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How many scientific people use Linux?

  1. Nov 24, 2009 #1
    Or how many people here use Linux?

    Which distro?

    I'm using Gentoo.

    Edit -- I was also wondering about scientific tools for Linux like OpenFOAM.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2009 #2
    I use both Fedora (personal box) and Redhat (server). I have used some version of Redhat since 2000 or so, which is why I don't try some of the newer, fancier distros out there. I am comfortable with Fedora and don't feel like switching. :D
  4. Nov 24, 2009 #3
    Talking about being fancy, if you want a VERY simple distro which you have to build from scratch try Arch, or if you have good patience try Gentoo.

    Now, before trying Gentoo do consult me...otherwise you'll curse me. :D
  5. Nov 24, 2009 #4
    Yeah, I know about Gentoo. I had a good friend in grad school who swore by it. Too much work reading docs for me to set it all up!

    Edit: I did not see your statement about FOSS tools to use. I don't use a lot of stuff, but I use Kile as a LaTeX frontend, use Grace for plotting (sometimes referred to as xmgrace), sometimes use Mathematica for some quick calculations (I am not a fan of the the Linux version of Mathematica as the interface seems very Windows 95 to me). What kind of scientific tools are you looking for?
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  6. Nov 24, 2009 #5

    Ben Niehoff

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    I use Ubuntu (Hardy) on my desktop machine. If the open source community ever comes up with something with robust tablet functionality to replace Microsoft OneNote, I'll consider putting Linux on my tablet.
  7. Nov 24, 2009 #6
    Apples @ personal
    RH Fedora @ work
    Both above from mailing to intense computation

    Eeebuntu ultraportability

    Sun for serious stuff
  8. Nov 24, 2009 #7
    Lazy student here.

    I've been dual booting Fedora of some persuasion alongside my Windows (Read: Gaming ;)) partition for a good 4 years or so now. Though I really have a constant internal conflict going there. Gnome seems to run faster and more reliably, and has always been my first choice, but KDE has exploding windows.

    Decisions, decisions...
  9. Nov 25, 2009 #8
    You can get exploding windows in gnome too though, but that usually isn't a deciding factor :P.
  10. Nov 25, 2009 #9
    Yeah, I know. It just always seemed to me that KDE was more about visuals and much, much less performance. Ah well. Still, I stick with Gnome 'cause, beyond anything, it saves grabbing the K packages and I'm lazy! :D
  11. Nov 25, 2009 #10
    Openoffice does not use Latex -- that's very bad, so I'm not used to latex...only openoffice formatting.

    I was looking forwards towards software which computes the velocity/position etc... WRT in a field.

    Also something related to electrostatics will be good.
  12. Nov 25, 2009 #11
    The problem here is not with the OS but what the software support...I think (after getting my hands on the kernel configuration), Linux does support tablets...but cause Linux usually does not get used on such hardware, you will have to build software (from source) with it's support (i.e if the software supports it) cause the precompiled binaries might not have been build around it...so I think you'll need a source based distribution and it'll do the job.
    Talk about verity!

    Gnome will always be faster than KDE :D

    That effect is through compiz I guess, why not download compiz settings manager (for advanced tweaking) and simple compiz settings manager (SCSM).

    you can use the latter to explicit define what sort of animation effects you want with the windows...easily.

    Then in gnome effects menu (I'm not running gnome here; on xfce) select the last radio button...it was custom I think. This custom button comes only with SCSM installed.

    Ensure that the effects posed by the desktop environments (xcomposites) are turned off when compiz is working; otherwise it might result in conflicts.

    What bout the repos?...I've lots of KDE applications here -

  13. Nov 25, 2009 #12
    Yes, Linux does support tablet...confirmed.
  14. Nov 25, 2009 #13

    Ben Niehoff

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    But there is a vast difference between "Linux supports taking input from tablet and stylus" and "Linux has a program available that does everything OneNote does". Of course there is support for the input device itself. What's lacking is a notes program with all the features I need.
  15. Nov 25, 2009 #14
    Humm...there're no special software for tablets in portage atleast...I think you wont be able to write on it.

