Do any of you use Linux? If so, which distribution?

  • #26
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If so, which distribution do you use (Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.)? What has been your experience using Linux?
Appreciate any insights any of you may have.
I originally started with Ubuntu as most new linux users often do. It's a good way to transition as it comes with a lot of GUI tools. After about a year, I left Ubuntu for the same reason I gave up on windows, too much bloat. I eventually landed on Debian as their philosophy is one i really liked. I've been using it for the last 3-4 years now.
They tend to stay behind a little bit on adopting the latest technologies but it means they use well developed software and as a result, Debian is fantastically stable, Debian systems are rumored to go over a year without a restart(uptime is into months for me now). The package repositories are very large and well supported and the system is free of any kind of bloat
I currently use it on all my systems at home; a file server, desktop and a couple notebooks. At work, I built a computational cluster with it and use it as my primary driver in a Windows domain environment.

I would suggest you look at the Ubuntu route as I did or Mint. It will probably offer you the easiest transition. Fedora is also another really good option but I feel the other two are easier.
 
  • #27
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Anyone have experience with Tails or Qubes?
 
  • #28
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Anyone have experience with Tails or Qubes?
what would you like to know?
 
  • #29
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At the moment I'm on openSUSE which I quite like. What little experience I have with yum and apt-get leads me to consider zypper the superior package manager (of those three). I'm starting on my fourth year of using it exclusively I think.

For me a big reason to stick with it is the natural feel to the command line interface. I use make to update my resume (typeset in LaTeX) depending on the language (make dutch for example). Cleaning folders is another thing I do using the CLI, it's so much easier for me (check contents in seconds without opening a new window? Yes please).
Another example is programming, I'm learning some node.js and it comes with its own package manager. Other technologies are quickest in the command line as well. For me that was and is the biggest advantage along with the package manager.

I planned on installing arch a while back but I'm putting that on the back burner because it's not as simple as Suse.

As an alternative to ubuntu there's linux mint these days which looks really nice, check the slideshow at https://linuxmint.com/screenshots.php
 
  • #30
Cod
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I use Arch Linux on my laptop; however, I would not recommend it for anyone new to Linux. To utilize everything Arch Linux has to offer, you have to be very comfortable and confident with using the command line. A package manger was introduced a few builds back; however, there is still a lot of manual labor involved compared to other distros.

If you don't have any experience with linux, I recommend Ubuntu or Linux Mint (as others have mentioned). Also, take the free Introduction to Linux course from eDX (https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-linux-linuxfoundationx-lfs101x-0). Its self-paced and taught by Linus himself. I highly recommend the course for someone brand new to Linux.
 
  • #31
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I ran Gentoo for many years, from about roughly 2000 or 2001 to maybe 2008? I just visited their site & they are still there, plus the philosophy seems the same as when I used it: https://www.gentoo.org

The attraction of Gentoo is a bit weird: you can compile the kernel & all software packages with flags for your particular hardware, thus making it very efficient in terms of memory usage. However since memory has steadily become cheaper, I think the appeal of this is less than it used to be. And compiles take a long time. Other than that, Gentoo is very much a get-under-the-hood-and-tinker system. It was my first distro, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to others starting out. But I do think it was more fun for me than running any of the standard distros, because back then I really did love to tinker. For window managers I usually used KDE, but toyed a bit with Fluxbox; wasn't a big Gnome fan.

Also, I agree w/ those who believe that learning the shell (e.g. Bash) and related programs is a good thing. And also C, Python, etc. - these are all very friendly to Linux and so Linux is a good way to learn them, fast or slow as you like. If I ever get a yen for doing more command line programming, I'll probably install some version of Linux again.

Plus a neat thing about Gentoo was the user community; and I imagine many other distros are like this too. Very active forums with great mutual support.

