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Sissydot

Is Linux Hard to Learn?

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Sissydot

I just read through some of the article mentioned in latest newsletter about the future of Microsoft. I want to buy a new computer, but after reading that, I'm afraid to use Windows, and I'm not sure if brand name computer will work either. I only use the computer for surfing the web, chatting. an occasional typed document, email, and some purchasing from web sites. I would like to know if there is a reliable brand of computer on the market that does not use Windows, and can just an average housewife, Not computer literate, be able to learn the program with minimal help from tech support?Any answers will be greatly appreciated; please note, price is a strong factor in the purchase of a computer.

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Jeber

First I'd want to know how determined you are not to use Windows. Going from your interests and abilities, Windows might provide the basic requirements for you. But to answer your question, yes, Linux/Unix is hard to learn. (Please, no flames or shouting...I'm trying to be fair, honest and respectful of her situation - not supportive or dismissive of any system ) Linux requires some basic understanding of the "command line" nature of an operating system, more detailed and tweakable controls. Maybe you'd want to check out "Lindows". It's an alternative OS based on open source code, yet with a MS-type user interface. It's not too expensive, and fairly well software supported. Hardware support will also have to be a factor in any decision you make. Each OS has different issues with almost every kind of hardware. Lindows may still be available on low priced systems from either Kmart or Walmart (can't recall which). P.S. I don't work for any of these guys, take money from them (but I'm willing to talk :ph34r: ), or even use Lindows (WinXP for me).

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havnblast

I have not personally used Lindows, but I hear it is suppose to be fairly user friendly. I dual boot with XP and RedHat 8.0 - RedHat gets more and more user friendly every year. It has several different desktop looks but I enjoy the KDE destop and I compare it to the Windows Graphical User Interface. RedHat is different and there are tons of documentations out there on how to do almost anything in linux - takes some learning and figuring out things but I love it. I can now do everything I do in Windows in RH, hardest thing is breaking away from the Microsoft way.My advice is to try it, if you don't like it you always have windows to go back to. I know the direction MS wants to go is going to cause a lot of people to start lookin at alternative OSs. It's always nice to have a backup plan.Try it for yourself, ya just might get the hang of it

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Alanmuk
:ph34r: I used VMWare to host a Mandrake 8.2 virtual PC for a few weeks. I still remember my excitement, and deciding "I'm doing everything I can in Linux from now on'. I even planned to re-jig my machine so that it would be a Mandrake 8.2 machine hosting a Windows 2000 virtual PC for the stuff that you can't do in Linux.As the weeks went by, I realized that all I was using the Linux window for was email. I had POPFile and Ximian Evolution running, and it was good. I mean, it wasn't bad.It just wasn't great.It was the little irritations that killed it for me. I couldn't copy and paste reliably between applications. None of the programs really used a common set of commands/controls. yada yada yada.This is really weird. I really like Linux, I had it running on my home (hobby) PC for ages, and it was cool. But as soon as I started to actually /work/ with it, the cracks started to show. As a web designer, I need access to my Photoshop + Filters/ImageReady/(search engine promo stuff)/Dreamweaver cabal, and the only decent equivalent for any of these programs is The Gimp for graphics. Even that is pretty rough and ready.I've not gone into my Linux PC window for ages, and transferred all my mailboxes to the host PC and slapped them into Eudora again.I was also pretty nervous by the end about my decision to rejig the pc to be a Linux PC. I'm pretty confident/competent with troubleshooting and fixing Windows issues - I know where all the knobs are. But Linux would be a whole different ball game. It's my own fault/problem, but I simply don't have time to learn how to administer/maintain/repair a whole new operating system. We're a 2 man show here, and time is crucial. I'd have a very hard time convincing the boss that the effort was worth it.I dunno. I'll try again next year - I've heard pretty good things about Mandrake 9. But, it's the rest of the utility software that needs to catch up in terms of power and function. I've been spoiled.Now, if Dreamweaver were ported to Linux, that would be a whole new ball game...rgdsAlan

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zox

I say wait a bit and try again.Linux is not 100% ready for easy use but it is getting closer.you can always use Quanta Plus instead of Dreamweaver but I see in the future both Macromedia and Adobe porting their software to Linux.If that doesn't happen we might see some other no names emerge to be a new Adobe and/or Macromedia :)I tested Scribus (Quark clone) on Linux, you must know what Quark is and I can tell you it is almost there.Once all the bugs are ironed out and Linux have deceint software packager it will be blast.

