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Hello, I would like to get some feedback from you ... and maybe if I am doing something wrong get pointed in the right direction. Let me start by saying ...
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  1. #1
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    Is Linux a real alternative????


    Hello,

    I would like to get some feedback from you ... and maybe if I am doing something wrong get pointed in the right direction.

    Let me start by saying that I hate Microsoft. I hate Windows. I would love to get rid of Windows. A few years ago I tried Solaris x86. But it couldn't so everything that I needed it to do to ditch W.

    This weekend I got snowed in and decided to try Linux. Is Linux really an alternative to Windows? It's just not user friendly enough. Nothing seems to work. I started with a small list of things that I need my PCs to do. Here's a couple of them: 1 I watch Netflix on my PC, so I need to be able to run IE. 2. My kids use the PC to watch Disney.com shows, so I need Flash.

    On paper, Linux does everything on my list. But in reality, it doesn't. It's one error after another. Installing IE is one error after another. Flash kind of works, but locks up with any type of video Flash. To try to get it to do anything on my list takes hours and hours. And I am work in the technology field. Is there something out there that has everything pre-configured????

    I have been playing around with Unbuntu, Mandriva and Knoppix.

    What is the goal of the Linux community?

    Thanks
    Mike

  2. #2
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    Is Linux a real alternative????
    Welcome to the forums, Mike!

    The short answer is that Linux is indeed a real alternative for some computer users, and for other computer users it isn't. Linux, like any other OS, isn't for everyone, but then I don't think that it ever was meant to be. For my own use, Linux has been working well for the last 9 or 10 years, but that's not to say that it will work out that well for everyone, and even I've run into a few bumps here and there.

    Each person should try any operating system that they might be interested in and then decide for him/herself if it works well enough to suit their personal tastes, and work well enough with their computer hardware. If it doesn't work properly and feel right, they should probably move on to one that's more suitable.

    If you have any individual problems with Linux that you'd like to tackle and work through, don't hesitate to start a new thread for each problem with all the details, and other Linux users here will try to help you overcome them. If you aren't interested in doing that, you might be better off sticking to whatever OS you prefer, as there is nothing wrong with running an operating system that isn't Linux.

    Best of luck to you whichever route you should take.
    oz

  3. #3
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    As always, setting your expectations is important. No, Linux is not Windows and it is not a Windows clone. If you expect to continue doing things "the same way" as in Windows, you will not succeed.

    I watch Netflix on my PC, so I need to be able to run IE
    No, there is no supported or hacked way to stream Netflix on Linux. Besides a locked-down, proprietary device called Roku, there is no known Linux device with the MSFT-designed DRM that NF requires (Silverlight.)

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HROAdmin26 View Post
    ...there is no known Linux device with the MSFT-designed DRM that NF requires (Silverlight.)
    Novell have prepared Moonlight 2 which should be available in a repo near you very soon.
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrown36 View Post
    Let me start by saying that I hate Microsoft. I hate Windows. I would love to get rid of Windows. A few years ago I tried Solaris x86. But it couldn't so everything that I needed it to do to ditch W.
    Although disliking Windows is a popularly-attributed feature of those who try Linux out for the first time, it's by no means a requirement. Many of us use both Linux and Microsoft Windows (or Linux and Apple OS X) simultaneously, since each has their own strengths.

    This weekend I got snowed in and decided to try Linux. Is Linux really an alternative to Windows?
    Is that the conclusion you started with? I doubt anyone in the forum would tell you without knowing your situation that Linux was a complete "alternative" to Windows. People use their computers for different things. What OS works best for you is very personal.


    It's just not user friendly enough.
    Again, that's a matter of personal opinion. There are people out there who consider mainframe VMS to be the height of user-friendliness.

    Nothing seems to work. I started with a small list of things that I need my PCs to do. Here's a couple of them: 1 I watch Netflix on my PC, so I need to be able to run IE.
    I've had no trouble streaming Netflix with Firefox in Windows. The key is being able to install the Silverlight plug-in, not the browser itself. I'm not sure if there is a Silverlight plug-in that works with Linux.

    2. My kids use the PC to watch Disney.com shows, so I need Flash.
    Flash is absolutely available and works well in Linux. If you'd like help getting that set up I recommend starting a thread in the appropriate section of the forum. In distros like Ubuntu it's quite simple.

