Author Topic: Migrating from Windows to Linux  (Read 8955 times)

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Offline David Hess

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2018, 12:11:49 pm »
So far too many missing features and programs that will not run on Windows 7 and higher has been a big problem for me.  One avenue I will be exploring is trying the server version of Windows which apparently fixes a lot of the user interface stupidity.
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2018, 12:15:39 pm »
So far too many missing features and programs that will not run on Windows 7 and higher has been a big problem for me.  One avenue I will be exploring is trying the server version of Windows which apparently fixes a lot of the user interface stupidity.

It sort of does. I run Server 2016, the the UI is just fine, but most of the stupidity it fixes is just by removing most of the desktop features of Windows, and just leaves you an immensely capable WinAPI compatible platform.
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Online BravoV

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2018, 12:18:54 pm »
p.s. one advice: always try to install software from the official repositories first!

Good advice but not always works, as my previous post, its the official repository that was pumping down the latest untested chip-set driver, that brought the whole system GUI down at its knee at booting.

To be honest, it feels like no single decent human in the whole Linux world, ever thought of and realized the simple standard emergency boot mode at Windows, like the Safe Mode in 640x480 256 colors, is a really helpful "great & grand" design for noob user's POV.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 12:22:01 pm by BravoV »
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2018, 12:22:24 pm »
p.s. one advice: always try to install software from the official repositories first!

Good advice but not always works, as my previous post, its the official repository that was pumping down the latest untested chip-set driver, that brought the whole system GUI down its knee at booting.

To be honest, it feels like no single decent human in the whole Linux world, ever thought of and realized the simple standard emergency boot mode at Windows, like the Safe Mode in 640x480 256 colors, is a really helpful "great & grand" design for noob user's POV.

Normally because most Linux users break the X11 server quite often, and a safe mode that relies on it is kinda pointless. The GUI on Linux isn't as integral, in fact, I actually run my current Linux (soon to be migrated to Unix) workstation without a desktop manager, and the X11 server on my personal computer that I use over SSH.

However, since Linux is infinitely customizable, you can of course create custom X11 instances and bootloader options that will start X11 into a predefined safe mode with minimal driver and component initialization.
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Offline Ampera

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2018, 12:26:59 pm »
My personal Linux of choice is Arch Linux, with FreeBSD being my Unix of choice (after System V variants pissed me off). The reason being is it helped me learn the basics of Unix/Linux management. It was incredibly easy for me to pick up and learn.
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Online BravoV

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2018, 12:33:41 pm »
However, since Linux is infinitely customizable, you can of course create custom X11 instances and bootloader options that will start X11 into a predefined safe mode with minimal driver and component initialization.

Yeah, you tell that to a noob Linux user to configure his/her Linux system that the X11 daemon as such to ALWAYS boot under safe mode.  :palm:

See that ? This kind of respond is expected, and it has been for decades, that no body, I mean no body even the holy leader Linus Torvald ever thought about that, may be its only me myself.  >:D

Whats funny is when reading so many so called Linux evangelists  :-DD, that keep whining on how slow Linux penetration in desktop world, what a bunch of morons.  :--
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 12:35:30 pm by BravoV »
 

Offline abraxa

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2018, 12:37:35 pm »
I'd recommend finding replacements for the programs you use on a regular basis. For example, if you use(d) Norton Commander, FAR or Total Commander then you could look into midnight commander (mc), Beesoft Commander or similar. Same for image viewers like ACDSee, audio tools like CoolEdit or media players like Winamp. There are often programs out there that you'll feel familiar with, making your switch to linux a little less daunting. Hence, I suggest making a list of tools that you grew fond of on Windows and finding replacements for them on linux.

As for the shell, it's important to understand that the unix way of thinking is to have tools that do one thing and do it well. That's why you'll see a lot of different tools that do only one thing (find, grep, dd, sed, awk, ...) but once you learn what they're most often used for, you'll find that typing up a command in a console window can get things done faster than clicking around in some GUI. For this it's helpful to know what built-in commands your shell supports (e.g. cd, pwd, cat, df, echo, ...) and making a small list for yourself - or using one of the many bash cheat sheets out there.

Quote
I'm fully aware of this, but on the other hand it's hard to just set aside decades of learning. For example: I almost fully understand the whole "everything's a file" concept.

