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Should I switch to Linux

  1. Dec 14, 2007 #1
    So I just got a virus on my Windows XP computer. I need to format it and start over. This time I'm seriously considering running Linux, I haven't decided what distro yet.

    So, the question is, should I run Linux over Windows XP?

    About me:
    -I am not really an expert computer user, though I am certainly not clueless either.
    -I know relatively little about the internal workings of my computer.
    -I know almost nothing about how networks work (and I would need to get this laptop to connect to several different networks).
    -I rarely play video games.
    -I do a fair amount of programming for scientific applications, typically I use Python or various scripting languages.
    -I'm not sure how I feel about open office, I didn't like it so much when I last looked at it a few years ago.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2007 #2


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    You can always run both (either dual boot or through virtualization like VMWare). There's no need to choose one or the other at this very moment. Set up your computer to allow you to use both. If you eventually come to realize you don't use one very much, discard it.

    That said, Linux will do fine on any network, is excellent for programming, and is no longer a big headache to set up (at least on relatively mainstream hardware). Video games remain one of the last big "problems" with Linux -- real gamers are almost forced to continue to use Windows these days.

    - Warren
  4. Dec 14, 2007 #3


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    Dual boot without a shade of a doubt. It's very easy. Linux makes provisions for a dual boot, unlike a certain *ahem*.
  5. Dec 14, 2007 #4
    Haha, I have much experience in this.

    for ethernet, its just plug and go, for wireless, depending on which distro, wireless adapter, etc, it can be just plug and go

    Linux has the right tools to all programming languages, even most windows language.

    OpenOffice a few years ago sucked, I agree with you. Now its a formidable machine of glory. You can always run Word on the Linux windows emulator called wine if it really still bothers you.

    For one, I suggest switching to Linux to anyone that doesn't play games, even then, its only the extreme gamers that truly require windows. Dual booting is fine, but it limits you a lot. If you really want to switch and get rid of windows, its best to install Linux. I had a windows laptop with me (just use a friends comp) to help me for the first couple weeks when I was having real troubles (mostly internet stuff).

    Secondly, you have to decide which desktop environment you want, you can always install both, depending on the distrobution, but its best to know before hand. I personally love KDE, but that's my opinion, neither is better all around. Lastly, which distribution to go with. I use openSUSE, I wouldn't suggest using it off the bat, but its a good one to use after you understand Linux.

    To start, I would go with either PCLinuxOS or Ubuntu/Kubuntu, they seem to be the easiest Windows --> Linux transition.
  6. Dec 15, 2007 #5
    I would recommend you look https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=194068".
    It's a pretty good thread if you wonder which distribution to use...

    I'm not sure if you really need dual boot - if programing, writing documents/electronic sheets, surfing, chatting, listening to music and watching videos is what you do - you don't need anything but Linux.

    There are some good free games for Linux (Alien Arena, Battle For Wesnoth, Nexuiz, America’s Army, Tremulous, Second Life, Frozen Bubble, The Open Racing Car Simulator, FlightGear, Frets On Fire, Scorched 3d, ManiaDrive...)

    And there are some commercial titles too (Doom3, Quake 4, Unreal Tournament 2004 and 3, Savage 2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Serious Sam 2, Darwinia, Uplink...)

    I have a dual boot, but last time i used windows was about a year and a half ago... when I wanted to play The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion... so, if i had to setup a new computer - I wouldn't bother installing windows on it...
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  7. Dec 15, 2007 #6
    Yes do it.

    Linux has greatly improved on usability which makes it easier for non-computer humans to use Linux

    You don't need to know at all to run Linux.

    Google your wireless card with Linux to see if people found problems with it. Very likely it should work easily. There are Graphical programs like gnome network applet which take care of connections for you and its easier as you only need to enter the password once. I don't know why on windows you are forced to type the password to a network twice its the most retarded thing.

    Thats nice

    Linux Makes it easier to do programming and scientific applications, scripting languages. Some scripting languages like Python are usually installed and good to go right out of the box for you. Programming & debugging tools are also usually pre-installed which ones depend on distribution. Python & Perl are common ones to be pre-installed.

