GNU/Linux a viable alternative to Windows?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Larry, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Looking to slowly change from Windows to Linux.

    There seems to be many Linux distributions, anyone here have a favorite?

    I am mostly a writer. Word processing and spreadsheets are my two main uses. Email and web browsing also, of course.

    I do create and read pdf files and some graphics software like Adobe photoshop. Not really into gaming much.

    Would like to hear about which distributions of Linux you are all using and why...


    Larry, Mar 2, 2014
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  2. Larry

    Bob_Villa Guest

    This is what I would look into...although I don't know about it fist hand.
    Bob_Villa, Mar 2, 2014
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  3. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    Why? Every time I run Linux I am so very disappointed. So what's your angle?
    BillW50, Mar 2, 2014
  4. Larry

    Ben Myers Guest

    I tend to like Linux Mint with either the Cinnamon interface or the Mint interface. I've also had a brief look at LXLE, based on Ubuntu. The advantage of LXLE is that it has a skin to set it up to look like and to operate like Windows. And then there is Ubuntu itself, quite popular.

    With either of these, you get LibreOffice with a full complement of document, spreadsheet, presentation and data base capabilities. LibreOffice operates a lot like Microsoft Office before the ribbon interface and it can readand write Microsoft Office files with almost 100% success. I would claim that if you've used Office without any of the fancier features, any Office files you have will work perfectly with LibreOffice.

    Dealing with Microsoft Office is a lot like being Charlie Brown kicking a football held by Lucy. Office is not an open spec, despite its Orwellian name of Open XML. Microsoft changes it, and anyone wanting to be compatible needs to reverse engineer it and make their own changes.

    I would suggest downloading the ISO files for a number of Linux distros, and either burning DVDs or making up bootable flash sticks. Then you can tryout Linux "live", without installing it and you can then see what you likebest.

    Unfortunately, the Linux world is very much fragmented, so the choice of which Linux is never an easy one. Too damned many egos in the Linux world, with the notion that "their" distro is the best... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Mar 2, 2014
  5. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    Try search and replace EOL characters with LibreOffice. You have to be a
    programmer to pull it off. Heck anything else is so much better than
    BillW50, Mar 2, 2014
  6. Larry

    Ben Myers Guest

    And why are you so disappointed with a free product when Microsoft is regularly manipulating its world to extract more and more money from everyone? And when Microsoft has such an abysmal track record with Windows, oscillating alternately between good and bad-ugly releases (homage to Clint Eastwood..) We've had to live with Windows 95 (buggy/incomplete), Windows 98 (AKA Windows 95 stabilized), Windows ME (not born right), Windows XP (very good by SP1), Windows Vista (Bloatware), Windows 7 (real good), Windows 8 (fantasy marriage of touchscreen tiles with menu interface; unusable if you do nothave a touch scree; marginally productive if you do).

    How about installing a recent and modern Linux distro on a system and giving it a try for a while? Do not get me started on Microsoft paranoia that software pirates are stealing all of its revenue... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Mar 2, 2014
  7. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    Well LibreOffice seems like it was developed by first graders. Do
    everything the hard way and people will love it, right?

    Linux is also poorly coded. All of the drivers I have run into can't
    even take advantage of the special abilities of the hardware. I was just
    talking about today that Linux couldn't even pan and scan or even access
    downscaling the Intel 915GM. Even the Android can do that, what happened
    to Linux?

    I do have a fondness toward my Xandros (Linux). It isn't free and you
    have to pay for it like Windows. Although they never updated the kernel
    and if I want to continue to use it, I must recompile it. Lots of fun
    there. You just can't do it the easy way like clicking update and let it
    do its thing.

    And Linux applications are also featureless. Nor very powerful either.
    Comparing say VLC on Linux and comparing it to say Windows Media Player
    on the same machine, WMP blows it away (especially for WMA and WMV
    files). Far faster frames rates and everything.

    Even my Keurig Coffee Maker requires constant reboots. No doubt that is
    using Linux too.
    BillW50, Mar 2, 2014
  8. Larry

    Larry Guest

    My angle?

    Have two WindowsXP machines that I want to keep running because of the large investment I have in software.

    So the WindowsXPs I have now taken offline.
    However, I am thinking about installing Linux in a dual boot so I can still have Internet access for those machines. I would boot into WindowsXP when I need to and boot into Linux to connect to the Internet when I want to.

    I also have a Windows Vista machine. Vista support is ending 2017. If the dual boot works for me on the Windows XP machine, I will also use it on the Vista computer.

    And if I really like Linux, I might become a Linux convert before, God forbid, Windows 7 expires.

    I guess that's my angle.
    Larry, Mar 2, 2014
  9. Larry

    Larry Guest


    My understanding is Windows Media Player was not included with Windows 8. Ibelieve it was offered free for a short time. Don't know about Windows 8.1..

