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The State Of Linux


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#1 RandomUser

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 01:21 PM

I haven't seen many articles around here regarding linux, so I want to share my experiences with this often controversial OS.

I've been experimenting with various Linux Distro's off and on for some time now. Back in 2001, when I first used FreeBSD and Red Hat at school, those OS's
were quite cumbersome and painful to work with. Red Hat still is during the install, but with a bit of helpful information that's an easy one too.
Among some other popular distro's are, Linux mint, Slackware, Knoppix, System Rescue, Yellow dog, DSL, and PCLinuxOS. One question I often get, How come there are so many versions or distro's?" And the answer to that is simple; The free software community is able to develop operating systems under the GPL which encourages developers to create products based upon their talents.

What this mean then, is that developers are not hindered uneccessarily by corporate organizations. The end products are also open to anyone to change for better or worse. Ultimately the software in question becomes evolved into something better. Being free to develop software without boundaries has proven to be more succesful than some coporate approaches. Any OS essentially does the same job, it allows one to "operate" your computer. Most of us are comfortable using Windows, because that's the most popular OS line. That's all find and dandy, yet you have options other than this.

Some general statements I would make about Linux;

It's Secure and stable.
It can do anything any other OS can and more.
It's Fun to use if you pick the right operating system
Answers are easier to find in the Linux world.
Linux can run Windows and other OS' and applications.

Just check out google, altavista, or ask.com for linux security and you will find several resources providing answer and solutions to several issues that
plague all computer users. Don't get me wrong, every OS has imperfections, I simply look for those with the least problems. Linux, steeped in free software, can run MS office via WINEhq.org, so you don't have to through away your expensive office software. Further, you could run Koffice, or OpenOffice.org.
The two latter are free and Open Source, which means compatable and stable even.

One distro, I'm planning to install is Dreamlinux do to it's compatability with printers, digital camera's, and other consumer electronics. Further it runs Beryl, an opencompositing window manager. This allow you to get a 3d desktop that is fun to look at and use. I'm really excited about that distro because it has a built in remastering tool to make it easy to build your own customized OS. Neat huh? I currently run Ubuntu 7.04 (Fesity Fawn) which will soons show on Dell computers if it hasn't already. I believe that Dell already offer Ubuntu 6.06 LTS on a select group of Desktops and Laptops. Most Ubuntu user like that OS due to it's compatibility with standards based software and it's generally easy to keep up to date. LinuxMint, an OS based on Ubuntu, comes ready to go out of the box, which most people like about their Windows machines.

Also, if you want to try linux, you have several options for doing so. You might burn a LiveCD and choose to boot from cd from your computer's boot options.
You could also use VirtualPC from Microsoft wich is a Free virutal machine environment. I won't cover that here however. And back to the comment I made about linuz being fun to use, checkout XGL on wikipedia which will explain the 3d desktop. Oh and don't forget to checkout Xbox linux that allows your XBOX to run linux. Did I mention that Apple hardware can also run linux? Seen a neat video on youtube about that one once. Just google Mac in My Top under google video.

So I've talked about some of the things that linux is capable of doing, but what about support? Well the most obvious support page is the linux forum right here on Bleeping Computer.com. Also, check out linuxforums.org, and linuxquestions.org

Just a brief over of how Linux is organized.

Linux is seperated into some major compenents, The kernel, the shell, the DE or Desktop environment, window manager, window decorator, and installer apps. The kernel is what runs linux, it's the engine if you will. The shell is where you might enter commands manually rather than click on an icon, and it is much more powerful than the GUI. The desktop environment provides the organization of tools you'll use, and allows to to configure your system. A window manager is exactly that and defines how the open "window" will be displayed and used. Window managers are not to be confused with MS Windows which is a complete OS. A window decorator provides themes to make your windows look nice. An installer, such as apt-get or yum, is a predetermined set of tools for installing software. Synaptic is common on Ubuntu systems as it is a user friendly front end to apt-get.

So, where can you learn more about how to use linux? Start with tldp.org and linuxquestions. For information on standard linux tools, visit GNU.org Also check out FreeBSD because they have some great resources on using the command line, if that interests you. For Desktop environments, check out kde.org, and Gnome.org and remember that others exist. eveything else just requires a trip to your favorite search engine and type in what you're looking for.
BTW, you can also find help on IRC for many projects where once in a while you might talk to a developer.

So that's just a general introduction in terms of use. There are many other important areas such as history, and development that you might want to know more about. You'll find out more as you look for information already provided here and on those sites.

I hope you've found this interesting and appealing and good luck!

PS
Mods may decide to move this and that's perfectly OK, wasn't aware of a Specific section this belonged in other than Linux itself, but that is more geared toward problem solving.

Edited by RandomUser, 25 August 2007 - 12:05 AM.


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#2 JohnWho

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 04:10 PM

Replying to "Is Linux a viable option?" -

it depends.


