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Last post Author Topic: Switching to Linux; how do you not flop back to the world of Windows??  (Read 16061 times)

wreckedcarzz

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OK, I will admit - I love Windows. I can work with it, I know how to manipulate it, and I have reinstalled it more times than I can count.

I have Xubuntu. I had to format over it for an extension of my Windows partition (it was physically in the way, so... yea). I am now using an old 20GB Western Digital IDE drive, and everything is going well (except my X-Fi drivers, but whatever, I have onboard sound). :-\

My problem is - while I like how Xubuntu works, I like the idea of open source and "freedom" software, and how you can get more done with less "Gah what is wrong with this thing *smash computer case*". But Windows has all the games, and all the software that I use. All my settings. I program on Windows - I cant even figure out how to debug a program WITHOUT CODE on this! No code, just a basic GUI with 2 buttons! :o

I am more than happy to go through a somewhat steep learning curve; I would eventually like to be able to walk up to any computer running *Ubuntu and, just as on Windows, say "Oh yes you just do this *two keypresses and a mouse click* there!" And I can, provided I don't have to go _too_ far into the Terminal (I had to go into super user mode earlier because my stupid drivers made a folder read only, and the Trash wouldn't empty unless you were root!). >:(

So I guess my question is: Linux converts, what software do you use that "replaces" what you used on Windows? :tellme:

(For the record, I gave up on Compiz - it was too much of a pain in the a** to setup. Xfce is fine for me :))
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 05:35:36 AM by wreckedcarzz »

urlwolf

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that's the dilemma that all of us face.
There will always be a tool that you cannot have in linux that makes you go back to win.
pdfs display better on adobe acrobat.
onenote doesn't exist.
etc.
And even doing the leg work to find worthy replacements can be tiresome.

There are hundreds of threads on ubuntuforums with the same questions.

I think you have to go cold-turkey... and this is very difficult because windows is available easily everywhere.

Edvard

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Wreckedcarzz: My best advice? Either dual-boot or go cold turkey and start digging...

I mean, sure there's lots of good high-action games on Linux, but there are hundreds, if not thousands of Windows games you can just pick off the shelf and have it work out of the box. There are even more free- and share-ware sites you can download a million utilities for almost any task on Windows.
Loki games seemed to be doing really well and suddenly they went bankrupt and just closed up shop.
Blame it on the MS Monopoly, blame it on Linux's "Geek centricism", whatever. The scene is changing and it's thanks to folks like you who dare to give a spare partition to the Penguin.

What do I use? Well, let's talk about alternatives.
What do you use on Windows that you can't find an alternative for Linux? We Linux users could probably make a few suggestions...

Of course, everyone knows about Open Office and Firefox/Thunderbird, so let's skip those.
I use xplorer2 on Windows when I'm at work and there just isn't an alternative for Linux. Sure, I've tried emelfm, Beesoft Commander, MC, Rox, PCmanFM, you name it. I would kill for a file manager that gave me a tree view and two horizontal folder views. For normal everyday file management, I settle for Thunar.
Quote
pdfs display better on adobe acrobat
Adobe has released a reader for Linux that looks and works exactly like the windows version.
Quote
onenote doesn't exist.
'Cause it's Microsoft... The day Microsoft makes Linux software...  :o
The Linux version of Xnview is atrocious. Same goes for Ghostview. Full-featured and easy to use on Windows, but a train wreck on Linux, for no good reason.
Audacity looks and works the same on either, and even has more options on Linux.
Media Players? Text editors? Take your pick, there's a half-million of each...

Please, if you do one thing to flatten your learning curve in Linux, learn to use the command-line tools. The gui tools that exist are easier for new users, but you're missing out on so much power...
from LinuxCommand.org
Quote
Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are helpful for many tasks, but they are not good for all tasks. I have long felt that most computers today do not use electricity. They instead seem to be powered by the "pumping" motion of the mouse! Computers were supposed to free us from manual labor, but how many times have you performed some task you felt sure the computer should be able to do? You ended up doing the work by tediously working the mouse. Pointing and clicking, pointing and clicking.

