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Discussion in 'PC Forum' started by Jakeman, May 31, 2009.

  1. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    My hypochondria over the security of Windows finally got the best of me. I switched to Linux last night. I'm using the latest Debian with the Gnome environment. The switch was fairly painless and I now have everything running exactly the way it was under Windows.

    WoW performs well in WINE (a Windows compatibility layer made for Linux). There is only a very slight degradation in performance that I can tell.

    All of my other apps were easy to find on Linux.

    My brother is experienced with Debian so he helped with some stuff like setting up my software raid.
     
  2. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    sweet. I've been thinking of going this way (for different reasons; I just don't like the instability of Microsoft programs), maybe dual-booting for a while until i get totally used to it. I don't even do any gaming on my pc, so it will be even easier. I use five programs:
    Firefox (web browser)
    uTorrent (torrent client)
    Tversity media server (for streaming video to my Xbox 360)
    Open Office (word processor/database/spreadsheet)
    Express Burn (optical media burning program)

    Open Office runs native in Linux. I'm not sure about the others, but there are many alternates to choose from that do run natively, maybe even with better features.
     
  3. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    Debian has nice package management. They have a huge online repository of free software that is tested with their distribution. You can search the repository using the APT software that is included with the operating system. You simply select the software you want and it automatically installs it for you. It tracks dependencies and keeps everything updated automatically.

    Repository for stable release:

    http://packages.debian.org/stable/

    Search it:

    http://debian.org/distrib/packages#search_packages

    Note that Firefox is called Iceweasel in Linux:

    http://packages.debian.org/lenny/iceweasel

    It is compiled from Firefox which is open source, they just can't use the Firefox name because it's copyrighted. It is functionally identical.

    Open Office comes preinstalled.
     
  4. harleyb

    harleyb Peasant

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    I do IT for a campus newspaper. We've got 9 WinXP workstations with network logon, and we were using Windows Small Business Server 2003 when I came into the job. I managed to migrate to Ubuntu server, and then eventually CentOS after we got new hardware, with a surprisingly minimal amount of pain. Network logon and file sharing is even easier under Samba.
     
  5. Calendryll

    Calendryll MSC Commander and Donator

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    I've thought about going to Linux as well so maybe you can help me understand some things.

    I've read that Debian is not completely free - do they provide anything that is strictly a "must have" in terms of software or drivers? Do you really have to pay for these things? Am I an idiot for asking this? lol.

    Would there be any reason I shouldnt use gNewSense Linux or Linux Mint? It looks to be a completely free version of Ubuntu minus a few programs that are not considered "free". Still not totally sure if the term free is meant in the way I'm taking it.

    I've never used Linux on anything. Any help distinguishing between what I should use and what I should stay away from (and an explanation of why perhaps) would be helpful. I've read a bit of info here and there but honestly there is TONS of information on each. I figured you guys could help simplify it for me.

    If the differences are purely personal preference then that would be great.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
  6. smack

    smack Peasant and Donator

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    The word "free" has a very specific meaning.
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
    If the software grants you the 4 freedoms listed than the software can be called "free software".

    I think the difference between distributions is more than personal preference. But be warned. If you ask what distribution you should use people will generally just tell you to use what they use. The main difference between GNU/Linux distributions is how they install and manage software.

    A lot of new people get hung up on the fact that there are so many choices. GNU/Linux distributions are like a buffet where you get to pick what you like best. :)

    You might want to look at the communities associated with the various distributions. I know Ubuntu has a support community that is friendly to new people. I search their forums sometimes because I use Debian (Ubuntu is based on Debian). If you used gNewSense you could also use the Ubuntu forums as a resource.

    gNewSense is exactly Ubuntu without the option to install proprietary software. It is the distribution Richard Stallman (started the free software movement) recommends to people.

    A lot of distributions have liveCD's available if you want to poke around and see what's what. You can also try the various distributions in a virtual machine. I like the VirtualBox software for doing that.

    There are a few pieces of proprietary software for which there is no good free software equivalent:

    Adobe Flash player is a big one (you'd have trouble with youtube on gNewSense). There is a free software player called gnash but it's not up to snuff yet.

