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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Do we need Microsoft software?

    Hi all

    Just wonded what other operating systems people have used and their
    usefulness,do we have to have a windows operating system loaded on our computers to run
    or is there operating systems available that I can use on my empty laptop /home computers
    Some thing that just offers the true basics like internet and some sort of office.


    thanks

    J

  2. #2
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    It depends a bit on the specs of your laptop.

    For folks with Windows experience I would recommend one of the Linux distros, such as Mint or Ubuntu.

    If your laptop is fairly recent either of those will most likely just install and run. Problem areas on older hardware include Wifi, video and sound. Those can be overcome but do require some technical expertise to do so.

    Mint and Ubuntu are both free, and can be run from a CD without installing to check them out on your hardware. Both come with standard browsers, email clients and office suites (libre office) so are pretty much ready to run right out of the box.

    Mint is closest to Win XP in overall look and feel. Ubuntu has gone a bit further with their Unity desktop, which is more like Win 7 with multiple workspaces, heads up display and other enhancements that take some getting used to.

    Both distros have good support via Linux forums and excellent automatic updates.

    As a general rule Linux runs much better on legacy hardware than Windows.

    Jock

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballitin View Post

    Just wonded what other operating systems people have used and their
    usefulness,do we have to have a windows operating system loaded on our computers to run
    or is there operating systems available that I can use on my empty laptop /home computers
    Some thing that just offers the true basics like internet and some sort of office.

    "J"
    Hello... I have tried and used Linux Mint 11 (Katya). It works for me. If all you want to do is Internet...( and Open Office) OK, try anything else and if your not into a slow and painful learning curve ...forget it..For me way too "Geeky" to fool with. To do things with "Linux" you have to revert to a DOS type of thing called the "Terminal" ... Good name too ...cause that's what it is.....Terminal.. My opinion is unless you a true "Geek" or a confirmed masochist stick with any windows OS Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have said many times that Linux was just too Geeky for me as well. I used Mint for a while, then final got rid of it. Getting rid of it was just as Geeky. It is definitely not as straight forward as Windows.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-08-24 at 13:11.
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  5. #5
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    Try other things! Let the wind blow!

    If you can do the most basic operations with Windows, you can use any of hundreds of Linux distributions. They are absolutely correct in one thing: Ubuntu and Mint are among the easiest to install. Do a little googling for yourself and locate some 'how to install' instructions; they're all over the place. Download an ISO file (it's the format for virtually all Linux distributions); Windows Explorer may be able to burn it to a CD, or there are many free utilities (hint: use a CD for 700 M and under, a DVD for bigger files).

    PCLinuxOS has the clearest instruction note right on its download site. I've resurrected many older machines with this distribution and passed them along to Salvation Army for resale as working computers. Windows is far less friendly to older machines.

    With the exception of major, modern games, Linux will do anything Windows will do and do it for FREE. Using the Terminal, a Command Line interface, is virtually unnecessary in most distributions. Check out Distrowatch.com; it's a practical clearinghouse for everything Linux (similar to Windows Secrets!).

    If you don't have basic computer skills, there are bountiful guides available for the googling. Free yourself!
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-08-23 at 10:29. Reason: edited inappropriate comment

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  7. #6
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    Linux is fine.

    I don't know why some of you guys here have had problems with Linux. It's superb. I'm no geek and, after hearing various recommendations I installed Ubuntu Linux on two old computers of mine, one a hand-me-down and another which was weighing down some stuff in the attic. Installation was a snap in both cases, Ubuntu provides all the office and browsing software in its package, it found the bits and pieces of both computers (graphic cards, display, sound cards, etc.) automatically, it's very secure, and on both ancient computers it runs at speeds as if they were modern-day machines. The bottom line was that I had suddenly (re)gained two extra computers for free. Didn't cost me a cent.

    I've now done the same thing on friends' "dead" computers that were headed for the junkheap and it's the same story every time: a new, speedy and versatile computer for free and a delighted friend.

    I can't think why some of you have needed to use Terminal. I've used it a couple of times when friends told me how to add extra free goodies and gave me the "recipes" to use in Terminal but it's not needed for the standard daily things.

  8. #7
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    i dont need win os but i need many aps that only run on windows
    so i am stuck 'needing' win until something else has a critical mass and aps i need arrive to run on the new os

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacman10 View Post
    I don't know why some of you guys here have had problems with Linux.

    I can't think why some of you have needed to use Terminal. I've used it a couple of times when friends told me how to add extra free goodies and gave me the "recipes" to use in Terminal but it's not needed for the standard daily things.
    pacman,
    Hello..That's fine if everything works "out of the gate" but if not... that's another story...Example...

