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Moving to open source

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Moving to open source

NaughtyMonkey
I am looking to move to open source for the better security and no more MS BS for my home computer. This will be used by my wife and eventually my 3 kids. I have not used it in at least 7 years for a desktop and can't remember what all I used. I was frustrated with it at the time due to the differences and abandoned the idea since I found it unusable for that purpose.

I do use it at work everyday, but they are servers and I mostly use SSH to get in. I read a lot about how much it has changed for home usability and would like opinions on the best for home as far as interface. I am not a guru on nix, but I can get around and work with my specific configs at work.

Anything I move to would have to have clear documentation. I would need an office suite of course which can easily be satisfied with OpenOffice, but I also need to edit music, videos, pics, and web design. I also need to keep disk images for backups, work with MP3 Player and IPod, and DVD/CD burning.

If I can get all of this from a usable nix interface, i will gladly dump MS. Any opinions are greatly appreciated.
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    EvilDaemon

    I would suggest just taking an older box that you're not using, and playing around with some different distros. Don't forget about the BSD's, Solaris, etc. Linux isn't the only open source OS available. You could also try burning some bootable CD's. This is a good way to check for hardware compatibility before you install. Also, if you have some memory/disk space to spare, you could even try installing vmware on your windows machine. This will allow you to install one or more open source distros on top of windows without affecting your existing installation.

    There may also be a few things (very few) that you won't be able to do with an open source OS. From my experience of having gone a few years without windows, it usually involved some stuff like MS file formats, such as Word, maybe some types of streaming video/audio, and some web media (like flash). Also, you might run into a situation where you need to use a specific software program that is only available for windows.

    From a security standpoint: an improperly configured or unmaintained unix box can be more hazardous than windows.

    Then there's the fact that your family is already used to windows, and might be resistant to the change. If nothing else, this could cause a little tension.

    Bottom line... check it out, play around with it, but you probably should keep a windows box around anyway.

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    NOW LEFT TR

    then what is the point in changing at all?

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    NaughtyMonkey

    My kids do play games, and those can be used just for that. I can keep them cut off from the internal network and if they get corrupted or infected, just throw an image on 'em.

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    EvilDaemon

    Flexibility
    Security
    Stability
    Freedom
    Cost
    Power

    And since variety is the spice of life, why not try it out? There's nothing to lose. Who knows, you might actually like it.

    Imagine a world where the only flavor of ice cream was vanilla. Wouldn't that be kinda boring? Of course, some people prefer vanilla.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I have heard of great improvements since last time I tried it. If you could recommend some apps that do some of the jobs I need that have done well for you, I would appreciate it. I just don't want to spend a year testing to find the particulars that I need.

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    EvilDaemon

    OpenOffice, like you said, but last time I used a Word doc, it didn't show the comment balloons that were in the particular file. I've never edited music or video, but gimp is great for pics/graphics. Personally, I never used a wysiwyg editor, I've just use the vi text editor for web development. The dump and restore utilities are very reliable for block-level backups of entire unix filesystems, and I use backuppc as a network backup server to back up the files on my widows machines. I've used mplayer for mp3s... dunno about the ipod format. The cdrecord and growisofs utils on freebsd have worked for me for burning disks.

    A lot of distros will allow you to select a particular package of software to install when you initially install the OS, based on what you want to use the machine for -- PC, workstation, server, etc. Debian is nice. And if you get a live CD (like freesbie) they have a lot of commonly used software already installed. Docs and support communities are great, and most of the online manuals for various distros will recommend software for common tasks.

    Like I said, I went years without a windows box, and didn't run into too many things I couldn't do. I got a couple of windows machines about a year and a half ago, and mostly use my WinXP laptop for my PC now. The unix machines I have are mostly used for various network and server things. For instance, took an old k6 machine and turned it into a router/bridge/firewall, used another one to make a WAP, using just a wireless nic.

    Yeah, there a few things you can't do without windows, but there are many, many things you can't do without unix. It all really depends on your needs.

    Have fun!

