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Author Topic: Ten Tips for Windows users making the switch to Linux  (Read 17171 times)
zridling
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« on: October 15, 2008, 03:26:34 PM »

Here are ten tips for Windows users who are considering making the switch to Linux. Details on each point and helpful links after the jump. If I can make the switch from Windows to GNU/Linux, anyone can. I’m not a programmer, not an expert, nor do I have time to endlessly futz with my system. Based on my experience over the past year, these tips will smooth your transition from Win to Lin.


01. KEEP YOUR OLD WINDOWS MACHINE/PARTITION INTACT
You may want some training wheels at first.

02. EXPECT A LEARNING CURVE AT FIRST
If I can make the switch, anyone can! Immersion is your best friend.

03. DON’T EXPECT LINUX TO BE JUST LIKE WINDOWS
It’s better, and you’ll soon see why.

04. WHETHER YOU USE UBUNTU OR NOT, PERUSE THEIR FORUMS TO GAIN KNOWLEDGE
Some Ubuntu forum members have written great tutorials on the intricacies of fstab, grub, virtualization, customization, etc.

05. DON’T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT
It’s harder than you think to take down a Linux machine.

06. HELP IS AS NEAR AS YOUR KEYBOARD
There are forums. There are Usenet groups. There’s Google, of course. Better is Google/Linux. In the end, it’s a community relationship, not a customer relationship. (A lot like DC!)

07. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CROSS-PLATFORM SOFTWARE
You know more than you think you do, since you may already be using Firefox/Opera/Chrome or OpenOffice or 7-Zip/RAR or GIMP or MySQL or Beyond Compare or XnView/Picasa or Kompozer or FileZilla… I could do this all day.

08. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CLOUD
Don’t laugh. Linux is built for cloud computing, mobile computing, thick computing, Hadron colliders, and even phones!

09. LET OTHERS KNOW YOU’VE SWITCHED TO LINUX, BUT DON’T BE A JERK ABOUT IT
Don’t be "that guy." Mac users have been this way and the whole routine gets old by the second sentence. Enjoy Linux for what it is — great code, stable OS, fast platform — not for what it’s not (Windows).

10. THE COMMAND LINE AND SHELL IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
A little command line knowledge goes a long way, but you will likely use it far less than you expect to. Its power is irresistible because it’s so efficient.

More...
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 10:42:46 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 03:40:39 PM »

Thanks, Zaine.  This will be an interesting one to follow...
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Chris
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 06:12:06 PM »

Wise thoughts but never worked for me. Everytime I've tried to switch there were more than 3 additional points against me which I couldn't pass right.

Why "additional"? Because 9th was always in the air Sad

After few years of trying I don't see the point to change from XP.
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f0dder
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2008, 07:04:51 PM »

I wouldn't mind moving away from Windows, because I'm certainly not a fan of Microsoft at large, the DRM (even though that's not just Microsoft's fault), the proprietary file formats etc. But I don't want to move away when all the alternatives are inferior. Linux is not great code. Kernel and other parts might be OK, but when you start digging into the other components that make up a distribution, and start looking at some of the bitchfights... ugh. Microsoft certainly isn't perfect, but moving to that kind of infantility?

I had actually planned to dual-boot my new laptop with Xubuntu and give it a serious try, but of course the thing doesn't want to install - weird grub errors I've never seen before, and haven't been able to track down the source of. And can't give GRUB a try since, for some reason, it wants to grab that off the net. And while the pretty standard realtek gigabit NIC is detected by the kernel, there's no connectivity - some kernel IRQ routing fuckup is my guess, considering the insane number reported in /proc/interrupts .

And that's just the point where I give up. I don't want to go through a zillion hoops just to do simple things. I've used linux since RedHat 5.1, I've messed with debian, slackware, archlinux, gentoo, x/k/ubuntu and a couple of others. I've usually been able to make them do what I wanted (including DSL router/firewall, root-encrypted fileserver, various development support needs like apache/php/mysql/postgres/subversion/redmine etc.), but there's always been too much bloody work involved.