    1. Say that you can't connect to the internet because of your Modem \ air-card ... ( been there done that one ) or only connects once in a while?...Or not supported at all?

    2. What if your running a "dual boot" ( or multi boot OS) and the Linux distro messes up the time on your other OS's? ( been there with that one also)

    3. What do you do if now you don't want to play with LINUX anymore, and "Grub" has taken over your booting chores?...and messed up your MBR ?(been there also)

    4. What do you do if you want to install a program? ( Windows Based) or other...

    5. What about all the "Goofy" (sophomoric) names they have and use for everything ... I haven't a clue of what anything is or does based on their name..."Intrepid Ibex"... have no idea! Like a bunch of 10 year-old's got together and chose random names based on Saturday morning cartoon shows.

    6. I could go on and on ... you're fortunate that it all worked for you ...but the reality is that sometimes it doesn't .. Just go on any LINUX forum and if you look at the questions and answer's.... they mostly revolve around the "Terminal" ...They absolutely revel in it ..at times going on for pages with "Linux Terminal Command Lingo" If your a "Joe SixPack".. (That's how the enlightened Linux user's refer to us MS\Windows people) we don't want to do that anymore.. Or at least as little as possible .. For me as bad as MS is...( XP ,Vista, or 7)... It's much more user friendly by at least 10 X ... It "ain't worth" the $100$..or so FRN's (Federal Reserve Notes) to be worth fooling with. I have had enough of Linux ....and will gladly pay for Windows ..just to keep what little sanity that i still have Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  10. #9
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    I am not even mildly as expert on Linux and OS choices as most lounge posters, but as an "average" computer user for work and pleasure I have dabbled in Linux from time to time and found it to be interesting, speedy on old machines as posters here have indicated, but occasionally problematic and, at times, mysteriously high maintenance. When you don't understand the terminology and, more, the consequences of choices that are deceptively obvious, whether during installation or operations later, the learning curve suddenly becomes steeper than anticipated and potentially problematic.

    The area of greatest concern, given how I earn my living, is compatibility with MS Office, which is the standard used by all of my clients. Certainly, there are excellent spreadsheets, word processors and presentation options for Linux systems, many from the same software producers as those offered for Windows systems. Even so, none of them turns out to be consistently compatible with, say, Word and documents that have to work perfectly in Word or the client is frustrated and burned.

    So what I'm saying is that if you have to produce materials that are fully compatible with the mainstream business world, and with much of academia, a Linux-based system should be considered only if you know the materials you produce on it will work when you send things to your various business and personal contacts in the world. What I found, after much experimentation, is that the Linux world still causes friction and sparks when you try to mesh with your Windows and MS based correspondents.

  11. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    1. Ditto

    2. Ditto

    3. Ditto

    4. Ditto

    5. Ditto

    nuff' said!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  12. #11
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    It isn't so bad

    Quote Originally Posted by pacman10 View Post
    I don't know why some of you guys here have had problems with Linux. It's superb.
    True. I'm running a few boxes running various distro's and as long as you take time to figure it out, it really isn't that hard.

    I've now done the same thing on friends' "dead" computers that were headed for the junkheap and it's the same story every time: a new, speedy and versatile computer for
    I can't think why some of you have needed to use Terminal. I've used it a couple of times when friends told me how to add extra free goodies and gave me the "recipes" to use in Terminal but it's not needed for the standard daily things.
    I suppose people like me who grew up in an era of DOS and having to use a hands on approach to using computers don't mind the Terminal. A matter a fact, that's one of the draws for me using Linux as crazy as that sounds to some. Once I dove in it really clicked! I wasn't a master at DOS, but had a good grounding in it's concepts, so that transferred a lot to using the Terminal in Linux. As strange as this sounds, when trying to get your mind around something such as this, it's like starring at a fractal picture, don't struggle with it, just relax and let your mind see the "big picture"

  13. #12
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    Gawd, platform prejudice or what?

    Look, the OP wanted a non-MS (ie cheap) retrofit with standard browser and some office functionality. Linux is that in spades. No dual booting, enterprise support or any of that.

    No, the free office suites are not fully compatible with MS Office in all respects; but good enough for home use and have generally good interoperability and some nice improvements (eg save to PDF).

