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Switching Over

Hello,

New to the system -> have not gotten through all FAQs yet.

I am buying new netbook. Am really interested in dropping win7starter and running Linux.

My question is about switching everything I currently do on my desktop (WIN XP 32) and doing the tasks on Linux (on my netbook first). I am an engineering student and will use netbook for school mostly. Netbook new -1.66Gz Dual Core with 2 Gb RAM (10.1").

Running MATLab

Running Power Point

Online radio

Watching DVD's

Sharing media with my friends

Connecting devices - (I have a blue tooth USB headset)

Running Rosetta Stone

Possibly running Ableton Live 8

Connecting to my desktop to exchange files

What are some issues I can expect in the switch? I have been intereseted in Linux for a while now. I would like to get into it as there seems to have major functional advantages over Windows - like less required memory for simple tasks. If everything is smooth on Netbook I will likely install Linux on my desktop.

Thanks,

J

J

Comments

  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    Jonny10 wrote:
    Netbook new -1.66Gz Dual Core with 2 Gb RAM (10.1").
    The hardware will be more than sufficient.
    Jonny10 wrote:
    Running MATLab
    Matlab can run through the wine emulator, but some version have experienced issues, you can find details at http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iId=49

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Running Power Point

    You can install ms Office via an emulator like wine or use a native Linux based office suite such as koffice, openoffice or libreoffice to edit and create presentation files that are compatible with ms powerpoint.

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Online radio

    It depends on the method of transmission you can listen to any flash based radio stations or capture auto streams through vlc

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Watching DVD's

    To watch dvds you will need to install the libdvdcss library to decrypt the dvds, that library is available on most distros, but will require some research to figure out how to install it since it it a topic of some potential legal issues.

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Sharing media with my friends

    Depending on your choice of distro it should be reasonably simple to setup a http, ftp or samba server to share files with others.

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Connecting devices - (I have a blue tooth USB headset)

    The bluetooth libraries are also included in most distros, however you may need to check the net for possible compatibility issues with the devices you use.

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Running Rosetta Stone

    Rosetta stone can also be run through the wine emulator (http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iId=1867), however just as with the other app depending on the version you are running you may experience issues.

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Possibly running Ableton Live 8

    That app can also work through wine, check winedb for compatibility issues at http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iId=2113

    Jonny10 wrote:
    Connecting to my desktop to exchange files

    This applies with the file sharing that you previously listed.

    Jonny10 wrote:
    What are some issues I can expect in the switch? I have been intereseted in Linux for a while now. I would like to get into it as there seems to have major functional advantages over Windows - like less required memory for simple tasks. If everything is smooth on Netbook I will likely install Linux on my desktop.

    The Linux based system do require less resources than windows and in general offer a more stable experience. The greatest change you will need to prepare yourself for is the fact that windows applications are not made to run on Linux based systems, some can be run through an emulator but the general recommendation is to find a native Linux based application to replace those apps so you don't have to continue using work-arounds.
  • Jonny10Jonny10 Posts: 4
    Hello,

    Thanks for your response. You addressed all of my concerns.

    I have some more questions. I read an article suggesting that it is best to install win 7 and a distribution ( I am looking at kubuntu) as a dual boot option (partitioned hard drive) rather than uninstall windows completely and write over with a different OS. I am interested in your thoughts on this.

    This appeals to me because then I could just dedicate the windows partition to some tasks that may not work ideally with WINE - I am thinking ableton. In general it seems to be a more versatile solution.

    How would this dual boot option affect computing performance? Would start up shut down be longer? Would there be any lag on the system? I don't think there should be aside from having to make the one distinction upon boot up ( >>Windows (y/n)? ) Once an OS is choosen all of your resources are there & dedicated?

    I am also thinking about upgrading the windows 7 starter to home edition or ultimate. If that complicates anything.

    As far as file formats are concerned I don't fully understand the legal issues. MP3 & MP4, MPEG, AVI, AC3 Dolby audio filters.. are these licensed for use only under windows? Hence using emulation and not supporting directily in distribution?

    Web browsing under kubuntu would be the same/similar experience - ie it is able to view all web pages?

    What about system management. Disk defragmentation, harddrive scans, virus scans, spyware, registry, and PC speed utilities? Are these not required on a distribution? I currently use AVG anti virus, Unible registry and Speed updates on windows desktop, I perform defrag often. I understand that virus & spyware is uncommon on a distribution but is there no system manegement required?

    It is easy to connect a USB wireless mouse. I just have to write some code?

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    J
  • woboylewoboyle Posts: 501
    Jonny10 wrote:
    Hello,

    New to the system -> have not gotten through all FAQs yet.

    I am buying new netbook. Am really interested in dropping win7starter and running Linux.
    My question is about switching everything I currently do on my desktop (WIN XP 32) and doing the tasks on Linux (on my netbook first). I am an engineering student and will use netbook for school mostly. Netbook new -1.66Gz Dual Core with 2 Gb RAM (10.1").