No filesystem hierarchy standard that everybody agrees on. And even when there's a somewhat similar layout, subtle (or not so subtle!) things are handled differently. A zillion different package managers, not to mention that Perl, Python and Ruby have their own systems. Makes me want to scream and knock my head against the wall.

But at least for server use, it makes sense. I can run the system headless and SSH to it, which is more efficient across the internet than remote desktop. And once you've spent all the frustrated time getting things working and firewalled the stuff, you can often let the systems sit by unattended for years (same with Windows, though. Both systems obviously need to be updated when there's vulnerable software).

But for desktops? Too much bloody work, I'd have to spend time hunting for replacement software (some of it beta and/or pretty inferior to what I have - show me a competitor to Visual Studio that isn't half-baked), and to what benefit? Sure, "freedom" - whatever that means.

Sorry for the rant, but I get frustrated when I see people claiming it's easy and full of joy to 'switch over'. Sure, it can work for some people - my mum could probably be happy with an Ubuntu, she'd still be able to play flash games, do her java-enabled web banking, surf the net, use OpenOffice and send/receive mails. And you don't need to "shop for compatible hardware" in the same sense as in the early years. But for me it's just too much frustration to be worth it Sad

Oh, and that was just from the end-user's perspective. I won't go into the issues of GPL and program-for-a-living now, but that's another thing that I'm pretty skeptical about, to put it mildly.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 07:06:31 PM by f0dder » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 09:19:48 PM »

2f0dder
100% agree.

In my case, many times the scheme was simple: Live CDs working flawless but when it goes to install... kernel panic.

He. Once I couldn't get my net working after HDD install and the only help I get was: "Google it, f*n n00b". OK, I did it. After dozen of hours in net cafeterias and many days of trying, the only thing I learnt was that "It is my fault for buying crappy wireless card". Well, it worked under Windows and any Live distro I've ever tried.

As I wrote in previous post: too many nines which drove me back to MS software. It is stupid but many times I felt too strange seeing looks full of disgust from "gurus", after they discovered that I own full-payed version of XP. It is not my pair of boots being somewhere unwelcome.
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zridling
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2008, 12:28:46 AM »

[f0dder]:
Quote
Linux is not great code. Kernel and other parts might be OK, but when you start digging into the other components that make up a distribution....
Ah, but there's the rub. You're confusing Linux per se with any distribution. Two very different animals.

Quote
I don't want to go through a zillion hoops just to do simple things.... there's always been too much bloody work involved.
I don't doubt you had problems. I haven't had very many at all, and the ones I have had, I've been able to easily google my way out of in minutes.

Quote
No filesystem hierarchy standard that everybody agrees on. And even when there's a somewhat similar layout, subtle (or not so subtle!) things are handled differently. A zillion different package managers, not to mention that Perl, Python and Ruby have their own systems.
This confuses me. By "filesystem hierarchy standard" do you mean a particular one, such as Ext3, RFS, ZFS, Ext4? FAT, NTFS, or the traditional filesystem structure:
  • /usr
  • /etc
  • /var
  • /bin
  • /proc
  • /boot
  • /home
  • /root
  • /sbin
  • /dev
  • /lib
  • /tmp

The mere choice of file system is great to me, and for my old data. Microsoft never got around to implementing a new FS for Vista, if you recall. Linux lets you spread the file system over as many different hard drives and partitions as you want but still appear like a seamless whole. The /home directory is always /home no matter if it is moved to a separate disk. I've only come across two package managers, rpm and deb, and LSB4 has conflated their SDKs as we speak. I don't know enough to ask about perl,python,ruby having their own.

