Discussion Should I try Linux?

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the Tom's Hardware community: where nearly two million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
I'm curious how things did go with you and Linux? Did you learn it and migrated to it? Or did you go back to Windows?
I'm sorry for not having an answer yet, as I need to get around to trying this. I've just had so many other things going on in my life I haven't had much time to try it. And with Windows 10 still good for nearly another 4 years I haven't had much incentive to hurry up and try Linux either.

I just helped another friend get his ol' laptop sped up with some RAM and an SSD. It's these situations that I ask myself if I'm doing the right thing. Would he have been better off saving his money for a new W11 compatible computer than to spend $50 on computer parts and us going through the headache of getting his computer setup again only to be good for another 4 years? Will I be able to help him switch to Linux when the time comes?

The Windows 10 end-of-life deadline shouldn't bother me as much as it does. But it seems like I know so many people that will all need computers by that time if I don't think up of an alternative.
 
And with Windows 10 still good for nearly another 4 years I haven't had much incentive to hurry up and try Linux either.
Sadly, this is one of the major arguments that keep people (*filter) to switch to Linux.

I know because I was in a similar situation back when windows xp was put down.

*filter - here I mean the grup of people talking about how they wish to learn Linux, but never actually make the plunge and takes the step out - ending up buying new hardware and new windows.
 
Reactions: Isaac Zackary

Dean0919

Reputable
Oct 25, 2017
261
33
4,740
14
I'm sorry for not having an answer yet, as I need to get around to trying this. I've just had so many other things going on in my life I haven't had much time to try it. And with Windows 10 still good for nearly another 4 years I haven't had much incentive to hurry up and try Linux either.

I just helped another friend get his ol' laptop sped up with some RAM and an SSD. It's these situations that I ask myself if I'm doing the right thing. Would he have been better off saving his money for a new W11 compatible computer than to spend $50 on computer parts and us going through the headache of getting his computer setup again only to be good for another 4 years? Will I be able to help him switch to Linux when the time comes?

The Windows 10 end-of-life deadline shouldn't bother me as much as it does. But it seems like I know so many people that will all need computers by that time if I don't think up of an alternative.
I tried Linux (Manjaro KDE Plasma).
At first I went into some problems, but I managed to fix majority of them. However I couldn't fix 2 major problems which are crucial to me.

1. Equalizer. I like setting up custom equalizer for my system, I don't like default flat sound, so in my Windows I have set it up with my taste. On Linux, I didn't even find equalizer in settings. I checked in store and downloaded some "Pulse Equalizer". Set it up with my taste, but it was launching turned off by default and it had glitch 1 second delay on every track that was played in system. I checked my motherboard website (Gigabyte) and they don't even have drivers for Linux.

2. Another problem I couldn't fix were profiles in browsers. First, Google chrome isn't very well polished on Linux. Folders in bookmarks bar still have default white background even if you have dark mode enabled for browser and when you hover your cursors on bookmarks it doesn't do anything unless you click and of course Google sync is completely absent on Linux. You can't login in your account in Google Chrome on Linux. So, I decided to try different browser - Vivaldi. It has sync options, it supports profiles and it doesn't have those problems that Chrome had, so I said, fine, I can switch my main browser to Vivaldi, not a big deal. I set up profiles (I use 16 profiles) and decided to pin the in taskbar like I have on Windows, but boom! You can't. After so many digging on forum, finally I managed to manually create profiles and pin them in taskbar, but when I was clicking on them, they were opening new windows which is bummer and all of them had same icon. Final straw was when I couldn't even rearrange them in taskbar. Even if they aren't pinned and you just open your profiles, you can't arrange them. Like if you want to put "profile 1" behind "profile 2", it doesn't allow you. And profiles are super important for me.

So, because of those two main issues, I went back to Windows. Linux is still installed on my drive, I just don't use it. Maybe in the future they fix those issues or I find solution if I spend more days googling and digging, but I don't have so much free time, I work and come home to rest. Linux definitely got improved lately, but still on on the same level of friendliness as Windows. There are still things that needs to be polished and fixed.
 