Actually, that's more true for linux than it is for Windows. For example, you can control aspects of the linux kernel by examining the files under /sys and /proc and/or writing values to the files there. Also, you can access devices by reading from and writing to the corresponding files in /dev. I think you'll feel right at home once you got the hang of what is where and why :)
 

Online bd139

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2018, 12:38:27 pm »
Whats funny is when reading so many so called Linux evangelists  :-DD, that keep whining on how slow Linux penetration in desktop world, what a bunch of morons.  :--

Yes. Even as an RHCA I still run windows :)
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2018, 12:43:25 pm »
However, since Linux is infinitely customizable, you can of course create custom X11 instances and bootloader options that will start X11 into a predefined safe mode with minimal driver and component initialization.

Yeah, you tell that to a noob Linux user to configure his/her Linux system that the X11 daemon as such to ALWAYS boot under safe mode.  :palm:

See that ? This kind of respond is expected, and it has been for decades, that no body, I mean no body even the holy leader Linus Torvald ever thought about that, may be its only me myself.  >:D

Whats funny is when reading so many so called Linux evangelists  :-DD, that keep whining on how slow Linux penetration in desktop world, what a bunch of morons.  :--

Because that's the answer to the question. I never once claimed Linux was an all in one solution for people who don't want to put the time or effort into doing that stuff. For a Linux user like me, with free time to boot, I only occasionally have that issue.

Although I'm a bit confused as to what you're saying. I didn't say you should set it to always configure into safe mode, I'm just saying Linux has the advantage of if you really want something, there's a way to do it, whereas in Windows, if you really want something, you better hope someone else with the time and complex NT kernel skills has made a working hack for it already.

Windows has it's benefits. It's the platform of choice for people who don't like Linux, but it's currently a dying breed, as the NT kernel is one of the last of it's kind. Everything else is Unix-like/POSIX compatible now.
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Offline amspire

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2018, 01:03:34 pm »
Halcyon, if you are going to change, I think Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS is the best solution for a beginner right now. I think it is the most robust of the Linux varieties. I have tried the Ubuntu variations like Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and at some point there has been issues that Ubuntu does not have. Mostly these issues can be resolved, but it is not easy for a beginner. Release 16.04.4 will last you till 2021.

If you are new to Linux, definitely try it out in Virtualbox on a Windows PC (make sure you turn on virtual PC support in the bios).

Wine can do some excellent emulations, but there is a lot of Windows stuff it cannot run properly - particularly programs that need drivers. Switching to Linux is a big trade-off. Mostly, if a developer writes a program for one platform only, it is usually Windows. On the flip side, Linux can do heaps of things easily that are very hard work in Windows - particularly if you do start to learn the command line. When I have to connect to a remote computer, I love it when I can connect to a Linux PC in a command line window. There is hardly a delay - everything happens instantly. When I have to connect to a Windows PC using RDP or VNC, I usually expect a frustrating time.

There are actually things you can do in Linux that seem like pure magic to a Windows user, and you also have the benefit in running an O/S that is a true server O/S. It does not have the built in limitations of Windows desktops like a maximum of 10 connected PCs, inability for running many server applications, license limitation of 1 person using a PC at one time and so on.

If you do switch to Linux, you will probably want to have a version of Windows running in a virtual machine just so you can run Windows-only tools if you have to.

When you have to upgrade from 16.04 to a new version, you will almost certainly have to reinstall. The GUI versions of Ubuntu do not tend to upgrade reliably and the chances of a beginner ending up with a blank screen, or things just not working fully are high. So expect that when it is time to upgrade, you will reinstall the new version of Linux.

Probably worth keeping a log book so you can record all the little quirky things you needed to do to get a package running perfectly.

Don't make the mistake in thinking that Linux does not need a decent PC. If you want a really good experience, start with something fairly powerful like an i5 or better, or a AMD Ryzen processor. 8G ram is minimum, but I would start at 16G.

You will not regret a SSD drive as the boot disk. All your work will end up in the /home directory, and at any time, you can move this directory to a bigger separate drive so a 256G SSD is fine to start with. If you plan to run Windows as a virtual machine, get a 512G SSD so you can also run the Windows VM from the SSD.