    To help you choose you can http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/ [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  8. Dec 16, 2007 #7
    Since you don't know yet about the cons and pros on both of these os, then i guess you try dual booting, you can always decide what's best for you after doing some comparisons.
  9. Dec 21, 2007 #8
    I'm looking at making a similar switch. Linux is great for all you have mentioned. Look up Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com) thats what I'm looking into. It has bi-annual updates, gets no viruses (of course), etc. And is free! You can even get a free cd sent to you. Plus they have different versions for different uses, (education, general use, and I think even a programming specific on). And it runs virtually all Windows apps if I remember right.
  10. Jan 1, 2008 #9
    I also tried open office a few years ago... that lasted 5 minutes. the new version is much much much improved, though
  11. Jan 8, 2008 #10
    Alright, I've installed Ubuntu (I'm dual booting with winxp) and I've been using it for a few days. I have to say, I'm really impressed with almost everything I've seen so far.

    The first snag I seem to have hit is that I can't find a bibliography manager program similar to Endnote for windows. Ideally, I'd like to find something that integrates with open office just like endnote works with microsoft word. However, I'm not sure if such a program exists, some googling seems to suggest it may not.

    I've seen links to various BibTeX programs, I can't really tell if they are what I'm looking for or not though...

    So, does anyone know of a good linux bibliography manage,r? Is BibTeX what I'm looking for?
  12. Jan 9, 2008 #11
  13. Jan 12, 2008 #12
    Excuse me, this is on topic, but kind of out of the way. I have a Ubuntu CD and I have the reqs to install it, but I need to know if its possible to delete it from my hard drive, should I want to get rid of it. Any helps is appreciated, thanks!
  14. Jan 12, 2008 #13
    And you can use the same Ubuntu Live CD to completely erase your HD.
    Off course, you would have to install a new OS after that.
  15. Jan 12, 2008 #14
    If he used a dual boot, he would only need to delete his Ubuntu partitions, resize the other OS's partitions and update the boot loader - which is quite easy...

    No need to re-install other OS's you had.
  16. Jan 12, 2008 #15
    I downloaded ubuntu 7.10 and just can not start installation. After I press install, it gets stuck after "running boot loader script [OK]". Ive googled about it but no solution so far.
    I don't wanna use XP but i'm being forced to :P
  17. Jan 12, 2008 #16
    We don't know what bizing is planning to.
    He was afraid of the ubuntu installation, and I've just answered his question.

    Well, the dual boot is not for free. First, you would have to defrag one partition (at least), and then would have to resize it, in order to make room for a new OS.

    If he's running xp, and wanted to try linux before moving to vista (getting rid of xp), then he would not have to worry about resizing his xp partition to install the dual boot.

    In other words, in this case, the dual boot makes no sense, and there is no need to do all the work you would do (defrag and resize).

  18. Jan 12, 2008 #17
    OK, to clarify. I want to dual-boot, and I need to know if I could delete just Ubuntu off my HD if I should want to get rid of it, WITHOUT wiping the whole thing. I don't want to use the Live CD (I would but my comp doesnt have the RAM to do it), so how do I got about making a partition? Thanks
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2008
  19. Jan 13, 2008 #18
    don't worry about it, if you have just one partition with winXP on it, it's only a matter of using the slide bar in the Ubuntu installation to determine how much space you want to give away for your new OS - Ubuntu takes care of the rest.
    And if you have more then one partition - you will have to manually tell the Ubuntu installer which partition you want it to resize, then tell it to create a partition mounted in / and a swap partition (in windows they call it the virtual memory - and it's a file...) - this second partition will act as extra RAM for the parts of memory you don't access very frequently.

    (just start the installer, i think it's pretty clear when you see the relevant screen).

    if you want to remove Ubuntu, you just need to delete these partitions and restore the other partitions to their original size, then use fixmbr to restore your boot sector to what it used to be before Ubuntu changed it...
  20. Jan 14, 2008 #19
    Thanks all. But how exactly would I go about deleting a partition, I mean do you just go into Windows and is it under some program. Or do you do something at startup?
  21. Jan 18, 2008 #20
    I recommend using a liveCD with parted on it, http://partedmagic.com/programs.html" [Broken] will do the trick.
    though if you already have the Ubuntu installation disc, you can use it instead - it has parted and it's GUI frontend gparted - so you can just boot into the liveCD, delete the Ubuntu partitions, and resize the windows partitions.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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