Hello, I'm brand new to this forum and Linux. I've been wanting to switch to Linux as an operating system for some time, just to get something new. Unlike most Windows users I am really not tied to Windows for any reason other than the familiarity of use. But, I have finally decided to move on (past XP) for my next build. But, I do have a few questions I would like answered before I commit to the change over.
1. I already double checked that the software I "have to have" is compatible or has a Linux based counterpart. But, I still don't know on some applications. For instance, will my basic Notepad (.txt) documents be usable/viewable in GEdit?
2. I use WindowBlinds to dress up my XP computers, does Linux have a similar program or can I just modify all parts of Linux for my chosen color scheme?
3. Is it hard to learn a Linux based OS (Mint for instance)? I'm pretty advanced when it comes to computers but, mainly because I log so much time on Windows OS's, the switch to a new format is sort of scary for me. Is there a good place to read and learn about ways to make the change over easier?
4. What is the "best" version of Linux, I've heard good things about Mint, but having never used any Linux based system I'm completely oblivious on this fact. Suggestions?
5. I am by all rights a creature of habit, thus, can I use Linux the same way I use XP? I.e. I back everything I have up on my network server (can I convert that to Linux as well?) and also on a "home made" external HDD. In XP if I want a file all I have to do is go to My Computer and open the external to access what I need (or the server via network if I need it for some reason). Will I be able to do the same thing or something similar in a Linux OS without having tons of programming knowledge, because that is an aspect that I have no idea of how to go about doing.
Thanks for any help you guys can provide.
Have you tried Win7? It is the best operating system in a long time from Microsoft. Linux Mint 14 is good. Do some Youtube videos on it. Run it from the iso burnt to a DVD. You can boot from that. Hope this helps some.
Glad to hear that you are looking to change to Linux, I use both windows and Linux Mint but prefer to use Linux if possible.
I take your points in a slightly different order.
1. Which OS to use. This is a very personal choice but I have several friends whom I have converted to Linux and as I do they are running Linux Mint Debian with the Mate windows environment. You will be very surprised as to how easy for Windows users the change is. I only suggest the debian version because it is a rolling OS ( it is updated similarly to XP in that at intervals update packages are released instead of the main version which has a new version every six months with daily updates between versions, the main version is based on Ubuntu.) I am a great advocate of running the live cd on your hardware to check compatability before you install.
2. You can configure any version of Linux to your hearts content. Compiz is similar to Aero on windows and you can also change the themes, backgrounds and fonts.
3. Notepad. All of your text documents will be viewable in either Libre Office, gedit or any other software that is available. You will be very surprised as to how many different software packages are available all free of course.
4. Networking to a windows server or machine is simple and there is plenty of backup software which will backup to your server or external drives.
I think you will find Mint a good place to start and from there you can use virtualbox to test out any other distros without effecting your working system.
It is very simple to dual boot with XP but just a note before you start. I would defrag the disk you want to install Linux on and then resize the windows partition to leave enough room for a swap partition ( double your ram size) and root partition to take the operating system (Say 20gb) and a home partition for your data. I also have a seperate NTFS partition for all data that can then be accessed by Windows and Linux.
If you need any further info please post.
Hello and welcome!
1) the formatting might be slightly different, but I've pulled up text documents created in notepad using Linux text editors plenty of times before, and have done it the other way around as well. Generally speaking, simple text formats are no problem. One way to know for sure is to try it and find out! :)
2) I've never used WindowBlinds, but I believe Linux is about as customizable or more so than most any OS on the planet. Lots of new Linux users complain because there are too many options for them to ponder. One way to know for sure is to try it and find out! :)
3) If Linux were as hard to learn and use as Windows, I'd have given up long ago. Now, when I try using Windows, it's amazing to me that anyone can stick with it as their default OS. One way to know for sure is to try it and find out! :)
4) Any of the first 3 or 4 distros listed in the 'Hits Per Day Chart' at DistroWatch.com are usually a good place for new users to start. The "best" version for you is the one that you and your computer hardware like and work with the best. One way to know for sure is to try it and find out! :)
5) Yes, you can create network backups and/or local backups. I create system images routinely and then restore them as needed. My data drives separate from my system drives and are always accessible to me under Linux, and on those rare times that I'm running Windows, the data is accessible from there as well. At this point, I would have said "one way to know for sure is to try it and find out!", but the forum software only allows me to use a total of four smilies... boo-hoo!
Good luck as you go forward with Linux, and if you run into any issues, start a new thread for each topic and include the details of the problem. We'd be more than happy to help out if we can. (grinning smilie-face goes here)
Personally found Windows 7 to be an unstable pile of terrible...luckily it's horribleness is superseded by Windows 8 and Vista. I'm working on doing research (hence why I posted this thread?) Thanks for the suggestion.
Thanks oz and Fornhamfred for those great tips/suggestions. However, oz, no disrespect but by the time I finished your post I really contemplated tearing out my soul from the "one way to know for sure is to try it and find out," comment at the end of every post :P . But, I really appreciate the help guys, as soon as I get the rest of my parts (already checked for hardware compatibility with Linux Mint 14.1 [stable]) I will definitely install Mint on one of my HDD's to "try it and find out" for sure.
One thing you can do that I didn't see mentioned above is try some Linux liveCDs to see what it looks like and get a feel for how it works. Running it that way will be slower than a hard disk install, but it does allow you to play around a bit without having to get really involved with Linux before you are ready. All it takes is a few blank disks, some download bandwidth, and a bit of your time. It might even help you to decide which distro you'd want to put on the system for real when that time comes.
Best way is, boot up from Mint LiveCD ( or Install Mint inside Windows OS using Vmware/Wubi ) and check if you like it or not. Try to open your Notepad files in Gedit and play with Themes etc. If you like it, we will help you to setup dual boot ( another best thing for new Users ). Just give some time to Linux before switching from Windows OS.
Thanks devils casper, I appreciate the input, but I'm one of those people who if you give me the dual boot option, being one side software I'm very familiar with, and a new software. I won't even touch the new software because basically I'll forget it's there entirely, and inevitably end up uninstalling it. So, I'll keep my XP HDD in the new computer, I just won't boot from it, I'll run just Linux until I make a decision.
Oh, and something else that might help you pick your first Linux distribution(s) that I didn't see mentioned above are the distro chooser quizzes that you can take and they'll recommend a distribution for you based on the responses given. You can find a couple of them at the links below (and there might be others):
zegenie Studios Linux Distribution Chooser
Oops... for some reason, the second one didn't want to pull up just before I posted this, so I don't know if it's down temporarily, or permanently, but maybe it'll be working again by the time you read this.
Do let us know what you end up going with, and we hope you'll have fun using Linux.