    The proprietary Nvidia driver. If you do intensive 3D games (quake3 or better) the free software driver is currently too slow.

    Wireless cards. A lot of these require binary firmware blobs to run which the gNewSense distribution doesn't include. These are included with the Linux kernel but gNewSense removes them.
     
  7. smack

    smack Peasant and Donator

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    Firefox is free software so that'll work on anything. :)

    The wine project has an application database which lists how well specific windows applications work in wine. I know utorrent to be really well supported AppDB Link. There are also some really good free bittorrent clients. But I know that some trackers require specific clients. I use utorrent on windows and I know that it's one of the best bittorrent clients (also the official bittorrent client since bittorrent inc bought it).

    I don't know about the xbox streaming stuff.

    OpenOffice is free software so that'll also work on anything.

    I know there are many different good options for CD/DVD burning software. GnomeBaker is decent. Some file managers (like windows explorer) have burning built in also. Most GNU/Linux distributions will include a burning program by default.
     
  8. smack

    smack Peasant and Donator

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    Using packages.debian.org is the hard way to find software. It's good to get an idea of how much is in the Debian repository though. Debian/Ubuntu/gNewSense users generally use software called Synaptic to search for and install software. Screenshots

    Here's the complete story on why Debian had to change the names of the mozilla software. Story
     
  9. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    My computer shut down while I was playing WoW. The CPU was burning up when I opened the case. This has never happened in 3 years of playing WoW on Windows with this machine. There is a strong correlation to my Linux switch. I am guessing the CPU is under heavier load running WoW on Linux, maybe because it's running in a compatibility layer.

    I don't know what the temperature was when it shut off but the heatsink was blistering hot to the touch. Afterwards I took off the side panel to cool it down and installed a CPU monitor to check the temp (a program called "sensors-applet" which is part of the debian package). It was running around 80C in WoW and I could only touch the heatsink for a few seconds. Then I went into the BIOS and enabled Cool'n'Quiet (CPU speed throttling on demand) and undervolted the CPU by 0.1 volts. That brought it down to about 50C in WoW. This huge difference in temp was due to the undervolting because the speed throttle kept the CPU frequency maxed out while WoW was running.
     
  10. Calendryll

    Calendryll MSC Commander and Donator

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    Thanks Smack. That's invaluable info for me. :)
     
  11. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    I went with ubuntu on my laptop and I really like it. I'm thinking of installing debian on my desktop to compare. I already have run out of space on my ubuntu system partition (5GB), so I will probably make a bigger one for debian.

    I noticed the flash problems, so I usually just switch to WinXP if I really need to see something. I saw some workarounds for fixing it, but I don't think I'm ready for the terminal yet.

    I also have a problem with copying video files to a thumbdrive. The files will copy, but it takes around 30 minutes to copy 1GB. I don't know if it is the USB driver, the format of the drive (FAT), or the file handling software.
     
  12. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    So, I tried debian, but it didn't seem as smooth as ubuntu. I had a few problems mounting my existing windows partition and also with mounting my usb thumbdrive. It's still on its partition, but I installed ubuntu and I'm back in working order
     
  13. harleyb

    harleyb Peasant

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    I know it's not Linux, but I'm planning on building a FreeBSD-based, ZFS-based NAS for all of my external storage. I'll keep you guys posted...
     
  14. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    Yeah, I'm thinking of doing that, too. I have my computers set up for media streaming to my xbox 360 and it would be good to keep all the files organised in one place. I investigated the pre-made NAS options, but it's cheaper to make your own, especially if you already have the parts. From what i read, it can take as little as an hour.
     
  15. harleyb

    harleyb Peasant

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    They don't lie, especially if you're using a pre-made NAS distro. I've got a good idea of exactly what I want to get out of ZFS though, and I don't think I'm going to get it running without a day of hacking through FreeBSD, unfortunately.

    I'll be very happy to ditch my myriad of USB drives for a gigabit-saturating, redundant NFS mount. I plan to only keep one USB drive, with only my cannot-lose files and some system partitions for booting pooched computers.
     
  16. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    I ran into a problem on my laptop. My CD drive doesn't work and my BIOS doesn't allow USB booting. I need to shrink my windows partition and add it to the ubuntu partition.
     

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