If I were transferring to Linux, I would probably run two PCs for a while. Just make sure you are using the Linux PC for email (like Thunderbird), web browsing and LibreOffice so that you can get used to relying on the new platform. Keep the Windows PC for a year or more so you can go back to it when you have to.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2018, 01:06:56 pm »
This guy knows both Windows and Linux, tries multiple variants of each, and doesn't pull his punches.  Where something is good, he says so; where something is bad, he says so.

https://www.dedoimedo.com/linux.html
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Offline tooki

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2018, 02:09:17 pm »
Only advice, from someone who uses both on a daily basis, is to acknowledge that they are different kettles of fish. Don't try and make your Linux machine do the same workflow you are used to on windows.  That is the route to frustration and failure and scurrying back again. Start with an empty mind and no assumptions.
^^^This. So much truth!

It’s practically verbatim the advice I used to give to people switching from Windows to Mac, back when I was a salesman for the latter. Each OS has its own conventions, and if you expect it to be the same as another, you’ll fail. (Kinda like how if you need sugar but get salt, you’d think “damn this is bad sugar!”, when in fact the salt is not trying to be sugar.)
 
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Offline BillB

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2018, 02:39:56 pm »
After looking over this thread, the answer didn't jump out at me, but why Halcyon are you moving away from Windows?  Windows 7 was great, 8.x not so much.  But Windows 10 is pretty good. 

What is it that you use your PC for?  Which applications are necessary for you?

I've used and developed for Windows ever since it 3.0, applications, device drivers, all sorts of stuff.  I've also developed for Linux (apps, drivers) /embedded Linux (kernel builds, BSPs, drivers, apps, etc) and frankly I still prefer Windows for day to day stuff.  If you are a GUI kinda guy, then Windows is the better choice.  If you don't mind spending time typing in the shell, and prefer to have ultimate control of every aspect of the OS, then Linux is preferable.

As others mentioned before, using a Virtual Machine (Virtual PC is ok, Oracle VirtualBox is much better) with a Linux guest OS on it is a great way to learn.  Also mentioned, Windows 10 even includes a Bash On Ubuntu shell!  You can do 80% of the stuff you need (shell-wise) in a quasi-native environment!  As far as Linux distros, I'm partial to Ubuntu as well, but not by much.

 
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2018, 02:51:12 pm »
It's personal preference I suppose.

The quality of Windows' GUI has deteriorated in recent years. There's no longer a consistent look and feel, across applications, with the Metro craps using a totally different widget toolkit, to everything else. Don't get me started on the newer versions of MS Office. I've just been battling with MS Office 2013 at work, which is buggy has hell, has the most unintuitive GUI I've ever used and takes far more clicks to get anything done, than older versions and LibreOffice.

As far as Linux is concerned. I use PC Linux OS at home and it's great. I don't use the command line very often and the GUI is better than Windows 10, in my opinion.
 
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Offline stefan_k133

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2018, 03:53:53 pm »
Over 25 years ago I got my first Linux in university on eleven 3.5" floppy disks and I had to carefully configure X-Windows with the risk of destroying my monitor. Today there are several good version one can try when switching, but I would try out Ubuntu first, because of the quite good support. If you will try it without installing it, you can try out a live distribution on usb stick and no need to wipe out your windows. Here's the link for ubuntu https://tutorials.ubuntu.com/tutorial/try-ubuntu-before-you-install#0.

What can be overwhelming is that for one application there are often many programs available, all with different features, e.g. music or video players. For some GUI-Tools on Windows there are no equivalents at first, but especially for the system tools you can use very powerful commands from the shell. So in the long run I would learn using the shell. There are some good books about bash or zsh and many online tutorials. One quite good read abount the unix philosophy is in Eric Raymond "The Art of Unix Programming" (http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/taoup/html/philosophychapter.html).

Usually hardware is no problem, but especially with new and not standard peripherals it is possible that the device is not yet supported. Usually you can search for the device plus "linux" or "ubuntu" to find out if you run into trouble.

I would use two hard drives, one for the system, and one for your "Home"-directory. That way you can try out and reinstall other linux variants without touching your data. And if needed you can easily backup your home to some usb-disk in case you need to switch back.

Regards,
Stefan
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2018, 05:29:55 pm »
I have used Linux for 20 years now and one piece of advice I would say is essential is to make sure any hardware you have or are going to buy (printers, scanners etc) are supported. Don't listen to anybody who says almost all hardware is supported now, it isn't and it is easy to run into problems with this.
OTOH a surprising amount of hardware works out of the box on Linux with much less (close to zero) hassle to install it. But yes, do look out whether hardware is supported on Linux because there are some exceptions.

