Author Topic: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? [SOLVED]  (Read 6053 times)

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? [SOLVED]
« on: June 19, 2016, 04:45:08 PM »
I am in need of advice on operating systems.

As most people know, Microsoft is really pushing Windows 10.  I do not wish to switch to Windows 10 based on items mentioned in this article, namely: mandatory automatic updates and privacy. 
Quote
We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary.
I also have friends who have been caught by MS changing the function of the window-close "X" button to force the update, so I installed/ran Never10 before I accidentally hit the wrong thing.

Looking online, security upgrades and similar support will end for W7 in 2020.  I could stick with it until then.  But, then, I'm not sure if it makes sense to wait or if I should just switch now to something else, such as Linux.  I have an interest in trying out GnuCash, so maybe I should just make this jump all at once?  (Looking at Gnucash's wiki, I could start in Windows and later move to Linux, but it would require relocating multiple files.)

If I am to switch to another OS, please advise me on what flavor (?) and edition (?) of Linux (or other) to pick and where to get it as well as point me to any additional guides for installation.  I have read through the thread Netbook & Laptop: Wipe Windows XP and install Linux, so I would use the USB instructions linked there if I receive no advice otherwise.

Computer details:
I have a Dell Latitude E6410 laptop that I acquired secondhand from OldJob six or so months ago.  It was probably five years old at the time.  I have had no issues with it.
The C: drive has 232 GB showing as total space (currently 176 free)
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU M 580 @ 2.67GHz
RAM: 4 GB (3.86 GB usable)
64-bit operating system

Programs/items I use frequently:
Internet (Chrome as current browser, but I've used Firefox in the past and prefer its bookmark system), including for brokerage stuff and other things that need to be kept secure
LibreOffice Calc a LOT
Numeric keypad that connects via USB port
Sticky notes
Wireless internet (we have our own password-protected wireless device and router)
Streaming some movies and YouTube videos
Printing to PDF (via Chrome)
WinAmp v5.34 (music playing program - I have an old version (early 2007) that I keep because it was the last to interact well with my old Sandisk MP3 player for transferring music.  Windows 7 gives me an error message every time I try to run it, but it still works.)
AVG (anti-virus)
Backup program (currently on AOMEI, willing to switch)

Programs/items I use occasionally:
TurboTax (but I'm willing to switch to TaxAct online)
Printing to paper
Photo editing (not professional or high-level stuff, just basic resize/color shifting etc)
DVD drive

I am not a gamer.

My technology skill level: Poor to Mediocre
I was admired at OldJob for my spreadsheets and called upon by other coworkers to help with things when IT Guy wasn't available, though there was only a 50-50 chance I could get things working again.  I was decent with very basic HTML and CSS in 2009 and haven't touched it much since.  That is where it ends.  I read through the 2013 - 2014 posts in the thread "Get Rich With: Linux" and understood only half of it.  I don't know my computer specs.  In college my laptop at the time stopped booting and I was clueless as to how to fix it, but the engineers on my dorm floor were able to fix and get it running again.

What am I missing?  Would I lose any of my laptop's functionality by switching to a version of Linux (or something else)?  I would not want to switch and suddenly discover that I can no longer hear sound or use my numeric keypad.  Is my tech knowledge level too low to deal with this?

If I do a full backup to an external hard drive before switching to the new OS, would that be adequate to let me switch back if I should botch it up entirely?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 11:09:39 AM by With This Herring »

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2041
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 05:08:58 PM »
As a professional in the tech field, my advice is always to just do the Win10 upgrade now while it's free for people that can.

- It's really better than Win7 overall.
- It's free now (and won't be later).
- Switching to Linux will be an even bigger disruption than the changes that Win10 brings.
- If you think you've got privacy on Win7, you're sadly mistaken, Win10 isn't really worse.

That said, if you have XP, go Linux.  I did with my XP boxen.  I've got a Vista machine too that I'll go Linux on, but not until the EOL date.  No sense in jumping ship until forced.

belgiandude

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 60
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 05:39:00 PM »
Ubuntu is pretty good.

Rocket

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2016, 05:41:15 PM »
I've moved away from Windows.  Always done Linux and OSX/IOS development at work.  Now at home I have mac mini desktop and a chrome book. I like the simplicity of the chrome book.  Trying to get my dad and sisters to switch to chrome OS.  All have out dated Windows machines that are constantly infected with malware.

mies

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2016, 05:45:14 PM »
As a professional in the tech field, my advice is always to just do the Win10 upgrade now while it's free for people that can.

- It's really better than Win7 overall.
- It's free now (and won't be later).
- Switching to Linux will be an even bigger disruption than the changes that Win10 brings.
- If you think you've got privacy on Win7, you're sadly mistaken, Win10 isn't really worse.

That said, if you have XP, go Linux.  I did with my XP boxen.  I've got a Vista machine too that I'll go Linux on, but not until the EOL date.  No sense in jumping ship until forced.

