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For the computer guyz. Linux or not to Linux?

12/19/2005 9:30 PM
Joel For the computer guyz. Linux or not to Linux?
Well, I just got thru trying to get drivers for a HP desktop pc from the HP site and found that it will only let the pc needing the drivers download for some odd reason.  
This particular pc lost its hard drive and I installed a new WD 80 gig into it but found now I need to order the recover cd's from HP to get it up and running again. Darn HP.......The drivers for the graphics and audio are really needed but trying to put an unprotected pc on the net for just a few minutes is dangerous :( Mine got a virus within 2 minutes of beeing on the net. YUK......  
Well I've been thinking of switching from ol MS to Linux and seen on Ebay a package of Linux blue Katana for cheap. I also seen red hat work station fairly cheap too.  
I guess I wanted to ask which is better blue katana or red had and are they much more safer to use the MS XP nightmare. LOL....  
Are they harder to use than MS OS?  
12/19/2005 9:40 PM
Carl S.

The big question is what do you use your PC for?  
If you use a lot of software it might be difficult to find linux compatible replacements.  
However, if you primarily browse websites, email, etc. linux would be great. much patience are you willing to put into learning a new system?
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12/19/2005 10:46 PM
Don Symes

If you have access to a broadband system somewhere, Ubuntu linux is easy to find, download, burn to a CD and try out (without committing to). Knoppix is another live-CD try-before-install distribution.  
I tried both of those, RedHat and Suse.  
I went Macintosh.  
Good luck de-microsofting your life!
12/20/2005 1:26 AM
bob p
IMO its not a question of whether or not you should try out linux. You should definitely try it out to see if it offers you some alternative choices that you don't have right now. The question is really whether or not you'll be able to make a clean break with windows.  
The important question is whether or not you're bound to windows by legacy software. If you're tied to a software package that you just can't give up, such as TurboTax, Quicken, MetaStock, or whatever, then you're going to have to keep Windows around because there are no comparable fully mature linux alternatives for those packages. This means that your only option is a dual-boot system that uses both Windows and Linux. OTOH, if you just want basic websurfing, email, cd burning, music ripping, word processing, spreadsheets, etc., on a fully secure computer that won't cost you an arm and a leg to maintain, then linux can give you everything that you need.  
Although a dual boot system may seem complicated, there are some very good reasons to do things this way. First, it gives you the option to go back and forth without forcing you to commit to a financial investment in hardware and software. Second, it allows you to try out linux without burning any bridges by wiping Windows off of your system.  
Perhaps the best reason to consider demo-ing linux is the relative failure of Windows as a secure platform. Remember, windows has always been an information sieve. Early versions of windows made no attempts whatsoever to safeguard your information. All of the development effort was based on the facilitation of connectivity, and this left gaping security holes in the system that you could pilot an ocean liner through. Things have gotten somewhat better with XP Service Pack 2, but its still a POS that you'd be better off without. Here's an example:  
I'm presently building a dual-boot box for my sister, who wants to go from dialup to DSL. She uses Win98 on an older box with a dialup connection. She's flat broke and her options are limited beause every penny she makes is being used to put her kid through college at an Ivy League school that they really can't afford. So a new PC is out of the question. She wants a better websurfing platform, and she wants broadband because in an interesting paradox, its actually cheaper than dialup now. Unfortunately, she's being told by Verizon that she can't use DSL on Windows because her PC isn't fast enough to meet Verizon's minimum system requirements. I've finally convinced her not to buy into the marketing hype, and that her old P2 will do just fine with broadband.  
She finally understands that she shouldn't use Win98 (or most other flavors of Windows) with a permanent broadband connection, as it would only be a matter of minutes before her box gets exploited. I told her that at an absolute minimum, if she wants to stick with Windows she HAS to upgrade to XP, and she HAS to apply the SP2 security upgrades, and she HAS to get a NAT (network address translation) router to go between her DSL modem and her PC. Then she has to plunk down a bunch of money on third party software that will slow her computer down so much that she'll need a PC upgrade to make the machine tolerable to use. What a joke.  
So I've finally convinced her that she can migrate to DSL and that she doesn't have to buy a new PC and a bunch of expensive add-on software if she uses linux.  
I finished installing XP on her box yesterday, and applied the Service Pak 2 CD that supposedly "fixes" all of the gaping security holes in windows. Yeah, right. When I did the automatic updates, I downloaded 35 additional critical security patches to fix even more gaping holes in the operating system. Like i said before, windows a sieve. Even with its SP2 fixes, its still a laughable joke.  
