PDA

View Full Version : [ubuntu] total newbie - please forgive my innocence...



jonattonyeah
November 12th, 2008, 03:19 AM
Hello all

first of all, let me apologise right now if a) i'm posting this in the wrong place and b) these questions are either laughably naiive or they are answered in a really obvious place somewhere else.

anyway, i have been a long-time windows user and to be honest i've never had any problems with it. that is until i 'upgraded' to vista (which imho should be renamed more accurately 'windows not responding'). it just doesn't work and is slower and less stable than 3.1 even though my new laptop is supposedly top notch. suffice to say i am sick to my back teeth with the abomination that is vista and thanks to my laptop maker's clear thinking, i can't just reinstall xp. so i am at the point where i just have to ditch windows and find something else. linux is said to be pretty good and i have been recommended to try out ubuntu, which is why i'm at this forum.

before i actually download ubuntu and install it, i have a few questions that i was hoping someone could answer. again, apologies for sounding so dumb but while i am no windows novice i am a complete stranger to linux and ubuntu.

so, here goes...

1) i hear linux is much more secure than windows. do i still need to run a firewall, antivirus and antispyware software? i currently run zone alarms with antivirus, spyware doctor, adaware and spybot s&d and i wouldn't dream of connecting to the internet without them, but are they redundant if i'm running ubuntu or should i/can i still run them?

2) i know you'll laugh at me for asking this one, but can i run any windows software in ubuntu? eg photoshop, vlc player, video editing software etc? if no, what linux alternatives are there?

3) i've been looking at various linux intro sites and they all seem to go on about bits of code, commands and prompts etc. do i suddenly have to start typing code all the time to use linux? like i say, i'm no windows novice but neither am i an IT specialist and i really need to switch to an o/s that i can get up and running quickly as my computer is vital for my work (which is why i have to ditch vista because its such an utter pile of pants)?

again, sorry for being so naiive but i've been trawling through loads of sites but rather than learning more about linux i'm just getting more confused and questioning whether i should just perservere with vista (please don't make me do that!!! it's awful!!! it doesn't work!!!).

thanks big time in advance for your help

cheers

jonatton yeah

ps does that make sense?

jonattonyeah
November 12th, 2008, 03:23 AM
oh, and another obvious question no doubt... linux can still handle jpegs, can't it?

lmlypfan
November 12th, 2008, 03:29 AM
Ive switched over permanently at home for about 2 years now, and I'm glad I made the switch. It has taught be a lot about all aspects of computing in a relatively short period of time.

1) you don't need to run any spyware or adware prevention programs and the only firewall i use is on my router.

2) you can run VLC natively in linux. Linux has many programs that are just as good if not better than their windows counterparts. Photoshop can be replaced with GIMP, office replaced with open office..... If there is a program that is windows only, you have 2 options. One is you can use a program called wine to install the windows program inside of linux, or two you can install Virtual Box and have a fully functional Windows XP OS running within Linux. Then you just install said program on the Virtual XP machine.

3) you can have a fully functioning ubuntu OS out of the box w/o any commands.

mr.v.
November 12th, 2008, 03:34 AM
linux can still be frustrating. The point of it is that it's free and you have ultimate control over your OS unlike Vista and especially unlike OSX. But some of the user friendly features of linux are still not as developed as they are in windows/mac.

You will probably at some point need to use the terminal. Not all configuration is done graphically. Windows is much more geared towards graphical configuration. Many things in linux still require text based/command line configuration.

Some commercial programs are superior to their linux counterpart. Adobe photoshop is significantly more advanced and easier to use than the GIMP. That's not to say that the GIMP is bad. It's quite good and free. But you're not going to have all the features and ease of use of photoshop.

Open office is also pretty good. But you'll definitely find some frustrations trying to switch from MS office. The files don't always convert perfectly between the two either.

A program called "Wine" or Crossover office both allow some windows programs to run in Linux. But there is some degree of configuration associated with both and neither are without bugs. Crossover office is arguably less buggy than wine but costs money.

Anyway, linux is a functional operating system. There are lots of free and fantastic tools. But it simply isn't as easy to use as Vista or Macs are especially if a piece of hardware doesn't work out of the box(at least in my opinion. Others are sure to disagree).

