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Does anyone use Linux???

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ive been hearing about Linux for a while now and the more i get into electronics and such, the more i think i might want to try it.

my question is, in regards to my electronics hobby, is linux used alot or helpful in electronics design/application/etc?

i mean i know linux can be used for robotics but like can the operating system but used for electronic testing/design or anything involving electrnoics?

also is linux really customizable? like i hear you can make it look like mac or windows and stuff?



Poke around, you'll most likely find a distribution of interest to you.

Me.... I run PClinuxOS just because I like the specific distribution, the software that's made available in the repository, it suits my needs and I like that particular community support.

Linux refers to the "Linux Kernel" only, everything else is add on stuff such as the KDE or Gnome desktop (there's many more) and lots of open source applications that run on a linux kernel based machine. There are other kernels and distributions based on them.... one is BSD (which forms the basis of the current Mac operating system) and there are yet more.... Most of them are available for a free download and can be put on a re-writable disk so you can test them (called a live-cd) without having to install them on your hard disk. Once you find a distribution you like, you can then install it on your hard disk, either alone or together with Windows or Mac in a dual/multi boot setup.

I believe more than 50% of the Internet runs on Linux based servers, and linux has made solid inroads to the Virtual Reality base of our current movies. There's so much more, but I'm not the one to point them out.... I'm just a simple user......



This reminds me of a funny conversation I saw on IRC a few months back.

person1: I just got this version of linux running, everything except the video card, sound card, and wireless card has drivers! 

Person2: cool

... a while later

person1: damnit I can't find the driver for the video card!

person2: you know, windows has drivers for that

... time passes

person1: YAY! I got the video card working... good enough anyway, now for the audio

person2: I hear windows has a driver for that too <.<;;

.... 3 hours pass

person1: OMG I have sound! what a PITA...  now for the wireless internet

person2: hey, I heard a rumor

person1: what?

person2: rumor is, there is a driver for your wifi...  in windows

person1: oh shut up... I will get it working

time passes...  another 4 hours

person1: I got it!  I have wifi!  ... now to watch some youtube

person2: yay

person1: damnit ><  my sound broke...

and on and on.. it was humorus to watch :P

I don't really have a point to this, other than I used to be a person who enjoyed using linux.  In the right job it does great.  Servers and such.  For most people however the applications feel very rough around the edges and it is hard to find direct replacements for many programs that you can find in windows or even mac OSX.  There is something to be said for support by hardware and software vendors.  Sure people will argue that GIMP is as good as photoshop?  Or that openoffice is a replacement for MS office.  I have not found this to be the case.  But then YMMV and learning is always good to do.  That being said, my servers at work all run either freeBSD or Linux... but would I force my secretary to use a linux workstation to do the accounting? No, I need her to do real work without worrying about half written software.

*puts on her flame suite*  and now that I expressed my opinion :D

I think people go for linux because it is free and not windows, we all hate windows and microsoft and for a damn good reason, they only care about money and doing it cheap, the software quality of M$ is crap and only survives due to the huge computing power readily available today, to think I run 4x2.4GHx CPU 8 GB of 1066MHz ram a decent 256MB video card but can I really call my computer fast ? NO, and why ? because the software is so inefficient and it is mostly Microsoft own or software made in their environments like the Net. framework, this is the shittiest thing I have ever seen, i am yet to see a .net program that really performs.

I'll probably setup a linux machine sometime or get it onto my own machine now that I've gotten rid of the RAID (that still didn't help windows) that linux could not read.

As for drivers I've never had a problem, I've used Ubuntu and everything has always installed. KiCAD will run on linux so it looks quite appetizing

I use Windows XP.

I don't use any other MS software. I have rather than MS Office which I haven't used since Office 2000, The Gimp rather than Photoshop and Inkscape rather the Visio or Illustrator but I can't compare to Adobe/MS because I've never used them before.

I don't use the Gimp too much, most of the time I use it for tweaking pictures I've already saved in MS Paint or Inkscape but I gather that touching up and image manipulation is the primary purpose of the software, rather than drawing.

I don't know how well matches up to the current version of MS Office but it's certainly better than MS Works which is what my PC came with and hasn't been used since I discovered All I can say is that if you opt for, don't go for the default distribution provided by Oracle, it's slow and lacks features such as being able to deal with MS Office macros on spreadsheets and SVG import. I'd recommend using Go-oo which is faster, lighter and has additional features missing from the Oracle. Another option is OxygenOffice Professional, again another distribution, like Go-oo but with many other things such as clipart bundled with it. It looks very good but it's updated less often and is a large download.

As far as Linux is concerned, I've used various flavours over the years, lack of accelerated graphics and sound card drivers always seems to be a problem and I've had issues with Fedora Core being unstablel. Last time I tried it, the system refused to boot after performing an update and I did try getting it to boot using an older kernel to no avail. As far as software is concerned, it isn't a problem as I already use OO.o, Inkscape and The Gimp anyway and all the electronic software I use will either run natively or under WINE, e.g. Eagle, Kicad, LTSpice, Electronics Workbench are all fine with Linux. Lots of people complain about the lack of games under Linux but it doesn't bother me as I don't play any games.

My current PC has 1GB RAM, 2GHz single core 64-bit processor, a 256MB graphics card and a 400MHz PC3200 mother board with a Raptor 10,000rpm hard drive so my system runs pretty quickly.


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