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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my old computer is reaching the end of it's cost effective upgrade viability and the wife is lobbying hard for a replacement. She wants either a mac or a windows 7 machine. I'm leaning more toward Windows 7 because of the flexibility of the platform, while she is leaning more toward the mac, because of the compactness of the system, it's stability and relative security (yes I'm very well versed on relative security issues between macs and windows machines).

We'll end up getting whatever she wants, but that still leaves me with a computer I don't want to just throw out. I've decided to teach myself some desktop linux and would like to use this computer for learning. However I don't know anyone running linux, nor do I know the ins and outs of desktop linux. I've seen some amazing comparisson videos of windows 7 against Ubunto Linux sapphire and another comparizon against Ubuntu Linux with Compiz Fusion. all I can say is that from a user POV it seems impressive.

My question is more along the lines of system requirements, general security, and things I should be aware of regarding desktop linux. I would greatly appreciate any advice or resources anyone of you could help out with.
 

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Get the Mac. I jettisoned Microsuck Windblows products out of my house 5 years ago and never looked back. I am an IT Admin and have to deal with the deficiencies of Windows day in and day out. Just 3 weeks ago we were in the midst of a calamity when McAfee sent out a DAT update file for their enterprise customers that, upon deployment, would send machines into rebooting frenzies (The DAT file had an instruction to automatically shutdown and remove the SVCHOST.EXE file a critical Windows component). We had to manually repair, 3,500 affected machines, one by one as Mc Afee was unable to provide a timely solution that could be networked in. Even so, the machines were so thrashed that there was no way but to do it by hand. It was a nightmare scenario that I do not care to repeat. Trust me when I say this.

I have said this before and I'll say it again. Windows is garbage pure and simple. Windows 7 is better but it is not Mac OS X. Trust me, I have spent quality time with it. I have studied the architecture of Windows operating systems and it is junk. Mac OS X is not perfect but it is much better. Ditto for open source Linux systems. Anything that is not related to Bill Gates and his minions is simply good for you.


Mac OS X has a unix based kernel. Unix is an old operating system/network environment developed 30-40 years ago. but it is solid, secure and it works.


I have owned 3 Apple MacBooks and could not be happier. Anything that I did in Windows I have been able to do here without the aggravation, babysitting, downtime and lost productivity that are the hallmarks of windows based PCs.


Windows requires too much maintenance and baby sitting. Most non-computer people will never put up with that. Microsoft is a broken company selling broken products, plain and simple.
 

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Ditched that McAfee *#^# years ago and have had no problems with Windows XP to speak of and no viruses. Typing this on my wife's MacBook Pro and and like its size and speed but always wonder why Jobs and Apple labeled the backspace key "delete," did not provide a proper "delete" key, and don't have pgdn/pgup keys. Big reason, tho', is I don't like Apple's "us or no one" approach to software and everything they sell. Of course, I'm an old-timer who still likes to use ctrl+key to do any number of things.
;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, but I'm looking for Desktop Linux advice, not mac versus windows. I'm well versed in those two environments. I've been hearing wonders about linux for years and have been hearing about the major leaps forward they have done at a desktop level, and have decided to give them a try. Now I just need to learn, but would like some grounding before jumping in.
 

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I have a CS degree, am a 25-year IT professional, and I am a Mac convert. :)

That being said, I've run Linux on the desktop and it is great fun. You will certainly be able to get more life from that older system of yours - particularly if you choose one of the Linux distros designed to be run on h/w that is a little older. Go to distrowatch.com and do a little browsing. Also, pay attention to the window manager you choose - there are some slimmer options out there - I used Fluxbox years ago and really liked it, although I'm not sure of the state of it today.

Have fun!
 

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AgeOfEmpires said:
I have a CS degree, am a 25-year IT professional, and I am a Mac convert. :)

That being said, I've run Linux on the desktop and it is great fun. You will certainly be able to get more life from that older system of yours - particularly if you choose one of the Linux distros designed to be run on h/w that is a little older. Go to distrowatch.com and do a little browsing. Also, pay attention to the window manager you choose - there are some slimmer options out there - I used Fluxbox years ago and really liked it, although I'm not sure of the state of it today.

Have fun!

Great advice there! :-*
 

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Do like to tinker with settings, sometimes having to hunt high and low though out the internet looking for the answer to something? Get frustated when your great running pc now will not restart after you done an update or changed setting? Do you want the ablity to change everything and to be able to run a program even though it is not for your user interface? This are some the things that come with using Linux. Don't get me wrong I like it and you are going about it the right way; by using a old machine to learn on.

Linux does not take too much in requirements, just check with your distro's Wiki that you are going to be using, especially for desktop. Notebooks can have some wireless problems but with everything Linux there is a workaround you just have to go out and find the fix; here is where reading your Distro's messsage boards everyday will payoff. One resouce is Distrowatch http://distrowatch.com/. I would recommend Linux Mint http://www.linuxmint.com/ to begin with, just wait two weeks for Mint 9 (the newest version)to come out which is based on the new Ubunta. I know this probley didn't help you but if you are intrested just "Live" install (meaning to run off a burned cd or memory stick) some different distros and see which one works the best on your machine and run it as is. Then you can start adding and changing and if it all goes bad ,and it will, just reload and start again.
 