But for me, once I lost interest in tinkering, Linux wasn't worth it - big time suck, at least with Gentoo; and worse, with a few exceptions the windowed applications just aren't as smooth as those for Mac or even for Windows. Yes, you can run Windows on Linux via Wine, and if you have a fast machine you usually will be able to run stuff like Microsoft Word without a problem. But I think I'd miss all the cool small applications that I use all the time on Mac. Plus if you find you just want a few favorite Linux apps, whether a GUI app like bluefish or a command line tool such as pdftk, a good deal of it is available on Mac via X11/XQuartz and MacPorts.

Yet even so Linux used to give me an altruistic, "fight the power" feeling which was worth something all by itself. And you have to love all those desktop screenshots that people share:

web-gl-fusioncore.png
 
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  • #32
jim mcnamara
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Started with UNIX in the late 1970's. FWIW, Xenix (kind of unix for PC's owned by Microsoft), was interoperable with early Microsoft OS releases. So Windows in a sense is a descendant of UNIX. And I'm fine with both.

So now, Linux is converging back onto Microsoft "turf" in a sense. Windows 10's "upgrade as malware" apparently pushed new people into Linux.
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3080102/operating-systems/how-windows-10-became-malware.html
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/2...ows-10-upgrade-sales-pitch-went-too-far.shtml

Basically distros (versions of Linux) are a kind of distraction. If you like windows stick with it. If you can't afford the cost of staying current with windows, get a linux version that somebody you know really well already has and likes. For example, Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian and some others, except for about 20 minutes of following directions to install it, run very like windows. Local computer shops here charge about $40 to install whatever Linux, either standalone or dual boot with windows. So you can bring up either one on the same machine.

In all honesty people like choices, and this has spawned the development of lots of linux flavors. My only suggestion - get a version that is actively supported.
Debian family is an example. You can tell by the list of updates, usually on the download page.

And yes, I do run Linux on a high end box with an i7 cpu, ssd's and a too-expensive, too-hot graphics card. Windows is on the same box. When I need software, I check the Linux world first.
 
  • #33
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...

If you don't have any experience with linux, I recommend Ubuntu or Linux Mint (as others have mentioned). Also, take the free Introduction to Linux course from eDX (https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-linux-linuxfoundationx-lfs101x-0). Its self-paced and taught by Linus himself. I highly recommend the course for someone brand new to Linux.

Thanks, I was unaware of this course. I've been using Linux since 2009, but never did any formal training at all, just plug and chug and search out problems or things I needed to get done. I started the course, though I knew some it so far, a nice organized approach to fill in all the pieces is something I think I'll benefit from. Especially pronunciation of all these terms! So 'etc' is 'et-see', I think I read that, but maybe now it will stick.
 
  • #34
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I have a bunch of distros that I use for different things.

I use Ubuntu for regular development or just general computer usage.

I used Fedora also for development and debugging because it's more like Redhat.

I use Redhat and CentOS for servers, both dev and production.
 
  • #35
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what would you like to know?

How user friendly is it ? Is Qubes easier to use than Tails? How difficult is it to dump Windows and use Tails instead? My intention would be to browse the web with it, use Gimp, Audacity and Banshee.
 
  • #36
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What will you be doing exactly that you want to use Tails? Tails is usually a minimal installation and if you want user friendly, you need a UI. Linux can go two ways: lay users and power users. Lay users just want it to replace Windows for them, but give them most of the same tools. Power users often don't even install a GUI. Since you mention web browsing, Gimp, and Audacity, Ubuntu would probably be best for you.
 
  • #37
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I record audio professionally, bands and such and use windows 7 on a Thinkpad with Cakewalk sonar platinum DAW and wavelab and some nice I/O's

I use a Tascam 16-08 I/O and it requires windows or mac. Are there linux versions that have audio DAW's as powerful and versitile as what I already have? Also, what about audio I/O's like my Tascam? Are there any ready for linux. That 16-08 is really great, 8 XLR mic ins,preamps and limiter/compressor, 2 more instrument ins on 1/4 inch jacks and fiber inputs and outs also. Anything close to that for linux? What I have now is powerful and stable but would like to squeeze the most capability out of the CPU's onboard and such.
 