    How about filing a bug report to openoffice for this feature?
  16. Nov 25, 2009 #15
    There's an explicit section for tablets in device drivers>input device support>tablets.

    In the mean time I'm too trying to get my mouse working on my ultra-tweaked kernel...and there's something wrong with the same section (actually I know what's wrong).
  17. Nov 26, 2009 #16


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    a lot of people in my office like slackware. I prefer windows when I don't need the shell for scripting.
  18. Nov 26, 2009 #17
    FreeBSD on my PC and OSX for everything else.
  19. Nov 26, 2009 #18
    I use Linux at work but I'm really not a nerd about it at all. I think I use Cent OS with Gnome panel, but not really understanding the shell structure at all.
    I work as a geophysicist BTW.

    At home I use a PC with Windows (I have a laptop with Windows on for work as well -- a lot of clients use PowerPoint and other Microsoft packages so it is necessary to keep things on an even platform).
  20. Nov 26, 2009 #19
    been using Ubuntu for a while now. the GUI works pretty much like windows, so it's pretty easy to port to.

    dunno about CFD stuff, but there is a ton of free scientific software out there. Scilab, Octave, OpenDX, Maxima, Sage, etc...
  21. Nov 27, 2009 #20

    Thanks for the many software.

    I was wonder, after using Linux how can one just prefer windows (you know just prefer)!
  22. Nov 27, 2009 #21
    because windows will integrate multimedia better in your browser, without having to do a bunch of manual finagling on the command line. or you may get something to work with a generic driver, yet can't use all the features. there can be a lot of options to choose from with linux on getting things to work, and maybe not a lot of advice on what is "best". if you just want to surf the web and such, and play some games, windows is probably a better choice. if you make a living playing with computers and like to program and otherwise futz around with them, then sure, choose a linux. it's getting better with ubuntu, but it may never actually get to an out-of-the-box experience since some of the things you'll need to get all the bells and whistles working can't be distributed in a free package and may not be entirely legal to use where you live.
  23. Nov 27, 2009 #22
    I've been using Linux a lot lately. Windows crashes and is not as secure. Plus Linux is easier to program on, and Octave runs much better on Linux than it does on Windows.

    I'm using Ubuntu. I need something that does system wide security updates, and has a good package management system.
  24. Nov 27, 2009 #23
    Been using linux for something like the last 6 or 7 years. I started on Gentoo and have been moving around distributions and have tried most of them (though I somehow missed CentOS, I'll have to give that one a shot). Out of every distribution I tried, I must say, I absolutely love Arch. If you have a year or two of linux experience and you want something that's fast and tailored to you, give Arch a try. And despite the fact that the user selects every package that's installed, the Pacman package management system is extremely easy to use and so makes the whole process a breeze. Plus, there's no releases to wait for, just run a simple pacman -Syu to bring your whole system up to the latest and greatest releases. Then there's the AUR (Arch User Repository) that provides just about any package you could possibly want.
  25. Nov 28, 2009 #24
    Yes; you can blame it mostly on the hardware manufacturers, otherwise most of the distros will work out of the box (of course excluding a few like Gentoo and LFS).

    Ubuntu is pretty good if you have intel graphs, if you have nvidia or ati, it's installer is in commandline (you know...nvidia's fault and ati drivers are very unstable and low on performance).
  26. Nov 28, 2009 #25
    The package management system of Ubuntu is one of the worst around...

    To get the best of Linux, you need to drop to command line (just to set things up), then you can have the best security, performance, package management etc...

    About this octave, this is a programming language, not a program...so you code in octave to solve things?

    Yes, many say that.

    I've not tried Arch, but I really don't thing it'll better than Gentoo in a few factors...for e.g. Gentoo's dependency resolution is simply the best, you just can't cut down dependencies effectively without compiling...furthermore, it's the most flexible distribution.

    Anyway, many people say it's fast; but aaaa...it really appears against the laws of physics if it's actually faster than Gentoo.
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