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Trip98
May 24th, 2010, 08:06 AM
Hello,

I am considering switching my Windows PC to Ubuntu, but I had a few questions first. Hopefully, the knowledgeable posters here will be able to help me.

I recently got a new desktop. My old desktop had gotten slow and buggy with time, but it does still work fine, if filled with constant problems and headaches. Rather than get rid of it, I would like to move it another room, for very rare use. I was thinking that switching to Ubuntu could hopefully solve a lot of my problems with the lagging system.

My questions:

1 - Does installing Ubuntu wipe out everything on the computer previously? Really, that's my goal, so I don't have to sit around uninstalling each and every random program. I want a fresh start. At the same time, I worry about drivers. If it DOES wipe out everything, does it also wipe out the driver I had to install for my wireless keyboard, for instance?

2 - What about internet? This is a similar question as the above driver concern. Currently, this computer is wired to the modem. When it moves rooms, I will have to get a wireless adapter for it. Should I install that before or after installing Ubuntu? And should I expect any difficulties?

3 - Is the interface user-friendly? I have read several remarks about how once you get to know Ubuntu, you will enjoy it. But this will be the computer I intend for guests to primarily use, so I want it to be pretty point and click for them, as well. Essentially, I just need something where the desktop starts up in a typical fashion, with icons for FireFox and a media player.

4 - Does Ubuntu network easily with other Windows computers? There are several other computers in the house, all Windows, and I occasionally send files between them or use the same wireless printer for all of them. Is that going to be exceedingly difficult to set up with Ubuntu.

5 - Finally, I keep reading about things like Enlightenment and MoonOS. They are described as windows managers. What exactly does this mean? Is it a simpler interface? Would I perhaps want to install something like this, instead of the regular Ubuntu? I am ultimately looking for the easiest type of interface. I don't require much customization. Just a few basic programs on a hopefully speedier system.

I know it's a lot of questions, but I really just want to be sure I know what I am walking into before I wipe out Windows. Thanks for any and all help!! I really appreciate it!

Lucky.
May 24th, 2010, 08:47 AM
Hi!

These are some pretty good questions, but I think the best answer would be to just "try it" and see how you like it. I'll do my best to answer these.

1. During installation, Ubuntu gives you the chance to use the full hard drive and wipe everything out. Or you can set it up to use the remaining free space on your computer and dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu. Personally I find it easiest just to wipe everything out and go full Ubuntu.

Wiping everything out literally wipes it all out. No more old programs, old files, old drivers, etc. Your wireless keyboard will probably work in Ubuntu, but if you have any special media buttons or other special non-standard keys on your keyboard, they may not work.

2. If you're using an analog/phone modem, there's a strong possibility it won't work in Ubuntu (However if you're using a cable modem, you should be just fine). Most phone modems nowadays are "WinModems", which are cheap knockoffs of classic modems. WinModems require drivers to do most of their processing, and not many of those drivers were ever designed for Linux. However if you get a wireless adapter, there's a good chance it will work in Ubuntu. There is no point in installing a driver in Windows before changing over to Ubuntu - it won't make any difference, as Linux will need its own driver to run any and all of your devices.

As for difficulties, yes...some of us have extreme difficulties with getting drivers working. If you find that Ubuntu "just works", you're in great shape. If your wireless adapter or modem doesn't work, you may be spending days or weeks on various forums and sites trying to get stuff to work.

However! You don't have to install Ubuntu to test this stuff out! Use the LiveCD to "Try Ubuntu without making any changes to your computer", and see how things work for you. If they work, that's great! If not, Ubuntu may not be for you and your computer unless you want to invest extra time and possibly extra money to get different hardware.

3. The interface is definitely user friendly, but it's incredibly different at first. If you've used FireFox, OpenOffice, Gimp, etc...you'll have some familiar applications to use and the transition may not be so bad. However there is always a bit of an immersion shock. You may find yourself frustrated trying to do extremely simple things like changing your screen resolution or startup sounds. It's not that the system is designed poorly, it's just that stuff is in a different spot. Have a little patience and learn how it works, and in a few weeks/months you'll be running like a pro.

4. Definitely - File sharing is really easy. If you're sharing files on your Windows machines, Ubuntu will probably find them right away. Likewise sharing files from Ubuntu to Windows is pretty darn simple too. It can be tricky if you start playing with the server edition (more advanced and tricky), but file sharing via the Desktop version of Ubuntu is just great. It's probably one of the easiest and first things people do when they jump over.

I'm not so sure about the printer, but I can definitely vouch for file sharing.

