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Hi, Mr GG here. 

I hope you don't mind me using GG's login to post a question. 

[quote user="Bob T"]Download a free copy of Ubuntu Linix and write to a CD. Insert CD into tired PC and install with the option of using the entire hard disk. You will be surprised at how fast the machine will run compare to Windows.
[/quote]

I keep hearing that Linux has a lot of advantages over Windows and would like to try it but have several questions.  Perhaps existing Linux users could help clear a few things before I try installing Linux Mint.

I’m always wary about anything that is free.  How do the authors stay in business with no income?

Do you find Linux applications as well (or as badly) developed as the Windows equivalents?

In spite of being given away, Linux still has a very small penetration in the home computer market.  Is this because, for example, it is lacking features or is difficult to use?

Microsoft regularly brings out updates for Windows to fix security issues.  How secure have you found Linux?

Every time that Microsoft launches a new operating system a few of my applications become inoperable and have to be replaced.  Have you found the same problem with Linux?

I understand that when installing Linux Mint I will be asked to create a new partition. How large should this be?  Will Linux applications also be installed in the same partition?

Will the existing data files still be accessible from Linux?  I’m currently using Mozilla Thunderbird.  Will I be able to install a Linux version of this and carry on using the same data files without needing to copy, relocate or convert them?

Will I need another firewall and virus protection?

Any help and guidance would be much appreciated.

 

 

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Linux is the 'son' of Unix. Around 90% of the supercomputers in the world use it. The Internet is a unix/linus mix and probably the most common web server is Apache which runs under Unix/Linux. It's the area of desktop computing where it is weak. There are loads of applications and probably Open Office is the most common one which does everything that MS Office does. Lets put it another way MS Office 2011 can read Open Office files without a 'plug-in' something which has not happened before so Microsoft must now take it as a serious, competitive product. Before you had to 'add' a file converter. The thing is it's all free so you have nothing to loose providing you have the original disks for whatever operating system is currently on your computer.

The rest of your questions I cannot answer as I have no experience of Linux on a desktop.

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Mr GG,

Linux is supported by a community. To put Linux into context ... Apple use similar :)

Latest Ubuntu is 11.10 - when you download it (or partition it) you will find that setting everything up is very easy. It will even recognise printers. Apps such as VLC (Video Player for avi, mkv etc) is accessible by search function in synaptic manager.

Things get a touch harder if you want to download apps that are rarer, assuming they have a Linux version such as openvpn, because you then need to have a basic understanding of the directory system that Linux uses (also how to become a "root").

Best bet is to play with Ubuntu 11.10 on a spare laptop or desktop - unless you want to dual boot a hard drive or mount OS within windows.

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I use Linux a lot, and am in fact using it as I write this post.

For a first time user I would recommend trying it in one of two ways.

1) A trial CD which you put in your computer and use to run the programme without ever changing anything else

I tried this but found the CD a bit out of date, and I couldn't add to it or update it

2) Using Wubi and installing a 'double boot', that is to say each time you switch on your computer you can choose which OS you want to use.

The one disadvantage of this is that the two systems are separate and you cant access files from one to the other, but I over come this by having all my basic stuff such as documents photos videoes etc backed up on 2 external discs (one would do) that I can access from either system

The advantage of this method is that if you don't like it you can just uninstall as you would any Windows programme

You can download Wubi here:

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/windows-installer

A tip ..allow about 20 G for the Linux, not just the 5 suggested or each time you down load a bulky file you will start to run out of space, although as I said above it is best to keep data on a centrally accessible external disk

3)There is another method of partitioning your hard disk into 3 sections

Windows

Data

Linux

and setting things up so that both the OS can access the middle partition, but I have no personal experience of this.

As for using it, there are Linux equivalents of all the usual programmes such as Firefox, Thunderbird Chrome  Libre Office etc

I can do all the things I can do in Windows such as watch TV on the computer, read or burn a CD or DVD, access messengers skype etc...vpn is built in

These are all available free in things called repositories and if you use Wubi to install the latest version of Ubuntu (11.10) you will find that you just click on ubuntu installer and you can search whatever you need

Some times it can be a bit of a fiddle to get the exact thing, but there are excellent help fora available.