I once heard an author remark that when you are a child you use a computer by looking at the pictures. When you grow up, you learn to read and write. Welcome to Computer Literacy 101. Now let's get to work.

Dormouse

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I use Linux and Windows. I use the software that suits me best. I have no masochistic tendencies, so I'm surely not going to use stuff that doesn't work so well because it will be 'good' for me (or someone else). I dual boot, use VMs, use Wine etc. I expect to switch to Linux more or completely in a few years - but only if the software is there. I won't be switching to Vista (bar the one laptop I have it on). But I may switch to its successor if it is really better than XP. Especially if it brings a really good touch interface and touchscreen prices tumble; don't expect that till at least a version later though.

What I am doing is building up experience of progs that work well under XP & Linux and looking for alternatives to my favourite Windows programs. I think there is still a very long way to go for most power users (in any field) and games players.

urlwolf

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Yes, the problem is that there are huge gaps in functionality that no linux apps are covering well. There are dozens of pdf readers, but they are awful.

Ok, so it looks like what we have is the following.
(1) if you want the best rendering engine, you have to use adobe's
(2) if you want to annotate pdfs, you need adobe acrobat, which is not available for linux

(3) adobe sucks at implementing their products on linux, more so in 64-bit architectures

Ergo: I'm condemned to use windows to read papers. Or Macs.
This is as dissapointing as it gets.

If you -really- want to use one app, you can fight it up and try to get it working under wine, of course. But then you start paying the linux tax: 25% of your time goes to googling and trying config files, patches, etc, and the end result will probably be not 100% functional or estable. I'm thinking about onenote here. For example, onenote uses windows search to index its contents. Forget about such a service running on linux (too win specific).

Dormouse

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Please, if you do one thing to flatten your learning curve in Linux, learn to use the command-line tools. The gui tools that exist are easier for new users, but you're missing out on so much power...
from LinuxCommand.org
Quote
Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are helpful for many tasks, but they are not good for all tasks. I have long felt that most computers today do not use electricity. They instead seem to be powered by the "pumping" motion of the mouse! Computers were supposed to free us from manual labor, but how many times have you performed some task you felt sure the computer should be able to do? You ended up doing the work by tediously working the mouse. Pointing and clicking, pointing and clicking.

I once heard an author remark that when you are a child you use a computer by looking at the pictures. When you grow up, you learn to read and write. Welcome to Computer Literacy 101. Now let's get to work.

I know this is one of the last refuges of commandliners in Windows, but this is complete nonsense in a grown-up OS.

The command line is fastest if you always have your hands on the keyboard and if you have learned all the commands and if you are a very accurate typist. If the command line were better for most people and uses, neither the Mac nor Windows would exist.

I am a fast and accurate typist and I know (knew?) a lot of commands going back to mainframes, CP/M, DOS etc but there is no way I would switch back. I always had to read and look things up in manuals. If I misremembered a command I had to look to see if there was a typo, whether I had slightly misremembered the spelling of a command etc. etc. Now on Windows, and to some extent on Linux, I can load a new program and be using it reasonably well in a few minutes; just using the help to answer questions about what it can and cannot do. Speed on a keyboard is no match for a mouse, dictation software and a spare hand for sorting through papers etc.

OTOH, I wouldn't argue that some use of the command line is necessary with Linux as is - but that is NOT a good thing.

jgpaiva

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Dormouse: Even though i really love windows, one thing i really recognize is that linux's command line is great, and i really like to use it. Also, i wouldn't say it's a bad thing to use the command line. I would really like to have such command line in windows, complementing it. The closest thing that comes to it would be.. Find and Run Robot :) (even though it isn't that much similar.. lol :P)

Dormouse

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i wouldn't say it's a bad thing to use the command line.
I don't think it is a bad thing to use it, and it will always suit some people best. And there's a number of things you can do much more efficiently with a command line - as long as you have memorised the commands.

What I would say though is that the choice is a matter of preference and style, most people have proved they prefer a good GUI by the choices they made/make, a GUI does have some advantages over a command line and that the Linux GUIs still have a bit of a way to go. There won't be an equivalent number of good programs in Linux until the user base is there, and that won't happen until everything can be done well through a GUI.

