Linux

10 misconceptions that are holding Linux back

A lot of obsolete concerns are floating around and preventing users from embracing Linux. Jack Wallen debunks some of the common myths and explains what you could be missing.

I hear it all the time: "Linux can't do this or Linux can't do that"... or: "You have to jump through a million hoops to get something simple to work in Linux." The litany of FUD and myth is as deep as Bill Gates' pockets. But it's not the cornucopia of un-truths that concerns me, it's the certainty of the people who spout them. So I figured I would take a moment to dispel these issues before anyone else can spread their vicious tone further. Not all of these issues are known as deal-breakers. But as a whole, they could easily combine to keep anyone from jumping on the Linux bandwagon.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: You have to write your own device drivers

This one really makes me laugh. In my 12 years' experience with Linux, the closest thing to a device driver I ever had to write was a bash script to keep a WinModem connected to my dial-up ISP. That was around 1997. Back then, it was quite a bit easier to find hardware that WOULDN'T work with Linux. That isn't so much the case now. Linux has grown exponentially in the realm of hardware support since the early days. And the only people writing hardware drivers are the companies making the hardware or the programmers working on the distributions (or various aspects of the kernel). No end user will ever see a device driver on that level with Linux.

2: You have to know the command line to use Linux

Again I laugh. I challenge Linux users to see how long they can perform their day-to-day tasks without the command line. You will be surprised at how long you can go. Oh sure, the command line is much more efficient than its GUI alternatives. But if you don't want to use the multitude of commands Linux offers, you don't HAVE to use them. If you can't go an entire release cycle of a distribution without having to use the command line, you haven't explored the GUI much. Get out! Explore. Get to know your surroundings.

3: Games will keep Linux from succeeding

As much as gamers want to think this, it is simply not true. Games do not make or break the Windows operating system, nor will they make or break Linux. The most used applications on any given PC are the browser, email, word processor, spreadsheet, and finances. Outside of Solitaire and Web-based Flash games, games affect only a small portion of PC users. And any hardcore Linux user knows Cedega helps allow Windows games to be played on Linux.

4: Open source means the code isn't secure

Not true at all. Because the code can be viewed by the public, developers across the globe can submit possible fixes, ideas, and solutions. When the code is under the discriminating eye of the public, it had better be solid. Not only is the reputation of Linux on the line, so is the reputation of the developers who create it. The programmers' ego is a powerful force, and knowing their code is readily available is much more of a push than if their code was obfuscated from their peers. Bugs are also squashed much faster than they are with closed source code. And because Linux is updated more frequently than most other operating systems, those fixes get to the desktops and servers much sooner.

5: You can't open Microsoft documents in Linux

Untrue. Even the dreaded "docx" issue has been surmounted by OpenOffice. The big problem here is that Windows does not follow standards like it should. Because of this, Linux (and its constituent applications) must remain agile to constantly enable applications to open and save so that Microsoft Office users can collaborate. OpenOffice does this excellently. There's no longer and need to fear that by using Linux, you won't be able to work alongside your colleagues who prefer the Windows operating system.

6: The desktops are too hard to use

How long has it been since you've used any of the Linux desktops? The modern iterations of both GNOME and KDE are completely redefining user-friendly on the PC desktop. Both camps have created desktop environments that anyone can use and use well. They are sleek, professional, stable, and fast. But most of all, the desktops have been designed so that they are easy to use. You'll rarely find much (if any) learning curve with either GNOME or KDE. The main exception will be KDE's new Activities features. But once a user understands the concept of Activities, it's simple to use and makes the desktop much more efficient.

7: The Linux operating system doesn't play well with others

On the contrary ,Linux was made to be online and to talk to other operating systems and devices. And with the later releases of the desktops, even sharing folders with Windows and OS X machines has become a no-brainer. You want to network a Linux and a Windows machine? No problem. You want to network a Linux and a Mac machine? No problem. Linux to Linux? Again, no problem. Networking is one of the many strong points of the Linux operating system. Typically, Windows has far more issues connecting to other operating systems on a network.

8: There are no applications for Linux

Have you ever opened the Add/Remove Software utility? Linux has a plethora of outstanding applications, all housed in one convenient location. You don't have to bother searching the Web for applications; just fire up the tool and look around. If I look on Synaptic (one of the Add/Remove Software tools for Linux) on my Ubuntu 10.04 installation, I see 30,486 applications I can add or remove. All of them free. And even if only half of those applications are useful, that's still more than 15,000 applications... all in one convenient spot.

