POTENTIAL Newbie

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Rounder
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POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Rounder »

I am looking at different OS's to switch from Windows 7 since it is no longer supported. I can's stand Windows 10. Just not compatible with me. My questions are as follows:
1. How good is Linux? Would you do it again?
2. What are the differences between Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce? Which is best for a home user?
3. How compatible are Windows programs to Linux? I only play one game and it is Links 2003. Will this game work with Linux?
I have moderate computer experience. Have used them since the late early 90's.
I appreciate your answers and time.
Thank you.

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LanceM
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by LanceM »

1. Mint is awesome. Would I do what again?
2.All versions are for home users. Cinnamon is my favorite.
3. How compatible are Windows programs to Linux? -Oil and water, thank goodness. Links 2003? - no clue.
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kukamuumuka
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by kukamuumuka »

1. Not so good, but I have not found any better
2. Cinnamon for eye candy, Mate for work, Xfce for work
3. Windows programs are not not compatible in linux, but in linux has better programs

gittiest personITW
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by gittiest personITW »

1) Excellent depending on what you want to do and if you accept that different software works differently.
2) Depends on your hardware. Xfce for older computers. Mate is supposed to be the most stable. I use Cinnamon and haven't had any serious problems that Timeshift and a bit of googling/forum work didn't sort out.
3) Bleugh. But refer to number 1 and also the chances that your favourite software is replicated in Linux is small, but there will be some near misses that are good enough and yes, you will have to learn to do different things with different software - refer to number 1.
4) Yes, I know - you didn't ask it..... Now is a good time to come to Linux as things are pretty Windows-like or Mac-like - configurable. I tried it 10 years ago and as an avid Windows user it wasn't for me. Now is good. BUT, refer to number 1.

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xenopeek
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by xenopeek »

I've made the switch to Linux back in 2006 so I'm biased and can't really answer your first question. I've never looked back as Linux does what I need and I can accept when some few things may not work as well on Linux—like some premium program on Windows may not have an equally premium alternative on Linux, or some gadget you own that can be updated by connecting it to your PC doesn't have an updater that runs on Linux. So far I've always managed to find a compromise for the few such that I had (I can name but two such that stuck with me since 2006).

The layout of the desktop, start menu and task bar ("panel" in Linux-speak) of Linux Mint is similar to Windows 7 and should quickly become familiar (and favorite I hope :)) and Linux can run thousands upon thousands of programs and games, both for Linux and for Windows—but it is a different operating system and will probably take a bit of time to find your way for everything you used to do on your computer. If you have a spare laptop or second computer, installing Linux Mint on that can be a good way to start your migration to Linux. You can also install Linux Mint alongside Windows and dual boot your computer; when you power on your computer you can then choose whether to run Linux Mint or Windows. That way you can fall back on Windows when for some program you need you don't have a good Linux alternative yet. The Linux Mint installer will give you this option if possible.

I can understand your dislike of Windows 10. With some care the spyware and advertisements built into the OS and programs can be mostly disabled and you can make the menu and interface look somewhat like Windows 7. Personally I would rather put my time into switching to Linux than into trying to make Windows 10 usable (and have to do that again when Windows 11 comes around) but mentioning this as it is an option.

As for Cinnamon, MATE or Xfce I think all 3 can be a good fit for a home user. You can use any program on all three so your choice isn't limiting what programs you can use. I think upon first look the most noticeable differences between the three are how the start menu and file manager of each look. Some users may have a preference for one over the others. Most Linux Mint users are using Cinnamon and that software is developed by Linux Mint so you might prefer that.

You could download Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon first and try it out—you can put in on USB or DVD and boot from that to try out Linux Mint (see the installation guide for how to do this), it won't install until you start the installer. If you like what you see proceed, if not you could download MATE or Xfce to give those a try. Instead of putting them on USB or DVD, if you're familiar with virtual machines you can also install VirtualBox on Windows and make a virtual machine and boot that from the ISO file you downloaded. That way you don't have to leave Windows to give Linux Mint a look. You can also try them out here: https://distrotest.net/Linux%20Mint. That website will boot up a virtual machine for you (on their servers) and from the website you can then connect to that with remote desktop. You can't test how well Linux Mint works with your hardware, and it may not run very fast but this way you can quickly give Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce a look before deciding on which to download if you don't want to go with my "Cinnamon first" suggestion. The start menu and task bar on all three can be customized so if something is not to your liking there's probably a way to configure it differently.

