Really Impressed with Linux

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Al.Anderson, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I’m a Computer Science guy, so I played around with Linux years ago. It was fun, but definitely a hobbyist’s OS. Other interests took over, mostly computer gaming and HT, and I stopped keeping up.
    Well, this week my daughter's laptop got a malware infestation that was trying to blackmail her into purchasing their “virus protection” software – until you pay them, they keep popping up warnings every 5 seconds. Basically it prevents you from using your computer. Really, really, ticked me off. I had more problems than usual trying to get rid of it, so I finally gave up and decided to reinstall the operating system. Of course MS, in its #^&*! infinite wisdom, wouldn’t let me re-install, because “Your current OS is newer than the one you are attempting to install.”
    So I downloaded an ISO of Ubuntu (free), burnt a disk and popped it in. Twenty minutes later the OS was up and running, including all the usual applications (word processing, mail, web browser, DVD player, image editors, and more). Everything worked perfectly right out of the box. Okay, I did have to enter the wireless key; but wired worked fine. Oh, and I had to install a flash add-in. (“But dad, without Flash I can’t do *anything*!” Sigh.)
    I really just wanted to use Linux to reformat the disk. But the desktop layout is very windows-like. Everything works and is very intuitive. And it seems faster to me. All free. And everything works, did I mention that? So I think I’m going to let my daughter play with it for a few weeks before I go back to Windows.
    That’s it, the gushing is over and the post didn’t really go anywhere, but I’m so damn pleased I had to post my experience somewhere. Any others with newbie experience with Linux, and advice on what to look for or do next?
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Agreed, Linux has come far as a user experience lately. I keep hoping that more and more focus will be given to creating NEW apps and user experiences rather than cloning what works commercially, but that just comes with the territory. Putting Flash on Linux is chilling tho =)
     
  3. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Hah ;) Samn, now other platforms can make flash work, the issue with flash is resources, and products that can compartmentalize it can do it well. It just sucks that the Mac only got a version that allows for this (Gala) now, but for those on other platforms, it's been around for a bit. All about process management.

    the Newest Ubuntu is very sharp, runs quick, and the base shell continues to improve. I will admit, because I prefer KDE to GNOME, I tend to play with Kubuntu variant. But 10.04 is a solid release. I think almost everyone should have a chance to play with a linux platform.

    Linux for a home user works if browsing the web/email are their primary functions. For software application services, the same problems with remain, but I think it's a valid experience for the user. Ubuntu, Mandriva, Suse have continued to put out viable desktop platforms for those wanting to try their hand at it. :)
     
  4. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter
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    I am guessing if you wiped the drive before using your Windows install disc that error message would go away.

    You may want to look at using Virtual Box from Sun (free) to create a Ubuntu virtual machine for your daughter to do her web browsing/email on when using Windows. As long as she uses it for all her net access, she should be safe.

    http://www.virtualbox.org/
    -Keith
     
  5. Fredster

    Fredster Stunt Coordinator

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    I boot persistent Ubuntu and linux Mint from USB flash drives now and then just to play around. Nice in that you don't need to mess with your existing setup and can use these memory sticks on multiple computers (sort of). Some resources here: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
     
  6. don monteith

    don monteith Stunt Coordinator

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    I fight that malware almost everyday in my business. It is actually very easy to remove. Here is what you do.
    1. Boot into safe mode with networking. Just hit f8 repeatedly as the computer starts to boot.
    2. Once you are in safe mode log in as administrator if available.
    3. Get on the internet and go to malwarebytes.com and download it. It's FREE.
    4. Run the update until it says you have the most recent definitions.
    5. Now run a FULL scan. It will take about an hour depending on drive size and computer speed.
    6. When it's finished just follow the onscreen prompts to remove the infections.
    7. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT...... Do it all over again until it says there are no infections!!!!!! A lot of these viruses will be hidden below each other. So if you only run it once you may still have infections.

    That's it.

    Don
     
  7. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    A second recommend for Virtualbox. Very solid product that gives you a good chance to give something a try. :)
     
  8. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Sure, but I needed the application to do the wiping. Why would MS force you out of the install before asking if you wanted to wipe the drive?

    Thanks for the pointers to Virtual Box. My daughter has been fine browsing and emailing, but the acid test will come when she has to use the laptop for school and has to work with others who are using Office. If Sun's Openoffice doesn't import/export, VB will be very useful.


    That sounds interesting. I'll be looking at that for my own use. Thanks.




    I'll definitely keep this in mind for the next time. Much appreciated.
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I got to see Richard Stallman's Keynote at the Trenton Computer Festival a few weeks ago, should have pictures up of that soon. He created the Free Software movement which included GNU and which influenced the development of Linux, Linux was created as a kernel for GNU. There's quite a bit of friction between Gnu and Linux these days because of Linux's acceptance of non free (as in freedom, not beer) software....

    But the really interesting part was seeing a real live zealot in the flesh. Stallman walks the talk. I applaud his commitment but I don't think it's sustainable for most people, and I believe that there has to be a happy middle ground out there somewhere.... I believe projects like Ubuntu have the chance to make a go of it with Desktop Linux for normal people, but it still has a long way to go and so far it's taken the inclusion of non free software to get where it is.

    http://www.gnu.org

    Sam
     
  10. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Depends on what you mean by "for". My read is that Torvalds created Linux "for fun", but a kernel by itself is practically useless, so he suggested that people use the already existing GNU programs. GNU's own kernel, the Hurd, was still (is still) in development, so people decided to adopt Linux in a big way as the basis for a free OS. Then GNU got pissy because people were calling this combo "Linux", and said, "Hey, without GNU it would be nothing: call it GNU/Linux." And many people responded, "What are you, nuts?" and continue to call it just Linux.
     
  11. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Sounds about right to me, Ken. Its both interesting how much idealism and politics have gone into how that has all played out. Count me in with those who applaud the free ideals espoused by the GNU populace but believe that there is a place for both in the world. I liked this part of what Fraser Speirs had to say when choosing to develop for the iPad:


    http://speirs.org/blog/2010/5/3/back-in.html
     
  12. soitjes

    soitjes Extra

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    I am a computer scientist, hobby programmer but also Security Manager in a large Insurance/Bank. Let me give you first my "hobby" view of things :


    I've built my own mediaplayer, and I actuallly started with Ubuntu. Installation is seamless, and as long as you stay in the GUI part most tools are easy to use, and most of the time more powerful that the windows equivalent. But once you go a bit more advanced (which I absolutely needed) it becomes a nightmare. If you need to open a shell command prompt you enter the real Linux world, and if you're not an expert you're immediately lost. Obscure messages, libraries missing, compilation errors for things you never wrote, ...


    I tried to install the Free Pascal/Lazarus development environment, and the best I could do was to follow exactly the descriptions I found on the Internet, but I didn't really know what I was doing. On top of that, it turned out not to be very stable.


    In the end, I gave up and returned to XP with Delphi. I recently upgraded to WIndows 7 And I'm very satisfied with it. It's actually a very good operating system. (I think Windows 7 is just Windows Vista WITH bugs fixed


    Soitjes.
     

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