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Been running Ubuntu for years and I will never ever go back.It works, its hard to break (I havent broken it yet). Fixing problems is a hands on process and there is a learning curve for sure but if you don't mind reading and asking questions you can figure out how to to get things done. And you obviously have those skills as you are here! Go for it! A live CD can give you a taste for it, its an easy way to try out several different distributions without committing. As you poke at it and learn it will surprise you with the amount of things it can do. And you can't beat the price!
 

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I use a Mac and believe I have added a few extra years to my life with the reduced stress and anxiety that the PC engender in me, what with the virus panics, the massive MS updates,crashes etc They are a thing of the past for me.
Mac's are just better for me- I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone
Regards
Jem

Sorry Isthmus, just re-read the whole of this thread and realised you weren't looking for the PC vs Mac opinion poll....
 

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Not a desktop Linux user but have been a Solaris sysadmin. If you are interested in getting your feet wet with a Unix variant there are free x86 distros you can download from Sun...err...excuse me...Oracle. Good industrial strength Unix that the newbie can play with too...

One irony about Windows is that a lot of their architectural conceits come from Unix, they just took all the wrong lessons! Microsoft is all about presenting something seemingly simple while underneath seethes a Rube-Goldberg of complexity, Unix is about building elegant complexity from fundamentally sound and robust and simple foundations. Novell had it right but somehow lost the network operating system battle. Sigh...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I spent the better part of last night reading up on the different distributions. I still have a lot more to read and a lot more info to digest, but thus far it is looking like some variant of UBUNTU might be the way to go for a noob like me.

do any of you have any recommendations as far as hardware specs are concerned to run the system stable and snappy? I'm trying to determine whether my old computer is the way to go, or whether to just invest in an old used laptop to play around with.
 

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My experience with Ubuntu is that it can be somewhat sensitive to the hardware, sometimes installing very straightforwardly and sometimes refusing point blank. And sometimes installing and then throwing massively frustrating problems at you that can sometimes take months or even years for the developers to sort out. It also does things quite differently to Windows and so does take a bit of getting used to. I am currently giving 10.04 a try on a dual boot system at home with XP and have used Ubuntu for years at work on workstations used to perform heavy duty calculations. I have to say though that I am not entirely convinced that it yet makes sense for non-computer geeks as an everyday desktop computer - it is simply not slick enough nor intuitive enough. Going back to XP after a few days only using Ubuntu seemed like a breath of fresh air!

Although it boots incredibly quickly and is generally very nice for surfing the net and email, it can be a bit clunky and temperamental with other tasks. Yesterday I tried ripping a CD to mp3 and although I eventually got it to work, my mp3 player would not recognise the artist information and so did not integrate the tracks into the track list correctly.

Having said that though, 10.04 is really pretty good and of course you cannot ignore the fact that most of the software that you might need is free, although in many respects it is frankly not as good as the commercial equivalent. Photoshop runs rings around GIMP for example.

That may not address entirely your question but I think the easiest thing to do is to download the desktop version of 10.04 and give it a spin.

Martin




Isthmus said:
So I spent the better part of last night reading up on the different distributions. I still have a lot more to read and a lot more info to digest, but thus far it is looking like some variant of UBUNTU might be the way to go for a noob like me.

do any of you have any recommendations as far as hardware specs are concerned to run the system stable and snappy? I'm trying to determine whether my old computer is the way to go, or whether to just invest in an old used laptop to play around with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So in your opinon, would you say UBUNTU is the better option for someone starting out with Linux Desktop?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys. So I've been doing a fair bit of reading and a number of linux reviewers seem to recommend Linux Mint over straight UBUNTU for noobs such as myself. Unless I'm mistaken it seems like many f the settings are automated in mint which are not on Ubutntu. For those who know, as a newbie, is there any benefit to using straight ubuntu over its mint build?

BTW, I'm now leaning toward mint with compiz.
 

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The only thing I would add from my recent experiences, is that when I installed Mint on an Intel Atom Nettop, the wireless networking would not work properly but with Ubuntu, everything worked straightaway. This might just have been a quirk of the hardware in my case, but I thought that otherwise Mint seemed very nice.

Martin

Isthmus said:
Thanks guys. So I've been doing a fair bit of reading and a number of linux reviewers seem to recommend Linux Mint over straight UBUNTU for noobs such as myself. Unless I'm mistaken it seems like many f the settings are automated in mint which are not on Ubutntu. For those who know, as a newbie, is there any benefit to using straight ubuntu over its mint build?

BTW, I'm now leaning toward mint with compiz.
 

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Mint Main Edition will come with more codec(in USA you can't have for free). If you are worried about that here in the USA get Ubutntu or Universal Edition of Mint

I use the Main edition. I also own Homage watches and bittorent.

Isthmus said:
Thanks guys. So I've been doing a fair bit of reading and a number of linux reviewers seem to recommend Linux Mint over straight UBUNTU for noobs such as myself. Unless I'm mistaken it seems like many f the settings are automated in mint which are not on Ubutntu. For those who know, as a newbie, is there any benefit to using straight ubuntu over its mint build?

BTW, I'm now leaning toward mint with compiz.
 
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