I tried Linux (Manjaro KDE Plasma).
At first I went into some problems, but I managed to fix majority of them. However I couldn't fix 2 major problems which are crucial to me.
That is my opinion as well about KDE Plasma. Very nice to look at, but sadly it have stability issues. I find both Gnome, xfce, Mate and Cinnamon to be rock stable.

Linux definitely got improved lately, but still on on the same level of friendliness as Windows. There are still things that needs to be polished and fixed.
Well, when Windows nag about invalid licence key (similar to that, and even if the OS is fully paid for) it doesn't look very friendly to me 💩
 
Reactions: Dean0919

Dean0919

Reputable
Oct 25, 2017
261
33
4,740
14
That is my opinion as well about KDE Plasma. Very nice to look at, but sadly it have stability issues. I find both Gnome, xfce, Mate and Cinnamon to be rock stable.

Well, when Windows nag about invalid licence key (similar to that, and even if the OS is fully paid for) it doesn't look very friendly to me 💩
I'm not fan of Windows either. It has it's own flaws and I definitely don't like Microsoft company at all and I think their Windows 11 is complete disaster and that's why I want to move away from Windows. So far I couldn't find perfect OS for me. I'll definitely give Linux more chance later when I have more free time. I'll try other desktop environments or distros.
 
I'll try other desktop environments or distros.
Here is a idea to greatly improve the workflow when testing out different Linux distros - if you have a relatively large usb stick laying around (like 16 GB or more) you can use the Ventoy tool, so you can put multiple iso images on the same usb stick. This way, you don't need to do the flash-iso-image-to-usb over again each time you want to test another distro :D
 
Reactions: Dean0919

Dean0919

Reputable
Oct 25, 2017
261
33
4,740
14
Here is a idea to greatly improve the workflow when testing out different Linux distros - if you have a relatively large usb stick laying around (like 16 GB or more) you can use the Ventoy tool, so you can put multiple iso images on the same usb stick. This way, you don't need to do the flash-iso-image-to-usb over again each time you want to test another distro :D
That's a good idea, thank you. I have 32gb flash drive.

I have one question. Right now my set up is like this: Initially I installed Windows 10 on my SSD. Then when I decided to try Linux, I installed Linux Manjaro KDE plasma on another hard drive & it replaced window's boot loader. Now when I turn on computer, I get Manjaro menu with selection of os to load & it remembers last loaded os which is great. However my question is, if I decide to try different Linux distro, let's say Manjaro gnome or xfce & if I format the drive where my current Linux is installed & if I install Manjaro gnome there instead, will it overwrite current bootloader or there will be 2 bootloaders?
 
if I decide to try different Linux distro, let's say Manjaro gnome or xfce & if I format the drive where my current Linux is installed & if I install Manjaro gnome there instead, will it overwrite current bootloader or there will be 2 bootloaders?
When you format the drive (under most distros you can do this while installing) you also remove the former boot loader.
 
Reactions: Dean0919
Jul 20, 2021
70
7
45
2
Well it depends on you as a person.
I recommended Linux for older PCs or people that really into open source. Its also great for programming. You can do anything on Linux as its more customizable.
But the only disadvantage is software and games support but its getting better due to proton and wine. Anyway Linux is great if you love to customize your desktop and use open source software's. Also gaming cool. :)
People here will tell you based on experience and options. So try it in a VM and see if its your thing. :)
 
Reactions: Grobe

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
Well, right now I'm downloading Linux Mint. I have a Dell Inspiron E1750 I'm going to try it on, full blown install, no VM. (I can always put W10 back on, although setting up the graphics card driver is a real pain).

I'll let you know how it goes. Let's hope for the best.

PS. Another thing I'm interested in is a building a NAS to replace our Microsoft Onedrive cloud service. I got lots of old computers to work with. But if I can go full non-Microsoft I think I will. Microsoft is a great company. But they may be pushing Windows 11 at the wrong time. Who knows, 3 and a half years from now maybe I'll be ready for Windows 11 by buying all new machines. But if I'm not, I wouldn't mind a suitable alternative, which is what I'm after.

