Linux appeal?

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by NaphtaliPress, Nov 29, 2008.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Okay; I admit there is an appeal to getting Windows free, and I appreciate our Reformed Musing's reports and instructionals (and this is not directed at you Bob but generally); but when I read stuff like this, in addition to my eyes glazing over, I am reminded of those types that insisted on hanging on to the command prompt for everything after GUIs came in. So does Linux have a teckie dark side requirement? Can "normal" people who are agnostic to the Linux religion run Linux and use all their Windows based software and/or experience they rely on? Without a tech to upgrade them every time? For instance, I publish books. I rely on some pretty hefty Adobe programs; and best I can gather Linux can't run these. So my question; what good are you? :um:
  2. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I think there are some pretty good builds now for Linux (i.e. Ubuntu) that are geared toward folks that don't want to get into the backend of figuring everything out. I'm a techie I suppose but my aversion to just going straight Linux at times is the time sink I'm afraid I might get in to.

    One thing I've thought about, though, is dual-booting into it or even just using Windows for the things I really need it for. Seriously, though, for me the feature I can't live without is Roboform so i'm kind of stuck in Windows.

    I know there are people that have figured out how to run everything Windows related in Linux, including things like Adobe Photoshop but I'm not sure how much extra time and energy is involved.
  3. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    I know the Linux-boys will stomp all over me about his, but I see absolutely no need. I HATE absolutely HATE command line stuff. Way too much like learning reverse-Polish notation on TI calculators.

    I don't get the "free" part. Unless you are going to build your own box from scratch (which in and of itself is way too much of a time sink, in my opinion) you are always "paying" for an OS (whether Windows or Mac).

    There very well may be an advantage (like Firefox over IE), but I have put a fair amount of hours into computer stuff, and when I read half of Bob's article I fall asleep, only to awakened by the sheer terror of doing a whole bunch of command line stuff from the "terminal." There is a reason that Linux has something like 1% of the computer OS share. It is the same reason that we don't grind our own corn, or manufacture our own furniture, even if in theory it could be better to do that.
  4. cbryant

    cbryant Puritan Board Freshman


    I am glad your considering coming over to the linux world. To your comment about "hose types that insisted on hanging on to the command prompt for everything after GUIs came in" Most linux/UNIX flavors come with a GUI so it isn't just that you are stuck at a command prompt typing 100 character string to do copy a file or whatever. That being said let me address your question of

    what good are you? I will spare you the long history of UNIX/Linux that started in the late 1960 at Bell Labs. When people ask me I tell them this. Linux is a low cost alternative to Windows/Mac. Depending on which flavor of Linux you are running, the license is freeware under the GNU public licensing so you can put to software on as many computers as you like. Typical applications include (but not limited to): Running a web server, running a database server, a software development platform, newer versions can be used as workstations in lue of microsoft OS pc's, etc. Downloadable freeware is a major plus but like anything 'free' downloaded there can be good with the bad.

    You asked about adobe? I would check out, it is a web site that has 1000's of different applications that can be downloaded. You may have to do some digging though to find what your looking for.

    I hope this helps.
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Fred, Rich, Bryant for that input. I have to say I'm far less inclined now than before (and Rich, I"m using Roboform too) to consider Linux. I can't stress the importance of powerful publishing software for what I do. Over the years as I have learned things I've gotten pickier on how to do things and what I want to accomplish with a publication. As long as we have the printed word, books should be done well. In the Reformed world, many are not; and some important Reformed work is being done and then published in terrible fashion or at least not as good a form as it could be.

    All things else, and the techie bent, aside, if I can't run Framemaker, InDesign etc. problem free, Linux is simply not an alternative for me it I guess.
  6. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't run Windows (don't even own a copy) but I would say that you should stay away from Linux altogether. If there is one thing I can't stand is an inoculated Linux hater. Some poor guy gets convinced by someone that Linux is great and will do everything he needs it to, and then when he tries it and realises what a huge amount of work and learning it is (to really know your Linux system presents a rather large learning curve; it is one thing to install Ubuntu or some variant for surfing the web, but quite another to deal with circular dependency problems while trying to get some new software workings and so on) and then when he finally gives up, he is left with nothing much to say about Linux except for the occasional bitter remark about how things don't work as well on Linux as Windows. If you are happy with your Adobe software (and it seems that you are) stick to Windows. If you ever decide you want to play with Linux, (and by 'play' I mean that in a literal sense, or perhaps as tinkering) give it a go, and remember to pick a distribution which has good user forums, such as Ubuntu. That way you will get helpful answers to any questions you might have. A good way to learn how to use a Linux distribution is to do it in your free time, without having to depend on it at first.

