Why Linux??

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I run Linux?” I will give you pertinent information here to, hopefully, encourage you to try it.

(1) First, let me say here, and now……..it's free! Yes, it's open source and it's free! That in and of itself is more than sufficient to encourage most hams to 'go for it'! Let's face it...ham's are notoriously slow at spending their dollars, (putting it politely!) so Linux should be a natural.

(2) Did I say it is FREE?? I believe I did….

(3) It normally doesn't place a high demand on computer resources and it is fast in processing.

(4) It is far more secure than Windows and although there is a firewall, you most probably don't really need it (for the average home user) . When you turn it on, there is no noticeable slow down nor do you even think about it as it does such a great job of running in the background.

(5) Updates…..yes, there are updates, but you have complete control over them. The updates seldom require a re-boot, and you get a pop up notice in your tool bar informing you that there are updates available to install, if desired.!

(6) There are several flavors of Linux available that gives the 'touch and feel' of the windows desktop environment.

(7) Did I mention that it is free?? There are a few software offerings for Linux that costs money but far and away the greater number of offerings are for 'free'.

(8) Linux runs on just about any computer, new or old! It is great at finding drivers, wi-fi signals, printers, etc., during the initial setup. It is great to run on those older computers that still function but are so slow as to be unusable when running Windows. Or maybe you have a computer that can't even run on the newer versions of Windows that require 1 to 4 gigs of memory and at least a dual core processor! Linux is your answer for this situation.

The downside:

O.K. Now, let's be frank…..there is little in this world that is absolutely perfect and admittedly Linux does have it's downside, although the issues are easily handled and in fact present a learning curve that is not only very reasonable but also results in our learning and understanding a bit more about computers and operating systems.

(1) You normally install your desired version of Linux by downloading an ISO (image) file and burning it to a dvd. This is your installation disc and you install the system on the desired computer. There is a little trick to burning the disc, (although simple!) and can be somewhat of a challenge to many without a little further explanation. This is explained elsewhere on this site.

(2) Here is, to many folks, the most challenging part of Linux operations. A lot of the installation (aside from the installation disc) tasks are performed in the terminal mode. However, there are over 75,000 software programs available for downloading and auto installation without using the terminal. Most all of these are free!

This involves a whole new vocabulary ----however, most of the input commands can be done (and in fact recommended that they be done) via copying and pasting. You soon learn to input basic commands on your own and obtain others from various sources on the internet.

(3) Linux can read Windows files (that's a good thing!) but Windows can't read Linux files (that's a bad thing!). As a result extremely few Windows operations will run in the Linux environment. This means, basically, your Windows programs won't run on your Linux computer. But...wait...there is a Linux application called Wine (stands for Windows Environment) that will allow you to run quite a few Windows programs. This is low on overhead and works pretty darned well on many programs, such as the ever popular Irfanview Image handling software.

Additionally, Oracle VirtualBox can be installed on your Linux machine and although it is resource hungry, it runs Windows and almost all Windows applications. You have to install a licensed version of Windows (XP or higher).

Still, additionally, there is 'Crossover', a linux based software that actually runs many Windows programs in Linux! The catch here is that it isn't free. They do, however, allow you to download, install, and run the full blown version for 10 days giving you a chance to try it with the software that you are wanting to run. If it doesn't fit your needs, or fancy, just let it expire at the end of the 10 day trial period.

Another consideration is a program entitiled "Play on Linux" that is pretty neat. It makes it a breeze to play, and use, many Windows programs, including licensed versions of Microsoft Office, etc.

Now, you may be asking….Why install Linux to replace Windows when you did it to get away from Windows? Well you may have certain software (ham related?) that you want to run in, for example, XP but since XP is no longer supported by Microsoft or by Google, and your software won't run in Linux, you may solve the problem with one of the above 'work-arounds. Besides you can operate in Linux and turn on the VirtualBox only when needed. If you decide to go the virtual box route, then be sure to maintain your existing Windows OS along with the Product code(s)!

O.K. By now you should 'get the drift' and hopefully I have your interest piqued! There could be special issues in coming up with an installation dvd if you only have one computer, I will be more than happy to help you address this matter.

Back to the Home Page