# I'm considering switching to Linux but I'm not versed in ICS

EDIT: I've already made up my mind about what I'm going to do. So any input would be welcome but not entirely necessary.

It's something I've been thinking about every time that Windows 10 annoys me by slowing down my system to a fault by installing new modules while I'm still using it, bugging me about notifications that I will take care of but only to dismiss the notifications from appearing in the future, and the updates that the system runs without my permission or knowing. I always become quite exasperated whenever these things happen. It is enough to make me want to switch to a different OS whenever they do; but after a while, I just forget about my previous frustration and continue on wherever I had left off from my previous computer session.

I won't deny that I will miss facets of Windows should I switch, such as the MS Office Suite that came pre-installed with my computer when I bought it. I also like using the command prompt sometimes, although I am not serious enough to pursue it as a full-time hobby. I am also told that some programs will not run on Windows effectively; but I am aware that Wine exists to remedy this. I am also told that as a lay-user and someone not versed in the computer sciences, I will not find much utility out of the Linux terminal. But I'm aware that some versions, like Linux Mint, do not require extensive knowledge of it; essentially I can carry on using it like a lighter version of Windows.

I don't have any pros to list about the Linux OS. I can count the number of times I've used it on a single hand. For this reason alone, I imagine that the best course of action would be to just try using it for a while to see if I can think of any pros that outweigh the ones I've listed in the second paragraph.

In short: I'm getting annoyed with Windows 10 bugging me about stuff I don't care about or otherwise disrupting my computer activities by doing things that the OS is doing without my knowing or say-so. I'm always annoyed enough to contemplate switching OS's whenever this happens. But I am not sure if, as somebody highly unversed in the computer sciences, Linux would be a good option for me. Essentially, I'd be switching to avoid the frustration that not switching would cause me from time to time. I imagine that if these petty annoyances are enough to make me want to switch, then I should just follow through with the transaction and not pester anyone about a decision that is quite easily reversible.

But I'd like a second opinion, in any case.

And re-reading this opening post, I'm starting to hear how petty I sound.

Last edited:

I first switched to Linux nearly 7 years ago to salvage a little netbook that was running too slowly.

I had (and still have) no knowledge of programming but the Linux interface is pretty easy to get to know (I started with Ubuntu and am currently using Mint which runs from the same base). In reality it's no more difficult - some would say far easier - than getting to know a new version of windows.

Most programs I use are available in Linux version, or have perfectly good or even better alternatives in Linux. The only exception i've found is that some dedicated school software isn't available on linux (IB QuestionBank being the most annoying of these for me - wake up IBO!) The fact that very many programs also have Android/ios versions helps here.

There are lots of open source programs for Linux, far more than for windows. To some that just means free, to keen programmers* it means you can tinker.

There are some things I can easily do on Linux which I couldn't do on Windows. These might be possible on windows in reality, and it's just that I never looked under the lid.

For anything I'm stuck with, there are lots of forums of very keen, knowledgeable and helpful people who can talk me through anything I need to do.

Within about a year of first trying Linux I had moved over completely and the only time i've used windows since is when I have to use it on a work PC or laptop. It means sometimes I need a bit more IT support at work for the odd aspects of windows I'm not familiar with, but it's almost worth it for the look on their faces when you say "I use Linux at home".

I wouldn't go back to windows.

*I'm not a programmer, might be using the term incorrectly here....

jtbell
Mentor
What is "ICS"?

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Just this week, Microsoft announced a cloud version of MS Office. Since nothing is installed on your machine, it can be used on any computer with any OS that supports a browser.

Maybe you could get a Chromebook. They are very affordable.

Baluncore
LibreOffice is free and open source, runs on Windows and Linux, and replaces MS Office.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice
LibreOffice also supports the file formats of most other major office suites, including Microsoft Office. It makes the transition to Linux easy.

StevieTNZ
jack action
Gold Member
I made the switch 2½ years ago for the same reasons, with the same fears. You can read all about it in this post (though, I switch most of the "new" programs I mentioned to other programs).

I'm still with Linux Lite, which is made with Windows users in mind. But I haven't tried any other [recent] OS, so I cannot compare. I guess I'm satisfied with it. The only dislike I came across is the fact that there is no upgrade path from series to series (major releases). So you have to do a clean installation at this point (which includes all the little add-ons you installed along the way ).

But I have to say that I like using the command line. I like having control over my machine, even though it comes with more work and responsibilities.

rsk
jedishrfu
Mentor
There also is another option with Windows called Windows Subsystem for Linux WSL which allows you to run a Linux shell within windows. I’ve run the Ubuntu variant in the shell at work and it runs quite well.

My main programming tool has been the MS Visual Code Editor which when setup can bridge between the Linux filesystem and the Windows filesystem.

In a sense, you’ll have the best of both worlds. However windows updates can conceivably disrupt your work flow.

One low-level thing you’ll run across is the differences in textual files as MS uses CRLF line endings and Linux recognizes CR but uses LF only. There are conversion tools and the MS Visual Code Editor handles both quite well..

Personally, I have a Mac machine and a Linux laptop and work on both without an issue. I really like the relative simplicity of the Linux environment over both Windows and Macos. Windows has that registry database that gets in the way sometimes and on Macos it’s the repackaging of apps that is so different from Linux schemes.