I've made the transition to Linux a couple of years ago. Linux is much faster to work with and it doesn't deteriorate or act up like Windows does. I run Windows XP in Virtualbox and when it starts to act up I simply roll the VM back to the previous snapshot. Also I really don't like the 'enhancements' in Windows 7 like how the file explorer puts the directory you are looking at outside the visible area and I can't use Windows 10 due to being unable to disable the anti-aliasing.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 05:40:35 pm by nctnico »
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Offline HoracioDos

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2018, 05:47:47 pm »
Hello!

I started with linux in 1994 (slackware 2.0) and I've been switching between many distros in the last 24 years and I wasn't able to leave windows once for all. There's always some software that is completely needed for a job or a hobby that runs only in windows. There is no black and white. So first advice is to embrace the idea that you will certenly need dual boot or a Windows VM.

A few tips to consider:
Rolling distro vs LTS (Long term support)
Cutting edge distros vs more tradicional ones. I prefer Ubuntu/Debian based distros.
Hardware age. Desktop weights are different.
Look and feel. It's not a small detail. You can't work with tools you hate.
Available documentation in the web. Don't choose some odd distro.
Software availability in official repositories.

I've been running Mint with Cinnamon and Mate in the last years. Mate is rock solid in my kid's notebook and look and feel is far better than ubuntu with the same desktop.

I hope this can help!
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2018, 07:54:12 pm »
Moving to Linux is something I've been dreading, because everything I spent decades learning is all of sudden largely irrelevant.
I moved to Linux in 2014 when XP ended and I didn't want to buy Win 7 or 8 licenses for the multiple computers that I use.

What you have learned will be relevant towards future OSes whether it be Linux, Android or Apple OS.

Quote
I'm considering Ubuntu as my primary OS.
Because I use older, free and often discarded hardware, I use Lubuntu.  I did try over 30 distros of all various flavours with different desktop environments.  I settled on Lubuntu mainly due to lightweight and the nice looking text font.

Quote
What advice would you give to a Linux noob?
The biggest challenge for me was that some of my Windows programs stored my data in non standard format.  I had to convert them.  For current and future needs, I chose applications that ran on Windows, Linux, Apple OS and Android.  That meant I had to change my workflow a little bit.

For testing Linux and new applications, I ran them on a separate machine until I was comfortable everything was stable and reliable.  Then I turned off my Windows XP.

The only thing I can't run is my tax program under Linux.  It is finicky under WINE and each time the tax program or WINE changes, something breaks.  So I have a Windows 10 machine just for this application.

I will be upgrading all my machines to Lubuntu 18.04 LTS sometime in May/June 2018.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 08:11:50 pm by retiredcaps »
 

Offline Kalvin

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2018, 08:01:41 pm »
I want to keep things simple and stable, so I ended up using Linux Mint LTS with MATE desktop. As I still need to use Windows with some development tools I have been using Virtualbox with Windows 8.1. I haven't had any major problems with my setup and things work as expected. Installing Canon printer and scanner Linux drivers were a pain, but after some googling I got it done.
 

Offline hendorog

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2018, 08:14:51 pm »
Moving to Linux is something I've been dreading, because everything I spent decades learning is all of sudden largely irrelevant.
I moved to Linux in 2014 when XP ended and I didn't want to buy Win 7 or 8 licenses for the multiple computers that I use.

What you have learned will be relevant towards future OSes whether it be Linux, Android or Apple OS.


This is (or at least it was) so true. What I learnt playing around with Linux way back has helped me solve so many non linux issues at various jobs.
Back then to use linux you really needed to learn the 'first principles' of everything, so people who knew linux really knew how stuff really worked.
Big learning curve, but big benefit at the end, and you are not just learning the 'linux' way, you are learning the 'truth'.

Admittedly things are more polished now, and so you can probably side-step this learning curve just as you can in Windows or OSX.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #45 on: March 05, 2018, 08:22:31 pm »
After looking over this thread, the answer didn't jump out at me, but why Halcyon are you moving away from Windows?  Windows 7 was great, 8.x not so much.  But Windows 10 is pretty good. 

