What you use Linux for?

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What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:00 am

To most people computers are just a media player and communications box for social networking and this becomes very apparent with the new Windows 8 start screen.
For professional applications like movie editing or photoshop and also office suite, Windows and Mac support the more professional tools.
Even for games Linux just can't offer the same quality... so I have been wondering why other people choose to use Linux and what you use it for.

While I'm here I might as well tell you why I have installed it now:

I use Linux in virtual machines to learn and experiment with computer technology.
This is because availability of open source software, free information and competent tools is excellent.
Instead of buying packages like Microsoft Office I can just boot up my Linux Mint virtual machine.
I give it access to my regular files on the host computer through shared folders and the good thing is that Linux still supports drivers for my ancient printer and scanner that Windows doesn't anymore.

I had been playing about using Linux as my host operating system and then running Windows in the virtual machines.
Preferable to Windows emulation (wine) because genuine windows is 100% Windows compatible and supports the latest Microsoft technologies.
Alas I soon found that Windows 8 is definitely not suitable for virtual machines.
It requires a lot of memory and disk space and you can't reliably import a Windows 8 virtual machine on anything but the original hardware.
The virtualized graphics needed by professional tools like Sony Vegas and various games won't perform adequately in virtualbox and Windows doesn't understand the ext4 file system format... so, whether I like it or not, it looks like I'm stuck with Windows for my host OS.

This won't prevent me from delegating many applications to dedicated Linux (yes and also Windows) virtual machines and thus keeping to the bare minimum on the host.
My next plan is to research making a Linux based virtual machine for social networking and internet access.
Windows is just too insecure and I want to sandbox my host computer from potential malware and avoid using it in casual web access.

In conclusion I will be interested to hear how other Linux users actually use their Linuxes and why you prefer it for certain applications 8)
Last edited by perduta on Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby eanfrid on Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:22 am

I use exclusively Linux and FreeBSD for everything, either personal or professional matters, since 2005 and have been using Linux since 1998. I do keep a few Windows virtual machines but only as testbeds to provide Windows-only apps support to my (not-so-happy) Windows customers.

Edit: you should also read this topic => viewtopic.php?f=61&t=116854 :)
No, Linux is not a Windows clone for free - Before asking any question here...
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby lexon on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:25 am

I use Linux in my computers.

L
Lindows, Linspire, Freespire, Ubuntu, Mint 15 Cinnamon, Mint 16 XFCE
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby Orbmiser on Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:04 pm

Sony Vegas and various games won't perform adequately in virtualbox and Windows doesn't understand the ext4 file system format... so, whether I like it or not, it looks like I'm stuck with Windows for my host OS.


Check out the news for Lightworks a Video Editor coming out for Linux this quarter.
http://www.lwks.com/

Now there is Steam for Linux and games are starting to trickle in.
It's success will open up the eyes of game companies to make ports of games to linux.

And their are programs that will allow windows to access ntfs file system.
That won't help in running programs but will give access to files.

Left linux after investigating for over a year back in 2006-2008 but the lack of serious apps I used had squash any notion of using as main OS. As needing a serious Image Editing program and hated gimp. Been using Win 7 last 4 years and Lightroom for all my clients needs for my photography. Checked it out again just as a curious note. And lo and behold.

Found programs like darktable http://www.darktable.org/ and Rawthreapee http://rawtherapee.com/forum/
So now trying to do it all on my Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon. And slowly getting a handle on using on a regular basis.

As it stands Linux fills 90% of my needs so far tho not willing to commit my clients images like Getty Images to it yet. Until I master more of darktable's extensive features and adjustments. Don't game much but may as setup a Steam account and installed Steam.

Otherwise works for all my other needs which like most use. Firefox web browsing & email. Don't do any of the social networking "In your Facebook" or "Twitter Twatter" kinds of things. Organize my epub's,Pdf's and all reading with Calibre which is for Windows and linux and handles my reading library for my Nook Color Tablet for my ereading.

