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Hangman

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Operating system other than W10 ...
« on: February 11, 2016, 03:40:07 pm »
So I've read through a few of the posts here & was really tempted to ask this question on Marks "Windows 10" post, but decided to start a new thread.

The office in which I work is dedicated to W10 (mainly because of Revit & CAD, their money makers) so naturally I got to upgrade to windows 10.  My PC's at home are forced into this upgrade by reasons read on the Windows 10 post mentioned above & elsewhere.

However, I have a feeling this "free" upgrade will have its consequences & I want out.
So, I am in the market for a new OS as it were.
My PC's at home (a desktop & three laptops) are used for homework & light duty perusing but I need an OS that will be around for awhile.  And one that will be able to use the basics of MS Office (a Document creator, Excel creator, and a Powerpoint creator).  I don't want MS Office & I know there are others (Libre Office, Open Office, King Office (I think), etc) but I want to leave Windows behind which means an office product running on some other OS.
I would love to have an OS that has a windows emulator for those games & other windows software purchased in the past, but I'm willing to take the loss if I can find an OS that I can surf the net & work on homework items using a method similar to that listed above.

Edited: Ok, from the few posts so far I have realized I need to supply more information which, unfortunately will make this a bit more difficult.
So this OS needs to be easy enough for a 10 year old, a 14 year old, & an adult who doesn't want to have control of the PC, but have it just work.  I also need a trouble free environment as I don't have enough time to troubleshoot every little hiccup these kids find.  But I want an OS that I can control, set parameters, not allow them to install anything on a whim, & keep a lid on system controls like printers & extra hardware attached to the PC.

What are your suggestions?  Questions of items I may have missed in my description?
And by the way, what is your favorite OS (other than windows if you have one) and why?

Thanks guys.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 05:25:28 pm by Hangman »
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mjfarrell

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 03:45:33 pm »
a quick search produces:



ReactOS - React Operating System
This is a free, open source operating system that attempts to clone the entire interface and programming interface of a Windows XP system. When it is fully operational, it intends to be able to run all the programs and device drivers that can work in a true Windows system. At the time this review was written, the system is still under development, although the source code and progress to date can be downloaded and experimented with. The OS is mostly released under the GNU General Public License, although some code from other projects (eg WINE) are licensed differently (eg LGPL).

WINE - Wine Is Not an Emulator
WINE stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator. In spite of its name, it is an emulation layer that allows programs written for Windows to run on POSIX type (Unix-based) systems like Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Solaris. That is, the software enables you to run Windows programs in your (say) Linux operating system as though it is running in Windows. This software has been around for many years, and a large number of Windows programs already run on it. It's useful if you prefer to use another operating system, but occasionally need to run certain Windows applications. You do not need a Windows licence to run Windows programs under the supported operating systems with this software.

EOS: Emulator Operating System
(Update: this project appears to be dead and is no longer available.) EOS is an operating system that intends to be able to run programs from Windows, Linux, MS-DOS, BEOS, and AmigaOS. You thus don't need to worry about what operating system the program is designed for, just download it and run it. It is based on Linux and FreeBSD, and uses code from various other projects like WINE and ReactOS (see other entries on this page).
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ronjonp

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 04:39:17 pm »
I put this on an old laptop & it made a great surfing machine.

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Tuoni

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2016, 04:54:21 am »
Sounds like you want a GNU/Linux distro.

I use Debian, you may also want to look at Ubuntu which uses Debian as a base but focused on "user-friendlyness".  If you couple that with a decent Window Manager that does what you want in a way you want it (There's KDE which I use, there's GNOME, there's Xfce...)

What Windows games/software are you wanting to take with you?  Wine is capable of running all sorts of stuff, but it isn't perfect (they're having to reverse-engineer Windows to make a compatibility layer).  Saying that, PlayOnLinux (which is basically a front-end for Wine) makes the whole process rather less painful than it used to be.

The main thing to bear in mind on all this stuff is that you don't have to immediately take the plunge - all GNU/Linux distros I've ever seen have "Live CD" or "Live USB" capability - download them, boot into them and you can test them without installing anything.  You can use UNetbootin to simplify all that, too.

Mark

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2016, 07:15:44 am »
Been awhile since i used it but http://www.pcbsd.org/ might work too. FreeBSD based desktop OS
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Mark

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2016, 07:19:16 am »
Edited: So this OS needs to be easy enough for a 10 year old, a 14 year old, & an adult who doesn't want to have control of the PC, but have it just work.
Look into Chrome books.
https://www.google.com/chromebook/
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John Kaul (Se7en)

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2016, 09:01:41 am »
I'm sure the 10 year old will be just fine; I've tossed several different Linux distributions at kids and no one has said one word.