    On paper, Linux does everything on my list. But in reality, it doesn't. It's one error after another. Installing IE is one error after another.
    Not being able to run Internet Explorer is not an "error" in Linux. You wouldn't very well say that my Xbox 360 has "errors" because it won't run the latest game for the Nintendo Wii. They're fundamentally different systems with software designed to run on them, and only them.


    Flash kind of works, but locks up with any type of video Flash.
    What flash are you using? There are several alternatives in Linux, some better than others. I recommend only using the official one from Adobe. I've had no issues streaming videos with that one.

    To try to get it to do anything on my list takes hours and hours. And I am work in the technology field. Is there something out there that has everything pre-configured????
    No, and as a person in the "technology field" you should know better. It's simply impossible to make a piece of software that automagically configures everything on every conceivable hardware setup. MS Windows doesn't do this either, by the way. Or are you telling me on a fresh install of Windows you've *never* had to spend an hour or two downloading this driver or that piece of software you need for your particular rig?

    I have been playing around with Unbuntu, Mandriva and Knoppix.

    What is the goal of the Linux community?
    There is no Linux "community" as a whole. Each group has their own goals. Some try to emulate the look and feel of other operating systems like Apple OS X or MS Windows. Others go completely in the other direction. Some don't have any particular goal at all except to continue tinkering with things they think are cool.

    You seem to have stepped into the Linux world with a set of preconceived notions about what Linux is and what creators of Linux distributions are trying to do. I urge you to re-examine those notions. Coming into a new system with a bunch of comparisons to your old system just makes things more confusing.

    Of course, there's also the possibility that Linux is just not for you. If you've used several of the more popular distributions and just can't find one that does what you want, consider sticking with what you know. Just don't burn any bridges on your way out. There's a difference between Linux not doing what you want (and there are usually good reasons for it) and having "errors."
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  6. #6
    Just Joined! Djarum's Avatar
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    Linux is most popular among a very specific group that can do exactly what they want, how they want, when they want with little dependence on someone else to write the software for them or configure their system for a very specific purpose.

    This is why you see a lot of of people in the fields of scientific research using Linux quite happily. They can go buy a machine that was deemed obsolete 10 years ago, install Linux and write a program to serve their purpose. Linux owes a lot to those shoe string budget researchers because of the innovation they employ to get their tasks done. Many times researchers and scientists have to create their own software because their testing unproven methods or theories. These applications and software tools are not their ultimate goal, only a means to an end. because of this, they tend to give away these innovations they create as it's not what they are really after.

    We tend to benefit from the fruits of their labor and their scrap material is our gold.

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    Re: Is Linux a real alternative?

    After my original posting, I wanted to sit back and read some of the responses. If you have taken the time to comment, I thank you. Please do not take any offense to anything that I have said.

    I could point-by-point through the comments on my original post, but that would make this thread way too big. I only give those as examples. The theme to all of your posts is that I have started this side project with unrealistic expectations. I agree. But, have you read the websites of the Linux distributions that I listed? They state exactly what my expectations were. Take a moment to read the websites and ask yourself this, “Are these claims true?” Is someone with no background in CS going to read these sites and do what is described on them in the matter stated? I don’t think so.

    In my career I have worked with probably 7 operating systems from Mainframe to Unix(s) to Windows. I know when claims far reach reality.

    Here is my point. Linux has an amazing story. In the hosting company area, it is completely dominant (LAMP). It has a respectable showing the large companies and government agencies. Most studies show the desktop market at only 4%. Linux could crush other OSs in the desktop market. But there’s got to be more focus on making it more user friendly. The tools that install and update software are a step in the right direction. It could be so much more than it is today. Too much is built by techies for techies. You need to think about the grandmothers out there.

    Mike

  8. #8
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrown36 View Post
    Here is my point. Linux has an amazing story. In the hosting company area, it is completely dominant (LAMP). It has a respectable showing the large companies and government agencies. Most studies show the desktop market at only 4%. Linux could crush other OSs in the desktop market. But there’s got to be more focus on making it more user friendly. The tools that install and update software are a step in the right direction. It could be so much more than it is today. Too much is built by techies for techies. You need to think about the grandmothers out there.