9: Windows is used on more PCs than any other OS in the world

To this, I say "Prove it". Yes, you can prove (within a certain percentage) how many installations of the various Windows operating systems there are. All you have to do is check the Microsoft records to see how many units have been sold. For Linux, this isn't so easy. If I just examine my own personal usage, I find that I have downloaded the Ubuntu 10.04 ISO and have installed it on numerous machines. And this is typical behavior. Because of the way Linux is distributed, it's nearly impossible to know just how many installations there are across the globe. Asia and Europe are rife with massive Linux deployments and have been since around 2005.

10: Linux has no hardware support

Years ago, this was the case. When you wanted a new video card or a new sound card, new printer, mouse, scanner, etc., you had to do your homework. You couldn't just hop over to the big box store, purchase that shiny new toy, plug it in, and watch it work. Fortunately, for the most part, those days are gone. You can now enjoy much broader hardware support now than you ever had before with Linux. You might still have issues in certain areas. But those areas are always centered around companies that refuse to release the specs on their hardware. Such companies are dwindling in number. NVidia, for example, offers outstanding support for Linux. And with the help of proprietary drivers, even the wireless issues are becoming a thing of the past. Is it perfect? No. There are still pieces of hardware that are iffy in their support. But if the trend continues, Linux will soon enjoy as wide a range of support as does Windows.

Myth or reality?

The FUD machine is slowly coming to a creaking, grinding halt, and Linux continues to slowly gain momentum. Over the last 12 years, I have seen a huge shift not only in support but in perception of Linux, and open source, as a whole. What do you think? Are these issues merely myths or they still very much alive? Sound off!


About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

215 comments
Rodo1
Rodo1

I've been using Linux (Ubuntu) in a dual boot with XP for about 5 months. There are still some things I definitely need to keep XP around for, but Linux will eventually be my primary OS>

darren.stewart
darren.stewart

Linux now has some basic building blocks in place. It can now be used as a desktop. It can be used as a netbook. It can be used for certain applications. But the low take up of Linux continues for many reasons. Personally, I don't care what Jack says. Jack has said, and persists with an idea that everyone should use linux, and he would'nt disagree no matter what anyo0ne else things or says. And thats the job of technology optimists and evangalists. For me, there are still horrors with drivers. And no, giving me a 2D gfx driver is not a working driver. Is it not still the case that in the past 5 years until very recently - actually in the harsh true daylight, the only GFX driver that we might actually *really state* fulfills the full commit of what I expect is the closed source Nvidia one(s)? A working 2D driver - It might equate to one for Jack, but Jack would take a cli only screen and say its enough. The core base APIs jump around and lack stability, so which sound deamon and API set were I a developer at a commercial company try and base myself on for the 5 million linux distro's all doing things in a different way. Now, my view doesn't stop me using Linux. I use it quite a lot. But for example, Linux still ships with multimedia problems and hassle for end users. Why? Its 2010, not 1995. If Linux Mint can virtually eradicate this hassle, then why is it still borked at install time in most other distros? So to summise, a few things still need serious attention. Fix the package management so Linux uses one standard one (and find the best one, and stop arguing which is the best out of the 500 different ones everyone calls 'the best') - sort out the APIs and standardise them properly, so developers, commercial companies, and end users can actually use it viably, - work harder on the multimedia side, fix the codecs and make the gfx APIs fully viable for multimedia/gaming and applications. And if you do some of the above a lot will follow, you can start to sell 'linux' as linux, and not red hat, ubuntu, or the 500 other individial, different, broken, mismatched, and problematic 'platforms' you have today. On the other hand, stay as you are, ignore what has been said by most for a very long time, and continue being a fun but single digit OS in the scheme of the universe. And no, its not ok to still be failing on the package manager or GFX or sound issues. Period. If you want to be regarded as a serious platform, fix the serious failings.

ScarF
ScarF

Is what keeps me away from Linux, these days. Not only the "emerging economies" play unfair on the job and currency markets, but they become cheapper by minimizing their imports. Using OSS is one way for doing this. Because of this, the fact that China and India are using Linux more and more, makes me rethink my personal interest in the OSS. And, something for the thoughts: most professionals involved into the OSS projects are from the Western economies, and do this in their spare time mostly for free. They are the same professionals losing their day-jobs for their "OSS clients". Not only China and India use a tremendous resource - the OSS - for free (deh, GNU GPL), but they also benefit from the current economical (greed) trends and hurt the lives of the ones who contribute to the OSS. And, btw, #1 and #10 are the same. But, without one of them - or the pushed #2, #4 and #9 - wouldn't be "10 Things" anymore, eh?

Slayer_
Slayer_

He's not dead I hope, he always posted in these pro linux blogs...