    Running MATLab
    Running Power Point
    Online radio
    Watching DVD's
    Sharing media with my friends
    Connecting devices - (I have a blue tooth USB headset)
    Running Rosetta Stone
    Possibly running Ableton Live 8
    Connecting to my desktop to exchange files

    What are some issues I can expect in the switch? I have been intereseted in Linux for a while now. I would like to get into it as there seems to have major functional advantages over Windows - like less required memory for simple tasks. If everything is smooth on Netbook I will likely install Linux on my desktop.

    Thanks,

    J
    J
    Matlab - they have both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux versions
    Power Point - Open Office or (better) Libre Office
    Online Radio - I use VLC Media Player to stream radio - doing that now
    Watching DVDs - as long as you install the decss library, most Linux media players will play commercial DVDs just fine
    Sharing Media - there are a bunch of Linux tools, such as ffmpeg, that can transcode just about any A/V format into any other
    Connecting Devices - current Linux kernels support just about anything you might have, including bluetooth headset.
    Rosetta Stone - Seems to be Windows only. You may need to run it on Windows in a virtual machine.
    Ableton Live 8 - there are good linux substitutes such as Audacity for music composition, mixing, etc.
    Connecting to Desktop - I assume the desktop is Windows. That is easy enough, either sharing your Windows folders or Linux folders using Samba/CIFS. You can also remote control your desktop using tools like VNC. You run a service for VNC on Windows, and then you can connect and view/control the desktop from your Linux system. I do this all the time for remote client support.

    Issues? Different packages that do the same thing still have different interfaces, features, glitches, etc. All this takes getting used to. Also, some things on Linux you will have to do from the command line, so be prepared to get comfortable with that. In any case, Linux is much more secure (no virus scanners generally needed but are available).
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    If you are new to an Operating system it is still a good idea to keep your old OS to fall back on for features that you have not found in the new OS. I do recommend for you to utilize a dual boot system to start, the precaution is to install windows first them install your chosen Linux distro on the remaining unpartitioned space. The reason for installing window first is that windows automatically assumes it is the only OS and will overwrite any bootload on the system without any prompts, by installing windows first, then ubuntu it allows ubuntu to replace windows' bootloader.

    The same bootloader issue may be experienced when you upgrade your windows installation, if that does happen you can consult your Linux distro's documentation to find the procedures for reinstalling the bootloader.

    The primary licensing issue is with DVD decoders because they are using a hack to for decryption of a DVD, this is a potential legal issue because they are not using an officially purphased decryption key. The other formats generally do not have issues, except for maybe the ipod music format which is a lot of security tied to it that blocks them from playing on non-approved devices.

    Defragmentation is only necessary in windows
    Most Linux based filesystems automatically scan the hard drives between uses for corruptions and correct them when possible
    Most viri infect windows only, in general the is very little virus threat on non-windows systems, but anti-virus software is available in both free and paid versions
    spyware cannot install itself on non-windows systems
    the registry is a window component, without it administration is quite simplified
    PC speed utilities are not really necessary unless you are overclocking, but there are general built-in utilities for monitoring performance

    In general the core of non-windows operating systems are pretty easy to handle if they are setup correctly, your administrative efforts will need to be focused on installing security updates which is easily automated on most distros.

    Most wireless mice are plug-and-play on Linux based systems, if the drivers are in the kernel it will be auto-recognized. You will only need to think about programming if no drivers are available.
  • RickSMORickSMO Posts: 123
    instead of kubuntu I think you should just go with ubuntu. I never used kubuntu, but I do know I have ran into weird errors on some of the ubuntu based systems that weren't ubuntu. For example Zorin OS4 which is based on ubuntu, it's basically ubuntu with a different desktop to make it look like windows and some other optional software pre-installed like Wine and PlayOnLinux, both of which are easy to install through the software center.

    In the begining I would have recommended zorin just because it's made just to be easier on windows people, like myself. However for some reason even tho it's ubuntu based, I ran into a bunch of weird errors installing it on my fiance's computer, where ubuntu installed perfectly fine on it. Zorin installed fine on my computer, so I don't know what the change was, her hardware is sufficient for a 64 bit system.

    Anyway, i'd recommend ubuntu because that's what I use and the community for it great and huge, as well as the company behind it.
  • jabiralijabirali Posts: 157
    RickSMO wrote:
    instead of kubuntu I think you should just go with ubuntu. I never used kubuntu, but I do know I have ran into weird errors on some of the ubuntu based systems that weren't ubuntu. (...) Anyway, i'd recommend ubuntu because that's what I use and the community for it great and huge, as well as the company behind it.
    I don't really think that would be a problem with Kubuntu, since it is an official Ubuntu derivative backed by Canonical, and it's quite mature after being worked on since early 2005. The earliest versions of Kubuntu seemed somewhat less polished than their Gnome equivalents, but last time I tried it (a couple of years ago) it seemed about as polished as Ubuntu itself :)
  • Jonny10Jonny10 Posts: 4
    Hello,

    Thanks all for responses. I appreciate the list on Linux software that does the tasks I currently do in Windows.