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    TechExec2

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    Desktop Linux has come a VERY long way since you last used it seven years ago. You can do all of the things you listed on a modern Linux distribution. There is no native iPod/iTunes/QuickTime support for Linux, but I've read there are ways to run it anyway. I suggest you download the Ubuntu Live CD (1) and try it. It boots directly from the CD and allows you to run it through its paces without actually installing it. It has the best hardware detection I have seen in Linux. Note: Personally, I prefer the K Desktop Environment because it is more like the Windows that I have been using (2). Same OS, just a different default desktop manager.

    You didn't mention any Windows applications. But, if you need to run them, you could easily do so by running Windows in a VM on your Linux workstation. I would plan for this. Your kids will likely want to run some educational software that only runs on Windows.

    Another option: Run the new X86-based Macintosh. It too can do all of the things you listed and has direct iPod, iTunes, and QuickTime support. The Mac is the premier platform for digital media creation and editing. You can also run Windows in a VM very well on the X86 Mac (very fast).

    Good luck!


    ---------------------

    (1) Ubuntu
    http://www.ubuntu.com

    (2) Kubuntu
    http://www.kubuntu.com

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    NaughtyMonkey

    but I haven't looked since they went x86. I don't really care about any specific apps, just as long as they work well. I guess if I keep a Windows machine for my kids to game, they can do their I-Pod off of that. I am not a big fan of I-Pods and use an RCA MP3 player. Don't like DRM.

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    $$$

    bradgalliford

    And pay 2 times the amount of moolaa for the hardware you would be getting that will just die anyway and you will have to spend even more money to get it worked on by a vendor..


    Anyway!

    Ubuntu is the way to go. It does not do wifi all that well, at least from what I have experienced, but everything else runs great on it.

    The nice thing about ubutnu is that you can pop in the live cd, then go to the add remove applications and view all the apps that you can download. They are sorted by type (office, Multi-media, Game.. blah blah)and popularity. It also gives you a good description on what the software is able to do.

    After you get ubuntu installed hop out on their IRC and just ask people "I need the Linux equivalent to "insert windows application here" and within a couple seconds you will get people giving you what they use.

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    _Psyk_

    Everything you've listed can be done in Linux at varying levels of simplicity/complexity and detail.

    Ubuntu appears to be the fastest growing Linux and I'd recommend that, i'm currently using Fedora 7.

    Latest version of OpenOffice has some new features which may have been missing since you last used it.

    edit music with audacity, edit videos with cinelerra (similar edius/premiere), collate and edit pics with f-spot/picassa for linux, web design use bluefish/nvu.

    Disk images for backups - there are many options under linux, for example you may not need to take images - do an rsync of your /home directory to another drive on a regular or scheduled basis for backups.

    Music player with ipod support is easily done with amarok. dvd/cd burning is easily done with K3B.

    The only time I ever boot into Windows is to play some of the _latest_ games that haven't been supported under Wine. Other than that I do pretty much everything exclusively in Fedora/Linux.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I already use Audacity and knew it came for Linux as well so that was an easy one. I currently use Acronis for disk imaging just because I like the compression, but I could just mirror to an external drive once a month. I will have to look at your suggestions for video, pictures, and web. Do you know a good flash program. I currently use Flash MX.

    edit: stupid typos

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    _Psyk_

    For Flash you can try F4L or flash4linux.

    However, if you are used to a certain Windows based program you could try running them under Wine or CrossOver Office which allows you to run certain Windows applications on Linux.

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    rocky

    I use Windows Exchange Server (IIS) as well as XP PRO for my work stations in my home/virtual office.

    I have only TWO real software applications that require Windows and all else can run on another OS.

    First off, I don't "hate" Microsoft and I love a lot of thier products; however, I "DO" look for alternative ideas in the event there is something new or and old idea whos time has come.. or something like that because the world is an evolving place.

    A friend introduced me to Ubuntu Linux www.ubuntu.com and I began experimenting to see what works and what doesn't work. Now, I have not loaded an OS for my self until this.

