Who uses Linux?

  Valvegrid 19:37 27 Sep 2004

I don't want a Linux v Windows debate because its each to his/her own and the thread would probably go on for ever discussing the pro/cons, so forget windows for now and just concentrate on Linux please.

I am curious to know how many use Linux on a regular basis, what distribution you are using, what problems, if any, you've encountered with it, and why did you decide on that particular distribution?

To start, I'm using Xandros V2.5. No problems installing at all on a HP Pavilion with an nvidia G-force MX4000 graphics card and 3com NIC card for the Internet. The reason I went for Xandros is a guy at work gave me his copy, because he couldn't get on with it, I've been using it consistently with no problems for several months.

I'll be interested to know, because I may install another distro on another computer to try.


  dazzling 20:55 27 Sep 2004

i had a crack at dual booting xp 98se and mandrake 9.0.installed ok ran ok but wouldnt recognise my modem and yes i did by a hardware one for that purpose only to find it was not suppourted.steep learning curve though.might have another crack sometime but from memory taran is your linux man but havent seenhim here for a while.darren

  duckers 22:33 27 Sep 2004

Ive used SuSE, Red Hat and Mandrake in various version numbers over the past 4 years, I am no computer/linux guru but have had very few problems.
Admittedly setting up things like file sharing between windows and linux PC's can be a bit of hassle but I got there eventually and some tasks that are pretty mundane and straight forward in windows can also be a strain in linux/unix.
In terms of programming and development tools its a world ahead of windows,, apart from intellisense (in MS visual studio) which i'd have given an arm for at times.
I have also ran Red Hat on a system with a RAID mirror (hadrware RAID) and it works well but requires a bit of extra work during setup, such as installing extra drivers and disabling hardware probing,,, but its all good fun.
I am using OpenVMS at the moment on DEC Alphas and I tell you something, give me linux any bloody day!!!!
As for versions, I like SuSE and Red Hat a lot in the latest versions and they have some good software as part of the package.

  LastChip 23:42 27 Sep 2004

I use Mandrake 9.2 most of the time - have tried Mandrake 10.0 as well, but found 9.2 installed easier on my machine and had better recognition of the hardware.

I've also tried various flavours of RedHat, but in spite of it's popularity, prefer Mandrake for ease of install and general use. Mandrake also has easier up-dates imho than RedHat, which I consistently failed to get to work.

Modems continue to be a problem (compared to Windows), but almost any modem that is network based (plugs into a network port) will work it seems.

Right now, I'm investigating building a stand alone Linux Firewall/Router, as I have old machines laying around that could be put to good use.

As I'm also upgrading my home network, I'll incorporate the Firewall when the upgrade is completed. I'm using this not only to further secure my network, but also as a learning curve in the application of Linux.

It is a pleasure to be free of constant battles against viruses, Trojans and the like, which at the moment at least, are almost non-existent on Linux.

  Valvegrid 07:14 28 Sep 2004

Hardware recognition seems to be the main drawback with Linux generally, I think I must have been lucky by just sticking the CD in and installing it, it found everything, even my firewire which I could never get working in Windows. I must say Xandros installed far easier than Windows, which surprised me, even dual booting with Windows 98SE on the other partition.

Just one other question which LastChip reminded me was viruses, I'm using BitDefender which I run occasionally when I remember, I was wondering what A/V, if any, you are using.

Thanks for your replies so far, it makes interesting reading your experiences.

  Gaz 25 09:39 28 Sep 2004

dont claim to know everything about it, because it is a tricky to use OS. Remembering switch commands is very annoying, especialy when trying to remember them for cisco routers as well.

Ah well, for certain things Linux does nicely, but I dont use it as my daily system.

Good luck!

  Gaz 25 09:40 28 Sep 2004

I meant good luck to novices wanting to try linux...

Enjoy a good learning experience.

  LastChip 12:47 28 Sep 2004

A drawback? Yes and No!

For pure ease of use, without question, it is a drawback, but consider this.

One of the reasons XP has become such a bloated operating system, is because of it's ability to recognise almost everything (in terms of hardware) that you throw at it. For most users, this is a delight, but it does mean you must accept the downside as well (i.e. the huge amount of disc space and processor power needed). And No, I'm not leading into a Linux v Windows debate, just pointing out the differences.

It also means, as has been discovered by some commercial operations at considerable cost, the integration that is inherent in Windows extends to problems in dealing with security. Much has been said about that.

Now, Linux by comparison, can be loaded as minimalist as you wish, even to the point of selecting and compiling your own kernel and choosing each application. For example, as I mentioned above, I'm looking at Firewalls, and the particular approach I like, is a complete Linux Firewall on a write protected floppy - no hard drive at all! The floppy boots the Firewall into the memory, and is then redundant.

Now consider a hack attempt. Where is the hacker going? To your memory on a stand alone machine! Any attempt to write to the floppy will be unsuccessful (write protected)- not sure yet if you can remove the floppy totally once it's booted. Even successful entry into the memory, only requires a re-boot to start again with a clean Firewall. Windows on a floppy? I don't think so!

Further, each application is written as a stand alone entity. Yes, it may need other libraries to run, but you have virtually complete control over what goes on your machine, so the ease of recognition, is a two edged sword.

Companies like Xandros, Mandrake, RedHat and SuSe, try and find a median, whereby ease of installation is reasonable, but the distro will still run on a comparatively lowly specified machine and I believe, this particular point is underestimated. As Windows offerings become more and more "advanced?", the machines required specification, gets higher and higher.

As mentioned on another thread by a contributor, Mr Gates himself said "I can't imagine anyone needing a hard drive larger than 4GB", Like Mr Ratner once said, "It's rubbish"! Mr Ratner has already lived to regret his statement; Mr Gates, time will tell.....

Sorry if I diversified a bit!

  Valvegrid 18:50 28 Sep 2004

No I don't think you've diversified, you've made some interesting points, especially about the security.


  bally1020 18:56 28 Sep 2004

If i installed mandrake, would i have to buy all new software for it>?

  LastChip 20:31 28 Sep 2004

If you want to run games, I think it's safe to say, your going to stay with Windows. There are a few games for Linux, but frankly, they can't be seriously compared with the offerings for Windows.

As far as other software is concerned, most distros provide so much software WITH the distro, your spoiled for choice.

Open Office comes with most and is a good replacement for MS Office. There are burning programs, graphics, web authoring, to name but a few.

An interesting point that I read recently elsewhere, a Linux user sat down with a spread sheet and looked at how much it would cost him for the equivalent Windows software he had supplied FREE with Linux. His answer was in excess of £150,000. There's no shortage of software!

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