5. Edit: I got my window managers and desktop environments mixed up. Forget what I wrote here, and Listen to Martje_001!

Good luck!

calinut1
May 24th, 2010, 08:53 AM
To test if your keyboard works properly with Ubuntu, just burn the image on a CD/DVD and run a live session. If you can control the keyboard in the live session then you're good. If not, maybe a driver installation window will pop up. Install it and you're fine.
If none of these happens, your keyboard MIGHT not work on Ubuntu.

Good luck!

Rubi1200
May 24th, 2010, 08:59 AM
You can also find useful information, including general and specific tips and tricks, via the following links:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=801404

http://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/

http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/index

Good luck!

Martje_001
May 24th, 2010, 09:02 AM
Great questions!


1 - Does installing Ubuntu wipe out everything on the computer previously? Really, that's my goal, so I don't have to sit around uninstalling each and every random program. I want a fresh start. At the same time, I worry about drivers. If it DOES wipe out everything, does it also wipe out the driver I had to install for my wireless keyboard, for instance?
It depends on how you install it. You have a few options when installing Ubuntu. Read them carefully and you'll be fine. Always make a backup though!


2 - What about internet? This is a similar question as the above driver concern. Currently, this computer is wired to the modem. When it moves rooms, I will have to get a wireless adapter for it. Should I install that before or after installing Ubuntu? And should I expect any difficulties?
You can do both if you'd like to. Ubuntu automatically recognizes most of the hardware and installs it. However, it may be wise to check (http://linux-wless.passys.nl/?lang=english) compatibility before you buy.


3 - Is the interface user-friendly? I have read several remarks about how once you get to know Ubuntu, you will enjoy it. But this will be the computer I intend for guests to primarily use, so I want it to be pretty point and click for them, as well. Essentially, I just need something where the desktop starts up in a typical fashion, with icons for FireFox and a media player.
You'll be fine. The user-interface is very user friendly. This is personal taste, though.


4 - Does Ubuntu network easily with other Windows computers? There are several other computers in the house, all Windows, and I occasionally send files between them or use the same wireless printer for all of them. Is that going to be exceedingly difficult to set up with Ubuntu.
Depends on which printer you use. If it's an HP it will work for sure. Networking with Windows computers is supported. Once installed, choose Locations --> Network, and you'll see all your Windows-computers.


5 - Finally, I keep reading about things like Enlightenment and MoonOS. They are described as windows managers. What exactly does this mean? Is it a simpler interface? Would I perhaps want to install something like this, instead of the regular Ubuntu? I am ultimately looking for the easiest type of interface. I don't require much customization. Just a few basic programs on a hopefully speedier system.
A window manager is a program which, well, manages your windows. There are many many WMs out there. For instance, compiz, metacity, xfce-wm, etc. Ubuntu comes with two preinstalled: compiz and metacity. Compiz is used when effects are enabled and metacity is used when effects are disabled.

Compiz slows the system down on slow systems. On high-performance systems you won't notice and it can even make you more productive.

Just give Ubuntu a shot! But remember: Ubuntu != Windows. Things are done differently.

MC_Sketch
May 24th, 2010, 09:12 AM
i installed Ubuntu to dual boot for a few months before i decided to switch over completely, so if i changed my mind it wasnt too late, and so i could work out some of the software kinks without issue. i strongly recommend doing what i did. hope you decide to join the family! :D

3rdalbum
May 24th, 2010, 09:41 AM
+1 to everything said in this thread so far.

The website www.chrislees.info has a link to a Linux-compatible wifi adapter, but most adapters work without issue. Still, check before you buy - or buy the one from that site.

You and your guests won't have any trouble with the default Gnome interface that Ubuntu uses. It's self-explanatory and IMHO less daunting than Windows' interface.

Mark Phelps
May 24th, 2010, 04:57 PM
Couple of comments ...

Heartily support the other recommendations to use the LiveCD mode first. Anything that does not work is going to then range from trivial to impossible to fix after install. Wireless problems are generally fixable through a combination of different network managers and NDISWrapper configurations. Other hardware problems can be very difficult to fix.

As to file sharing with MS Windows boxes -- it depends on what OS they're running. If prior to Win7, you're probably OK. IF you're running Win7 with HomeGroups -- forget it. Even Vista can't work with Win7 HomeGroups.

Trip98
May 25th, 2010, 04:08 AM
Thank you all for your help! It really did allay the bulk of my concerns, as you were very thorough. Thank you!