I would concur with the above. Just backup your data and take the upgrade. If you really don't like Windows 10 after the upgrade, you can always switch to some Linux distribution. Desktop Linux has improved quite a bit in the last 10 years, but there are still some road blocks for every day use, especially if you need drivers for gadgets. Some things just work and work well. Some things will never work unless you like hacking config files or recompiling kernels.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2016, 06:42:44 PM »
I concur: upgrade now while it's free.

But try a few Linuxes... download them to a flash drive and run them from there.  (It will be faster once you really install it... but you can determine if you like it or not.)

My personal choice is Linux Mint (which also gives you a couple of choices on the GUI.  I prefer MATE, but mostly because I've been using unix a long damn time and it "feels familiar".)  Mint is based on Ubuntu, but adds in a bunch of stuff by default that you'd have to add on your own with Ubuntu.

Your disk is pretty small... but... even that small you can make a dual bootable system: Windows and Linux... giving you the opportunity to pop back to the other if/when you need to.

I suspect for your MP3 transfer... if you just plug that thing into Linux, it will mount and just look like a filesystem.  You can copy/move stuff back and forth as needed with either GUI or CLI.

I think you will find a suitable replacement for most of the things you use.  It may not be the same.  It may take adjustment... but if you're willing to give it a try, I suspect it will work.

I have used some flavor of unix desktop exclusively since about 1990.  Wife begged me to switch her off of windows in the mid 90s.  (That was the sexiest thing she ever requested.)  My elderly mother, father and mother-in-law used it without knowing they were using it.  The only time I ever use Windows is for experimentation and to do my taxes.  (I am not a fan of using online versions of tax software.  I want a desktop version.)

maizefolk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4664
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2016, 06:49:47 PM »
I second Linux Mint. The default interface reminds me a lot of Windows XP which was the last Windows I interacted with much. When new people with no previous linux experience join my group we give them a desktop with a clean install of Mint and it usually only takes them a couple of days to get comfortable with it.

FIRE me

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • So much technology, so little talent.

csdreaming

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: Southern California, USA
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2016, 05:58:04 AM »
Hi With This Herring,

I've been using Linux longer than MMM has been posting on this blog.

As a professional in the tech field, my advice is always to just do the Win10 upgrade now while it's free for people that can.

- It's really better than Win7 overall.
- It's free now (and won't be later).
- Switching to Linux will be an even bigger disruption than the changes that Win10 brings.
- If you think you've got privacy on Win7, you're sadly mistaken, Win10 isn't really worse.

That said, if you have XP, go Linux.  I did with my XP boxen.  I've got a Vista machine too that I'll go Linux on, but not until the EOL date.  No sense in jumping ship until forced.

I would advise against going with Win10. Microsoft has been changing the Win10 kernel and breaking compatibility with older drivers and applications. Your OS could stop working in the future.

Hardware support on Linux can be a hit or mess. Some are very friendly and work out of the box (HP printers) while some vendors are hostile or don't care (Lexmark printers if I remember correctly). Cheaper hardware tends to be crappier and more difficult to write drivers for. Since Linux is programmed by volunteers some crappy hardware will not work well. (That also means it may not work well with Win10.)

The best way to try out Linux is below:

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/

Download the Ubuntu iso. The above link to the program will copy the iso to the USB thumbdrive. The thumbdrive will load Linux without touching your hard drive. Since it's running off the USB it will be slow. Try out your USB numpad. I may make a video on how to do it. Would you be interested?

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/thank-you?country=US&version=16.04&architecture=amd64

I highly advise going with Ubuntu. It is the most polished version of Linux and it is the easiest to find help for.


Programs/items I use frequently:
Internet (Chrome as current browser, but I've used Firefox in the past and prefer its bookmark system), including for brokerage stuff and other things that need to be kept secure
LibreOffice Calc a LOT
Numeric keypad that connects via USB port
Sticky notes
Wireless internet (we have our own password-protected wireless device and router)
Streaming some movies and YouTube videos
Printing to PDF (via Chrome)
WinAmp v5.34 (music playing program - I have an old version (early 2007) that I keep because it was the last to interact well with my old Sandisk MP3 player for transferring music.  Windows 7 gives me an error message every time I try to run it, but it still works.)
AVG (anti-virus)
Backup program (currently on AOMEI, willing to switch)

Programs/items I use occasionally:
TurboTax (but I'm willing to switch to TaxAct online)
Printing to paper
Photo editing (not professional or high-level stuff, just basic resize/color shifting etc)
DVD drive

I am not a gamer.

My technology skill level: Poor to Mediocre
I was admired at OldJob for my spreadsheets and called upon by other coworkers to help with things when IT Guy wasn't available, though there was only a 50-50 chance I could get things working again.  I was decent with very basic HTML and CSS in 2009 and haven't touched it much since.  That is where it ends.  I read through the 2013 - 2014 posts in the thread "Get Rich With: Linux" and understood only half of it.  I don't know my computer specs.  In college my laptop at the time stopped booting and I was clueless as to how to fix it, but the engineers on my dorm floor were able to fix and get it running again.

What am I missing?  Would I lose any of my laptop's functionality by switching to a version of Linux (or something else)?  I would not want to switch and suddenly discover that I can no longer hear sound or use my numeric keypad.  Is my tech knowledge level too low to deal with this?

