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Friday, March 27, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Geek Stuff or Switching to Linux

Friday, March 27, 2009

I started using the PCLinuxOS Linux distribution around 5 years ago. I don't remember the exact date but I think it was 2004. I had played around with various Linux distributions for several years but never with any success. I could get them to work but not like I wanted and none were very intuitive. One day in a moment of disgust with Microsoft XP I downloaded a copy of PCLOS .92 and ran it on my PC. It was a live CD so it booted from the CD, found all my stuff including the Internet connection and I was in business. It took no longer than booting MS windows which was on my hard drive and it did everything I wanted that XP did. All of it from the CD. I was using the KDE interface which looks, feels and taste like MS windows so I just went to work doing all the things I did with MS windows. I was hooked so I immediately installed it using the “install me” button and I have never looked back. I have had to learn a few things over the years but there is nothing that MS windows does that I want that justifies buying MS windows. I had to answer a few
questions during the install but it installed itself to dual boot with Windows XP in under 30 minutes. Reinstalling MS Windows every 6 months took all day, several disk and I had to reinstall things like office, scanner, printer and all that anti-virus stuff. I have in a moment of weakness booted MS Windows a few times but it takes so long for the anti virus to update that I just don't do it anymore.

After installing PCLOS I accessed my data on windows and copied it to my new system. You can do that. PCLinuxOS can see and copy windows files but Windows XP is clueless. It won't even recognize Linux as a file or operating system

The problems I had were that I had a very old Canon printer and an Acer scanner and I just could not get them to work with PCLOS. It was time to upgrade anyway so I bought a $40.00 HP all in one, plugged it in and that was it.

With PCLOS installed I now booted in 90 seconds. No more defraging, applying patches, upgrading or having anti virus programs using up valuable space. Just a PC that did everything I wanted. I'm not a gamer so not having the windows games was no problem for me besides I had set it up for dual boot with XP so I could always use that if I just had to have a game written for Microsoft.

I still reinstall once and a while but I attribute that to my 5 year old eMachine and my slovenly habits. I have never had to reinstall. It takes all of 30 minutes plus about 15 minutes to get all the upgrades and newer stuff from the repository. What's more I can, if I have a problem, boot from the CD, access my files from there including all the files on XP. On the rare occasion that I boot XP I feel really crippled.

I just installed PCLOS 2009 (it just came out) on this old machine and it took all of 30 minutes. I had to answer one question and that was to tell it what kind of keyboard layout I have. It retrieved all my data from the 2007 version and set my preferences to what I had set before. It installed to triple boot from windows XP, PCLOS 2007 or PCLOS 2009. It has a full office suite, two browsers, plays Cd's, dvd's, movies and everything else I have thrown at it. I understand that there is an app that allows you to play games for windows but I don't know about that since I am not a gamer. It has a program similar to photoshop that I am just learning to use. It's all on one CD.

It comes with access to an on line repository with access to over 8000 apps and upgrades.

My machine boots in 93 seconds and is fully ready to go. It turns off in about 15 seconds. Machines are starting to come on the market with this system preinstalled.

Did I mention that it's free? How do they do that? Probably some kind of communist plot. I'm pretty sure it's not Satanic as no one has been around asking me to trade my soul but I would think about it if they did.

Today I helped one of the neighbor kids with his new laptop. The operating system is MS Vista of course with Internet Explorer for a browser. Well It was up to some of the old tricks that I remembered from my past in that it started multiple loading Internet Explorer and wouldn't stop. I downloaded Firefox and solved that problem then started digging through and uninstalling all the junk that comes on a new machine with MS Windows. When finished it was still slower than slow and klutzy. That thing just can't get out of its own way. I never appreciated PCLOS more.


celem said...

I agree that PCLinuxOS is, for me, the most intuitive. I have used very successfully on several older machines but the easy installation isn't flawless. I was never able to successfully able to install it on a BIOSTAR TF8200 A+ motherboard. I was able to install Ubuntu, after some efforts, but was never able to get the sound card to work. The Nvidia drivers worked so poorly on the integrated GeForce 8200 that I eventually gave up an put Windows on that box, which worked great because Nvidea supplied good drivers for Windows (a plot?). Anyway, the point of this is to be very careful on hardware selection, even with PCLinuxOS - it isn't immune to the dearth of Linux drivers for new hardware.

Oldfool said...

I agree. My only successful experience has been on this eMachine and even then I ran into a glitch in 2007 with it not picking up the floppy drive. That was no loss just aggravating.

Hopefully I can keep this old thing running. I'd hate to have to start over and I really don't want to spend the time required with Windows 98 keeping things working. I just want the machine to be a tool so I can do all the stuff I like to do.

taylorr said...

Newbie with XP wants to d/l dual boot with PCLinuxOS Gnome 2009.1.
I have had it with XP's slowness. Also they refuse to offer updates to MS applications that are bundled with a computer.

Antivirals are bytewasters. Is it really safe to skip AVs n Linux? Skip Spybot also? Surely we must still need a firewall.

Hope this new PCLOS detects my floppies. I need them.

I have good system requirements, no games, graphics, music, or bells and whistles. My bytehogs are: document storage, e-mail storage, bookmarks, and Firefox add-ons. I also need OOWriter as as standalone (less bytes).

So Linux should be fast, right?

Guess I should burn minimalist Knoppix as a demo, to answer my other Qs. Will any type CD work?


Oldfool said...

I don't run any anti-virus on Linux at all and I don't run a firewall either except on XP.
PCLOS comes with a firewall if you wish to set it up. You will find it in the "control center" under "security."
I don't use XP at all anymore but I don't need the space so I just let it sit there. I wouldn't run it without updating the anti-virus however and I leave its firewall turned on.
I would not run any PC without an external firewall like you find in a router. A router is your best defense against the bad guys.

As for the floppy PCLOS 2009.1 finds it but I have had limited success in reading my very old floppies.

Any CD your system will burn an ISO to should work. There are a number of free ISO burners on the internet.

Once you have it on CD set you PC to boot from cd, restart and you will know soon enough if your stuff will work.