The last distribution I had installed was Fedora 7, and after getting a new videocard, I reinstalled Ubuntu. For the unsuspecting newbie like myself, after you've installed a half dozen distros from Debian to Fedora to Mandriva to MEPIS to PCLinuxOS to Ubuntu, the first thing you notice is that they all essentially look the same. That's because they're using one of two desktop environments (shells in Windows lingo) — Gnome or KDE. If I didn't go any further than appearances, then it doesn't matter which distro is underneath that pretty UI. But the differences can be either subtle or significant depending on how you use your system, and what type of system you're able to install GNU/Linux onto.
After booting Ubuntu the first time, I installed the updates automatically. However, Ubuntu didn't recognize my videocard despite allowing me to download the specific driver for it. Fonts were grainy, and even after adjusting their settings, they still looked bad. After running the update manager, the system needed to reboot. When I rebooted, Ubuntu froze. Here's the complex solution which did not work for me. (http://ubuntuforums....wthread.php?t=461215
) I ended up reinstalling it two more times to the same result. Not wanting to spend an entire weekend or longer trying to fix it, I surrendered. Our friend Gothi(c)
predicted this common problem in the last part of this serial!
If you do install Ubuntu (or any distro) via dual-boot, just like everything else, backup your system
! Reread that last sentence. I'll wait. If you install Ubuntu, you'll want to also download and install Automatix
, which allows you to download tons of Win32 software, drivers, and codecs for Debian-based systems
. For other distros, you don't need Automatix, just download whatever software you want straight from the website and install it yourself as with Windows. Otherwise, you can use the "package manager" included with the distro. The one in Ubuntu is iconic and well layed-out, whereas the one in Fedora 7 is a cleaner text list. Be forewarned, you'll be tempted just to check them all and install everything. Resist that urge, and just take it one step at a time.
I move to Fedora 7, and like PCLinuxOS, and MEPIS, it just works on my system. The new videocard and new monitor are recognized; the fonts are clear, and it's asking me if I want to install drivers for my HP printer. Installing my own fonts are as simple as click-n-dragging files from the DVD to the Fonts folder. Yea! Firefox is easy and works great, but I prefer Opera, since I've customized it to my workflow. Opera installs fine and I'm able to apply my scripts without a hitch. Same for a few other apps like WinRAR, XnView, OpenOffice, and Nero.
One way to bridge the gap and save the investment you've already made in your Windows software is to use emulator software such as VmWare
. Or you could try b]Wine
[/b], which mimics many of the Windows system functions (you do not need Windows installed on your computer). This allows you to install your Windows software through Wine and then run it under Linux. (Here is a list
of software that has been confirmed to run well using Wine.) CrossOver runs some very big apps like Photoshop and Microsoft Office with ease, and while it will cost you some money, it keeps you from having to drop everything and learn new and often times inferior apps on GNU/Linux. If you do run Photoshop, check out GIMPShop
as a transitional app, because it shares the exact same menus and toolbars as Photoshop.
Within my first week, what I've learned about GNU/Linux is this: be prepared to read
— because there is a learning curve. Learning something for the first time is energizing, but just like we all did with Windows way back when, you're going to need to set aside time to not only learn
GNU/Linux, but about
it. To do the ordinary things you do everyday on GNU/Linux will likely require your study, which makes for fits and starts when using it. You will have to stop and read enough to learn to do some things, among them solve problems (like mine mentioned above). This takes time. Again, respect the learning curve: you will not learn GNU/Linux without bending your brain. But once you reach a comfort level, the rewards are exciting, among them, no more Registry, woohoo!
And one last time: if you're dual-booting a GNU/Linux distro, backup your entire c-drive in Windows, just in case.
________________________________________________Part-01: My journey from Windows to LinuxPart-02: Which Linux distro to choose?Part-03: First impressions and first problems after installationPart-04: The "User Guide" as life raft, more n00b problemsPart-05: Ten Great Ideas of GNU/LinuxPart-06: Software Management is not that different