PCBSD is very nice! I used it on one of my old laptops. It was a little buggy for me because the hardware I was using didn't like GNOME 3 so I was stuck on a specific version of PCBSD. The package manager thing (Linux like) is really easy to use.

I vote one of the BSD variants (Net/Open/Free); get your feet wet and install one over the weekend. Have one or both kids help you; give yourself plenty of time (the weekend) and make it a bonding time. Setup is easy, configuration is easy, lock down is easy, all the stuff is easy, you just have to read the manual first.
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Hangman

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2016, 02:42:45 pm »
It's funny, of all the reviews from places like ZDNet, Techrepublic, Forbes, & the likes the best place to get information is from the forums.  I found a discussion regarding EVE (no idea what it is, I'm assuming a game as it is a gaming site) & running it on a Linux machine.  There was more information there regarding the Linux OS & it's capabilities than in all of the review sites I've read so far.
Which is why I've brought this question/discussion to this board.  You guys are great at what you do & are the real users of the software.  There has been enough discussion across the swamp to see you guys use different OS's & it's nice to be able to hear first-hand experience on what works & what doesn't for your applications.
I thank you for your input & suggestions & I thank Mark for this forum, it is truly one of the best.

So I think I have narrowed down my list to the following with strongest preference first:
    Ubuntu
    Debian
    Fedora
Of course there's a lot of subs in there that I'm struggling with; Kubuntu which uses the KDE desktop environment, Xubuntu w/ the Xfce, & Mint which is a variant of Debian.
These choices are made based on continued support, largest support group, & widest availability of 3rd party software.
I understand the several 'revisions' of Linux as it's 'freeware' so everyone wants to make their own.  What I can't find is the in-depth differences between them to know which one would be of best use to me.  Installing ALL of these is like spinning the wheel.  The last thing you want to do in an occupation like ours is spin the wheel, to do what's been done before, to peat & repeat.  If it's already been done, why redo it?  But I can't find any in-depth description of each of these OS's to keep from repeating what's already been done.

One thing I'm still struggling with is what is the difference between Unity, KDE, GNOME, & Xfce?  I've read that Unity is not that great but I can't find an explanation as to why.
And of all the research I've found/read so far, I've not come across PC-BSD.  And after reading Tuoni's https://www.theswamp.org/index.php?PHPSESSID=kh0kovngefq156n4e0c9u7t426&topic=50828.0 post about FreeBSD having critical vulnerabilities, I'm not sure I want to go the way of BSD.  Of course, other sites have mentioned that the BSD series is slow (as in at least 9-12 months slow) to get updates as well.  Your thoughts?

Tuoni asked,
Quote
What Windows games/software are you wanting to take with you?
  There's three to four that I would really want to take along and currently running on the Desktop W10 PC.  Minecraft (bought just this Christmas for the 10 year old), Flight Simulator X gold w/ a bunch of addons, & of course Silent Hunter III (arguably the BEST submarine sim ever created).  These will remain on the desktop for a while though.  I have to get the family adjusted to the new OS & make sure I can get all the necessary software they need for school & essential tasks.

I like Se7ens advice on
Quote
get your feet wet and install one over the weekend. Have one or both kids help you; give yourself plenty of time (the weekend) and make it a bonding time.
  I have an old laptop (I mean OLD.  I have to plug in a CAT cable as there is no wireless type old) I'm going to try this on.  I'm also purchasing an SSD drive for it just to give it a little life.  I hope it'll work, we'll see.
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John Kaul (Se7en)

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2016, 03:19:55 pm »
Stick with KDE (Kubuntu) for now until you get an introduction to Linux. Leave Debian for later. Fedora is more bleeding edge then all of your choices.

Personally, I really liked Vector Linux (when I used Linux).
http://vectorlinux.com/products/vectorlinux-7.0-soho-edition

lol I think you need a little context; any BSD variant is arguably more secure/safe then Linux (just in how the two different OS types do things). Now, of course that is not saying that Linux is not secure; any *nix blows Windows out of the water! You're going to need a lot of background into the culture but it basically comes down to BSD is very lean and strict on how and what it allows programs to do/reside/etc. Linux is more flexible (always has been). ...of course this is all just high-level talk and, like I said, you will need a lot more background before you can judge for yourself. My point, though, do not judge FreeBSD for that vulnerability. BSD (or Linux for that matter) is very secure compared to what you are using now.