Use Banshee for my Music which has accumulated to over a 1000 CD's of collecting the last half century. And can watch my movies and TV programs. YouTube videos,etc...
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:57 pm

Thanks for that info Orbmiser, also thanks to the other respondents :)

I was on the verge of deleting my Linux Mint as the host OS, but I have several reservations about Windows 8 and I don't see any future in going back to an older Windows. Those links do suggest there is potential to use Linux as my main environment after all :)

I too don't have the time for new games, but of course as long as Windows drags in new generations with the gaming industry there will be a strong demand for Windows compatibility. I've already established that Windows 7 and Windows 8 virtual machines are a serious liability when trying to run them on a host with different hardware and that running virtual machines on a dual boot system can cause them to become corrupted and unbootable.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby DrHu on Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:27 pm

perduta wrote:Even for games Linux just can't offer the same quality... so I have been wondering why other people choose to use Linux and what you use it for.

Assuming most people are gamers: if so they may already have Xbox, Sony PS2 or 3x or Nintendo Wii, or these days even a tablet with online gaming: that doesn't necessarily depend on having a windows OS installed..
    Certainly Andorod OS is not a windows OS, and they have gaming available
    --and don't forget Flash as a streaming/online gaming option..

My bet: the normal use for a computer of any type is for browsing the internet, some documenting (an office suite, could be the OSS ones such as Libre or Open Office or Google dos etc), Facebook, IM (skype etc), twitter, cloud computing (mainly what a netbook or tablet might be including) et al.

perduta wrote:The virtualized graphics ...Windows doesn't understand the ext4 file system format... so, whether I like it or not, it looks like I'm stuck with Windows for my host OS.

Third party bakup and access solutions can support ext4 via windows
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronis_True_Image
--not the only one available partmagic also does it

Uefi is the bigger issue with win8, and maybe the tiled start menu (mobilty based for touch screens is not a good "cup of tea" for some: myself included..
If I had win7x, I don't know apart from newness what advantage win 8x has for me..
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby Orbmiser on Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:33 pm

" I've already established that Windows 7 and Windows 8 virtual machines are a serious liability"


True that is why I dual boot between Linux Mint 14 & Win7 as if one goes down can boot to other.
In your way if linux goes down then your left with nothing until you fix the linux issue.

As Win7 when I need it. I need it in full native use. And setting aside 30gb for Win 7 and dual booting is no big deal and gives me another level of operational security and lessen the chance of downtime.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby dee. on Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:56 pm

I have three reasons to use Linux:

1 - because it's an ethical choice. Both Mipple and Acrosoft (two sides of the same coin) are doing things that I personally feel are immoral and downright criminal, and I don't want to support that kind of activity. The way they do business is unethical. It's the same reason why I buy fair trade food products when possible.

2 - I like the speed, stability, security and customizability.

3 - I want my computer to be in my control, without black box implements that I have no way of controlling, doing things without my knowledge or permission. I want a system that is designed in a smart way, with the user as a first priority, instead of some corporate interest. I like openness and transparency.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby raymerjacque on Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:03 pm

With newer CPU's now starting to support VT-D and AMD-Vi out the box gaming via virtual machine is just as good as on a native windows machine, the FPS drop would be minor if any. So one of the options for linux users when upgrading their rigs is to make sure the new PC supports Intel V-TD or AMD-Vi, that way the virtual machine has direct access to the GPU and thus they can run linux as the main OS and game via Vmware/parrallels etc etc ( not sure if virtualbox supports VT-D ? im sure it should as well ).

