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The Great Linux Experiment

September 21st, 2007 · 14 Comments

I finally decided to give Linux a try. I took an old computer and installed Linux on it (Ubuntu 7.04 if you’re curious), then added a “KVM Switch” so I could share my single monitor, keyboard and mouse between that computer and my existing Windows 2000 computer.

Without going into a lot of detail, I can say that it is a qualified success. I find myself using it for most of my daily web browsing and email, word processing, etc. Most of the things I usually use Windows for I can do just as easily in Linux.

The success is qualified because there are still a couple of programs I can’t find good replacements for. One of them is my PHP coding program that has a built-in FTP client. I haven’t found anything as good in Linux yet, though it probably exists. It’s probably not fair to Linux that I haven’t immediately found suitable replacements for programs that I have accumulated over years.

The other major thing is that I occasionally write programs for Windows users, and those have to be compiled on a Windows machine.

Otherwise, I think most people could switch to Linux as easily as they could to an Apple. In fact, I’m sure there is lots more software available for Linux than for Apples. Apples may be slightly more user friendly, but the Ubuntu version of Linux is pretty darn good. I don’t think it’s less friendly than Windows, just different.

And I don’t have to worry about picking up a virus by going to the wrong website. Viruses (Viri?) are rare in the Linux world.

Anyway, I’m going to keep using Linux, for now, but I will also have to keep my other computer available, for now.

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Don // Sep 21, 2007 at 11:32 am

    How about that! Linux actually works pretty well. Who would have thought that a few years ago? Oh that’s right, I did. 😉

  • 2 Donna // Sep 21, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    I’m pretty sure it’s viruses.

    So now we need to find a Linux to Mac OS LogMeIn-type software so you can help me out when I get stuck. Right now I’m bothering a guy at work with my dumb questions. He’s really nice, but I’ve embarrassed myself a time or two. Much better to do that with you! You’ve already seen my stupidity.

  • 3 Don // Sep 21, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Here’s how I would do it Donna.

    Or something similar.

  • 4 Daryl // Sep 21, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    There’s a beta version of LogMeIn for OSX here.

  • 5 Richard // Sep 22, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Sounds like fun. If I had a computer I was not using any longer I might give it a try as well for a learning experience. Of course, I use my laptop for most everything now so I’m not sure how that would work out.

    I know browsers and email programs are plentiful for Linux but what would you do about programs like Familly Tree Maker and GPS software? Dual boot?

  • 6 Donna // Sep 22, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Daryl, a preview software “not meant for production use” is not really beta, is it? Wouldn’t you call it alpha? Do you think we should try it? Or maybe try the VNC Don linked? I use VNC at work for my Windows to Linux desktop.

  • 7 Daryl // Sep 22, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Donna: I don’t know — if they are releasing it for test it is probably more Beta. Usually Alpha releases stay inside the company, or with a select group of testers. But that’s all semantics anyway

    I don’t think you would hurt anything to try it, but on the other hand neither would it hurt to try the VNC. LogMeIn is better about getting through firewalls (like for Mom), but with your simple setup VNC should work fine too.

  • 8 Daryl // Sep 22, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Your comments are right on. People who have programs they depend on often cannot find equivalents in Linux. Developers aim for the large installed base of Windows programs, and it’s probably not worth their effort to create separate Linux (or Mac) versions.

    I tried dual boot for a while, but hated it. Having to take 5 minutes just to switch between OS doesn’t make sense. Having two computers with a KVM is much better.

    If your computer is powerful enough (Dual core, at least), then you might be able to use VMWare or another virtualization program that lets both OS’s run simultaneously on the same computer. I tried it on my 2GHz P4 and it was too slow. I think Don is using it on a Core 2 Duo and I think he said it works well.

  • 9 jocelyn // Sep 22, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Anyone know an easy way for eric to move all my stuff from my current compu to my new one?

  • 10 Don // Sep 22, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    I’ve used VMWare on a dual core machine and it works pretty well. The guy who created the Eventscripts plugin for Counter Strike uses VMWare to do almost everything. He is able to use the same machine for all his Windows and Linux tasks. Now it’s got me wondering if there’s an OSX for VMWare.

    Joce: The easiest way I know is through the network. When you say “all my stuff” that’s fairly wide open. Do you also have programs or is it just data? It’s hard to “move” a program without just reinstalling it but moving data is easy.

    As Daryl mentioned I use KVM. I actually have 5 computers sitting under and around my desk and I use an 8 way KVM. I probably don’t really need all 5 but I could certainly use at least 3. 1 is my gaming machine running Vista, 1 is my Linux machine which runs my Counter Strike server, and 1 is an XP machine which currently just came back to life after a hard disk crash. The other 2 are W2K machines which run the cameras and weather station software. I could probably run all of that on the XP machine and save a little power.

  • 11 jocelyn // Sep 22, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Everything that is on my compu… Programs and all… But, I’ve got most of them on CD, so, I could prolly reinstal.

    You have to many compus…

  • 12 Don // Oct 7, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Which PHP Editing program are you using that has a built-in ftp?

  • 13 Daryl // Oct 7, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    I use TSWWebcoder. It used to be free (nagware), but I think now is trial.

  • 14 Don // Oct 21, 2007 at 7:40 am

    I sure do wish you would add a “Recent Comments” section on your sidebar. Then I would be able to see quickly if anyone had added a comment. I know if I use an RSS reader it will tell me that too but I don’t usually use one.

    It might be time to update to WP 2.3 and you could use the widget. You could keep this ugly theme if you must but I sure would like the Recent Comment widget here.

    I wish Richard had one too by the way.