BobManGM
BobManGM

Yes, it is true that 'hard core' gamers are a small part of the market and this won't stop Linux to the desktop. But, you dismiss two items... 1. Their influence ? How many kids play games and how much do they influence the purchases of their parents? Are they hard core games, no. Feel like/want to be hard core gamers, yes. If a boy plays a few games and Grandma wants to get him a computer, what do you think that boy will tell his Grandmother? 2. Utilitarian ? The ?home? computer is a utilitarian device. In many families, it isn?t just Dad?s; Mom has here things and the kids have theirs. And part of what the kids have are, games. Not an FPS or RTS (that is hard core territory), but Winnie the Pooh and My Little Pony. And yes, they may run on Linux if you do ?X?, but is Mom or Grandma likely to do ?X?? I think this is a bigger issue that this article makes it out to be.

aaronjsmith21
aaronjsmith21

This has been a debatable topic for some time now! You will always have issues on either side of the fence. The Pros: LINUX works the way I want it to when I want it to (even if it takes some work) WINDOWS has many programs that I have to use on a daily basis to function at work (Can't get fully away from it, and if you venture to ask what they are and say there are alternatives, you are wrong. You don't know what I do.) Although, not sure if this is such a pro, as it is forced, but hey, none the less I guess. MAC is very efficient and a very productive work horse, no more alt-tab! Expose is my best friend (yes, Linux can do it with Compiz, but seriously lacking in efficiency) Over all, I am a command line junkie who lives in the server world and web based development, so Linux is my choice in this. But for my every day, I will have my Mac as my desktop (well, laptop actually) running VMware Fusion with All my Windows Distributions in my external drives for when I need them. I say, use them all if you can, get the best of all the worlds.

Robert Lerner
Robert Lerner

I really hate to reply to a tech blog, when it seems like the writer really knows nothing about computers, marketing, or how "actual computer users" use computers. But I have to say, this is the biggest slew of ignorance I've seen in a long time. Write your own device drivers... You'd be amazed. Linux has always had famously crappy support for just about anything, and smaller companies won't waste their time on a lost cause segment of computing. I still don't understand why some larger companies bother, the support of it must be a headache because of the highly inconsistent distros out there, and the overhead required to support it. You have to know the command line... You really, really should. If all you do is refresh your girlfriends Facebook all day, or play really horrible MS-DOS-looking games all day, I guess you don't need it. Linux naturally bricks computers, but taking away the command line from it just makes it even worse. Not sure why people are so caught up in the 80's, the CLI doesn't make you "more of a man", or "1337", it just makes you stupid and inefficient for not doing things the easy way. Games will keep Linux from succeeding... Yea, they will. Not only are higher-end companies not bothering with drivers (like the smaller ones), but if you're a real open-source hippy, you won't use the proprietary ones, meaning you get zero performance. You might be able to play your games under WINE, but why would I purchase an NES system to run an NES emulator on it? Doesn't that seem like pointless overhead? It is. Games are difficult and time consuming to develop, and porting them to Linux is a lost cause, especially since a good share of Linux users spread software like hippies spread STDs. Open Source isn't secure... I can't argue this one. Opening MS Documents with Open Office... Why would you use Open Office? It totally rapes the formatting of MSWord documents, has an archaic interface, and minimal styling functionality for professional documents. Plus, it's a subset of a commercial product, so by contributing to that, you're contributing to Oracle, a famously greedy company. ($47G's/processor for Oracle?) The Desktops are hard to use... No, they're really not, especially if you're one of those Mac using idiots (GNOME) or you use Windows (KDE). But, the fact that you can wrap screens around a pretty cube and spin them just makes it aesthetically pleasing, it does nothing for functionality. If I'm going to own a sports car, the paint and engine matter. There are no applications for Linux... There are, but I'd say about 30,000 of them are about as useless as a "Hello World" application. The games are comparable to the 8088 my Dad gave me back in the 80's, and the programs are about as intuitive to use as a microwave to my grandparents. Windows is the most used OS... You want me to prove it? Walk into any store that sells software...Best Buy, etc. Count the products for Windows, for Mac, for Linux. Software developers aren't idiots, they're going to tailor their software for the largest selling segment -- which happens to be Windows. You may ask yourself if I've ever used a Mac or Linux. Macs are just eye-candy, Linux, well, I haven't even figured that out yet -- the display driver support, especially for laptops, is pathetic. I have a Linux box, only because I use it to test multi-platform applications that I deploy, otherwise it's useless. Linux has no hardware support... This goes back to your first point, and as for networkability, tell me how pleasurable it is to connect to, and use Windows Shares, especially via WINE. It's a huge pain in my neck. Overall, the best thing about Linux is that one day, Microsoft will provide a package so this will work: su apt-get Windows (I doubt this is right, doesn't matter though, I just double click icons to install programs).

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I have also looked at Linux for about 15 years, and I finally gave up looking at it does not work in Windows Virtual PC and I am not going to install yet another virtualization tool in order to continue to evaluate the possibility to migrate to Linux. It either has to work and work well in Windows Virtual PC or it is a peice of garbage. I had previously attempted to run Linux on a spare drive and swap out the drives to swtich between Windows and Linux, but after an update, the system refused to boot. The update screwed up the Linux system to the point where I would need to rebuild the system. I have never had that kind of issues with Windows. Linux is still not ready for use.

