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 Post subject: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 12:26 pm 
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Ubuntu was mentioned in a thread by Nexter. I have absolutely zero knowledge about exactly what it is and if it's so good, why is it off the radar of mainstream PC users?


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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:42 am 
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Windy wrote:
Ubuntu was mentioned in a thread by Nexter. I have absolutely zero knowledge about exactly what it is and if it's so good, why is it off the radar of mainstream PC users?

Ubuntu is one of many Linux distributions, and claims to be the most widely used one. It comes in several 'flavours' - i.e., variations in so far as they have different window managers/desktop environments - but I'll confine myself here to the 'standard' plain vanilla flavour one, simply called Ubuntu, the most popular one. However, much of this also applies to the whole Ubuntu family.

The advantages are manifold. Ubuntu is one of the easiest to install and configure distros - in fact, you can just let the installer do its own thing and do it all for you with only minimal input. You can install it to replace Windows or macOS, or install it alongside them to dual-boot. If you're running Windows 10 and the Hyper V hypervisor, there's also a pre-configured download available from MS's Hyper V's 'Quick Create' of Ubuntu's latest version, which gives full access to your Windows drive/s and lets you exchange data quickly and easily. Perfect for getting to know Ubuntu. There's full, easy access to Ubuntu's vast software repositories of apps, utilities, games and more.

As for the GUI, or Desktop Environment, this is a variation on the one known as Gnome (v3.x), which gives you an extremely versatile Deskbar or Taskbar (thanks to a variety of applets and extensions), as well as a dock (for apps only, as should be for a dock), and there's also the 'Dash' - hit the left Windows key (known as the 'Super' key in many Linux distros) and your desktop temporarily changes to show your currently running app windows on your current desktop as well as a dock-like bar with all virtual desktops and in miniature their running apps. Click on the 9-dotted icon at the end of the dock and the icons of all installed software are displayed, on several 'pages' as it were if necessary, and also the virtual desktops.

The whole thing is a very simple, easy to use GUI even if not the prettiest in terms of 'eyecandy', nor very configurable graphically. But it works and works well.

But the greatest advantages, and true for pretty much all Linux distros, are its far greater security than any other desktop OSes and almost complete privacy. Firewalls are now included with most distros but should hardly be needed. There are virtually daily - small, incremental - updates to the OS and apps, all handled transparently and needing minimal input, rather than having to wait for a month for the latest security update. And being Open Source, you can be sure there's nothing in there that's spying on you in any way because somebody would long have spotted that by examining the source code. Also, there is the great variety of Free and Open Source Software of course, and there are some really great apps available, and even Steam is available for gamers, as well as native games.

Last but by no means least, Linux, and Ubuntu especially, is incredibly fast and also highly economical in resource use. It will run on older, less powerful systems, and if you have the latest 'state of the fart' system, it'll burn more rubber than Lewis Hamilton!

As for disadvantages, I can't really think of any, not having encountered any. (Except in the early years of Linux, back in the 1990s! ;) )

Along with most Linux distros, Ubuntu is available in the form of a 'Live System' ISO download that you have to write to a USB stick or DVD (for USB stick get/use Fedora Media Writer, or Balena Etcher, on mac or win). This is a bootable live system that lets you try out the OS and apps without modifying your hardware. You can also install from it.

Really, unless for occupational or similar reasons you absolutely need some particular piece of Window or mac software, there's no good reason at all to stick with Win or mac. Ditch the Big Tech and be free! ;) Linux is 'mainstream', and although user numbers are still slightly on the low side in the western world, thanks to low awareness and pre-installed Win or mac on new hardware, the user base is growing steadily, and more and more hardware is becoming available with Linux - esp. UBuntu - pre-installed. In African countries and much of Asia Linux tends to be the standard. And that is a huge user base!

OK, if I left anything out, sorry, I'm just a 'learner' Linux evangelist! ;) So ask.

Sorry about the length, but.... - you asked! :P

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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:44 am 
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Can it be installed in a way so the user can boot into it separately without affecting Windows?


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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:03 pm 
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Windy wrote:
Can it be installed in a way so the user can boot into it separately without affecting Windows?

nexter wrote:
You can install it to replace Windows or macOS, or install it alongside them to dual-boot.

The dual-boot feature is a program called GNU GRUB (or just grub). It provides a menu that opens prior to any OS startup that lets you pick an OS to boot into. It can have a timer to select your default OS, in case you power up and walk away and usually want a particular OS to start up.