Dormouse

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The closest thing that comes to it would be.. Find and Run Robot :) (even though it isn't that much similar.. lol :P)
Absolutely :) . And one of the reasons I don't use FARR.  ;)

40hz

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Quote
I like the idea of open source and "freedom" software, and how you can get more done with less...
Quote
But Windows has all the games, and all the software that I use. All my settings. I program on Windows - ...

I think, in some ways, you've answered your own question. Because no matter how much time you're willing to put in, the simple fact is that Linux is not Windows. And it looks like you currently need Windows to do some of the things you want to do. So why pick one or the other when you can have both? Especially when one of the options won't cost you anything?

I spend close to 90% of my time working within the Linux environment. I understand Linux. I like it. I recommend it. I even believe in the whole FOSS thing.

But have I scrapped Windows?

Nope.

Will I be able to scrap Windows?

Nope.

Not anytime soon...

Because: (1) Almost all my clients use Windows. (2) Almost all my friends & family use Windows. (3) There are a lot of applications that I love/need/like that will most likely never be ported to Linux. And (4) there is no such thing as a perfect Windows emulation under Linux - and there never will be if Microsoft has anything to say about it!

So for now I'll continue on with Windows. And Linux...and OSX ...and whatever else may come along that does something better than what I'm currently using.

One thing I would recommend is to scrap Xubuntu. It's more bug prone than the other Connonical flavors. I'd suggest you pick a more mainstream desktop until you're more comfortable with the environment. I'd suggest Ubuntu (i.e. Gnome - and please NIX people - no flames!) since there's more documentation out there for it than anything else.

If you need specifics on how to do something, cruise over to www.howtoforge.com for specific project type stuff. I'd also suggest getting a copy of the Linux Administration Handbook 2nd Ed (ISBN-13: 978-0131480049) and A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux (ISBN-13: 978-0132360395) and working your way through them.

I think once you're more comfortable with Linux as an OS, you'll be able to wean yourself off Windows as much as is currently practical. Just don't be disappointed if you can't completely kick the habit. 

For what it worth, a lot of us will probably be forced walk away from Windows eventually. If Microsoft remains adamant that WinXP is over and done with; and their upcoming replacement for Vista turns out to be another dud; then we'll all be forced to shop elsewhere.

And where the money goes, hardware & software development will follow... 

Can hardly wait! 8)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 03:28:23 PM by 40hz »

wreckedcarzz

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I am actually doing a dual boot system right now from Vista to Xubuntu, and am doing the same on my dad's HP desktop. I actually got the wireless working 15 minutes ago and literally did a dance because it took me 4 hours to figure it out. Worth it though!

I chose Xubuntu over normal Ubuntu because it is supposed to be faster and more "clutter-free". I want linux for quick tasks - Vista handles my eye-candy fetish quite well :P

And I don't want to totally ditch Windows (unless ALL my games work in Wine, and then I will have to look out the window and watch the pigs fly by). Windows is great, and I like working on it, but Linux is looking to be a more reliable alternative every day. Hence I am "pushing" myself into this new world.

I will look at those links and take any advice I can get. I will go through the mentioned programs in the package manager/WWW and see what works for me. Thanks for all the info/thoughts, it all helps. :)

Edvard

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One thing I would recommend is to scrap Xubuntu. It's more bug prone than the other Connonical flavors.
Heretic! He speaketh lies!  Burn the Gnome!! ;D

Seriously, I like Xfce on ANY distro and I haven't found Xubuntu to be any more bug-prone than any other *buntu, although this last edition is a bit slower than I'd like, but that's because the folks running the Xubuntu show let a bunch of Gnome cruft and bloat in. They now have a new head who is dedicated to trimming the fat, and I'm seriously anticipating the next release.

So, back to the original discussion:
Wrecked, what software do you use on Windows that you can't find an alternative for on Linux, and what have you tried?

I'll do my best to help you dig...