    I am with you on that opinion. Of course there is some nifty publishing software for Linux, which produces professional results. It's probably just not as nice to use as your Adobe software though.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  7. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Chris,

    What I usually tell folks is that if you stay in or close to the center of the lane, you'll be fine in Linux. That means running only fully supported programs (over 20,000 packages on my distribution) in the main repositories and letting the normal update process keep you going. The problems come in when leaving those well-defined lanes. (The same thing is true in Windows with complex setups.) I live well outside those lanes, and generally enjoy the challenges.

    Unfortunately, few Windows programs have Linux versions. Adobe has a reader for Linux, but not a creator. The good news is that Linux has excellent and free software available to do most anything you want, it just isn't the same software as Windows. Some works very similarly. For example, is an excellent free office suite that has Windows and Linux versions. Softmaker Office also has Linux, Mac, and Windows versions. It isn't free but it is inexpensive.

    The most capable Linux desktop publishing program of which I'm aware is Scribus, which also has Windows and Mac versions. I've never used it, so don't know much about it. Both and Scribus are available in the regular Ubuntu Linux respositories.

    You can run Windows in a virtual machine under Linux. There are several such solutions available, some free, some not. I run Logos Bible Software 3 in a Windows virtual machine under Linux, and it works quite well. For less demanding tasks, I run BibleTime under Linux.

    Overall, I have far fewer problems with Linux than I ever had with Windows. Every "vacation" trip visiting family, I spent a large amount of time fixing their Windows setups. It's a myth that Windows is easier, it's just more familiar. Microsoft has released automatic updates that completely hosed important subsystems. I once lost all my onboard USB ports in Windows, and the only cure was to buy an add-in card. Even "undoing" the update didn't restore my onboard ports.

    Contrary to myth, Linux is also more flexible with hardware. When I built my current computer, I simple moved the hard drives from my old one over and booted it up. One hard drive had Windows, the other had Linux. The Linux system booted perfectly, needing only to update the video driver for full performance. The Windows system never booted in the new computer and Windows had to be reinstalled on it. Even then I had to install a bunch of drivers from CDs before Windows would work properly.

    So, I'm not saying that Linux will meet everyone's needs. I am saying that it is a free and capable alternative for a large percentage of average computer users. I'm all about requirements, not the Linux religion, and have found Windows wanting in a lot of ways. I didn't know much about Linux when I switched, but knew Windows' warts all too well. Nothing since has changed my mind, but reinforced the wisdom of my decision to make the change. Your mileage may vary!

    -----Added 11/29/2008 at 03:54:22 EST-----
    Absolutely agree. I greatly appreciate your work in this endeavor.

    I believe that you're correct. While you can run Framemaker, InDesign, etc., in a Windows virtual machine under Linux, I don't see the point of using your primary tools in a non-native operating system. Your requirements as stated here seem to indicate that you should stay with Windows.
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Bob; I'm a center lane kind of guy.:) OS aside, I have not found any Linux software that really runs in the same lane (sticking with the same metaphor) as Adobe. Scribus is compared more to Windows Publisher (please:um:), far as I've read, and I don't need a steep learning curve (also noted in the review) to take a step down in capability. In my case it is certainly all about the apps. The one thing I'd like actually is a merger of Framemaker and InDesign for the best of everything. Framemaker has amazing indexing capability, InDesign okay.
  9. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Slightly OT: Publishing software


    If I am currently using MS Publisher to produce a relatively simple bulletin, am I using the best program for that level of work? Or what Adobe product would be similar? Publisher can be cranky, but as you can see, I am not pubishing books or anything like that. I'd appreciate some input.
  10. historyb

    historyb Puritan Board Junior

    Linux at one time had a techie requirement and Windows still does, that's why I have customers who need their Windows PC's fixed. :) What with Viruses, mal-ware, spy-ware that can come with Windows not to mention worms that can do much damage.

    None of that on Linux, Linux has become simple to use and very easy. I am an Editor-in-Chief for the PCLinuxOS Magazine and I will tell you PCLinuxOS is the easiest Linux distribution to use.

    Can you use Windows software on Linux natively? No, just the same as you can't run Windows Program on Apple natively. You can use Crossover Office or run Windows in a Virtual environment with VirtualBox niether which are geeky to run or use. There are also sites that show what the equivalent software that one can use to replace Windows things. Here are some sites:

    The table of equivalents / replacements / analogs of Windows software in Linux. (Official site of the table)

    I have put some people on Linux that only used Windows and they are able to use it great, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. :)
  11. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    Just trying to play DVD's on a linux system is like pulling teeth, it may be easy if you are a computer geek but for a mere generic geek like me it was enough for me to give up and install windows.
  12. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I appreciate the input, but, without meaning to sound rude, no I don't owe it to myself. I haven't really had any huge troubles with the Dell XP system I've had for a few years. If things could continue without breaking for a few years I'm fine. Changing simply to change would be asking for trouble In my humble opinion. Now, maybe when it is time for a new machine, I'll revisit the question. But I think Bob's point is well taken.
    -----Added 11/29/2008 at 05:47:27 EST-----
    I would not buy something else just for that application; it would be overkill. Entry level pricing on Adobe is a killer. Framemaker 8 retails at $899 and InDesign at $699; and upgrades are pricey as well.