Anyway, its just another way for linux users to bypass the gaming limitations...
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:11 pm

raymerjacque wrote:Anyway, its just another way for linux users to bypass the gaming limitations...

lol - yes like you mean "log in to a MMO" multiple times by pretending to be multiple players on multiple computers?
I'm definitely look forward to having a competent games virtual box.
Currently I can get neither Linux nor Windows to use openGL or directX mode in Runescape, but I could have sworn that used to work... not that I would dream of cheating of course ;)

With all the different Linux distros about I'm just surprised nobody seems to have made one specifically as a virtual machine guest OS... services like temperature sensing and screen saving and also loging-in are all redundant on a VM because the host OS handles it.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby Garvan on Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:28 pm

I was asked recently why I used Linux on my computers, and I found myself a bit lost for words. Why do I use Linux, and what do I use it for? I wanted to explain how wonderful Linux was, but could not think of anything much to say. Should I try and organise my thoughts better?

These are a few points that I can think of.

1. I have several computers, which I use for specific purposes, and I enjoy configuring them to suit these purposes. I don't want them to be clones of each other, and while I need MS Office for work, I don't need copies of it on every computer I own. Free software solutions are better for most of my use. So I have one big laptop with Win7 & MS Office for work, and several other computers all running Linux. I would not mind having an apple computer to play with, but it does not seem like a good investment. And I am very pleased with the mobile computing power of my Android Phone.
2. Commercial versions of some of the programs I use (i.e. GIS software, CAD software) are prohibitively expensive. Free alternatives are available for Linux that meet my requirements (occasional use), and allow me to experiment with types of programs I would otherwise not have access to.
3. I enjoy testing and experimenting with academic free software released with scientific papers, and these programs are generally available only for Linux.
4. Compatibility of devices and interconnectivity is a big priority for me. Often a Windows computer is best, usually Linux is good, and usually Apple is not good.
5. Free software runs better and faster on Linux, and all of the programs I use outside work are free software.

Next time I am asked a question like this I will be ready with a short answer: Free software runs better and faster on Linux.

What do I use Linux for is easier to answer: Everything except work.

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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby drumBE on Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:37 pm

it's all i have on my pc's and i don't need more
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:30 am

Garvan wrote:I was asked recently why I used Linux on my computers, and I found myself a bit lost for words...


To some people computer operating systems seem to have acquired cult status and so it's nice to get a rational argument. :)

A totally agree with you: The good thing about Linux is, that we, the consumers are not at the mercy of marketing decisions made by corporate giants.
There is quality software available at no cost, but this is like a double edged sword... it may deter professional developers because people need to make a living from the work they do, whereas in the Linux world you end up working for the love of it!

I too, see the cost of professional software as prohibitive to the general public.
In most cases we can't justify such an expense for casual use.
Thus many people do resort to software piracy.
IMHO however that actually helps these vendors by maintaining their product as a defacto industry standard rather than stimulating competition. :shock:

However, when Microsoft radically changed their office suite between the 2004 and 2007 editions and I was really struggling to do things that I had got comfortable with, I did switch to Open Office and compatibility was excellent. When my neighbor recently offered for free her 3rd installation of the latest MS office she had bought I declined as I have no desire to switch back.

I think Microsoft have realized they actually need the independent vendors to stay in business on the Windows platform and not to price themselves out of the market.
Notice the big difference in price between Windows7 and Windows 8?!
Free availability of MS Visual Studio Express and their new Apps store are probably strategic marketing moves that will attract developers to target Windows and encourage the general public to feel safe buying Microsoft products without being tied in to one vendor.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:19 am

drumBE wrote:it's all i have on my pc's and i don't need more


I'll explain why I'm interested in exactly the kind of uses people have for their Linux installations.

For instance, having previously got a software project to build with an older version of glade/gtk I was today looking at using the latest release of these software tools and so I did the usual "sudo apt-get install glade" and it all looks promising, but then I run glade and the moment I open my work file I get: "Segmentation fault". So where on Earth do I start to sort that out?

Thus a bit despondent, for some light diversion I decide I'll put a cool splash image in my grub boot to identify my software developer virtual machine with said role. Now I was kind of expecting just to poke an image file name in a config file down in an /etc sub-folder... but no.. it's not that easy: There are literally dozens of grub config files and scripts involved and different 'standard' places where background images are supposed to go.

