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View Full Version : The alternative OS thread. No Windows or Mac talk allowed. And I mean it!



John Bell
02-04-2007, 07:34 PM
Seeing as how the other thread has gotten polluted by fundamentalist dogma, I thought I'd try again.


How do ya pick one?

How do you get it after you decide to try it?

Can you load it on a 'puker running XP and try it out?

Thanks!

Trying Linux isn't hard. It's a bit of a learning curve, though. I view it as about the same as learning to use your PC for the first time. For all the talk about an OS being intuitive, none of them really are. They all require you to learn something about how the machine works, how it stores files, where all the settings are and what they do when you change them, etc.

That being said, most linux distros allow you to try before you commit by running off of a live CD. All you do is download the distro you want, burn the ISO file you downloaded to a CD and reboot. You may need to change a setting in your PCs BIOS to allow booting from the CD drive, but that's about it. In about a minute or so, a fully functional system will boot to let you try out the OS and the included packages on your PC all the while leaving your existing system fully intact.

If you decide to install a particular OS, you can set it up as a dual boot Windows/Linux (or Mac/Linux!) if you so choose.

There are some details about disk partitioning I've learned along the way that I'll tell you about later if you decide to install something, but that can wait.

I've tested a bunch of distros:

1) Ubuntu - good, but seems a little sluggish on my computers. It's a pain though, because the base system lacks the software to play MP3s.,DVDs, WMVs, and Flash. These are fairly easy to add, but it can b confusing to the neophyte. They promise to have those things on the next update in April, so I'd wait until then.

2) PCLinuxOS - I really like this one, it is a good place for Windows users to begin. It's quite fast, but required a bit of tweaking to get my wireless network going and to be able to share files across my LAN. They are working on these things, though and I expect the 2007 update that should be out before spring to be quite good. It's a nice system.

3) Mepis - this is what I'm currently running, the version 6.04 beta. It doesn't feel like a beta, though. It's fast, and most importantly: everything just worked. It's the one I'd suggest you look at first.

There are also a plethora of other distributions that are kind of cool to play with. There is something called the GParted live CD which has an awesome disk partitioning tool that I find very useful.

There are some tiny distros like Puppy Linux and Damn Small that are cool because they fit on a 128 or 256 meg USB drive and can run a very nice system from there. Both are lean and lightening fast.

The best place to start looking is a http://www.distrowatch.org.

S/V Laura Ellen
02-04-2007, 07:40 PM
What application are you using for Photo editing?

John Bell
02-04-2007, 07:50 PM
I don't do much heavy duty photo editing as I lack the know-how to even understand what is possible. I use any number of programs to crop, adjust, remove red-eye, brighten, or resize. Sometimes I'll use Gimp, others I'll use showFoto. They all work well enough for the unsophisticated things I do with them.

S/V Laura Ellen
02-04-2007, 09:17 PM
Have you addressed the changes to Daylight Saving Time yet?

John Bell
02-04-2007, 10:12 PM
?????????????????????

S/V Laura Ellen
02-05-2007, 01:34 AM
?????????????????????

You are aware that the date for DST has been changed by Dubya.
There is a text file that controls that dates for each of the time zones and also sets the start and end date of DST. You will need to edit this file to make the change to the new DST dates.

If you have any Java apps there is also patches for Java date/time functions.

JimD
02-05-2007, 03:21 AM
The system I operate on is that swmbo is always right. So far I've had no problems...

PeterSibley
02-05-2007, 07:14 AM
What application are you using for Photo editing?
Fedora core 5 here ....the Gimp

John Bell
02-05-2007, 07:55 AM
You are aware that the date for DST has been changed by Dubya.
There is a text file that controls that dates for each of the time zones and also sets the start and end date of DST. You will need to edit this file to make the change to the new DST dates.

If you have any Java apps there is also patches for Java date/time functions.


They were talking about this on the radio this morning. To be fair, it was an act of Congress that made the change, not just one man. I wasn't aware of the move, but I like it. (More light in the evening is good for me, more time for outside activities.) But no politics here, please.

The radio guy was saying there could be all kinds of problems with things like ATMs, etc. Sort of a mini Y2K, but without the hype.

However for a personal computer, what's wrong with just manually changing the time?

John of Phoenix
02-05-2007, 10:58 AM
John, any tricks to burning the iso cd? I'm trying the PCLinuxOS and I think I did something wrong burning the cd.

