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It's a Great Time to be a Linux User


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#1 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:41 AM

I've been running some form of Linux on one machine or other for over 10 years now and in my opinion this is probably the best time yet to get into desktop Linux. Why?
  • The major desktop environments - including the much maligned GNOME - have become polished and reliable. GNOME, Plasma and Cinnamon are a pleasure to use. Xfce is as good as ever. LXDE and LXQt are excellent - not to mention Enlightenment, MATE or Budgie. And there are always the cool Window Managers for speed and efficiency.
  • The mainline distros and their derivatives get better and better - more features, better tools, nicer look and feel.
  • It's easier and more flexible to download and install a distro than ever before. Sometimes you can even keep secure boot. The GPT format on a disk makes multibooting even easier if that is your bag.
  • Virtualization software has improved to the point where you can get a real feel for a distro without committing to it long term or even installing it at all.
  • Hardware compatibility is almost a given now. Of particular note are the improvements in wifi compatibility. Just about any laptop will work fine with Linux today. Printers too. You don't have to choose a particular brand like HP to be sure your printer will work- although that would still be my choice.
  • Privacy and security are still paramount with Linux and its competition seems to be going downhill in this regard.
  • There seems to be less of an RTFM mentality and more effort is going into the user experience and friendliness - the latest Fedora and SUSE distros are great examples of this.
  • Choice is unparalleled - from enthusiast hands-on distros to ones that are extremely GUI focused and friendly.
  • It's easier than ever to tweak your desktop to get the theme, look and feel you want. The new dark themes are particularly striking.
  • It's still free, folks.
I think we have come a long way since Dapper Drake and I hope more Windows refugees will take the plunge and learn about Linux

Edited by raymac46, 05 June 2017 - 10:49 AM.

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#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 08:04 AM

These folks nowadays have it so easy. I remember the old days where you had to recompile the kernel just to get wifi working.... B)
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#3 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:10 AM

I never had to go that far. When I got started with Ubuntu and wanted to use WPA as my security protocol , Network Manager was around but didn't handle anything more complicated than WEP. So I had to figure out how to configure /etc/network/interfaces and get the wifi daemon started at boot time. This was before systemd of course.
When I upgraded to a new Ubuntu release all this was lost and I had to start over. I remember how happy I was to do an in-place upgrade from Ubuntu 8.10 to 9.04 and it worked! And this was with a friendly wifi adapter like Atheros (madwifi.)
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#4 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:18 AM

View Postraymac46, on 05 June 2017 - 07:41 AM, said:

I think we come a long way since Dapper Drake

I'd say that Linux has come a long way since then, too. 12+ years of using Linux here, and something like 10 years since I quit using Windows at home.

#5 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:24 AM

View Postraymac46, on 05 June 2017 - 09:10 AM, said:

I never had to go that far. When I got started with Ubuntu and wanted to use WPA as my security protocol , Network Manager was around but didn't handle anything more complicated than WEP. So I had to figure out how to configure /etc/network/interfaces and get the wifi daemon started at boot time. This was before systemd of course.
When I upgraded to a new Ubuntu release all this was lost and I had to start over. I remember how happy I was to do an in-place upgrade from Ubuntu 8.10 to 9.04 and it worked! And this was with a friendly wifi adapter like Atheros (madwifi.)

Well this was about 3 years before Ubuntu came out. I think I was on Mandrake or Slackware at the time.
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#6 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 11:34 AM

At least by the time I got into Linux wifi there was a pretty uniform way of doing it. The same wpa-supplicant and network configuration techniques worked in Puppy Linux and in Vector Linux. The only real geeking up I had to do was build a wifi module for a Ralink adapter that one of my wife's friends had to get her old desktop online. I had to rebuild every time she got a new kernel. That was because she didn't take my advice and get an Atheros based adapter.
Back then the only wifi I had was a very old laptop with a PCMCIA adapter and my desktop which had a wifi card so I didn't need a 50 foot cable from the router. Nowadays we have smartphones, tablets and of course laptops that have wifi by default. I had one of the first wifi routers in the 'hood. Now I'm surrounded... :wacko:
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#7 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:12 PM

All that you say above is true, Ray. I only have one complaint with Linux... FAXing is a major birch to achieve. Most of the time, you won't achieve it at all. :(

#8 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:16 PM

View PostV.T. Eric Layton, on 05 June 2017 - 12:12 PM, said:

All that you say above is true, Ray. I only have one complaint with Linux... FAXing is a major birch to achieve. Most of the time, you won't achieve it at all. :(

Well that is because it is very outdated and old tech. That is sort of like supporting dial up modem nowadays. Some people still use them but not very many of them do.
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#9 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 01:08 PM

You'd be surprised to know that many government entities and private businesses (law firms, for one) still rely heavily on FAX. The editable .pdfs are an improvement, but they cannot be signed. With FAX, the recipient can view the actual signature and certify it. That can't be done any other way. Electronic type signing of documents is being used here and there, but it's not very prevalent at this time... legalities abound.

