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*General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)

 
@deline
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04/13/2011 10:27 PM
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*General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
I'll be taking some questions and answers on Linux. Feel free to ask anything you want. I'll provide a few resources, too. Here are some basic things to know:

What is Linux?
An open-source version of the UNIX operating system. (On technicality, Linux itself is a just a kernel. A kernel is the chunk of code that talks to the system hardware.)

What is a Linux distro/distribution?
Linux distribution is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. (Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, CrunchBang, Arch, Fedora and OpenSUSE are all Linux distributions. A Linux distribution is usually the Linux kernel with some drivers, a GUI/Desktop Environment and other programs added on top.)

What is a package management system?
A package management system is the way a distribution handles pre-compiled binaries. (Pre-compiled means compiled source code and a binary is equivalent to a Windows ".exe"). Most systems use the famous ".deb" and ."rpm" package systems, though there are plenty more.

How do I install Linux?
There are numerous ways to do this. You can generally get an ".iso" image and burn it to a CD, then boot it up from your PC's BIOS. You can install it via USB stick, flash memory, compile it from source or even run an installer from Windows (see Ubuntu).

Is Linux free?
Yes, in almost all cases. There are a couple distributions aimed at professional use among servers (RedHat Enterprise) and those are not free. You won't need them, anyway unless you're running a massive business that needs large amounts of servers and even then it's not necessary. The Linux kernel is ALWAYS free, no matter what. Almost all Linux distributions are free save for the ones mentioned earlier.

Can I get viruses on Linux?
Generally, no. The theoretical answer is "yes". It is possible, but so far it hasn't happened. This is due to a few facts: the Linux kernel is very hard to infect because of its UNIX style system (the virus needs root permission to run itself - it can only do that with your password). Linux also has far less users than Windows, so there's not much of a market for creating Linux viruses. Essentially, what this means is that whatever virus you get on Windows would not be acquired on Linux (you can browse all the dirty sites you want and download any song, video or whatever and come out totally clean).

Isn't Linux all code and command line?
No. Almost all distributions have a GUI (graphic user interface) for installing the system or installing applications. Almost all applications have GUI's as well.

Isn't Linux complex and difficult?
No. It used to be that way ages ago. As mentioned before, there are GUI tools for doing anything you need to do. Driver support exists for nearly everything (and is even better than Mac/Windows!). This is due to the fact that Linux is open-source, not closed.

What the hell is open-source and why should I care?
Open-source means that anyone anywhere can get inside the source code and alter it for whatever reason they see fit. This is why driver support is good and the security is top notch: developers all around the world are able to add the driver they need, send it back to the Linux kernel maintainer and it's updated. This also applies for security holes; when a security hole is found (say a backdoor for the FBI or what not to gain easy access) it is immediately fixed and sent back the maintainer. This even means you can learn a bit of code and create your own custom OS/kernel!

Yeah man, but what about browsing the web, playing games and reading e-mail or chatting online?
For browsing the web, there are numerous applications that work fantastically: Firefox, Chrome/Chromium, Iceweasel, Midori, Konqueror and Opera. There are even all-text web browsers you can run from a command prompt (for nerds only). Most games run on Linux through a program called WINE. Only certain games have trouble running (the old Gold Edition of Aliens Versus Predator for example). Reading e-mail can easily be done with Thunderbird, Evolution or any number of installable applications. Chatting online is extremely easy: see Kopete, Pidgin and Empathy. There are even derivatives specifically for AIM and MSN (aMSN to name one, or Emesene).

But I can't listen to music on Linux, can I?
Absolutely! Every file format is supported on Linux from FLAC to MP3. Even WMA and Apple codecs! There are a slew of media players! (Audacious, Amarok, Banshee, Exaile, Rhythmbox to name a few).

What about videos?
Of course! You can play any video you'd like on Linux. Every format is supported. This includes HD and proprietary codecs! (See Totem, Parole, Banshee, VLC, etc).

Yeah, but I have an iPod/iPad...
Exaile, Banshee, Rythmbox and Amarok are major media players that support iPods and iPads! There are also other applications.

What about wireless and mobile broadband?
All cards are supported as a well as nearly all mobile broadband cards. Ethernet, dial-up, DSL, Cable, anything you can name works out of the box for Linux (except for a few chipsets - but those can easily be installed).

Do I have to defragment the hard drive?
Generally, no. The Ext4 filesystem does not fragment and is widely used across most distributions. There are other filesystem types that may fragment.

Alright, but how stable is it?
Very, very stable (unless you use a beta, but no beta is stable - this goes for Mac, Windows and BSD). You can find videos online that show interesting clips of computers, old and new, being run for months and years at a time on Linux and never crashing or slowing down.

