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  • Linux: Why is it loved so much?

    The reason I ask is because I have an old computer just sitting around and I was thinking about installing linux to mess around and maybe learn something new.

    Why do people love it so much?

    Which version is best?

    What makes it better than Windows or OSX?

    What are some of the downsides to it?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

    Why do people love it so much?

    It is free. It is really good core technology. It appeals to the geek urge to be different and independent. It is free.

    Which version is best?

    Can't answer that one.

    What makes it better than Windows or OSX?

    It isn't "better". It is different. It has different goals and different strengths.

    What are some of the downsides to it?

    Driver support isn't the wonderful. (But not an issue for older hardware.) It still isn't as easy to use nor does it have all the nice features of a modern OS like Vista/OSX. If you stay to the basics like Email/Web/Open office it is probably fine. I have found once you get into the nich products, those products that really make Linux shine, the road is a bit rockier.

    For example I was playing around with Suse Linux and Eclipse to do some MONO development. It was fairly straight foward but I had a version of Eclipse that wasn't compatible with the version of Suse I had installed. Figuring this out was a pain in the butt.

    Using it as a server isn't nearly as easy as using it as a desktop. Many of the configurations are in cryptic text files and most of the work is done via command lines. Fine for a experienced IT person. There might be some good server versions out their that are easy to use.
    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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    • #3
      Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

      Originally posted by Global.Cooling View Post
      The reason I ask is because I have an old computer just sitting around and I was thinking about installing linux to mess around and maybe learn something new.

      Why do people love it so much?
      It is free, it is secure and it is nearly to the point where it could be a plug and play, user friendly experience.

      Which version is best?
      I only have experience with three different distros (Ubuntu, Xandros and Linpus) and I like Ubuntu the most by far. I've also heard really good things about OpenSUSE.

      What makes it better than Windows or OSX?
      It is more secure than either one and you don't have to pay a huge hardware tax for it like you do with OSX. I actually like using Windows more personally.

      What are some of the downsides to it?
      It can have a steep learning curve and if something you use doesn't work properly, it can be a bitch to configure.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

        It really isn't much more secure than Windows or OSX for the average user.

        Compared to Windows XP and before it has fewer holes. But an average user that always logs in as root and just clicks through confirmation dialogs it isn't more secure. But in all my years of using Windows I have only gotten one virus and I pretty much knew I was going to get it. (Installed a hacked software program from a dubious source.)

        Now because, like OSX, it is attacked less it is a bit safer. Safer is different that secure. However you are more on your own for applying security patches, but that is dependent on which version of Linux you get.
        Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
        - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
        - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
        - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
        - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
        - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
        - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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        • #5
          Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

          Everyone above seems to have thoroughly answered all of the questions. :)

          I'm going install Ubuntu (32-bit) onto a old machine for use as a file server. It'll also be my first time thoroughly using Linux and my first using Ubuntu.

          In the past I've used RedHat, SuSE, and Fedora 3/4.

          Driver support is supposedly a breeze in Ubuntu as it will automatically install all of the necessary drivers for you upon completing install.

          As a general rule of thumb: the older your hardware, the better supported it is by Linux.
          |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
          TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
          Former 9th & 13th

          Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
          Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





          SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

          TG Primer and Rules

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          • #6
            Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

            About how easy it is: Windows is a luxury car. It's big and roomy and comfortable. And when it breaks, no one understands what's wrong, except very expensive dealer mechanics. It's easier just to wipe it and start over.

            Linux is a hot rod. It has no AC and the ride is rough, and maybe you get a muffler. Recent versions include a windshield. But if something goes wrong, the greasy guy next door with maybe a high school education can fix it.

            I'd say that's true of all MS software. I tried tinkering with the routing and firewall stuff in Windows Server, and the GUI never matched what was really going on. But I can easily run a Linux iptables firewall. The command line utilities always tell me the truth. Ever notice how many Windows admins download and install a "resource kit"? That's all those command line tools that come with your Linux distro. Even Windows admins give up the GUI when it's time to get serious.
            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

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            • #7
              Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

              You said you're installing on an "old" computer. One of the nice things about Linux is that it scales down well. I'm using my mom's ancient box as a backup server. It doesn't have enough memory to run a GUI, but it works really well to just back up my main server with rsync. And I could probably use it for running other services in a pinch. You can fit Linux in a really small amount of resources.

