Why should I switch to Linux?

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SynSmash
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Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by SynSmash »

I have been a Windows user for over 20 years. The lovely (sarcasm) recent Windows 10 is pi$$ing me off and turning me into an angry monster. I thoroughly enjoy the following:

1. Telemetry - yay, all of my data, documents, private files belong to Microsoft
2. BITS - yay, please share my computer with other people so you don't have to use your own servers
3. I cannot control my settings - I used to like Windows because it allowed more control than a MAC...now, I turn something off and Windows turns it back on
4. Please use 100% of my disc space with your broken a** background processes that I cannot turn off
5. Yay - installation of bloatware with each update, love this one

Win10 rant over.

The real question, why Linux? why not Ubuntu or something else? [ call me a general PC user (I use the internet, play some games, do a heck of a lot of work in MS Office, enjoy things like Photoshop and SolidWorks) who occasionally does side-treks into programming]

The fears:
1. I have never used anything but Windows and I am short on time - how long does Linux take to learn/get familiar with? [I'm pretty good with MS Office - how long will it take me to learn something new?]
2. What if I screw it up?
3. I don't know anything about Linux...
Last edited by Habitual on Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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xenopeek
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by xenopeek »

You will get a thousand and one different answers as these questions only have subjective answers. The best I can recommend you to do is to download a Linux Mint ISO, burn it to a DVD or use proper program to write it to a USB thumb drive, boot from that and try it out live before deciding whether to install it or not. By trying it out live you can form your own opinion on how difficult (or not) it looks to learn.

That said, Windows is the best operating system to use for Microsoft Office and also for Photoshop and Solidworks. If you move to Linux you should accept that as fact beforehand. There is a lot of awesome software available on Linux but you may have to make some compromises. If you're unwilling to do that, turn back now. Linux is not a free clone of Windows nor does it strive to be. It will take time to move to Linux, certainly if you have specific needs. The best recommendation would be to install it in dual-boot (or duel-boot :wink:) with Windows and take your time to migrate while keeping Windows as fallback for the programs for which you have not found a Linux alternative for or have not gotten used to the Linux alternative yet.

You can research alternatives:
http://alternativeto.net/software/adobe ... form=linux
http://alternativeto.net/software/solid ... form=linux

As office suite Linux Mint comes with LibreOffice. You can install that on Windows as well. It suits my needs and it can read most Microsoft Office files but it isn't the same and some things work differently or aren't possible with either office suite that is possible with the other.
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chrisuk
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by chrisuk »

Agree with @ xenopeek.

I'd also add, try a few different LiveCD/USB, including Mint and Ubuntu - see which you like the look of (although you can change general appearance easily enough), and which one is easiest to use (are things where you expect them to be - is it easy to find and launch programs - is it easy to change system settings etc. Some Distros look and feel a bit like Windows, others are closer to Apple IOS) Then install the one you like as a dual boot with Windows. If you find you're progressively using Linux more than Windows, you'll have an answer to your doubts/questions.
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by Moem »

SynSmash wrote:The real question, why Linux? why not Ubuntu or something else?
Ubuntu is a form of Linux. Or rather, Ubuntu is a Linux-based OS. And Linux Mint is another Linux-based OS. And there are plenty of others.
Which one you choose is up to you; I can tell you why I personally chose Mint over Ubuntu.

It was pretty trivial really: I did an Internet search for 'Linux for beginners' and found lots of articles praising Mint as the ultimate beginners' distribution (that's what we call a Linux-based OS). And I looked at screenshots and liked what I saw: the interface looked pleasing and understandable. So I tried it out and here we are.
SynSmash wrote:The fears:
1. I have never used anything but Windows and I am short on time - how long does Linux take to learn/get familiar with? [I'm pretty good with MS Office - how long will it take me to learn something new?]
That depends a lot on you. But you may actually find it a lot easier than you may think.
SynSmash wrote:2. What if I screw it up?
If worst comes to worst, you can always reinstall and start over. Be sure to keep backups of your important documents, just like under Windows.
SynSmash wrote:3. I don't know anything about Linux...
That's how we all started! And we're here to help.
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If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!