Is it fast?
Yes, very, very fast. Even the heaviest distributions are faster than Windows. Ubuntu, considered one of the most bloated, is notably different in speed compared to Windows (it is very, very fast). If you have an older machine like me, Linux will breathe some life into it. There are even distributions aimed at lower end specs (CrunchBang, ArchBang, Damn Small Linux, etc).

But don't I have to delete Windows?

No! You can install Linux on your hard drive side by side and choose which OS to use when your PC boots up. I do it all the time!

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

Resources:

Wikipedia:
Linux Kernel: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
Linux Distribution: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
Desktop Environment: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
Window Manager: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
GNOME DE: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
KDE DE: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
Lxde DE: [link to en.wikipedia.org]
Xfce DE: [link to en.wikipedia.org]

Ubuntu:
[link to www.ubuntu.com]

Linux Mint:
[link to www.linuxmint.com]

CrunchBang:
[link to crunchbanglinux.org]

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

Screenshots:
Ubuntu: [link to www.google.com]
Furry Remix: [link to lh5.ggpht.com]
CrunchBang: [link to i38.tinypic.com]
My Desktop: [link to img842.imageshack.us]
Wife's Desktop: [link to img543.imageshack.us] (this is using Unity, the new Ubuntu UI)

Last Edited by @deline on 04/13/2011 11:06 PM
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1339276
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04/13/2011 10:30 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
started using linux mint about a year ago, never needed to boot M$ again
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 10:35 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
started using linux mint about a year ago, never needed to boot M$ again
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1339276


I started a few months ago after win 7 got the win7 security virus on GLP. Cant believe I waited so long. Still having hard time networking across multiple platforms and subnets though.
@deline (OP)

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04/13/2011 11:06 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Bump. Any questions?
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 860325
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04/13/2011 11:13 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Maybe you can help me, Any idea why ubuntu EasyPeasy netbook distro on a EEE Pc would be slower than XP? It seems cpu utilization is much higher and sometimes hangs up when i have many browser windows open. Pages with crap tons of embedded youtube videos really gets to it, sometimes crashing the plugin container.

Is the linux flash implementation questionable? Firefox?

Opera seems slower in general, but its running scripts.

Overall, i am pleased with my first taste of microsuck free computing. But if you know of any tweeks for netbooks i would love to try them. It really surprised me to see poorer codec performance vs XP.

As a side note, I went to Linux finally after a attempt to load WMP 10 KILLED my OS. Looping Blue screen even in safemode caused by a fucking media player!!
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1327100
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04/13/2011 11:18 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Happen to have a nice printable list of VI commands?
@deline (OP)

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04/13/2011 11:18 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Maybe you can help me, Any idea why ubuntu EasyPeasy netbook distro on a EEE Pc would be slower than XP? It seems cpu utilization is much higher and sometimes hangs up when i have many browser windows open. Pages with crap tons of embedded youtube videos really gets to it, sometimes crashing the plugin container.

Is the linux flash implementation questionable? Firefox?

Opera seems slower in general, but its running scripts.

Overall, i am pleased with my first taste of microsuck free computing. But if you know of any tweeks for netbooks i would love to try them. It really surprised me to see poorer codec performance vs XP.

As a side note, I went to Linux finally after a attempt to load WMP 10 KILLED my OS. Looping Blue screen even in safemode caused by a fucking media player!!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 860325


I think I can help you. I'd recommend a different distro, honestly. You need something much lighter. My best recommendation is CrunchBang: it uses minimal CPU and very little RAM resource.

Also, in case you're worried about losing your files, when you install CrunchBang or boot it from a live CD, you can mount the old partition and access the files from there. :3

I can give you a decent screenshot of CrunchBang:
[link to img124.imageshack.us]
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
@deline (OP)

User ID: 1328317
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04/13/2011 11:20 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Happen to have a nice printable list of VI commands?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1327100


VI commands quick reference:
[link to kb.iu.edu]

More:
[link to www.cs.rit.edu]

And more:
[link to www.sharpened.net]

:3
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:20 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Oh, and do you know if Moonlight is the only option for Silverlight streams? I really don't want M$ anything, and Mono looks like they made a deal with the devil to make Moonlight possible. Having some C# framework just to listen to a audio stream seems very wrong.
@deline (OP)

User ID: 1328317
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04/13/2011 11:21 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Maybe you can help me, Any idea why ubuntu EasyPeasy netbook distro on a EEE Pc would be slower than XP? It seems cpu utilization is much higher and sometimes hangs up when i have many browser windows open. Pages with crap tons of embedded youtube videos really gets to it, sometimes crashing the plugin container.

Is the linux flash implementation questionable? Firefox?

Opera seems slower in general, but its running scripts.