  • #38
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Ubuntu would probably be best for you.
That's what my brother uses and he likes it a lot. However, I still think security is a valid concern. He says he doesn't worry about it because he's not running Windows anymore, but from what I read there can still be security problems with Linux. Maybe running Ubuntu through Tor directly would be the most user friendly/secure method?
 
  • #39
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That's what my brother uses and he likes it a lot. However, I still think security is a valid concern. He says he doesn't worry about it because he's not running Windows anymore, but from what I read there can still be security problems with Linux. Maybe running Ubuntu through Tor directly would be the most user friendly/secure method?

Changing your habits would be the best method.
And using Tor to visit anything is useless if your habits aren't adjusted as well.
 
  • #40
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That's what my brother uses and he likes it a lot. However, I still think security is a valid concern. He says he doesn't worry about it because he's not running Windows anymore, but from what I read there can still be security problems with Linux. Maybe running Ubuntu through Tor directly would be the most user friendly/secure method?

You seem to be equivalating anonymity with security. That is a false equivalence. Anonymity is a form of security, but it's only one form, and you won't have much anonymity with Tails and Tor if you don't use them correctly.
 
  • #41
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Changing your habits would be the best method.
And using Tor to visit anything is useless if your habits aren't adjusted as well.
I don't recall mentioning any of my "habits." I'm not sure what you're assuming about me there.

You seem to be equivalating anonymity with security. That is a false equivalence. Anonymity is a form of security, but it's only one form, and you won't have much anonymity with Tails and Tor if you don't use them correctly.
That was the reason I asked the question in this thread, I was curious what the actual advantages might be to using Tails, Qubes or something similar. I didn't intend to equivocate anonymity with security as an absolute. My experience with Ubuntu is very limited and I have no experience with Tor at all, just a few things I've read.

Thanks for the input, I'll obviously have to do some more research on the subject.
 
  • #42
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I don't recall mentioning any of my "habits." I'm not sure what you're assuming about me there.
That was the reason I asked the question in this thread, I was curious what the actual advantages might be to using Tails, Qubes or something similar. I didn't intend to equivocate anonymity with security as an absolute. My experience with Ubuntu is very limited and I have no experience with Tor at all, just a few things I've read.
Thanks for the input, I'll obviously have to do some more research on the subject.

Qubes and Tails aren't really meant for the same task.

Qubes focuses on providing security by spearating activities you do into specific containers and preventing each container from ever interacting with each other. It will be up to you to separate your activities into containers and then add the programs you wish to use to those containers. Then ensure that you stick to that segregation of activities for it to be effective. If something goes wrong with one container, it will not affect your applications/data in another. For example: if you make one VM for banking and finance, and another for surfing the internet, then getting infected on the internet VM won't compromise your banking/financial data. On a normal system everything would be compromised.

Tails on the other hand is focused on providing privacy while surfing on the internet. It runs off a Live disk and entirely on RAM so it leaves no evidence that it was ever run on a system. I wouldn't call Tails a security related distribution (depends on how you define the term really, for me security and privacy are distinct domains), it's geared towards trying to protect your identity on the internet. It does things like use Tor to protect your source IP, it spoofs its responses to servers to make it appear like it's a windows system and not linux, etc.
To use it effectively, you will have to make sure that you dont really do anything that you have done on regular internet while on Tails and vice versa. Otherwise, its pointless. Remember, companies/governments already have a very accurate profile of your internet behaviours so switching to Tor and then still going to your same 5 fav sites isn't going to really protect your identity.

