Canada Kicks Ass


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lefuret @ Sun Apr 11, 2004 6:35 pm


You might want to consider a dual-boot installation of Linux. If your hard disk drive(s) has enough room, that would allow you to boot either operating system as you chose to and would not put you in an either-or position, a difficult one when becoming familiar with Linux and learning how to use it.

Under a dual-boot installation, you wouldn't lose anything in Windows. It would operate as before and you would be able to play with Linux at any time.

I made the transition from Windows 98SE to Linux and it was a shock. A shock because in Linux I was forced to realize just how complex a piece of equipment a computer was and the software that runs it is even more complex, but having said that, and having used Linux for 2-3 years now, I wouldn't ever choose Windows over Linux. Fortunately, I haven't had to make such a choice and I happily run Linux and Windows XP on the same machine. The XP is for a few programs that I consider essential that are not ported to Linux, and of course some games. But I <i>never</i> use Windows on the Internet. Linux is much safer, you have a choice of half a dozen or more browsers, many e-mail clients and these programs in Linux are generally faster and far more efficient than their equivalents in Windows.

One of the benefits of Linux: I have used an older version of AutoCAD, a drafting program for Windows for some time now. The cheapest equivalent replacement for the program was AutoCAD LT at more than $1,100 U.S. I set out to see if there was something that would replace it under Linux and found something called Cycad from Germany. It didn't have all the bells and whistles of AutoCAD but it did have everything I needed and the price was right. The price was the time it took to dowload the program off of the Internet.

If you have both operating systems on your machine, you won't be deprived of Real Player or the Windows Media Player, and I suspect that there are equivalents in Linux for them but I can't be sure of that. I don't use broadband services and streaming data over a dial-up connection is problematic, even with a 2.8GHz Pentium IV and one of the latest, high-powered graphics adapters.

Unless you're a hacker or have strong "geek" tendencies, I suspect you will want to be careful in choosing the distribution of Linux that you use. If you like taking a clock apart and putting it back together, Debian may be for you. If, like me, you're not quite so inclined, and you would likely prefer a more user friendly distribution like SuSE. Depending on your choice and your needs, you can get a stripped down version of Linux that will only require 200-300 MB of disk space. That would not include the "X" graphics system and you would be operating strictly from the console; rather like using the old MS-DOS system. No pictures, no point and click. Something like SuSE will require about 1.5 GB of disk space for a full installation, but then you have an operating system interface that it essentially the same as Windows. Of course it is also packed with more applications than you will ever find use for. I suspect there's even a kitchen sink in there somewhere.

If I can be of help to you in gathering information I would be happy to do so, but the exchange may become involved and long enough that it would best be done off site, perhaps by e-mail exchange. Others might not be interested in a long dialogue between a couple of computer geeks, <i>bon?</i>


Jesse @ Sun Apr 11, 2004 7:00 pm

(aside: vivelecanada runs quite happily on linux) <p> I started using linux in 1998, and deleted my long-neglected windows install sometime in 2000. In that time, Linux has become better than windows in nearly all aspects, and I have faith that it will soon beat it in the few remaining ones (for example, there is no direct replacement for MS Access). <p> Before doing anything like dual-booting, which I only recommend to someone with a good amount of technical knowledge, I will recommend <a href="">Knoppix</a>. Knoppix contains a huge amount of useful software, auto-detects nearly everything, and can access your windows files, all while running off a demo CD. It doesn't touch your hard drive at all, and lets you see what is available and how things work. If you don't want to download the 700M Cd image, you can buy it from various places around the world. You can probably find a local Linux Users Group and get them to burn a CD for you for free. Using Knoppix obviously means you don't lose all your files. <p> For an actual linux install, you will definitely want to back up all of your important files to CD or floppy or whatever. Changing the OS on a computer does run the risk of losing things. I would recommend Red Hat or SuSe because their installers are nicer; I would recommend a hard-drive install of Knoppix or debian because their administration is easier later, though their installers still need work. <p> Quicktime in linux is not yet simple; last time I tried, I could get video but no audio. Pretty much all other major formats are well supported, including .wmv and office formats like .doc and .xls. <p> I agree that Linux is safer; you will be safe from the vast majority of virii and email worms. You do need to keep it up to date though, the same as with windows. This aspect isn't quite as good as Mac OSX just yet. A good quote: <p> <i>"To mess up a Linux box, you need to work at it; to mess up your Windows box, you just need to work on it." --Scott Granneman</i> <p> I've got some screenshots of my system <a href="">here</a>, <a href="">here</a>, and <a href="">here</a>. <p> If anyone does have linux questions, I will happily try to answer them via email.


KevinGagnon @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 4:12 am

Thanks you two. If I have anymore questions I'll just email you. I know I want Linux. I just want to make sure I can still use windows media player and real player. These are the most used programs when you visit a site that allows you to watch or listen to a file.

I have 60GB of space, and recently restored my computer. So I have lots of room for both linux and windows to operate on my computer. Looking at those screen shots I'm anxious to try this.

I may also just get someone else to install it. Sounds more complicated then what it was when I went from ME to XP.



Jesse @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:52 am

Remember, for most things, you don't need the same player, as a player that can handle the same formats. I can tell you for sure that RealMedia files and Windows Media Format files are both fully supported. <p> It is only more complicated to switch because Microsoft has done their best to make it that way. It is easier to switch from windows to linux than it will be to switch from windows98 to the upcoming Windows Longhorn.