#10 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 01:15 PM

View PostV.T. Eric Layton, on 05 June 2017 - 01:08 PM, said:

You'd be surprised to know that many government entities and private businesses (law firms, for one) still rely heavily on FAX. The editable .pdfs are an improvement, but they cannot be signed. With FAX, the recipient can view the actual signature and certify it. That can't be done any other way. Electronic type signing of documents is being used here and there, but it's not very prevalent at this time... legalities abound.

I know that governments and some companies still use fax but I do not think it is that widespread nowadays. As far as the signature, this can easily be done with other methods. Simply sign the document, scan it and email it. You are still just getting a copy of the signature, just like a fax would provide.

That and a lot of PDFs can be electronically signed. I had to do that with a lot of documents as part of my onboarding process at work.

A copy is a copy and that is all faxing is doing.
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#11 OFFLINE   abarbarian

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 01:15 PM

I agree with the entire OP. An have you noticed that the quality of many guides and documentation is improving and becoming more begginer friendly all the time too. :breakfast:
Install ARCH
You'll never need to install it again
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#12 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 01:49 PM

FAX should be a thing of the past. It's an OLD technology, for sure.

#13 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:33 PM

View PostV.T. Eric Layton, on 05 June 2017 - 01:49 PM, said:

FAX should be a thing of the past. It's an OLD technology, for sure.

Perhaps we should bring back carrier pigeons...
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984

#14 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:45 PM

They were pretty dependable. The batteries never went dead on you. They always returned home. No software glitches. There was a lot of pigeon poop around, though. ;)

#15 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 03:15 PM

When my mother passed away her small town lawyer (we unfortunately used him for the probate) was so dumb that he didn't even have a computer. We had to send stuff by FAX and snail mail. Never again. I ended up going to a local stationery store and using their FAX.
I agree with Josh. Sign, scan, email. If that doesn't work get a new service provider.
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#16 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 08:41 PM

Best time for Linux for sure. I installed siduction Patience with Plasma 5 on my Skylake system about 3 months ago and I don't recall any niggles at all apart from the usual initial configuration (which was a breeze anyway).
Why would anyone use anything else, especially if they have to pay for it!
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#17 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 12:49 PM

View Postraymac46, on 05 June 2017 - 03:15 PM, said:


I agree with Josh. Sign, scan, email. If that doesn't work get a new service provider.

Sadly, most government entities in the U.S. (FDA, IRS, etc.) will not accept emails of any type; particularly ones with attachments. When I'm forced to FAX something (and have no USPS alternative allowed), I boot up my Win 7 and turn on networking temporarily to FAX from that OS.

Bruno and I spent days one time back in '06-'07 trying to get hylafax and other FAX apps to work in Slackware and Mandriva. We finally gave up. :(

#18 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 02:29 PM

I haven't had a dial-up modem in any of my PCs for years - so using them to FAX is out. I think if you can connect a multifunction printer to a phone line you might be able to set up Libre Office to print stuff as a FAX. There are also online FAX services that should work with Firefox
But I haven't tried to FAX anything since 2010 so I wouldn't know for sure.
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#19 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 03:41 PM

I have a very nice all-in-one HP, but the software to make all the functions work is only for MS Windows. The proprietary HP Linux drivers are only for the print/scan functions. :(

#20 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 06:25 PM

This make any sense?

http://hplipopensource.com/node/180
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#21 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 06:39 PM

I'm walking out the door right now to go pick up a water tank (for a well) that I ordered for my uncle via Walmart. I'll check on your info link when I get back later. Thanks. :)

#22 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:38 PM

OK, that was pretty interesting. I've saved that page, Ray. I'll give this a try when I'm in a tinkering mood. Thanks. :)

#23 OFFLINE   wa4chq

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:13 AM

I haven't had to do much in the way of "faxing" and when I have, it usually was not many pages.  I just use my phone....take a picture of the paperwork, crop it if needed and then send it on as an email.  When I don't have my phone I use ham radio and send the info via amateur SSTV  (just kiddin) ;) :) http://www.arrl.org/...image-modes

Edited by wa4chq, 08 June 2017 - 07:15 AM.

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#24 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:47 AM

View Postwa4chq, on 08 June 2017 - 07:13 AM, said:

When I don't have my phone I use ham radio and send the info via amateur SSTV  (just kiddin) ;) :) http://www.arrl.org/...image-modes

Neat stuff :thumbsup:
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"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain." -George Orwell, 1984




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