    I downloaded the Ubuntu Linux as an ISO and burned it onto a CD. It allows me to run it live or load it as a dual boot. I chose to install a second hard drive and load the OS on there so as not to risk corrupting my current Windows install (remember, I don't know what I'm doing in some areas so I want to play it safe).

    I have found that back in October the installs were easy but getting things to work were like major brain damage. I later loaded the Ubuntu onto my wife's laptop and to my surprise, many of the items that killed off so many of my brain cells were no longer an issue. I have loaded the OS for my grand kids becasue there is Edubuntu for kids and the install and multimedia went even more smoothly.

    Since I enjoy digital photography, I did some searching and found there is the beginnings of a creative suite called UbuntuStudio.org that is at the moment, crude, but there is the ability for RAW file support. Then there is the GIMP software for doing things similar to Adobe.

    My Firefox works well as well as Adobe reader V 8.0, etc.

    I'm not ready to move from Windows to Linux for my work environment, but my wife, who is a REALTOR uses it exclusively as an OS along with Open Office.

    Your kids, if they play video games, are going to want to remain on Windows as most games are written for a Windows OS.

    I only have experience with the Ubuntu "distribution" of Linux but I do like it for a variety of reasons that include a corporate sponsor, Canonical.com, a forum of knowledgable and somewhat polite folk, and a strong sense of organization, systematic new releases, a focus on becoming main stream for the consumer, etc.

    I like the concept of open source whether it is free or paid for in some way and I've been known to spend more money on software in one month than most people earn in a year so I don't need free software - but I "DO" like to keep business costs down too.

    If an OS can be distributed at little to no cost and the companies can earn income from support or other engineering services, then that is OK by me as long as it works for them.

    I believe that you can have some pretty good things happen when creativity from around the world goes into producing something.

    I would recommend that you experiment in a safe environment to see what works for you and your family. I would further recommend the www.ubuntu.com only because that is all I know and then do some Google searches to see where things are going with them.

    These are just my thoughts based upon my own personal experience and I make no claim to having any special answers or that Linux is better than Windows, etc.

    If Linux can meet my needs, then I would switch but until that time, I'm still with Windows - but I do have my eyes and ears open as things evolve.

    Best of luck to you.

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    apotheon

    Everyone always assumes Linux is "the answer" when it comes to open source software. There was a time when that was my answer, too.

    It sounds to me like you might actually want to give FreeBSD a try. In particular, try out PC-BSD for the "user friendly" face of FreeBSD.

    This, in particular, caught my eye in your post:

    "Anything I move to would have to have clear documentation."

    I have never seen any operating system (out of many that I've used) that had documentation anywhere near as clear and complete as that for FreeBSD, particularly in the form of the FreeBSD Handbook. Because PC-BSD is just a friendly face on top of FreeBSD, pretty much everything in the FreeBSD Handbook should apply about as well to PC-BSD, without the sort of compatibility issues you may run into trying to (for instance) use Red Hat oriented documentation with Ubuntu Linux.

    Best of luck.

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    EvilDaemon

    Actually, I did mention it above. And I made a brief reference to the FreeBSD live CD, aka Freesbie, but didn't provide a link.

    http://www.freesbie.org/

    Also, a lot of people don't realize that Mac OS X is built around FreeBSD.

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    EvilDaemon

    I "love" Linux. :)

    But it doesn't mean too much to anyone that doesn't know who Chuckie the Daemon is.

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    apotheon

    I somehow managed to miss/forget that you mentioned FreeBSD. Sorry about that.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    a lot about PC-BSD and how easy it is to port to from Windows. Actually I think it was a lot you wrote. I have looked at the website briefly and it looks promising.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I said what I meant. I want an Open Source option. If it is free, that's great. But if my needs can be met by open source that requires a donation or fee would be fine as well. I am not cheap, I just want quality software for a reasonable price.

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    EvilDaemon

    Chuckie, Beastie, Amnesiac. Free, Open Source... whatever.

    Anyway, it's "free", as in freedom, not like free beer.