Dr Caleb @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:10 am

[QUOTE BY= KevinGagnon] Should I save everything to a disk first, and if I do will I be able to put them back under Linux? [/QUOTE] Please, tell me you back up regularlly :) Rule #1 of computers, assume that every time you use your computer, your data will disappear immediately afterwards. You never know when hardware will fail, let alone viruses, power surges etc.<p> [QUOTE BY= KevinGagnon] Will I run into problems with linux not being able to use popular programs like real player or windows media player? Many sites I still visit usually has these programs as the video program to watch a online video. Does quicktime work with Linux? Kevin[/QUOTE] Yes, and no. Some programs will run under Windows Emulation mode in Linux. Microsoft Office is one, but there are better, free alternatives (Sun's Staroffice, Open Office). Some companies choose not to support Linux, Microsoft is obviousally one, so is Real. Trust me, you will benefit from not having all the extra spyware that Real Player adds to your system. Apple Quicktime does support Linux. There are also other free alternatives, most which will read the Windows Media Player files, and use their own free to use formats (Ogg Vorbis) <p> A tip when moving to Linux, make sure things you do regularally are not tied to Windows. Make sure if you use Internet Banking, that your Bank supports Mozilla (Netscape). I know that the Royal and TD both do.<p> I've been using Linux since the early days in the the early 1990's. It's come an awfully long way since then, and people are now starting to realize things that are easy to use are not secure, and that secure things like Linux are becoming far more easy to use. And it's sooo much faster on older hardware too, it saves you in hardware upgrades alone!<p>


KevinGagnon @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:20 am

Well I'm ordering the Linux for Dummies today and will be installing just as soon as it comes in. I just may need to get someone local to install it. So far no one deals with linux or wants to here.

As long as I can have windows media player and real player formats working on Linux, I'm happy. What email program does Linux use? Does it have a alternative to outlook? I'm assuming msn messenger/windows messenger will not work with Linux? What instant messaging programs do work with linux? Does Linux have the option like XP to have a password to get onto the computer. I have it set up on my xp so no one can access the computer without my password.

Another important thing I need to know is, will Linux cause problems with my drivers? and my burner? and my DVD player? Its good that quicktime will work, cause that's another one I'm starting to see as an option to watch video online.



Jesse @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:40 am

As for your drivers, there will only be problems if you have some very obscure, very new, or very windows-specific hardware. Odds are you won't; the hardware detection is very very good these days, far better than windows 98's. I can't guarantee anything though.

For email, you can use KMail, Evolution, Mozilla Mail, Opera M2 Mail, mutt, pine, ELM, Balsa, mail, or any number of other programs. They are all freely available and simple to install. The install CD will come with at least 3 of them, with one set up by default.

For MSN, you can use Kopete, Gaim, centericq, AMSN, Everybuddy, or any number of others. They are all freely available and simple to install. The install CD will come with at least 3 of them, with one set up by default. Most of these understand ICQ, Jabber, AIM, YIM, IRC, and other chat networks.

For playing videos, you can use MPlayer, Xine, VideoLAN, aKtion, Noatun, or any number of others. They are all freely available and simple to install. The install CD will come with at least 3 of them, with one set up by default. Most of these play all major movie formats.

Notice a pattern? Every one has its strengths and weaknesses, but you are guaranteed to find something that does what you want in a way that you like.


KevinGagnon @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:43 am

So easy to be sold on Linux. The best part is that its free. :-) Kevin


Dr Caleb @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 1:27 pm

[QUOTE BY= KevinGagnon] Does Linux have the option like XP to have a password to get onto the computer. I have it set up on my xp so no one can access the computer without my password. Another important thing I need to know is, will Linux cause problems with my drivers? and my burner? and my DVD player? Kevin[/QUOTE] Yes, Linux *Must* have a password. You will actually have 2, one for yourself that you create during installation, one for the user called "root". Do not ever ever ever run as root, unless your are installing something that requires 'root' access. Most major distributions will pop up a diaglog window that asks you to enter the root password in order to do certain functions. This is easier that logging off/on as root, then logging off/on again as yourself. This can be a major pain, but it is intrinsic to the security model of Linux!<p> Incidently - XP can be set so it doesn't need a password, but it's not obvious as to how to do it for the average user.<p> Like Jesse says, the extremely old and the justly minted new hardware may have driver problems, but they are much less frequent that Windows, and they tend to work the first time when new drivers are released. I've got a Pentium 4 with a brand new DVD burner that I just installed - no hitches. Most new hardware manufacturers are including binary-only drivers witht heir hardware - they're starting to get on the Linux bandwagon!<p>


KevinGagnon @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:15 pm

My computer info: Its 2 years old. 60GB Hard Drive 384MB Ram 930MHz Had Windows ME and I upgraded to XP. I have a CDR burner, a dvd player. I don't have a DVD burner. My guess I shouldn't run into any driver problems. Kevin


lefuret @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:26 pm

I don't think that any of us have mentioned the modem yet. That one can trip you up if it isn't a hardware modem, right? Linux can be pretty fussy about them.


Jesse @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:32 pm

Actually, support for winmodems has gotten good enough lately that you rarely need to worry about it. Same goes for laptops. Still, it is one of the more likely things to not be supported.

Oh, before you install linux, it is strongly recommended to go through your windows control panel and write down the vendor and model numbers of each bit of your hardware. It makes it much, much easier to debug any problems you may run into later.


KevinGagnon @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:43 pm

Jesse, All these intructions about installing Linux, I decided that its in my best interest to have someone else install it for me. Thanks. Kevin


Jesse @ Mon Apr 12, 2004 3:02 pm

Dude, seriously, these are preparations "just-in-case". I have successfully installed it many times without having lost any data, without having had any hardware troubles, and without it taking more than 5 minutes. Seriously, try out Knoppix, since it is a DEMO and not dangerous or difficult in the least.


Dr Caleb @ Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:38 am

Like Jesse said, it's all about being careful. I haven't had problems installing in years.<p> Just a little food for thought too: <a href=''>From the Toronto Star</a><p>



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