    Fred, you have obviously been at it awhile, but
    1. Ndiswrapper allows most windows device drivers to be run under Linux. Works well for most legacy modems and WiFi devices. Yes, it's geeky - you might have to ask for instructions; but you will get them.
    2. Don't do that. If you must run in one box use a VM. Unless you are trying to benchmark or something, play with other OSs on a separate box. If you must do so, image first.
    3. Same as 2, but recovering from that situation is well documented. Or restore from your image.
    4. Don't understand - shouldn't Windows programs be installed in Windows? Yes, Linux will run a lot of Windows programs, including many games, under the Wine windows wrapper but a bit dicey for mission critical stuff. When it works, it works well.
    5. Who cares what they call it. But if you left at Ibex, Ubuntu is now up to Pangolin, they are alphabetic (and yes, they have proper release numbers too, currently 12.04 is long term support release), then you last looked at it a looong time ago. Many things have changed and are now much less "geeky". If you want silly names ... XP is Windows 5, Vista is 6, but so is 7 and so is 8 - how silly is that; does MS only speak sexadecimal?
    6. Take a look around this forum. How many threads say "at a command prompt, type in". How many deal with batch/script files and questions. DOS knowledge is still very useful. When you type a command in the run box, what do you think happens?

    As for you Linux guys, remember the name of this forum ... Windows gets no respect on Linux sites and vice versa. The reality is they are both good OS's. I use them both extensively and find each has its area where it is an excellent solution. Windows only wants the enterprise, they are not interested in standalone users - so the rest of use run off in other directions. And God bless. Emotion is irrelevant.

    But in terms of support when problems arise, all of us get it from excellent sites like this one and also in the Linux and Ubuntu forums, where the good answers come from fellow enthusiasts. However only on a linux forum have I posted a question or problem and had it answered in minutes by the author of the program! That doesn't happen with Windows, though maybe on the MS subscription ($$$) sites it does - I wouldn't know.

    Jock

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    2 Star Lounger
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    Just for the record, I'm writing this on my Windows machine and I agree, there's room for both OS's but sometimes people get too fervent about one or the other and some Linux people don't want to "hang with me" because I use Windows period. Beyond silly granted. I tell people right off the bat, DO NOT get rid of Windows thinking Linux will replace it, it won't! Linux is very good at what it does the same with Windows, you need both in my opinion

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballitin View Post
    Hi all

    Some thing that just offers the true basics like internet and some sort of office.



    J
    Jockmullin says it all. A simple FREEE alternative to Windows on anything other than a (shock horror) Apple Mac is Linux, I have had Windows and Ubuntu running on my desktop for 12 months or more with no problems. I just ran out of space and had to get rid of one so of course opted for the one I had paid for. Ubuntu removed itself perfectly. I never found Ubuntu difficult although there is a period of learning curve, and with Open Office and a couple of other items it did all that was needed for a domestic home office. I simply tried it out as I was curious. It is ideal for a second PC.
    I stick with Windows and am very happy with my XP but would highly recommend Linux for J's purpose.

  16. #15
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    Thumbs up After reading this thread, I have come to the following conclusions...

    1. The Linux world is starting to sound like the Apple world.
    ----If it's not Linux, it must be inferior. It's not an OS, it's a religion! ... you get the idea.
    2. For basic work, ie. surfing, e-mail, chats, videos, music, & office products, Linux works fine.
    3. For advanced gaming, stick with Windows or use Linux and a gaming box like Xbox, PS3, or Wii.
    ----PC's will always have better graphics, if you have the hardware.
    4. The majority of problems start with the user and believing the hype without checking the facts first.
    ----Computers will never be as easy to use as a toaster!
    5. Most of the remainder problems are 3rd party drivers or User installed programs.
    ----There is no reason to run more than one anti-virus, for eg.
    6. If you're having problems with your computer, please see #4, #5 in that order.
    7. If you still have problems, stop blaming the world, do your homework.
    ----Forums, (like this one) and Google, can be your best friend.
    8. Windows 7 works pretty good.
    ----Not sure about 8 yet, I found Vista OK, XP (sorry people) really needs a respectful death.
    9. Microsoft is crippled with their software because it must be backward compatible.
    ----People are too cheap to upgrade their software & hardware. If you want to play, you have to pay.
    10. You cannot keep using a XP computer, adding programs and stuff, and expect it to run like new.
    11. If you add your older programs (especially games) to a newer computer, you'll probably have problems.
    ----Emulators like Dosbox, XP mode, VMware, VirtualBox can bring them back to life.
    12. It is normal (in the computer world) to continuously upgrade software, hardware, or the whole computer.
    ----If you never install software or hardware, or hook up to the Internet, you can run the old box forever.
    (until some hardware breaks)

    13. If you don't like any of these facts....get a new hobby!

    I've made the majority of my "computer repair money" showing people how to use their computer properly!
    The vast majority of times there is nothing wrong with Windows or the hardware (other than dirty fans).
    Not many slow computers has a virus!

    I do not work for Microsoft & I'm not a MS fan.
    Just a long time computer user.

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