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So I've been tinkering with the idea of switching over to Linux absolutely. It's been on my mind for a while now. Actually, the first experience I had with Linux ...
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- 11-29-2012 #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2012
Making the Switch
So I've been tinkering with the idea of switching over to Linux absolutely. It's been on my mind for a while now. Actually, the first experience I had with Linux was back in 2008, but I didn't stick around to learn much. I experimented with Ubuntu for a small while then went back to my Original OS. I really had just got into computing for any serious amount of time at this point and wasn't quite ready for the switch. Truth is I didn't know much about anything to do with computers back then. Just a few random things that interested me enough to pursue that I picked up over the course of time I was using my
computer. Still don't know much really.
So now having done some research I am planning to switch over to Linux. And I figure now is as good a time as
any for me since my Antivirus expires here in 6 days. The plan was to either buy another Antivirus program, or go down to my local computer recycle shop that sells used computers and buy a new box without software.
I only have about 50 dollars I'm allowing myself to use for a box. Can't go over because I'm on a budget and I'd
screw myself over if I did.
I've heard a lot about Linux being very safe and reliable and not very prone to Virus for a number of reasons. I've also found some free Firewall programs that are for Linux as well as free Antivirus programs.
My question is simple. As far as security goes, am I better off buying the Antivirus program for my existing computer, or going ahead and buying the new box and using Linux?
I could always buy a new box at a later date and try Linux then.
I run Windows 7 if anyone wants to know.
The reason for the want for this switch is I've been using a computer now for 5+ years, and I find that I really don't know anything about how they work. Not about the OS or other programs etc. What I really want to do is learn something more in-depth about computing. To have some real knowledge about this realm would be great. Especially considering the dangers lurking on the web. The list of reasons goes on.
ps. Both Linux Mint and Linux Arch interest me. Mint for simplicity to begin with and to use as my everyday OS for
the rudimentary tasks I usually have, and Arch to really start to delve in to and learn about the world of computing.
I'm open to any suggestions or other knowledge.
Last edited by humad8; 11-29-2012 at 09:26 AM.
- 11-29-2012 #2
Is there more to this question that you've not asked? If you ask the crowd here "Should I switch to Linux completely?", you should really expect just one answer...
If your computer is already running Win7, then you've already made an investment in that. If you switch completely that will be lost. Have you considered dual-booting your Win7 rig by installing Linux side by side?
Are you aware that there are free (for non-commercial use) anti-virus programs available for the Win7 platform?
If you dual-boot and use a free anti-virus package, then you don't have to spend any money at all!
If your real question (and it's a bit of an assumption, I know) is "I want to swich, can you guys help me decide on my approach?" then you'll probaby get some much more thought provoking help (and some debate).
In my opinion Mint is an excellent choice for a new user - it hides much of the complexity of the system and will give you a much more 'user friendly' experience. Arch is a slightly bigger deal - it's not as easy to install, but because of that you'll learn more and more quickly.
If your objective is to learn, then there is no harm whatsoever in installing Mint, or Arch, Ubuntu or Fedora or OpenSuSE, or whatever takes your fancy, learning how you want your system to run (because you actually get choices in Linux that Windwos users could never get) then make a final decision on which Linux distribution is right for you. The amount you want to learn and the speed you want to learn it will dictate how many distributions you try, and how often you re-install your Linux partition to try something new.
If you just want to replace Windwos, of course, you could just install one of the mainstream distributions such as Mint in place of your Windwos and just run with that forever.Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/
- 11-29-2012 #3
Another option would be to slap one of the free anti-viruses on Windows and try out a few distro's in something like Virtualbox. This is a no risk way to see if you like a distro especially if your machine is man enough and I would assume a Windows 7 box is. If you find it's not going to meet your needs then it has cost nothing but a bit of time and band width. I fully agree that Mint is an excellent distro which, while being well suited to beginners doesn't stop you from diving under the hood if and when you wish to. The same could be said for all the "beginner friendly" distros but Mint is particularly good at the beginner friendly bit! Arch will be a much steeper learning curve even to get it installed, so again a VM would be a nice safe way to try it out.
If you are anything like me who learns best when there is a definite goal to reach I would say give up on learning Linux! Instead, learn to use Linux to do what you want and pick up a huge amount about the OS while on the journey.
