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  #1  
Old 08-24-2011
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Linux and other adventures into the unknown.

For a somewhat mediocre puter such as I this is most certainly into the unknown.

Last weekend we had the great pleasure of welcoming young BenT aka BentSailor on board the Womboat. May I say that he is a thoroughly personable young chap who brings along beer and lively conversation. He's welcome to come back anytime. Sorry about the coffee B.

Anywho .... the subject of Linux came up along with a notebook I have that runs Windows Vista. I really did goof there. Could have bought the thing downgraded (some effing downgrade) with XP but I went Vista. What a load of garbage. Within six months it had started rejecting updates and stubbonly refuses to install any update going back 18 months or so.

Ergo I am about to either re format the thing and load Windows 7 or should I be thinking Linux ? Should I ?

I guess the big question for me would be what can't Linux do ? For example I know I can run Firefox and presumably Thunderbird on Linux but how about listening to music and watching movies ? Is it possible to run CMAP on Linux ?

Maybe any of you who have some Linux experience might like to giv me your thoughts.

Thanks in advance

Andrew the Fuzzball
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Old 08-24-2011
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Great post as i am interested in using my Le-Pan 970 tablet android 2.2 which uses linux. cant wait for the experts to chine in . Cheers
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Old 08-25-2011
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I have an old (must be 6 or 7 years old by now) Dell laptop. Originally came loaded with Vista Home, probably the worst OS since Windows Millennium Edition. After putting up with Vista getting progressively slower and slower, daily updates, intrusive "security" programs etc over the course of about 3 years, I gave Ubuntu a go. I now have it set to dual boot (although I haven't booted it into Vista for about 2 years now) and I have to say, I love Ubuntu. It just works. I can do all the normal web type stuff, I can download movies and watch them, watch DVDs, listen to music, I run OpenCPN, have a full suite of office applications, great free games and pretty much anything else you can think of doing. For example the other day I had 4 virtual desktops running, email, Firefox with 8 different tabs open, downloaded a torrent *and* doing some course planning in OpenCPN, all at the same time on a machine with 1GB RAM, a very early dual core processor and 20GB hard disk. Absolutely no way you can do that with Windows. I also have Wine, which is a Windows emulator that allows me to run any Windows software. Haven't paid a cent for any software and I have not found anything I wanted to do with the computer that there isn't an application already written for.

Anyway, you can actually run Ubuntu on your current computer without having to install it or otherwise do anything with your Windows installation, there are both "runtime" editions that you can fire up off a USB stick, you can install it under Windows (which is how I first tried it out), or you can start playing around with partitions on the HDD and do it properly (which is what I ended up doing as it's faster without having the Windows part messing things up).

There are still the occasional blips of course, Flash can be a little hit and miss (although the latest update seems to have sorted that), but generally problems are fixed quickly, and because it's open source there is a huge resource of developers out there finding problems and fixing them, and even if they aren't, there are always solutions that you can try because you have full access to everything, even the source code for the operating system itself.

HTH.
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Old 08-25-2011
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Oh, and basically it saved me from just buying a new laptop. This is the first computer I have ever had (and I had my first back in the early 1980s!) that I am actually going to have to replace because I have literally worn out the hardware, the touchpad buttons are worn down, have some keys starting to not work properly anymore. Every other one I have replaced because my OS got to the point that I either had to start again, or go to the latest and greatest (which of course then means new hardware to run it).
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Old 08-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
For a somewhat mediocre puter such as I this is most certainly into the unknown.

Last weekend we had the great pleasure of welcoming young BenT aka BentSailor on board the Womboat. May I say that he is a thoroughly personable young chap who brings along beer and lively conversation. He's welcome to come back anytime. Sorry about the coffee B.
Golly you HAVE been busy, TD!

Did you get out for a sail at all? I trust the political discussions weren't any hotter than the coffee??

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Anywho .... the subject of Linux came up along with a notebook I have that runs Windows Vista. I really did goof there. Could have bought the thing downgraded (some effing downgrade) with XP but I went Vista. What a load of garbage. Within six months it had started rejecting updates and stubbonly refuses to install any update going back 18 months or so.