  13. gene_mingo

    gene_mingo Puritan Board Junior

    Why fix something that is not broken?

    If you are getting along fine with windows, then stick with it. *nix OS's have a learning curve. If you wanted to set up a network server or web/email server then I would point you to the world of *nix.

    I have been looking for good *nix desktop publishing software and so far I haven't found anything that is all that great.

    This is the best I have found so far (and it hasn't impressed me at all) | Scribus Open Source Desktop Publishing

    While there are hundreds of thousands of *nix apps available, few match up to any good commercial windows app.
  14. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

    I respectfully disagree. Linux sports a number of state-of-the art applications as good or better than commercial Windows programs, all of them free: K3b for CD/DVD copying/burning/creating; Gimp for graphics work; the office suite; the Evolution PIM; Krusader file manager; digiKam for photo management; a number of good multimedia programs like MPlayer, Kaffeine, and VLC Player; and those are just ones that I use regularly. There are many others. I spent decades on the DOS/Windows side as a power user and am quite aware of what's out there.

    As we've already said, there are programs for Windows that don't have good Linux equivalents. Specialized formal publishing is one of those areas. But for average users, Linux can fulfill all their requirements quite nicely - and for free!

    There's a myth that commercial is always superior to open source software. That's all it is - a myth. More and more governments and companies are moving to open source, not just for the savings but also for the quality. IT planning should be about fulfilling user requirements, administrative overhead, and security, not what's always been done before.
  15. gene_mingo

    gene_mingo Puritan Board Junior

    While I hate having to defend the commercial software market, having to wade through two or three hundred thousand apps to find a dozen good linux apps is rather pathetic and a waste of time.

    Sourceforge currently has 319,789 apps to wade through. And yes most are half finished garbage that have long since died in development.

    Linux has no solution for simple things as well as complex. My wife and I went through this exercise about 9 months ago. I really wanted to replace my old mac with a *nix box (I am a FreeBSD fan boy), but to my surprise we couldn't even find a replacement for Itunes or get it to work under Wine HQ. Not to mention loosing all the games. :(

    In a commercial environment apps like gimp and inkscape are way sub par to their pay alternatives.

    ok my anti opensource rant is over.
  16. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    And that is one of the reasons why you will never catch me dropping money on anything made by Apple. If they are not interested in making iTunes work on a Linux machine (they are not only not interested, but one would not be out of line to think that they have actually taken pains to prevent Linux users from using the ipod with their Linux machine), then I am not interested in giving them my hard earned money. If they had a version of iTunes for Linux, I would probably own an ipod. Too bad for them I guess.

    As an aside, I wish these reformed seminaries who offer free mp3s via iTunes would stop doing that. :lol::lol:
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The iTunes link typically references an xml file that should work with any podcast program.
  18. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    No worries. Apple is an equal opportunity monopolist. iTunes on Windows is horrible too. It installs no less than 4 hidden processes, completely messes with Outlook, causing all kinds of crashes, and tries to stealth install Safari all the time.
  19. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

    Apple's trademark is the mark of the beast. Apple reminds me of the company stores in the coal mining towns years ago. Once you were in you could never get out, and you could only buy from them and their approved list. Seems predatory to me.
  20. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    I had no idea it was that invasive. Maybe that is why they don't bother with a Linux version (On the one hand, as you have mentioned, the market is pretty small, but on the other hand, money is money, and I would guess that for all the effort it would take to port even a limited version of iTunes to Linux, it would probably pay off for them in ipod sales) as it would be too hard to do all of that kind of stuff.

    -----Added 11/29/2008 at 09:11:05 EST-----

    Hey thanks for the tip - I will definitely look into this.

    BTW, love the new 'double post' plugin. It rocks.
  21. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Here's a Linux version on the iPhone. It is only a bunch of command lines (no graphics) and the phone won't actually make calls, but hey, it's cool open source, right? :lol:

  22. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    It *is* cool...and funny, although this particular video makes it seem pretty much useless. You can have Linux on your Wii, or your PS2 and PS3, and your Xbox (There was a time when a converted XBox made for a decent, cheap, alternative to buying a desktop computer), and now on your iPhone. Some people definitely have way too much time on their hands.

    Seriously though, the Linux OS runs best on 'big iron.' That is where much of the development goes, as it is where a lot of the money for developing the kernel comes from - big corporations that modify things to suit their own needs.