A grub2 guide tells me to edit some lines in /etc/grub.d/05-debian-theme... but those lines do not exist on my system (which is an installation of a very recent LMDE distro). The GRUB_BACKGROUND parameter in /etc/default/grub is recognized by update-grub, but it still doesn't display said image on boot and eventually after about 3 hours of total frustration I just give up trying to work with the system. Instead I simply overwrite /boot/grub/grubbg.png with an image of my own choice... then I say some choice words about Linux geeks (not suitabler for publication on these forums). All-in-all another whole day of achieving absolutely nothing. :cry:

Now for something even simpler: Not that long ago my son and I sat down to watch a video on my Linux machine but every 10 minutes the screen or maybe power saver would cut in and the strange thing was that I had disabled these daemons. I could not find what was doing this and in desperation we rebooted to Windows and enjoyed the rest of the film without interruptions... and the moral of my tale here is that we are often living in a fantasy world that doesn't match the reality of Linux... we will save a lot of time and frustration by simply using Windows in the first place.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby KBD47 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:30 am

I use Linux for everything. Manage my music, edit pictures, manage my ebooks, stream video. For most people today all you need is a browser and if that takes care of most of what one does, why not use Linux? It's safer, faster, and free.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:23 pm

KBD47 wrote:I use Linux for everything. Manage my music, edit pictures, manage my ebooks, stream video. For most people today all you need is a browser and if that takes care of most of what one does, why not use Linux? It's safer, faster, and free.


That is a good answer KBD47 :)
For many people computers are just a 'dumb terminal' for surfing the web and streaming media... however even for that I find that my up-to-date Linux Mint blanks the screen every so often which is annoying when I'm watching a video. I have disabled power management and screen savers and went through every setting I can find to no avail :(
Does nobody else find that detracts from it's appeal?
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby KBD47 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:32 pm

Perduta, that sounds like a screen saver or power management issue. MATE is fairly easy to set to stay on with power management adjustments and disabling the screen saver if memory serves.
Which desktop are you using? Also, doesn't Caffeine disable the screen saver if it's installed? You definitely don't need the screen going blank while watching videos.
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:17 am

KBD47 wrote:Perduta, that sounds like a screen saver or power management issue. MATE is fairly easy to set to stay on with power management adjustments and disabling the screen saver if memory serves.
Which desktop are you using? Also, doesn't Caffeine disable the screen saver if it's installed? You definitely don't need the screen going blank while watching videos.


I googled 'linux caffeine' and TBH I just think it would be typical of the layered legacy lunacy that Linux is becoming to even consider an app to stop some unidentified daemon from 'saving my screen' on a virtual machine :O

I think however I found it now... see attached image... these are the settings you need on the xfce branching of the minty Linux variety... I have no idea what you need on the MATE and KDE variants but I'll just stick with LMDE for now, it is definitely the best for VM's :wink:
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Xfce.png
These settings were the culprit!
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby perduta on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:27 am

perduta wrote:I think however I found it now...


Nope... my bad... 10 mins later see attached image... I'm still lost in the jungle and can't see the wood for the trees :(
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Re: What you use Linux for?

Postby bimsebasse on Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:42 am

I use it for everything and don't dual boot with XP anymore. The only things I miss from Windows are foobar/iTunes and Photoshop, I have made do with Linux equivalents but they're not replacements. The things I don't miss greatly outweigh it, and I'm reminded constantly as IT support for girlfriend and family - they all have an OS that for some reason seems to deteriorate rapidly and get increasingly more sluggish - as an impatient person using my girlfriend's windows 7 laptop almost makes me angry after a few minutes, everything takes so long to load. And fixing my parents' Vista laptop I feel very privileged having found Linux, it's like dancing with a blind hippo.
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!
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