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Could I Linux?

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by sloe, 6 Dec 2007.

  1. sloe

    sloe New Member

    Location:
    Banffshire
    My techie abilities are the ability to click on boxes.

    Want a laptop to

    1) Watch DVDs
    2) Basic jpeg titivation then burn to cd.
    3) Surf on BT broadband inc a bit of eBay, Amazon, Wiggle, Screwfix etc.
    4) Tiny amount of typing and printing.

    No games, no TV. So

    A) Could some flavour of Linux do this?
    :smile: Could I do this?
    C) Would it be cheap and long-term trouble free?
     
  2. ajevans

    ajevans New Member

    Location:
    Birmingham
    Yes, absolutely.

    One potential issue is what modem you use. Is it a USB modem or an ADSL router?

    A) Almost all flavours can. I'd recommend PCLinuxOS 2007, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint for beginners.
    :smile: I decent walkthrough would see you through. (I can provide)
    C) Should be practically free, and say goodbye to malware and viruses.
     
  3. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Location:
    Behind a desk
    Ho hum

    This thought is going through my mind too. We're getting online at home at last. SWMBO knows enough about computers to stuff them up, I don't know anything other than the desktop and how to remove cookies.

    We have a knackered old Windows ME laptop which needs a new keyboard and potentially BIOS, as SWMBO "had a moment" with a cup of tea a little while ago. We're using a regular plug in keyboard at the moment.

    While computers are so cheap, I'm considering buying a basic model and running to Linux. This will make me understand what's going on, learn how to manage it, and make the computer and our activities more secure. I'd be very interested in the walkthrough and your reccommendations too.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    sloe

    sloe New Member

    Location:
    Banffshire
    It's a BT Voyager 105 USB ADSL Modem with a blue wire going to a usb slot at the back of this here machine.
     
  5. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Location:
    Behind a desk
    And we have a SpeedTouch ADSL router on a USB port.
     
  6. Van Nick

    Van Nick New Member

    Location:
    Leicester
  7. barq

    barq Senior Member

    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Laptops can be a tad trickier to set up with linux because they often have non-standard parts which means linux won't necessarily 'just work'. That said there are quite a few laptop options available today - not least Dell who sell an Open Source £330 laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed (so it does work out the box).

    In answer to your questions:

    1. You'll have to install a driver ('libdvdcss') to watch DVDs, but it isn't a problem. There are instructions all over the internet and with K/Ubuntu I could tell you what to do. Takes about two minutes. (or you could use VLC - this is also available for windows if you want to test drive it before committing yourself to linux).
    2. Playing with JPEGs is no problem. There are various paint and photo packages around. GIMP is a bit like Photoshop (only free). That's also available for Windows if you want to try it out. Burning to CD or DVD is no problem either.
    3. USB modems aren't guaranteed to work. You will make your life simpler if you access the internet through a router (either ethernet or WiFi).
    4. OpenOffice is a bit like Microsoft Office so that's fine for word processing. There are lots of good programs for this kind of thing. Might be worth Googling your printer to see what linux support is like, but many manufacturers have produced linux drivers.

    Ubuntu is often considered one of the friendlier linux versions - and I think there is some truth in that. One of the things to get used to with linux is that you can install different 'desktop environments' which change the way you use the computer. The two most common are Gnome and KDE. The choice is entirely personal so you can install them both, try them out, remove what you don't want. Ubuntu comes with Gnome installed, but you can easily add KDE (making it into 'Kubuntu').

    Software is typically installed with a software manager which connects to 'repositories' on the internet. It gives you a long list of software and descriptions (so you could just search for a word processor and it will give you a load of options). You just click to select what you want installed or removed.

    Gosh that was a long message! :smile:
     
  8. ajevans

    ajevans New Member

    Location:
    Birmingham
    Oh balls.

    I'm afraid there's a real issue with USB modems as they rely windows (and your processor to do the work for them) to get them to work, unlike ADSL routers which are a self-contained bit of hardware.

    Broadband companies give them away free because they're cheap and nasty.

    It is possible to get them to work on Linux however it's a bit of a hassle, whereas an ADSL router (no USB, just ethernet cable) should be automatically recognised.

    I'm afraid this route might require a little bit of investment in something like this:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/52754

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    However if you are unsure about whether you want to go ahead with it why not try a live-disk? You pop-em in your CD drive (make sure your BIOS is set to boot from CD-ROM) and you can load up a version of the OS to see if it works and if you like it. It won't touch your hard-drive, and is a completely safe way of testing.

    Get from here:
    PClinuxOS2007 http://www.pclinuxos.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
    Linux Mint http://linuxmint.com/
    Ubuntu (most popular but mp3s, flash etc require installation) http://www.ubuntu.com/
    Xubuntu (Ubuntu configured for slower systems) http://www.xubuntu.org/
     
  9. ajevans

    ajevans New Member

    Location:
    Birmingham
    Regarding barq's laptop comment:

    Just to clarify the potential issue with laptops are:

    - Wireless. If you have a Broadcom chipset in order to get it to work you will have to follow an internet tutorial.

    You can do it (I've done it), it just might require a bit of effort.

    (It involves taking the windows driver and using a program called ndiswrapper which is a sort of 'mounting bracket' if you will for using windows wireless drivers).

    PS if you're ever getting a new PC go for NVIDIA graphics cards not ATI cards. The former specifically support linux, the latter make you work for it.
     
  10. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Location:
    Brighton
    The best thing to do is to give it a try. Go to http://www.ubuntu.com/ and download the Ubuntu CD image and burn it to a CD or CDRW.

    You can boot your computer straight from the CD, and it won't alter your current setup at all (Although you might need to change your BIOS settings to get it to boot from CD - You often have to press 'F2' or 'F11' or something just as the computer is starting). You should note that because it's running from CD it won't run as quickly as it would if you had it installed on the Hard Drive.

    One of the nice things with the Ubuntu CD is that you can still install new software even when running from the CD (it allocates some memory that it pretends is a hard disk), although all your changes will be lost when you reboot.

    I found this page: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=140010 which has some instructions for getting Ubuntu working with your modem, although it doesn't look quite as simple as just clicking on boxes.


    As to whether you should move to Linux, I guess you have to decide why you want to. I'm assuming here you already have XP in which case, why change?

    I suppose you just need to give it a try and see how you like it.
     
  11. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Location:
    Brighton
    I think that's a bit unfair. nVidia have traditionally had better driver support, but ATI have recently got a lot better with Linux and have also completely open-sourced their drivers, meaning that the community are now able to fix problems on the drivers themselves. nVidia drivers are still closed-source.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    sloe

    sloe New Member

    Location:
    Banffshire
    Not XP. I'm running Win98. On a steam-powered pc. Been thinking of upgrading for oh...five years.
     
  13. barq

    barq Senior Member

    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    I agree it is possible, but if people are considering buying a new computer this is a good justification for preinstalled linux because this issue will be taken care of.

    Networking problems (whatever the platform, XP, Linux...) are particularly annoying because you can't always get on the internet to solve them! :smile:
     
  14. ajevans

    ajevans New Member

    Location:
    Birmingham
    Agree that ATI have got better but nVIdia still beat them on out of the box functionality with linux.

    This will probably change in the not so distant future with ATI's move to open source.
     
  15. Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    So if peripherals come with Linux drivers, will they work on all flavours or will some furtling be necessary?