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 Post subject: Old school, need advice for complete desktop replacement
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:44 am 
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Hi all,

Ok, this will be a wall of text. Apologies, and thanks in advance for anyone willing to wade through it and offer me some advice and suggestions.

GOAL: To move to linux as a permanent desktop OS replacement for Windows XP.

Requirements: If this is going to work for me then I will need to be able to do everything I can do now on my Windows machine. Gaming, productivity, photo editing, etc. And while I'm happy to geek out and I'm willing to spend some time rolling my own kernal and tweaking start-up and config files, etc, managing the OS can not be a chore, nor can it require constant hand-holding to maintain in a secure and stable state. MS offers automatic updates and security patches for Windows (however reviled their speed of response may be in some quarters), I require that same level of service from any replacement OS. Windows has, since 98SE, treated me to maybe a half dozen BSOD, I require that same level of stability from a replacement OS. And while I have never had a Windows installation get a virus or get hacked, even one on an always-on Internet connection, I have had a Redhat web server get hacked. My fault, I didn't maintain the patch levels on one of the services and the attacker used a known exploit to try to get root and managed to just break the boot process and inconvenience me, but the point is that I need for security patches and other updates to not be a manual, hand-holding operation where I have to remain immersed in administrative chores.

In a past job I managed the NOC of a decent sized regional ISP. We were an all unix/linux shop, including desktops. So I've got plenty of old experience with both server administration and using linux as a workstation/desktop. But it is old, and haven't had a job with anything but peripheral exposure to *ux in about 10 years. And I know that linux does not sit still long.

I'm not an OS bigot at all. I use a tool for what it's worth (yes, even Windows, it's my current desktop after all). I've come to love OSX, which the security dept at a prior position used exclusively as workstations, as it seemed to be the perfect melding of the familiarity of Windows with the utility of linux. I have a shell? Kick ass! I have grep/awk/sed for wading through huge log files? Kick ass! And the hardest thing to get used to is apple-cut/copy/paste instead of ctrl-ditto? Kick ass! My needs are fairly simple overall: Stability and utility, and ease of maintenance.

From the Tips for getting help thread:

Hardware (will edit for accuracy once I'm home at the computer)
=======
CPU - Q6600 (core2 duo quad 2.4)
MB - EVGA nForce
VC - EVGA 8800 GTS
Ram - 2 gigs mid-range brand
PCIE card - ATA/SATA add-on card
HDD - WD Velociraptor; Brand X 1TB SATA
DVD - Generic $35 all-in-one r/w/rw
Peripherals:
- Motorola sbg900 cable modem
- HP all-in-one printer/scanner/fax
- Brand X 1 TB USB backup drive

Other stuff:
Besides an office suite, a web browser, and an email client, all of which I know I can find easy replacements for under linux, I play World of Warcraft, edit photos with Photoshop Elements, and play the occasional other game, mostly old school dosbox requiring games such as Master of Orion II. I'm willing to use either Wine or VMware for running my Windows software, with a huge preference for Wine (or I'll gladly learn about other emulation options). So I need a release which is very Wine friendly. I'm used to Enlightenment, AfterStep, and KVWM, although not current on any of them. I'm willing to consider any other desktop, but I'd like to stay as lean as possible. I don't need all the bells and whistles which come with the more bloated desktop options. I didn't care for Windowmaker back in the day, but I'm sure it has changed as well.

I can and will roll my own kernal. That's about all I can think of right now. Thanks to anyone who is still with me, and I'll appreciate any replies.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:56 am 
Monkey Fed [PC]
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You should be able to do all that stuff in Linux, with the exception of your games. I would honestly and seriously keep a dual boot of XP for your games. Other than that, you should be OK to use Linux full time.

That being said, I would DL a couple different Linux distro's and see which one you like the most. Maybe Ubuntu, Gentoo, and Fedora or something.


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 Post subject: Re: Old school, need advice for complete desktop replacement
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:27 am 
Java Junkie
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Oberon wrote:
Hi all


Welcome!

Quote:
GOAL: To move to linux as a permanent desktop OS replacement for Windows XP.


Woot! That is what we are here for.

Quote:
Requirements: If this is going to work for me then I will need to be able to do everything I can do now on my Windows machine. Gaming, productivity, photo editing, etc. And while I'm happy to geek out and I'm willing to spend some time rolling my own kernal and tweaking start-up and config files, etc, managing the OS can not be a chore, nor can it require constant hand-holding to maintain in a secure and stable state. MS offers automatic updates and security patches for Windows (however reviled their speed of response may be in some quarters), I require that same level of service from any replacement OS.


Any of the more popular distros do this for you. Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo .. they all have automatic patch releases and you can configure your OS to download and install them automatically, or retain complete control over the process, or a combination of the two. Just like Windows.

Quote:
Windows has, since 98SE, treated me to maybe a half dozen BSOD, I require that same level of stability from a replacement OS.


I can't remember the last time that I had my OS freeze on me to the point of requiring a reboot (the linux equivalent of a BSOD .. usually a 'kernel panic'). No worries here!