I agree that doing the dual boot to test the waters would probably be the best iea. But my old computer really is stretched to the limits of what it will take from me. A whole new operating system, on top of Windows? No, I seriously doubt it will take that well. I would need to do a lot of work to clean it all up first, and get it a whole lot less buggy, before I tried. And that's really the effort I am trying to avoid by just doing a full install of Ubuntu.

Unfortunately, it is primarily Windows 7 machines in the rest of the house. Sad to hear they won't network easily with Ubuntu. But, of everything, that's not the deal breaker for me. And given how rarely I will use this computer, maybe by the time someone goes to use it, Ubuntu will have resolved that issue. One can hope... And I do have an HP printer, so hopefully that will at least network without problem.

The link to compatible adapters is especially helpful. Since I have to buy a new one, it's good to know from the start that it will work with Ubuntu.

I'm still not exactly clear on what a windows manager is, but I'm thinking I don't need one? The talk about it slowing down a system is what makes me nervous. My computer was very nice when I got it, but is definitely several years old now, so I am guessing it falls into the slow down category.

I'm not particularly concerned with being able to tweek things like sounds etc. I just wanted to be certain tha when a guest - who has only ever used Windows - goes to use this computer, that they will be able to see a Firefox icon on my desktop, click on it, and use the internet just as always. I don't mind a learning curve for special features. I just need there to be ZERO learning curve for the basics, for people who are not there to learn. And it sounds like I will be fine.

Thanks so much again for all your help!

SRST Technologies
May 25th, 2010, 04:23 AM
1 - Does installing Ubuntu wipe out everything on the computer previously? Really, that's my goal, so I don't have to sit around uninstalling each and every random program. I want a fresh start. At the same time, I worry about drivers. If it DOES wipe out everything, does it also wipe out the driver I had to install for my wireless keyboard, for instance?

2 - What about internet? This is a similar question as the above driver concern. Currently, this computer is wired to the modem. When it moves rooms, I will have to get a wireless adapter for it. Should I install that before or after installing Ubuntu? And should I expect any difficulties?

3 - Is the interface user-friendly? I have read several remarks about how once you get to know Ubuntu, you will enjoy it. But this will be the computer I intend for guests to primarily use, so I want it to be pretty point and click for them, as well. Essentially, I just need something where the desktop starts up in a typical fashion, with icons for FireFox and a media player.

4 - Does Ubuntu network easily with other Windows computers? There are several other computers in the house, all Windows, and I occasionally send files between them or use the same wireless printer for all of them. Is that going to be exceedingly difficult to set up with Ubuntu.

5 - Finally, I keep reading about things like Enlightenment and MoonOS. They are described as windows managers. What exactly does this mean? Is it a simpler interface? Would I perhaps want to install something like this, instead of the regular Ubuntu? I am ultimately looking for the easiest type of interface. I don't require much customization. Just a few basic programs on a hopefully speedier system.

1 - Yes, no, maybe. It can if you want it to. It can set alongside Windows of any kind if you want it to. If you tell it to wipe out Windows, you won't have to do a single thing, it'll destroy Windows totally with one click of the mouse, no work needed.

2 - The internet pretty much runs on Linux, so no, you'll have no problems. If by modem you mean telephone dialup modem, you may run into some problems, and if this is the case please let us know so we know how to instruct you to overcome this problem before it happens. When/If you go wireless, you still shouldn't have much problem, even if you install Ubuntu first and add the wireless card later! Ubuntu and Linux come with so many drivers out of the box that you almost never have to install anything new when you change hardware. If it does not work out of the box, you will need to reconnect to the wired modem and then install three or four programs (done automatically) and then do one minor configuration of the wireless device. However, before you buy any wireless card, please research your purchase BEFORE you buy it to make sure it's Linux compatible. Google can help you tremendously here.

3 - Ubuntu's interface is unbelievably user friendly. It's easier to use than Windows, for sure. Most people who complain that Linux is not user friendly know NOTHING about it, they just don't want to change. Also, since you plan to use this for guests, you'll be happy to know that they can't install viruses, spyware, or screw up your system unless you specifically give them permission to do so. Since you're just considering Ubuntu, you probably don't know how to do that yet, so you're golden. Firefox and the Media Player do not come on the desktop by default but the "Start" menu type thing on Gnome is easier to figure out than the Start button on Windows ever was.

4 - Filesharing between computers did not start on Windows and is in fact a hack Microsoft added on when they realized they were getting owned in that department. Yes, not only does Ubuntu network nicely and in the correct manner, it does it pretty flawlessly with Windows. When you're ready to take that step, please make another thread asking for a howto on it, or look one up on Windows. It's actually really really really easy to set up Ubuntu to share files.