It is more secure than Windows...you can have a Firewall, but no anti virus and all that is needed atm anyway because of the architecture. Anything which is installed has to be cleared by you and you are asked for a password so nothing can 'just get onto' the computer.

There are constant updates available

I have one niggle, which is that my specific printer/scanner isn't recognised (it's a Lexmark and this is a very particular issue) , but most of the other things I use work at least as well if not better in Linux

I would say that sound and graphics are superior

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If you have Windows 7 Ultimate, you can create a virtual machine and run Linux on it, then you can share all the data files you wish between the two.  I haven't tried this with Linux but I do run a separate machine using Windows XP so I can use Outlook Express and some hardware which I have which is not compatible with 7 and it's a really neat way of running two OSs.

I did use Linux on an old Netbook and it was fine (which is more than you can say for said Netbook which failed just outside its guarantee.)  I got a free copy in the back of a Linux for Dummies books so aquired the full manual at the same time (I'm always totally lost without a printed manual - cannot deal with  on line resources at all[:-))].)

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There is little point in running virtual machines and making things complicated for users. I have just installed Ubuntu Linux on a number of machines for people who just use PCs, and if installed from the downloaded CD, will create a dual boot with any windows that is on the machine. Once you boot into Linux you can look at the windows partition to open any documents/pictures/videos etc.

I have windows 7 dual boot on my PC, but never need to boot into windows as I can do everything that I want in Ubuntu Linux. I have no firewall or anti virus, but only use Linux for internet banking.

Your question about Mozilla Thunderbird on Linux is interesting as I believe it started as a Linux program well before a windows version was ever released.

I have found that older PCs that used to run windows XP very slowly seem to be suddenly turbocharged when Linux is installed.

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Does the CD you use install 11.10 Bob?

The one I had was 11.04 and I would have had to update.

And how do you look into the Windows partition?  As I said I have an external hard drive that gets round the problem, but it might sometimes be useful to access something I have not yet backed up

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If you download the latest CD, for free, from http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download, then it will be 11.10. It is a live CD and if your PC can boot from the CD drive then you can run Ubuntu without affecting your hard drive. There will be an option on the desktop when it is running to install.

In Ubuntu, you go to places and look for the other partition or drive, in my case it reads "165 GB file system". That is the Windows partition (in my case Windows 7 64 bit). You will need to enter your Ubuntu password and then you can see the contents of that windows drive. You can't do it the other way around and see the Ubuntu drive contents from windows as Ubuntu is far too secure.

I am using 11.04 as I see no need at the moment to upgrade to 11.10. The offer to upgrade is there in the "update manager", but I am very happy with what I have. My wifes PC is running 10.04 with no windows at all and she is very happy with that. She writes books, plays with photography, writes blogs and uses the graphics tablet and the printers/scanners without problem.

If anyone here wants to try Ubuntu, either running from a CD, or installing a dual boot, then PM me with a landline number and I'll happily hold your hand over the phone, no cost as I do not have any sort of business, just happy to help out.

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[quote user="Quillan"]Whats the optimum amount of memory to get good results?[/quote]

Depends what you call good. I helped a friend out who had an XP machine with 512Mb of memory and was, in his opinion, ready for the bin. I completely wiped the 20Gb hard disk and installed Ubuntu 10.04 (the latest at the time), and he still thinks that I must have upgraded the PC! It is still running fine for what he wants.

My wife runs 2Gb on her machine and she spends loads of time using GIMP (similar to Photoshop, but free) to make animations and do photo editing, she has no problems at all with that.

I have 4Gb in mine and the only thing that seems to slow it is rendering videos. I would think that a faster CPU would help me rather than more memory.

If you use a PC for web browsing and office applications then 1Gb would be plenty, but 512Mb would be loads faster than running XP.