BSD is slow? ...They put NetBSD on a toaster! ...I suppose BSD is slower in some things, but again you're going to need a lot of background (goggle "Binary Blob Linux").


EDIT: Added more description behind which Linux distro to use.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 03:33:50 pm by John Kaul (Se7en) »
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John Kaul (Se7en)

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2016, 03:25:48 pm »
PCBSD came about because BSD has always gotten a bad rap from Linux users because BSD didnt allow you to just download a "package", like Chrome, and run it; you had to compile it yourself. PCBSD starting bridging this gap in a more "palatable form" -i.e. a very crappy dialog box with check-marks you clicked next to the software you wanted.

OpenBSD always made you run their binaries but I guess people didn't like the command line interface.

I like Se7ens advice on
Quote
get your feet wet and install one over the weekend. Have one or both kids help you; give yourself plenty of time (the weekend) and make it a bonding time.
  I have an old laptop (I mean OLD.  I have to plug in a CAT cable as there is no wireless type old) I'm going to try this on.  I'm also purchasing an SSD drive for it just to give it a little life.  I hope it'll work, we'll see.

NetBSD will run on it (use NetBSD).
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Tuoni

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2016, 03:50:11 pm »
So I think I have narrowed down my list to the following with strongest preference first:
    Ubuntu
    Debian
    Fedora

I, personally, would drop Fedora from that list.  I'm a Debian guy so that would be my first, but you really need to choose one which works for you.

Of course there's a lot of subs in there that I'm struggling with; Kubuntu which uses the KDE desktop environment, Xubuntu w/ the Xfce, & Mint which is a variant of Debian.
These choices are made based on continued support, largest support group, & widest availability of 3rd party software.

I'd go for KDE - it's probably the closest to what you're used to migrating from Windows.  Having said that, again, play with all of them.  On a live usb you can install all three and switch between them to find which one you like best.

I understand the several 'revisions' of Linux as it's 'freeware' so everyone wants to make their own.  What I can't find is the in-depth differences between them to know which one would be of best use to me.  Installing ALL of these is like spinning the wheel.  The last thing you want to do in an occupation like ours is spin the wheel, to do what's been done before, to peat & repeat.  If it's already been done, why redo it?  But I can't find any in-depth description of each of these OS's to keep from repeating what's already been done.
Most distros are aimed at specific things; Debian is designed to be stable (and is therefore suited to Servers and Desktops you don't want to be broken!), Arch is designed to be practically unusable (OK, OK, it's designed to be "bleeding edge" - the newest of the newest.  The thing is there, a lot of things are broken a lot of the time).  Fedora is the open source version of Red Hat, which is an enterprise-level Linux distro.  Ubuntu was designed to be fluffy, bringing the stability and useful tools from Debian and making it "nicer" to use.  Kali is for pen-testers, and the list goes on.  One thing to bear in mind is that you can basically turn any distro into any other distro - the major difference is their base focus.

One thing I'm still struggling with is what is the difference between Unity, KDE, GNOME, & Xfce?  I've read that Unity is not that great but I can't find an explanation as to why.
They look different.  That's basically it, at its most fundamental.  The work flow is slightly different for each.

And of all the research I've found/read so far, I've not come across PC-BSD.  And after reading Tuoni's https://www.theswamp.org/index.php?PHPSESSID=kh0kovngefq156n4e0c9u7t426&topic=50828.0 post about FreeBSD having critical vulnerabilities, I'm not sure I want to go the way of BSD.  Of course, other sites have mentioned that the BSD series is slow (as in at least 9-12 months slow) to get updates as well.  Your thoughts?
That's only a problem if you run servers.  Every OS has its vulnerabilities, I mostly put that up here to poke at Se9en and Mark :grin: (also, it is quite serious if you run *BSD servers, as these guys do)

Tuoni asked,
Quote
What Windows games/software are you wanting to take with you?
  There's three to four that I would really want to take along and currently running on the Desktop W10 PC.  Minecraft (bought just this Christmas for the 10 year old), Flight Simulator X gold w/ a bunch of addons, & of course Silent Hunter III (arguably the BEST submarine sim ever created).
There's a Linux native version of Minecraft. Flight Sim X appears to be very well suported by Wine as does Silent Hunter 3

Tuoni

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2016, 03:53:51 pm »
Stick with KDE (Kubuntu) for now until you get an introduction to Linux. Leave Debian for later. Fedora is more bleeding edge then all of your choices.

