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So I have decided to finally give Linux a try, I have been thinking about it for a while and decided with a new desktop to finally give it a ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! ChaoticTheory's Avatar
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    Seeking Advice (Long)


    So I have decided to finally give Linux a try, I have been thinking about it for a while and decided with a new desktop to finally give it a go. I already have Windows 7 installed and plan on using a LiveCD for a while to get a feel for it before committing. If/when I decide to install to the hard drive I will still have Windows installed for a while just in case.

    I do have some questions that I would like answered for those with the knowledge to help.

    First some background - I am quite computer literate, have built almost every computer I own, installed numerous versions of Windows, and am fairly familiar with the command line. The computer I will be testing it on is used both for home (networking, web browsing, bill paying, finances, email, etc.) and for some at home work (email, web design, lots of page coding, some graphics design, a little bit of Flash design here and there).

    In reference to home use, my biggest concern is networking, I have numerous networked devices (DirecTV, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Canon Network printer, as well as 2 other Windows 7 computers) and wondering how well Linux interacts with them. The main concern would be accessing (reading and writing) files to and from hard drives on the Win7 systems, but there may be some need for the Win7 systems to read/write to the Linux machine (hard dive with files needing accessed may be on the same drive as one of the OS, or it may be on a separate drive). Is that possible, or if I use Linux will I be completely cut off from using files or pinters on the network?

    I use Quicken for my finances, any programs that are comparable (and preferably able to import data from a Quicken file) or will I need to use WINE? Also, any thoughts on WINE are appreciated.

    Regarding browsing, are all the add-ons for Firefox that you can use with a Win installation compatible with the Linux version, or do you have to use Linux specific add-ons? Also wonder about those sites that "require" Internet Explorer, I know Firefox has a IE add-on, but pretty sure that relies on the local installation of IE, so any thoughts there? Is Firefox for Linux more reliable? I have had a fairly regular problem with it crashing in Win7, particularly when dealing with pages containing Flash, so I currently use Chrome for most of my browsing.

    For email I use Outlook 2010, and from my understanding most distros come with a mail client. Will it be a huge change (I did use Thunderbird for a while) or is there something very similar to Outlook available for Linux? Do they offer built in calendars with reminders, calender syncing with Google Calendar,

    I have currently have a Windows phone (HTC Touch Pro) that I sync with my computer to maintain appointments and pictures. Anything in Linux able to do that with a Windows phone? I do have the ability to boot the phone into Android (gotta love ppcgeeks.com ) and plan on getting a native Android phone soon (down with Windows ), but am curious about Linux and mobile phones.

    Concerning work, I currently use Dreamweaver CS5, and though I am quite fond of it (mainly like the layout and the code hinting features) I am not reliant on it if there is a comparable Linux alternative. If not I believe WINE allows Dreamweaver to work quite well from what I can find. Any suggestions there?

    At work I use MS Office 2010, mainly Word, and some Excel, as well as a single Access DB. How likely is it I will run into difficulties working with files back and forth between MS Office and Open Office? I have used Open Office, but haven't ported files.

    I have a folder (with many subfolders) on a flash drive that contains all my work files, and currently use SyncApp to sync the all the files to maintain the same files on my work and home computers. Is it likely I will be able to do something similar in Linux, i.e. have all my files on the flash drive, use SyncApp to maintain sync at work and something to compare and sync files at home on Linux?

    I have setup a testing server locally on Windows before, shouldn't be a problem doing the same for Linux I would imagine (found more help on Linux setup when I was trying to find Windows help )

    Finally, I have narrowed down my choices as for which distro I want, but would like a little more input before I make a final decision.