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Flemur
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by Flemur »

SynSmash wrote:1. I have never used anything but Windows and I am short on time - how long does Linux take to learn/get familiar with? [I'm pretty good with MS Office - how long will it take me to learn something new?]
2. What if I screw it up?
3. I don't know anything about Linux...
1. That depends how dumb you are. The GUI's (system menus and stuff) and libreOffice should be pretty similar and self-explanatory, as are the file-browsers (windows "explorer").

Installing software is completely different but not difficult.

Spend a little time to learn how to use a terminal, at least to type commands and know how to cut/paste text (again, not difficult). Linux has a useful and very powerful terminal shell; Windows' attempt is kludgey with terrible syntax and worth avoiding whenever possible.

Directories are separated by "/", not the perverse "\".

Instead of C:, D:, etc, partitions are mounted to things that look like regular directories (e.g. /home could be a partition or a directory).

Edit: file names are case sensitive!

2. Backup your data. Maybe even make a dual boot with Win10. Backup your data.

3. See #1.
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] if/when it is solved!
Your data and OS are backed up....right?

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MintBean
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by MintBean »

Here's 5 great reasons to switch to Linux...

Because with Windows:
1. Telemetry - yay, all of my data, documents, private files belong to Microsoft
2. BITS - yay, please share my computer with other people so you don't have to use your own servers
3. I cannot control my settings - I used to like Windows because it allowed more control than a MAC...now, I turn something off and Windows turns it back on
4. Please use 100% of my disc space with your broken ass background processes that I cannot turn off
5. Yay - installation of bloatware with each update, love this one

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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by thom_A »

SynSmash wrote:The real question, why Linux? why not Ubuntu or something else? [ call me a general PC user (I use the internet, play some games, do a heck of a lot of work in MS Office, enjoy things like Photoshop and SolidWorks) who occasionally does side-treks into programming]

The fears:
1. I have never used anything but Windows and I am short on time - how long does Linux take to learn/get familiar with? [I'm pretty good with MS Office - how long will it take me to learn something new?]
2. What if I screw it up?
3. I don't know anything about Linux...
You're better off staying with Windows, imho. CAD apps don't generally have Linux equivalent, Solidworks, Autocad, etc.

And the unfortunate part, when it comes to Office, is MS's invention of the Ribbon interface and other useless features. They were designed not to make things easier, but to break compatibility among non-MS office equivalents. Corel even attempted to copy the Ribbon UI in their WordPerfect suite, but they were threatened lawsuit by MS, if I'm not mistaken. Corel countered MS was also copying some of their ideas, and it ended with both parties settling the matter amicably.

So it's no longer safe to just leave MS Office and use an alternative hoping that export/import translation would be a breeze.

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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by earthlingkc »

I use Mint as primary and Windows as either dual boot or under Virtualbox (the latter on most computers). Keep your files in Linux, use for browsing, media or anything Linux is capable of then boot Windows when you need a unique app (I use fileshare to my Linux file repository as a NAS that is replicated in private cloud storage using BT Sync). Am pretty satisfied with LibreOffice and don't need MS Office but just depends on features you use. Only typical things I use Windows for is tax software, setting up logitech remote and updating BIOS. The first two I do in Virtualbox and have Win10 on a USB3 stick if needing to update BIOS. Don't really need Windows much, just depends on what you do.

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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by austin.texas »

There is one tremendous advantage that linux has over Windows, that is seldom mentioned, but it is very significant to me. That is, as a general rule, you do not have to search for freeware, or shareware, or $ware when you need a program. Almost always, the program you need is available in the linux OS's repository. The repository is basically a server which holds thousands of programs appropriate for your linux OS, approved and vetted (to an extent) by the OS maintainers.
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The Old Timer
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by The Old Timer »

SynSmash wrote:The fears:
No Fears. :)
Learning Linux can be an enjoyable adventure.
SynSmash wrote:I have never used anything but Windows and I am short on time - how long does Linux take to learn/get familiar with? [I'm pretty good with MS Office - how long will it take me to learn something new?]
The best way to learn Linux for me was by installing it and using it.
Learn while your using it "Hands On Experience" is the best teacher.
SynSmash wrote: What if I screw it up?
You don't own the patent on screwing up as we all have and that is the way you learn what not to do.
Linux is pretty hard to screw up for the most part and when you do you jump back in and keep going if you really want to learn to use Linux.
SynSmash wrote:I don't know anything about Linux...
Again learning Linux by using Linux is the best teacher.
The Linux Mint Forums are awesome as there is a wealth of information and forum help available.

