Linux vs. Windows

Pages: 123
Hi guys,

I hope this is an appropriate forum for this type of question but with the current revelations I think it's time to give Linux serious thought. I am a Windows user, and have been for a long time, however, with what Glenn Greenwald has been reporting in the Guardian about back doors in Windows, NSA spying etc. I would like to switch to Linux. I found the Fedora site, and some installation instructions including running off a USB drive.

On my desktop, I have a number of Microsoft products such as visual studio 2010. If I switch over, will I still be able to access all of my current installed programs including the Windows ones? Are there any complications with Linux that a newbie should know about?

Any help in this regard would be appreciated,

Thanks,

Mike
Last edited on
It's hard to stay 100% Linux or 100% Windows, you kind need both.
On my desktop, I have a number of Microsoft products such as visual studio 2010. If I switch over, will I still be able to access all of my current installed programs including the Windows ones?
You'll be able to read your data, but won't be able to run your programs directly. You can install Windows in a VM, and run your programs that way, but ... I don't do that. A BSD VM runs ok, but Windows takes a lot of the machine.

Are there any complications with Linux that a newbie should know about?
There's some variance in the distributions, and they have different end goals. Just install your Fedora and try it.
Linux users wouldn't use visual studio. There are so many IDE's that i cannot keep track of them. There are at least 20 IDE's i can think of for numerous languages, all of which are free by the way, and all of which are serious development IDE's. However, you can use Wine to play .exe's, have a fake C drive in linux, etc. This is not a sure thing though. Linux has the equivalent of any Windows program. Windows PhotoShop is essentially GIMP, GIMP is free by the way. Microsoft's Office is essentially Libre Office, which is free by the way. Windows Anti-Virus, In Linux, you dont even worry about that. Windows Server is garbage compared to Apache. The list goes on and on. Not to even mention the small mini script in the repos or the massive stockpile of programs you can download, all free by the way.

I have a windows partition and a linux partition. I havent even booted into my windows in at least 1 1/2 years. I have shrunk window's partition from 1 TB down to 100 GB, and my other linux distros the rest. And now that Steam has come to Linux. I am seriously debating removing that hog Windows, from my hard drive completely, and giving its space to Arch Linux or Gentoo.

Are there any complications with Linux that a newbie should know about?

it is a learning curve. It is not meant to be for people who just use the computer here and there. But what comes with great responsibility, comes with great power.

There are so many benefits to moving to linux (or at least being familiar with linux).
Last edited on
On my desktop, I have a number of Microsoft products such as visual studio 2010. If I switch over, will I still be able to access all of my current installed programs including the Windows ones?

No, none of your Windows programs will work (different OS!) but there are Linux versions of many of them some of which can open MS files (e.g. Libre Office: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice). There is also WINE, the Windows Emulator which can run many Windows programs in a limited way.


Are there any complications with Linux that a newbie should know about?
Hell yes, more than you can count! But that's actually a good thing. Linux is based on Unix, which has been around forever and isn't going anywhere. Learning Linux administration will serve you well whatever OS you end up using.

Your start of Fedora on a USB drive is a good one except that Fedora is kind of leading edge and geared toward geeky experts who know Linux already. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is my recommendation for new users.

L B makes a good point too. Your games, graphic arts and music sequencing programs, etc. will probably NEVER be ported to Linux so set up a dual boot system or leave a PC devoted to Windows. Just don't use Windows for anything you don't want Uncle Sam to snoop on. ;-)
Are there any complications with Linux that a newbie should know about?


not really a complication, but be aware that:
-things work a little different. you'll need a little patience to learn some new things.
-exe files does nothing (unless run them on WINE or any VM, what's not that hard...)
-you'll find some bugs, for sure. any software has them. BUT you'll also won't need to deal with old Windows bugs (which everyone forget about) like system crashes and programs crashing for no reason ("NO, I DON'T WANT TO SEND A REPORT!!!")

past this point, you'll face some great OS based on Linux, that are greatly personalizable and safe. i simply love it.

i still have a partition with Windows 7, to play some games. but my real workstation is based on Lubuntu, a very lightweight OS.

so, my hint is: try it. you don't need to install a Linux-based OS to use it. you can run a LiveCD or LiveUSB :)

ps: please note that you can't switch from a system no another (like Windows to Fedora) without formatting your hard drive.
Thanks for the great replys guys. I will do some research into Ubuntu 12.04 as cnoeval suggest, maybe it will easy my transition more than Fedora.