Overall, i am pleased with my first taste of microsuck free computing. But if you know of any tweeks for netbooks i would love to try them. It really surprised me to see poorer codec performance vs XP.

As a side note, I went to Linux finally after a attempt to load WMP 10 KILLED my OS. Looping Blue screen even in safemode caused by a fucking media player!!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 860325


Also, there are a couple flash-plugins:

IcedTea (default, most common)

LightSpark (open-source version)
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
@deline (OP)

User ID: 1328317
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04/13/2011 11:23 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Oh, and do you know if Moonlight is the only option for Silverlight streams? I really don't want M$ anything, and Mono looks like they made a deal with the devil to make Moonlight possible. Having some C# framework just to listen to a audio stream seems very wrong.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 860325


I agree. I found it odd and it worried me but I believe there are other alternatives laying around. Let me dig up some source on that...

And even though M$ has a large hand in C#, remember it's just an extension of C++ much like C++ is an extension of C. ^_^
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:34 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
OMG MY 40 DISK RAID ARRAY CRASHED ALL MY DATAZ ARE GONE HELP HELP
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:35 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
But don't I have to delete Windows?
No! You can install Linux on your hard drive side by side and choose which OS to use when your PC boots up. I do it all the time!


My computer runs Ubuntu and Windows.

It's set up to choose which operating system I want to load.

Lately it does not want to get to that screen and gives me a Grub 16 or Grub 18 error.

The Grub 18 I know is something about BIOS.

Two separate hard drives, Ubuntu 10.04 and Windows XP.
@deline (OP)

User ID: 1328317
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04/13/2011 11:38 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
But don't I have to delete Windows?
No! You can install Linux on your hard drive side by side and choose which OS to use when your PC boots up. I do it all the time!


My computer runs Ubuntu and Windows.

It's set up to choose which operating system I want to load.

Lately it does not want to get to that screen and gives me a Grub 16 or Grub 18 error.

The Grub 18 I know is something about BIOS.

Two separate hard drives, Ubuntu 10.04 and Windows XP.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1324289


Were you using a beta or something that wasn't quite stable? Worst case scenario is you'll have to run a live boot of some Linux distro and edit the GRUB conf. It's not that hard, though.

I'm pretty sure you can downgrade it, as well.
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 860325
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04/13/2011 11:39 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Oh, and do you know if Moonlight is the only option for Silverlight streams? I really don't want M$ anything, and Mono looks like they made a deal with the devil to make Moonlight possible. Having some C# framework just to listen to a audio stream seems very wrong.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 860325


I agree. I found it odd and it worried me but I believe there are other alternatives laying around. Let me dig up some source on that...

And even though M$ has a large hand in C#, remember it's just an extension of C++ much like C++ is an extension of C. ^_^
 Quoting: @deline


Thanks for the help OP, I'll look into the other distro, but at this point the learning curve is too steep to fight any driver battles over my slower media issues. I knew that Easy Peasy was somewhat heaver do to certain proprietary ancillaries but at the end of the day the distro was designed originally for my netbook and it was amazing to plug that thumb drive in and have a FULLY working computer seconds later!

As for the C#, it's about the power that framework brings someone could do ANYTHING via a hijack of that through a stream.
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:39 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
What do you recommend as a good backup utility besides tar'ing the file system? I've used gparted, but that pissed off grub2 something fierce. Needed rescatux to fix the new partition.

Thanks
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:40 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Also, anyone with kids, look into Qimo (Ubuntu based with educational games). On a netbook it's the perfect learning utility.
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:43 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
But don't I have to delete Windows?
No! You can install Linux on your hard drive side by side and choose which OS to use when your PC boots up. I do it all the time!


My computer runs Ubuntu and Windows.

It's set up to choose which operating system I want to load.

Lately it does not want to get to that screen and gives me a Grub 16 or Grub 18 error.

The Grub 18 I know is something about BIOS.

Two separate hard drives, Ubuntu 10.04 and Windows XP.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1324289


Were you using a beta or something that wasn't quite stable? Worst case scenario is you'll have to run a live boot of some Linux distro and edit the GRUB conf. It's not that hard, though.

I'm pretty sure you can downgrade it, as well.
 Quoting: @deline


Son says it was a stable version. I will probably just have him run a clean install with a downgraded version. It didn't start messing up until he installed that 10.04.

Thank you! hf
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:44 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Also, anyone with kids, look into Qimo (Ubuntu based with educational games). On a netbook it's the perfect learning utility.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1339782


As soon as mine is fixed I will.

My daughter really loved Penguin Paint.