Below is a phone-captured screenshot of a grub menu showing normal Ubuntu, advanced options for Ubuntu, two memory test environments, and a Windows 7 option. The timer, if visible, would be at the bottom and, if I recall correctly, would stop counting down once you start using the arrow keys to move your selection.

Usually, the Linux installer will detect Windows during installation and offer a choice between a dual-boot install or a "clobber your old OS" install.

The grub menu can be edited by a program (or text editor) in Linux. You can change the order, change the default selection, change the amount of time for it to select the default, remove entries and, if you know what you're doing, add entries.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:21 pm 
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Oh I see. I saw the mention of dual boot, and wasn't sure exactly what that means. It sounds like both OS would boot at the same time and be running at the same time (in the background) and didn't want that.

If I decide to try it out, what you've (DesertDwarf) described is what I was hoping for. What OS are you currently using?


Can Winstep work fully with Ubuntu? From the tiny amount I've read, it appears that many programs cannot work with it yet.


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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:55 am 
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Windy wrote:
What OS are you currently using?

Because of work and, especially since I'm working from home, I am most bound to Windows. Because of the games I choose to play, I'm still bound to Windows 10. So, for me, Linux is a "tinkering" OS.

My latest foray into Linux is Linux Mint. It is an offshoot of Ubuntu and since I used Ubuntu before, I felt it would be both something new and something familiar when I decided to install a Linux OS six months ago.

Windy wrote:
Can Winstep work fully with Ubuntu? From the tiny amount I've read, it appears that many programs cannot work with it yet.

Indeed, Winstep cannot run on Linux and I don't think it ever will. Before Jorge creates a new project to do it on Linux, I suspect he would rather do a complete reboot of it on Windows and allow himself the opportunity to remove some of the limitations he faces.

There is a program on Linux called Wine that allows us to run many Windows programs on Linux. That website has a list of games and applications that can be run (and if there's special stuff you need to do to get it to run successfully) or cannot be run using Wine. The database of applications can be searched so you can see if your favorite things can run.


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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:02 am 
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Windy - you cannot boot two OSes simultaneously - computers can only run one at a time, hence "dual boot" or "multi-boot" means having a choice of two or more OSes to pick from.

You can have several OSes running in Virtual Machines, but that is an entirely different matter.

As for Wine, this is especially easy under Ubuntu. Many Win32 and some Win64 apps are available to download and install directly from within Ubuntu, through a programme called "Software". The first app you select to install will automatically set up Wine and do the necessary config. It's all completely transparent to the user, couldn't be simpler. The two main Win apps I use under Linux are Notepad++ and IrfanView (both 64-bit, IIRC), on all my Linux installations. All running as if they were running in Windblows and totally stable.

There is, alas, one limitation. Windows apps under Wine cannot access any Windows drives as Wine has to provide them with a 'phantom' "C" drive. But you can always copy any data you want to work on to a Linux drive (to your 'home' folder) and then copy it back when done. (Linux and Linux apps can read - and write - most file systems by default, inc. NTFS and FATxx.)

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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:26 am 
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Ah, the days of multi-boot. I used to have Windoze, OS-2, and Linux all on one system. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. Maybe I DO need to install some Ubuntu goodness on this machine.

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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:43 pm 
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vectornut wrote:
Ah, the days of multi-boot. I used to have Windoze, OS-2, and Linux all on one system. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. Maybe I DO need to install some Ubuntu goodness on this machine.

Ah indeed, the happy, irritating days of multi-booting! :D On my first IBM compatible PC (486, self built), I had NeXTStep/OPENSTEP, OS/2 Warp 3, and Solaris, and for a while Slackware Linux which drove me almost to despair. Soon after, my new kick-arse Ultrawide SCSI based Pentium system (quickly superseded by an AMD K6/2) hosted the above plus OS/2 Warp 4, BeOS, and - on and off - one Linux distro or another as they seemed to be improving substantially but at that time lacked all the apps I needed then. Oh, and Windows NT3.51 - replaced by NT4 when that finally came along. Sadly, it was around that time that the holy Jobs abandoned and betrayed his NeXT users and IBM its OS/2 users soon after, and by about '99 or so (on my 4th or 5th PC by then, I was down to running NT4 as my main OS, alongside OPENSTEP and Rhapsody (MacOS X Server for Intel beta - the only one ever to see the light of day - and Solaris. OPENSTEP went next and finally Solaris. So, that was that - apart from, on and off, still continuing to try out various Linux distros from time to time.