Quote:
And while I have never had a Windows installation get a virus or get hacked, even one on an always-on Internet connection, I have had a Redhat web server get hacked. My fault, I didn't maintain the patch levels on one of the services and the attacker used a known exploit to try to get root and managed to just break the boot process and inconvenience me, but the point is that I need for security patches and other updates to not be a manual, hand-holding operation where I have to remain immersed in administrative chores.


Again, security patches are handled as automatically as you would like. Once you'v configured your system and locked it down, you won't have to do much more than tweak settings every year or so.

Quote:
Hardware (will edit for accuracy once I'm home at the computer)
=======
CPU - Q6600 (core2 duo quad 2.4)
MB - EVGA nForce
VC - EVGA 8800 GTS
Ram - 2 gigs mid-range brand
PCIE card - ATA/SATA add-on card
HDD - WD Velociraptor; Brand X 1TB SATA
DVD - Generic $35 all-in-one r/w/rw
Peripherals:
- Motorola sbg900 cable modem
- HP all-in-one printer/scanner/fax
- Brand X 1 TB USB backup drive


Nice .. I don't see any problems here. Wireless card?

Quote:
Other stuff:
Besides an office suite, a web browser, and an email client, all of which I know I can find easy replacements for under linux, I play World of Warcraft, edit photos with Photoshop Elements, and play the occasional other game, mostly old school dosbox requiring games such as Master of Orion II. I'm willing to use either Wine or VMware for running my Windows software, with a huge preference for Wine (or I'll gladly learn about other emulation options). So I need a release which is very Wine friendly. I'm used to Enlightenment, AfterStep, and KVWM, although not current on any of them. I'm willing to consider any other desktop, but I'd like to stay as lean as possible. I don't need all the bells and whistles which come with the more bloated desktop options. I didn't care for Windowmaker back in the day, but I'm sure it has changed as well.


It would be easier for us if you posted again with a list of the applications you use most often. No explanation, just a list of the apps with one app per line. We'll respond with the most common equivalents that we use in linux.

Gaming in linux is still hit-and-miss, but the games you mentioned above are all playable using Wine.

So far, I recommend either Ubuntu (ease of use and installation) or Gentoo (long and involved installation process, easy to use once running, FAST). Gentoo will teach you more about linux, while Ubuntu will just work.


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 Post subject: Re: Old school, need advice for complete desktop replacement
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:08 am 
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Jipstyle wrote:
Oberon wrote:
Hi all

Welcome!

Thanks! I've actually posted a few times before, but long ago. My post count does say 1 though.
Quote:
It would be easier for us if you posted again with a list of the applications you use most often. No explanation, just a list of the apps with one app per line. We'll respond with the most common equivalents that we use in linux.
Office 2007
OpenOffice :)
Photoshop Elements
Acrobat Reader
Firefox :)
iTunes

:) denotes application of which I am aware has a direct linux alternative.
Quote:
Gaming in linux is still hit-and-miss, but the games you mentioned above are all playable using Wine.
Is there any particular distro which is more Wine-friendly?
World of Warcraft
Master of Orion II
other abandonware/arcade style games
Quote:
Nice .. I don't see any problems here. Wireless card?
No card, handled by the cable modem.
Quote:
So far, I recommend either Ubuntu (ease of use and installation) or Gentoo (long and involved installation process, easy to use once running, FAST). Gentoo will teach you more about linux, while Ubuntu will just work.
Can you explain this a bit, please? I know linux of old. I expect to be able to get around just fine, but I'm sure there are some new things to learn. So a distro that "teaches me more about linux" is probably not needed. "FAST" sounds good, but some description of how it manages to be faster would be helpful. In my prior experience the things that make linux run faster are mostly rolling your own kernal to keep things lean and get rid of a pile of hardware support which is totally unneeded, but I can do that with any distro.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:26 pm 
Clawhammer
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bigtoyota479 wrote:
That being said, I would DL a couple different Linux distro's and see which one you like the most. Maybe Ubuntu, Gentoo, and Fedora or something.


something "special" = PCLinuxOS, http://www.pclinuxos.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:39 am 
Java Junkie
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PCLinuxOS .. I still haven't figured out the appeal.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:25 am 
Monkey Federation (Top 10)*
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Preface: I have never tried PCLinuxOS


I always thought it was for the crossover crowd. IN that instance if you are trying something new why would you want it to act like the environment you just left. ::shrug::


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:02 pm 
Coppermine
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As far as the Apps go though, Office 2007 will work, WoW will work, not sure about Photoshop Elements (depends on version), good that your using OpenOffice and Firefox :D. iTunes won't work, you can try songbird and see if you like it. There are replacements for Adobe Reader in Linux (which can do anything adobe reader can do).

You can see which apps work in wine in the Application Database (AppDB). Just search for your app and see if it works (on some of them there are how-tos on how to get things working as well ;) )

http://appdb.winehq.org/


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