One more question however, if I may. In my development experience, I have only used Visual studio 2010 (which I think is great) and Dev C++ (which is not so great). What are the best C++ compilers I can use on Linux? Is there anything out there comparable to VS2010?

Thanks,

Mike
MSVC is a compiler, Visual Studio is an IDE.

Obviously gcc and clang are great compilers, but as for IDEs I have no idea.
i do use Code::Blocks as IDE. it works perfectly with GCC and is also avaliable on Windows.
DevC++ is also avaliable, but as you noticed, it's not so great.
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
on linux i just use text edit and terminator. and i have third party tools for regex checking and debugging (yes yes i have been converted from a logger to a debugger). on the rarest of occasions ill use geany
First, I haven't used VS, so I can't make any comparisons.

There are lots of Linux IDE's, but which one is best is hard to say - manly because one would have to use them for a reasonable time before being able to comment.

There is an application framework called Qt, which has all kinds of technologies available, and it comes with it's own IDE - Qt Creator.

qt-project.org/‎
<--- Quoting a web address used to make a link, not working now?

Qt is cross platform, so you can have one set of code which can be compiled for various OS's - that is you can write code for which the executables will work on Windows & Mac & Linux. You can also write apps for phones amongst many other things.

I started out with KDevelop, which is quite a mature application, that can compile a variety of different languages like Fortran, Haskell, Java, assembler and dozens of others.

Then I started using Qt.

Recently I installed CodeBlocks & Eclipse, just to compare. CodeBlocks seemed to be good, but all software has it's good & bad points. For example in Eclipse, I like the way I can put a new class into a namespace, but overall I thought codeblocks was better.

In my mind, an IDE should have functionality to automate as much as possible the things that coders routinely do. For example, there should be a class wizard for making new classes, and it should have as many options as possible. It should handle inheritance, and automatically add constructors, copy constructors, assignment operators and member functions & variables. Also, when adding a new function in a header file, there should be a way for the software to automatically add a function stub in the .cpp file. So I am saying that the IDE should handle very well the basic things that one does all the time.

Other considerations might include the debugger and other tools.

So have a play with a few of them, see which one you like.

As far as software & Linux goes - there is tons of free stuff. Fedora has 20,000 free apps to download - I imagine it is similar for other distros like Ubuntu as well.

There are also things like Database software, like MySQL & PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is a full on, enterprise level Object Relational Databse Management System. It is of similar calibre to Oracle & DB2, that is entirely free. It can be used by PostGIS (also free), in case you want to do any Geographic Information System stuff. Such is the wonder of the Linux world.

I have 2 hard drives (500Gb each) in my Laptop, Linux on one, Windows on the other. I use GRUB2 as the boot loader, so I can choose which OS to boot. This is handy if I want to test different Linux distributions. I still have windows because I run AutoDesk Civil3D for work. But there are some pretty good CAD systems for Linux too. I will probably pay about $400-$700 to get the one I want, but it will have much more functionality than AutoCAD Lite, which, last I heard cost $1000.

Any way, hope this info is helpful to you.
Last edited on
You can try Linux Lite. It is geared towards first time users of linux, to help them transfer over to linux more easily. It is based of Ubuntu 12.04. Also the creator hangs out at https://www.linuxdistrocommunity.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=62, so if you have a problem, you ask the creator directly. It also requires very little, requiring only 512 MB of RAM, and 5 GB HDD
Let me suggest you CodeLite and Code::Blocks.
Thanks a lot for the ideas guys. I do have many of the free programs on windows such as GIMP, PostgreSQL and Blender and I think they are excellent.

A question for the TheIdeasMan:

Does codeblocks and or eclipse (which I have used to a limited extent with Java) automate some features which Visual studio express 2010 does not? For example I am sick of cutting and pasting all my functions from .h file to .cpp and having to add the braces via find all and replace.

Thanks,

Mike
Eclipse does that. I don't know how mature it is now for C++, but for Java and Scala it does actually much more than VS does for C++ (and it was always like that). C++ on Eclipse was always a little behind Java.
Just further to what rapidcoder has said:

All the IDE's I have used under Linux do that (plus a number of other things as well). I haven't used VS, but I am a little surprised that if it doesn't do basic things like that. However it may not be obvious, check the help and / or tutorials. You might have to do something like select (highlight the function name), then right click for a context menu, or there might be a menu option, or even a keyboard shortcut, or if you are lucky a toolbar button.