Quote
But for desktops? Too much bloody work, I'd have to spend time hunting for replacement software (some of it beta and/or pretty inferior to what I have - show me a competitor to Visual Studio that isn't half-baked), and to what benefit? Sure, "freedom" - whatever that means.
Which software are you trying to replace? Isn't Visual Studio a Microsoft coding product for its OSes only? If it does C, then it should work, right? (I really don't know; I'm dropdead ignorant about programming.) For myself, freedom works in my favor:
- No DRM or interference with fair use content on your own system;
- no proprietary formats if I choose; open standards guarantee data portability;
- no licensing costs, i.e., no more paying for my OS. When you subsist in the lower middle class, this helps.
- freedom from Microsoft or Apple and its EULAs have been nice;
- free to read bug reports and their fixes;
- no data/email lock-in;
- freedom to choose which distro suits my needs (Windows/Mac give you one choice, theirs);
- freedom from blue screens, most all viruses, and best of all, from Microsoft's latest fiat;
- freedom from having to purchase new hardware to run every successive release;
- freedom from activation; product keys; validation; pay-per-incident support, and even a registry;
- freedom to install Linux on as many computers as I want, and have as many users on any one system, each with their own unique access, desktop setups, internet privileges (for the littlest ones) and software.

Quote
Sorry for the rant, but I get frustrated when I see people claiming it's easy and full of joy to 'switch over'. Sure, it can work for some people.... But for me it's just too much frustration to be worth it.
I can understand that. At least you're honest with yourself. As for me, it's not nearly as difficult as I was told and frankly, I haven't had this much fun on a computer since the early 90s. Use what you love; love what you use. Either way, as long as you're happy.
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f0dder
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2008, 08:31:34 AM »

[f0dder]:
Quote
Linux is not great code. Kernel and other parts might be OK, but when you start digging into the other components that make up a distribution....
Ah, but there's the rub. You're confusing Linux per se with any distribution. Two very different animals.
I know that "linux" is the kernel and that you should say GNU/Linux to refer to the system, and use a fully qualified distro name, and use SI-approved units like MiBiBytes etc... but I refuse to take part in that sillyness.

If you say "linux", any sane person will know you're talking about a distribution. If you say "the linux kernel", well duh. As for software and quality, there's a large subset of software used by all the distributions, so meh.

This confuses me. By "filesystem hierarchy standard" do you mean a particular one, such as Ext3, RFS, ZFS, Ext4? FAT, NTFS, or the traditional filesystem structure:
Since I say hierarchy, obviously it's the layout/structure. And no, this hasn't been properly standardized. Yeah yeah, there's the FHS, but that doesn't stop distros for doing things slightly differently. True, there's some differences between Windows versions, but at least you can look up paths in the registry. On linux, only the distribution's own tools knows where things go.

The mere choice of file system is great to me, and for my old data. Microsoft never got around to implementing a new FS for Vista, if you recall.
And I'm glad they didn't - all that SQL junk ontop of NTFS sounded like a trainwreck to me. NTFS by itself is a pretty decent and well tested FS. Sure, some of the newer filesystems like XFS or ZFS or BTRFS could be interesting - but it's not like anything stops you from porting those to Windows. People just don't seem to have much interest in doing so.

Linux lets you spread the file system over as many different hard drives and partitions as you want but still appear like a seamless whole.
NTFS junctions...

Which software are you trying to replace? Isn't Visual Studio a Microsoft coding product for its OSes only? If it does C, then it should work, right? (I really don't know; I'm dropdead ignorant about programming.)
It's a pretty well-polished programming IDE with features that aren't useful just for windows development. I've looked at code::blocks, anjuta, kdevelop and eclipse, but many are slightly buggy or outdated, and arent't really in the same league.

For myself, freedom works in my favor:
I snipped the list. But yes, some of those points are reasons why I wouldn't mind having a working alternative to Windows. I think the unconformity of distros is a problem, though, and I don't get viruses or BSODs on Windows (except for bad hardware or drivers, but that would cause kernel panics on linux anyway smiley). The registry is a good thing, btw, and it's a shame linux is stuck with a cluttered mess of config files with different formats.
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2008, 10:42:02 AM »

Quote from: zriddling
Don’t be "that guy." Mac users have been this way and the whole routine gets old by the second sentence. Enjoy Linux for what it is — great code, stable OS, fast platform — not for what it’s not (Windows).
Amen smiley

That said, i recently installed Ubuntu on my laptop and i'm really glad i did it. It very fast (i could spend hours playing with those elastic windows) and less obscure than i expected. Wine really impressed me too. As i mainly use Photoshop and Flash for work, i never considered using Ubuntu as my main OS but now i've seen both programs running via Wine, i'm actually considering switching to Ubuntu. VirtualBox is pretty impressive too, i loved running XP through Ubuntu (yes, i have simple joys).
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2008, 11:43:06 AM »

I don't know...

