Has *nix reached the stage where i can pop a CD in my computer, setup as easily as XP, and then use it with equal ease?

dug777

Lifer
Oct 13, 2004
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I tried some uber recommended distro at some stage early last year on an old box i picked up, but after a few nights cursing and carrying on i couldn't actually get some pretty basic things working, so i just loaded up a copy of 98 i've got from way-back...

Have things improved?

 

Noema

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2005
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It largely depends on your hardware, in my experience. Personally I've got good experiences with all my hardware working out of the box.

Some other people might not be so lucky, specially with certainl wireless chipsets. The few laptops I've tried so far with Ubuntu have worked well...you might want to try the newest Ubuntu...
support is great in my opinion.

And if you have Creative Labs hardware (X-Fi), well, you'd better start firing up that onboard audio if you want sound in Linux.
 

f1sh3r

Senior member
Oct 9, 2004
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this *probably* belongs in Operating Systems, but im not sure... anyways

Linux may not come completely "out of the box ready," most of the stuff is relatively simple to get going, especially with SuSe or Ubuntu (stick with the most recent releases). You may have some CLI to get codecs installed and the like, but nothing terrible.

When you install windows, it doesnt have the codecs or plugins either. oh, and windows 98 drivers... ugh. linux driver support is far superior, and with the new Ubuntu, 3d graphic driver support is just a click away.

Then there is the application side of things. Ubuntu comes prepackaged with a great library of ready to use apps. Office, multimedia, entertainment, games, internet.

What "basic things" could you not get working? i know one of the biggest problems was wireless support, but thats getting worked on.
 

dug777

Lifer
Oct 13, 2004
24,778
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Sound and networking (wired) were two main things that i never conquered.

This wasn't a new box by any means, tho. Late P2/current mass market intel chipset/s3virge/no recollection what the sound and networking was at this stage tho...

98 worked fine (obviously Xp would have been a no-no :eek:), i was happy, then i sold it for a song, but i was thinking of giving some flavour of linux a try at some stage again...
 

Noema

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2005
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It's funny...the other day my uncle called him because he had taken his old Compaq laptop for 'repairs' and all they had done was install Win98. They didn't even install the drivers. And nothing worked out of the box. Nothing. Display was at 640x480 with 16 colors.

So I fired up Damn Small Linux to connect to the internet and download the drivers, and it worked so beautifully...everything right out of the box. Didn't have to configure anything (I think I had setup DHCP but that was it).

So I guess I've been lucky.
 

nweaver

Diamond Member
Jan 21, 2001
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Originally posted by: dug777
Sound and networking (wired) were two main things that i never conquered.

This wasn't a new box by any means, tho. Late P2/current mass market intel chipset/s3virge/no recollection what the sound and networking was at this stage tho...

98 worked fine (obviously Xp would have been a no-no :eek:), i was happy, then i sold it for a song, but i was thinking of giving some flavour of linux a try at some stage again...

I've never seen wired ethernet not work on a modern linux distro. You must have had some freaking weird chipset.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,315
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Originally posted by: dug777
I tried some uber recommended distro at some stage early last year on an old box i picked up, but after a few nights cursing and carrying on i couldn't actually get some pretty basic things working, so i just loaded up a copy of 98 i've got from way-back...

Have things improved?

You can always try Linspire:

http://www.linspire.com/

Linux with the ease of Windows. Also, OS X from Apple is Unix-based (BSD). I think that part of the problem is that Linux is used for such a wide variety of applications that it's hard to make it "easy" for any particular application such as use on a desktop. Windows has a real benefit there because nearly all consumer hardware is released with Windows drivers. In addition, real Linux geeks don't care much about usability - they care about function. Personally I'd rather have something that does what I want and is easy to use, so I stick with XP & OS X. Although I do have FreeBSD on my router (pfsense) and Linux on my web server (Red Hat); they are especially well-suited to server tasks.

Exactly what do you want to do with Linux?
 

trexpesto

Golden Member
Jun 3, 2004
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Exactly what do you want to do with Linux?

- hmm.. "To NOT spend 10% of the cost of a new machine on the OS?" :) Edit: (every few years)

Seriously - and this is an idea I am trying to spread - only games keep me on windows.