EDIT:

I got it downloaded, verified and booted. Now I'm doing a full install, erasing Windows. So far it feels very smooth on this machine from 2006. My main concerns will be if it can run the few Windows programs I need.

EDIT:

Well, I got Linux installed. So far I can't figure out how to use Wine to get Windlink to install or get Snapd installed to install JW Library app that I would normally install from the Windows Store, but I'd use the Android version here. If I could get those to work that would be all I really need. We'll see.
 
Last edited:

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
I found instructions on how to get Winlink Express to work on Linux. Hopefully I can do it.

http://k6eta.com/linux/installing-rms-express-on-linux-with-wine

Edit: Also Chirp

https://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Running_Under_Linux

Any other Windows program I believe I can either use a Linux alternative or just keep a hard drive with Windows on it to use every once in a while. No need to have the most up-to-date version of Windows either, as Windows 7 or 8 will work just as well as Windows 10 for what I do.

Edit: I got Zoom working! And it works good even on this 2006 computer!

Edit: I noticed that Linux had zero problems identifying the hardware and isntalling the proper drivers. This is BIG! With Windows 10, installing the graphics card for this computer was like trying to pull a tooth from a rhinocerous. Linux also has a way of using the side of the trackpad for scrolling like this computer did originally when it had Windows XP or Vista. And I must admit that the scrolling is silky smooth.
 
Last edited:

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
So I couldn't get Snapd installed. But finally I did with the help of this article:

https://ubunlog.com/como-reactivar-el-soporte-para-snaps-en-linux-mint-20-por-si-te-interesa/

But after that I still couldn't get the next step installing the kernel modules for Anbox support, maybe because they're for Unbuntu??

https://docs.anbox.io/userguide/install.html

https://docs.anbox.io/userguide/install_kernel_modules.html

Edit:

This is the problem I get when trying to install anbox: When I try to install the kernel modules I get an error that "This PPA does not support focal." So it looks like there's nothing I can do about that, so maybe I need to look into another android emulator.

https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=325087

Edit:

I also tried this way to install Anbox but got this message:
"The CPU of your computer (Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T7400 @ 2.16GHz) does not support all
features Anbox requires.
It is missing support for the following features: SSE 4.1, SSE 4.2, SSSE 3
You can for example find more information about SSE
here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streaming_SIMD_Extensions
-----)"
 
Last edited:

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
So far I've got Zoom to work here on Mint Cinnamon. Now I just need to get these to work:
  • JW Library (emulated from Android, iOS or Windows UI app. I do have the APK file)
  • Winlink Express
  • Chirp
  • Word, Excel, Power Point alternatives
There are some other apps I'd like, but those above are the essential ones on at least one computer. 3 years, 8 months and 20 days to figure this out.
 

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
I am also trying a Android x86 via Virtual Box, but it also doesn't seem to want to work.


VT-x is disabled in the BIOS for all CPU modes (VERR_VMX_MSR_ALL_VMX_DISABLED).
Código resultado: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
Componente: ConsoleWrap
Interfaz: IConsole {872da645-4a9b-1727-bee2-5585105b9eed}
 
From what I can tell, you're doing just fine as first time Linux user, and have the right mind set also (y)

I personally did a somewhat personal decision to not be dependent on Windows apps when I turned away from Windows. One very nice web page to help you out is the alternativeto.net.

Here is what alternativeto.net are capable to pull out from the apps you just specified: JW Library .

For Chirp According to the alternativeto.net web site, the program is discontinued. But, since you installed Linux Mint, there is a solution.
  • First, you have the Samba if you need to share with a windows computer (see this youtube video tutorial).
  • To easilly transfer files between Linux computers on you can use the Warpinator (should be included in latest Linux Mint if I remember it correctly). I haven't used this myself since I prefer NFS or ssh/rsync for backup.
For the Winlink Express, I can barely remember from an old post probably another forum, that Linux users haven't get that to work and neither exist any alternative program (i.e small niche product). I think you cannot get around this any other way other than using a virtual PC.