It's no harder for a person to become a "Linux  Guru" (whatever that is), than it is to become an expert in any other OS or application suite.

I wasn't a big fan  of Linux when it first came out. I had a ton of solid technical arguments as to why it wasn't really workable. But when I was being honest with myself, I realized that my real problem with Linux was that I felt threatened by it. I didn't want to have to learn a whole new OS. I was afraid my Windows credentials and work experience (both of which had cost me considerable time and capital to acquire) would suffer devaluation if Linux caught on. And even worse, to really learn Linux, I would have to become a novice again - a clueless newcomer. And that was a real problem because, quite frankly, I bathed in the glow of being The Guy people went to for answers instead of the other way around.

And then, there were all those horror stories from people that had "been there." Cautionary tales about ordinary people who innocently installed Linux only to discover that it set their computer on fire - or caused cancer in the family dog.

Scary stuff! Bad mojo, this penguin thing! tellme

But once I got past the angst (and my little ego trip), I discovered Linux was interesting, fun, and profitable to know. It was no harder to learn, or get good at, than anything else. And it was neither significantly better nor worse than any other family of software. It was just different.

And all the horror stories I was hearing turned out to be just that - stories. Grin

I personally find it rather interesting to hear how often Linux is criticized (usually by people that don't actually use it) for what can best be summarized as "Not Being Perfect." It's especially interesting when you consider most of the complaints are about problems with proprietary codecs and drivers (especially wifi), which are issues beyond any Linux developer's control. If Linux has compatibility issues with technology developed exclusively for Windows, it's because Linux is not Windows. (Ok Class, please repeat this three times: Linux is not Windows...) And to criticize it for that is no different than faulting a dog for not being a cat.

Well, the critics can rest easy. Linux isn't perfect. And nobody in the GNU/Linux camp that knows what they're talking about (including Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, et al) would claim otherwise. But that was part of the original plan anyway. GNU/Linux is easy to bash because its commitment to "openness" was designed to make GNU/Linux easy to bash. And to fix. And to improve.

Linux is a perpetual work-in-progress. So is almost everything else. The only difference is that the Linux world is completely up front about it. They embrace the unfinished. Some might even argue they revel in the fact it will never be "done." If you can live with that, then all's to the good.

But if you're the type that feels driven to hit your head against a wall when confronted by a vast selection of choices and options, then Linux is definitely not for you. And that's fine too. Just continue to use Windows or OSX or whatever works best for you. The Linux community wishes you well no matter what since personal choice is much what we're about.



And should you ever change your mind...well...you know where to find us. Cool
 smiley
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zridling
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2008, 11:50:19 AM »

[tangent]: ak_, you'll be happy to know that Adobe Flash Player 10 for Linux was released yesterday and can be downloaded. Microsoft continues its own Silverlight development.
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2008, 02:51:44 PM »

FYI:

All Ubuntu based distros (Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, EdUbuntu, etc) are going to have the 8.10 update on the 30th, followed by several last minute updates - it may be worth giving another shot.

My opinion on why Ubuntu is still not ready for "normal users":

I personally have a problem with Ubuntu's ability for "learning users" (wannabe power users, ex: me) being able to seriously fsck up the whole OS by one bad setting line; my laptop can no longer launch the X window system because of a "tweak" I found on Google (text based computing is a serious bummer). You [advanced linux users] can go on about how you have to use sudo and that you shouldn't mess with things you don't know about, but if you never mess with anything, you'll never learn anything. But the lack of an error recovery ability is simply appalling. I'm glad I have nothing life shattering on that ex3 partition, 'cause 8.10 is going on it as soon as ATI xorg drivers are out.