- 11-30-2012 #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
- crawfordsville,indiana usa
As a new linux user and still learning as i agree with roxoff and elija on this you can do a dual-booting system and keep windows and use linux. as for the antivirus there is avast antivirus that is good and free program for your windows. as for the linux distros i myself am dual booting several differnt ones so i can play with them and see what i like. as of typing this im on the linuxmint distro and so far im impressed with it. ive also used ubuntu,and the off shoots of it and to me there good. so its going to be up to you to try them and see what you like. i havent used the vmware or virtualbox that much. on vmware i installed debian on it to check it out but havent messed with it to much yet. i think most of the distros will use under 15 gig or less so if you have room on you hard drive to put a couple of partions on you can try a couple of different distros to see what you like. as for arch i havent had any luck in getting it to install and run. so good luck in which way you want to go.
- 11-30-2012 #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2012
Now for my suggestion, save your 50 bucks, and invest it into a 2nd hard drive. Disconnect the two cables (power and data cables), then connect your either new or used hard drive. Put the Ubuntu DVD into your DVD Player, and presto, reboot and the installation will complete with minimal inputs from you. After this Linux installation, you can also plug back in your Windows 7 hard drive and choose in the BIOS which hard drive you want to boot to. That way, you will have both Windows and Linux installed on separate bootable hard drives. If you choose to use the same hard drive to dual boot to either Linux or Windows 7, some day, one or the other will crash and you may just be out of being able to boot to either operating system. That will probably result in your decision to drop Linux and stick with Windows. But if you use separate hard drives and unplug the Windows one before you attempt to install Linux, you will be far safer and much happier, believe me. Sure, if I wanted to spend my time fixing both Linux and Windows, I will do what others recommend and use the dual boot method, but not unless I am very bored and need some challenge in my life. Personally, I feel I can use my time enjoying both without the dangers of crashing both, that is why I avoid dual booting any operating systems. If you choose to install both Linux and Windows on the same hard drive, then you will definitely some day suffer the wrath of corrupting both operating systems. My theory on this to a newbie is to learn a lot first, then if you feel brave and want more of a challenge, they choose the dual boot.
As for the numbers on using an Anti-Virus with Linux, it is not necessary. Linux is 99.99999999...% immune from Virus and Malware Attacks. Get AVAST Antivirus for you Windows 7 for free from AVAST.com and enjoy trouble virus free computing. But forget using Anti-virus for Linux, it is just not needed, unless your running a Linux Server for some company that absolutely has to protect every bit of their data 24/7. Sure, the paid version is a bit better of AVAST, but their free version protected millions of computers every day from virus attacks. This is the best anti-virus I have had the privilege to use. I recommend buying it if you like it to keep the company in business, which it has been for many years.
- 11-30-2012 #6
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
- Lund, Sweden
Not trying to put Linux down, but as far as I understand, regarding antivirus, Microsoft Security Essentials gives sufficient protection, and its free. So given the familiarity of Windows, that might be the best option.
I too think that a dual boot method is probably the way to get into Linux. That's what I did (and still do); I started using Linux out of interest and for fun, and a couple of years down the line I realized I hardly use Windows anymore for everyday computing. Still keep it on the machine if an application turns up that I really need and that I can't run under Linux.
- 11-30-2012 #7
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
As for the original post, I dual-booted for years and would use Linux occasionally or load a new distro, like it or hate it, keep switching... It was more like trying to find the replacement I would like for Windows and solidify my decision. I settled with SuSE and liked it. I only used it a couple times a month though and hoped I would switch one day.
As I was beginning to learn python, my 11 year old was on the couch with me. I was doing an exercise on the "Learn Python The Hard Way" site (which is EXCELLENT by the way and there are more languages than Python on the site) and it started to click. I always got the way programming flowed and had calls, variables, etc. It was a lot like database thinking to me but I never knew how to put it into place, implement it, or make a true program out of it when I had messed with VB and java in the past. I was probably an "editor", meaning I could edit it like .py scripts but didn't know how to truly program in it. I started learning Python from the site above and I knew then I truly wanted to learn Linux inside and out. I thought what better way to change the thought of a generation than by starting young? I wanted to replace Windows on my son's netbook so I searched for new to Linux users or something of the sort and came across Mint.
After looking at a few links, I came across Cinnamon. Load it. It is simply the best Linux environment I've used for a desktop feel and I've tried many over the years. I am contemplating using it on my desktop or keeping SuSE on it. SuSE has always been the easiest for configuring server type stuff but this Cinnamon is pretty slick. I've heavily customized it but for a new-to-Linux user, I would strongly recommend this distro!!!
