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Standard User HappyRockets
(newbie) Thu 28-Jul-16 14:19:04
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Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 or 10


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Despite being extremely close to the deadline for the free Windows 10 upgrade, I still haven't purchased Windows 7 Ultimate due to the insane high prices for a retail copy.

For the moment I have a Windows Vista PC that I initially decided to upgrade to Windows 7 with. However the computer is more than 7 years old, so I am wondering if there is any point investing any more money on it and should rather buy a new PC with Windows 10 installed.

I have never tried Linux because it sounded very complicated but I am now curious about taking advantage of the old computer and finally learning how Linux perhaps works smile

Besides, it is free according to articles I googled. I wanted Windows 7 Ultimate because you can switch langauges whenever you want. To my knowledge, this feature is not available in a regular edition?
Retail versions of W7 Ultimate happen to cost more than 200 dollars and I heard that you cannot fully trust an OEM version if you decide to revert back to Windows 7 after testing Windows 10.

Should I take the plunge and take advantage of the opportunity to learn Linux or should I make the upgrade to Windows 7 or 10? Since the computer is old, it would not matter much if I damaged it by fooling around in Linux.
Standard User micksharpe
(legend) Thu 28-Jul-16 17:50:14
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: HappyRockets] [link to this post]
 
Go for it. You have nothing to lose. You could even try running Linux in a virtual environment such as VMware. Linux Mint seems to be the "distro du jour".

Edited by micksharpe (Thu 28-Jul-16 17:59:59)

Standard User HappyRockets
(newbie) Fri 29-Jul-16 08:54:53
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: micksharpe] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by micksharpe:
Go for it. You have nothing to lose. You could even try running Linux in a virtual environment such as VMware. Linux Mint seems to be the "distro du jour".


Thank you micksharpe. Glad to hear that you suggest I go for Linux. I am completely new to it so will take some time to do the necessary research before beginning.

Are you suggesting that "Mint" is the best Linux version for beginners? From this Digital Guide I found online they give a quick overview of why they believe Linux is a great alternative to Windows.
https://www.1and1.com/digitalguide/server/know-how/l...

I did not know there were so many different versions but it mentions "distributions" like Debian, Gentoo, Fedora, Red Hat, openSUSE, but I had only heard of Android and Ubuntu in the past.

Do they all represent a different level of complexity? Is that why you suggest to go with "Mint"?

One concern I had with Vista was that support would soon expire. My impression from this article and others is that Linux is considered more flexible and secure. Will all the programs (outside of windows) that worked on Vista be compatible with Linux?

I have a lot of software that is pretty old, but I guess that, if they are not compatible on Linux they may work on Windows 10 when I buy a new laptop in the future.

Another digital guide article on the same site mentions that Linux offers lots of open source applications for hosting, like solutions for blogs etc. I started learning HTML on W3schools two weeks ago, so cool to read that Linux seem to be a great choice when I continue to learn about homepage construction smile


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Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 29-Jul-16 09:41:43
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: HappyRockets] [link to this post]
 
Windows programmes won't necessarily work on Linux. There is a popular windows emulator called Wine that can help but it isn't guaranteed and performance may vary.

There are a lot of distributions of Linux as it is based on an open source platform so various people have created their own versions. Mint is the most "user friendly" distribution at present but it goes in waves.

Linux is a different proposition to Windows with positives and negatives. For most people what they do can be done just as well on Linux but it doesn't mean it will be best for everyone and to some extent depends on what applications you run. Even at the apps level there are often alternatives to Windows apps available but that adds to the learning curve (for example if you current use MS Office you can either try and run that under Wine or you can get an Office alterative such as OpenOffice - but OpenOffice is somewhat different to MS Office and doesn't always play nicely with MS Office formatted files so work may be required to fix how files are displayed).

As far as web server software is concerned most of what is available on Linux is also available on Windows so not necessarily the deciding factor.

Old software may work on Win 10 but it just as easily may not. It is a try it and see.
Standard User HappyRockets
(newbie) Mon 01-Aug-16 08:25:49
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ian72:
Windows programmes won't necessarily work on Linux. There is a popular windows emulator called Wine that can help but it isn't guaranteed and performance may vary.