ScarF
ScarF

Although the Asian madness started with the big boxes (mainly, Walmart), it was the next step for the CEOs in any company in G7: produce cheap, sell with the same price, grab the surplus. Results: - in 20 years, the average difference between the highest and lowest salaries increased from 20x to 400x. The doesn't mean that the CEOs became 20 times more effective than they were, but 20 times greedier. - since the social assistance in North America - especially the USA - is so crapy, each individual tries to do something for his "golden" age. Many invest in the stock market or mutual funds waiting for good returns. This is another pressure over the companies to come with higher and higher profits. And, it is the full responsibility of the governments. Asking me not to buy from the companies working with China and India is ridiculous - at least. They all work with these countries. I am trying - not always successful - to avoid stuff made in China. Even so, I am aware that inside any electronic device (e.g.) there is something made in China. Talking about the corporatist greed, a simple example is at everyone's hand. In Canada I use Bell as my wireless provider. I have recently looked at the smartphones sold by Bell, and found the following prices - without contract - for two models: BB Torch = $600 CDN, Apple iPhone 4 = $660 CDN. Now, it is my understanding that the iPhone is Made in China by Foxconn (another irony since this is a Taiwan company - country which was kept afloat with the US money; nice move against the country which helped them). It is also my understanding that RIM produces its stuff mainly in NAFTA countries. As anyone may see, the price tag for the iPhone looks much higher than the production price may be. So, the following corporate financial features increase for Apple, as a result: - stock price - dividends - executives' salaries and bonuses. And, of course, other bonuses and bonuses I consider this as better criteria for my decision regarding buying or not one company?s products. For the above example, the result at my level is that I will never buy an Apple product. Not as long as they produce their stuff cheap inflating the price to match the North American buying power. And, since I mentioned the North American purchasing power, this is something shrinking every day. The present recession is a result of this, and will continue until the corporations and their dogs (the politicians) stop short for taking real steps in correcting some aberrant corporatist behaviors. In the near future, the USA citizens will have no more purchasing power. Coming back to Linux, I don't say that I dislike an individual from China or India using Linux at home. It is his decision, and - as a former OSS contributor - it is my pride to know that he accepts my work. I hate companies and governments using them, for the previously mentioned reasons - mainly: THEY DON'T GIVE ANYTHING IN RETURN.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

While you're avoiding open source apps because they're used in emerging economies, you should also avoid any companies that sell manufacturing infrastructure to those countries. Avoid any company that makes tools, CNC machines, robots, MRP / ERP software, computers, HVAC equipment, any kind of industrial supplies, etc. To be extra righteous, avoid any companies who have purchased products from those suppliers who are providing that gear to emerging economies.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It's not the Chinese or Indian workers fault that US companies sell out for labour. if yuo were in their shoes, YOU would take those jobs too, in a heartbeat. They also get VERY different news than you or I do. They are told it is helping the West and that they are liked by the west for taking these jobs. They are told that nobody in America loses work and that there is simply a surplus. Don't play high and mighty unless you can say that you wouldn't do the exact same thing if the roles were reversed. Your problem is created by American corporations, not Indian or Chinese companies. the Us companies are simply trying to compete in a market where people are sold by price alone and will travel to mega stores that import such goods in order to save $5. Your own consumers created the need and demand for lower prices, your manufacturers responded to demand, and now you are blaming the people who fill the available jobs overseas? Think about it for a bit, it's not THEIR fault it's YOUR fault.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I was watching a UK program last night that takes a family and throws them into a time warp. All of their modern gadgets are taken away and they live each day as if it was a year, starting in the 70's. Each day, the "TECH TEAM" offers them some ground breaking technology for that year, the next day they get the next year's technology and so on. It was actually pretty cool as they were going through the 80's, they got to choose their first computer. With the UK being the most advanced electronics builders back then, they went for the BBC computer over a more plug & play gaming system, which was mainly programming with a few playable games hat took them about 5 hours to get running. The boys of the house LOVED it, trying to make it do SOMETHING was a real challenge. The girls HATED it! They couldn't understand what the excitement was as they couldn't DO anything with it. They proved that women seek a simply platform that just works, they don't care how or why. Their focus was towards social communication, such as email and chat. So an older computer that required skill to operate simply bored them to no end. Same with the JVC Video camera they got a few days later (in 1985, I remember selling them!) They guys took literally hours to get it to hook up to the TV and playback a video tape. The women again said that technology used to be too hard to use and took too much time to set up and they just wanted to use it right away instead. So when it comes to buying a home computer, for multiple users of both genders, it only makes sense that the SIMPLEST, EASIEST solution is preferred. When there are problems, the guys come into play. For all the female techs out there, I know, I know, but even you know that IT is mainly a male dominated area and most women seek out different careers for themselves.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You use those programs, by "choice", as others use them by choice and you wish to conduct business with them. If you CHOSE not to, you would simply forfeit that business and let someone else (who incorporates a more popular software choice) take it from you.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Like Expose on Aqua, KDE4 has it built in. I did my Nvidia driver last night and looked at what bling-fancy effects where available that actually improved my interface. It's very nice to get a scattered display of all my open windows. My preference is actually the grid view; All my desktops separately displayed Expose style and updated; stats displays keep ticking away, video window still running the movie. Expose is one of the things I saw on osX first then ported the habit over to *nix.