I love Ubuntu, but it still needs that little bit of extra "noob friendliness" IMO. Stuff should be wizard based, and less leaning on the terminal. And... *goes off to Ubuntu forums to complain* tongue

Anyways, give it a go when it comes out. Might just work for you this time around Wink Thmbsup
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2008, 04:19:08 PM »

My kids love Linux. They use Windows at school. but mostly use Linux at home. Prefer the depositories to searching for Windows software. Have to use Windows for some progs. Certainly not Linux gurus - but not Windows gurus either and are equally competent (or incompetent) in both.

For many people, I think the biggest problem is Linux gurus. They want simple places to go for simple answers to simple questions. Not complex answers that make them feel they don't understand, when they don't really want to understand, just to know what to do.

I've never really had any problems with Linux. Mostly because, if I can't make it work fairly easily, I give up and use another distro or use Windows for that task; and now I find Linux deals with most hardware and has progs for most of the things I do. Had lots and lots of problems with Windows because there has never been much alternative except to find a solution. So I'm less inexpert in Windows and still use it more. Looking forward to 8.10 though.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2008, 06:22:16 PM »

I have a question : i'd like to install Ubuntu on my home computer, but i know 8.10 version is coming very soon. So, i need advice.

Should i :

- Install 8.04 and then upgrade to 8.10 when it's released (assuming that upgrading is safe and won't cause any weird problem).
- Wait for 8.10 and then install it.

Thank you smiley
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2008, 06:24:14 PM »

Wait it out - upgrade might work just fine, but I generally stay away from updates on any OS. Heck, even service packs for windows warrant a clean reinstall from a slipstreamed CD, imho.
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2008, 07:49:28 PM »

I have used various versions of Linux in the past and I've been using Ubuntu for a couple of weeks since I wanted to do some Mono programming with it and port some of my software over to Linux. This means that I need to install Mono onto Ubuntu. From my impressions as a new user of Ubuntu and it's image as one of the friendlier Linux distros out there, I have to say that Windows still has Linux beat for user friendliness. I found out that there is no official user support for the installation of Mono onto Ubuntu so I'm now trying to download a torrent of a distro where somebody has done all the dirty work of figuring out how get the Mono framework running on it.

Another big problem is the requirement to use the terminal to do a lot of the program installations and any advanced settings that are required to get some programs up and running. It's not as simple as Windows where it is often a double-click on an icon that opens a wizard to guide you through installation in a graphical way. Also, I think that there are too many Linux distros out there and this harms it because now a user has to figure out if a Linux program will actually run on his system or if he has to compile it from the source code!

I think Linux could take a step forward by doing anyway with the terminal and simplifying the installation of some programs. I don't think any user short of a programmer should have to touch the terminal.
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2008, 09:03:46 PM »

I really can't agree with that advise. I think most of that have been solved by the most newbie friendly distros.

The thing that I think stops me from adapting to Linux aren't those but are:

1) Understanding the whole wine upgrade thing

You need the latest wine. You need to figure out if it's a wine bug, a font bug or a Microsoft program bug. That's three too many for most users. You even have to know that Cedega not wine is for games and you need to pay for it to see the difference and you're chained to most mainstream applications because if you have a niche group like any of the DC programs and am not a true power user, damn you better be sure that your forum has as much friendly community as DC that might care enough about Linux compatibility and that's still ignoring the problem of when it's not possible.

2) Lack of people porting programs requiring to gzip or to tar to a more friendly .deb or just a repository.