Mark44
Mentor
It's something I've been thinking about every time that Windows 10 annoys me by slowing down my system to a fault by installing new modules while I'm still using it,
Whether or not you switch to Linux, my Win 10 system doesn't do this. Under Settings app, under Windows Update, you can control when updates are installed by setting a Pause value that you can specify. The default is 7 days, but you can adjust this. You can also set the active hours (the times when you use the computer) so that the computer won't restart during this time.

bugging me about notifications that I will take care of but only to dismiss the notifications from appearing in the future, and the updates that the system runs without my permission or knowing.
You can turn the notifications off.

Staff Emeritus
Of course.

Just so I can say "I told you so", the grass is always greener on the other side. I use both.

(1) If your unhappiness with Windows is that you haven't configured it to your liking, Linux is likely to be worse, rather than better.

(2) If your unhappiness with Windows is the length of time it takes to update the OS, most of the time it's about the same. Major updates can take a long time on either system - and that's probably more common on Windows. However, I have never been left with a failed update in Windows and I have in Linux. (I couldn't run the new kernel and I couldn't revert because kernel modules had been updated)

(3) Whether LibreOffice (or OpenOffice or Star Office before that) can replace MS-Office, first I would recommend trying the Windows version before making up your mind. My opinion is that if you use this to balance a checkbook and write nasty letters to your homeowner's association, you'll be fine. If you doing complex things, you want to take a close look.

I'll get to responding to the other posts when I have the time. In the meantime:
What is "ICS"?
"Information and Computer Sciences." That's just a term that my old school uses in order to refer to computer science. I was not able to fit "the computer sciences" in the topic title.

Wrichik Basu
Gold Member
2020 Award
I switched to Ubuntu 20.04 in January this year (full thread here) I was fed up with those updates that disrupted my work. And now I believe I had taken the correct decision. Ubuntu is far more well-behaved than Windows.
LibreOffice is free and open source, runs on Windows and Linux, and replaces MS Office.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice
LibreOffice also supports the file formats of most other major office suites, including Microsoft Office. It makes the transition to Linux easy.
I dislike the UI of LibreOffice. Instead, I prefer SoftMaker FreeOffice, which has a UI akin to MS Office. Moreover, I mostly work on LaTeX and seldom use Office software.

Another thing I miss from Windows is Adobe Reader. Evince is just rubbish (can't even add proper bookmarks), and Okular often has problems with Zoom. So, I choose Foxit Reader, which is more or less good.
Exactly. I switched over to Linux simply because of a bad update which I couldn't roll back. After the update, I lost the ability to change screen brightness, and the sleep option was gone too. I stare at my laptop for about 90% of the time I am awake, so I cannot do without the brightness option.

To the OP: You may like to extract the Windows installation key with Belarc Advisor before you replace Windows. Keep it stored somewhere. If you need Windows later, just download and install it in a VM and use that installation key.

Maybe you could get a Chromebook.
I installed Linux onto my main computer. There wasn't a lot of work involved with respect to data migration; everything I held valuable was about 1.8 gigabytes, excluding my archive folder, which I had forgotten about until after I had already wiped my hard-drive. But I can live with that; I don't remember half of what I had put there, anyway.

Under Settings app, under Windows Update, you can control when updates are installed by setting a Pause value that you can specify.

You can turn the notifications off.
These would have been helpful to know. But all the same, I don't really value being given the choice of when I would like to update my OS, so much as I value the choice of whether I want to follow through with the update.

To the OP: You may like to extract the Windows installation key with Belarc Advisor before you replace Windows. Keep it stored somewhere. If you need Windows later, just download and install it in a VM and use that installation key.
I think Microsoft is always offering it free-of-charge.

#### Attachments

• Screenshot_2021-07-17_12-40-50.png
22 KB · Views: 26
berkeman
Mentor
I'm considering switching to Linux
Quiz Question -- what is sudo chmod +x used for and why do you sometimes need to use it?

jedishrfu
jack action
Gold Member
Quiz Question -- what is sudo chmod +x used for and why do you sometimes need to use it?
With a good search engine that is an easy question.

berkeman
sudo is a command that you use to prefix commands that you need administrator privileges to execute.
chmod is a command that lets you change the permissions of some file, I think. I think it lets you change if a given user can read or write a given file.

I don't know what the +x is for, but I imagine it is meant to grant some privilege to some user for a given file, hence the plus.

easy question
It can also easily be answered by typing man sudo'' and man chmod'' in the terminal.

berkeman
berkeman
Mentor
Well, the first few times that you copy/paste an executable file into a unix/Linux system and try to run it and fail, let's just say that it's an important thing to have in your toolbox. For me, the extra security layers (while I appreciate them) of Linux over Windows/DOS take some concentration...

I think Microsoft is always offering it free-of-charge.
That's just an installation medium. You can install it and actually it'll work to some extent, but without the appropriate key it'll not really count as 'legal' and won't have all the functionality.
So if you have a key then just stick to it.

Regarding Linux: I'm managing two OpenSuse in the household (and some loose pieces of reserve windows), but once I got the tricks Linux won by miles.

There are some limitations, but the only really disturbing one was that I found the 'free office' choices really crappy. So what I have now is an older MS office running on Wine.

That also made reinstall fast. Getting the packages and users right, then copy over everything, and then it works again.

Well, if you are not into gaming (especially on new titles), that is.

Wrichik Basu