With respect for to your desire for greater security: The overwhelming majority of malware on the internet is built for Windows. Windows binaries do not work on linux so they are all harmless. Switching to any Linux distribution will make you much safer simply by the virtue that it's not Windows.
That said, it's not immune to being attacked as evidenced by the recent Dirty COW vulnerability that was discovered in the linux kernel. Using Qubes will provide more security for a user as it will effectively isolate the compromised portion of the system and prevent any of your other activities from being affected. But behaviours count. Lets say your internet VM is compromised and your physics forum password stolen. If you are using the same password on your banking site, then Qubes will not protect you. This is what I believe the others meant by habits.
 
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  • #43
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@Routaran

Thanks very much for the detailed info and clarification. This is exactly what I was looking for. :)
 
  • #44
There is Raspberry Pi Pixel OS Beta (Debian Jessie based) for x86 Pc and Mac, I have be using it on old hardware and it flys granted its only on a USB stick ATM.
I use Ubuntu 14.04 with a ThinLinc server on an old Quad core, like Ms terminal service except Free for upto 10 users.
I also use Debian 8.6 Jessie 32 bit in low end clouds run various things, saves me money on the power bill.
The best thing I like is all the commands work thru different flavors...Not like Mr tumble dry..
Win 10 on old notebook = 12 hours of thrashing my HDD.
 
  • #45
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I was Ubuntu user 2 years back but my experience was not good.
 
  • #46
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I do. I have dual booted Fedora 27 and Windows 10. I find my self always selecting Fedora from the grub menu, because it feels so smooth and refined, even though the battery life is not good. On windows 10, in general usage, I get around 8 hours of battery on my laptop, but on Fedora, same usage gives me only around 6 or 5.5 hours of battery life. But the upcoming Fedora 28 version is going to come up with built in power optimizations and I'm looking forward to it.
(I'm by no means an experienced linux user, I'm a newbie).
My first linux distro was Ubuntu, don't remember the version. I dual booted it with windows 7 on my old Pentium 4 desktop computer which is now is pieces. Then, many months ago I dual booted Ubunto 17.04 on my laptop with windows 10. Then, about 2 weeks ago, decided to try Fedora and dual booted the 27 with windows 10.(Removed ubuntu).
I like Fedora better than Ubuntu for some unknown reason. I hope to install the Ubuntu 18.04 which is coming later this month on my laptop so that it would be a triple boot, such that I have something from Red hat and something from Debian and something from Microsoft.
I really like to get rid of windows once and forever, but I need it for my studies as I need to use Visual Studio and other windows stuff. Besides, the greater battery life doesn't let me remove windows. ;-)
 
  • #47
Dr Transport
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Rereading this thread has reminded me of some of the flavors of Linux I forgot existed. So to get to it, I used Mandrake in the early 2000's then switched to RedHat. I then got away from the whole 'nix thing for a while because we totally switched to Windows at work. I did screw around with Ubuntu the really dropped back to Windows full time at home.

For the past year, the two places I worked (one of the major aerospace companies and the other is an division of the government) one uses Redhat, the other Debian 8 (the guy in the group refuses to upgrade because of his complete paranoia against change, i.e. if he was 30 years younger he'd be diagnosed with Asperger syndrome). Anyway, I had to re-learn my Linux skills so I started with Manjaro, but was unhappy with it and I messed around with updating an old notebook to Debian so I had a machine at my house as opposed to my apartment (I am a geographic bachelor) and that went quick and easy so I just reloaded my other box with Debian 9 and am in the process of getting everything loaded and running. One of my co-workers is big into GNU Radio, so he helps me when I get stuck which isn't often. My supervisor is a whiz at it, he runs everything from the command line and knows more than most. I never worked over multiple systems, just on a dedicated machine/cluster and he just spouted off rsync commands like they were second nature, not to mention writes, compiles and debugs FORTRAN code from the command line (we argue who wins the nerd contest every month, usually it is him).

Switching is easy, but if you run Windows software and are used to it, you need two boxes (I never am able to get a dual boot running).
 
  • #49
Dr Transport
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Why?. Even on UEFI, it shouldn't be that hard.
It's not, but the last couple of times I did it wasn't that easy and I dorked up my system that I was trying to install next too....
 

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