Also available are these links.

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/

https://linuxjourney.com/

I recommend giving Linux Mint 18 Xfce a try.

The Old Timer

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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by thom_A »

SynSmash wrote:The fears:
1. I have never used anything but Windows and I am short on time - how long does Linux take to learn/get familiar with? [I'm pretty good with MS Office - how long will it take me to learn something new?]
2. What if I screw it up?
3. I don't know anything about Linux...
You don't have to do it cold turkey. Do it nice and smooth with no pressure.

First, you need an old machine you don't care of breaking or damaging, preferably with intel dual core and 3GB ram. (This household have 3 of them, about 8 yrs old average.) Then go from there.

You then start learning how to install Linux Mint, then setup the additional software that are available. You learn by mistakes. The main objective is to check out Linux alternatives to MS Office and other apps you can't live without, see if the things you currently do in Windows can be translated to Libre Office, for example.

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MintBean
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by MintBean »

You don't even need a spare machine, just a spare hard disc and someone competent to install it. It's not hard. Then disable everything except the target disc and do a standalone Mint install. That way you avoid any of the standard dual boot issues or the possibility of borking your Windows disc.

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austin.texas
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by austin.texas »

MintBean wrote:You don't even need a spare machine, just a spare hard disc and someone competent to install it. It's not hard. Then disable everything except the target disc and do a standalone Mint install. That way you avoid any of the standard dual boot issues or the possibility of borking your Windows disc.
That is fine for old-style BIOS/Legacy/CSM Windows computers, but with UEFI the WIndows boot configuration is recorded (partly) in the NVRAM, and if the hard drive with Windows is disconnected, the computer erases that boot info. When you re-connect, Windows won't boot until you reconfigure it - not an easy process...
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MintBean
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by MintBean »

austin.texas wrote:That is fine for old-style BIOS/Legacy/CSM Windows computers, but with UEFI the WIndows boot configuration is recorded (partly) in the NVRAM, and if the hard drive with Windows is disconnected, the computer erases that boot info. When you re-connect, Windows won't boot until you reconfigure it - not an easy process...
That's news to me... and quite a step backwards in utility. Almost like Microsoft is making it as difficult as possible to try Linux.

Does disabling the drive in the BIOS count as 'disconnecting' the drive, though?

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austin.texas
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by austin.texas »

MintBean wrote: quite a step backwards in utility.
One of many big steps backwards in utility that UEFI is guilty of.
MintBean wrote: Does disabling the drive in the BIOS count as 'disconnecting' the drive, though?
Sorry, I haven't heard any info on that.
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by daveinuk »

One more good point with a linux install is the speed at which you can re-install the OS quickly if you did screw up whilst learning.
If you partition with a /root partition and a /home partition (besides other partitions) and make a pigs ear of something you can quickly re-install by just pointing the installer to /root to overwrite that and leave the /home partition alone so you don't touch touch any data that's on there already - for me this would be my single biggest reason never to go back to windows, you can be up and running again with a flying system in about 20 minutes, as opposed to several hours for a windows install, if you're lucky.

The other consideration is installing mint/whatever alongside Win 10 and keep that for your essential win programs, or, my personal favourite way of having win anywhere near a PC, is safely locked away inside virtualbox where it can be used in exactly the manner required, but safe in the knowledge it is essentially 'jailed' and can do no harm :wink:

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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by phd21 »

Hi "SynSmash",

Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux Mint and its excellent forum !

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

It would help to know more about your system setup. If you run "inxi -Fxzd" from the console terminal prompt, highlight the results, copy and paste them back here, that should provide enough information.

