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(Potentially) Swapping from Windows to Linux as my main desktop?


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#1 +Audioboxer

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 18:23

I've seen Linux Mint 15 has a RC out. I'm downloading it to give it a spin. In recent times gaming has been mostly played on my console, and my PC turned into my portal to the web, video, music and other general 'PC usage'.

Getting ever increasingly frustrated with Metro/Windows 8, I wish to give Linux a whirl whilst waiting to see if MS really do fix Windows 8 with a free update.

I guess my questions are just general advice, any good software guides, any good guides on getting used to Linux, etc. I have a Nexus 4, but running Android is far from running Linux :p


#2 Mindovermaster

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 18:38

Android actually isn't far away from Linux, but some will differ.

I have been running Ubuntu (12.10) natively since around last November, and haven't looked back.

IMO, there is really no one guide that you follow do know the realm of Linux. You follow guides online and do the stuff many times before you fully understand it.

I'd try running a few Linux Distros (Ubuntu, Debian Wheezy, Fedora) in a virtual machine on your Windows machine before going Linux full blast.

My 2 cents. :D

#3 Max Norris

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 18:50

Thanks for the heads up on 15RC.. will have to toy with that later in a VM. Probably the only way I'll ever use Gnome now. Wonder if my themes break. (Again.)

Just a bit of advice in general, play with it extensively in a VM (or another system) before you commit to it for real. Make sure this is something you're going to be able to live with.. make sure it's actually worth it versus say downgrading to Win7 (still good for 7 more years) or whatever.. if the OS doesn't do what you need it to do or you spend more time tweaking/fixing it than actually using it, it's a good bet it's not the OS for you, regardless of who made it.

Also make sure to do your homework with hardware compatibility and such. Might save yourself some potential headaches down the road, that and you can save time in the long run without falling into that "distro hopping" cycle... they all have their own way of doing things, each DE acts quite different from another, etc.. can spend more time trying out different possibilities or working out kinks than actually using it. Linux has its own share of frustrations as well, but if you're not really gaming on it or doing other things that are outside the "general usage" thing, you've already eliminated a bunch of them.

Plan ahead if you're wanting to set up a dual boot scenario.. do Windows first and you'll have an easy time of it. Do it second and it can be problematic if you've never dealt with it.

If there's Windows software that you absolutely positively cannot live without and you'd rather not deal with a VM, make sure it plays nice with Wine. Can be fairly hit or miss on what works and what kersplodes. That said, both VMWare and VirtualBox do Windows quite well, even with 2D/3D acceleration and all that.

Also you'll probably want to forget a lot of about how things are done in general.. what works in Windows doesn't necessarily apply in Linux, and to make it more interesting, what works in one distro doesn't necessarily work in another. Keep an open mind... going to be a pretty big learning curve.

#4 OP +Audioboxer

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 18:59

Thanks guys I'll let you know how my Linux adventures go!

#5 Mindovermaster

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 19:03

We're here to help :)

#6 threetonesun

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 19:06

Linux Mint runs pretty brilliantly in a VM, so you should be able to test it out to your hearts content while still in Windows.

Really, the big kicker is hardware support. It's a shame that something like my mouse (a G700) has basically no driver support in Linux, but I understand why that's the case.

#7 guitmz

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 19:19

try elementary OS!!! hehehe

my G700 works fine on Linux... there's no official software but you can change the keybinds as well (it requires some work, but it does the job)

#8 OP +Audioboxer

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 19:19

Linux Mint runs pretty brilliantly in a VM, so you should be able to test it out to your hearts content while still in Windows.

Really, the big kicker is hardware support. It's a shame that something like my mouse (a G700) has basically no driver support in Linux, but I understand why that's the case.


Ahhh I have a G500... as long as the basics works I guess.

#9 firey

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 19:24

Used arch for a long time in VirtualBox. Ran into some issues with updates causing problems. Have since switched my VMs over to Debian Wheezy, and have had no major issues, and have it running as I want it. I'm no linux expert, however I have learned a few things from OrangeKiller, MindOverMaster, and n_K. They are definitely the go-to people (from what I can tell).

#10 tim_s

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 20:18

I am not going to say Linux makes for a bad Desktop because that is simply untrue and I enjoy my Linux machine for development as Linux lends itself very well to this Desktop application, however, what I will say is that the Linux user and Windows user is clearly two different groups. Linux has a time commitment and it may not make itself apparent immediately in-fact, your new Linux box, dependent on your chosen distribution, may come out of the box - ready to handle many more tasks than a stock Windows box.

The time crunch comes in the ideology of Linux which is "Choice" and it's roots as an o/s developed from a community point of view and I do not mean just contributions but also it's original usage scenario.

Both choice and it's ability to service many people independently comes with a configuration over-head with day to day tasks. Something a Windows user would not really come across on such a granular level and usually comes with some confusion. While GUIs take you further and further away from the core terminal style administration - nothing is perfect in the community world and from time to time - you may need to make some changes in "command line".