For MS Office, there are of course Libre Office, that ships with most Linux distro without the user have to install it.
 
Reactions: Isaac Zackary

michael diemer

Distinguished
Feb 2, 2013
203
4
18,695
4
Play On Linux is a great tool for Wine. Also Winetricks. I installed MS 2010 Office on my wife's laptop using Play On Linux .and it works perfectly. Myself, I just use Libre. but some people like Office.

I also am using Reaper For Linux, a Digital Audio Workstation. Using Wine, I have Garritan Personal Orchestra and Cinematic Strings working on it. You can do a lot with Wine. Though you have to be careful about updates.

Or you can forget Windows apps entirely and just use native Linux stuff. Whatever works best.
 
Reactions: Isaac Zackary

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
From what I can tell, you're doing just fine as first time Linux user, and have the right mind set also (y)

I personally did a somewhat personal decision to not be dependent on Windows apps when I turned away from Windows. One very nice web page to help you out is the alternativeto.net.

Here is what alternativeto.net are capable to pull out from the apps you just specified: JW Library .

For Chirp According to the alternativeto.net web site, the program is discontinued. But, since you installed Linux Mint, there is a solution.
  • First, you have the Samba if you need to share with a windows computer (see this youtube video tutorial).
  • To easilly transfer files between Linux computers on you can use the Warpinator (should be included in latest Linux Mint if I remember it correctly). I haven't used this myself since I prefer NFS or ssh/rsync for backup.
For the Winlink Express, I can barely remember from an old post probably another forum, that Linux users haven't get that to work and neither exist any alternative program (i.e small niche product). I think you cannot get around this any other way other than using a virtual PC.

For MS Office, there are of course Libre Office, that ships with most Linux distro without the user have to install it.
I wouldn't mind giving up on Windows Apps and Microsoft Services completely, as long as I can run suitable alternatives to the apps I need on Windows. But some seem like I will need an emulator to run on Linux since there is no suitable alternative.

Thanks for the list on alternativesto.net, but so far I don't see there being a suitable alternative to JW Library at this time other than the Android (from Playstore), Android (APK file), Amazon, iOS and UWP versions. So an emulator to any of those would seem like the only choice as of now.

I'm not too sure about Samba right now, as it looks like it needs a Windows computer running somewhere and an internet conection. :??: The idea would be to transition everything to Linux and use Windows rarely so I can just have another partition or hard drive with it and just swap as needed. I need Winlink, and preferably Chirp too, for use on a mobile device (e.g. laptop, 2-in-1, etc) where there is no internet connection or other computer nearby.
 

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
Well, I was able to install the kernel modules by going to the github page and downloading them and running the INSTALL.sh file.

But I still have the problem that says:
The CPU of your computer (Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T7400 @ 2.16GHz) does not support all
features Anbox requires.
It is missing support for the following features: SSE 4.1, SSE 4.2, SSSE 3
You can for example find more information about SSE
here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streaming_SIMD_Extensions
-----)

Looking up the specs on the processor, those SSE instruction sets aren't on the processor as the check has already reveled. So it's looking more and more like Anbox as not being an option for running JW library via an Android APK, at least on this computer (I still have about 20 others to decide what to do with).

So I'll keep trying with Virtual Box and seeing if I can get a ISO to work on it, such as Android x86 or other.

Actually I'll probably try to get some other apps working and come back to this one. Maybe I'll have better luck with Wine and Windows apps. We'll see.
 
Last edited:

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
For MS Office, there are of course Libre Office, that ships with most Linux distro without the user have to install it.
I just tried out the LibreOffice Calc and Writter and they work very well. I did notice that Calc uses a semicolon where Excel would use a comma in expressions like =Average(A1; A2; B3) instead of (A1, A2, B3). But it works the same.

For Winlink and Chirp I gave it a go at both of them and ran into issues that are apparently just me not understanding what I'm doing. Like when I try to do the following command:

sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USERNAME

Am I supposed to just type it like it is? In user name am I supposed to put the $ before my user name? When I put $Isaac Zackary it says that "Zackary" is not a user name, so am I supposed to delete the space somehow?