Ergo I am about to either re format the thing and load Windows 7 or should I be thinking Linux ? Should I ?
You? The totally non-computer-nerd considering LINUX??

Visions of Wombats chasing Penguins... oh, deary deary me, this is going to get REALLY messy!!...

Ok, I checked and it isn't April Fool's day for a few months yet, so, assuming you're serious, the first step for you would be to get rid of Vista. Yep, you'll need to reformat the hard-drive.

Does the notebook have drivers for Win7? If so, install that. If not, take the plunge and install Ubuntu. Like Paul said.
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Old 08-25-2011
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I have three, and only three, words of advice: get a Mac.
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Old 08-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Last weekend we had the great pleasure of welcoming young BenT aka BentSailor on board the Womboat. May I say that he is a thoroughly personable young chap who brings along beer and lively conversation. He's welcome to come back anytime.
Flattery is always a good way to start a post.

Quote:
I guess the big question for me would be what can't Linux do ? For example I know I can run Firefox and presumably Thunderbird on Linux but how about listening to music and watching movies ? Is it possible to run CMAP on Linux ?
Some of this we talked about on the weekend, but Ubuntu is probably your best brand of Linux here. It's very easy to install, probably has the easiest "How To..." documentation on the web, and one of the most open communities (i.e. you don't get slapped down asking basic questions - always a nice thing when starting out). It's also pretty much a basic office machine out of the wrapper - email, internet, word processing, spreadsheets, etc.

For videos and music, it comes with software for that but if it doesn't suit your tastes there are plenty of others. If there is something computer nerds get working on their machines quickly - it's ways to waste time listening to bad music and watching South Park videos

I am pretty sure (though open to being wrong on the issue) that C-MAP is Windows only. I've used OpenCPN briefly and it seems pretty solid. With that said, find someone who has used it on the actual water rather than playing with it in the office before relying on it too much.

The issue with Linux is that, while capable out of the box of most the basics, if you are interested in a specific application or task not done by every man & their grandmother - you can be disappointed by the inability to find the equivalent for Linux.

CrossOver Office is pretty damned awesome for running Windows software on Linux though. Unlike Linux itself, and most the standard software packages you can find for it, CrossOver Office is proprietary and you need to pay for it. That said, a good majority of the Windows apps I've tried on it have worked fine.
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Old 08-25-2011
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I love Linux. I considered running the latest version on my newest laptop which arrived with 7 installed.

So far: I'm liking Windows 7 just fine.

Don't get me wrong, I'm hedging as everything is backed up to a portable, and the Linux disc is burned and waiting (I tried it out as a live cd and loved it BTW)

As to ease of use and compatibility: I'm not sure all drivers will be available for all devices, but reports of software not functioning under Wine are getting fewer and farther between. There is almost always a Linux version of something, and it usually works better than the Windows version. The interface is familiar, and in some cases when you go back to Windows you will find it frustrating at first. The operating system itself is rock solid as a rule (my daughter ran a desktop for 3 months without shutting it down off of a live cd and it was stable when I caught it and shut it down)

I would recommend backing everything up, and running a dual boot setup. Try the latest version of Linux from a live cd to see if your computer will get along with it. The last version of Ubuntu I tried also came with a very nifty tool that allowed you to run dual boot and made partitioning the hard drive a point and click proposition.

Good luck.
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I would agree with everything PaulinVictoria said. It mirrors my own experience almost to a T.

I won't repeat everything he said, but I would reinterate a couple of high points...

1) You don't need to remove Vista. As a standard part of the install, Ubuntu (Ubuntu is the 'name' of the current Linux version) will ask you if you want to create a seperate section of your harddrive for Linux. If you choose yes, then you will be prompted to decide how much space to give each operating system. I gave my windows side only about 1/6th of my 80 gig harddrive.. and it's more than enough. By doing this, you can always choose to boot into windows as if you had never installed Linux, so really, you risk nothing. And every once in a while, you might want to remind yourself why you'll never go back to Microsoft again

2) Opensource software is awesome! Yes, it has a few bugs. But there are literally thousands of people far smarter than you or I out there working on them right now. And in the next couple of days, an update will come out to fix things. It's amazing how quickly the Linux/Ubuntu world moves. And unlike Mac, they don't fix things by simply limiting access to certain software (how's that flash working, IPad users?). They just fix it.