Libreoffice, Chrome, Youtube will be fine.

Linux has sticky note apps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCciJy8YS4A

Wireless internet, if your wireless card is supported it will run just fine. Cheaper wireless chipsets may not work with Linux, but Dell's Linux support tend to be better than other large vendors.

Printing to PDF, this is built into BOTH Firefox and Chrome on Ubuntu

WinAmp, Ubuntu has it's own media player. I can't say if it would work for your MP3 player. If it doesn't work that well with Windows you shouldn't expect it to work with Linux.

AVG (anti-virus), almost no one uses anti-virus on Linux because it is much more resistant and secure than Windows. Norton has an antivirus product for Linux if you really want it.

Never heard of AOMEI so can't comment on it. My guess is you would have to switch.

Switch to TaxACT or H&R block's web program. I've had no real issues with H&R on Ubuntu.

Quote
What am I missing?  Would I lose any of my laptop's functionality by switching to a version of Linux (or something else)?  I would not want to switch and suddenly discover that I can no longer hear sound or use my numeric keypad.  Is my tech knowledge level too low to deal with this?

Sorta of, at your tech knowledge level I get the impression that installing any OS would be an issue since you need to install drivers for Windows and troubleshoot them. The easiest way would be to just buy a fully supported Linux laptop from System76.com. I love my little Lemur.

https://system76.com/laptops/lemur

Quote
If I do a full backup to an external hard drive before switching to the new OS, would that be adequate to let me switch back if I should botch it up entirely?

If it's a full disk image than likely yes. I don't use traditional backup programs so you should seek another source on this.

Please keep in mind alot of the answers to your other questions can be answered with a Google search.

I think you are an ideal candidate to switch to Linux since you really don't have any must have prop programs that only work on Windows. The easiest way would be to watch some videos on Ubuntu on Youtube and buy a laptop that comes with Ubuntu. I have a feeling your USB numpad will work. The MP3 player would be cheap to replace.

The biggest benefit to you of using Ubuntu is the time it can save you. You can download thousands of apps from it's built in repo. I downloaded Kdenlive to edit videos and it's quite good (and free). When Ubuntu updates itself it updates alot of things too you don't get on Windows. Java, Flash, PDF reader, Firefox all get updated by Ubuntu in one program. HP's printers work out of the box, no fuss, no downloading drivers from HP site or dealing with Win Update not finding them.

Alot of this time can go away if your fiddling with old hardware that Dell never wrote drivers to work on Linux which is why I recommend buying from a Linux loving company for you.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 06:32:09 AM by csdreaming »

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2327
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2016, 06:11:12 AM »
I have been using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for years and like it a lot. 

Erma

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 484
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2016, 12:23:20 PM »
I fixed my laptop with OpenSuse after Windows didn't run properly anymore. I had problems setting up the internet connections (needed three attempts and a LAN cable) and the numeric keypad didn't work anymore without pressing the num lk button because OpenSuse changed it in the BIOS to not activated on startup.

You will usually find people who can help with your problems. I was able to fix every problem, even my old IPOD is no working under my operating system.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2016, 05:33:23 PM »
Thank you, everyone, for the well thought-out advice!

To answer some of the comments:

I do not intend to switch to Windows 10.  Every trick MS tries to force it on users, plus the privacy concerns, are driving me away from MS.  If BlueMR2 says that it is not much worse than Windows 7, that indicates to me that I should be dropping Windows now and not waiting for W7's final support end date.

I am not terribly worried about learning to use a new OS, just about botching something and permanently losing utility of my computer.  Disruption due to changes has not been a significant issue for me in times past in switching between Windows versions, Excel versions, and Excel to Libre Calc.

It looks like there is a decent chance the mp3 player may not work.  It certainly didn't like the file manager in Windows, which is why I was using that old Winamp.  If it does not work, I will replace the mp3 player.

I do not intend to purchase a new laptop, though I will not rule out replacing components in the future.

The package manager function of the various Linux and Ubuntu OSs is very attractive.

I have always had issues getting hardware to work with Windows over the years, so that same issue with Linux should be nothing new.  :)

CSdreaming: 
- I have seen other videos on how to make a bootable USB, so I do not think I should need another.  Thank you for the offer, however!
- I did do a lot of Googling before I wrote out this question.  The issue is that I have only ever used Windows, so I don't know where there are gaps in my knowledge or assumptions that are completely wrong.  Many items I noted were based on Google searches turning up items of "This is where installing the new OS went horribly wrong for me."
- (Also, keep an eye on your H&R Block software.  I don't know anything about the SW directly, but a source of business for CPA Firm OldJob was fixing returns that H&R Block preparers had botched in bizarre ways.)

I will keep researching and probably try a version of Linux Mint this week, testing it via a bootable USB first as suggested.  Again, thank you everyone!  I will update this thread when I have something solid to report.

csdreaming

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: Southern California, USA
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2016, 09:57:15 PM »

CSdreaming: 
- I did do a lot of Googling before I wrote out this question.  The issue is that I have only ever used Windows, so I don't know where there are gaps in my knowledge or assumptions that are completely wrong.  Many items I noted were based on Google searches turning up items of "This is where installing the new OS went horribly wrong for me."