    Edit: See footnote 1 in the GNU Manifesto http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html

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    apotheon

    I'm not sure whether you're being facetious or unaware of the way the FSF (that's "Free Software Foundation") uses the term "Free Software". I'll assume the latter, though if the former -- if you're aware, but decided to make a joke about it -- I must commend you on the humor of it.

    So, to explain:

    Essentially, "Free Software" and "Open Source Software" is the same thing. The latter refers to the development model, where the software in question is developed openly with its source code available to all. The former refers to an ideology of "freedom", where the FSF and its hangers-on talk about "free as in speech, not free as in beer". Of course, that refers to the source code, and not to the user or developer of the software.

    Anyway, don't let dylan623 tell you what ideologies you want attached to your software. Use the term that best describes what you care about, and most clearly conveys the meaning you want, when you talk about it. I refer to "open source software", personally, no matter how much the FSF hangers-on scream and yell about it, for a number of reasons.

    Whatever your reasons, choose the term that suits you best -- "free" or "open source". Don't let someone else tell you what to believe.

    edit: . . . and don't let statements like "FreeBSD isn't really free software" dissuade you from using it, if that's what you want to use. It's all just a bunch of marketing propaganda at that point. In practice, BSD-licensed code is every bit as available, open, and free as GPLed code, and there are opposing arguments that BSD-licensed code is in fact more free (as in speech) than GPLed code.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    When I started this thread, i thought I would get tons of advice from Microsoft "haters" and those who have successfully used Open Source software for their needs. I have received some great advice and program recommendations.

    Whenever a thread like this is started, it seems there are always a bunch of smart a$$ remarks from people who just have to feel like they are better because of their knowledge. Maybe that is the reason that more people don't move to Open Source. They will tell you that it is better, the support is out there on the forums, but when it comes to someone asking about it they talk to you like an idiot.

    At least not everyone is like that. I mean, why in the **** would you want to move to something that when you ask for help, you are going to be talked down to and treated like you shouldn't be using it because it is too good for you.

    Anyway, thanks for the help Apotheon, and everyone else. I appreciate any other ideas offered.

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    apotheon

    I tend to think that treating each other like adults is important for the open source community at large. As such, I don't "correct" people on their use of terms unless they're actually misusing a term. That means I won't tell you to use a different term just because I have some ideological agenda.

    That doesn't mean I don't have such agendas. It just means that I won't "correct" your use of a term created by someone with a different agenda because I want mine to get more airtime than the other guy's. I'll only correct use of a term like "free software" or "open source software" if it's actually misused. Anything else is decreasing the signal:noise ratio.

    In other words, I'll assume you're perfectly able to make your own decision about whether to specify "open source software" or "free software".

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I am still trying to find apps that meet my needs and as close to what I used before, but everything is looking great. I am still dual booting with XP for the time being. I just have to get my email transfered over. From what i have read, I can install Thunderbird on my Windows install, transfer from Outlook, and then load the Thunderbird file into the Ubuntu Thunderbird. Is this correct?

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    _Psyk_

    One of the benefits of an open format :)
    I've migrated Thunderbird mail between different Linux versions but the file formats and mailbox containers are the same. Have a look at this: http://www.softwareinreview.com/cms/content/view/29/

    You can also have a look at the mozillazine.org website. check out: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=268895

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    NaughtyMonkey

    any hardware and software suggestions for wireless networking, capture video from any source, and under $300. I have everything except for the capture card and video card. I hear a lot about Hauppage. I think they have a box that lets you connect wireless and use your TV as the monitor with keyboard and mouse hookups.

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    Neon Samurai

    Go with Hauppage; they tend to work very well under Linux from what everyone tells me. If you find a different hardware maker, be sure it specifies "works with Linux".

    After over a year of mucking with my AIW 9600 (and every tip and howto document offered or indexed by google), I'm done with ATI. It's good hardware but the driver support is abismal. Even the latest *nix drivers released under AMD management are borked. Maybe they work great with the latest 700$ video card but the 9600 is a no go. I hope AMD/ATI either build quality and backward compatible drivers or (preferably) release driver specs so real drivers can be written for them. For me, it's nVidia/Hauppage in the next system build though I'll continue to watch ATI incase I can trust there products again in the future.