Last edited by metropoli10; 11-30-2012 at 09:14 AM.
- 11-30-2012 #8
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
- 11-30-2012 #9
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
I'll agree with everything here but I'll toss in a change on flyboydale's idea. Get the second hard drive for your present computer and since you've only been computing for roughly four years, you may not feel comfortable doing the cable changes yourself. Take it to a shop and see if they can toss in a switch and a set of controls for you to use to pick which hard drive you want to boot from. A decent used hard drive and the tinkering may come in around $50. If not, sometimes you can pick up a used computer that someone's gotten fed up with because of viruses or file and system corruption occasionally for free, or dirt cheap.
Free anti-virus for your MS is no problem. As mentioned, Avast, also AVG, Comodo, there are several, Same goes for free firewalls such as ZoneAlarm. Comodo may still have a broad purpose package, Just do some searching and make sure you don't get suckered into a 'free anti-virus scam'. Then, again as mentioned, there's the Essentials package that MS now provides.
Linux has it's own anti-virus project, clam-av for Windows and Linux. As long as you don't download third party software you won't need an anti-virus for your LInux. If you choose a build such as Ubuntu or Mint, you've got ufw, the Ubuntu firewall. To activate it in simple mode you can use gufw which is the graphic interface or you can open a terminal and type 'sudo ufw enable'.
If either the dual disk or the used computer deal is affordable you now have the option of trying out several distributions on that second drive and making up your mind which one suits you best. As for sharing and updating files between the different OSs, it'll take networking the two together or use sharing utilities such as DropBox which works great on Windows and Linux.
Windows is still best for iTunes, Netflix and if you use complex .docx files, but that's only because of the fact that money talks. If you feel the need to feed the greed, keep MS around.
- 11-30-2012 #10
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Installing Linux and Windows with new drive
To install any distro of Linux on your computer first buy a second hard drive of about at least 120GB capacity.
Make sure it is the same type as the one you already have.
Hard drives in older computers are usually IDE types. These use a flat ribbon 80 core cable with two connectors for data transmission and a multi-strand cable for their power supply.
On the back of the drive you will see a connector with pins for the ribbon data cable and a connector for the power supply.
Both connectors are shaped to prevent connecting them the wrong way round.
Between these two connectors you will see 8 pins in a 4 x 2 arrangement.
One pair of pins might be connected by a jumper.
These pins are used to set the drive to be either the master (primary) drive or the slave (secondary) drive.
Some hard drives indicate which pin pair select master, slave or Cable Select (CS).
If your drives do not have these indications you might have to Google the drive's manufacturer and the drive model to find out if you can get to view the drive's user manual.
I am not allowed at this stage to post URLs to this site so I will have to suggest that you Google "Cable Select" and see what you find for details of setting your drive's to cable select.
Plugging the end connector of the ribbon cable into a drive makes that drive the master or primary drive whilst plugging the middle connector into a drive makes that drive the slave or secondary drive when both are set to CS.
You may need to put your existing drive lower down in the case to avoid twisting the data cable too much.
Now for the really interesting bit.
Take your existing drive holding Windows 7 and, after setting it to CS, connect it to the centre connector on the data cable.
Install your new drive, also set to CS, into the case and connect the end connector of the data cable to the drive. Plug the power cables into both drives.
Insert your distro CD or DVD into the CD/DVD drive and restart your computer.
When you restart your computer make sure that you set the BIOS to cause the computer to boot from the CD/DVD drive.
After booting from the CD/DVD you can try out the distro in Live mode or install it directly.
This procedure is quite simple and only needs minimal input from you.
The great thing about installing Linux in this way is that your original Windows drive does not get its master boot record (MBR) overwritten and you can restore it to be your master drive by simply plugging the end connector of the data cable into it.
Don't try to install the Windows drive into another computer. Microsoft appear to have written Windows to recognise only the hardware on which it was originally installed and it won't run on other hardware.
You can also enter the BIOS set-up routine on start up to select the Windows drive to boot first if that is what you prefer.
The primary drive with Linux will have GRUB written to its MBR and will present a boot menu for you to select to boot into Linux or Windows on start up.
Later, when you feel confident you can modify file names in /etc/grub.d.
Changing the file name of /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober to /etc/grub.d/04_os-prober changes the order in which the scripts are run and Windows will be first in the boot menu and will start automatically when you start your computer