itadmin
itadmin

A blog driven by and owing its existence to hate? That's an indication of serious psychopathology. This guy need help.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It's easy to laugh when someone falls flat on their face, stubs a toe, is the fattest in school, the dumbest in school etc. But it's really not nice. ;)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. Linux based systems are not your personal preference and by bashing them with faulty information, you somehow magically make your own preferences fit your needs better? You really don't need to make up crap and bash others to justify your own software choices. To pluck just one point out of your tripe: "Not only are higher-end companies not bothering with drivers (like the smaller ones), but if you're a real open-source hippy, you won't use the proprietary ones, meaning you get zero performance." So, no higher-end companies, like Nvidia, are bothering with drivers, like nvidia-glx right? You then state that if one is a realy computer hippy, the won't use the proprietary drivers; which, according to your own words don't exist in the first place because companies both large and small are not bothering to produce them. so, which is it? Are there no companies large or small providing drivers? Or are there drivers that the software hippy minority are not bothering to use? Those Nvidia drivers in my preferred distribution's repositories and Nvidia's own website for my high end GPU must be an allusion. (That's all the feeding you get little Trolly. Oz already burnt up my big can of troll fuel.)

AlexPC
AlexPC

"Linux naturally bricks computers." ROFLMAO. You owe me a new keyboard, this one just got a coffee bath.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

@jfreedle2 ... if you will only try Linux under VirtualPC. Anything that won't run under VirtualPC is garbage? Your trust in Microsoft is kind of endearing, but facts would argue it's misplaced. I'm not a wild-eyed zealot, but you simply can't argue that Microsoft has never attempted to ruin competitors by claiming compatibility while deliberately undermining it.

john3347
john3347

LinuxMint 9 includes "Mint2Win" which installs LinuxMint ("based on Ubuntu") as though it were an application on a Windows Machine. It, by default, leaves Windows as the primary OS but allows you to select to boot into LinuxMint at boot-up. No user input during boot is necessary to boot into Windows. While the OS is not as ready for "prime-time" as some people would claim, it is making progress in the right direction with each new version. edit: The point of this was to say that nobody's virtual machine program is required for this installation. LinuxMint, when installed in this manner, can be uninstalled equally easily just as another application can be uninstalled. ("equally easily", is that ok grammar?)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've yet to see a distribution that wouldn't work under VMware and Virtualbox. If VirtualPC is having that much trouble, you can't blame Linux distributions for that. That's VPC being broken not the Linux distribution you looked at being broken. With VMware Server and Virtualbox both being free to download and install, you really should consider replacing your virtualization software.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

And now try to do without products made IN those countries too, which includes just about everything you touch in a day from toilet paper to your home. Some people are still stuck in a national delusion, not realizing we work in a global marketplace now, it's reality it's not about to change. If your job is outsourced and you can't find another, FIND A NEW SKILLSET to offer that has a greater, current market value to it. Nobody owes you a life career just because you spent time and money in school. I can assure you that I have probably spent more time and money in post secondary school than most people on TR (more than most doctors, surgeons and lawyers)and what I do now, requires NONE of that formal training at all. So? I have a skill set that keeps me employed, whether for others or myself, and I don't have to worry about what happens in other countries.

Tearat
Tearat

Is the news service sucks in India and China You wrote "They also get VERY different news than you or I do. They are told it is helping the West and that they are liked by the west for taking these jobs. They are told that nobody in America loses work and that there is simply a surplus. Don't play high and mighty unless you can say that you wouldn't do the exact same thing if the roles were reversed." I guess the government of those countries will let anyone say what they want then I wouldn't by the way It looks like you are up for sale though

aaronjsmith21
aaronjsmith21

In the economic market now days this is not so smart to just up and go away from what you have that does make a profit. Can I leave my job? Yes. Can I find another? Yes. Do I want to? Heck No! Not worth the effort and not worth my time. I am good here at the moment and even if I did, the market is slim in my area for Linux Admins. Do I really have a choice? Yes. But I am good here and love what I do. I get to work on all OS's which helps me grow and learn more! So if I chose to stay here, I am in turn forcing my self to use one system or another. But I know that is a choice I made. So I am not going to argue that I do CHOSE it! But I like it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I don't find its worth using on Win/Nix arguments.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Does it all just exist under the "Program Files" folder in windows? And it forgoes XT and such file systems for NTFS? How does it handle NTFS permissions, you need to provide your admin login and password for Windows when you boot into Mint?