              The older Linksys routers run Linux, for example. (Newer ones use a commercial realtime OS because it can be even smaller and use less memory, at the cost of requiring a very expensive developer license. Linksys sells enough routers that they can afford to distribute that one-time license cost over many routers to save money on the memory each router would require to run Linux. But it means we can no longer dig in and customize the new router like we could the older ones.)

              On the high end, IBM uses Linux in virtualized servers running on mainframes. It scales up, as well as down.
              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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              • #8
                Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                Rather than "install" Linux, download a "Live CD" of various distros and try them all out. You boot and run from the CD, and optionally save your personal stuff to your hard disk.

                If anyone here needs a good server OS, I highly recommend CentOS. It's based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) but instead of paying Red Hat for support, you depend on the community through mailing lists. It's exactly the same source code, but recompiled by the CentOS people to remove the RH branding.
                Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                  I installed a Virtual Machine and ran Ubuntu to look around. It seems good. I don't really have a need for my old computer and was just wondering if I wanted a new project to mess with.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                    I would suggest Ubuntu, they have done a good job at making it user friendly. If you have time and inclination, install CentOS as suggested on another partition/VM. These two distros will give you skills on the major two Linux layouts, with regards to packaging and configuration layout (Debian style, for Ubuntu, and RedHat sytle, for CentOS). If you learn both, you should be comfortable on almost any Linux box.

                    Linux is industrial strength. For desktop users, its a solid system, with just about every app you need to do things available for free. You could very easily set up just about any kind of small business system on it and keep costs down. We use it exclusively in a multi billion $ business for servers. Thats the real strength. Infrastructure services. Web, DNS, Mail, databases. Really not much point in running anything else on servers now unless you are constrained by policy or some apps.

                    As mentioned, the scalability is exceptional. You can run Linux on anything from a 386 up, on just about every CPU architecture available. The skills you learn using it for projects of your own are in pretty high demand too.
                    Do or do not, there is no try....
                    -- Yoda, Dagobah

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                    • #11
                      Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                      I just recently installed SuSe 11, it was easy and the UI is friendly. I am currently using this version.

                      I haven't tried Ubuntu or CentOS yet, but I think I may give it a whirl. I have a couple of older boxes that I use for this sort of stuff. I like to try newer versions of Linux to see what has changed over time. I personally do not run anything critical on it like ScratchMonkey does but I just like to tinker.

                      I also downloaded and installed Solaris as well to see how that would work.
                      |TG| RoadWarrior

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                      • #12
                        Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                        Give Fedora 5 a spin sometime while you're at it. It's a pretty nice Linux flavor even if it may not run well on ancient 486s.

                        Edit: It's now Fedora 10. Guess they went through another 5 reversions since last I used Fedora.
                        |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                        TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                        Former 9th & 13th

                        Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                        Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                        SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                        TG Primer and Rules

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                        • #13
                          Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                          Originally posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
                          Give Fedora 5 a spin sometime while you're at it. It's a pretty nice Linux flavor even if it may not run well on ancient 486s.

                          Edit: It's now Fedora 10. Guess they went through another 5 reversions since last I used Fedora.
                          Heh... Fedora 5 is from three years ago!
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                          • #14
                            Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                            Heh... Fedora 5 is from three years ago!
                            Yeah and that was more or less the last time I used Fedora. I'm just shocked it progressed to 10 in only a few years.
                            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                            Former 9th & 13th

                            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                            TG Primer and Rules

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                            • #15
                              Re: Linux: Why is it loved so much?

                              That's why I don't use Fedora. It moves too fast. If you like to upgrade every 6 months, it's perfect. If you hate to upgrade even every 3 years, go CentOS.

                              Re scalability: 386 isn't the low end. There's a variant called ucLinux that runs without an MMU on very small systems.
                              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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