    • The major CG movie studios, such as Industrial Light & Magic, Dreamworks Animation, and Pixar run Linux render farms (A majority of the workstations used for the modeling are also Linux with custom commercial software).
    • The fastest supercomputers in the world run Linux.
  23. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Let's just say some "interesting" things have been done with the processors in game consoles and they are not technically exportable to foreign governments.

    I agree that Linux is a good app. The PB runs on it. It's a very stable and secure OS but I prefer it for the server and not as my desktop OS.
  24. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Yep. Exactly. Let the web server guys run it (so I don't have to) but I get the benefit. :up:
  25. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Oh, where to begin......:think:

    In most recent Linux distributions, the command line is not necessary. I am a tec-nerd of sorts, but many I know use Linux with ZERO command line entries. Most of us never need to touch a terminal unless we want to.

    If time is the commodity then you will, in the end, spend less time on linux once you know what it is, than you will ever spend with or on windows. Simply put, Linux is coming out of the matrix into the real world of computer functionality. I crossed over some 3 years ago from Windows, and I can say that Linux is worry free, full stop. It is functionally superior, it has everything you need or could ever want. There is no single way in which Windows trumps Linux aside from marketing. I have flushed countless hours "dealing" with the time sucking quirks of windows.

    It's actually around 10% and growing. Windows is in most homes by default not by choice. In case people have not noticed, there are no options out there when you come to the OS counter. It is like the old Model T advert, "You can have your car in any colour you want, as long as it is black." The OS war is just beginning! Come out of the matrix brother.

  26. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

  27. historyb

    historyb Puritan Board Junior

    Not so, it can easily be done with the codecs from the software repositories of any Linux Distribution. If one doesn't know what to look for than we are just a forum away :)

    -----Added 11/30/2008 at 01:32:25 EST-----

    I am sorry to say that's not entirely accurate, while there is learning to do I have set up people with no experience and they are able to use Linux without to much input from me, remember when you started on a Computer with Windows were things easy or was there learning. The learning curve for the easiest Distros is no more than one had with Windows.

    There are some good equivalents out there and not some as far as software, but saying few add up to windows is not accurate.

    -----Added 11/30/2008 at 01:39:54 EST-----

    Once again that is really not accurate. First BSD is not Linux it's unix and In my humble opinion is not good for someone looking for something easy to use from the get go.. An alternate for ITunes is easy it's called Amarok (which is coming out for Windows soon) and it is way better than Itunes, not just mho but he opinoin of everyone using it.

    I have my whole music Library on Amarok, plus I use it to sync my player. Gimp is a powerful piece of software for grapic work and the devs are redoing it so it's a bit easier to use. The last area that needs to be worked on is games and a lot of games are there now it's up to game dev's to write games for Linux.

    I hope I am not being rude, I am just very passionate about Linux and try to clear up any misconceptions that are out in the wild, which are a lot.
  28. gene_mingo

    gene_mingo Puritan Board Junior

    I never said FreeBSD was Linux.

    Show me how to purchase a season pass to the starwars clone wars cartoon series on amarok and then i will try it.

    What do you consider few? Out of over three hundred thousands apps available for *nix and less than 10% are usable and less then 1% (and I am being generous here) are even close to being comparable to commercial software. That is very few.

    I have no misconceptions about Linux. I use two Linux distros on a daily basis and they work well for what I need.

    As far as the learning curve is involved. I have to disagree with you. Learning point and click windows was far easier than learning bash and yes you will need to learn how to use a terminal in Linux otherwise you will be paying someone money to come over and fix things that break, not to mention the majority of apps will be installed through the terminal.

    I am not trying to put Linux down or discourage the use of of it. I am just being realistic in my comments about it.

    BTW FreeBSD is not Unix. Its BSD. Currently the only mainstream OS that is Unix is Apple's OSX.
  29. historyb

    historyb Puritan Board Junior

    ok, sorry about that.

    Don't know anything about that, sorry. For music library and Podcast Amarok beats Itunes hands down In my humble opinion and yes I used Itunes before.

    I have never had a problem finding what I need to do on Linux from what I did on Windows. I make and layout Newsletters, Magazines there are ohters I know that do 3d Animation, photo work. At the state of Linux right now there is nothing you can't do with Linux thast one can do with Windows. Of course games being the exception.

    With PCLinuxOS I have no need to goto the CLI to fix things. Those I have got to use it don't use the CLI and they get along great and all software needed should be in the repo's there is little need anymore to install outside software.

    That type of talk does discourage use of Linux, when the CLI is not even needed in most instances anymore

    Okay, sorrry I was wrong. BSD is unix like.
  30. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    And this post by our good friend Bob shows why Linux will never get more than 2% of market share.

    Can you imagine having to do this much command line work to use a scanner?!? :lol:
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