One advantage under Linux is that there are no express versions with limited functionality - you get the whole thing & it is free. From my POV it is a no brainer for anyone doing CS stuff, to move to Linux ASAP. There is so much stuff available, and a life time of learning is there waiting for you. Linux / UNIX experience is rather valuable in industry too.

Hope all goes well :+)
use ubuntu 12.04 LTS
it's a lot faster than windows and you need no virus protection. But it will help if you know terminal/shell commands/syntax.
This is not a "Linux vs Windows" topic.
The title is, but it may be worth pointing out it's about a Windows user switching to Linux, asking which complications he may find on his road.

About no virus protection, you don't need it on Windows either, then.
Because you only need an Antivirus if you left some ports open on your router, or if you execute someone else's executable files, which is something that can happen on BOTH linux AND windows.

It is certain viruses can exist for ANY operating system of the world who gives users ability to read or delete a file, or any kind of access to the internet, or any kind of asm code execution, including Windows, Linux, Mac, and any kind of mobile phone OS.

About running faster/slower, it is obvious to see how Linux is a shell-based environment, where Windows is a gui-based one.

As i'm not a X vs Y fanboy, my answers will stop here.
Last edited on
Linux is by far superior in so many ways. I ccould probably keep going on forever.

Linux is open source whereas windows is closed source. The users tend to follow suit. Someone in linux most likely will write their program where you can see what the source code is doing. Thereby allowing you and others to review if it is harmful or not. Whereas Windows users write their code and tend to hide their source code, making it completely up in the air what exactly it is doing.

I have never seen a computer run as fast as Arch Linux optimized. For example, the boot up time can be made to boot to desktop, in under 3 seconds. This puts windows 7 < to shame, and still even windows 8 boot time is nothing compared to this. Let alone win8 horrible environment for desktops/laptops.

I have been running numerous distros of linux for over 3 years now. Since making the switch, i have never once had a harmful program execute. In windows, it seemed to happen multiple times per day.

Linux users tend to know more than windows users, even newbies to linux start to understand it than long time windows users. You have to learn it to use it, and it just slowly happens, whether you want it to or not.

You can modify, edit, any part of the operating system to suit your needs. You want it to boot up faster, mod some files, change some lines, download a light weight desktop, etc.

I generally find that doing anything in linux is so much more easier than windows. Someone gives you a command to do something whereas in windows, you have to remember the GUI windows/tabs and path to navigate. I find the GUI method a pain in the royal *ss. Not to mention slower because of it. A new user can remember (or save) a one liner bash code to do something, whereas windows teaches the GUI long and drawn out method. Of course "some" of what can be done in the terminal, can be done in the dos prompt, but Bash is so much more powerful.

There are so many methods to kill an unresponsive program in linux. Even if the whole GUI goes crazy, You can always get a terminal to correct the problem Ctrl + Alt + F number

There is a reason why most the internet/servers are using linux/apache and not windows servers.

Yes, windows has a command prompt, but it does not have bash. Bash makes windows command prompt a toy.

All you have to do is try linux out for 6 months and you will see the results yourself. Once you go linux, you dont go back.
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
obviuosly you dont know what your talking about.
Linux is open source whereas windows is closed source.

both have their benefits and downfalls
The users tend to follow suit

not true. ive seen a lot of software written in linux that is closed source
Whereas Windows users write their code and tend to hide their source code, making it completely up in the air what exactly it is doing.

once again not true. ever read joel on software (i think its called that)
I have never seen a computer run as fast as Arch Linux optimized.

and i have never seen a linux distro that can game or have amazing guis like windows
i have never once had a harmful program execute. In windows, it seemed to happen multiple times per day.
coincedence. just because your on linux doesnt mean viruses are less likely to happen
Linux users tend to know more than windows users, even newbies to linux start to understand it than long time windows users. You have to learn it to use it, and it just slowly happens, whether you want it to or not.
where the hell did you get that? i started with linux and there are still people who know more than me on windows.
You can modify, edit, any part of the operating system to suit your needs. You want it to boot up faster, mod some files, change some lines, download a light weight desktop, etc.
as i already said... closed/open source both have benefits and pitfalls. im not even going to waste my time reading the rest of your post because its obvious from your thesis that it will be just as bad
Pages: 123