    Dear ATI, I hear your latest excuse is that your boards use technology patented by Intel. Since the patent system isn't going to be fixed any time soon, put those slimey secrets in firmware and give the Open Source world a generic driver interface to write for.

    ( What driver has to be completely uninstalled and taken back to generic VGA drivers just to install the *updated* version? )

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    EvilDaemon

    I would suggest just taking an older box that you're not using, and playing around with some different distros. Don't forget about the BSD's, Solaris, etc. Linux isn't the only open source OS available. You could also try burning some bootable CD's. This is a good way to check for hardware compatibility before you install. Also, if you have some memory/disk space to spare, you could even try installing vmware on your windows machine. This will allow you to install one or more open source distros on top of windows without affecting your existing installation.

    There may also be a few things (very few) that you won't be able to do with an open source OS. From my experience of having gone a few years without windows, it usually involved some stuff like MS file formats, such as Word, maybe some types of streaming video/audio, and some web media (like flash). Also, you might run into a situation where you need to use a specific software program that is only available for windows.

    From a security standpoint: an improperly configured or unmaintained unix box can be more hazardous than windows.

    Then there's the fact that your family is already used to windows, and might be resistant to the change. If nothing else, this could cause a little tension.

    Bottom line... check it out, play around with it, but you probably should keep a windows box around anyway.

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    NOW LEFT TR

    then what is the point in changing at all?

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    NaughtyMonkey

    My kids do play games, and those can be used just for that. I can keep them cut off from the internal network and if they get corrupted or infected, just throw an image on 'em.

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    EvilDaemon

    Flexibility
    Security
    Stability
    Freedom
    Cost
    Power

    And since variety is the spice of life, why not try it out? There's nothing to lose. Who knows, you might actually like it.

    Imagine a world where the only flavor of ice cream was vanilla. Wouldn't that be kinda boring? Of course, some people prefer vanilla.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I have heard of great improvements since last time I tried it. If you could recommend some apps that do some of the jobs I need that have done well for you, I would appreciate it. I just don't want to spend a year testing to find the particulars that I need.

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    EvilDaemon

    OpenOffice, like you said, but last time I used a Word doc, it didn't show the comment balloons that were in the particular file. I've never edited music or video, but gimp is great for pics/graphics. Personally, I never used a wysiwyg editor, I've just use the vi text editor for web development. The dump and restore utilities are very reliable for block-level backups of entire unix filesystems, and I use backuppc as a network backup server to back up the files on my widows machines. I've used mplayer for mp3s... dunno about the ipod format. The cdrecord and growisofs utils on freebsd have worked for me for burning disks.

    A lot of distros will allow you to select a particular package of software to install when you initially install the OS, based on what you want to use the machine for -- PC, workstation, server, etc. Debian is nice. And if you get a live CD (like freesbie) they have a lot of commonly used software already installed. Docs and support communities are great, and most of the online manuals for various distros will recommend software for common tasks.

    Like I said, I went years without a windows box, and didn't run into too many things I couldn't do. I got a couple of windows machines about a year and a half ago, and mostly use my WinXP laptop for my PC now. The unix machines I have are mostly used for various network and server things. For instance, took an old k6 machine and turned it into a router/bridge/firewall, used another one to make a WAP, using just a wireless nic.

    Yeah, there a few things you can't do without windows, but there are many, many things you can't do without unix. It all really depends on your needs.

    Have fun!

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    TechExec2

    .
    Desktop Linux has come a VERY long way since you last used it seven years ago. You can do all of the things you listed on a modern Linux distribution. There is no native iPod/iTunes/QuickTime support for Linux, but I've read there are ways to run it anyway. I suggest you download the Ubuntu Live CD (1) and try it. It boots directly from the CD and allows you to run it through its paces without actually installing it. It has the best hardware detection I have seen in Linux. Note: Personally, I prefer the K Desktop Environment because it is more like the Windows that I have been using (2). Same OS, just a different default desktop manager.