The distros of Linux are becoming less and less "geeky" and ones such as Freespire may become a reasonable option to many in the general public using a PC.

Edit to correct link.

Edited by JohnWho, 24 August 2007 - 04:16 PM.


I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


#3 garmanma

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 04:48 PM

Up until my power supply went on my Linux box, I used it 90% of the time
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#4 RandomUser

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 12:00 AM

Replying to "Is Linux a viable option?" -

it depends.


The distros of Linux are becoming less and less "geeky" and ones such as Freespire may become a reasonable option to many in the general public using a PC.



Hmm, less geeky? I suppose that depends on how you define geeky and character. I can be just as much of a geek on linux, as I can on Windows, OS X, or any microkernel. So then I ask myself, why doesn anyone have to be a complete geek to get to know linux? Unless of course people become less independent I mean. Generally the less technical saavy user comes onlines to find answer to most of their questions about other OS's now. Couldn't they do the same if they had trouble with linux?

Linux may not "take off" as some Holy Grail of OS's any time soon, but it is certainly more appealing to a wider demographic in what has become the Technical Age over the past 20 years. So I believe that any argument against Linux, is moot to the extent that someone is willing to be an individual within themseves. By argument against, I mean anything dealing with user ability or intelligence. It's not fair to say that linux is less "geeky". Give me a real life scenario, and I won't complain.

#5 JohnWho

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 08:27 AM

Well, I did put "geeky" in quotes.


I'm reflecting what many Linux evaluators say.

In general, if one wants to install a software program in Windows, they simply insert the CD, wait a few seconds, and then click on "Install".

With generic "Linux", a program that might install that easily on one Distro may require multiply command line entries, with exacting syntax, in a very specific order on another Distro, or they may not be installable at all by the average user and they may have to wait until the proper apt-get install package is created.


Please don't misunderstand - I'm looking at this from the average end-user viewpoint based on my experience in the retail sales arena.

That's why I mentioned Freespire, and it's big brother, Linspire. They, and a few other Linux distros (Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu) support, or will soon, an easy to use install package - Click aNd Run (CNR) - that makes installation of software just as easy as what I described with Windows. However, this isn't talked about as a mainstream Linux ability, probably because it still has limits regarding which distros it supports. It is an effort in the right direction, in my opinion, though.

Edited by JohnWho, 25 August 2007 - 08:27 AM.


I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


#6 tswsl1989

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 08:43 AM

Ubuntu's good
Tom

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#7 no one

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 09:29 PM

I haven't used any thing but Linux for over a year and before that I had M$ installed on a old computer and never used it for about a year since I was using Linux live CD's most of the time (so I guess that makes it about 2 years plus then :flowers:), And I feel fine. :thumbsup: . I haven't run into anything yet that I could do in M$ that I haven't been able to do in Linux. I'm using PCLinuxOS 2007 now as my installed OS and like it alot. You don't have to be a "uber-geek" anymore to use alot of the Distros out there. Live Cd's are great to find a distro you like and to see if it likes your machine as well. My start up times alone amaze me ,from hitting the switch (cold) to surfing ready in about a minute and a half (maybe alittle less) . as far as installing and updating software ,I'm using Synaptic and it's been nothing short of excellent so far as opposed to CNR which has it's problems still (I used Linspire for just short of a year). In Freespire (2.0 should be out shortly) you have the option to use Synaptic and alot of them are doing it . the thing you need to remember in Linux is that you don't have to constantly update AV, or other anti-malware , you would be amazed how much time that frees up , and there is no such thing as "drive-bys" in Linux either. There will be a adjustment period to get as used to Linux but it's not that bad , it's not as steep a curve as it was even a couple years ago (more of a "bunny slope" now). Almost all have there own forums with lots of people to help smooth out problems you might have. If I can use it I think alot of people could.

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#8 BlackSpyder

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 09:50 PM

I'm in no way a fan of "Linux should be like Windows" distros and there are plenty of them out there (Linspire and Xandros are 2). CNR is not exactly the Holy grail we've been searching for. Ubuntu and PCLOS users are working on better methods for installing apps. I rarely have to used the command line since installing a recent distro release (F7, Ubuntu Studio, PCLOS07) unless I felt like it (which is fairly common, why search for a package in Synaptic when you can just type it's name in a command line and get it installed).

Hardware is our sticking point right now. Drivers need to come from the source companies but they are unwilling to release them for linux. Proprietary drivers are a must!!!! (Yes this goes against FOSS ideals but lets face it, its true)

Finally, paid professional support (as comes with Ubuntu Dells, which is why they cost the same as regular Dells) is not a bad idea. It can help newer users to figure out the small and big issues.


BTW if you want a windows clone try ReactOS (what Linux is to Unix, ReactOS is to Windows)

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#9 no one

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 11:51 PM

I guess I should mention I don't do gaming and don't use/need wifi . I have had less problems with hardware under Linux than windows though. I don't see a "windozy" distro as a bad thing really if it gets people to try out a different OS and get used to it with semi-familiar looks and feel, LFS can come later :thumbsup:. the good thing about using Synaptic is you don't have to worry about dependencies .