I will keep researching and probably try a version of Linux Mint this week, testing it via a bootable USB first as suggested.  Again, thank you everyone!  I will update this thread when I have something solid to report.
I see, it can be difficult for me to understand things for new users. Linux has gotten so much easier than when I first started using it.

It would be difficult for me to know what gaps there are in your knowledge. In Linux (and Unix) the file system is different for example. The C: drive is / actually, called the root. Your home folder would be in /home/your_user_name A usb device would be in the /media folder. If you already know that then I would say your in pretty good shape.

Otherwise I would recommend this book from your library. Ubuntu's interface has not changed that much from 12.04 to 16.04 (Keep in mind the 12 and 16 means the year it came out. And 4 means the month.)

https://www.amazon.com/Ubuntu-Unleashed-2016-Covering-15-10/dp/0134268113/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466481126&sr=8-2&keywords=ubuntu


CSdreaming: 
- (Also, keep an eye on your H&R Block software.  I don't know anything about the SW directly, but a source of business for CPA Firm OldJob was fixing returns that H&R Block preparers had botched in bizarre ways.)

Really? Would you share more details in a pm?
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 03:34:33 PM by csdreaming »

FrugalKube

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 164
  • Location: Pacific NW
    • The Gamer's Lounge
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2016, 11:50:53 PM »
Going to keep an eye on this thread. Enjoyed playing around with Chrome OS. May setup up an older laptop with Mint

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2016, 06:38:56 AM »



CSdreaming: 
- (Also, keep an eye on your H&R Block software.  I don't know anything about the SW directly, but a source of business for CPA Firm OldJob was fixing returns that H&R Block preparers had botched in bizarre ways.)

Really? Would you share more details in a pm?

I might be wrong (shocking!)...  But I've used the H&R Block software and crosschecked it with Turbotax and they were monetarily the same.  (Small idiosyncrasies... but same results).
On the other hand, I used H&R Block tax preparers one time many years ago.  Holy moly!  I was still pretty new to taxes/deductions/etc then and I had to sit with the guy and explain to him about how mortgage interest/property tax deductions worked, etc.   

I'd worry more about the actual H&R Block people than I would the software.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 03:22:54 PM by Spork »

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2016, 11:04:56 AM »

CSdreaming: 
- (Also, keep an eye on your H&R Block software.  I don't know anything about the SW directly, but a source of business for CPA Firm OldJob was fixing returns that H&R Block preparers had botched in bizarre ways.)

Really? Would you share more details in a pm?

I might be wrong (shocking!)...  But I've used the H&R Block software and crosschecked it with Turbotax and they were monetarily the same.  (Small idiosyncrasies... but same results).
On the other hand, I used H&R Block tax preparers one time many years ago.  Holy moly!  I was still pretty new to taxes/deductions/etc then and I had to sit with the guy and explain to him about how mortgage interest/property tax deductions worked, etc.   

I'd worry more about the actual H&R Block people than I would the software.

(Spork, if you want to go back and delete the duplicate "Herring" quote markup, that would clean up the quotes in your post.)

As I've said, I have no direct experience with the H&R Block software itself.  I do know that returns prepared by H&R Block (as well as the other quick-prep places who send mascots to stand on street corners) tend to have issues in their preparation.

I was not a high-level person at OldJob, but I did see some interesting returns by such preparers including things such as:
- Completely incorrect treatment of assets.  Such as a new residential rental property set up with a 5 or 15-year life, when such properties should have a 27.5-year life.
- Normal, plain-Jane dividends reported as earned income.
- Both direct and indirect expenses for business use of home being deducted fully for the home office, instead of indirect expenses being allocated on a reasonable basis (such as sq. ft. of office as a proportion of the entire home).
I don't remember too much, as this was a year and more ago, but it wasn't just typos (which happen to the best of us, which is why you double-check your work and get multiple sets of eyes on it if you are part of a firm) or reasonable mistakes but things that indicated a complete ignorance of the subject matter.  I know that our (CPA firm, professional level) software would have sent up diagnostics for some of it, but I couldn't tell how much of it was complete preparer error or the software being unclear as to where things need to be entered.

Spork is right.  It is scary how little some of these people know before being unleashed on an unwitting public.  But, I'm glad Spork has tested the software and found it decent.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 04:40:57 PM by With This Herring »

mlejw6

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 225
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Alexandria, VA
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2016, 11:49:41 AM »
I switched to Linux Mint from Win7. It's been good. I like it. All of my hardware worked seamlessly (though I did get a new graphics card that didn't work correctly, but I returned it for one that did work).

The only issue I had was my printer. I have a Canon all-in-one. It doesn't print in Linux. Canon doesn't support Linux. There are no drivers that work. It's basically a lost cause at this point. I can only print by loading my Win7 partition. Luckily, it will scan in Linux, so it's not completely useless. But, when I want to switch over to Linux 100%, I'll need a new printer (sounds like HP will be good).

RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2016, 12:22:44 PM »
I switched entirely to Linux over six years ago. Currently I'm using Arch Linux + Xfce, but I've also used Slackware, Gentoo, Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu, Mint, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and probably some others I'm forgetting. I think Arch is great for the advanced user, but a less-technical person should probably go with Fedora or Mint (or some Ubuntu variant).

I've used GnuCash on Linux for over four years now and it's been great.

I use Chromium and Firefox for web browsers.
LibreOffice works fine.
I've been extremely happy with Clementine for my music collection. I used to use Winamp on Windows and I've found Clementine to be much better.

I also had to switch to TaxAct but I've found it to be just as good as TurboTax and cheaper.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2016, 03:28:14 PM »

(Spork, if you want to go back and delete the duplicate "Herring" quote markup, that would clean up the quotes in your post.)

bah!  Preview, then post.  Sorry.... cleaned up now.

Spork is right.  It is scary how little some of these people know before being unleashed on an unwitting public.  But, I'm glad Spork has tested the software and found it decent.

I can't say I am an accounting expert... but... like I say: TT and H&R matched.  It was the year TT screwed everyone over by changing their pricing/product structure and H&R, in a genius move, announced they'd give everyone with a TT proof of purchase a free download to try. 

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2016, 03:37:01 PM »
I switched entirely to Linux over six years ago. Currently I'm using Arch Linux + Xfce, but I've also used Slackware, Gentoo, Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu, Mint, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and probably some others I'm forgetting. I think Arch is great for the advanced user, but a less-technical person should probably go with Fedora or Mint (or some Ubuntu variant).

I've used GnuCash on Linux for over four years now and it's been great.

I use Chromium and Firefox for web browsers.
LibreOffice works fine.
I've been extremely happy with Clementine for my music collection. I used to use Winamp on Windows and I've found Clementine to be much better.

I also had to switch to TaxAct but I've found it to be just as good as TurboTax and cheaper.

I also recommend gnucash.  I've been using it since around 1999(*).  I have a gigantic, cumbersome mass of back end scripts that re-process gnucash and turn it into a few hundred different graphs. 

For music, I am currently running Ampache (front end)/mpd (back end)  on an ubuntu server that streams to the whole house.  You can pick it up the stream and play it with about anything: mplayer, vlc, web browser, tivo, android phone, ipad, chromecast, etc. 
Downside: I currently have it configured as unicast, so if you have multiple streams in multiple rooms, they can be a half second off of each other.  I haven't looked at converting it all to multicast.


* I am not 100% sure on this...  I switched from SunOS to Linux as my primary desktop around that time.

CmFtns

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 583
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Melbourne, Fl
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2016, 03:55:41 PM »
I will stay on windows 7 till the end of time.
The Mayans said the world would end in 2012
Microsoft says windows 7 will end in 2020... well not for me screw security updates

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2016, 04:03:50 PM »
I will stay on windows 7 till the end of time.
The Mayans said the world would end in 2012
Microsoft says windows 7 will end in 2020... well not for me screw security updates

Can't tell if you're serious or not.  The word for this is "target".  It's best to avoid being a target.  Those holes become really well known and exploits become easily automated.  Once an exploit makes it into Metasploit, it's time to move on. 

If you're not using a network, you're probably fine*.  Otherwise...  probably not. 


*I say probably.  I've seen a few bugs where not not updating even with no networking was a bad thing.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2016, 05:02:51 PM »
I switched entirely to Linux over six years ago. Currently I'm using Arch Linux + Xfce, but I've also used Slackware, Gentoo, Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu, Mint, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and probably some others I'm forgetting. I think Arch is great for the advanced user, but a less-technical person should probably go with Fedora or Mint (or some Ubuntu variant).

I've used GnuCash on Linux for over four years now and it's been great.

I use Chromium and Firefox for web browsers.
LibreOffice works fine.
I've been extremely happy with Clementine for my music collection. I used to use Winamp on Windows and I've found Clementine to be much better.

I also had to switch to TaxAct but I've found it to be just as good as TurboTax and cheaper.

I also recommend gnucash.  I've been using it since around 1999(*).  I have a gigantic, cumbersome mass of back end scripts that re-process gnucash and turn it into a few hundred different graphs. 

For music, I am currently running Ampache (front end)/mpd (back end)  on an ubuntu server that streams to the whole house.  You can pick it up the stream and play it with about anything: mplayer, vlc, web browser, tivo, android phone, ipad, chromecast, etc. 
Downside: I currently have it configured as unicast, so if you have multiple streams in multiple rooms, they can be a half second off of each other.  I haven't looked at converting it all to multicast.


* I am not 100% sure on this...  I switched from SunOS to Linux as my primary desktop around that time.

Actually, Spork, some of your old posts on GnuCash are what finally convinced me to give it a try!  That, and that it is proper double-entry bookkeeping.  I'm already keeping my personal finances in debits and credits, with a multitude of sumifs tallying the individual transactions, so why not try a program that will simplify the summarizing?

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2016, 05:08:52 PM »
I'm coming to this thread late, so I didn't read all of the responses.  But I've been using GNU/Linux since 1994.  I favor Gentoo, but I know how the Posix class systems work at a low level, so that isn't likely a good choice coming from a Windoze world.  I will point out, though, that Mac OS X is a Posix compatible flavor of (*)nix (BSD Unix, IIRC) and I have been using it for 3 years.  If you fear the command line, buy a Mac.