I fault myself for being too lazy to focus on this and am still looking for other things unrelated to Linux but I think this catches most casual users off. 1st, the distro makes it easy for you to install stuff with package managers than it quickly jumps to difficult forcing certain niche programs to be installed from source, there's just very little middle ground like in Windows where a program requires to download a new installer like those requiring .Net

3) Lack of understanding Virtualbox

I think for most people especially those who aren't into games, this is a more viable solution than dual booting but even when you get Windows to work, the whole sharing files between both OS's I think is still IT level. I know I really couldn't get whether a Virtualized OS can read flash sticks and external HDs or it's a whole nother beast altogether.

4) The minor bugs

Again, my fault for being too busy to follow up on my Linux problem where it failed to boot and lately even the bootloader GUI seems broken and I have to go to a terminal interface but it's minor things like these that make Linux more worrying because...

5) You really can't go wrong with having a real life Linux buddy to save your ass.

And unfortunately, they're not exactly as prominent as Windows buddy and then you have to be close enough friends to them that it doesn't come off as making friends with them for the sake of using Linux but Linux is so foreign that more times than not, you are actually asking them to help you with Linux than socializing with them and these are people who've battled through it alone so it's not always a sure thing that they can appreciate your hardships when they've been more tolerant.

Also with Windows, if it dies. It's either Windows update or the virus scanner stinks. With Linux, it can be anything about anything. 
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2008, 10:41:06 PM »

Another big problem is the requirement to use the terminal to do a lot of the program installations and any advanced settings that are required to get some programs up and running. It's not as simple as Windows where it is often a double-click on an icon that opens a wizard to guide you through installation in a graphical way. Also, I think that there are too many Linux distros out there and this harms it because now a user has to figure out if a Linux program will actually run on his system or if he has to compile it from the source code!

(40hz sighs and hauls his butt up on his soapbox once again.... Grin)

There are a lot of people, Linux users among them, that would agree that there are too many separate distributions. But a lot of the confusion comes from people thinking that each distribution represents a radically different flavor of Linux.

In actuality, despite the number of distributions, there are really only four major distributions: Slackware; Debian; RedHat; and SUSE. Virtually all the other distros use one of the four 'majors' as the base and build from there. In most cases, the only real differences are: what non-free software gets included; what local languages are supported; and what the preferred desktop manager is.

So in a nutshell, there's significantly less there than meets the eye.


 Cool

As far as compiling packages goes, most Linux users will never need to do that unless they are installing something so arcane or bleeding edge that distro-specific precompiled packages haven't yet been made. But with approximately 18-20,000 (and still growing!) packages available in each of the major distro repositories, it's getting a little difficult to find something the average (or even not so average) user would want that isn't already precompiled.

Furthermore, there are working conversion utilities that allow you to use the packages from one distro's repositories with a completely different distro (i.e. RPM to DEB, etc.). I've used such converted packages several times when I couldn't be bothered to wait for something to be included in my preferred distro's repository and I didn't feel like compiling it on my own. And to date, I never experienced a problem with doing so.

And compiling isn't really such a big deal. Compiling a Linux app is almost always done in four simple steps:

Step-1:Unpacking
Most packages come compressed when you download them. Unpacking a package in Linux is not very different from unzipping a file in Windows: you copy the file to a directory and unpack it. The ususal command to do that is called tar (from the archaic 'tape archive') and usually looks like this:

tar -xvzf package.tar.gz (sometimes the file extension is bz2 which is just a variant of .gz)

Step-2: Configure
Configuration is actually a bit of a misnomer. You aren't configuring something so much as you're checking your system to make sure all the system dependencies are in place before you start compiling. This is an important step because this process generates values for system dependent variables that are needed for something called a makefile. You don't need to know what that is just so long as you know that the configuration step has to be completed successfully before you actually compile you application.

All you need to do to make all this happen is change to the directory that you unpacked your package in:

cd/package

and run the supplied configuration script which is included as part of your package:

./configure

Usually it will execute without a problem. The only time you will normally get an error will be if the package is damaged (in which case you need to download it again) or you're missing a dependency which you can almost always install through your distro's normal package manager (i.e. APT, YUM, Synaptic, etc.). This is no different than what you run into in Windows when an application informs you that you need to install .NET Framework, a VisualBasic runtime, a Java runtime, or update a Windows component before it can be installed.