Thank you!
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:48 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Maybe you can help me, Any idea why ubuntu EasyPeasy netbook distro on a EEE Pc would be slower than XP?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 860325


I used Ubuntu Netbook Edition on my EEE netbook and never had any problems out of it, And it was pretty fast also
@deline (OP)

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04/13/2011 11:50 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
What do you recommend as a good backup utility besides tar'ing the file system? I've used gparted, but that pissed off grub2 something fierce. Needed rescatux to fix the new partition.

Thanks
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1339782


Gparted needs to be run carefully (it does work, but it needs to be run very, very carefully - make sure you know what you're doing with the partitions!).

The easiest way (and I have to do this when I compile an unstable kernel) is to boot into a live CD or install a minimal system, mount the drive and transfer it. Gparted works but it must be used with extreme care. I'll link you to a source that further examines a proper setup (though I'm assuming you already looked at it):

[link to gparted.sourceforge.net]
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
@deline (OP)

User ID: 1328317
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04/13/2011 11:51 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Maybe you can help me, Any idea why ubuntu EasyPeasy netbook distro on a EEE Pc would be slower than XP?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 860325


I used Ubuntu Netbook Edition on my EEE netbook and never had any problems out of it, And it was pretty fast also
 Quoting: Virusfarm


'Buntu is a bit faster. Like the poster said, EasyPeasy has some bloat problems within the system itself.

Personally, I use CrunchBang for my netbook - fast as hell and still full featured. (Also, if not, a sudo apt-get or Synaptic Package Manager is sure enough to install whatever you need).
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
OylSlyck
User ID: 1341291
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04/13/2011 11:53 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Ubuntu will run on a netbook albeit slower than most flavors of Linux. Getting the Medibuntu repository loaded into your software sources with third-party codecs will solve flash and audio issues. Another fun repository is the offensive-security.com, for educational purposes of course.
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:55 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Sudo apt get the questions right!
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:55 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Ubuntu will run on a netbook albeit slower than most flavors of Linux. Getting the Medibuntu repository loaded into your software sources with third-party codecs will solve flash and audio issues. Another fun repository is the offensive-security.com, for educational purposes of course.
 Quoting: OylSlyck 1341291


I tried the most recent version of Backtrack. It didn't click with me for some reason.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1050552
Australia
04/13/2011 11:57 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Why do all the schools in Oz still use Microsoft Office - word/Powerpoint instead of Openoffice - THEN I'd be fine. until then my daughters keep bugging the hell out of me thats its just not as good and doesnt look the same as the shit at school
Anonymous Coward
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04/13/2011 11:57 PM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Will android on tablets destroy windows and Linux speeds?
@deline (OP)

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04/14/2011 12:00 AM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Will android on tablets destroy windows and Linux speeds?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1050552


Windows yes, Linux no. Android is Linux based. ^^
"Digging the rhythm and the echo of a solitary siren."
Anonymous Coward
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04/14/2011 12:03 AM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Why do all the schools in Oz still use Microsoft Office - word/Powerpoint instead of Openoffice - THEN I'd be fine. until then my daughters keep bugging the hell out of me thats its just not as good and doesnt look the same as the shit at school
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1050552


LOL my kid is right the opposite. Does all his college stuff on Open Office. I like it too. So much easier.

And its freeeeeeeeeee!
OylSlyck
User ID: 1341291
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04/14/2011 12:03 AM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Ubuntu will run on a netbook albeit slower than most flavors of Linux. Getting the Medibuntu repository loaded into your software sources with third-party codecs will solve flash and audio issues. Another fun repository is the offensive-security.com, for educational purposes of course.
 Quoting: OylSlyck 1341291


I tried the most recent version of Backtrack. It didn't click with me for some reason.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1339782


You are right about that. Atheros chipsets don't want to start from the commandline and KDE is too gloomy.
Anonymous Coward
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04/14/2011 12:07 AM
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Re: *General Linux Questions* Thread (Ask away.)
Maybe you can help me, Any idea why ubuntu EasyPeasy netbook distro on a EEE Pc would be slower than XP? It seems cpu utilization is much higher and sometimes hangs up when i have many browser windows open. Pages with crap tons of embedded youtube videos really gets to it, sometimes crashing the plugin container.

Is the linux flash implementation questionable? Firefox?

Opera seems slower in general, but its running scripts.

Overall, i am pleased with my first taste of microsuck free computing. But if you know of any tweeks for netbooks i would love to try them. It really surprised me to see poorer codec performance vs XP.

As a side note, I went to Linux finally after a attempt to load WMP 10 KILLED my OS. Looping Blue screen even in safemode caused by a fucking media player!!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 860325


Also, there are a couple flash-plugins:

IcedTea (default, most common)

LightSpark (open-source version)
 Quoting: @deline



nice thread BTW, good info and such, but i noticed that little mis-comment about icedtea, which is java and a java plugin. maybe you wanted to mention gnash (for flash)?

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