You do not have to stop using MS Windows or remove it at all. You can install Linux Mint along side of it, or on a USB flash drive stick, etc... Or as others have suggested, you can install Linux Mint and Virtualbox or VMware and install MS Windows in that and run anything MS Windows related in that while still in Linux Mint without "dual booting".

Anyone can install any edition of Linux Mint in around 16 minutes or less and be up and running doing most of the typical computer tasks that most users want to do. I would highly recommend that you create a bootable DVD disc or USB flash drive stick of each edition of Linux Mint (Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, or Xfce) and try them out for yourself to see which one works best for you and your computer hardware and that you like the most.

Because you do have computer experience, getting used to Linux Mint will go quicker for you. Keep in mind this is not MS Windows, so you will have a learning curve. Ask questions here in the forum, search the forum because there are a lot of really good posts and replies that you can learn from.

There are good to excellent Linux alternatives for almost any software application that you may have used in MS Windows, and more become available every month. A lot of developers are smartly creating software applications for Linux and or "cross platform" that work on Linux, MS Windows, and or Mac. If you ask people here, or search the forum, we can recommend some of them for you. Searching the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM) is a good place to look as well.

"LibreOffice" is an excellent Office Suite and it keeps getting better all the time. And, there are numerous other office suites available that run on Linux and or are cross platform (Calligra is great & AbiWord is really nice too). LibreOffice and other Linux capable office suites can handle most (95% or more) of any existing documents, spreadsheets, etc... you may have, and if you run into some that have a problem, then use "MS Office Online", or MS Office 365, or bring up MS office under Windows and save those files in a format that is compatible with other systems or an earlier version of MS office. Also, there are numerous online office suites like Google Docs / Drive that can handle most MS office formats. There are also numerous online "conversion" websites that can convert one office file format to another "open" format.

WPS - Bringing the world’s best office experience to Linux
https://www.wps.com/linux

What are the best office suites for Linux?
https://www.slant.co/topics/739/~office ... -for-linux

* Good Article - Here are the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office. FreeOffice 2016, etc...
http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/ ... ernatives/

16 Most Used Microsoft Office Alternatives for Linux, April 9, 2016
http://www.tecmint.com/microsoft-office ... for-linux/

Everything You Need to Migrate Your Home Office to Linux, March 21, 2016 9 minutes
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/everything ... ice-linux/


Contrary to some people's opinion, there are a few excellent Cad/Cam software applications available to use, LibreCad, QCad, brl-cad, etc...

Best Linux CAD Software 2017
http://bestreviews2017.com/best-linux-c ... ware-2017/

General Search results on this.
https://www.google.co.uk/?gfe_rd=cr&ei= ... +linux+cad


There are already numerous posts in this forum on "Photoshop" alternatives for Linux, if you search for them. "Gimp" and all it's plugins (there is even a photoshop theme for Gimp), Krita, Corel AfterShot Pro, DigiKam, Inkscape, Blender3, and so many others ...

5 Photoshop Alternatives You Can Run on Linux
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-photosho ... run-linux/

Best Linux Photo Management Software In 2016
https://itsfoss.com/linux-photo-management-software/

Photo editing apps you can get for free
http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/ ... -software/



Hope this helps ...

10 Reasons Why You Should Switch To Linux, December 16, 2016
https://itsfoss.com/reasons-switch-linux-windows-xp/

Why Linux? - Some Reasons For Converting To Linux, 09/09/2016
http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/why- ... g-to-linux

Why Linux is still better than Windows 10, Jan 26, 2016
http://www.infoworld.com/article/302620 ... ws-10.html

8 Reasons to Switch from Windows 10 to Linux
https://www.maketecheasier.com/switch-w ... -to-linux/
Last edited by phd21 on Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by vliscony »

This gets personal for me.
I have been switching to Linux since the early 90's everytime I ran into problems with MS Win...

This last year I've been rescuing family computers that were becoming obsolescent under Win10, or simply did not have the horsepower, because you simply can't keep buying new hardware everytime Microsoft says so.

My last windows machine left was my desktop. A perfectly serviceable HP Compaq Elite 8200 CMT with a Core i5-2500 with a 1GB WD black HD, and 16 GB of RAM, and an ATI HD5450 graphics card with 1GB RAM (non HP, but HP offered several AMD cards for this machine up to 6570). Reasonably speedy, etc.