Justin James
Justin James

It's not VPC's fault that Linux doesn't have (drumroll) drivers for its virtual devices. I may note, I've had a LOT of Linux installs work fine under VPC, so long as you don't use video and stick to command line. I may note, various BSD's work *just fine* in VPC. And for the few purposes I have for VMs (once in a blue moon I'll want to test something), it's generally not worth my time to install something other than VPC (which I *do* agree is not very good, simply due to lack of 64 bit support). The next time I want to make a desktop VM, I'll probably install VirtualBox. But yeah, in this case, it's not VPC's fault. It's Linux's fault. J.Ja

Slayer_
Slayer_

The LiveCD installer will for some reason, boot up with broken graphics. Ubuntu has a safe graphics mode that fixes this issue during the install, but then goes funky after the install is complete. Mandriva was the opposite, the graphics were funky during the install (just did key presses based on online images) but once installed it looked fine. Both were horrifically unstable in virtualPC. VirtualBox is a far better tool for Nix virtualization in windows and IMO is easier to use than VMWare.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Back in 2005 or '06, when I first started playing with ... Fedora? I think that was it. I could install it, it would boot, but I couldn't get the GUI to work. As soon as I switched to VMware Server the problem went away and loaded just fine. I never tried VirtualPC again, for Linux or anything else.

Tearat
Tearat

Work in a global market place It's just a collection of markets that trade with each other They may let you trade in/on their market but don't start to think its your market Governments decide how the trade between the markets will go That includes the job market It's so good to be a commodity As for the national delusion I have no delusion what it would be like to work in certain nations It's good you're not a woman OZ

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

And SOMEWHERE in there I guess you were trying to make a point, even if it was to simply talk in circles until you agree? Just don't get your aim there. Your analogy about choice offers nothing. Yes, you DO have a choice to stay put and in your mind, that's easier for you than seeking another employer. Thankfully, nobody said you should look for a new employer but you agree that nobody is stopping you either, other than yourself. Not worth the effort: Why look for another employer? More money, better benefits, better coworkers, better office, more prestigious role, shorter commute, change of pace that breathes new life into your day, learn something new...the list is endless. Why stay put: Same thing, you can come up with many excuses I am sure. Complacency and FUD are by far the most common though. End of the road, you have 'choices' and you make 'choices'. Now if that's not a fair and open ability for you to choose a path as an individual, I don't know what is. 'it's not really a choice but yes, its really a choice. Well done!" :D

dldorrance
dldorrance

Which was my first exploration of Linux. Ubuntu and Linux Mint ISOs default to loading the Linux version into memory, not using the HDD. If the user decides to install Linux, the HDD is examined. If it contains no OS the option is to install Linux. If it discovers another Linux OS it gives the option to dual boot or overwrite the existing OS. If it discovers Windows it gives an option to dual boot or erase Windows or install Linux as a Windows program (this option is accomplished by a program called wubi). Disclaimer, I am not a "Linux Guru"; just a satisfied Mint Linux user who migrated from Ubuntu.

john3347
john3347

First, I want to make a stupid response all in jest: Isn't Linux itself (whichever version) kinda confusing and slow? Now on a serious note: I downloaded LinuxMint 9 from http://www.linuxmint.com and saved it to my harddrive then made an iso image on CD (actually, as I remember, a DVD was required by a few MB). When I inserted the disc into the drive, there were the options of running from disc, installing to an available harddrive or partition, or installing as though it were an application in Windows (This is when Mint2Win shows up.) I played with it from the disc for a few minutes and generally liked what I saw (in comparison with other Linux distributions I have tried to use), then installed it using the Mint2Win option. I do have this application installed on more than one computer and have had no complaints with the installation with regard to the configuration. I have been toying with the idea of uninstalling the application just to see if it will uninstall as flawlessly as it installs but have never done so. As you have observed, there is not a whole lot of buzz within the Linux community about this option, and I believe it only came available with the current LinuxMint version, LinuxMint 9. I have not downloaded and verified this, but I also believe that a similar installation option is now available in Ubuntu 10-10. Perhaps someone will check in here and provide some additional information. Any Linux Gurus listening???