    Mike
    I hear what you're saying, but it's not as simple as a fix as you state. As pointed out earlier, there is no single governing body that determines what gets worked on in a Linux distribution and what doesn't. Each individual distribution has their pet projects and most of them are worked on by unpaid volunteers with day jobs. These are the techies, and they work on what interests them.

    Ubuntu is perhaps the exception, since its core of developers work for the Canonical corporation and one of their stated goals is to be user-friendly to the "grandmothers" you speak of. Admittedly, there are some aspects where they fall short.

    Flash and Silverlight are proprietary technologies that are controlled by their parent companies. Compatibility with Linux is completely out of the hands of those who work on the OS. If Adobe were to open-source Flash completely tomorrow it would still take months if not years before they reached the point of usability that Microsoft Windows users enjoy. The same is true for Silverlight.

    Are these two things the only problems you see with Linux as a whole? If so, I'd say the techies are doing a pretty damned good job, since the things that they can control didn't seem to bother you. Are there areas of improvement you noticed that could actually be fixed by the distributions you tried? Please elaborate.
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    I tried some live CDs and completely installed Ubuntu. It is much much better than they were a few years ago. After a good 6-8 hours of playing with them, I decided to make a list of thinks I would need/like to switch to Linux.

    I don't remember all of them, but it was something like (1 Netflix, 2 streaming flash {disney.com}, 3 QuickBooks, 4 MS Office and 5 Open Office {I like OO, but I am working on a dissertation and they require MS Office. OO's conversion is to Word is not exact}, 6 Play Commerical DVDs, 7 DVD Shrink 3.2, 8 browse Internet, 9 read PDFs, 10 some old copy of MS Money that I use). I think there were a total of 20 things.

    The only one I really got working well, was simply to browse the Internet. Oh, I got #5 OO also. That's an easy one. Even playing commerical DVDs didn't work. I spent hours. I installed 2 or 3 players, read forum postings.

    Then late Monday I came to a conclusion. If I, a PhD student it Computer Sciense with 20 years in the IT field, am having this much problems, maybe it's just ready to replace Windows.

    What you guys have done is great. Keep up the good work. I will check back in a few years.

  10. #10
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrown36 View Post
    I don't remember all of them, but it was something like (1 Netflix, 2 streaming flash {disney.com}, 3 QuickBooks, 4 MS Office
    All of the above require action on the part of the companies that own these products. Aside from lobbying and asking nicely, there's very little the Linux community as a whole can do about them. I'm not trying to make excuses... there's just very little chance anything will be done unless Adobe, Microsoft or Quicken decide to either open-source or make a closed-source Linux version.

    and 5 Open Office {I like OO, but I am working on a dissertation and they require MS Office. OO's conversion is to Word is not exact},
    That one can be fixed, to a point. If you have specific issues with conversions I recommend filing a bug report with the OO.org folks (or searching to see if someone already has).

    6 Play Commerical DVDs,
    You can do this; it's just a legally gray area. In most countries of the world it's a non-issue; you just download the DeCSS software and play away. The United States threw a kink in the works when the DMCA passed, making any kind of decryption software legally contraversial. Thus, most distributions don't ship with this ability to avoid lawsuits. The same kind of thing is true for MP3, but in that case it's just licensing issues.

    7 DVD Shrink 3.2,
    Not sure about ripping software. I just don't do it, so I can't really help there.


    8 browse Internet,
    Firefox, Opera, Galeon and Konqueror didn't do that well enough for you? Or are you specifically wanting Internet Explorer on Linux? If so, why?

    9 read PDFs,
    There are a number of excellent PDF readers available for Linux. What are your requirements?


    Even playing commerical DVDs didn't work. I spent hours. I installed 2 or 3 players, read forum postings.
    In Ubuntu this can be fixed with one line sent to the package manager. sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

    Then late Monday I came to a conclusion. If I, a PhD student it Computer Sciense with 20 years in the IT field, am having this much problems, maybe it's just ready to replace Windows.
    I've tried and successfully used dozens of version of Linux and I'm only a Bachelor in Computer Science with 5 years in the field, so obviously it's not your knowledge base that's getting in the way. Best of luck to you with whatever OS you end up on.
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