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Stryder
I just read through some of the article mentioned in latest newsletter about the future of Microsoft. I want to buy a new computer, but after reading that, I'm afraid to use Windows, and I'm not sure if brand name computer will work either. I only use the computer for surfing the web, chatting.  an occasional typed document, email, and some purchasing from web sites.  I would like to know if there is a reliable brand of computer on the market that does not use Windows, and can just an average housewife, Not computer literate, be able to learn the program with minimal help from tech support?Any answers will be greatly appreciated; please note, price is a strong factor in the purchase of a computer.
As far as using linux for the tasks you mentioned Linux is very capable and not any more difficult than Windows. The change in interface (desktop, start menu, etc) takes a little getting used to but other than that it is basically the same for the tasks you mentioned.Purchasing is another story. As already mentioned Wal-Mart has been selling a version of Linux known as Lindows at a very reasonable price. Looking online may also help you find other alternatives. I know this company sells pre-installed linux systems, http://www.polywell.com/us/index.asp I know others do as well, I just knew that one did right off the top of my head.

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fusetrips

Hi there,Between Lindows and Mandrake. Which one would you recommend for a newbie? :rolleyes:

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Stryder
Hi there,Between Lindows and Mandrake. Which one would you recommend for a newbie?  :rolleyes:
Personally I like Mandrake, Suse and Lycoris.But for a new person who has no Linux background, I would point them to Lycoris.http://lycoris.com/products/desktoplx/Go to this link and take the tour. It will look very familiar to Windows users. I think the thing that pushes Windows users away from Linux is the unfamiliarity of a new OS. Lycoris does a great job of bridging that. Once you get used to the workings of Linux using Lycoris, graduate to a more advanced version. But to answer your question, I would go with Mandrake strictly for the reason that it has the best hardware compatibility of any Linux distro I have tried. And I have tried a lot. But I have not tried Lindows since it was in Beta. So I can not give a honest opinion on it.

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Guest ThunderRiver

A couple years ago, I used a couple versions of Red Hat and Mandrake, and up to this date, I am still not happy with them. My Red Hat 7 was being hacked 2 weeks after standard installation, and was even being used in DoS attack. So then, I swithced to Slackware 7 and then version 8. I have been quite happy ever since then. Over the past summer, I also used SuSe 8.0 Professional, and it was probably the best back then, but I had a few sound problem with it, so I went back to Slack until last month. I went off to play with Gentoo Linux, which was cool, not too hard to setup, but then, since it was just a 200 Mhz 64 Mb box, I decided to switch to OpenBSD. For the installatino of OpenBSD, I was ultimately impressed, but if you need OpenOffice or other stuff, you should use FreeBSD. I guarantee that *BSD is more powerful and more flexible than Linux, and of course, they are free as well.

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fusetrips

What type of Antivirus do you use for Linux?

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Guest ThunderRiver

That's a very very good quesiton. I personally haven't tried any antivirus software for Linux, but I would expect sometime in the future Norton or McAfee will add some support for it. The main problem with Linux is that there is no consistency between most of the Linux distro, so why would antivirus software developer be willing to develop one for each distro?

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Guest ThunderRiver

Also, the most selling point of BSD and Linux is that you are supposed to login as normal user only (perhaps with wheel), but never in the root. Without root access, you can't possiblly kill off the system.Windows on the other hand gives user Administrator power in the beginning. Thus, it is quite easy to kill the system. The benefit is that user has the freedom to install anything they want without bothering with Admin privilage issue. Of course, if you are user like BSD/Linux, you might consider login as normal user account, instead of Administrator.