Slayer_
Slayer_

The mint website is confusing and slow... But I go to the download page, nothing about mint2win, google was no help either :(. Can you provide links?

john3347
john3347

You are correct. It is selected at boot-up similar to a standard dual boot. You cannot switch between Windows and LinuxMint without re-booting. You log into Windows with your Windows credentials or into LinuxMint with your LinuxMint credentials. (Like all previous linux installations (several distributions) I still cannot connect wirelessly to my router, but the installation works by ethernet)

john3347
john3347

It appears to function same as a dual boot configuration as far as your questions are concerned. You select to boot into LinuxMint during a 10 second (adjustable for different time spans) delay during boot-up. If you take no action during this 10 seconds it, by default, boots into Windows. I think it does set aside a certain section of the hard drive for the LinuxMint OS (probably is actually a virtual partition - is there such a thing?) Obviously, I cannot provide much in the way of technical answers, but it does work quite smoothly (better than XP Mode in Windows 7), but you cannot switch between Windows and Linux without shutting down and re-booting. edit: A much better explanation exists on the LinuxMint website. The description there is both more technical and more thorough than I am able to give you. I have Windows 7 32 bit, plus XP Mode and LinuxMint in the Mint2Win configuration on a Pentium D machine with 2 GB Ram and also an AMD Phenom 4 core with 4 GB installed ram. To my observation, XP Mode certainly does not function equal to a stand alone XP installation, but LinuxMint in Mint2Win configuration does function same as a stand alone installation of LinuxMint. I have had no occasion to uninstall LinuxMint, but according to their website, it will completely uninstall just as a "standard" application will uninstall.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I should have a winXP install handy and a restore point should take care of any mess.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I got none :(. my laptop is on its HDD's last legs, I wouldn't want to have to try and get HDD restore going, and my desktop has a very mature and fragile install of Windows, not worth the risk ya know? All my Windows VM's are in VirtualPC... cause it works so well with windows VM's... But you can't very easily run Linux in VirtualPC.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I get a giggle out of involving a VM to test a distribution install meant to share partition space with the existing Windows. In the past, I think the distributions that did this created root directory. You'd have C:\mint2win or whatever with applicable permissions given. In the case of my DSL, it runs in an emulated environment using it's own blob file. Provided one has permission to read/write the blob file, the *nix filesystem inside is works like normal. I'd have to look at Mint2win specifically to see how it's managing things. Either way, installing a *nix into an existing Win storage area is messy. I'd much rather just keep them separate by VM, packaging (DSL style) or partitions.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Cause I would think from bootup, everything under program files would be by default restricted to admin access. Meaning the Mint files wouldn't be accessible. Again, just a guess. I am tempted to try but my Windows system kind of mature to try something like that, in case something went wrong (My track record with Nix would say that something would go wrong) Also, does it give full hardware access? I'd love to see my machine running a proper 64bit system

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There have been similar "mixed" installs where the *nix distribution just uses the fat32/ntfs same partition as Windows. My opinion is that it's rather messy to have two OS spraying files all over the same storage area. Maybe this particular one keeps it contained under a directory or creates it's own binary HDD files (VM style).

tbmay
tbmay

It's hand's down easier to work with and I haven't seen any x86 system that didn't work on it. Regarding server 2, you guys are correct, that web interface is a pain in the backside. You can get around it with desktop shortcuts and tunneling to your server with ssh and avoiding the https interface. In fact, it is completely manageable from the cli, but that's not the way I'd want to manage a serious virtualization environment. I have it running on a number of Debian boxes. There's a little more to do to get it working than RH but once it's running, it runs. And once you have your vm's working on it, you don't have to use the management interface much.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Anything I've done on my own has been with Apache. The only Tomcat I have here is the setup that gets pulled in with Webmin.

Justin James
Justin James

I agree that in this case, VMWare needed to provide a working config... at the same time, troubleshooting stuff with Tomcat is always a major headache. Even just setting it up... ugh. Every time I've set it up, it was a day of effort and the install was never quite right. It says in its docs that its not as good as Apache for static content, but getting the Jakarta bridge between the two is a nightmare. At least, this is how things were a few years ago, it could have improved a lot since then and I wouldn't know it. J.Ja

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

VMware ships Tomcat for the browser interface. They are responsible for making sure the config they ship is correct. At the same time, I also wouldn't use the qualifier "always better" either with how fast software can change. Being open source or proprietary does not inherently make a thing better than it's competition after all. With VMware, it was v2 with the browser interface that gave me grief also. VMware couldn't deliver a working install for Debian; Debian's not obscure enough to justify that. They could have supported Debian and Red Hat letting the support be inherited by Ubutnu and such; they chose to deliver an Ubuntu specific package.. boo.. on Debian, https connections where flakey and I had a five to fifteen minute hang when shutting down the VMware process which made rebooting and such suck rocks. I was very happy to see Virtualbox include bridging network support in the guest settings making it a viable replacement for VMware. If I had a spare machine, I may actually have looked at ESX but I needed something on top of a host OS rather than replacing the host OS.