3) Not everything works with Ubuntu. The only thing I can't do so far with Ubuntu is watch netflicks movies on my computer. I use the windows side for that. Everything else (word processing/image manipulation/games/internet browsing/etc) I use the linux side for. So, thus far, Netflicks movies are the only thing I've found that Ubuntu won't do. I'm sure there's something else, though. I just haven't found it.

4) Ubuntu is FREE. I haven't paid for software in about 2 years. Not because I pirate it, but because when you use Ubuntu, you don't have to. I do, from time to time, send $5 or $10 to a developer if I find a particularly cool chunk of software. But then, I know it's actually going to the guy who coded it rather than the billionare CEO and his company. It's nice to know your money goes where it should.

Guess I am going to get long-winded. The bottom line is that you have no risk here... give it a whirl, and if you hate it, you aren't committed to anything.

Oh, as a final note... when I turn on my netbook using windows XP, it takes about 2 minutes to fully 'boot'. When I turn it on with Ubuntu, it takes about 45 seconds. For what it's worth.
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Old 08-25-2011
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Golly you HAVE been busy, TD!

Did you get out for a sail at all? I trust the political discussions weren't any hotter than the coffee??
Not much of a sail thats for sure. Blowing like stink and you know me, hard on the wind in 30 plus knots is not my way of doing things.

The coffee was utterly apalling. Why, I have no idea but for someone who likes to be a complete smartarse and snipe at other peoples coffee it was not a good look.

Political discussions were top notch as were the religious. You know I am going to try and get you up here to do the Heaven Can Wait don't you ? Well Bent is already signed on so it could be a fun 24 hours. and we need at least one crewmember who actually knows how to race.


Quote:
You? The totally non-computer-nerd considering LINUX??

Visions of Wombats chasing Penguins... oh, deary deary me, this is going to get REALLY messy!!...

Ok, I checked and it isn't April Fool's day for a few months yet, so, assuming you're serious, the first step for you would be to get rid of Vista. Yep, you'll need to reformat the hard-drive.

Does the notebook have drivers for Win7? If so, install that. If not, take the plunge and install Ubuntu. Like Paul said.
The Penguin just flew clean over my head ? Ploise ixplain !

The machine is actually my mother's. When I bought it for her (actually my now late step dad) I fully expected it to simply sit and gather dust so I gave it a decent hard drive and a solid lump of memory in case it ended up back under my wing. Well he carked it and surprisingly she did use it somewhat, just not very much, so I'm thinking to make it our first boat puter and get her a new one preloaded with Windows 7. The hard drive is virtually empty except for umpteen gig of photos and music all of which I can dump onto her new machine. She gets back on line and I get a boat puter.

I like the sound of Linux simply because I am not a puter nerd. Sod Microsoft. How dare they sell a pile of crap and then make you pay to get into something that actually works. No wonder effing Gates is so wealthy. His customers paid for the development costs of all his dodgey operating systems while he gave absolutely zero customer service in return.

So, if I give Linux a shot I am not likely to do any great damage to anything and I might just end up with a nice stable platform that gives me eveything I need.

Oh yes, and no the thing does not have W7 drivers and part of the update BS is that it refuses to upgrade anything let alone drivers. If I went W7 I would still need to reformat the hard drive and start from scratch.



Bent .... you realise if I go ahead and do this your inbox could get quite a hiding. Thanks for the advice thus far and btw CrossOver thinks it will support MaxSea ( not CMap as I first said ). It has a try it for free version and the Pro version is well under USD100 so its not exactly an exhorbitant fee.


I think we might be giving it a shot, but first I'd better get mother dear a new machine.

Thanks all .... your advice is well received and I am most grateful to each and every one of you. You'll all get free signed copies when the book is published, The Fuzzy Guide to Linux.
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