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Guest genaldar

I believe the makers of Panda Antivirus have released a linux anti-virus program, but I could be wrong. As for easy distro's there are a lot. I've played with Redhat 8 and Mandrake 9 pretty extensively and I liked them both. Currently though I'm waiting to pick up Xandros. It has 2 options, a $40 version and a $100 version. The $100 version comes with a lot of windows compatability software. The $40 version doesn't. And since its debian based it can use apt-get (kind of a super windows update).As for bsd while its more secure (due in a large part to its even smaller distributions, especially amongst those who don't know what they're doing) it doesn't support as much software natively and is even more dependent upon the command line. I'd reccomend trying linux (start with Mandrake or Redhat since they're free then do a little research into Suse or Xandros).Lastly I'd suggest dual booting linux for a while before you completely move. Many people who go whole hog get bogged down early on and out of frustration go back to windows. If you have windows installed, as a back up, you won't feel the need to uninstall linux unless you truely dislike.

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LilBambi

Oh, well....I was going to suggest going to F-Secure to get their free Linux workstation anti-virus software (which was a commandline only product but free and you could download free updates). However, they appear to have totally changed things and are now selling the F-Secure's Linux Workstation version for $80 per license here: F-Secure Workstation Antivirus software for Linux.

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Guest ThunderRiver

If you have to make choices between Red Hat and Mandrake, I suppose you should go for Mandrake, and its hardware detection is quite nice. I crashed Red Hat 8 within 20 min after installation, and I was just playing with WINE.

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henderrob19

I have Win98Se, WinXP, Mandrake 8.2, and Red Hat 8 on my machine. I am a linux rookie but both Linux installs went well. I'm quite proficient in both Windows and can build computers too. Buth it took me 2 hours to figure out how to untar Lexmark z35 drivers for Linux Red Hat. I have not figured how to install the drivers yet. I tried follow their instructions and the readme's but no luck yet.

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Stryder
I have Win98Se, WinXP, Mandrake 8.2, and Red Hat 8 on my machine.  I am a linux rookie but both Linux installs went well.  I'm quite proficient in both Windows and can build computers too.  Buth it took me 2 hours to figure out how to untar Lexmark z35 drivers for Linux Red Hat.  I have not figured how to install the drivers yet.  I tried follow their instructions and the readme's but no luck yet.
Yeah, that is the biggest hurdle I have come across in Linux. Untar/install. Considering everything I know about Linux has been self taught, it gets frustrating at times. I only wish I had a Linux guru friend here in town to show me some of these things because just reading and trying to follow does not always work. I feel your pain!!

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Guest ThunderRiver

Well, if you compare untar/make/make install with rpm system, you will find rpm is quite lousy. I have felt more pain with RPM in Red Hat..and Mandrake..than in SuSe or OpenBSD.

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zox

This is from their web site:

Instructions:Once downloaded, uncompress the file using the gunzip utility, or unzip and untar the file using the tar utility. To install the package, which is a self extracting file, issue the following command: "sh lexmarkz35-1.0-1.gz.sh".For Detailed Installation instructions, see the README file. The Linux driver has an interdependency with the GhostScript ® utility -- it is recommended to use Ghostscript v6.01. The Linux driver also has an interdependancy on the ENSCRIPT utility.
I have underlined command for installation.I don't see anything hard there.I wish you luck with your Linux experience. :)

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henderrob19

issue the following command: "sh lexmarkz35-1.0-1.gz.sh".I tried this command and number of times with the reply that it couldn't find file or directory. I used the command as above and as "sh /home/xxxx/lexmark lexmarkz35-1.0.1.gz.sh" and got the same reply. I had downloaded the TAR to a newly created Lexmark folder in the /home/xxxx/lexmark directory. :) I know I laugh at this problem when I do learn how. Then I'll try to install the Flash plugin for internet sites.