Justin James
Justin James

"(separately); I'd recommend Virtualbox your next go around. It's on par if not ahead of VMware Server with the exception of a checkbox to boot VMs at host system startup." I used Hyper-V extensively and I'm 100% happy with it (it also does not have these issues to the best of my knowledge). I plan on using VirtualBox for my next desktop virtualization project due to a flood of positive comments. I have no desire to EVER touch VMWare Server again. It was fine in v. 1, but v. 2 moved to a Web based interface which I never got working, because it used Tomcat (which is one of my arguments against the idea that open source always is better, it's total trash) and Tomcat wasn't configured right out of the box. I wrestled with it for days until I realized that it was faster and easier to convert my VMs to Hyper-V than it was to try fixing VMWare Server... maybe ESX is different, but VMWare Server is banished from my life. :( "Could be.. but why? Is Microsoft standing in the way of drivers being developed? Are the X developers choosing not to develop support because VPC is an MS product? Are Linux distro's fully capable of running under VPC but not detecting or defaulting to the correct driver? It'd be interesting to know the root cause of the issue." I agree. Seeing as Microsoft has been pretty helpful getting Hyper-V working with Linux, I am not sure why VPC doesn't play nicely with it. J.Ja

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm currently using the Vesa Xserver on my X201 while Debian 6 becomes less Beta quality. I'm not using Compiz or any other wizbang GPU effects so rolling it over to the Intell driver will be on principal unless there is some huge performance boost. Would Vesa behave with VPC's graphics? Interesting that BSDs can manage VPC graphics.. maybe they are falling back to a Vesa also. "But yeah, in this case, it's not VPC's fault. It's Linux's fault." Could be.. but why? Is Microsoft standing in the way of drivers being developed? Are the X developers choosing not to develop support because VPC is an MS product? Are Linux distro's fully capable of running under VPC but not detecting or defaulting to the correct driver? It'd be interesting to know the root cause of the issue. (separately); I'd recommend Virtualbox your next go around. It's on par if not ahead of VMware Server with the exception of a checkbox to boot VMs at host system startup. It was actually a primary reason I jumped to Debian 6 early.

Justin James
Justin James

If BSD works on something, Linux should work better, at least in terms of hardware support and drivers. Various BSDs have worked just fine in VPC for years with GNOME and KDE. There is no excuse for Linux to not do it. The fact is, many Linux distros can't even get installed to the point where VPC could inject drivers, because their GUI installers don't work in it! Yes, VPC has plenty of issues. I'm certainly not going to claim it's a great VM system. It's oriented around one task, really, and that's the XP mode in Windows 7. I think Microsoft would have given up on it by now except for that. But that still doesn't excuse Linux distros from not playing nicely with its graphic system, unless they have consciously chosen to not support it (given its market share, that would be a fair decision). J.Ja J.Ja

DomBenson
DomBenson

Sorry, but is is VirtualPC's fault on two levels: firstly, if it (like VMWare/VirtualBox et al.) provided decent VESA support, graphics would work just fine without installing any special drives (albeit with poor 3D performance); secondly, the VMWare drivers for Windows/Linux were written and published by VMWare - and Windows doesn't ship with them, they're installed by the VMWare tools installer - so it is the responsibility of the virtualisation vendor, just as it is for hardware vendors. That doesn't mean they're obliged to support everything, but if they don't you can scarcely blame the developers of the systems that they don't.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If you happen to be back in VirtualPC with a *nix running, you can dump the hardware and pci lists to see how VPC is presenting itself to the guest OS. This is also a handy related site to visit; http://kmuto.jp/debian/hcl/ With VMware and Virtualbox native drivers (X servers), both should give any grief over graphic display.

auogoke
auogoke

I am not surprised VirtualPC does not work well with Linux. Think about it... why would MS provide a tool that would potentially encourage its customers to go elsewhere?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It was a while back now. I pretty much only remember it due to the huge outcry of "Microsoft is only contributing for selfish reasons" when it's not like Red Hat and everyone else contributes without some selfish reason. (And that's just fine since it continues development)

Justin James
Justin James

... they contributed *Hyper-V* code. Hyper-V is *not* VPC (although they do share the VHD format). They don't even have the same drivers, because you can't just move a VPC VM to Hyper-V or vice-versa without installing the new system's client tools (or integration tools, or whatever the package is called with the drivers and the ability to do things like sync the clock). J.Ja

Slayer_
Slayer_

Its likely all it was built to do.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

MS did contribute VirtualPC related kernel code a while back; maybe it only related to running performance not visualized hardware support. Either way, it sounds like a pretty strong argument for avoiding VPC in favor of real virtualization software.