I downloaded the file, then sent it to the cd using standard XP file copy procedure. The BIOS is set to boot from the cd, it looks at it but then goes to the hard drive and boots XP.

Any thoughts?

George Roberts
02-05-2007, 11:03 AM
I have used "community" produced products before. They seldom work well and getting them fixed is impossible.

I used Unix a long time ago. Never liked it. I suspect that Linux is just as unlikable, but I am too old to waste my time determining if it is.

High C
02-05-2007, 11:09 AM
John, any tricks to burning the iso cd? I'm trying the PCLinuxOS and I think I did something wrong burning the cd.

I downloaded the file, then sent it to the cd using standard XP file copy procedure...

This is a little tricky. Copying the iso file to disk won't do it. If you have a CD burning program it likely has the capability (AFAIK Windows does not) of burning an iso image into a data disk.

If not, this is a goodie: http://www.cdburnerxp.se/download.php

Simply open the program after installing it, choose the first of three options on the popup. Then open the file menu and choose "write disk from ISO file". Navigate to the iso file you downloaded and "Write Disk".

A lot of computers seem to falter at long ISOs when burning at top speed, so you may want to throttle back to half the maximum speed if your machine spits out a coaster.

High C
02-05-2007, 11:12 AM
I have used "community" produced products before. They seldom work well and getting them fixed is impossible...

And I have found that "community" produced products are far better supported than the typical brand name stuff by users and developers who seem to live on their support forums the way some do here.

John Bell
02-05-2007, 11:22 AM
John, any tricks to burning the iso cd? I'm trying the PCLinuxOS and I think I did something wrong burning the cd.

I downloaded the file, then sent it to the cd using standard XP file copy procedure. The BIOS is set to boot from the cd, it looks at but then goes to the hard drive and boots XP.

Any thoughts?

In windows, double clicking the ISO file opens my CD burning program and clicking 'OK' burns the disk correctly.

John of Phoenix
02-05-2007, 11:25 AM
Thanks fellas. I'll give both a whirl.

High C
02-05-2007, 11:31 AM
In windows, double clicking the ISO file opens my CD burning program and clicking 'OK' burns the disk correctly.

John, that's a file association that's unique to your setup. XP does not make CD data files from iso images. It take a separate application.

Which one do you have? It's surprising to me how many of the burner programs give short shrift to the iso thing. The link to CD Burner XP Pro I posted is a really good one, and free. Very easy to use. Despite its similar name, BTW, it is not an XP, or Microsoft product.

High C
02-05-2007, 11:33 AM
Thanks fellas. I'll give both a whirl.

John, if you can't get it going, let me know which distribution(s) you want and I'll mail 'em to you.

John Bell
02-05-2007, 11:33 AM
A lot of computers seem to falter at long ISOs when burning at top speed, so you may want to throttle back to half the maximum speed if your machine spits out a coaster.

Yes! Good advice.

On one of my burning programs if you don't turn on something called "buffer underrun protection" it will spit out coasters as well.

Joe (SoCal)
02-05-2007, 11:35 AM
Mrrrftrrrrrrrrrpft ;)

John Bell
02-05-2007, 11:35 AM
John, that's a file association that's unique to your setup. XP does not make CD data files from iso images. It take a separate application.

Which one do you have? It's surprising to me how many of the burner programs give short shrift to the iso thing. The link to CD Burner XP Pro I posted is a really good one, and free. Very easy to use. Despite its similar name, BTW, it is not an XP, or Microsoft product.

I've got some Roxio freebie on one computer, and something else called Easy CD Creator on another that came in the box with a $25 burner I installed. Running Win2000 on those machines.

I've never burned from an ISO on XP...

John Bell
02-05-2007, 11:36 AM
Mrrrftrrrrrrrrrpft ;)


Stop being such a boor....:rolleyes:

Joe (SoCal)
02-05-2007, 11:44 AM
Stop being such a boor....:rolleyes:

Dude relax it was a joke, break a smile every now and then OK. I'll leave you Win/linux Geeks alone now.

Shheesh :rolleyes:

WX
02-06-2007, 02:00 AM
Fedora Core 5

boylesboats
02-06-2007, 03:36 AM
John Bell, The alternative OS thread. No Windows or Mac talk allowed. And I mean it!
Seeing as how the other thread has gotten polluted by fundamentalist dogma, I thought I'd try again.

Ummmmmmm, what about IBM?:D