I currently run both Windows XP and Windows 7 on two of my machines at home. Windows 8/8.1 was a mistake so I didn't even bother (like Windows ME, Vista...) and Windows 10, while better, is still horrible. I ran Windows 10 for about 6 months and hated every moment of it. They took so many features of previous Windows versions and just made them worse. For example, print settings, you think you could just go to the device properties and everything is there? No, of course not! There were no less than 3 different places where you could find settings for printing. One was in the good old Control Panel, the other in "Settings" (which is like control panel, but not), the third I can't remember. That's just one of several examples.

I tried to like it, I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't. Don't even get me started on all the cloud bullshit and "Apps".

What is it that you use your PC for?  Which applications are necessary for you?

At home, nothing really out of the ordinary (web browsing, office applications, etc...). I have a fairly powerful Xeon-based PC which I used to do some fairly intensive video editing on, but I rarely do that sort of work anymore, so the machine really is over-spec'd for what I use it for today.

I'll keep using Windows XP and 7 for as long as I possibly can, but there will come a point where I will no longer be able to activate them if I format/reinstall. I've already found this with an older version of Microsoft Office which was more than capable and did everything I needed.

I have used both Ubuntu and Mint before and didn't mind them. I currently run Ubuntu on my media centre machine, but at times it can be a little "quirky" for reasons unknown. I think it's just an old version with issues that I haven't bothered to update.
 
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Offline rdl

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2018, 08:39:37 pm »
...
I'll keep using Windows XP and 7 for as long as I possibly can, but there will come a point where I will no longer be able to activate them if I format/reinstall. I've already found this with an older version of Microsoft Office which was more than capable and did everything I needed.
...

Just as an FYI, it is possible to reinstall Windows 7 and "activate" it without having to connect to Microsoft. There's just one or two small files you have to copy before wiping your current install so you can replace them after a re-install. It requires doing some stuff as administrator, but nothing too difficult.
 

Offline hli

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2018, 08:58:27 pm »
There is no "best" distro. Everybody has their own likes and dis-likes, and their own style of workflow. And each distro does too, so you should try out some. If you want a Linux with low maintenance load, try one of the *buntu ones (or maybe Fedora). They are well maintained and meant for the end-users. If you want to have something that changes only rarely, Debian and probably CentOS are for you. If you want to control everything, something like ArchLinux is for you.
Try to come up with a list of applications you regularly use (or list the things that you need to do regularly), and try to find Linux replacements for them (or whether they will run under Wine). That way you are prepared to what will change for you. Maybe test these applications on Windows first when possible (e.g. LibreOffice or KiCAD).

Try these out from a LiveDVD first, and then use them in a VirtualBox to test-drive them for a few days. When I went to the Linux route I first did set up dual-boot so I kept Windows in its current state for when I needed it (e.g. because you had some tools that just worked on Windows). Oh, and to play the occasional game (saying that: on Linux you will have less games available, esp. the block-buster ones, but then with Steam the list of choices got so much better in the last few years).
When I found myself booting less and less into Windows because everything was working under Linux, I created a Windows VM for the stuff that will not run (for me thats Cypress PSoC Creator and my HBCI home banking app). I killed off the windows partition when it would not boot anymore after a motherboard change.

Personally I like Kubuntu. When KDE came out the tried to copy Windows nearly 1:1, including the bad design choices. But with KDE3 they started to go their own way, while still keeping it similar enough to be easy to newcomers. Yes, they still have some room for improvement, but in my experience they actively try to get better, and to improve usability further and further (something I cannot say about Ubuntu or Gnome). And they have some really good applications available (like the Krusader file manager). But as I said, that's a personal preference - and the great thing about Linux is that you actually have a choice there...
 

Offline ferdieCX

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2018, 09:31:51 pm »
CentOS is the distribution used at CERN
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Migrating from Windows to Linux
« Reply #49 on: March 05, 2018, 09:42:07 pm »
What I learnt playing around with Linux way back has helped me solve so many non linux issues at various jobs.
Back then to use linux you really needed to learn the 'first principles' of everything, so people who knew linux really knew how stuff really worked.
Big learning curve, but big benefit at the end, and you are not just learning the 'linux' way, you are learning the 'truth'.

I was lucky. Before Windows even existed, I started with the most commercially successful Unix of the time.

Now guess who made that UNIX.

Quote
Admittedly things are more polished now, and so you can probably side-step this learning curve just as you can in Windows or OSX.

One consequence of sidestepping that learning curve is very visible in the crap quality of much of the software you see around us. :(
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 09:44:52 pm by tggzzz »
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