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  1. #1
    Senior Coder crmpicco's Avatar
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    the practicality of home Linux usage

    I am looking to change my home Operating System to a Linux distribution.

    My question I have on this are, what is the practicality issues with NOT using MS Win at home for general usage? i.e. surfing, downloading, even development.

    TBH, i'm not a great fan of Windows and would prefer a free OS (like Linux).

    So what problems do people have when moving to Linux? Drivers for example?

    Cheers,
    Picco

  • #2
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    One of the big things you might miss out on is games. Granted you can try and get them to run under wine or cedega but thats not always a sure thing. If you do play computer games, you can always dual boot with windows.
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  • #3
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    I use Redhat Fedora at home. Most apps that run on M$ Windows either has a free linux equivalent or can be run via WINE for Apps/Games or via Cedega for games. If all else fails you can always dual boot so if there is one app that you just have to be able to use and can't on Linux you can just boot into Windows. You can also install VMWare server and install M$ Windows through that and eliminate the dual booting. I had mine system dual booted for the past few years. Recently though I installed VMWare server since it just recently became free and I installed M$ Windows through that. The problem that can arise there though is that stupid windows activation crap. Because I am running it in a virtual machine it doesn't see the hardware in the same way and of course windows won't see my valid key as being valid because it thinks it is being installed in a different computer. I also installed two other distros of linux through VMWare. And if you are not familiar with VMWare it means I can run another operating system from my existing O/S. So while I am logged into my Linux box I can open VMWare and boot up and use windows as if it is housed on a separate computer. I can even network the two O/S's together as if they were on a real network. It's pretty neat.

    About the only other issue you should be concerned with would be support for peripheral devices. Different distros of linux have built in support for different hardware. Fedora has support for a very wide range of hardware. The only I can't get to work on mine is my Canon photo printer because Canon doesn't support Linux.

    As for what you described surfing, downloading, development you should have no problems whatsoever.
    Spookster
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  • #4
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    A common problem is files using the Windows Media 9 Series format, such as newer WMV and WMA files. I just recently built MPlayer v1.0pre8 from source on Ubuntu Dapper Drake. It works if you get the right codecs. It also works well for MP3s, which Ubuntu's media players didn't support natively (the rumours I've encountered regarding that topic mainly point to licensing and copyright issues). Overall, I'd have to say other than Windows Media files, MP3s and gaming, you shouldn't have a problem.
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  • #5
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpgfan3233
    A common problem is files using the Windows Media 9 Series format, such as newer WMV and WMA files. I just recently built MPlayer v1.0pre8 from source on Ubuntu Dapper Drake. It works if you get the right codecs. It also works well for MP3s, which Ubuntu's media players didn't support natively (the rumours I've encountered regarding that topic mainly point to licensing and copyright issues). Overall, I'd have to say other than Windows Media files, MP3s and gaming, you shouldn't have a problem.
    I haven't had any problems with Mplayer and WMV and WMA files. Of course MPlayer is not the only media player available either. I also use Totem which works with WMV and WMA files.
    Spookster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spookster
    I haven't had any problems with Mplayer and WMV and WMA files. Of course MPlayer is not the only media player available either. I also use Totem which works with WMV and WMA files.
    I haven't had problems with MPlayer and WMV/WMA files either. I just couldn't get the w32codecs to work with Totem (whether I used gstreamer or xine, it didn't matter; they simply wouldn't work). I tried Kaffeine and amarok, but then MP3s started playing too fast, and I had to reinstall because the dependencies that were installed messed things up. I simply posted MPlayer because I found that it works for me.
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  • #7
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpgfan3233
    I haven't had problems with MPlayer and WMV/WMA files either. I just couldn't get the w32codecs to work with Totem (whether I used gstreamer or xine, it didn't matter; they simply wouldn't work). I tried Kaffeine and amarok, but then MP3s started playing too fast, and I had to reinstall because the dependencies that were installed messed things up. I simply posted MPlayer because I found that it works for me.
    Yeah Totem and Totem-xine each have their own problems. I've not had any problems setting up the win32codecs to work with Totem. This installation http://stanton-finley.net/fedora_cor...es.html#Codecs is for Fedora 5 but it might also work for Ubuntu or you could adapt the instructions for Ubuntu.
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  • #8
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    Cedega is a great product for gaming under linux. Also, Doom and Quake (and maybe unreal) run natively under linux. I've seen linux dual boots machines run games faster on linux under cedega than when booted into windows.