It is important to recognize that some of the community is driven to make a Windows like experience that you will enjoy BUT this is not the entire Linux eco-system and Linux caters to those who are willing to take configuration challenges head on in exchange for flexibility.

IF the above sounds like you - it would not surprise me if you take time off from the Windows world -- I did! (My only reason for returning is that my work changed and I needed to focus on what my audience was using)

I certainly administrate a nice little cluster of Linux servers - it has it's place, just maybe it is not in everyones hearts!

#11 +Karl L.

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 23:23

Also you'll probably want to forget a lot of about how things are done in general.. what works in Windows doesn't necessarily apply in Linux, and to make it more interesting, what works in one distro doesn't necessarily work in another. Keep an open mind... going to be a pretty big learning curve.


While I agree with the entirety of Max Norris' post, I believe the part I quoted is the most important thing to keep in mind when you try Linux. You will never be satisfied with any distribution if you assume that it is supposed to work like Windows. Forget most of what you know about how to get things done in your operating system. The way things are done in Windows is often not the way it should be done in Linux. Learn to use the repository; don't just download drivers and other software from the Internet at large!

Edit: I realize that it looks like I was replying to Max Norris' post. I was not. I was actually replying to the OP. I just quoted that part of his post because I wanted to add to it. Sorry if it looks confusing; I only realized that it might be confusing when I re-read my post after submitting it.

#12 Max Norris

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 02:21

Learn to use the repository; don't just download drivers and other software from the Internet at large!

That's a good tip too for safety/stability's sake. Applications usually aren't that big a deal, maybe it might not work properly, but usually no major problems. System level stuff though, think twice before going out of the repository. Failures can range anywhere from "inconvenient but fixable" to rendering your system unable to boot at all. Packages in Linux tend to be pretty picky about what versions of other packages they're working with, never mind different distros do things differently.. a package that was designed for Ubuntu may work in Debian. Or it may cause your computer to go into meltdown.

Sometimes bugs get introduced into these third party repositories.. nothing malicious, just a big oops, and usually they're pretty good about catching stuff like this. Rarely though... yikes. Extreme example, anyone get hit by the spectacular typo in Bumblebee? It's amazing how much damage one misplaced space can cause. (You didn't really need that /usr directory anyway.)

Of course there's the potential security issues as well; not so much a big deal now on the desktop, but sooner or later it will be. Really not much difference between double clicking a .exe or .deb. You're boned either way. Common sense and all that is still the best defense.

The way things are done in Windows is often not the way it should be done in Linux

Just a minor suggestion for that one, if a "Windows-like" experience is what you're after, look into KDE or Cinnamon. Probably the most "traditional" setup of the desktops. Not saying they're better, just more familiar. Under the hood they're still totally different animals, but it may ease the learning curve a bit. If I wasn't primarily KDE I'd probably give Mate a hard look, I was kind of a fan of Gnome 2 back in the Ubuntu 7.10-or-thereabouts days.. less Windows-like but a comfortable setup. XFCE isn't too hard to pick up on either. (Don't get me started on Gnome 3 though.. makes Win8 look sane. Again, opinion.)

Another one, use common sense when it comes to admin/root privileges. It's just like Windows in that regards, if you have the privileges, you have the potential to completely clobber your system. It's not going to hold your hand, you accidentally tell it to mangle your partition table due to not knowing the commands or run a malicious script and if it has the privileges to do so, it'll happily do it without a second though. Kind of obvious, but some people have odd preconceptions about Linux and security.

One more suggestion, don't be afraid of the console. Yea, a lot of times you don't need to use it, but sooner or later you will. And problems aside, once you get the hang of the tools that are available you got an absurd amount of power available to you. Get used to reading man pages, there for a reason.

#13 Yogurtmaster

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 02:41

My biggest wish for Linux. Way better software. The software on Linux is terribad. It's either too simple with just basic features or the UI is unusable.
I do love Asterisk with FreePBX though, that for me is an awesome thing and to be able to connect it to GoogleVoice is a total winner for me.

Linux has been around for so long that there should be lots of quality software that is not ported to Windows. When I already have Gimp 2.8 on Windows and Audacity for Windows that just hurts why I would use Linux for my main desktop.

#14 Growled

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 16:13

Thanks guys I'll let you know how my Linux adventures go!


You do that. Hope you enjoy. And btw, Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and there is a lot of good documentation for Ubuntu on the web. :)

Linux has been around for so long that there should be lots of quality software that is not ported to Windows. When I already have Gimp 2.8 on Windows and Audacity for Windows that just hurts why I would use Linux for my main desktop.


What better reason to run Linux since the learning curve won't be that hard for you. One day I realized that there was only 3 pieces of software that I ran in Windows that I couldn't use easily in Linux. I thought to myself, "what in the heck am I using Windows for." I keep Windows in a VM for those pieces of software. The rest of the time I run Linux.

#15 soldier1st

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:57

Remember: Linux is not Windows. If your expecting to it behave exactly like Windows, then Linux isn't for you. Windows Holds your hand while Linux Will a little bit. Try to stick to the repositories, unless you are willing to risk a possible bit of stability/security.