    With regards to Kubuntu/Ubuntu - Its basically the same OS with a different GUI. The Kubuntu uses KDE where Ubunto uses GNOME.

    In windows I have read that you can use a USB drive as increased RAM. I do not understand how this works. Has anyone tried anything similar for Linux? Ive read that .." The 32-bit Linux kernel can be recompiled to handle up to 64GB of RAM" - Could you use an external hard drive to max that out? If that was the case then you could actually partition your hard drive and dedicate it to RAM... That seems too easy - I must be missing something.

    What about tweaking your TCP for faster speeds on Linux. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    I want to buy an extra VGA chord so I can just hijack some desktop space anytime I sit down in a computer lab. (I have 10.1" screen). Would I have to find a driver for each type of monitor I plan to use>?

    J
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    The extension of RAM that windows does is by making a paging file on the USB drive. On Linux based systems swap partitions are the equivalent to paging files, in which both extend your memory at the cost of performance. Disks are notably slower than ram and usb connected devices are even slower. Thus forcing use of swap space for expansion will allow you to run more programs with a large performance hit. You can accomplish the same by placing a sparse file onto a device and formatting it as swap space, then mounting it as swap. If you want I can tell you how to do accomplish this if you feel like experimenting.

    TCP tweaking can be accomplished via the browser applications or by modifying the routing algorithms used by the kernel by recompiling the kernel.

    Most drivers use a unified communications protocol that is supported by the kernel, in the past 10 years that I have been using Linux based systems I have only heard of one case of the monitor that requires firmware drivers that are not supported out of the box. You have ~97% chance that a new monitor will work out-of-the-box.
  • jabiralijabirali Posts: 157
    mfillpot wrote:
    You have ~97% chance that a new monitor will work out-of-the-box.
    This is my experience too. Usually, when I connect a new monitor to a laptop, it's just a matter of running the command
    xrandr --auto
    
    to autoconfigure and enable it. Many systems even do this automatically for you. If not, you could always install one of the graphical applications with randr in the name (arandr, lxrandr, grandr, urandr, etc) to do this from e.g. the system tray.
  • Jonny10Jonny10 Posts: 4
    Hello,

    I am installing and need some guidance setting up my paritions.
    Win 7 Starter is preloaded on 250 Gb ntfs hard drive.

    I have Kubuntu installer running - I want to dual boot.
    So I selected manually manage paritions (only other option is reformat hard drive for 100% kubuntu)
    What I dont understand is partitioning order, does it matter?
    By default it says:



    Device Type Mount Point Format? Size Used

    /dev/sda (unchecked box)
    /dev/sda1 ntfs (unchecked box) 1572 MB 524 MB
    /dev/sda2 ntfs (unchecked box) 223955 MB 17759 MB
    /dev/sda3 ntfs (unchecked box) 15208 MB 7229 MB
    /dev/sda4 ntfs (unchecked box) 9320 MB 8616 MB

    When I right/double click on each partion I get: the following options for each
    [ new partition size; "use as:"; format parition (y/n); mount point]



    OK so I want to allocate 40-70GB to Windows and the rest to Kubuntu. So appartantly I need a swap file, root, and a home partition? I have found no good guides.

    Windows format should be ntfs (not FAT32?) and Kubuntu shold be ext3? what about ext4 (better/worse?)?
    Mount point should read windows, root, swap, home? Should I have format checked?

    Windows should be in sda1? Is the order of Windows, swap, root, Kubuntu, partitioning important?
    I've read it is good to have Windows as first, and extra space at the end. Is the first partition sda1? (count upwards and not down?)
    I have 2 Gb RAM should I make my swap file 4Gb or 3 Gb?

    Should I just exit installer. Boot windows and partition once (with Gparted 60 Gb for windows/ 190Gb for Kubuntu). Exit.
    Run installer and tell it to use full 190 Gb as it wants?

    Any feedback is appreciated,

    J
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    Unfortunately windows seems to have multiple partitions pre-setup on your system and it's doesn't like being resized.

    You will need to go into window and use the disk management tool to see exactly what partitions are being used, , most likely only the first one is used, then shrink the first partition asto your chosen point or as much as it will allow. Set the system to checkdisk and reboot, repeat this two of three times for safety sake.

    Once you have identified which partition(s) are used for windows you can delete the others.

    To install any Linux distro you really only need a swap partition (that is 2X your RAM or 2G, whichever is smaller) and a / (root) partition.

    After you have partitioned the hard drive and installed your chosen distro it should automatically configure the bootloader to add entries for windows and your chosen distro. After that is complete and reboot you should be able to dual boot into whichever system you choose.
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