Along came Windows 10. Hallelujah, it worked! No problem. Until the Windows 10 Anniversary upgrade, a few months ago.
First my Logitech OrbitSphere/AF webcam stoppped working with my Zoom teleconferencing service, while at the same time my graphics card was trying to upgrade to the latest drivers.
Neither Zoom, nor Logitech could ever figure out what was wrong, and finally I got my tech support service involved, and they could not figure it out either... then my ESET A/V software started malfunctioning, and then my HP printer started malfunctioning, and I had to print wirelessly from my phone or my tablet.

Finally it was determined I pretty surely had no virus (except for Win10 itself). We tried to upgrade the video drivers, which kept refusing to install themselves. (AMD calls them a beta release), and finally I had a tech support person do it, just in case, but no still the same... Eventually, on the AMD forums, somebody confirmed to me that these "beta" drivers from AMD had not worked for anybody ever since the Win10 anniversary release.

This was when I decided that my last Windows computer was going to bite the dust, and be switched to Linux, Linux Mint specifically. So far the only serious issue is I cannot control my webcam with software, so I am doing it by hand, and that means I can't zoom either. Posted a request to Logitech.

A few other peccadillos, but all the basics are working. I can print and video conference again. I haven't figured out how to use Wine, and maybe use some legacy (i.e. Windows) applications.

Chances are good that this is the final switch. Being an author, I have published an entire book in OpenOffice (in the days before LibreOffice), and I have found that Microsoft word is getting progressively worse for serious writing. So I've used Open Office and later LibreOffice since 2000 literally as soon as it was available, and I switched to LibreOffice from OpenOffice when the rift became serious and all the signs were OpenOffice was becoming a dead end. MS Office was hopelessly complicated and confusing. Lots of bells and whistles, but lots of failures, simply because it is too complicated. Unreliable.

What remains is that because of certain collaborations, I may have to decide to sneak in another Windows machine some day, but I hope not. It would be lovely if this is the final switch.

The one material thing I've always liked about Linux is that it tends to be more rational, and more understandable. In Linux it is always pretty readily discernable what is going on. By comparison, Microsoft always tries to shield the dumb user from the tech stuff, so that it is always much harder to figure out what is going on. And the philosophy behind Windows software is always obsure, as it was designed by committee, whereas Linux always comes across as more focused, though I can get stumped from time to time.
I say all this even though I am not really a techie - I only started learning machine language programming since the early 70's, on HP programmable calculators, and I owned and built PCs during the 80's and 90's, but only for personal use, never professionally - though I was involved in systems design for a period in the early 80's. But in my own business in the mid 90's I ran a small LAN, and did most of my own tech support, and it was super-redudant, with 24/7/365 reliability. My last self-built PC became a bit slow for me by 2011, and I had no time to build one, so I caved and bought this HP machine I am still using today. HP does not support anything before 2013 with Win 10. You're out of luck. AMD to this day has not posted the fact that their Win10 drivers do not work anymore since the Win10 Anniversary Release.
When it's time for some performance computing again, I think I am headed to Zareason.

Just my 2-cents worth.
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z31fanatic
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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by z31fanatic »

If you depend on Photoshop and Solidworks, then you can't completely switch to Linux. It would be better for you to keep Windows so you can still use Photoshop, Solidworks and Office and install Linux alongside Windows in dual boot configuration to use it for everything else. Many people use both OSes in dual boot configurations.

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Re: Why should I switch to Linux?

Post by thom_A »

vliscony wrote:Chances are good that this is the final switch.
This switching thing is a struggle for many people. Seems dual-booting is never considered, which would effectively end the struggle. I not only dual-boot, I multi-boot. I normally have 3 Linux flavors in my systems, sometimes four, co-existing with a regularly updated Windows 10 and Windows 7, which I haven't removed, but no longer update. (I duplicated the partition first before upgrading to Win 10.) In time when I want to sell the machine, Win10 will be the only one left. Tough to sell a machine with no legit Windows in it.

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