And now, the last few years, I'm back to multi-booting! :) Full Circle? Well, my great hope is that at some point I'll be able to get rid of Windblows entirely.

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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:19 pm 
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Can someone provide me with a link to the best configuration/OS to try out?


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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:33 pm 
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Oy. I'd forgotten there are so many variants of Ubuntu now. Since you are re-entering Linux, I suggest starting with Ubuntu. You'll find the most help that way (reading articles, watching videos, interacting in the forums) because there are so many resources around Ubuntu.

The regular Desktop version of Ubuntu can be found here:

https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop

LTS just means long-term support. It's the version that they will keep supporting directly for five years. That's a more appropriate version to install as an office or professional use where you need rock-solid stability so you can get your work done.

I would download 20.10 (as in October of 2020). You'll be able to update to 21.04 in April if you wish. The 20.10 is still a completely stable and supported version. The difference is a few months after 21.04 is released, they will stop providing support for 20.10. Each April and October Ubuntu releases a new major update.

Enjoy!


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 Post subject: Re: What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:23 am 
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DesertDwarf wrote:
Oy. I'd forgotten there are so many variants of Ubuntu now. Since you are re-entering Linux, I suggest starting with Ubuntu. You'll find the most help that way (reading articles, watching videos, interacting in the forums) because there are so many resources around Ubuntu.

The regular Desktop version of Ubuntu can be found here:

https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop

LTS just means long-term support. It's the version that they will keep supporting directly for five years. That's a more appropriate version to install as an office or professional use where you need rock-solid stability so you can get your work done.

I would download 20.10 (as in October of 2020). You'll be able to update to 21.04 in April if you wish. The 20.10 is still a completely stable and supported version. The difference is a few months after 21.04 is released, they will stop providing support for 20.10. Each April and October Ubuntu releases a new major update.

Enjoy!

Actually, the LTS release (20.04) is probably better suited to a beginner. And then there are also various 'flavours' of Ubuntu available, i.e., different Desktop Environments. The plain vanilla Ubuntu's DE can be a little confusing to Windows users at first but is very easily and quickly learned.

On the left of the screen you have the dock - this is a dock in the strict definition of one, i.e., you can only add apps (by dragging and dropping from the "Dash" or from a menu), and right-clicking on an icon on the dock gives you the option of removing that app from the dock. Additionally, there is, at the bottom of the dock, an icon consisting of a grid of 3x3 white dots - this switches your desktop to the "Dash" view of all the installed apps' icons. The dock also displays any running apps even if not on the dock, and the dock also scrolls if there are more apps than there is space for directly.

Then at the top edge of the screen you have a multi-function deskbar. This contains the equivalent of the sys tray and time/calendar, and thanks to the numerous applets and extensions available that can be added to it this is extremely versatile.

The Dash consists of a bar running down the right screen edge that displays small previews of your various virtual desktops. This is accessed with the 'Super' key (speak left Win key). Your current desktop's running apps are also shown, reduced, centre screen, below a search bar. Use the Dash icon on the Dock to switch to the apps view. (I don't really use this as I have a menu in the deskbar plus most-used apps in the dock.)

This bog-standard flavour of Ubuntu is about the most radical GUI around.

If you'd prefer something with a more 'traditional' - more Windows-like - GUI, you could go for Ubuntu Mate. But there are other flavours still. My suggestion for a first-time Linux user would be to download a few different 'Live' USB/DVD downloads (only available in LTS version) that you can boot from USB or DVD to see which might suit you best. They're a little over 2GB each, and you can burn them to a USB stick with e.g. Fedora Image writer or Balena Etcher, or to DVD using your preferred writer software. The Fedora one will also restore your USB stick/s to default factory settings when you're finished. You can also install from these 'Live' sticks/DVDs.

Although it probably wouldn't win any prizes for attractiveness or configurability of the GUI, the plain vanilla flavour of Ubuntu is by far the most widely used Linux desktop. Ubuntu also has the advantage of probably supporting the widest range of hardware, including where necessary/available using proprietary third-party drivers.

But, as the Bishop said to the actress, 'suck it and see'. ;-) :P

And have fun. :)

:Edit: And do keep us updated on how you're getting on. :) :/Edit:

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