As for Windows programs and games, many can be made to work on Linux through a program called Wine but it can be hit or miss. To put it plainly; it's an option but it does require some patience to work with and you have to dig around a bit for workarounds for problems. You can research if a Windows program or game will work on Wine on the WineHQ website, it will also list workarounds other users found. Here's the entry for your game: https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager. ... gId=103636. It shows it doesn't work perfectly.

If a Windows game is available on Steam, that makes it easier as Steam has an option to run Windows games on Linux with a builtin version of Wine (as in, you don't need to do anything to make it work). Not all Windows games will work that way. You can search the database https://www.protondb.com/ to find how well a Windows game runs on Linux. Besides this option there are also thousands of games that natively run on Linux. You Links 2003 isn't on Steam so not useful for that question but mentioning two alternatives I found: I don't know anything about golf or golf games so can't say whether these are good alternatives, but just giving an option.
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lsemmens
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by lsemmens »

1: I'll not willingly return to Windwoes. So, Yes, I'd "convert to Linux" again!
2: Depending upon your hardware, Cinnamon has the most "eye candy" so requires a little "grunt" but, seriously any flavour desktop will work for you.
3: No windows program will run natively in Mint.You can, however get many windows programs to work quite well in either VirtualBox or WINE.

Think of Operating systems like cars, they all do the same thing, but not all the controls are in the same place, or operate in the same way. Many, if not, all, of the parts, are not interchangeable, either.
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Rounder
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Rounder »

blueocean wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:46 pm
1. Mint is awesome. Would I do what again?
2.All versions are for home users. Cinnamon is my favorite.
3. How compatible are Windows programs to Linux? -Oil and water, thank goodness. Links 2003? - no clue.
On question 1 I meant if you had it to do over, would you go with Linux again.

Rounder
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Rounder »

Thanks to all for the replies. Very helpful indeed.
I will probably make the jump.
I have an external hard drive I use for backups (1 TB so lots of space). Would this work to download and install Linux on or must it be a USB stick?

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Moem
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Moem »

Rounder wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:36 pm
if you had it to do over, would you go with Linux again.
100%. It's not like there are better options.

No, you cannot use that external harddisk because you'd need to format it and you probably don't want that... Any 4GB or larger USB stick will do fine.
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stephanieswitzer
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by stephanieswitzer »

I would definitely do it all again, in fact I enjoy getting Mint to work on Apple Mac's.

While MS apps are not compatible with Linux Mint, there are many equivalent apps available, and free. There is Libre Office Suite, Open Office Suite, and WPS Office suite, all Linux equivalents of MS Office. There is Gimp for graphics manipulation/editing. Firefox and Chromium for web browsing, Thunderbird Mail, equivalent to Outlook, and many more.

Can't help on games, but there are many games available for the Linux Platform. I use my PS4 for games.
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Moem
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Moem »

Rounder wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:50 pm
I only play one game and it is Links 2003. Will this game work with Linux?
Probably not. But does this look like fun?
https://store.steampowered.com/app/2881 ... fect_Golf/
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jglen490
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by jglen490 »

1) 25+ years; you're darned right I'd do it again :D And I do when new LTS updates come along.
2) The DE (desktop environment) is a user choice, sometimes driven by the user's hardware. Experiment with the Live downloads.
3) Linux executables will not work natively in Linux. They will work in a VM, or using Wine, or if they work in a browser (i.e., O365). Haven't worried about that in years. I DO understand that for some users, certain games that are designed to work ONLY in Windows are a concern.
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Moem
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Moem »

Thinking about this some more... asking 'how good is Linux' is like asking 'how good are cars'. There are many different cars, not all cars are good for all purposes and in fact most cars are good for a certain use and not for others. Same with Linux.
Linux Mint is one of the best distros for normal everyday use, no matter whether you choose Cinnamon, Mate or XFCE.

And now imagine that you're asking the car question at a gathering of enthousiasts for a certain car brand and model... the replies you get will by definition show a certain bias. :wink:
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Petermint
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Petermint »

Linux Mint 19.3 is better than Windows 10. Microsoft Publisher and a small number of games appear to be the only uses for Windows 10.