    Really, the gap is shrinking, it's just a question of making the shift, and a few quirks, like building mplayer from source (stupid legal licensing crap), and installing good DVD software (again, yay licensing).

    Other than that, it's time to switch. Make the move to linux before going Vista!

  • #9
    Senior Coder NancyJ's Avatar
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    I'd happily move to linux if I could play my games and run photoshop but neither are possible on Linux. I'm aware of wine and cedega but they're just not suitable for my needs at least.
    I'm a very busy and impatient woman, I dont have time to waste on buggy, unreliable software - which laughably means I'm stuck with windows. Not a chance in hell that I'm getting vista though. Until Adobe make a linux version of photoshop and games developers start making games to run natively under linux I'm staying on XP.
    Software developers have barely caught on to Macs nevermind linux.

    Unfortunately its a circular problem, developers wont spend the money on linux versions of their products unless theirs a market for it, which their wont be if the software isnt available.

    Cedega looks more reliable but you have to pay a subscription fee and you can only play the games they have ported - which may not include the games you want to play - with all the linux port solutions you'll never be playing the hottest new releases
    I'm a get it before release kind of gal

    For gamers, the time to switch is a long way off.

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    Linux alternative to Photoshop: The GIMP
    The Ubuntu LiveCD/Install CD will allow to test drive Ubuntu without messing with your hard disk and the CD has The GIMP on it already. IMHO, it is a great alternative.
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  • #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NancyJ
    Unfortunately its a circular problem, developers wont spend the money on linux versions of their products unless theirs a market for it, which their wont be if the software isnt available.
    Well part of it with games at least is that they are using Direct3D. If games used OpenGL instead, AFAIK it would easier to make the game run on both but that isn't the way that it is.

    I've been writing my first fully cross-platform capable application in C++ (so it will run under linux and windows) and really from what I've found, it isn't that hard if you take a little bit of time and want to make it work. Most stuff will compile straight over. Now I'm not doing intense 3D graphics, just regular GUI stuff but still.
    OracleGuy

  • #12
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NancyJ
    I'd happily move to linux if I could play my games and run photoshop but neither are possible on Linux. I'm aware of wine and cedega but they're just not suitable for my needs at least.
    I'm a very busy and impatient woman, I dont have time to waste on buggy, unreliable software - which laughably means I'm stuck with windows. Not a chance in hell that I'm getting vista though. Until Adobe make a linux version of photoshop and games developers start making games to run natively under linux I'm staying on XP.
    Software developers have barely caught on to Macs nevermind linux.

    Unfortunately its a circular problem, developers wont spend the money on linux versions of their products unless theirs a market for it, which their wont be if the software isnt available.

    Cedega looks more reliable but you have to pay a subscription fee and you can only play the games they have ported - which may not include the games you want to play - with all the linux port solutions you'll never be playing the hottest new releases
    I'm a get it before release kind of gal

    For gamers, the time to switch is a long way off.
    For those few apps that don't have a linux equivalent or that can't be run through WINE or Cedega you can install M$ Windows within Linux using VMWare and you can install and run your Photoshop just as you have it now. I couldn't live without my MusicMatch software and they don't make a linux version anymore. With my machine being dual booted I hated having to leave linux to boot into windows everytime I wanted to use MusicMatch so I installed VMWare and can now boot up windows within Linux and play my MusicMatch.

    BTW GIMP is a very nice equivalent to photoshop besides the fact that it is free.