(and yes...linux can handle jpegs)

boof1988
November 12th, 2008, 03:42 AM
I don't know how fast you need to get up-and-running but a good idea is to download one of the Ubuntu varieties and burn a live CD so you can see how well the OS will work with your hardware and such.

Here is a link to give you a few options for aquiring a Ubuntu variety:

Get Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu)

If you need help understanding how to burn a liveCD post or do a search.

Here's a link (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCD?highlight=(livecd)) on burning a liveCD on the Ubuntu Community.

You need a CD/DVD burner that can burn an iso to do this. There are some open-source software for burning the CD if you need as well.

Hope this helps a little.

jonattonyeah
November 12th, 2008, 03:44 AM
Thanks very much for your replies!

i really want to give ubuntu a go as i just can't stand vista and you're answers have just removed a lot of doubt.

re firewalls, i dont have a router, just a motorola modem, the installation software for which i hope will run in linux (i know, i am so naiive it's embarrasing). consequently, is there a linux firewall i should use instead?

again, thanks big time for all your help.

jimmy the saint
November 12th, 2008, 03:47 AM
First, welcome to freedom!!

As to your questions.

1) Linux is more secure because it was designed to be networked, as opposed to windows which simply had the capability added. Think of it this way. You can throw super-swampers on a civic and take it off-roading, but it'll still suck at it. Linux was designed from the get go to be secure and manage multiple users in a networked environment so youre safer here than with the other OS. You have a built in Firewall, IPtables, but you can download firestarter if you want to tweak it. There is also less worries about malware, since nearly all is written for windows.

2)check out http://www.linuxalt.com/ for a lot of linux alternatives to windows software. If you have apps that you simply simply have to run, I would recommend skipping over WINE, which will likely be recommended to you, in favor of Virtual Box. With Virtual Box, you can create a virtual computer and install windows on it allowing you to run any software you want (without 3D acceleration). For the most part though, unless you are a graphics pro, there is really no need to run Windows software on a linux box.

3) It definitely helps to learn some basic command line skills. For the most part, though, you wont need it. Most things are done graphically, especially in distros like Ubuntu. CLI (command line interface) tools are more powerful for a lot of tasks and especially if you want to have a server. You will run into circumstances that require the command line, but usually you will be following a tutorial and can almost always simply copy and paste. BE CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS!! Stick to the forum. Good people here.

Remember, ask lots of questions, but always search the forum and Google first. The best way to learn linux is to run into problems and fix them!

Good Luck!!

JTS

-Zeus-
November 12th, 2008, 03:48 AM
no one has mentioned it yet but it is trivial to setup a dual boot with Vista if you occasionally need to boot to it to use some software... just follow the installation instructions

handydan918
November 12th, 2008, 03:50 AM
Hello all

first of all, let me apologise right now if a) i'm posting this in the wrong place and b) these questions are either laughably naiive or they are answered in a really obvious place somewhere else.

anyway, i have been a long-time windows user and to be honest i've never had any problems with it. that is until i 'upgraded' to vista (which imho should be renamed more accurately 'windows not responding'). it just doesn't work and is slower and less stable than 3.1 even though my new laptop is supposedly top notch. suffice to say i am sick to my back teeth with the abomination that is vista and thanks to my laptop maker's clear thinking, i can't just reinstall xp. so i am at the point where i just have to ditch windows and find something else. linux is said to be pretty good and i have been recommended to try out ubuntu, which is why i'm at this forum.

before i actually download ubuntu and install it, i have a few questions that i was hoping someone could answer. again, apologies for sounding so dumb but while i am no windows novice i am a complete stranger to linux and ubuntu.

so, here goes...

1) i hear linux is much more secure than windows. do i still need to run a firewall, antivirus and antispyware software? i currently run zone alarms with antivirus, spyware doctor, adaware and spybot s&d and i wouldn't dream of connecting to the internet without them, but are they redundant if i'm running ubuntu or should i/can i still run them?
Oh, yeah. You are going to be a lifer. Welcome. All the progs you just listed were my favs for ever. Never use anything now, The firewall in Ubu ( and other linuces) operates at the kernel level . The only thing you MIGHT want to install is some kind of interface for configuring it.

2) i know you'll laugh at me for asking this one, but can i run any windows software in ubuntu? eg photoshop, vlc player, video editing software etc? if no, what linux alternatives are there?
Some Windows software will run on Linux,(in WINE) most won't. Ther are almost always open source alternatives to anything. There is also a learning curve. (for photoshop replacement, check out blender.)