At the time Windows 7 was released, Linux was better for some things, only equal on others, and ProjectLibre was not ready to replace Microsoft Project.

Your application use is more important. You can test the major open source applications on Windows before converting to Linux. You then remove a whole heap of reasons to not convert.

My unbiased results of testing, conversions, and support: https://petermoulding.com/breaking_the_windows_habit

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Racer-X-
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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Racer-X- »

Rounder wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:50 pm
I am looking at different OS's to switch from Windows 7 since it is no longer supported. I can's stand Windows 10. Just not compatible with me. My questions are as follows:
1. How good is Linux? Would you do it again?
I've been a Linux user since around 2000, had Linux as my primary boot operating system since 2009, and I'm a recent convert to Linux Mint (last year). I "do it again" every time I get a "new to me" PC/Laptop, and every 2 to 4 years on my main systems, even if I don't replace them.
Rounder wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:50 pm
2. What are the differences between Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce? Which is best for a home user?
The most noticeable differences are visual and user-interface differences. These differences are visible. Some would sy they are minor, but they are definitely noticeable, and you might have a preference based on that.

Behind the scenes, there are differences in resource requirements (CPU, RAM). XFCE is probably the most mature and the "lightest weight" of the variants, and is really good if you have limited RAM and CPU resources. If your machine has less than 4GB of RAM or less than a 64 bit quad core processor, I'd lean strongly toward XFCE.

Mate is also good with more limited resource systems. I don't have much experience with Mate, so I can't say much about it.

Cinnamon is pretty much what Linux Mint is known for. It has more bells and whistles and more "modern features" than XFCE. If you dislike Windows 10 and prefer Windows 7, you may or may not like the "modern features" in Cinnamon. It definitely takes more RAM and more CPU resources to run Cinnamon, and even if your system has the resources, XFCE may be more like Windows 7 to you, and it's often "snappier" and more responsive than Cinnamon on the same hardware.
Rounder wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:50 pm
3. How compatible are Windows programs to Linux? I only play one game and it is Links 2003. Will this game work with Linux?
Not very compatible at all. There are translation layers and packages that allow some Windows applications to run on Linux, but they can be difficult to set up and quirky to maintain.

For an older game like Links 2003, I'd try it with play-on-linux or Steam play. You can install that from the software manager and try it. I'm kind of surprised that I'm not getting many search results for running Links 2003 on Linux, so there isn't a lot of "collective experience" out there on that title.
Rounder wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:50 pm
I have moderate computer experience. Have used them since the late early 90's.
I appreciate your answers and time.
Thank you.
Consider keeping your old hard drive and installing a new hard drive as your boot drive and setting up Linux Mint on that. I've never really liked "dual boot" systems. Full installs on a fresh drive seem to work best. If it's a desktop, you can keep the old drive in as a secondary drive and mount it up to access your old files any time you need them. You can also change the boot order and boot into the old Windows 7 that way. If it's a laptop with only one drive bay, you can get a USB cable to hook up the old drive if you need to get anything back from it.

Also, a RAM upgrade might be a really good idea at the same time.

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Re: POTENTIAL Newbie

Post by Hoser Rob »

Rounder wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:50 pm
1. How good is Linux? Would you do it again?
I have no plans to return to Windows. At tris point I've taken on the old Unix motto: everything else is worse.
2. What are the differences between Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce? Which is best for a home user?
On newer/powerful hardware it's really a matter of taste. On old/weak hardware Mate and Xfce will be a lot faster. Just dl ALL the Mint iso versions and test them in a live boot from USB stick and decide for yourself.
3. How compatible are Windows programs to Linux? I only play one game and it is Links 2003. Will this game work with Linux?
Linux is most definitely not just a free version of Windows, there's no real compatibility unless there are versions available for both OSes. SOme of my default apps in my WIndows days were ports of Linux programs.

There's a program called Wine (and its variants like playonlinux) that can run some Windows programs. Unfortunately many newbies think they'll be able to run all their WIndows stuff using it, don't get fooled by that. WIne usually doesn;t work, and acccording to the app database entry for Links 2003 ...

https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager. ... ngId=63934

... I wouldn't be opttimistic. On that database if it's rated less than Gold it won't work properly.

SO don't be in too much of a rush to yank all your Windows at first.

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