    As for Linux being buggy and unreliable that really isn't the case. I think probably you meant to say third party software. Linux itself is quite reliable and if any bugs are found they are usually fixed within days or sometimes within hours and the updates are made available soon after. The same holds true for the third party software. Not quite the case for Windows. You have to wait for them to create patches and then distribute them which can take months and in some cases years. Third party windows software doesn't normally get bugs fixed until they do another release which can be months or years.
    Spookster
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  • #13
    Senior Coder NancyJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spookster

    BTW GIMP is a very nice equivalent to photoshop besides the fact that it is free.
    Not even in the same league - seriously. Gimp may be the best damn free grpahics program around but it shouldnt even be said in the same breath as Adobe Photoshop CS2. I have GIMP at work because the technical department doesnt get graphics software. I tried GIMPshop (a gimp mod - they moved all the menus around and put them in sensible places) I liked that a little better but it was buggy as hell and crashed all the time - no good if you're on a deadline. Ofcouse the real killer for GIMP is that theres no 'save for web' Meaning any graphics I make I have to send to the marketting department for them to save out. Comparing gimp to photoshop is like comparing m$ paint to gimp. Dont get me wrong - props for getting as far as they have with it and I'd recommend it to anyone who needed free graphics software but its no substitute for photoshop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spookster
    As for Linux being buggy and unreliable that really isn't the case. I think probably you meant to say third party software. Linux itself is quite reliable and if any bugs are found they are usually fixed within days or sometimes within hours and the updates are made available soon after. The same holds true for the third party software. Not quite the case for Windows. You have to wait for them to create patches and then distribute them which can take months and in some cases years. Third party windows software doesn't normally get bugs fixed until they do another release which can be months or years.
    I dont mean linux is buggy and unreliable - I run 2 linux servers and they're great, reliable, stable, easy to maintain - much easier in many respects than windows servers but I'm not trying to play games,retouch high res photos or create digital masterpieces.
    I'm talking about WINE versions of software, they are buggy and unreliable - particularly for the latest games and MMOs that are patched regularly.
    The uptake of linux and the 'home user' friendly distros is encouraging and one day (hopefully before vista becomes mainstream) we'll be able to have everything we want on Linux but for the serious gamer and graphics artist - that time is not now.

  • #14
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NancyJ
    Not even in the same league - seriously. Gimp may be the best damn free grpahics program around but it shouldnt even be said in the same breath as Adobe Photoshop CS2. I have GIMP at work because the technical department doesnt get graphics software. I tried GIMPshop (a gimp mod - they moved all the menus around and put them in sensible places) I liked that a little better but it was buggy as hell and crashed all the time - no good if you're on a deadline. Ofcouse the real killer for GIMP is that theres no 'save for web' Meaning any graphics I make I have to send to the marketting department for them to save out. Comparing gimp to photoshop is like comparing m$ paint to gimp. Dont get me wrong - props for getting as far as they have with it and I'd recommend it to anyone who needed free graphics software but its no substitute for photoshop.

    I have to disagree on it crashing all the time. I've been using it on Linux for years to design graphics for the web and have never once had it crash. So it can't be considered in the same league as photoshop because it doesn't have a save for the web feature? So you'd rather shell out how many hundreds of dollars so you can have that feature? That feature is not something that majority of graphic artists needs so it should not be considered a key feature of any graphics program.
    Spookster
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    Nancy is right. For her, Linux isn't the answer. If she wants games on release date, she's not gonna get that with linux. I mean, even fairly basic software you won't get in a stable form easily on the release date.

    As for GIMP. Yeah, every digital artist pretty much agrees GIMP is great for free, but it's no Photoshop. You can do a lot of great stuff with GIMP, but there's an extra edge for the upper echelon of artists that Photoshop provides, and that's absolutely necessary when you're cutting edge.

    So if you value stability, you're willing to sacrifice being on the cutting edge. If you want to be on the cutting edge, you're willing to sacrifice stability. It just so happens, that when it comes to games, windows is on the cutting edge. Cest la vie.


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