- what privacy? The issue with Google is people use it because they have no idea there are somewhat decent alternatives, and they got people on needing the two basic necessaries of internet usage if you want to do anything: A search engine and an email. The DuckDuckGo forums have a lot of threads on it, and I've dumped my own long winded paragraph in a thread there too. But Google also came about in a time where there was a lot of Adware type junky stuff, and the alternatives weren't too great (or too well known). Compared to AOL or Yahoo, Google still looks pretty good. But I don't mean to go off on another topic, I just feel this all comes into play as to how people choose what they use on their computer.

    Linux would be more well known if maybe more store bought PCs came with it preinstalled. But otherwise, you know, once a person has Windows installed what would they need Linux for that they can't do on their Windows PC (that they'll care about)? Like I mentioned before, most open source software runs on Windows too. And I also don't mean to get into the ancient old "y dont the people use the linux as much as the windows" discussion either.
     
  16. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    It wasnt only trackpoint. My laptop had some "secure boot" enabled that prevented me from installing in the first place. Had to change some settings in BIOS or maybe i had a bad iso. In general 50% of my ISOs fail to install Linux. All Im saying whatever the hardwere is there is greater support out there and you are more than likely to get helped.
    I do like Linux, it had been the most rewarding experiance for me.
     
  17. Krysis

    Krysis Registered Member

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    Nice article Mrk! - Thoroughly agree with your checklist. I see these warm and fuzzy 'Windows users – why don't U migrate to Linux?' type suggestions in the media and wonder how many try – and actually persevere with one or another distro! IMO, most who briefly try a distro, end up in the OMG! – what have I gotten into category – and promptly go back to Windows.

    I think one needs compelling reasons - and the mindset, to use – and continue to use Linux, whether it be for work – advanced learning (IT) – pee-d off with Windows – or simply to expand one's overall experience (read – being adventurous!)

    My own experience was not promising to say the least – several years ago I came across one of those PC mag coverdisks with Linux Mint 13KDE on it – and yep! - into the bottom drawer it went and stayed there for quite a few months. It wasn't until I installed Virtualbox (to checkout Windows 8 CP) that I dug out that coverdisk – and decided to check it out. Haven't looked back since.

    Using distros as guest VMs means that I generally bypass issues with Printer setups – partitioning and hardware problems.
     
  18. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    I did try a lot of distros for about a period od about a year.

    i finally went back to Windows.
    the main reason was is that I could run most programs that are usually found in Linus in Windows: GIMP, Inkscape, etc.
    but I of course could not run Windows programs in Linux.
    or very few of them.

    eventually, after playing apprentice wizard with dual booting, my data drive got completely fubared and I lost all my data.
    fortunately, I had a backup USB drive where most of my stuff was stored.
    but that was the final straw as far as I was concerned with Linux.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  19. Balthazar

    Balthazar Registered Member

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    I am surprised. I thought that Thinkpads would work especially well with Linux. The old X60 is „the first laptop to receive RYF [Respects Your Freedom] certification from the FSF." It runs with coreboot.

    I installed Mint on a few computers with no problems at all. On my laptop there were a few problems here and there (like proprietary nvidia drivers) but nothing too serious. With Parabola I have to use nouveau, because no proprietary drivers are allowed. But that's not a problem.

    I was surprised with Open Suse and the latest nvidia drivers. No problems at all. Windows 7 and Windows Vista would freeze every time until I had tested dozens (no kidding) of drivers and stuck with some old ones (been using them ever since, couple of years).


    @moontan
    „my data drive got completely fubared and I lost all my data“
    Would be interesting to know, what happened. I am running 7 distros on one hard drive (5 Linux, 2 Windows) and there is no trouble at all (I had some trouble with the latest Qubes but I wouldn't want it in multiboot anymore, because too many things stopped working for me). The most user friendly distros like Ubuntu, Mint or Open Suse just work. I do need Windows as well, so I understand everybody who hesitates. But as pointed out one can always try a live CD.
     
  20. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    can't recall exactly what happened but I was hopping distro mad and playing apprentice wizard. :ninja:
    in the span of about a year here's the distros I have tried:
    * Mint LMDE
    * Mint Cinnamon
    * Mint XFCE
    * Ubuntu Unity (The horror, the horror...) lol
    * Xubuntu
    * Open SUSE KDE
    * Voyager
    * Mageia
    * elementary
    * Puppy
    * Manjaro
    * Lubuntu
    * Bodhi Linux (first one I tried)
    * Deepin
    * Kylin

    I think that's about it. lol ;)
    my favorites of the bunch would be Mint XFCE, Xubuntu and Open SUSE.

    anyway, i'm happily back to Windows now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  21. Balthazar

    Balthazar Registered Member

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    That's all that matters. That is indeed a lot of distros you tried out. If nothing fit your needs and you are happy with Windows that's perfectly okay.
    My experiences are different. I have to work with Windows now and then because of the aforementioned reasons. But I am not too happy with Windows anymore. VPNs work better with Linux and even the shiny Open Suse (I am using right now) is working so much better than Win7 (processes constantly working in the background that I am often on the brink of throwing my laptop out of the window). I am hoping that most online streaming services will support Linux in the future. I deleted my Office 365 (I still have 3 or 4 years left) and replaced it with Libre Office and Thunderbird because I was so fed up with another update destroying it. I suppose it had something to do with my subscription because I should verify my installation. But I couldn't because I was not able to type in or use anything. The error message reminded me of the good old point and click adventures by LucasArts, because it was something like "I'm sorry, that didn't work". What I should have done, was deleting several system files and then do a complete reinstall. Of course, I bought a download then. Maybe I will reinstall it again some time, but at the moment I am fed up. So much for "Windows just works"
     
  22. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    one thing I really liked about Linux is that you can update all your programs with one click.
    I loved XFCE, it's the perfect blend of speed and eye candy imo.

    I really liked Open SUSE though I'm not too crazy about them refusing to use non-FOSS, though that can be bypassed by adding repos.
    their 'Control Panel' is top notch, I thought.
     
  23. malexous

    malexous Registered Member

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    What is a decent file manager? I find SpaceFM very good.
     
  24. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    Directory Opus? ;)
     
  25. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    There are 2 things that don't work well with thinkpads:
    1) Trackpoint works only after you do some serious research. After that it's very easy to configure.
    2) WiFi works very poorly. It is Realtek card and it will have decreased upload/download speeds or not work at all. Sometimes randomly it will just disconnect and reconnect. Sometimes you have to turn on and off the computer. It's a real headache. Some distros such as CentOS won't even recognize this card. So I bought Ralink PCI card and it works out of the box in every single Linux distro.
     
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