Old software may work on Win 10 but it just as easily may not. It is a try it and see.


Ok, I see. I guess this makes it a tougher choice for people in general to select Linux in contrast to Windows. I wonder, do the programmers who make the software have to add additional compatibility with Linux, and if they do, do they have to select specific Linux versions as well?

There are a lot of distributions of Linux as it is based on an open source platform so various people have created their own versions. Mint is the most "user friendly" distribution at present but it goes in waves.


I read up on Mint a little further and as you said, this version seem to be the most similar looking (behaving?) to Windows. I think I am going to start with Mint. They mention the word "Cinnamon" together with Mint. Checked Wikipedia for an explanation but did not fully understand if this was a special version of Mint. Going to have to take this very slowly smile
Standard User TinyMongomery
(knowledge is power) Mon 01-Aug-16 09:13:07
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: HappyRockets] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by HappyRockets:
I wonder, do the programmers who make the software have to add additional compatibility with Linux, and if they do, do they have to select specific Linux versions as well?
As Linux is a completely different operating system to Windows, it has a different Application Programming Interface. Further complicating things, the format of executable program files and shared libraries differs between the two (ELF vs PE). This means that either an emulation layer is required to make Windows programs run on Linux or they have to be rewritten and recompiled to do so.

The question about different versions of Windows, and compatibility of programs, is an interesting one. There are differences between different distributions of Linux and this means that most programs have to be compiled for the specific distribution. With the popular programs this is done by the distributor, who supplies a repository from which programs can be downloaded. Other programs may have to be compiled by the user, or will only work on specific distributions.

As an example, I have been trying - unsuccessfully - to get VMWare Player running on my Linux Gentoo setup. So far I have failed (and this is from someone who has been using Linux for nearly 20 years and who reconfigures and recompiles their kernel on a regular basis).

The short answer is that Windows programs will not necessarily run on Linux.

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Don't blame me - I voted Remain
Standard User APTMAN
(regular) Wed 31-Aug-16 00:24:09
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: HappyRockets] [link to this post]
 
Try a 'Live CD' first to see if you like it then if you do you can install it.

http://www.pclinuxos.com/get-pclinuxos/kde/

Join the forum and you will get help.
Standard User blfamily
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 29-Sep-16 07:50:36
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: HappyRockets] [link to this post]
 
I hope you joined the growing numbers of Linux Ubuntu users around the globe. Linux & Ubuntu is actually easier than windows - no registry to worry about, and very secure compared to windows, no need for an AV.
Downsides includes if your PC uses an AMD GPU, you will find the fglrx driver is no longer supported (that is the AMD official one); which will mean playing games becomes slightly restricted - War Thunder for instance won't work with the alternative (you could use Ubuntu 14.04, however that now requires the latest Kernel driver, which removes Fglrx! - leave as is or go for go the earlier version 3.13).
Enjoy Linux!

Steve
Standard User glossywhite
(committed) Sat 15-Oct-16 13:54:04
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: blfamily] [link to this post]
 
Please allow me to clarify some things:

#1 Linux is only the kernel (an incredibly complex and powerful hardware software interface, and a lot more besides), written & maintained by Linus Torvalds et al, NOT the entire OS; the software wrapped around the Linux kernel is mainly from the GNU project, started by Richard Stallman. To call a distro "Linux" is like calling a car "engine".

#2 "Wine is not an emulator": this is precisely what the acronym "WINE" stands for.

Here are some fabulous documentaries about GNU/Linux:

"Revolution OS"

https://youtube.com/watch?v=jw8K460vx1c



"The code, Linux"

https://youtube.com/watch?v=XMm0HsmOTFI
Standard User TinyMongomery
(knowledge is power) Sat 15-Oct-16 15:40:12
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Re: Thinking of installing Linux on older computer VS Win7 o


[re: glossywhite] [link to this post]
 
#1 The usage of "Linux" to cover both the kernel and userland is so widespread that it is pedantic to introduce pettifogging arguments about not calling distros "Linux". OSX contains many GNU components, but nobody calls it OSX/GNU.

#2 Actually, as the Wine FAQ tell you, it should really be Wine is not just an emulator. It's an emulator on steroids.

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Don't blame me - I voted Remain
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