Step-3:Build the binary
Once ./configure exits without errors you actually compile your binary package. This is done with the make command:

make

Step-4: Install the app
Once make completes all that's left to do is install the binary t you just created. That's done with the make-install command:

make install

And that's it. You've just compiled your very own Linux package from source!

Here's a quick review. We'll use a fictional Linux application named w00t that ships as a tar.gz archive for this example:

# tar -xvzf w00t.tar.gz
# cd w00t
# ./configure
# make
# make install


That's it. Not so hard, right? Especially when you consider that you don't really need to know what any of that actually means so long as you follow the steps. And these four steps are the same for about 99.9% of what's out there. Do it once and you know how to do it for almost everything.

Quote
I think Linux could take a step forward by doing anyway with the terminal and simplifying the installation of some programs. I don't think any user short of a programmer should have to touch the terminal.

The Terminal (brass fanfare as the incense rises...) goes right to the heart of what Linux is all about. It's a philosophical as well as a technical issue for many people. Especially once they get some experience and discover just how powerful and useful a tool the command line is.

Much like touch-typing, the command line is a skill set that takes some effort to learn. But once you make that effort, there's just no going back.

I can't say much in response to your suggestion to do away with the command line other than to say not to hold your breath. You can take the command prompt away from many Linux users "when you can pry it from their cold dead fingers" to borrow from an old bumper sticker.

So spend a little time getting acquainted with the bash shell and your terminal app. And make a modest effort to learn how to use Vim, or some other basic editor. You'll be amazed how much power you've gained with nothing more invested than your time.

 Cool
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 10:46:25 PM by 40hz » Logged

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f0dder
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2008, 10:59:41 PM »

Only four major distros? Which one of those would you say gentoo derives from, then? Wink

As for building from source, yeah those are the basic steps. But you forgot the whole hunting-down-dependency-hell and uninstall/upgrade bother.
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2008, 11:39:46 PM »

Quote
Only four major distros? Which one of those would you say gentoo derives from, then?  Wink

Zing!  tongue

I think that puts it to 6. Puppy, Slackware, Debian, Suse, Gentoo and...I'm not really sure Redhat counts. Technically it is but I think just based on user needs Ubuntu even though it's based on Debian is more of a major distro nowadays.

Quote
Terminal

I think this is just a misunderstanding between two parties. Usually when I hear people say "no to terminal", I think what they mean is for it to function more like a Mac than for the terminal to be get rid of all together.


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« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2008, 11:52:20 PM »

I'm downloading the 8.10 Ubuntu beta right now (Intrepid Ibex) and I plan to install it as a Windows application and run it from within Windows (never done it before, but I want to be able to use my X-Fi while running Ubuntu, along with some other things that Ubuntu still has iffy support for (*cough* 3D GAMES *cough*). I've heard this is the best way for Windows -> Ubuntu users to give it a shot, but I am not sure if it needs to have a separate partition or not. Even if it does, the "real" install does too, so its not any more work.

I can have my Ubuntu and eat it too! Er.. how does that go again? tongue
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2008, 12:11:49 AM »

Thanks. Keep us updated. Would be nice to see how different it is from Wubi.
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40hz
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2008, 12:20:01 AM »

Only four major distros? Which one of those would you say gentoo derives from, then? Wink

As for building from source, yeah those are the basic steps. But you forgot the whole hunting-down-dependency-hell and uninstall/upgrade bother.

Gentoo is what's called a "sourced-based" distro, and isn't derived from any of the four majors I cited (as if you didn't know Wink). On their website, Gentoo claims to be "based on either Linux or BSD", so go figure. I guess you can say it's based on everything.

I didn't forget the dependency issue. From my experience, the whole "hunting-down-the-dependency-hell" thing is vastly exaggerated and somewhat outdated. You can always find exceptions, but if you install the build-essential (or equivalent) package in most distros you will seldom encounter any problems. Build-essentials are usually included, or flagged as 'recommended', in most default installations.