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2016, 05:11:51 PM »
I have to agree with the many posters before me.  If you really want a GNU/Linux machine, try Mint first, all defaults if your old laptop will take it straight.  Don't try to get creative for a while.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2016, 02:12:12 PM »
Hi Everyone!

I made the bootable USB on Monday, booted from it, and tested everything I could think to test.  Everything worked - numeric keypad, DVD drive, external hard drive, mp3 player - with no issues and no fussing.  So, after a full system image backup was made and I separately moved all of my files onto the external hard drive, I installed Linux Mint (Mate) as the sole OS on Tuesday morning and spent the rest of the day putting my files back on the laptop and playing with it.

The mp3 player works with the file manager for Linux, just as Spork suggested, though this method did NOT work with Windows (hence prior use of old version of Winamp). +1 Linux!

It may be the honeymoon period, but I am really liking how easy it is to find things.  I ended up resorting to Google half the time when I needed to do new things in Windows, but the Linux Mint menus are much more intuitive for me.

I have done a quick trial of GnuCash, but I haven't started pulling in my old data to make my working file yet.  That will come soon.

Pidgin is up and running.  I successfully used the Terminal to install a Skype plugin for it, so I'm rather proud of that.

Guys, this was way easier and less painful than I expected.  Thank you again for all of your advice!


Notes for others wishing to follow this process exactly with no multi-boot, just with Linux as the only OS:
  • On an external hard drive, create a full backup of your computer.
  • On an external hard drive, copy over all the files that you like from your computer.  Remember to look for pictures, music, videos, beloved spreadsheets.  Go online to get instructions on making copies of your bookmarks, sticky notes, etc.  If you have program files you need to keep, such as your TurboTax file, a GnuCash file, or anything else like that, grab those as well.  You can always delete stuff later, so err on the side of grabbing too much.
  • Get a thumbdrive with at least 2GB of space.  I used a 4GB thumbdrive.  EVERYTHING ON IT WILL BE WIPED, SO REMOVE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO KEEP.  Also, you won't be able to use this as a normal thumbdrive again until you fix it.  Instructions are HERE if you need them after installing Linux to your computer, but I haven't tried them.
  • Click the download in the blue down-arrow box near the bottom of this page: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/
    and save it in your "downloads" folder
  • Go download the version of Linux you have chosen.  Linux Mint's download page is here:
    https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
    Look for descriptions of the various desktop environments online.  Mint's official literature says "When in doubt, choose Mate!" but most people on the internet seem to say to choose Cinnamon if you have no clue.
  • Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSb7xUJHxes
    It is best at 1.25 speed.  It is really clear and walks you through the whole process.
  • Use the video instructions to guide you through making the bootable USB.
  • Look online to find how to access the BIOS for your computer. My Dell Latitude requires hitting F2 repeatedly while the "Dell" screen appears on startup before the OS logo shows up.  Different computers use different keys.  Some computers have you press a key repeatedly, while others have you just hold it down.
  • Turn off your computer.  Plug in the bootable thumbdrive you made.  Turn on your computer, and go into the BIOS.  Set your BIOS to prefer booting from USB.
  • You should be in Linux!  Try out all your computer-related devices.  See how you like it.  Go on the internet for a minute.  If all is good, double-click the disc icon with "Install Linux" below it.  Follow the instructions from the video linked above.
  • After Linux is installed and the computer has restarted, shut down the computer.  Remove the USB stick.  Turn on the computer, go back into BIOS, and set the computer to boot from the harddrive instead of the USB.
  • There should be a little shield on the bottom bar near the lower-right.  Click on that and let it install the updates for the update manager.  Then let it run again and install the HUGE list of updates it suggests for everything else.  This will take a while, so go make a sandwich and eat it.
  • When you installed Linux, the account you created was the Admin account.  Go create a normal user account for your daily use and another "guest" user account for when your friend/cousin/nephew wants to borrow your computer.  Now go online and find some other guides on things to do when you've just installed Linux.

maizefolk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4664
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2016, 03:50:08 PM »
Great to hear things are off to such a positive start!

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2016, 04:32:15 PM »
This suggestion is a little late, but for future folks: Clonezilla is an awesome tool for backing up/restoring your data.  You can clone from entire disks down to directory structures.  You can write them to an external disk or across the network to a server. 

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2016, 04:38:38 PM »

I have done a quick trial of GnuCash, but I haven't started pulling in my old data to make my working file yet.  That will come soon.


My memory sucks... and it's been YEARS...  Between 1995 and 1999? moved from Quicken -> Microsoft Money -> Gnucash.  Both transitions of data sort of were difficult.  I did spend quite an amount of time re-organizing stuff after moving to Gnucash.

But: I have been happy with the transition overall.  And having a backend file I can read and parse and do things with is (for me) worth a lot.  If gnucash doesn't have the right reporting... you can just hack at it and make your own.

csdreaming

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: Southern California, USA
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2016, 06:57:32 AM »
Nice. I'm glad things have worked out for you. I'm impressed with how quickly you took to it (most people would have been scared of the command line).