Lashiec

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Oooh, Cody is developing for Linux, that explains many things :D

Edvard

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I know this is one of the last refuges of commandliners in Windows, but this is complete nonsense in a grown-up OS....
...OTOH, I wouldn't argue that some use of the command line is necessary with Linux as is - but that is NOT a good thing.
I could not disagree with you more on this.
The linux command shell (all of them...) is so powerful, so robust, it is part and parcel of the very heart of Linux. Then throw in the myriad tools and utilities that can do almost anything in a few lines of script, the mind boggles.
I can tell you that I almost never use the Windows command tool because it is such utter useless crap that it makes me beg for a gui.
True, it would be nice to have easy-to-use graphical tools to configure the video display or manage the startup environment in a more sane manner, but saying it's not grown-up or telling me that a few shiny buttons and menus can and should replace the Linux command line is like telling a seasoned NASCAR gearhead that he could improve his pit time if he installed an automatic transmission... >:(

40hz

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Heretic! He speaketh lies!  Burn the Gnome!! Grin

Seriously, I like Xfce on ANY distro and I haven't found Xubuntu to be any more bug-prone than any other *buntu, although this last edition is a bit slower than I'd like, but that's because the folks running the Xubuntu show let a bunch of Gnome cruft and bloat in. They now have a new head who is dedicated to trimming the fat, and I'm seriously anticipating the next release.

Ok. Anybody want some barbecued Gnome fritters? Just hold up your plate... ;D

Maybe it's just me, but I had a lot of problems with Xubuntu 6.06 and 6.10 that I didn't have with Kubuntu or Ubuntu proper. I haven't tried the latest version so maybe things are different now.

I do agree with you about Xfce for the desktop. That's what I use when I'm not running in a terminal. But if you're just starting out, there's not a lot of good books that give Xfce the introduction it deserves. That's why I think your first desktop should be Gnome or KDE. I suggested Gnome because it's probably the most widely used desktop (thanks to Ubuntu). And KDE is experiencing some technical and philosophical issues that are best avoided by anyone other than an experienced KDE user. Check out http://practical-tec...its-time-for-a-fork/  and http://arstechnica.c...snt-need-a-fork.html   to get a feel for what's going on with that.

Take a look at Zenwalk (www.zenwalk.org) if you want an Xfce desktop with extremely good performance on just about any box.

Zenlogo.png

Distrowatch has a nice summary of what it's all about:

Quote
Zenwalk Linux (formerly Minislack) is a Slackware-based GNU/Linux operating system with a goal of being slim and fast by using only one application per task and with focus on graphical desktop and multimedia usage. Zenwalk features the latest Linux technology along with a complete programming environment and libraries to provide an ideal platform for application programmers. Zenwalk's modular approach also provides a simple way to convert Zenwalk Linux into a finely-tuned modern server (e.g. LAMP, messaging, file sharing).

For a review see Tiny Zenwalk 5.0 packs a big punch at www.linux.com/feature/126526

As far as applications go, a good starting point can be found over at www.howtoforge.com

They have a series of articles on how to create the "perfect" desktop setup. Perfect being one "that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops."

Do a search for "Perfect Desktop" They have versions of this article for each of the big distros. There isn't one specifically for Zenwalk, but the other flavors can be read for inspiration and ideas.






« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 11:45:40 PM by 40hz »

zridling

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wreckedcarzz, I made the switch last October and haven't looked back. I feel more productive in my operating environments than ever before. A big part was the realization that almost every app I was using during the day also had either a Linux version (OpenOffice, RAR, Filezilla, VLC media player, Shredder Chess, XnView, Gimp, Nero, Firefox/Opera, my favorite fonts, Kompozer, Skype, lots of game that 'I' play, Super Flexible File Synchronizer, etc.) or had become webware staples like Gmail, Internet Chess Club, and apps like Veign offers. The only one was NewsLeecher, and even it runs well under WINE, a Windows compatibility layer for Linux that allows many Windows applications to run as if they were native Linux software.