If ./configure reports any other missing dependencies (i.e. missing package-name) a simple invocation of the distros package manager (ex: apt-get install package-name) will fix it.

Pretty much the only time you'll encounter the missing dependency issue is if you did a custom (or minimal) install of your distro. Either that, or you're trying out some fairly esoteric piece of software. I don't think either situation would apply to the average Linux novice.

If you know enough to do a custom distro install, or you're experimenting with some really weird or bleeding-edge app, then hunting down a dependency shouldn't present much of a challenge. Cool

Zing!  tongue

I think that puts it to 6. Puppy, Slackware, Debian, Suse, Gentoo and...I'm not really sure Redhat counts. Technically it is but I think just based on user needs Ubuntu even though it's based on Debian is more of a major distro nowadays.

Nyet. Wink

I said major distros.

Gentoo is a classic example of a VCIW - another great idea rendered moot by advances in hardware. Puppy is a specialist minimalist distro with an emphasis on frugal system resource requirements.

Redhat counts because of RPM and the RedHat repositories. Repositories are the keys to the kingdom. Few care about the distro they're using. What they do care about is how much 'vetted' software is available that can be installed with the minimum fuss and bother. And if you'll notice, the distros with the biggest and most complete repositories also tend to be among the most popular.

To a certain extent, f0dder is absolutely right about the dependency-hell issue. People don't need the hassles. And all they have to do is pick a distribution that has the most available via its package manager to avoid them. Thmbsup


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40hz
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2008, 12:25:57 AM »

I'm downloading the 8.10 Ubuntu beta right now (Intrepid Ibex) and I plan to install it as a Windows application and run it from within Windows (never done it before, but I want to be able to use my X-Fi while running Ubuntu, along with some other things that Ubuntu still has iffy support for (*cough* 3D GAMES *cough*). I've heard this is the best way for Windows -> Ubuntu users to give it a shot, but I am not sure if it needs to have a separate partition or not. Even if it does, the "real" install does too, so its not any more work.

I can have my Ubuntu and eat it too! Er.. how does that go again? tongue

Yep. Do a WUBI install. It does not require a separate partition when you do it that way. Ubu gets installed into an ordinary file on your Windows NTFS partition that behaves like a regular Linux partition when you boot into it.

Be forewarned, Ibex is a beta. Hardy Heron would probably be a safer bet if you're new to Ubuntu. tellme

Have fun! Thmbsup
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2008, 12:50:37 AM »

I found out that there is no official user support for the installation of Mono onto Ubuntu

That may be because of the whole issue of Mono being a .NET 'clone' rather than for any technical reason.

There are some serious legal questions regarding whether or not Microsoft will assert patent violations against the Mono platform. Microsoft has stated publicly on more than one occasion that they believe Mono to be infringing on Microsoft intellectual properties. And although Microsoft has recently signed agreements with Novell not to pursue legal action against Novell's customers for patent violations (which includes the use of Mono), this only applies to the use of Mono on Novell platforms.

There is also a feeling in many parts of the general Linux community that Mono is a 'big mistake' that does nothing for Linux and only serves to further entrench Microsoft's .NET platform as the development framework of choice. There is also some concern that Mono could function as a "Trojan horse" in that Microsoft may decide wait until Mono has made itself essential to Linux software development before they take legal action against it.

I don't think you can blame Canonical for being leery of granting 'officially supported' status to Mono. Especially when you consider what a thorn in the side Ubuntu has been to Microsoft.

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40hz
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2008, 01:09:29 AM »

Quote
Terminal

I think this is just a misunderstanding between two parties. Usually when I hear people say "no to terminal", I think what they mean is for it to function more like a Mac than for the terminal to be get rid of all together.

I understand that VideoInPicture is not saying to get rid of the terminal altogether...

I don't think any user short of a programmer should have to touch the terminal.

... what I'm disagreeing with is the notion that only programmers should ever have to touch the terminal.

Some tools are just too useful to leave on the shelf - even if they can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Grin


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