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Guest ThunderRiver

oops it should besh ./lexmarkz35-1.0-1.gz.shif you are under the same direcotory where the file is located.

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havnblast

RPM in RedHat is soooo easy, well in 8.0 it is, just right click on the rpm file and choose install - it does it for ya. I like installing the rpm files versus the .tar files.

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Guest ThunderRiver

Not really the case for me way back RH 7.2, I tried to install in rpm manager select the package.enter my root pass, and then it just pops up a tons of errors saying that it doesn't find this dependency or that dependency..and fails to install after all. and then, when I look for that dependency to install, that dependency requries other dependency.. can you believe that? heh I did a full Red Hat standard installation, so if Red Hat can't do a good job to make their installation works, they at least need to beef up their system security. Running tons of service on startup is Red Hat's favorite, and my least favorite as well.SuSe on the other hand, compiles source for you. All you have to type istar xzvf *.tar ./configuremakemake installIn BSD, it is even much simpler, just select the package and typemakeBSD will automatically download dependency source and compile it for youand thenmake install to install the programmake uninstall to uninstall program that do support uninstall

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zox

That is one of the major problems with Linux, package manager.Once that is resolved, it will be lot easier, I am sure.I've heard horror stories about RPM, I also heard that apt-get is much much better but still not perfect.I myself am using Portage from Gentoo and I yet have to run into trouble.Portage takes care of all dependancies.It just works. :)

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Guest ThunderRiver

Oh yes Gentoo has this emerge and portage system, which is also quite impressive. I have a hard time to compile from scratch from stage 1 on a 200 Mhz box though hehe. Gentoo is only recommended for high end machine.As for those that just wants to check out Linux, without the hassle of partitioning and so on, check out Knoppix! It runs directly from CD, just like the live cd from SuSe, but more! It compresses 1.7 gig of stuff to fit under 700 Mb CDR :) Knoppix 3.2 just released today, and you can find more info from www.distrowatch.comhere is the screenshot from standard bootup.Knoppix.jpg

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zox

Great suggestion ThunderRiver, Knoppix is really cool. Thumbs up for it :)

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Guest ThunderRiver
:) You are welcome One thing though.. it doesn't save your settings after you reboot because of the fact that it runs of CDRAlso, some parts of the packages are still in German. At least KDE is English based though.If you download the iso, on boot up, make sure you supply this commandknnopix lang=usThat will include US English into kernel when booting.

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imranj

Is Linux Hard or Not?Well it subjective, depending upon which angle are u looking at.Lets consider me, i have being using windows since the days of Win 3.1 on 386 machine.And now currently using Xp with dual boot with Redhat 8.0, awating 9.0 :D .So for a newbie installing Redhat or any other linux distro, would be i supposeeasier if RH would be the only OS, if in dual boot then things could get complicated.Installing Packages is still click on the RPM and pray for no dependecies issue's. Sol - use apt4rpmFonts......they are great.....but installing them, make a hidden folder in root ~/.fontscopy yur fav fonts their and do fc-cache ~/.fonts or fc-cache .fontsThen comes editing the lilo ya grub boot loaders.....identifying what does Hda means, etc etcWhich GUI manager...KDE ya GNOMe or other Wmanagers.......a major decision too.So u see many things are still need command line intervention..........Knoppix 3.2, i like this distro as it runs off the cd-rom, a safe way to see hey whats up with linux.100% surgical free way to get to know yur sweety before u decide to commit yur life and hardware on it... :D And this is just small senario a user might have to encounter.........well what would a newbie do who's last Os was Win98 ya Me , good question? :o

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Guest ThunderRiver

Yes it really depends from person to person. In the Linux/BSD field, you are constantly learning new things. There aren't that many commands you need to learn but for first newcomers, they may find it quite user unfriendly. I would say I have learned more UNIX under BSD than in Linux mainly because BSD gives me the power to choose what to install and what to not install. It starts from the base system in console mode and all the way up to GUI of your choice. Obviuosly if I was here 5 years ago, I would be stuck in BSD installation already heh.ThunderRiver