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Now Ubuntu 12.04 - flabby 750mb so download to thumbdrive for install. Will check out when I get back to my dual boot laptop ... totally unnecessary 8GB RAM (£19 per 4GB 204 pin 1333), dual-core 2.36 and 120GB SSD (use original 500GB HD as external drive for storage, mirror and torrent) ..... but shocks folks with startup (even Slowdoze 7 is circa 20 secs).

Hardware has become so affordable online that you can easily give your laptop a lift for a reasonable cost. Easy to fit hardware just don't forget to earth yourself before taking computer apart (or wear earthing wristband to computer).
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[quote user="gardengirl "]

Hi, Mr GG here. 

I hope you don't mind me using GG's login to post a question. 

[quote user="Bob T"]Download a free copy of Ubuntu Linix and write to a CD. Insert CD into tired PC and install with the option of using the entire hard disk. You will be surprised at how fast the machine will run compare to Windows.

[/quote]

I keep hearing that Linux has a lot of advantages over Windows and would like to try it but have several questions.  Perhaps existing Linux users could help clear a few things before I try installing Linux Mint.

I’m always wary about anything that is free.  How do the authors stay in business with no income?

Do you find Linux applications as well (or as badly) developed as the Windows equivalents?

In spite of being given away, Linux still has a very small penetration in the home computer market.  Is this because, for example, it is lacking features or is difficult to use?

Microsoft regularly brings out updates for Windows to fix security issues.  How secure have you found Linux?

Every time that Microsoft launches a new operating system a few of my applications become inoperable and have to be replaced.  Have you found the same problem with Linux?

I understand that when installing Linux Mint I will be asked to create a new partition. How large should this be?  Will Linux applications also be installed in the same partition?

Will the existing data files still be accessible from Linux?  I’m currently using Mozilla Thunderbird.  Will I be able to install a Linux version of this and carry on using the same data files without needing to copy, relocate or convert them?

Will I need another firewall and virus protection?

Any help and guidance would be much appreciated.

 

 

[/quote]

Although I'm officially retired, I am (and have been for the last 10 years) a Linux system administrator for a commercial on-line database system, so maybe have as much practical experience as anyone here.

The Linux community like to emphasize that linux is "Free, as in speech, not as in beer". Basically, the source code for the operating system and the utilities and applications is freely available for anyone to use as they choose. Various companies, as well as enthusiasts have taken advantage of this, and put together what is known as "distributions" or "distros". I personally use Debian, but there are plenty of others; Ubuntu, Mint are Debian derivatives, Red Hat, Mandriva are other popular choices. Each has advantages compared to others, and it is quite common for users to try many distributions before settling on one.

You don't have to adopt the "free" versions. You can buy Linux with professional support, and pay a monthly/annual fee. Many companies do this for peace of mind. Hence the distributions are not necessarily free, as in beer. Companies derive their income through providing support and consultancy services to professional users. I have paid for support, and have also purchased enhanced "Professional" versions of some software. It is a business model that works well, and is in my view a lot more honest than Microsoft's monopoly model.

Applications are generally well developed. They would not last long if they weren't. Because of the "free" ethos, if an application has a problem, anyone can attack it and fix it, so it rapidly evolves, or something else comes along that's better.

In the home computer market, it is virtually impossible to buy a computer (unless it's from Apple) without 'doze pre-installed. The vast majority of users are quite happy with this situation, and don't give any other OS a second thought. They have no reason to; 'doze does an adequate job. It is hardly surprising that Linux market penetration is small.

Linux, or to give it its proper title, GNU/Linux, does get regular updates, bug fixes, and the like. Again because of its open philosophy, developers soon latch on to any vulnerability, and release updates within hours. Compare this with Microsoft which dithers for weeks and months before fixing anything.

Inevitably, as an operating system evolves, some incompatibility with existing applications may arise. However, those applicatioon developers will almost immediately release updates to their applications to handle the situation.