Anyhow, I'm feeling a bit burnt out at the moment from all this reading and typing commands in to the Terminal (or at least copying and pasting).
 
sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USERNAME

Am I supposed to just type it like it is?
No - the $ character is a variable indicator, that line would be used from within a script, where the variable is already declared.

I assume your command would be something like
sudo usermod -a -G dialout Isaaczackary

As understood by the man-page, this will create a new user: username=Isaaczackary, and it would belonged in an additional group called dialout.

When that is said, my knowledge of creating new user profiles is mainly by using the GUI, so I cannot tell if there is aditional arguments needed in order to make that user profile work properly (i.e. make sure a home folder are created, a main group for the user profile, etc).

Here I found a simple recipee to create a new user profile in Linux Mint - note it use the adduser command instead of usermod.
 
Reactions: Isaac Zackary

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
No - the $ character is a variable indicator, that line would be used from within a script, where the variable is already declared.

I assume your command would be something like
sudo usermod -a -G dialout Isaaczackary

As understood by the man-page, this will create a new user: username=Isaaczackary, and it would belonged in an additional group called dialout.

When that is said, my knowledge of creating new user profiles is mainly by using the GUI, so I cannot tell if there is aditional arguments needed in order to make that user profile work properly (i.e. make sure a home folder are created, a main group for the user profile, etc).

Here I found a simple recipee to create a new user profile in Linux Mint - note it use the adduser command instead of usermod.
Thanks! That helped a lot!

Now I'm having problems with installing the DotNET stuff for Wine for Winlink. On the Winlink website they recommend a $60 product called Crossover to make it easier. I don't want to pay money if my objective is to not pay money 😆. But Crossover does have a free trial... I don't know, I think I'll keep at it and see if I can't get it to work without the Crossover program.

Edit:

Well, now I've hit another snag. So Chirp won't work without certain legacy Python "stuff" installed before installing Chirp. But when I go to do it, it says I don't have permission because I'm not a superuser...

https://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Linux_Python3

The Chirp installation without that step also points me to this Python 2 site:

https://launchpad.net/~nrbrtx/+archive/ubuntu/python2-stuff

Chirp won't install without them, and apparently Ubuntu and Mint no longer come with them.

These problems do bring up one thought. Just as programs can be updated and made better and better they also can get left behind. It makes the future uncertain. If I go with Linux, even if I get everything I need working, will it always work? The same can be said of Windows. The alternative would be to just stick with an old version of whatever works, be it Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc. But then you can't have access to new stuff. It sure is hard to navigate the internet on an Apple 2 or a Commodore 64, for an example.
 
Last edited:
Just as programs can be updated and made better and better they also can get left behind. It makes the future uncertain.
Sure, it happens all the time. It usually is refereed to as abandonware.

If I go with Linux, even if I get everything I need working, will it always work?
Well, you need to see how long time a distro are supported. Take Linux Mint as an example. The current 20.3 release will be supported until April 2025. Before that time period ends, you've probably installed a newer release or maybe a completely different distro all together.

The same can be said of Windows.
I Disagree. You probably have to pay to install a newer version of Windows - and the newer Windows version may not accept your hardware.
 

Isaac Zackary

Prominent
Aug 11, 2020
121
6
585
0
I Disagree. You probably have to pay to install a newer version of Windows - and the newer Windows version may not accept your hardware.
You are right. I agree with your disagreement. I was referring to newer versions not supporting the "abondoneware" of older programs, apps, drivers, etc.

But you are right that not only do newer versions of Windows not only stop supporing older software, but also stop supporting older hardware and also cost money. It's like paying to have less support.

With Linux, it seems that the distros also get updated, but the programs might not always be compatible with the newer versions of the distros unless they're updated along with. At least that's what I'm understanding with Chirp and Winlink that seem like they used to be rather easy to get to work on Linux, but now need a lot of work to get going because of some lack of legacy support on current versions of Linux.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY