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 Post subject: Which OS should I go for
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:30 pm 
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OK, I've got a bit of money spare, and it's time to get myself a proper workign desktop again instead of relying on old low spec laptops for everything.

I can get a good deal on a built-to-spec PC, and as it's built for me, I can choose what OS is installed. Do I pay the, for me, fairly large sum for Windows? If so, 7 or 8.1? Or, do I go for some variety of Linux? If so, which? I've used Ubuntu before (it was through that that I discovered FO), but it was nearly a decade ago.

I want to be able to run FO, use my browser for mostly everything else and compile stuff.

There's a small part of me that wants to have something capable of running Starcraft 2, but that's not a major priority (would it run on Linux or with Wine?).

Whenever I look at all the variety of Linux distros that're out there I get very confused and run back to Windows, I have zero clue what to look for in terms of what I want or could make use of.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:00 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
I can get a good deal on a built-to-spec PC, and as it's built for me, I can choose what OS is installed.

[…]

I want to be able to run FO, use my browser for mostly everything else and compile stuff.


Could you be more specific about the specs?

MatGB wrote:
There's a small part of me that wants to have something capable of running Starcraft 2, but that's not a major priority (would it run on Linux or with Wine?).


Yes, like all native Windows programs you would run StarCraft 2 within the Wine environment. The AppDB of Wine states, that most of the users have a good experience playing the game with a reasonable recent version of wine.

MatGB wrote:
Whenever I look at all the variety of Linux distros that're out there I get very confused and run back to Windows, I have zero clue what to look for in terms of what I want or could make use of.


The problem with selecting the right distro are your requirements to it and the knowledge about the drawbacks of the specific distro.

Those include:

* Your level of knowledge (general PC and linux specifics) and the ability to solve problems/find problem solutions.
* Your stance between up-to-date software with potentially more bugs or outdated software with potentially less bugs.
* Your stance about the usage of free software vs closed source software.
* General preference about how to use the PC (The capability or willingness to use a console or a UI, preferring a more OSX-ish GUI design approach or a more Windows-ish design approach)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:39 pm 
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adrian_broher wrote:
Could you be more specific about the specs?

Sure, I'm looking at this:
Quote:
AMD A10 7700K 3.4GHz CPU
8GB DDR3 Memory
Gigabyte GA-F2A78M-HD2 Motherboard
AMD Radeon R7
CCL Elite Crafter Minecraft Optimised Gaming PC - - CCL Computers
It's spot on the top of my current price point but is fully upgradeable, which is important given I can't afford the highest spec machine I'd like.
Quote:
Yes, like all native Windows programs you would run StarCraft 2 within the Wine environment. The AppDB of Wine states, that most of the users have a good experience playing the game with a reasonable recent version of wine.
That's what I thought/was hoping but it's not something I know much about at all, thanks for the link.
Quote:
The problem with selecting the right distro are your requirements to it and the knowledge about the drawbacks of the specific distro.

Those include:

* Your level of knowledge (general PC and linux specifics) and the ability to solve problems/find problem solutions.

Moderate for the first, interested amateur, for the latter much higher but not at the professional level.
Quote:
* Your stance between up-to-date software with potentially more bugs or outdated software with potentially less bugs.

I spend a large chunk of my spare time playing the most recent Test releases of FO, I like bug hunting, on the other hand I like bug hunting apps, not necessarily bug hunting the guts of the OS I'm using.
Quote:
* Your stance about the usage of free software vs closed source software.

Weak preference for the former, I'd prefer free but closed is sometimes, well, better supported? Probably not the best phrase.
Quote:
* General preference about how to use the PC (The capability or willingness to use a console or a UI, preferring a more OSX-ish GUI design approach or a more Windows-ish design approach)

Not a console fan, I forget the commands regularly, and I never ever get on with OSX style GUIs, I've spent nearly two decades using Windows almost exclusively, so while I know it has limits I prefer that approach.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:06 pm 
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Some of the Linux distributions have live CD's that you can try out without having to install. This could give you a feel for some of the various options available. Remember, an os is more then just the GUI with Linux there are a variety of GUI's you can put on top of it to suit your needs.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:49 pm 
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One thing to keep in mind, is that for Linux there is an important distinction between the OS and Desktop environment, which is essentially (in my mind anyway) a GUI for the OS. Linux distros in general will support multiple different Desktop environments. The two most common ones are called Gnome, and KDE. I started using Linux about a decade ago, using Gnome, but after a few years switched over to KDE, which I much prefer, although I don't have really clear reasons I could give you for that. Here is a comparison of the two. For several years now I have been using a variant of Ubuntu adapted with a focus on KDE, this distro is named Kubuntu; I like it a lot. When I first started using Linux there were a lot of things about it that were a pain, especially regarding graphics card and their drivers, but those growing pains are over and it's a very smooth experience now.

For a bit more of a writeup on Linux desktops, take a look here: http://www.zdnet.com/pictures/six-click ... ironments/

As for the underlying Linux distro, this seems like a really good writeup to me, focused on comparing Debian and Ubuntu (which itself derives from Debian), but includes broader info as well. I know some of the folks here use Linux Mint, which apparently stemmed from Kubuntu and seems intended to be even easier to use, so that is another you should probably take a look at.

I normally set my computers up to dual boot with windows; that's probably partly because when I started using Linux, Wine was not yet released, and since that time I've only fiddled with Wine (since I could also just boot to Windows there was not a lot of incentive to get going with Wine). For years now, though, about the only time I've booted into Windows was for certain games and to run my tax prep software, and it sounds like Wine has developed enough that there is no compelling reason to dual boot anymore, though (to me at least) it still seems a little simpler and cleaner to deal with than Wine. Hard drives are so big these days that setting aside enough space for both OS's is just not an issue.

So if you're nervous about bypassing Windows and want to spend the extra money for some peace-of-mind, you could go the dual boot route; you could have your CCL folks install Windows and you could add Linux; here's a decent looking guide on that ; you would probably want to use a current Kubuntu or Linux Mint rather than the plain Ubuntu they talk about, but that won't make any real difference to the process. The guide is a few years old but probably plenty current and at the very least it gives you an idea of what setting up a dual boot system would be like.

To expand slightly on AndrewW's suggestion and help you find the info more quickly if you want to explore that, those setups to run Linux without actually installing it are normally called a 'Live' CD, and they can also be put on a USB thumb drive instead which makes it a lot easier to have a bit of persistent storage space so you can actually save anything from bootup to bootup. But I wouldn't spend much time exploring things like that, you might get a better feel for the style differences but there will be a bit of a learning curve which will seem worse if you're jumping from distro to distro. I suggest flipping a coin between Kubuntu or Linux Mint, and then just go with that.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:57 pm 
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Dilvish wrote:
So if you're nervous about bypassing Windows and want to spend the extra money for some peace-of-mind, you could go the dual boot route; you could have your CCL folks install Windows and you could add Linux; here's a decent looking guide on that ; you would probably want to use a current Kubuntu or Linux Mint rather than the plain Ubuntu they talk about, but that won't make any real difference to the process. The guide is a few years old but probably plenty current and at the very least it gives you an idea of what setting up a dual boot system would be like.


Alternately, one could just go with Linux and if needed later a dual-boot system could be setup.

Dilvish wrote:
But I wouldn't spend much time exploring things like that, you might get a better feel for the style differences but there will be a bit of a learning curve which will seem worse if you're jumping from distro to distro. I suggest flipping a coin between Kubuntu or Linux Mint, and then just go with that.


Can also take a look at screenshots to get an idea of what is out there and see what might fit your preferences.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:45 pm 
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Aye, I have ordered the machine withotu Windows (it's 25% cheaper without), I'll still have the two laptops, there'll be another one, and a laptop-with-dead-screen is going to be setup in the living room attached to the telly, so if I need Windows I'll have something and I'll see how it goes without it.

Thanks for advice about the GUIs, things have moved on a lot since last I looked, no idea what I'll go for yet but I've a few days before it arrives.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:32 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Thanks for advice about the GUIs, things have moved on a lot since last I looked, no idea what I'll go for yet but I've a few days before it arrives.


Good luck with it. Let us know how it goes.

Feel free to ask if you have more questions.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:28 pm 
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Dilvish wrote:
One thing to keep in mind, is that for Linux there is an important distinction between the OS and Desktop environment, which is essentially (in my mind anyway) a GUI for the OS. Linux distros in general will support multiple different Desktop environments. The two most common ones are called Gnome, and KDE. I started using Linux about a decade ago, using Gnome, but after a few years switched over to KDE, which I much prefer, although I don't have really clear reasons I could give you for that. Here is a comparison of the two.

All of these links have been very helpful, but especially this one, thanks. I can't get over and am a little hung up by this phrase:
diffen.com article wrote:
For example, GNOME no longer offers users a true “minimize” option for open panels – something that Windows-acclimated users will likely miss – while KDE does.
Emphasis added by me there, um, if you can't minimise stuff you've got running when you switch tasks, what do you do?

Pretty much decided a KDE environment looks right, last time I tried Ubuntu I simply couldn't get used to having everything at the top, taskflow for my mouse is to go to the bottom for system stuff, that's what you do (and it's what I did when I got my first ZX Spectrum but that was before mice really existed).

So, Kubuntu or Mint?

Has anyone tried both? If you've got a factory fresh box and a USB stick, which is likely to be easiest to get going with? I have to decide tonight as it arrives at some point tomorrow and I, naturally, want to get started with it, well, immediately...

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:09 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Dilvish wrote:
Pretty much decided a KDE environment looks right, last time I tried Ubuntu I simply couldn't get used to having everything at the top, taskflow for my mouse is to go to the bottom for system stuff, that's what you do (and it's what I did when I got my first ZX Spectrum but that was before mice really existed).

So, Kubuntu or Mint?

Has anyone tried both? If you've got a factory fresh box and a USB stick, which is likely to be easiest to get going with? I have to decide tonight as it arrives at some point tomorrow and I, naturally, want to get started with it, well, immediately...


It doesn't have to be at the top, configurable can have a bar a the bottom, top, left side, right side or any combination you prefer (ie: more then one). As for a minimize button, not limited to KDE, got one here with the Mate desktop environment (Gnome had one until 3.x), there are various other options as well, but if you are happy with KDE that could be the way to go for you.

I've used Mint a little bit, bit bloated with extra junk I didn't need but useable.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:24 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
All of these links have been very helpful, but especially this one, thanks. I can't get over and am a little hung up by this phrase:
diffen.com article wrote:
For example, GNOME no longer offers users a true “minimize” option for open panels – something that Windows-acclimated users will likely miss – while KDE does.
Emphasis added by me there, um, if you can't minimise stuff you've got running when you switch tasks, what do you do?


You click on 'Activities' on the top left corner and select the open window or you hit the left SUPER (windows) key to open the activities and select the window or you iterate them with ALT + TAB or reverse iterate with ALT + SHIFT + TAB. (BTW: I never felt the need to minimize anything, if I can just bring the new relevant task in front of it).

Image

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:39 pm 
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I guess I want it to happen because I have, for example, got my browser set to release memory if possible when minimised, and Geoff's said FO's supposed to do that as well (although I've never noticed it actually doing so, but then my machine probably isn't able to provide the sort of resources FO wants in the first place).

I'm suspecting, as with for example travelling, it won't be the big changes that throw me, it'll be the tiny little differences or weird things you can't do that I'm just used to doing, or things I didn't know you could do that I find really easy to pick up.

Still, it'll be a learning experience and I'm sure I'll get there, and there'll remain the laptops for screaming help in various places.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:18 am 
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MatGB wrote:
I guess I want it to happen because I have, for example, got my browser set to release memory if possible when minimised, and Geoff's said FO's supposed to do that as well (although I've never noticed it actually doing so, but then my machine probably isn't able to provide the sort of resources FO wants in the first place).


Releasing memory doesn't happen when minimizing. You maybe confusing this with with paging/swapping, which does the thing you describe, but has complete different prerequisites for happening.

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