3) i've been looking at various linux intro sites and they all seem to go on about bits of code, commands and prompts etc. do i suddenly have to start typing code all the time to use linux? like i say, i'm no windows novice but neither am i an IT specialist and i really need to switch to an o/s that i can get up and running quickly as my computer is vital for my work (which is why i have to ditch vista because its such an utter pile of pants)?
most things in Linux can be done from a GUI, just like Windows. However, when you find "how-to's" you will often find (command line interface)CLI commands given because they are so easy for a n00b to copy and paste into a terminal...

again, sorry for being so naiive but i've been trawling through loads of sites but rather than learning more about linux i'm just getting more confused and questioning whether i should just perservere with vista (please don't make me do that!!! it's awful!!! it doesn't work!!!).
Nah. Just jump. I did about 8 yrs ago, and I've never regretted it. No IT bacground, not a geek, can't count to 10 in binary...but I can use Linux.
And so can my mom.

thanks big time in advance for your help

cheers

jonatton yeah

ps does that make sense?

[/QUOTE]Cheers. You'll be fine.

Miljet
November 12th, 2008, 03:50 AM
First I'll answer your last question. Yes Linux handles jpeg, and most all other graphics file types.
You do not have to learn the command line to operate Ubuntu. However I highly recommend learning it. The reason is simple. When you use graphical tools to change your system, you have no idea which files are changed or what changes are made. If you use the command line, you know exactly which file you changed and if you are really smart, made a backup of the file before changing it in case the changes do not produce the desired results.
Ubuntu does have a learning curve, but it isn't especially steep. Think of it this way, you didn't sit down in front of a computer running Windows and instinctively know how to do everything. You learned it over a period of months (or years.) Every day that you use Ubuntu, you learn more about it.
This is an excellent article about the differences: http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

jimmy the saint
November 12th, 2008, 03:51 AM
I used to dual boot, but it is much more convinient to just use a virtual machine. No constant need to restart, and once you set up a shared directory, you can share files instantly. Plus, the security is better and you can always create snapshots to instantly go back to a clean state if your windows catches a cold.

handydan918
November 12th, 2008, 03:53 AM
Thanks very much for your replies!

i really want to give ubuntu a go as i just can't stand vista and you're answers have just removed a lot of doubt.

re firewalls, i dont have a router, just a motorola modem, the installation software for which i hope will run in linux (i know, i am so naiive it's embarrasing). consequently, is there a linux firewall i should use instead?

again, thanks big time for all your help.

Not so much with the network stuff. For the most part, the linux kernel handles networking protocols natively, instead of bolted-on like Windows. No drivers needed for routers and such, although the actual network adapters are a different story, especially with wireless.

handydan918
November 12th, 2008, 03:54 AM
I used to dual boot, but it is much more convinient to just use a virtual machine. No constant need to restart, and once you set up a shared directory, you can share files instantly. Plus, the security is better and you can always create snapshots to instantly go back to a clean state if your windows catches a cold.

+1

This is the only way I will use windows anymore, besides in a disposable, non-networked, gaming-only install....

Bartender
November 12th, 2008, 03:55 AM
In my limited experience, the version of VLC I downloaded from the Ubuntu repositories works better on the laptop than the Windows version of VLC I installed on our desktop.

Some things work better in Linux than in Windows.
GIMP has more add-ons in Linux, like the panorama tool. I think GIMP is actually easier to navigate than Adobe, once you get over the initial confusion and memorize a handful of keyboard shortcuts.

Video editing software is relatively sparse in Linux AFAIK. I've read threads where people attested that DVDFlick works fine when running under WINE. First you have to install WINE, then you'll have to google around for some guides on how to use it. MaximumPC Nov 2008 issue has a helpful beginner's article on WINE.

Security software is not a big issue for most of us. If you're networked to Windows PC's you might want to install the native AV program ClamAV just to protect the Windows PC's from getting something that passes thru the Linux PC!!

A firewall isn't a bad idea, but like the previous poster mentioned, your router firewall is probly all you'd need.