There are, in general, very few stepwise changes. Compare this with microsoft, where company policy dictates that there has to be a new release of OS and applications, just so as to screw more money from the punters. The free ethos of GNU/Linux stops any such rip-off.

There are many ways of trying a new distribution. The simplest way is to download and burn a CD for your chosen distro. You can then run it directly from CD without changing anything on your computer. If you then decide to permanently install the distro on your hard drive, then  you may create one or more partitions (the installer will guide you with this) for it to co-exist with 'doze (dual boot), or zap 'doze completely.

You can also perform a network install, which will preserve 'doze and your data, and load the distro in a Windows directory. See this for the Debian version; I'm sure there are others about.

Linux is perfectly capable of accessing FAT32 files, both read and write. Because MS will not release details of the NTFS file structure, it is said that Linux cannot reliably write to such a structure. I have not experienced any problems doing so, but it would undoubtedly be better/faster to move your data to a native Linux file system once you decide to adopt it. There are GNU/Linux utilities available to do this. Both thunderbird and Firefox are available in Linux versions, and are said to be faster than the 'doze versions.

The inux kernel comes with its own firewall, and dthe distros contain a choice of (free) Anti virus kits. However, because Gnu/Linux is of itself secure, and is not very attractive to the script kiddies, who get more satisfaction from attacking the millions of unprotected Windows machines out there, there are very few virus attacks against linux, and very few of these are successful on a machine which is kept up to date.

The only major drawback of running an exclusively GNU/Linux-based machine is the lack of games, which doesn't bother me, but may be upsetting to some. Also, although the situation is improving daily, companies such as Garmin only provide Windows software for their products. I therefore keep a copy of Windows on my laptop, and boot into it when I'm desperate. I can't remember the last time I did so.

I hope this answers most of your questions. Good luck with your foray into the world of Linux, I'm sure you won't regret leaving the dark side!

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[quote user="Chezstevens"]Now Ubuntu 12.04 - flabby 750mb so download to thumbdrive for install. Will check out when I get back to my dual boot laptop ... totally unnecessary 8GB RAM (£19 per 4GB 204 pin 1333), dual-core 2.36 and 120GB SSD (use original 500GB HD as external drive for storage, mirror and torrent) ..... but shocks folks with startup (even Slowdoze 7 is circa 20 secs).

Hardware has become so affordable online that you can easily give your laptop a lift for a reasonable cost. Easy to fit hardware just don't forget to earth yourself before taking computer apart (or wear earthing wristband to computer).[/quote]

!2.04 will not be released till April 2012.

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BobT

I'm afraid that with the Unity Interface in 11.10 it is not easy to find 'places' ..

I think if you are going to help people you will need to look at what they are seeing, and some may have a disk with 11.10 on.

You are obviously much more experienced with Linux than I am, and I have come in now it has this new look.

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Rabbie,

Sorry to hear that ... 11.10 works fine for my needs (apart from configuring VPN Tunnel) loaded with 7 on laptop as dual boot. I basically became interested 'cos you can still play with the software ... and if you screw it up then it is a quick reload :) We have Apple products for home but I have XP for work, 7 for bringing stuff away.

I found the "Linux for Dummies" useful .... and the forums are filled by helpful folk - no Trolls :)

Vern
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Yes you are correct on the Unity side, I cannot run it on my graphics card, I run Gnome instead. It is very simple to take the manager back to gnome, I have just done it over the phone for a friend about an hour ago.

I would suggest that nubies try Gnome at first by downloading the 10.04 version of Ubuntu. The reason is that it is more like Windows than the Unity manager.

If anyone is considering trying Ubuntu and wants to see what it looks like then do a search for Ubuntu in youtube. There are loads of videos, even one that tells you how to change to Gnome in 11.10.

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[quote user="Rabbie"]Just tried loading Ubuntu on to my laptop. Then I found there was a published bug which causes it to hang when loading so I will wait till the next release comes along.[/quote]

Rabbie, try downloading the 10.04 version. It is known as the "Long Term Support" (LTS) version and is still updated all the time for at least another year.