Basically agreed, though Debian is much better these days.



lol I think you need a little context; any BSD variant is arguably more secure/safe then Linux (just in how the two different OS types do things). Now, of course that is not saying that Linux is not secure; any *nix blows Windows out of the water! You're going to need a lot of background into the culture but it basically comes down to BSD is very lean and strict on how and what it allows programs to do/reside/etc. Linux is more flexible (always has been). ...of course this is all just high-level talk and, like I said, you will need a lot more background before you can judge for yourself. My point, though, do not judge FreeBSD for that vulnerability. BSD (or Linux for that matter) is very secure compared to what you are using now.

BSD has a much "purer" lineage from UNIX, they hate us upstart Loonix users!


PCBSD came about because BSD has always gotten a bad rap from Linux users because BSD didnt allow you to just download a "package", like Chrome, and run it; you had to compile it yourself. PCBSD starting bridging this gap in a more "palatable form" -i.e. a very crappy dialog box with check-marks you clicked next to the software you wanted.

OpenBSD always made you run their binaries but I guess people didn't like the command line interface.

I like Se7ens advice on
Quote
get your feet wet and install one over the weekend. Have one or both kids help you; give yourself plenty of time (the weekend) and make it a bonding time.
  I have an old laptop (I mean OLD.  I have to plug in a CAT cable as there is no wireless type old) I'm going to try this on.  I'm also purchasing an SSD drive for it just to give it a little life.  I hope it'll work, we'll see.

NetBSD will run on it (use NetBSD).

Next you're going to be recommending vi :wink:

John Kaul (Se7en)

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2016, 03:56:19 pm »
lol
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John Kaul (Se7en)

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2016, 04:01:01 pm »
BTW, My wife didn't know she was using BSD for at least a year. She just booted the PC, paid bills, played the bouncy ball game once and while, surfed facebook, etc.. Of course, she just leaves that computer stuff to me ("Honey, I don't care. Just make sure I can go on line and get my Cont Ed credits and print them.").
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Hangman

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2016, 04:23:34 pm »
BTW, My wife didn't know she was using BSD for at least a year. She just booted the PC, paid bills, played the bouncy ball game once and while, surfed facebook, etc.. Of course, she just leaves that computer stuff to me ("Honey, I don't care. Just make sure I can go on line and get my Cont Ed credits and print them.").

Oh, ... we live in the same house?
That's EXACTLY what I hear.

Quote
BSD has a much "purer" lineage from UNIX, they hate us upstart Loonix users!
I use to maintain about three UNIX servers at one time ... 'bout 15 years ago.  Don't remember a thing about it but I've been fighting myself to start using Linux for a while now.

Edited: I've been told years ago Linux was easier than Unix to use but I've never tried it.

I think this mandatory update of Windows has pushed me over the edge.  There's just some'thn about the way they force you to update vs asking.  I hate being told what to do.  They've taken away your free agency to choose & I believe there will be a lot of people who will abandon Windows.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 04:27:09 pm by Hangman »
Hangman  8)

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MickD

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2016, 04:51:20 pm »
In my limited experience with *nix OS's, I think the distro you choose comes down to how 'techie' you want to be. If you just want a simple to use OS with everything available via a GUI and a large community for support then it's hard to go past Ubuntu.
That was its MO, and if you're not running a server it's more than capable enough and has a huge application repo for installation via the GUI package manager (it's easier than Windows!).

The underlying kernel is basically the same in all *nix systems, it's how many bells and whistles they install as standard that makes the most difference.

Another option to take different distro's for a spin is install VirtualBox or VMWare and download a few and run them in a VM on your current Windows, it's quick and easy.
I'm doing a CLI tutorial atm and they provide an image for use in the course which is Ubuntu so if you want to learn/brush up a bit on your CLI it seems like a great tut.
http://www.learnenough.com/
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 06:07:05 pm by MickD »
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cadtag

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Re: Operating system other than W10 ...
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2016, 08:17:42 am »
I like keeping an install of Haiku-OS (successor to BeOS) around, but acknowledge it's not super useful today, even if it's more usable than most other OSes out there.  Just missing applications that I would need.

However, ReactOS has today released a new version of their Windows-workalike.  Worth checking into, especially with the Live CD
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