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LilBambi

If your total introduction to computers was through a more recent version of Windows (that doesn't make use of commandline at all), I would suggest, Lycoris (as Stryder mentioned earlier), Mandrake or RedHat.Personally, even with my commandline experience, I started out with Mandrake 7.0 and kept with it through Mandrake 8.2. I have since moved on to RedHat 7.2.I would have to say that between them, Lycoris looks the most like Windows, but I haven't tried it.Between Mandrake and RedHat ... I would have to say that I always enjoyed Mandrake and it was a great introduction to Linux IMHO. However, I have since moved on to RedHat 7.2 and I must say that at this point in my Linux experience, I really like it better than Mandrake.Both Mandrake and RedHat have gone through some company thinking type changes in their most recent versions that I am not altogether thrilled with, but they have gotten better and easier to install.I would not advise any form of BSD for a total beginning introduction to Linux/UNIX, unless you really wish to get totally frustrated and give up before you have a chance to undestand how great Linux/UNIX really is. Yes, it is more secure out of the box, but what good is it if you give up before you figure it out?My next distro of Linux will be Debian (also IMHO, not for first introduction, unless you have been used to a commandline before you you went got used to the total GUI of Windows, or at least feel comfortable with the commandline even if you learned it later, or maybe you have been a tinkerer all your life). I won't be making that change for awhile yet though, I really like RedHat 7.2One trick I have learned with RPM Managers: First, I always use GNORPM, a gnome application, mainly because it worked better than Mandrake's package manager in earlier versions of both Mandrake and RedHat.But whatever package manager you use, and I would not suggest using the KDE Package Manager, it is a nuisance, keep the following in mind.Before I try to install any packages, I usually go to http://rpmfind.net and search for the package I wish to install, and read what is required for it. Then I search for some of these items and find out what packages they are in and get them, making sure I get the right ones for my distro since rpmfind.net lists them all.The other way that I have done it more times than not, is to try to install the RPM, and when/if it fails due to dependency issues, I write down what it needed. Then I go to rpmfind.net and do my research and get those packages I need. Eventually you will have all that you need. For some packages you may not even need to get anything else.NOTE: The fuller the initial install of the OS you do, the less dependency issues you will have.This broken out RPM issue (different parts in different packages) is a totally alien concept for most of us Windows users, and was a real nuisance to me at first. We really have become so accustomed to setup.exe and go. Or CDRoms with total installation packages and software support installations all rolled into one installer, etc. (Next, Next, done.)That was what I really liked about Mandrake. Their OS installer was so cool, much more advanced and had better hardware detection. It was so much better than RedHat was at the time I started out with Linux.As I mentioned, generally, in Windows everything is pretty much spoon fed to us. This is not generally the Linux way. The Linux way is to provide the things that are needed specifically for the program, but not the support libraries and other dependencies. Sometimes you luck out and these are already installed on a system; sometimes they are not.It takes some investigation and patience. You can't let the fact that there are things missing (on your particular system) sway you. Just go get what it needs after you find it on rpmfind.net. (the really frustrating part is when the dependencies have dependency issues! and that can happen, so be prepared for it).Don't give up. Take it in stride. It will be rewarding to finally see those packages install :o I found it was much more rewarding than installing anything in Windows, mainly because I had to work for it a little bit and I felt like I had a part in this installation :)On RPMFind.net, I usually look for the root word of whatever .so file is missing ... you will generally find the RPM(s) you need. The few times I could not get the search right. I went to Google and searched for the full filename.so file to figure out what package it was in. Sometimes you really need to have a little detective in you :D If you are not willing to deal with that type of frustration, and many folks are not - probably Lindows or Knoppix is a better choice.I hope that helps some folks a little bit.

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