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Thanks for all the information and advice.  I never fail to be amazed what knowledgeable and friendly people there are on this forum.

Here's a short progress report.

I’ve downloaded Ubuntu Linux on a Vista machine but want to install it on an old XP machine and it doesn’t want to go.  The first try was to create a DVD which looks OK when I use it in the Vista machine but the XP machine says it is blank.  The second attempt is to create a USB stick.  The XP machine can read this but won’t boot from it although the first item in the boot order is “Removable Device”.  So I’m now trying loading Ubuntu from the stick as a Windows application but the old machine is only USB 1.0 and the loading has been going for an hour and still has over 2hr to go. 

I’ll let you know when I get there.

Thanks,

Mr GG

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[quote user="Chezstevens"]Rabbie,

Sorry to hear that ... 11.10 works fine for my needs (apart from configuring VPN Tunnel) loaded with 7 on laptop as dual boot. I basically became interested 'cos you can still play with the software ... and if you screw it up then it is a quick reload :) We have Apple products for home but I have XP for work, 7 for bringing stuff away.

I found the "Linux for Dummies" useful .... and the forums are filled by helpful folk - no Trolls :)

Vern[/quote]

That's weird, because my VPN on 11.10 works everytime, and better than on Windows 7 (I posted about my problem a few weeks back)

I just click on the two arrows on the top right, VPN cpnnection...configure, and enter my password etc...

I am trying to remember if I needed to get anything from the repositories, but I believe it just worked once 11.10 was released fully

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[quote user="gardengirl "]

Thanks for all the information and advice.  I never fail to be amazed what knowledgeable and friendly people there are on this forum.

Here's a short progress report.

I’ve downloaded Ubuntu Linux on a Vista machine but want to install it on an old XP machine and it doesn’t want to go.  The first try was to create a DVD which looks OK when I use it in the Vista machine but the XP machine says it is blank.  The second attempt is to create a USB stick.  The XP machine can read this but won’t boot from it although the first item in the boot order is “Removable Device”.  So I’m now trying loading Ubuntu from the stick as a Windows application but the old machine is only USB 1.0 and the loading has been going for an hour and still has over 2hr to go. 

I’ll let you know when I get there.

Thanks,

Mr GG

[/quote]

Try the wubi method I suggested. It is the same as installing any other Windows programme if longer, and you can uninstall at will

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NormanH's suggestion is a bloody good idea - however, sometimes being able to easily remove an OS prevents you persevering - unless you are also bloody-minded(like me). Thanks for info, I'll have another look at VPN Tunnel on my return.

As discussed, if you are feeling brave (read thread and Wiki) and have a spare machine then: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/11/ubuntu-12-04-daily-builds-available/

Common feeling is not much change from 11.10 (some folks commented more stable than 11.04). As I mentioned, will play with it on return to "work". Alpha version of LTS supposedly available in December. I am not a programmer just somebody that enjoys learning new things when separated from family.
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[quote user="Chezstevens"]NormanH's suggestion is a bloody good idea - however, sometimes being able to easily remove an OS prevents you persevering - unless you are also bloody-minded(like me). Thanks for info, I'll have another look at VPN Tunnel on my return.

As discussed, if you are feeling brave (read thread and Wiki) and have a spare machine then: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/11/ubuntu-12-04-daily-builds-available/

Common feeling is not much change from 11.10 (some folks commented more stable than 11.04). As I mentioned, will play with it on return to "work". Alpha version of LTS supposedly available in December. I am not a programmer just somebody that enjoys learning new things when separated from family.[/quote]

Now have the 12.10 on CD, and have tried it.

Running it from disk is not a fair test of performance, but it works well, and I like the new layout where the windows partition(if you still have one) is clearly visible

I would install it, but my heart sinks at a clean install losing all my 'tweaks' so I will wait probably until I can just upgrade my 11.10

On the other hand....[:)]

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