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2002 Jul 17 18:52

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Re: [vox] [zmcarrico@ucdavis.edu: shoud i get linux?]
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Re: [vox] [zmcarrico@ucdavis.edu: shoud i get linux?]

A problem with not having Windows is that some classes require you to run
certain software that runs only on Windows.  If the software runs just on
Windows, they'll probably setup a lab for you, but going to the lab can be
a hassle with all the potential schedule conflicts.  If they have software
that runs either on Windows or Mac, they probably won't even provide a lab
-- UCD now assumes incoming students already have a computer, which means
either Windows or Mac.

And Word and Excel -- don't even get me started.  If you ever sumit a
paper via e-mail, it's probably gonna be required that you submit it in
Word format (maybe they'll accept ASCII, but you lose all formatting
info.)  If they give you a spreadsheet assignment, it's probably gonna be
required that you use Excel.  And some [stupid] resume collections require
that you submit documents only in Word if you ever wanna get into their
resume collection.

I recommend you get the most current version of Windows (XP at the moment)
and MS Office, and just keep them around for emergencies like that.  You
should be able to keep them around for all four (or five+) years of
college without problems.  If they ever give you software that won't run
on XP, you can complain along with everyone else.  BTW, you can buy MS
Office after coming to UCD so you can get student discount; I'm not sure
if there's any discount for XP.


On Wed, 17 Jul 2002, Jeff Newmiller wrote:

> On Wed, 17 Jul 2002, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> > please cc your replies to zac, since he's not on the list (yet).   :)
> [...]
> >
> > ----- Forwarded message from zmcarrico@ucdavis.edu -----
> > I'm starting at ucd this fall and I need to get a computer.  I've
> > never used linux before but I like the idea of a cheap operating
> > system with open source coding.
> Cool. :)
> > Do you recommend I get a labtop with windows and partition the drives
> > so I can use linux or should I just get linux?
> If you have a need to use Windows, then this is probably what you will do
> anyway.  But it isn't really a very good idea for a couple of reasons:
> a) You are continuing to support the monopolistic behavior of Microsoft.
> Some people feel this is unavoidable ... finding a computer-oriented job
> that doesn't require familiarity with Windows can be challenging, to say
> the least.  However, any use of Windows is a compromise with their "we own
> this software and we will control your use of it" attitude.  Keep that in
> mind every time you accept their EULA, because every time you actually
> _read_ that EULA carefully you are likely to find yourself more worried
> about what you are agreeing to.
> b) Switching between dual-boot operating systems is time-consuming enough
> that you probably won't be doing it very often.  This usage pattern will
> tend to limit the usefulness of "alternate" operating systems.  Whether
> Windows is "alternate" or Linux is "alternate", your familiarity with the
> "alternate" will not develop. so the disk space for the "alternate" OS
> will be poorly used.
> There are some advantages to dual boot:
> a) Windows often has better driver support in very new hardware, because
> of the monopoly.  Linux programmers have to use their spare time to play
> catch-up with programming efforts expended by the hardware manufacturers
> for Windows, and the manufacturers aren't always forthcoming with details
> of how to do this.  (Note that use of very new drivers in Linux is one of
> the few ways to achieve unstable operation of Linux, so you might want to
> avoid the most recent hardware for your first Linux install.)
> b) If you are already familiar with Windows, it is going to take some time
> to reach a similar familiarity with Linux, and you may not be able to
> afford to spend all of that time at the outset.  Having a dual boot allows
> you to "ease" yourself into Linux if you don't have two computers.
> There are alternatives to dual boot:
> a) Wine is free software that allows you to run certain Windows software
> in Linux environment. If you have a need to use specific software, you may
> not need Windows if you use Winex.  It is reportedly difficult to install,
> though. From a simplicity-of-installation point of view, Transgaming has
> made improvements to the installation process and gaming support that you
> have to pay a minimum of $15 for, but that choice is quite popular for
> supporting games.
> b) VMWare is a relatively expensive commercial application that allows you
> to create one or more "virtual" computers, into which you can install the
> operating system of your choice.  The "virtual hardware" is a standard set
> of hardware, effectively unrelated to the actual hardware on your
> computer.  This approach allows you to get in and out of the virtual
> machine as easily as switching windows, and allows you to obtain most of
> the advantages of the "guest" operating system without the inefficiency of
> rebooting.  It is possible to run Linux in a virtual machine under
> Windows, but it can be disappointing to realize that Windows' crashes kill
> your Linux work, as compared to the stability of Linux as a host OS.
> > If just linux do they sell labtops with linux pre-installed or labtops
> > without either windows or linux installed?
> There are at least a couple of companies that preinstall Linux, but by far
> the majority preinstall Windows.  Laptops with no OS are virtually
> nonexistent.  Check out a current copy of Linux Journal or Linux Magazine
> for advertisements.
> > What version is best because the only one I've heard of is Red Hat?
> Each seems to have its own advantages.  Personally, I have had little luck
> with Red Hat, even though it is so widespread.  Mandrake and SuSE seem to
> have nice graphical installs.  Debian has an excellent upgrade mechanism
> that makes it very easy to keep up with bugfixes.  Mandrake is trying to
> emulate the Debian upgrade system, but I haven't used Mandrake myself.
> > Rad site, i think I'll join lugod if I ever learn how to use linux.
> Learning Linux is a long-term project, so don't put off joining too long.
> Don't forget that learning Windows is a long-term project also... but is
> more like learning how to get government handouts rather than learning how
> to work.  Both approaches may keep you fed, and both may require that you
> adapt to changing conditions, but work is likely to give you more control
> of your life.
> > Thanks for any intel you can give.
> Actually, we don't give Intel or AMD... just advice. ;)
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
> DCN:<jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.us>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  Live Go...
>                                       Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  Playing
> Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
> /Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  rocks...2k
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
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Mark K. Kim
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