    You didn't mention any Windows applications. But, if you need to run them, you could easily do so by running Windows in a VM on your Linux workstation. I would plan for this. Your kids will likely want to run some educational software that only runs on Windows.

    Another option: Run the new X86-based Macintosh. It too can do all of the things you listed and has direct iPod, iTunes, and QuickTime support. The Mac is the premier platform for digital media creation and editing. You can also run Windows in a VM very well on the X86 Mac (very fast).

    Good luck!


    ---------------------

    (1) Ubuntu
    http://www.ubuntu.com

    (2) Kubuntu
    http://www.kubuntu.com

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    NaughtyMonkey

    but I haven't looked since they went x86. I don't really care about any specific apps, just as long as they work well. I guess if I keep a Windows machine for my kids to game, they can do their I-Pod off of that. I am not a big fan of I-Pods and use an RCA MP3 player. Don't like DRM.

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    $$$

    bradgalliford

    And pay 2 times the amount of moolaa for the hardware you would be getting that will just die anyway and you will have to spend even more money to get it worked on by a vendor..


    Anyway!

    Ubuntu is the way to go. It does not do wifi all that well, at least from what I have experienced, but everything else runs great on it.

    The nice thing about ubutnu is that you can pop in the live cd, then go to the add remove applications and view all the apps that you can download. They are sorted by type (office, Multi-media, Game.. blah blah)and popularity. It also gives you a good description on what the software is able to do.

    After you get ubuntu installed hop out on their IRC and just ask people "I need the Linux equivalent to "insert windows application here" and within a couple seconds you will get people giving you what they use.

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    _Psyk_

    Everything you've listed can be done in Linux at varying levels of simplicity/complexity and detail.

    Ubuntu appears to be the fastest growing Linux and I'd recommend that, i'm currently using Fedora 7.

    Latest version of OpenOffice has some new features which may have been missing since you last used it.

    edit music with audacity, edit videos with cinelerra (similar edius/premiere), collate and edit pics with f-spot/picassa for linux, web design use bluefish/nvu.

    Disk images for backups - there are many options under linux, for example you may not need to take images - do an rsync of your /home directory to another drive on a regular or scheduled basis for backups.

    Music player with ipod support is easily done with amarok. dvd/cd burning is easily done with K3B.

    The only time I ever boot into Windows is to play some of the _latest_ games that haven't been supported under Wine. Other than that I do pretty much everything exclusively in Fedora/Linux.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I already use Audacity and knew it came for Linux as well so that was an easy one. I currently use Acronis for disk imaging just because I like the compression, but I could just mirror to an external drive once a month. I will have to look at your suggestions for video, pictures, and web. Do you know a good flash program. I currently use Flash MX.

    edit: stupid typos

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    _Psyk_

    For Flash you can try F4L or flash4linux.

    However, if you are used to a certain Windows based program you could try running them under Wine or CrossOver Office which allows you to run certain Windows applications on Linux.

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    rocky

    I use Windows Exchange Server (IIS) as well as XP PRO for my work stations in my home/virtual office.

    I have only TWO real software applications that require Windows and all else can run on another OS.

    First off, I don't "hate" Microsoft and I love a lot of thier products; however, I "DO" look for alternative ideas in the event there is something new or and old idea whos time has come.. or something like that because the world is an evolving place.

    A friend introduced me to Ubuntu Linux www.ubuntu.com and I began experimenting to see what works and what doesn't work. Now, I have not loaded an OS for my self until this.

    I downloaded the Ubuntu Linux as an ISO and burned it onto a CD. It allows me to run it live or load it as a dual boot. I chose to install a second hard drive and load the OS on there so as not to risk corrupting my current Windows install (remember, I don't know what I'm doing in some areas so I want to play it safe).

    I have found that back in October the installs were easy but getting things to work were like major brain damage. I later loaded the Ubuntu onto my wife's laptop and to my surprise, many of the items that killed off so many of my brain cells were no longer an issue. I have loaded the OS for my grand kids becasue there is Edubuntu for kids and the install and multimedia went even more smoothly.