    Larry, Mar 2, 2014
  10. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Larry, Mar 2, 2014
  11. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    No it sounds like you are talking about the Media Center, not Windows
    Media Player. Yes you could get the Media Center free for a short time
    for Windows 8. Now you have to pay $9.95 or something for it. The same
    is true for 8.1. The Media Center came with Windows Home, Pro, and I
    forgot what else.
    BillW50, Mar 2, 2014
  12. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Hi Ben,

    I remember sometime back you mentioned Linux mint. After your post I installed it on an old Inspiron 6000 laptop that had Windows XP. It runs fine on that machine. I was wondering if you still felt good about it. You are probably right that I need to look at a number of distributions.

    I was hoping to get some ideas of distributions to try from this group, since all my computers are dells.

    I presently use open office. It does what I need it to do. The only thing I noticed as a difference between Word and Open Office is that Word allows the use of "stickynotes" that you can attach to a paragraph, however Open Office does not "see" those "stickynotes". But I can work around that.

    I am still open to more recomendations about Linux distributions to try. I would like to know what people are using and what they like.
    Larry, Mar 2, 2014
  13. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    Well I am not worried one bit about Microsoft stopping security updates
    for XP at all. I have lots of XP machines and I still love them. One of
    the best Windows versions Microsoft ever came out with IMHO.

    I also have never been infected with a virus or trojan on any Windows
    machine. And I have been running Windows since '93. I did get a trojan
    on a Commodore back in the 80's though. I also repair lots of clients
    machines that has been infected. So I know what they are like.

    What would bother me is the day no antivirus supports XP anymore. Then I
    would be concerned. As it doesn't matter how many holes the OS has, but
    whether the antivirus can scan in real time before executing anything
    that wants to run.

    If you like Linux (some people do), then nothing wrong with that. But
    most Linux users doesn't even run an antivirus program. And at least one
    well known Linux server was passing out trojans for about 7 months
    before anybody caught it. On a Windows server, that would have been
    crushed in less than a second.
    BillW50, Mar 2, 2014
  14. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    That should be Windows 7 Home, Pro...
    BillW50, Mar 2, 2014
  15. Larry

    Steve Urbach Guest

    Most distributions have Live CD's. Download the ISO, Burn the CD/DVD. Then
    Boot it for a full experience without installing

    Try Linux Mint . IMHO it is what Ubuntu was a few years ago. Clean!
    Ubuntu has become a bloated, ' I wana be a tablet OS ', GUI mess

    Also, try the different desktop flavors
    Gnome, KDE

    See which 'fits'
    Steve Urbach, Mar 3, 2014
  16. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    Pull your Windows drive out first. As some Linux distros will mount
    Windows drives and apparently use or create a Windows swapfile for its
    own use. The majority of the time nothing harmful happens, but sometimes
    it can cause an unbootable Windows.
    BillW50, Mar 3, 2014
  17. Larry

    Ben Myers Guest

    Well, that was an excellent exposition of the facts, wasn't it? Got any more Linux invective there?

    LibreOffice - Forked from OpenOffice to get out from under the Oracle thumbof neglect. Before that, it was StarOffice, acquired by Sun. So it's been around, not as long as Office, only since the '80s, when Windows was still some [censored] dream of Bill Gates. It does not have a ribbon interface.. Maybe some people like it that way. I've used LibreOffice from back around OpenOffice 2, because I'll be damned if I'll pay for yet another Microsoft license to run Office on my laptop. No problems using it, but, then, Ido not write WordBasic scripts or use other features that lock one into the Microsoft way.

    Linux - Poorly coded drivers? Using which distro(s)? There seems to be anintent to tar all Linux with the same paintbrush. You could do better than that if you cared to.

    Xandros - This is not considered to be a mainstream Linux distro by anyone.So you have to recompile updates for Xandros? So what? Do you have to do the same for Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, Open Suse? No. Your experience with Xandros is hardly representative of Linux at large.

    VLC vs Windows Media Player - Well, I prefer VLC on Windows, because it is not bogged down by DRM, as is Media Player due to Microsoft's close cooperation with Sony and other advocates of DRM.

    Used any modern mainstream distro of Linux lately? Are you a Microsoft fanboy?

    .... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Mar 3, 2014
  18. Larry

    Ben Myers Guest

    "The majority of the time nothing harmful happens, but sometimes it can cause an unbootable Windows." Heard that canard before without any specifics as to distro and version. It seems to be fact challenged... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Mar 3, 2014
  19. Larry

    Steve Urbach Guest

    I agree with Ben
    Someone is spreading FUD

    I have tried many a Live CD,
    It does do a NORMAL mount of the Windows drive.(you can play music, saved

    I have an existing Linux Swap partition... It does not even use that until I
    did a Swapon.

    Just More M$ fear mongering

    Note: I do have more than 256M of RAM (1G). I rarely see Linux use any of the
    3G Swap partition.
    My W7 uses most of the #G of RAM And a goodly chunk of swap

    Steve Urbach, Mar 3, 2014
  20. Larry

    Steve Urbach Guest

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

    Bill WINDOWS 50

    50 is what he must think our IQ is .
    Steve Urbach, Mar 3, 2014
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