So if you decide to run a Win box, plan on spending money in the aftermarket to buy a whole bunch of add-ons. You'll need to spend about $80 for an antivirus program, $80 for norton utilities (they call it systemworks now), $80 for a good backup suite, a firewall, CD burning software, MS Office... the list goes on and on. If you don't cough up the bucks to buy it, you're faced with the headaches that come with using stolen/hacked software. In my opinion its just not worth it. I'd rather use a free operating system that's worth paying for than steal an expensive operating system that isn't worth paying for.  
The Windows platform is so crappy that an entire industry has been built around selling add-ons that any decent operating system should include as standard equipment.  
Now consider linux. Security is not a problem on properly configured linux box, and every linux box is properly configured automatically during the install process. In the Unix world, the problems of security, privileged access, and user permissions were *solved* while Bill Gates was still in grammar school.  
Now for software. With most linux distributions (there are many), *everthing* is included. You think you need antivirus? nope. linux systems don't have to worry about zillions of viruses. firewall? included. CD burning? included. Office Software? included. which takes me back to the story about buiding that PC for my sister.  
She wanted Windows to have backward comatability for running her legacy apps like Quicken, Quickbooks and Turbotax. I offered a dual-boot solution for her, where she uses Windows WITHOUT A NETWORK CONNECTION for doing her taxes, and Linux for everything else. At bootup she has the option of choosing which OS she wants to run, Windows or Linux.  
When linux boots, it takes her right into a GUI that looks alot like a windows desktop. To do this, you basically have two choices in selecting full-featured (bloated) windows-like window managers: KDE and GNOME. I set her up with KDE because I like it better.  
With KDE she has a complete windowing environment. The default installation for SuSE Linux (the flavor that I installed for her) includes a complete power user's setup with Web Surfing (FireFox), e-mail, instant messaging, CD burning, Open Office software (reads and writes your MS Office files), CD-Ripping, MP3 jukebox, scanner support, Microsoft-compatible networking, etc. You name it, its got it. The linux desktop is a mature platform. No, they're not any harder to use than Windows for the GUI user. The really great thing is that ifyou're willing to learn linux at the command line, linux offers you complete absolute control over how your box functions. In comparison, Windows locks you out.  
So if you're even thinking about Linux, I'd say Go For It. You don't have to buy a new PC, you can install linux on your old PC, ON TOP of your windows installation. then you can compare the two of them side by side and use whichever tool you find most suitable to your needs.  
The whole idea behind linux is to provide you, the user, with CHOICE. Best of all, linux is free. You don't have to buy those CDs to try it out. All that you need to do is download some installation CDs as .ISO images, burn them to CDs, and boot your PC from the CD. If you use a distribution like SUSE, it will do all of the work for you in setting up a dual-boot system on top of your Windows installation. All that you need is a spare drive or an extra partition on an existing drive. In some cases it can even create room for itself by resizing your Windows drive, though that can be dangerous with NTFS file systems and I would advise against it. If you have to do that, use Partition Manager instead.  
I am writing this message during my first linux browser session on my sister's PC that was installed with SuSE 10.1. I've just finished building the linux install for my sister, and I thought I'd give it a test drive before I give the PC back to her tomorrow.  
If you're interested in Linux, I would recommend any of the following distros for a beginner: SuSE, Mandriva, Ubuntu. My favorite distributions are The Jackass! Project, Rockhopper! (I am the developer) and Gentoo, but they are source code distirbutions for experts and I would not recommend them to a beginner. Stick with a well-known, popular mega-distribution that is distributed as binary files. Download the free .ISO images from the net and take a test drive. You never know, you may like linux and never look back. In the worst case scenario, it will only cost you the price of a few blank CDs to give linux a try.  
Have Fun!  
PS -- average time to exploit of an unproted windows box on a broadband connection: 8 minutes. :o
12/20/2005 6:28 AM
I just seen this on eBay below, is this a good one to try?  
BTW, Thanks for the info fellas. I think once I find the right Linux os to install I'll give it a shot. The one on eBay does look good.
12/20/2005 2:42 PM
yo joel, my .02 here you can download fedora core 4 for free (like the new desktop red hat) i've found it is the easiest to install and get around if you're a Linux newbie like me. that said linux is a fkin pain *if* it works on your system that is. for an OS that is supposed to be stable as a rock, i have found it to be quite the opposite, random crashes and corrupt installs seem to be the common thread i have run across with mulitiple linux distros. i want to like it, but i am finding fewer and fewer reasons to stick with it.  
good luck mang!
12/21/2005 9:16 AM

Until you get linux ready, chances are that you can get the needed drivers for the HP hardware from the actual vendors website or from a place like Driver Guide.  
Or from a hardware driver forum where you could have another user email or post the files for you.  
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