A few fun additions:

Ad Blocking (UBlock Origin, open source ad blocking, does not get paid to unblock certain ads, Firefox & Chrome)
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/

Amazon MP3 (drm free music, unlike their books/audiobooks/movies, download for your MP3 player, you probably already use it)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201377410

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2016, 08:35:36 AM »
csdreaming, thank you!  It looks like uBlock Origin also blocks trackers, so it takes the place of Ghostery as well.

csdreaming

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: Southern California, USA
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2016, 08:40:27 AM »
You are welcome. And yes, it also uses less memory and cpu than ad block plus. If you click on the icon and select the picker tool you can block autoplaying videos on cnn and other sites.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 08:45:08 AM by csdreaming »

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4726
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2016, 08:51:42 AM »
Question for you GNUCash users: can you set it up so that it automatically downloads transactions from your online banking accounts?

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2016, 09:01:21 AM »
Question for you GNUCash users: can you set it up so that it automatically downloads transactions from your online banking accounts?

Here's the long answer:
https://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/Setting_up_OFXDirectConnect_in_GnuCash_2

The short answer is: gnucash was developed in Europe and you are more likely to get things to work using the European HBCI standards. The stuff for US markets is relatively new.

The caveat: Personally, I think attaching any financial software to a financial institution represents risk.  I prefer to keep my accounts unlinked.  *IF* someone were to get my gnucash file, they would have no mechanism to worm their way into an account.  They would have hints like "Vanguard IRA", but no account numbers and no passwords or tokenized passwords.   I also actually think manually entering things keeps me attached to my investment income and expenses.  It's along the lines of how taking notes in class makes you remember more (even if you never refer back to the notes).

It does do a good job of keeping prices up to date.  So if you know you have 50 shares of VFINX, it will automatically go out and fetch the price -- keeping account values up to date.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1584
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2016, 09:22:39 AM »
*I didn't read the topic replies


Do the upgrade to W10...

If you game on the PC at all, then Linux won't be the best choice. If not, feel free to run Linux.

You can dual boot, so I don't even think it's much of a choice... do both if you want...

RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2016, 09:49:19 AM »
I am not a gamer.
*I didn't read the topic replies


Do the upgrade to W10...

If you game on the PC at all, then Linux won't be the best choice. If not, feel free to run Linux.

You can dual boot, so I don't even think it's much of a choice... do both if you want...

Maybe you should try reading the initial post at least?

Also, you're too late:

I installed Linux Mint (Mate) as the sole OS on Tuesday morning

RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2016, 09:50:32 AM »
The caveat: Personally, I think attaching any financial software to a financial institution represents risk.  I prefer to keep my accounts unlinked.  *IF* someone were to get my gnucash file, they would have no mechanism to worm their way into an account.  They would have hints like "Vanguard IRA", but no account numbers and no passwords or tokenized passwords.   I also actually think manually entering things keeps me attached to my investment income and expenses.  It's along the lines of how taking notes in class makes you remember more (even if you never refer back to the notes).

It does do a good job of keeping prices up to date.  So if you know you have 50 shares of VFINX, it will automatically go out and fetch the price -- keeping account values up to date.
This is pretty much my opinion as well. I've been happy entering all my transactions manually. As a side effect I feel it's made me understand accounting a lot better.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4726
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2016, 09:53:03 AM »
The caveat: Personally, I think attaching any financial software to a financial institution represents risk.  I prefer to keep my accounts unlinked.  *IF* someone were to get my gnucash file, they would have no mechanism to worm their way into an account.  They would have hints like "Vanguard IRA", but no account numbers and no passwords or tokenized passwords.   I also actually think manually entering things keeps me attached to my investment income and expenses.  It's along the lines of how taking notes in class makes you remember more (even if you never refer back to the notes).

Yeah, I understand that issue but I'm not particularly concerned about it -- GNUCash would still be an improvement over Mint, which is what I'm using now! I think maybe over the weekend I'll see if enough of my accounts are supported to make it reasonable to switch.

In fact, I'm so lazy that Mint-like automatic transaction synchronizing is the 'killer feature' that makes it possible for me to stick with tracking finances at all. I don't need to manually enter transactions to keep attached to my investments; I can just look at the Mint Android app for that. (Which reminds me: although an Android GNUCash app exists, it doesn't seem like it has equivalent features to the Mint one in terms of synchronizing with the desktop app.) I'm willing to accept some rough edges compared to Mint in order to get the advantage of not giving Intuit access to all of my financial info, but hopefully GNUCash isn't missing so many Mint-like features as to be a deal-breaker.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #38 on: June 30, 2016, 10:07:39 AM »
The caveat: Personally, I think attaching any financial software to a financial institution represents risk.  I prefer to keep my accounts unlinked.  *IF* someone were to get my gnucash file, they would have no mechanism to worm their way into an account.  They would have hints like "Vanguard IRA", but no account numbers and no passwords or tokenized passwords.   I also actually think manually entering things keeps me attached to my investment income and expenses.  It's along the lines of how taking notes in class makes you remember more (even if you never refer back to the notes).