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#10 RandomUser

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 12:01 AM

I'm very excited about the conversation I've started here, and it'e especially interesting to view useability comments. I suppose that useability is #1 on everyone's list that has any plans to move to any Linux derivative. I must agree that synaptic makes life easier as far as installing software. Using Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, I've have no trouble to date installing software with synaptic and yes, apt-get is still available from the command line.

As far as drivers go, well, that comes from the major players jumping in. Intel has my business when it comes to Linux hardware because they have support for most of their networking products and their business grade desktop pc boards. (executive series) AMD is also beginning to prove their commitment to open source, moreso than they have in the past. I don't have anything specific, other than every where I look, it seems that AMD has the linux world covered.

The question I have regarding drivers? When will industry wide support be the norm? It appears as though linux support from hardware vendors is growing but at a pace that would make turtles annoyed. Often however there is a solution to lack of drivers. NDIS for instance can "wrap" your wi-fi card's windows driver in a friendly windows environment complete with windows compatible API's. (sorta, but it works.) Also, sourceforge.net and softpedia are just a few that provided links to drivers (opensource or otherwise) that I needed.

Hardware is our sticking point right now. Drivers need to come from the source companies but they are unwilling to release them for linux. Proprietary drivers are a must!!!! (Yes this goes against FOSS ideals but lets face it, its true)


I don't believe the problem is having a proprietary and controlled driver. Rather, I think that companies need to opensource development to the linux community. This, coupled with programming standards could lead to a more "feature complete", efficient OS.

Also, it's been brought to my attention that a driver for NTFS providing full read, write, and copy commands is on the loose. The 3G NTFS driver I believe it is called. It may even delete items without any corruption happening. This is a big deal considering that other drivers had limited read/write support and little to no support for ACL's.

Linux has arrived IMHO, and now a distro or two simply need some centralized deployment and attention from OEM's in order to go mainstream.

#11 JohnWho

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 08:14 AM

I would think you would get a kick out of this topic.

:thumbsup:


I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


#12 RandomUser

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 03:13 PM

In the words of a Tech turned forest ranger; "Oh my GOD"

Is that for real? NVM it must be real if it's on the internet. lol

What is this guy thinking? Use freekin Windows until your probation is up. Why spend the money to fight that when it's only apart of your probationary terms?
That's not so different from having to stay away from a public place if you've caused trouble there before. It would be completely different if the switch to windows extended beyond his probationary period. What is he worried about if he's not planning to do anything wrong? Hell go out and buy a discounted Windows MSCE book that comes with a 6 month trial of XP Pro. Problem solved?

I have one thing to say to that guy, "Quit ur ____in"

The way I see it he got off easy.

This is hilarious however, considering that microsoft is the only OS that the monitoring software works on. Once again it says that the MPAA wants to be in control on their terms. But they do have a point. Don't Steal! End of story.

What a cluster ____ this guy is in. I have no remorse and it is funny to the point of being fanatical. I might have to follow that one.

#13 Grinler

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 04:04 PM

I moved this to the linux forum where it "should" get more attention.

Hope to add comments later when I am not as busy.

#14 POADB

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:25 PM

I've switched my spare laptop today from Xp Home to EdUbuntu. (for my daughter)
My first ever experience installing Ubuntu or a linux based OS, and I'll admit it was a pain. It took ages and failed once.

It seems to over complicate things when it comes to Partitions. I had 2 partitions, 1) a Recovery partition back to XP and 2) a formatted partition in which I planned on installing Edubuntu. For some unknown reason, I couldn't tell the installation to install on the formatted partition.

In the end, I got frustrated, and couldn't find the answers online, and went for the Entire disk option. (oddly, the edubuntu websites installation guide was complete different to what I was seeing)

Now that it's on, I do like it, and will enjoy learning it whilst teaching my daughter how to use it.

I've used Knoppix and Whoppix before but only briefly and bootable versions.

Edited by POADB, 30 August 2007 - 01:26 PM.


#15 MattV

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 02:18 PM

I have one thing to say to that guy, "Quit ur ____in"

The way I see it he got off easy.

This is hilarious however, considering that microsoft is the only OS that the monitoring software works on. Once again it says that the MPAA wants to be in control on their terms. But they do have a point. Don't Steal! End of story.

What a cluster ____ this guy is in. I have no remorse and it is funny to the point of being fanatical. I might have to follow that one.

I agree. How many times do we see criminals whining and sniveling about the punishment for their crimes being "unfair"? You get caught engaging in criminal activity, you take your punishment and shut up. And it isn't likely that this guy was doing something inadvertently, or that there was any kind of an honest mistake involved. Uploading something before it's release date is a pretty clear indication that he knew what he was doing was against the law. And he got caught. Tough s__t for him.

If you don't want to get caught doing something criminal, the don't do it. It really is that simple.




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