    Since I enjoy digital photography, I did some searching and found there is the beginnings of a creative suite called UbuntuStudio.org that is at the moment, crude, but there is the ability for RAW file support. Then there is the GIMP software for doing things similar to Adobe.

    My Firefox works well as well as Adobe reader V 8.0, etc.

    I'm not ready to move from Windows to Linux for my work environment, but my wife, who is a REALTOR uses it exclusively as an OS along with Open Office.

    Your kids, if they play video games, are going to want to remain on Windows as most games are written for a Windows OS.

    I only have experience with the Ubuntu "distribution" of Linux but I do like it for a variety of reasons that include a corporate sponsor, Canonical.com, a forum of knowledgable and somewhat polite folk, and a strong sense of organization, systematic new releases, a focus on becoming main stream for the consumer, etc.

    I like the concept of open source whether it is free or paid for in some way and I've been known to spend more money on software in one month than most people earn in a year so I don't need free software - but I "DO" like to keep business costs down too.

    If an OS can be distributed at little to no cost and the companies can earn income from support or other engineering services, then that is OK by me as long as it works for them.

    I believe that you can have some pretty good things happen when creativity from around the world goes into producing something.

    I would recommend that you experiment in a safe environment to see what works for you and your family. I would further recommend the www.ubuntu.com only because that is all I know and then do some Google searches to see where things are going with them.

    These are just my thoughts based upon my own personal experience and I make no claim to having any special answers or that Linux is better than Windows, etc.

    If Linux can meet my needs, then I would switch but until that time, I'm still with Windows - but I do have my eyes and ears open as things evolve.

    Best of luck to you.

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    apotheon

    Everyone always assumes Linux is "the answer" when it comes to open source software. There was a time when that was my answer, too.

    It sounds to me like you might actually want to give FreeBSD a try. In particular, try out PC-BSD for the "user friendly" face of FreeBSD.

    This, in particular, caught my eye in your post:

    "Anything I move to would have to have clear documentation."

    I have never seen any operating system (out of many that I've used) that had documentation anywhere near as clear and complete as that for FreeBSD, particularly in the form of the FreeBSD Handbook. Because PC-BSD is just a friendly face on top of FreeBSD, pretty much everything in the FreeBSD Handbook should apply about as well to PC-BSD, without the sort of compatibility issues you may run into trying to (for instance) use Red Hat oriented documentation with Ubuntu Linux.

    Best of luck.

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    EvilDaemon

    Actually, I did mention it above. And I made a brief reference to the FreeBSD live CD, aka Freesbie, but didn't provide a link.

    http://www.freesbie.org/

    Also, a lot of people don't realize that Mac OS X is built around FreeBSD.

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    EvilDaemon

    I "love" Linux. :)

    But it doesn't mean too much to anyone that doesn't know who Chuckie the Daemon is.

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    apotheon

    I somehow managed to miss/forget that you mentioned FreeBSD. Sorry about that.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    a lot about PC-BSD and how easy it is to port to from Windows. Actually I think it was a lot you wrote. I have looked at the website briefly and it looks promising.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I said what I meant. I want an Open Source option. If it is free, that's great. But if my needs can be met by open source that requires a donation or fee would be fine as well. I am not cheap, I just want quality software for a reasonable price.

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    EvilDaemon

    Chuckie, Beastie, Amnesiac. Free, Open Source... whatever.

    Anyway, it's "free", as in freedom, not like free beer.

    Edit: See footnote 1 in the GNU Manifesto http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html

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    apotheon

    I'm not sure whether you're being facetious or unaware of the way the FSF (that's "Free Software Foundation") uses the term "Free Software". I'll assume the latter, though if the former -- if you're aware, but decided to make a joke about it -- I must commend you on the humor of it.

    So, to explain:

    Essentially, "Free Software" and "Open Source Software" is the same thing. The latter refers to the development model, where the software in question is developed openly with its source code available to all. The former refers to an ideology of "freedom", where the FSF and its hangers-on talk about "free as in speech, not free as in beer". Of course, that refers to the source code, and not to the user or developer of the software.