Yeah, I understand that issue but I'm not particularly concerned about it -- GNUCash would still be an improvement over Mint, which is what I'm using now! I think maybe over the weekend I'll see if enough of my accounts are supported to make it reasonable to switch.

In fact, I'm so lazy that Mint-like automatic transaction synchronizing is the 'killer feature' that makes it possible for me to stick with tracking finances at all. I don't need to manually enter transactions to keep attached to my investments; I can just look at the Mint Android app for that. (Which reminds me: although an Android GNUCash app exists, it doesn't seem like it has equivalent features to the Mint one in terms of synchronizing with the desktop app.) I'm willing to accept some rough edges compared to Mint in order to get the advantage of not giving Intuit access to all of my financial info, but hopefully GNUCash isn't missing so many Mint-like features as to be a deal-breaker.

I realize some folks have more risk tolerance than I do.  25ish years of being a security engineer has sullied me a bit.  In some ways, I had some amount of first hand knowledge of BadStuff happening.  In other ways, being paid to be paranoid may make me over paranoid.

I've never used Mint.  I've never used the gnucash phone app.  I've got no valid opinion on them other than the security concerns I've already mentioned.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4055
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #39 on: June 30, 2016, 10:22:18 AM »
csdreaming, thank you!  It looks like uBlock Origin also blocks trackers, so it takes the place of Ghostery as well.

If you don't mind the added complexity and learning curve, I actually prefer Raymond Hill's uMatrix (same guy that does uBlock Origin). This thing replaced NoScript/ScriptSafe, AdBlock Plus, Ghosterly, Cookie Whitelist/Vanilla Cookie Manager and User Agent Switcher for me with only one plugin that uses a fraction of the memory footprint that just one of those other plugins uses.

uBlock is simple, but uMatrix gives you full control over every last connection your browser makes to every last third party server. Beautiful stuff if you're into that sort of thing. Between it and The Great Suspender, the memory footprint for Chrome hardly ever exceeds 500MB anymore, and it helps Chrome run quite a bit faster under older hardware.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #40 on: June 30, 2016, 11:08:50 AM »
csdreaming, thank you!  It looks like uBlock Origin also blocks trackers, so it takes the place of Ghostery as well.

If you don't mind the added complexity and learning curve, I actually prefer Raymond Hill's uMatrix (same guy that does uBlock Origin). This thing replaced NoScript/ScriptSafe, AdBlock Plus, Ghosterly, Cookie Whitelist/Vanilla Cookie Manager and User Agent Switcher for me with only one plugin that uses a fraction of the memory footprint that just one of those other plugins uses.

uBlock is simple, but uMatrix gives you full control over every last connection your browser makes to every last third party server. Beautiful stuff if you're into that sort of thing. Between it and The Great Suspender, the memory footprint for Chrome hardly ever exceeds 500MB anymore, and it helps Chrome run quite a bit faster under older hardware.

I will have to look into that in the future.  That is interesting; thank you.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #41 on: June 30, 2016, 11:13:28 AM »
I am not a gamer.
*I didn't read the topic replies


Do the upgrade to W10...

If you game on the PC at all, then Linux won't be the best choice. If not, feel free to run Linux.

You can dual boot, so I don't even think it's much of a choice... do both if you want...

Maybe you should try reading the initial post at least?

Also, you're too late:

I installed Linux Mint (Mate) as the sole OS on Tuesday morning

I just updated the topic title so no one else gets sucked in.

prefixcactus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Moscow, Russia
Re: Windows 7 to Linux: When? Whether? Help!
« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2016, 03:38:24 PM »
If you game on the PC at all, then Linux won't be the best choice. If not, feel free to run Linux.

Simply not true. I'm running Linux and gaming happily since 2010. Sure, the latest shooter of the year would probably not run as well as on a windows machine, but then I don't really like most of those anyway (and when I really do want to play it, PlayOnLinux does the trick most of the time. Otherwise, if the game really is *that* good, I might consider booting up windows... Which I still keep around for some reason but haven't used ever since upgrading my laptop a year and a half ago).

Which reminds me: although an Android GNUCash app exists, it doesn't seem like it has equivalent features to the Mint one in terms of synchronizing with the desktop app.

Beware: the gnucash android app and the desktop app are not the same thing; they cannot freely exchange logged information. I fell into this trap once; the transactions from the app are a PITA to xport to the desktop gnucash. So now I just write down a dead simple log of "transaction name/transaction amount" which I then enter manually into GnuCash.


Re: browser talk:
I currently use Firefox (or, rather, its all-free cousin Iceweasel) with loads of plugins (noscript, request policy, selfdestructing cookies, ghostery, tab tree, vimperator, and a few others), but am not happy with it anymore, since it's started to consume loads of CPU time and memory lately. Chromium is no panacea either, as it has no good vertical-tab extension and no keyboard-oriented interface. Additionally it consumes even more RAM and spawns literally hundreds of processes, making it hard to monitor its stats and congesting the process list.  So I'm currently actively looking for a browser I can move to that doesn't suck.