The terminal is a powerful tool. I know I should try to learn it more than I have. But I haven't had to. Just a few years ago, some terminal work was unavoidable. Nowadays it's good to have some familiarity, but not essential unless a snafu forces you to go into recovery mode, or hardware incompatibility requires tweaking xorg, etc. If and when that happens, that's when you'll wish you'd acquainted yourself with the CLI!!

Don't get rid of Vista. Dual-boot. Dual-booting gives you the latitude of learning on your own time frame what will work in Linux and what won't. Also, Vista will be less infuriating when you know you're not stuck with it. I dislike using the Vista side of our dual-boot laptop but glad I didn't delete it entirely.

EDIT: I don't know who you're using for internet access. A router solves lots of connection problems. For instance, plug an Ubuntu PC directly to the modem supplied by Verizon and you will not get online. Stick a router in between and you're good to go.

ichi@YUKI
November 12th, 2008, 04:02 AM
I dove into Linux just a few months back, and if there's one thing i learned, it's never expect your Ubuntu box to do exactly what your Windows box used to do, or you'll only get disappointed. A few days after installing Ubuntu, I still had wine on, and I tried to run the programs I used in my windows box (i.e. uTorrent, Photoshop, etc.) I only ended up disappointed since most Windows programs don't run properly on WINE. That's the time I realized that Ubuntu as well as other Linux repositories have a rich source of open-source programs which can function the same as or even better than their Windows counterparts.

If you're planning to dive into ubuntu, i suggest you start out with the LiveCD and feel the new OS for yourself. I'm telling you, you won't be disappointed with your decision. ^_^

mark_o1
November 12th, 2008, 04:25 AM
hi.i would also like to shift from windows to ubuntu.however, im totally new to ubuntu.:(can you please help me on this?i bought a new laptop (asus x80l, pentium t2390) and i really want to install ubuntu on this.are there guides for the installation of ubuntu on this specific laptop model?thanks a lot.

jonattonyeah
November 12th, 2008, 04:28 AM
Thanks again for all your replies, help, pointers and advice. part of me still feels a bit daunted but i'm gonna make the leap. i'll study your combined advice and get back to you all shortly. i'll try out the live cd first i reckon. i just cant wait to turn my back on vista. i already feel a sense of liberation!

thank you all again for the help and quick responses. BIG THANKS ALL ROUND!!!

apostate
November 12th, 2008, 08:14 AM
As others have already said, get it a shot. Linux really isn't scary, I promise. VLC runs natively in Ubuntu, and looks/works great. GIMP is a 95% replacement for Photoshop, or you can run Photoshop in a Virtual Box or under Wine. Wine is really good these days, and a lot of office/productivity software for Windows runs flawlessly anymore.

As others have also mentioned, the command line is a powerful interface and should not be underestimated. Having said that, NO you do not need to know it at all to just use your computer. Ubuntu is (in my opinion) about as user friendly as XP-- those who say differently have unrealistic expectations that it will be *the same* as Windows, or else they haven't used Linux recently.

There is a *ton* of great software, the GUI is very easy to understand, and the hardware support is amazing, considering the IT environment of today. Download a Live CD, and boot that sucker up. If you like what you see, install it by following the easy wiard. Or dual boot, as someone suggested, if you want to keep Vista as a "lifeboat". My prediction:

Week 1: You will feel uncomfortable and intimidated. You will want to go back to Windows all the time, and curse the name of Linux.
Week 2: You will start to realize that Linux is a very advanced and capable operating system, you just needed a while to get the hang of the fundamental differences in the desktop paradigm. It will be ok to use Linux for some stuff, but you will have a lot of questions and moments of frustration.
Week 3: A strange sense of liberation will come upon you. You will be more familiar with the filesystem, the apps, and the philosophy. You will branch out a bit. Install new stuff. Play around. It gets kinda fun.
Week 4: You will realize you like using your computer again, You will uninstall Vista and never look back.

hyper_ch
November 12th, 2008, 09:51 AM
It is adviced to use a descriptive topic title, that means a topic title that gives some clue about the content in the thread itself...

A generic topic title like "noob here" or "need help" does not help at all. As you may have noticed, just about everyone posting in here has some kind of a problem or issue or question ;)

And it is also adviced to use seperate threads for unrelated problems so that you can mark each one individually as solved.

Or in short terms: Help others to help you ;)

Also, when you are asked to post output from (config) files or from a command, use
brackets around (each) output. That makes it also easier to read.
__________________