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I'm beginning my experiment with Linux and other OS's.

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I agree, software makes the platform. I'm starting to tinker with Linux a bit because I've moved to a new web host,, and it basically demands I "dig in" a bit to get what I want. But it's commandline-only, and the software I'm installing is all to the end of a full-featured web server. It's a totally different need from a desktop. Still, it has piqued my interest a bit in trying the desktop experience again some time (my past experience is basically limited to "Live" CDs). I figure I'll do it in a VM, but then part of me feels like maybe that's not really giving it a full shake, I would never really use it to its fullest...

Incidentally I'm not sure why the "Macs are better for graphics" myth continues. That hasn't been true for a decade or so now. While there are admittedly a few (very few) Mac-only applications for graphics work, the vast majority are cross-platform or PC-specific. In fact as I hear it PC was the lead platform for the latest Adobe Creative Suite...

- Oshyan

Geez, 40hz, I said it before and I'll say it there anything you don't do??  I feel like you are me, only you've done everything a couple years before I have!  Tell me, what does the future hold for me?  ;D

cyberdiva, I didn't mean to sound berating or anything.  I was more talking to myself, sorry.  It's part of the process I'm going through to open my mind up to non-Windows OS's.

OK, I'm annoyed by a couple of other things in opensuse:

--I have to keep entering my admin password for any kind of tweaking, even though I keep checking the "remember the password" option.  How do I just remain logged in permanently as an admin?

--I have a lot of little crashes in programs.  I was just just clicking around the different programs, and I got a couple more.

The thing is, I'm sure all of these things can be fixed easily if you are familiar with the system.  But I don't have the time at this point.  I was hoping that it would be really easy to use.  Maybe I'm overthinking it.  I don't know at this point.

There is no hint of the sluggishness that I'm used to with Windows.-superboyac (December 19, 2009, 07:19 PM)
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Even with accelerated video drivers, stuff like resizing windows tend to be sluggish compared to Windows because of the way X11 and the various graphics toolkits work. And last time I had a native linux install on my workstation, the default gnome text editor started in about the same time as Visual Studio 2005... not impressed. Also, second-time (hot-from-cache) launches weren't much faster, leaving me thinking that there's something horribly broken somewhere. I guess things could have changed since those couple of years back, but seeing how slow stuff launches on friends Linux and OS X laptops, I'm not convinced.

But I hate how you have to be constantly tweaking it and taking care of it to make sure you have no problems.-superboyac (December 19, 2009, 07:19 PM)
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You do? I haven't experienced this since the Win9x days, and that's even though I install/uninstall a lot of stuff. Since jumping onto Win2k, things have run pretty well unless I've messed up majorly, say by writing buggy driver code and testing it on my main machine rather than a VM or dedicated test box. Same goes for all the machines I've managed.

And no matter what anyone says, I strongly feel that for the power of any given pc's hardware, Windows makes very poor use of it.-superboyac (December 19, 2009, 07:19 PM)
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IMHO it does - each new version of Windows has raised the minimum hardware requirements, and not always by justified amounts, but at the same time has been better at utilizing higher-end machines. While Win7 has higher requirements than XP64, it certainly runs a whole lot better on my workstation. Same goes for Vista on my laptop (which isn't even all that powerful). If anything is sluggish it's the applications - and if that bothers you, stick with older versions instead of going for latest-and-greatest if you don't need it. I could live with Office2000 just fine, which is blindingly fast compared to 2003 and 2007... but because of cost, I stick with OpenOffice which is a sluggish pig even compared to Office2007.

When I read explanations of how to do something in Linux, I tense up.  The terminology, the assumptions about what a user knows and is comfortable with, seem very alien.-cyberdiva (December 20, 2009, 10:01 AM)
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Amen to that - despite the polishing-up of a lot of distros, linux just isn't written for regular users. As soon as you need to do something slightly non-trivial that the GUI frontend won't let you do (mindbogglingly difficult and unordinary tasks like using multiple monitors come to mind) you gotta drop to a terminal and very poor documentation.

Anyway, it's all a matter of being able to experiment and opening our minds up.  Let go of emotions, and be rational about the whole thing.  After all, it's only software, there's no need to be emotionally tied to it.-superboyac (December 20, 2009, 05:11 PM)
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One thing is being emotionally attached, another is being disappointed with mostly half-assed clones of Windows software.

Incidentally I'm not sure why the "Macs are better for graphics" myth continues.-JavaJones (December 20, 2009, 11:51 PM)
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Yeah, that does seem pretty silly :D

How do I just remain logged in permanently as an admin?-superboyac (December 21, 2009, 01:11 AM)
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You don't, just like you don't turn off UAC on Vista/Win7. You don't need to (and really really shouldn't) be logged on as admin for extended periods of times.

Wow, sorry I just arrived. Been a busy weekend testing a variety of distros among a room full of systems. Glad to see others have jumped in and advised SuperboyAC. Now on to SB's first impressions and other things.

- There are tons of "tip" sites, blogs, pages around. Google is your friend, as am I. Check out the "linux help" blogroll section on my blog at:

- I compare switching OSes to switching languages. Speaking the new one takes time. Immersion is your best friend. Dual-booting will make you schizophrenic. Imagine an Apple person migrating to Windows. It looks familiar, but file management and software installations are different for each one.

- Don't fall in love with any one distro; instead find the one that works for you. For example, MEPIS, Mint, and Mandriva are three that are highly polished and stylized. The real difference is which desktop environment you will use: KDE or GNOME. Each one is good; both are lacking something the other does well. I settled for KDE4 because I can make it look like Win7, OSX, or heck, what I want, which is a clean desktop, but a loaded taskbar. Explore the UI. For example, if you right-click the KDE START button, you can edit the application menus and structure. I like openSUSE's implementation of KDE. But kubuntu's no slouch, nor is sidux. A site like Planet KDE will inform you as you go.

- Don't get hung up on the fast upgrade cycle. Some distros like Ubuntu upgrade every six months. Others every 9-12 months, and some when they're damned well ready (Debian). Keep your \home folder on a separate partition and you'll retain all your data, and for the most part, your application tweaks.

- Your days of buying software are [mostly] over. The only software I bought for Linux was Nero/Linux. And KDE's K3B app is actually better. All the browsers have full Linux versions. Opera, Firefox, and Chrome come with all the extensions and themes you'll want on Linux. Text editing, programming, and web development is pretty fantastic. I could go on. (I don't play games except chess and solitaire, so I can't advise you there. The GNU Chess app will beat you every time.)

- Discover the Droid fonts. They're nice. Along with that, subpixel rendering. Makes every word on the screen crystal clear with a decent monitor.

- Use the software what you know. You'll be surprised at how much cross-platform software is around. I do FTP with Filezilla. I archive with 7-Zip. Word process and spreadsheet work with OpenOffice, etc. No need to reinvent those wheels.

- Don't think you have to love it, but realize a few of Linux's advantages. You will save money because your software budget can now go for new hardware or something ... anything else. Two of my formerly favorite Windows apps recently tripled in price. Instead of being pissed, I had a laugh over it. You have a choice of filesystems now. Your data just got a lot safer. File transfers are fast again. So is your processor.

I could go on, but you get the drift. I have a Win7 machine in the corner of my basement if I need it. I also have it virtualized using VirtualBox. My wife's work laptop uses Windows. So I'm not completely gone. I've had a blast making the switch. After more than two decades of using Microsoft OSes, I earned the right to try something different. Turns out that right now, Linux is pretty nice, and has come a long way in just three years.


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