Firefox, Yahoo mail, OpenOffice (much better now). Boo-yah.

That's everything else I need, except some overclocking utilities which I'm not positive would run too well in an emulator.

 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,315
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Originally posted by: trexpesto
Exactly what do you want to do with Linux?

- hmm.. "To NOT spend 10% of the cost of a new machine on the OS?" :) Edit: (every few years)

Seriously - and this is an idea I am trying to spread - only games keep me on windows.

Firefox, Yahoo mail, OpenOffice (much better now). Boo-yah.

That's everything else I need, except some overclocking utilities which I'm not positive would run too well in an emulator.

Same, Windows is for gaming now. I use OS X & Parallels for everything else now. And now Parallels can even run slightly older games!
 

stupidkid

Member
Jun 21, 2006
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Originally posted by: NoemaAnd if you have Creative Labs hardware (X-Fi), well, you'd better start firing up that onboard audio if you want sound in Linux.
I've never tested X-Fi but my Audigy 2 ZS works perfectly with Gentoo after installing the correct drivers in the kernel and worked out of the box with Ubuntu. Although I have to admit wireless is a pain in the ass sometimes.
 

stupidkid

Member
Jun 21, 2006
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Yes, mplayer and VLC have played everything I've thrown at it.

Edit: Assuming you enable the correct USE flags in Gentoo. I'm not sure about Ubuntu, but should work just as well.
 

Noema

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2005
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Originally posted by: stupidkid
Originally posted by: NoemaAnd if you have Creative Labs hardware (X-Fi), well, you'd better start firing up that onboard audio if you want sound in Linux.
I've never tested X-Fi but my Audigy 2 ZS works perfectly with Gentoo after installing the correct drivers in the kernel and worked out of the box with Ubuntu. Although I have to admit wireless is a pain in the ass sometimes.

Older cards work, but not the X-Fi. It's a known issue, simply because Creative can't be bothered to come up with drivers for it.
 

Nothinman

Elite Member
Sep 14, 2001
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Has *nix reached the stage where i can pop a CD in my computer, setup as easily as XP, and then use it with equal ease?

For most things it's easier IMO.
 

trexpesto

Golden Member
Jun 3, 2004
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so you can see, it may not be equal ease:
Edit: Assuming you enable the correct USE flags in Gentoo. I'm not sure about Ubuntu, but should work just as well.
but think of all the problems you have with even XP - face it: windows "maintenance" involves reinstalling the OS!
 

stupidkid

Member
Jun 21, 2006
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Originally posted by: Noema
Originally posted by: stupidkid
Originally posted by: NoemaAnd if you have Creative Labs hardware (X-Fi), well, you'd better start firing up that onboard audio if you want sound in Linux.
I've never tested X-Fi but my Audigy 2 ZS works perfectly with Gentoo after installing the correct drivers in the kernel and worked out of the box with Ubuntu. Although I have to admit wireless is a pain in the ass sometimes.

Older cards work, but not the X-Fi. It's a known issue, simply because Creative can't be bothered to come up with drivers for it.

Oh, so like ATI...Yea, the newer ATI cards are also a pain in the ass for Linux.
 

Ruger22C

Golden Member
Sep 22, 2006
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"Seriously - and this is an idea I am trying to spread - only games keep me on windows."

Amen. ;)
 
Dec 21, 2006
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Installed Fedora Core 6 on this computer (Fedora 7 Moonshine now) and haven't looked back. Still got windows for games, but I can't think of anything I wouldn't rather do in Fedora. Linux runs smooth as butter on an 800mhz PIII and old G450 dualhead... Managed to find drivers for my sound card by itself, something even Windows hasn't managed yet. Still got some issues, default Linux drivers don't like my card (can't use compiz/beryl) and Matrox official drivers only support XServer <= 7.0.0 (Fedora 6 Zod shipped with 7.1.1). Fedora 7 has improved my experience (games now work) but still no compiz.
Also, Fedora and Ubuntu now have pretty solid LiveCD's if you just want to take it for a spin. There are also distros of linux that fit onto flash drives and run with little/no overhead.
In other words, Linux has improved drastically since a few years back. I remember my dad brought home a linux box about 5 years ago, and I seriously had no idea what was going on. Now, with graphical boot and install sequences and GUI-based context menus (instead of miles and miles of terminal code) Linux can be as easy (although not as low-maintanance) as Windows.
 