    I am looking at Ubuntu and Mandriva distros and based on the information I provided wondering what the community recommends. Also looking for advice on 32bit or 64bit. I have looked at the thread about it, but as it is dated 2008 so looking for a little more updated advice. Googling it resulted in lots of varying views. For my situation (I have 64bit processor and 8GB RAM)here is what I have come up with:

    Supporting 32bit:
    PAE allows for expanded memory compatibility
    Some say there are very few 64bit apps out there
    Some big bugs with 32bit apps in a 64bit environment

    Supporting 64bit:
    PAE slows performance
    Native support of higher memory
    64bit programs seem to be on the rise

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    On a side note, concerning my processor, I have a AMD Phenom II 6-core processor and I have seen some notes concerning Linux and compatibility with newer processors, so insight is welcome.

    CONGRATULATIONS! You have reached the end of my post Thanks for any input and suggestions you all have, and I look forward to joining the Linux community!

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer Segfault's Avatar
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    I'll answer a few. Tip: don't ask too many questions at once, folks generally like answering single questions.

    CIFS lets you interact with Windows computers on LAN.
    I have networked scanner and networked printer, they work fine.

    There are a few apps that do same thing as Quicken.

    Firefox addons work, sites coded exclusively for IE malfunction, haven't seen many lately, though. Most sites conform with standards nowadays.

    Linux supports your CPU, people who whine are probably using outdated kernels.
    BBC News - In graphics: Supercomputing superpowers, click on by OS button.

  3. #3
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    I'll take a few more...

    For an email client their is Evolution, which is similar to Outlook (dunno about 2010; haven't used Outlook in about 5 years )

    I develop websites using Linux but your chances of success depend on the technologies you use. I think Flash could be interesting as I don't know of anything that can create Flash files for Linux.

    If you are not using Dreamweaver for it's graphical layout facilities then you may be interested in Komodo Edit. It is not available in the repostories and is one of the few bits of software I download.

    I have only encountered one add on for Firefox that doesn't work in Firefox for Linux and that was my preferred HTML validator so I just installed another one! Honestly, most stability problems with Firefox (win / lin / wherever) are caused by badly written Javascript leaking memory like a poorly fitting nappy. This will also affect IE / Chrome / Opera et al to varying degrees.

    I use Ubuntu 64bit and have had no problems.
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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  4. #4
    Just Joined! ChaoticTheory's Avatar
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    Thank you Segfault, I will try to minimize questions in the future, I tend to try and get it all out at once and usually build on what I started with

    CIFS, does it allow read/write to and from networked computer hard drives do you know?

    Yeah, can't say I have seen a IE only site in a while either.

    And that is a LOT of Linux super computing power

    Thank you as well elija!

    Did a search for it and yeah, Evolution looks strikingly similar to Outlook

    I do very little work with Flash at this point, most of my work is with regular html, a fair amount of PHP, and some Javascript, all of which I do with text based coding on my local machine then upload to the Unix server that it is running on. Somethings I will test locally just to save time. I frequently make little changes and check the result, and uploading each time takes longer, but I can do it that way if necessary.

    Komodo edit looks like the way to go, seems to do all the things I like about Dreamweaver, and it's free!

    Thanks for the add-on advice. Which validator do you use by chance?

    And unless someone can provide a good reason to avoid 64bit I think I will go with it.

  5. #5
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    It's the validator add on to Firebug. If you go for Komodo, go for the version 6 release candidate. It is hugely faster!
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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  6. #6
    Just Joined! ChaoticTheory's Avatar
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    Thanks elija, I will keep that in mind.

    I have had my main questions answered, still looking for some info on mobile phones, folder syncing, and MS/Open office back and forth, but I think I can manually test those options without to much trouble if no one has any input.

    Last thing is just which version, I am leaning toward Mandriva, mainly because it looks a little nice and the website had more information, but any input is still appreciated. I may just end up trying both LiveCD versions to get a feel for them. Still, any input is welcome.

    Oh, one more thing, my Win7 OS on the new computer is on a RAID0 configuration, and thinking of doing the same with the Linux OS, does Linux support on board RAID drivers, or do I have to stick with a single drive?

  7. #7
    Linux Engineer Segfault's Avatar
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    CIFS

    The onboard RAID is called fakeraid. It is supported by dmraid, a software RAID offering compatibility with Windows software RAID. Dual-booting may prove a bit tricky, though.

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