5 - Enlightenment and all the other things you're hearing about with Window Managers are REALLY cool, exceedingly cool, but totally unnecessary if you're just going to let guests mess around with the computer. Gnome should be fine. If you want to be really nice to your guests that are used to Windows, instead of getting Ubuntu, get Kubuntu, which is Ubuntu using the KDE window manager by default. KDE is a window manager that looks a lot like Windows.

By the way, Window Managers in a nutshell are how your desktop looks. No, not a theme, you can completely change how your desktop looks into a totally different user interface with different menus and themes and looks and quirks and whatever. It completely changes your experience. Changing window managers visually is similar to going from Windows to Mac to DOS to AMIGA to whatever.

Good luck!

Miljet
May 25th, 2010, 04:53 AM
I agree that doing the dual boot to test the waters would probably be the best iea. But my old computer really is stretched to the limits of what it will take from me. A whole new operating system, on top of Windows? No, I seriously doubt it will take that well. I would need to do a lot of work to clean it all up first, and get it a whole lot less buggy, before I tried. And that's really the effort I am trying to avoid by just doing a full install of Ubuntu

Just to clarify, if you install Ubuntu as a dual boot, it does not run on top of Windows. You simply install it side-by-side with Windows and at start-up, you have the choice of which operating system to run. They do not both run at the same time.

There are ways to run them both (such as Wubi or virtual machines), but that is a whole other discussion.

After you use Ubuntu for a while and start learning how superior it is, you will probably be switching your other computers.

Innernet
May 25th, 2010, 06:10 AM
I would suggest you get a new hard drive, replace the existing sack of problems one and do a Ubuntu-only install.
If you decide one day to take a second look at your then dormant de-commissioned old drive, you could do it.
You can keep the old one disconnected inside the PC.

scrapmetal
May 25th, 2010, 07:36 AM
I tend to keep it simple as possible.
Normally I flatten the existing operating system.
I have been installing Ubuntu 9.04 LTS on to old machines.
Now have been installing Kubuntu 10.04 LTS on to old (ATI graphic card) machines.
Lots of happy:P people now using them.
Save your Windows drivers if you think you may want a retro games machine.
Burn CD iso's at 4x speed on good medium. Use alternative iso image for 10.04 LTS.
Enable Medibuntu packages on Ubuntu or Kubuntu system.
Google Medibuntu and follow cut and paste instructions.

If you are the same as all other window users, me included (XP pro, 7 ultimate).:P
Enjoy.
You will think someone has put new hardware into your old unit.
Not as scary:( as one first thinks.
Lots of fun.:P
Guests will be impressed.

mastablasta
May 25th, 2010, 07:44 AM
Thank you all for your help! It really did allay the bulk of my concerns, as you were very thorough. Thank you!

I agree that doing the dual boot to test the waters would probably be the best iea. But my old computer really is stretched to the limits of what it will take from me. A whole new operating system, on top of Windows?



Please have another look on the replies before yours and see the LiveCD option.

Unlike Windows, the Ubuntu comes on a live CD. Live CD is just like install CD from windows with one important exception. If you boot the operating system from this CD (not from hard disk - to do this BIOS has to be set to boot first from CD then from hard disk), the operating system gives you a few options.

One of them is to try out the system without installing it. This mode sort of installs the operating system into RAM memory instead of on hard disk (RAM as you probably know is only temporary memory and the moment you turn off the computer everything in RAM is gone).

In this way you can see how the system looks like, check if everything works without actually installing it. It all happens on CD and RAM and does not effect your current instalation in any way. In fact it won't touch it at all. The side effect of LiveCD (since it uses CD to read from) is that it can be quite a bit slower than actual install your will perform later on.

EDIT: LiveCD can even be used to fix your WinXP instalation, recover lost files from it... but these are a bit more advanced functions that actually do have any effect on your WinXP installation.

You say your system is stretched. well i have one of those at home and quite old as well. Yet i tested a live CD on it and it all worked well.

You should also know that there are a couple of *buntu versions, some are designed for really old computers and can run on systems with really low resources.

But if you have XP running on this computer, Ubuntu should do fine and run much faster.

kspncr
May 25th, 2010, 08:03 AM
I'm still not exactly clear on what a windows manager is, but I'm thinking I don't need one? The talk about it slowing down a system is what makes me nervous. My computer was very nice when I got it, but is definitely several years old now, so I am guessing it falls into the slow down category.

I wouldn't worry about it too much. You will need a window manager, there will be on installed by default, but you won't even know it.