So I looked around and asked myself: why am I still paying for and running Windows when I don't need to? I've put in over 20 years on various Microsoft OSes and I've definitely earned the right to try something new. I dual-booted for a while, but then used an older machine to test a dozen distros and really enjoyed the process of getting to know them. xubuntu is a fine choice, for instance. Like you, I love Xfce — it's functional, attractive, and efficiently minimalist.

However, understand that Linux is a different animal, a unix-like animal. And before Bill Gates came along and changed a few things (such as using backslashes instead of forward slashes), it was the way computing was done. And much like learning a foreign language, immersion makes a big difference. As for walking up to an Ubuntu machine and being able to click away, you're not too far from that with its deep online support; use Google (or Google Groups) and find your answer in a millisecond. Do that enough times and you'll remember the solution just like you have in Windows.

I now boot Linux (Mint 5) on the new machine and keep Vista relegated to an older machine that I rarely turn on now. I surf the web, burn discs, listen to music, play games, analyze data, write letters, watch movies, and download pictures. That's basically what I do on a computer each day, sometimes I do more. Here's a good tip. Buy your hardware from a place like Newegg.com and read the customer feedback sections. They'll tell you whether a particular videocard or printer works with Linux or specifically provides Linux drivers. That will save a few headaches. Vista users got to experience that same headache for some hardware that companies like HP, who wouldn't write many drivers for the OS before SP1.

Finally, here's some cool sites that will prove highly useful (and informative about open source and open standards):
Tips for Linux Explorers
The Linux Tutorial
Bob Sutor, Open blog
Glyn Moody

The bottom line is that, while Linux is a mature and fully functional desktop OS, the process of migrating away from Windows is complex and should not be undertaken lightly. An effective migration strategy must set realistic goals, plan contingencies, and be flexible enough to change direction in the event of unforeseen roadblocks. Making the break from proprietary software vendors isn't easy, and that's by design. Open source developers have made the first critical steps for you. Now it's up to you to take it the rest of the way.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 11:03:46 PM by zridling »

Dormouse

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saying it's not grown-up or telling me that a few shiny buttons and menus can and should replace the Linux command line is like telling a seasoned NASCAR gearhead that he could improve his pit time if he installed an automatic transmission... >:(

I've never said that anyone should give up the command line, and I've never said it should be replaced. The command line has some advantages - but also some limitations - and a GUI has some different advantages.

I did say that a grown up OS needs a very good GUI. And it does. Without it, Linux development and software availability will stall. Just as it would if MS switched business models and made Windows entirely free or open source in the next year or two.

You attacked GUI use  AND GUI USERS with the quote from linuxcommand.org -
from LinuxCommand.org
Quote
Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are helpful for many tasks, but they are not good for all tasks. I have long felt that most computers today do not use electricity. They instead seem to be powered by the "pumping" motion of the mouse! Computers were supposed to free us from manual labor, but how many times have you performed some task you felt sure the computer should be able to do? You ended up doing the work by tediously working the mouse. Pointing and clicking, pointing and clicking.

I once heard an author remark that when you are a child you use a computer by looking at the pictures. When you grow up, you learn to read and write. Welcome to Computer Literacy 101. Now let's get to work.
and this is symptomatic of an attitude that used to put a lot of people off Linux (and still does). As if only drivers with cars maintained by NASCAR mechanics using their currently preferred technologies are good enough to be allowed on the main roads. I'll not continue this discussion in this thread to avoid going further OTT. Happy to continue in another thread if necessary.

f0dder

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Quote from: Edvard
I can tell you that I almost never use the Windows command tool because it is such utter useless crap that it makes me beg for a gui.
CMD.EXE isn't as powerful as, say, bash... but who cares? If I need scripting, I prefer firing up a full-blown language like Python, instead of suffering any kind of limited shell scripting. As for "all the small tools", those aren't part of the shell, and lots of the *u*x tools are available for windows as well.

The only thing I find lacking in cmd.exe is somewhat more complex file matching patterns - then again, most of the time I need any of those, I tend to need scripting as well.