Noema

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2005
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Originally posted by: Ruger22C
"Seriously - and this is an idea I am trying to spread - only games keep me on windows."

Amen. ;)

Pretty much. Windows is okay. It's stable and overall well designed.

But if I weren't a gamer, I'd use Linux exclusively. I already use Linux exclusively on machines I don't game on.
 

Ruger22C

Golden Member
Sep 22, 2006
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I'd like to, Noema. But I just can't figure out how to use it. I'm warped by the darkness that is windows.
 

stupidkid

Member
Jun 21, 2006
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The way I learned Linux was through my first successful Gentoo install albeit it took a couple of tries. If you just follow the guide and get Gentoo working you'll understand a lot about Linux.

Edit: Since you have a x850xt, it'll require some tweaking to get your gfx card working smoothly.
 

themisfit610

Golden Member
Apr 16, 2006
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Well yes you can do just about anything on Linux that you can do on Windows (and a lot more actually).

Some big things that don't work out of the box with most if not all distros for legal reasons are DVD playback, and MP3 decoding, since both these require licenses. You can easily get around these things, but out of the box they don't work.

Also, getting used to the unix style file management and organization can be daunting if you're hardwired for Windows. I find that I can do just about everything I want in Linux (with the exception of AviSynth, which is a requirement for doing really effective video encoding), but on Windows I can do it a lot faster and easier. Most of this is due to the fact that I'm damned good with Windows and have been using it for so long. It also has a lot to do with the commercial software that I use (and many use illegally) like Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere, Sound Forge, Acid, and Reason all of which are essentially unequaled in Linux. Yes GIMP is great, maybe even better, but who really uses it for professional work?

There are really no decent video editors in Linux :) There are some great little basic editors that sort of clone iMovie / Windows Movie Maker, and some awesome VirtualDub workalikes that are actually better IMO (like AviDemux), but for real DV editing there's nothing out there.

Still, that's all content creation, and most people only dabble in that.

Gaming as we all know is pretty much a no-go. Yeah yeah wine, etc... I don't care. It doesn't work well enough. Period. 802.11x networking has always been a MAJOR headache for me, particularly getting WPA encryption working properly.

If all you need to do is edit office documents, browse the web, listen to music, and maybe do some photo management, then Linux is a totally feasible "drop in the cd, install with defaults and go" OS, and comes with so much good stuff it's hard to believe.

Obviously, its development features are incredibly good, and the open source community is a tremendous asset.

Gamers, creative professionals, and "average" prosumers need not apply in my opinion. To really embrace Linux and leverage its advantages, you would ideally be a software developer, or all-around geek who's willing to start all over (assuming you're a Windows person, as the vast majority of us are). I'm a hell of a geek, but I'm not willing to start over (or loose AviSynth and gaming for that matter ;))

Anyway, Linux is great. Anyone who uses it should be applauded in my mind. It's ESPECIALLY cool for building a specific use system, like an HTPC, a router, or a VOIP server.

Just not for me ;)

~MiSfit
 

nweaver

Diamond Member
Jan 21, 2001
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The linux directory structure/file system takes some getting used to, but once you figure it out, you realize MS has got it ALL wrong...drive letters are one of the worst ideas ever.
 

themisfit610

Golden Member
Apr 16, 2006
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Well, sort of.

Let's pretend you have three hard drives.

With Windows, you would have C:\ be your OS drive, maybe D:\ be a data (audio, images, and data files) drive, and E:\ be a video drive.

With Linux any mount point could reference any drive.. which to me can be a little confusing. It's a much more flexible way of doing things, but for the average user with no more than 2 or 3 drives, there's not much need for it, in my opinion.

I guess don't like the idea of the OS being on / and having other volumes being a subdirectory of / (like /Volumes/... in Mac OS X).

Still, to each his own. Flexibility or simplicity :)

~MiSfit