I'm not particularly concerned with being able to tweek things like sounds etc. I just wanted to be certain tha when a guest - who has only ever used Windows - goes to use this computer, that they will be able to see a Firefox icon on my desktop, click on it, and use the internet just as always. I don't mind a learning curve for special features. I just need there to be ZERO learning curve for the basics, for people who are not there to learn. And it sounds like I will be fine.

This absolutely will not be a problem. Firefox in Ubuntu works exactly the same as in Windows. Just click and drag the Firefox icon on the desktop to make it super obvious for all your guests.

And oh, as far as networking with Windows 7...I have Ubuntu and Windows installed on computers in this house and I have had no issues whatsoever with networking. For me it works exactly the same as networking with any other edition of Windows. (Places-->Network, the Win7 computers, with networking enabled, automatically come up...)

Failboat88
May 25th, 2010, 08:54 AM
For file sharing, samba is free and it works with windows for files and printers. I have never set up samba so I'm no pro ,but I don't think it is too bad. If your server is your linux machine you may have to mount it from your windows machines and need to install samba on them.

DrDevice
May 25th, 2010, 09:44 AM
... If your server is your linux machine you may have to mount it from your windows machines and need to install samba on them.

Sorry, but the above post is slightly erroneous. Samba is a system for Linux to be able to talk to Windows computers, and is neither available nor needed for Windows machines, since Windows talks to Windows and Samba speaks Windows. =) It should auto-install on your Ubuntu machine the first time you try to share a folder, and does a pretty good job of setting itself up.

I too recommend the LiveCD option to test the waters, but be aware that not all of Ubuntu's nifty features are available on the LiveCD, due to licensing of certain utilities. For instance, the web works fine, but Flash sites like Youtube won't, since Flash cannot be legally distributed like that. On a full install though, you will be able to take care of those things.

On that note, this guide was invaluable to me: Comprehensive Multimedia & Video Howto (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=766683&highlight=comprehensive+multimedia)
Read and follow the directions, and voila, your computer will be ready to go.

As far as Window Managers, Kubuntu is for KDE, Ubuntu is for Gnome. Don't worry about the others so much. I moved from KDE to Gnome, as I feel that Gnome simplifies menus and settings, whereas KDE is a lot more in-depth, and I got lost trying to find some things. :redface: You can run most programs in either, as they will install what they need to display if needed.

Enjoy Ubuntu!

michaelA1330
May 25th, 2010, 10:35 AM
yes its easy to use
your modem should work

pdlethbridge
May 25th, 2010, 03:04 PM
If you like to burn CD's, try different versions of Ubuntu. I've been using it for over 4 years now and am very happy with it. I will say this, that if you have a problem with one version, try another. There are many versions of Ubuntu available and some are still supported.

SRST Technologies
May 25th, 2010, 09:47 PM
There is absolutely no need to burn an entire sub-Distro CD just to try another Window manager. If you don't like how Ubuntu looks, just install other window manager packagers.

You can install KDE and XFCE and any other window manager you could ever think of while inside of Ubuntu-Gnome. Synaptics is a really cool program for those of you who can't follow simple to use apt-get tutorials.

Burning another sub-Distro CD and reinstalling it is like having to reinstall Windows just to change media playing software. You don't scrub the whole system to change programs.

Babuloseo
May 25th, 2010, 09:50 PM
I would recommend that you use Ubuntu 8.04, and then learn how to use it. 10.04 is horrible for me. Cannot play Wow in 9.10, 10.04 or 9.04 (possible).

SRST Technologies
May 25th, 2010, 09:52 PM
For file sharing, samba is free and it works with windows for files and printers.
I am assuming you mean that "works with windows" means you can access files on a Windows machine with Linux using Samba.

NO. WRONG ENTIRELY.

You can access a Windows shared drive on Linux without having Samba installed at all. What you need is the smbfs package, fusesmb package, or the smbclient package and a little tweaking with some config files. If you don't like mucking with config files, install smb2www and use that.


I have never set up samba so I'm no pro ,but I don't think it is too bad.

Then... how the heck do you know? Dude, you should have seen the time I gave birth to my son, my wife (at the time) was so proud of me...

Come on, a little thinking goes a long way.


If your server is your linux machine you may have to mount it from your windows machines and need to install samba on them.

Please, for the love of god, stop giving advice on here about things you don't understand in the least.

Failboat88
May 29th, 2010, 08:44 AM
That shows you how easy you can get your network up and running. Obviously, I have no idea what I'm talking about or doing, and I still managed to get mine working.

PS: Most people don't troll you on these forums. Don't be discouraged. I do agree I was speaking out of place.