Quote from: Edvard
True, it would be nice to have easy-to-use graphical tools to configure the video display or manage the startup environment in a more sane manner, but saying it's not grown-up or telling me that a few shiny buttons and menus can and should replace the Linux command line is like telling a seasoned NASCAR gearhead that he could improve his pit time if he installed an automatic transmission... >:(
No trivial operation should require dropping to a console. I view installing drivers, setting up a secondary monitor, managing services/daemons etc. as trivial operations.

I use cmd.exe a lot on windows. But thankfully, there's a lot of management stuff doable easily from GUI, with nice keyboard shortcuts - makes it even faster to keyboard my way through things than having to type a lot more in a shell.
- carpe noctem

jgpaiva

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CMD.EXE isn't as powerful as, say, bash... but who cares?
Personally, i don't find it a matter of which one is more powerful but as a matter of usability. bash is way more usable than cmd.. ctrl-r instantly searches previous commands, tab completes directory names with the slash (STUPID DECISION, microsoft), ctrl-d closes the command line, pressing up actually does go to the last command (i know some people probably prefer the way cmd works, i just think it's stupid).

No trivial operation should require dropping to a console. I view installing drivers, setting up a secondary monitor, managing services/daemons etc. as trivial operations.
Absolutelly, I agree with you on that. The command should be complementing trivial operations, not a requirement to complete those.
It'd pretty cool to be able to manage the screens through commands in windows, though... That'd allow me to automate the process of connecting my external mon to my laptop :)

f0dder

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jgpaiva: I like the way up-arrow does the search of previous commands - if I want to go to the previous command, at least the entire line is cleared completely by a single hit of ESC. Ctrl+D closing the shell is more of an inconvenience imho, too easy to hit it by accident and so little hassle typing "exit". Not adding backslash on dir-completion is one of my few gripes with cmd.exe, but since I almost always start a shell by typing "$" in xplorer^2's address bar, I don't need dir-completion very often :) (I've considered RE'ing cmd.exe to add the backslash, though ;)).
- carpe noctem

jgpaiva

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I've considered RE'ing cmd.exe to add the backslash, though ;).
If you ever do, PLEASE distribute it (under the table :P).

Edvard

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Apologies everyone for dragging this off-topic with my personal passion.
Dormouse, apologies. (personal message sent)
f0dder:
Quote
No trivial operation should require dropping to a console. I view installing drivers, setting up a secondary monitor, managing services/daemons etc. as trivial operations.
I actually agree. But that's another topic for discussion. I guess I use the commandline for so many things (not just essential trivials) that it's almost like a long-handed shortcut for me now.
Zridling: Thanks for keeping it on-topic, I'll stop now.

Dormouse

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Quote from: Edvard link=topic=13917.msg119531#msg119531 date=1215099719Dormouse, apologies. (personal message sent)[/quote
Thanks for the PM. No need for apologies; different points of view being argued is good.

Also good to see that a simple(?) Linux question quickly led to a number of topics. Original question important and pertinent to many of us, so it is worth trying to stay on topic, but maybe worth starting other threads.

Lashiec

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And KDE is experiencing some technical and philosophical issues that are best avoided by anyone other than an experienced KDE user. Check out http://practical-tec...its-time-for-a-fork/  and http://arstechnica.c...snt-need-a-fork.html   to get a feel for what's going on with that.

Wow, I'm putting myself up to date in the KDE4 controversy, and the discussion went ugly real fast, the level of bitterness in some opinions is Vista-quality. And that's not counting direct personal attacks and incessant whining.

cthorpe

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Re: Switching to Linux; how do you not flop back to the world of Windows??
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2011, 01:35:51 PM »
I've tried Linux over, and over, and over again.

I've tried RedHat, Slackware, Gentoo, Mandriva, OpenSuse, Debian, Ubuntu (and the other-buntus), and numerous others that I can't even recall.

I've tried single boots, dual boots, dedicated machines, Live CDs, and VMs.

I've been at it since 1997.

Each and every time, I go back to Windows for my daily computing needs.

It's not that Linux is too hard or that I don't want to learn new things.

It's not that I think Linux is useless.  In fact, I administer a Linux server that hosts quite a few websites.

It's just that Windows does everything I need my home PC to do, and Linux is still more trouble than it's worth for daily use.