    Anyway, don't let dylan623 tell you what ideologies you want attached to your software. Use the term that best describes what you care about, and most clearly conveys the meaning you want, when you talk about it. I refer to "open source software", personally, no matter how much the FSF hangers-on scream and yell about it, for a number of reasons.

    Whatever your reasons, choose the term that suits you best -- "free" or "open source". Don't let someone else tell you what to believe.

    edit: . . . and don't let statements like "FreeBSD isn't really free software" dissuade you from using it, if that's what you want to use. It's all just a bunch of marketing propaganda at that point. In practice, BSD-licensed code is every bit as available, open, and free as GPLed code, and there are opposing arguments that BSD-licensed code is in fact more free (as in speech) than GPLed code.

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    NaughtyMonkey

    When I started this thread, i thought I would get tons of advice from Microsoft "haters" and those who have successfully used Open Source software for their needs. I have received some great advice and program recommendations.

    Whenever a thread like this is started, it seems there are always a bunch of smart a$$ remarks from people who just have to feel like they are better because of their knowledge. Maybe that is the reason that more people don't move to Open Source. They will tell you that it is better, the support is out there on the forums, but when it comes to someone asking about it they talk to you like an idiot.

    At least not everyone is like that. I mean, why in the **** would you want to move to something that when you ask for help, you are going to be talked down to and treated like you shouldn't be using it because it is too good for you.

    Anyway, thanks for the help Apotheon, and everyone else. I appreciate any other ideas offered.

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    apotheon

    I tend to think that treating each other like adults is important for the open source community at large. As such, I don't "correct" people on their use of terms unless they're actually misusing a term. That means I won't tell you to use a different term just because I have some ideological agenda.

    That doesn't mean I don't have such agendas. It just means that I won't "correct" your use of a term created by someone with a different agenda because I want mine to get more airtime than the other guy's. I'll only correct use of a term like "free software" or "open source software" if it's actually misused. Anything else is decreasing the signal:noise ratio.

    In other words, I'll assume you're perfectly able to make your own decision about whether to specify "open source software" or "free software".

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    NaughtyMonkey

    I am still trying to find apps that meet my needs and as close to what I used before, but everything is looking great. I am still dual booting with XP for the time being. I just have to get my email transfered over. From what i have read, I can install Thunderbird on my Windows install, transfer from Outlook, and then load the Thunderbird file into the Ubuntu Thunderbird. Is this correct?

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    _Psyk_

    One of the benefits of an open format :)
    I've migrated Thunderbird mail between different Linux versions but the file formats and mailbox containers are the same. Have a look at this: http://www.softwareinreview.com/cms/content/view/29/

    You can also have a look at the mozillazine.org website. check out: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=268895

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    NaughtyMonkey

    any hardware and software suggestions for wireless networking, capture video from any source, and under $300. I have everything except for the capture card and video card. I hear a lot about Hauppage. I think they have a box that lets you connect wireless and use your TV as the monitor with keyboard and mouse hookups.

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    Neon Samurai

    Go with Hauppage; they tend to work very well under Linux from what everyone tells me. If you find a different hardware maker, be sure it specifies "works with Linux".

    After over a year of mucking with my AIW 9600 (and every tip and howto document offered or indexed by google), I'm done with ATI. It's good hardware but the driver support is abismal. Even the latest *nix drivers released under AMD management are borked. Maybe they work great with the latest 700$ video card but the 9600 is a no go. I hope AMD/ATI either build quality and backward compatible drivers or (preferably) release driver specs so real drivers can be written for them. For me, it's nVidia/Hauppage in the next system build though I'll continue to watch ATI incase I can trust there products again in the future.

    Dear ATI, I hear your latest excuse is that your boards use technology patented by Intel. Since the patent system isn't going to be fixed any time soon, put those slimey secrets in firmware and give the Open Source world a generic driver interface to write for.

    ( What driver has to be completely uninstalled and taken back to generic VGA drivers just to install the *updated* version? )