General discussion

Does Linux require advanced programming know-how?

Nov 23, 2008 6:47AM PST

The only operating systems I've ever used are Windows, and while I'm an expert at using THAT system, I feel very intimidated by switching over to Linux. I DO know a lot about computers, besides just how Windows works, but it's a different story with programming. Just reading over and makes me feel like I don't know jack about computers. Words and phrases like "kernel," "SCO," "x86," and all the terms on the front page of are very confusing.

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Here's an article that I helped along.
Nov 23, 2008 9:21AM PST
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Linux is a good way to go !!
Nov 25, 2008 11:57PM PST

The newer Linux systems that are coming out dont really need you to be a uber coder or anything like that. The newer systems are GUI based and work great . Old myths that linux are only good for server system is gone now, they do a great job even as home systems.But what i would suggest is before actually installing a linux system , download a linux "Live CD" run it on your system , see how the hardware interacts with it and is everything being detected or not , if all is good go for the install . Good luck and have a great day

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Thank you for the info but...
Nov 26, 2008 5:08AM PST

I wanted to buy a notebook with Linux already preinstalled as the main operating system. Unfortunately for me though, I'm a gamer and VERY strict about the companies that I buy from, and the only notebooks that are really sold with Linux preinstalled are Netbooks Sad

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Always welcome :)
Nov 27, 2008 2:33AM PST

hey always welcome mate Happy.

Good luck

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Jan 19, 2009 9:44AM PST

Same as you (I wanted a gaming computer, so Vista), but yo can dual-boot with windows and linux. When I want to play a game, I go into windows, and when I want to actually do work, I use Ubuntu.
The advantage (I think) is that it takes 2 minutes to get from work to a game, which minimizes the amount of time I "waste" gaming. Works great.

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Thank you but...
Jan 26, 2009 10:10AM PST

as I said, I'd like to buy a computer, preferably a gaming one, that comes with an operating system besides Windows or Mac pre-installed, and not have any other operating system on that computer, if possible.

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Easy choice
Jan 26, 2009 10:15AM PST

If you want to buy a gaming computer. you should go with Windows.

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I know but...
Jan 27, 2009 6:55AM PST

I'd rather have a computer with an operating system besides a Windows or Mac than have a gaming computer.

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Jan 27, 2009 6:58AM PST

Yea but literally almost ALL games require Direct X (which is Windows).

You could try to install WINE but I wouldn't trust it all that much for 'heavy' gaming you intend to you.

It's reality.

Linux is a desktop OS but it's more for Networking/hosting servers. Same with all BSD, etc. Pretty much all unix-like and UNIX systems. They're meant for servers and mainframes.

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Jan 27, 2009 10:03AM PST
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Jan 27, 2009 10:07AM PST

And I can't find any of those operating systems with Windows Direct X installed. Oh wait, Windows Direct X is for Windows.

Face the reality and accept the fact that if you want to game you do it on a Windows. The chances of making it work near perfect on a Windows is higher.

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Jan 27, 2009 11:26AM PST

I already SAID that what is most important to me is having an operating system that isn't Windows or Mac. I also said that IF POSSIBLE, I'd like that computer to be a gaming computer.

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Are you even reading what I'm saying haha
Jan 27, 2009 10:04PM PST

As I said a few times I understand you want to have a gaming computer other than Windows or Mac. I'm not dumb.

I'm saying you will be disappointed if you want to have Linux or UNIX as a gaming rig because they're not made for gaming.

Unless you want to play Tetris and other online games, yay, go for Linux. If you want to play commercial games .. Windows (maybe Mac) but more Windows. Face it kthx.

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That's surely possible.
Jan 27, 2009 10:19PM PST

Don't mind what Frank is saying.

You can have a PC with the right hardware for your gaming needs. Let's call that a gaming PC.
And you can make it dual boot, so you choose between Linux and Windows when booting. Use each OS for what you want to use it for.

No problem at all. What's your specific question?


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Have you reached the point of "just do it?"
Jan 27, 2009 10:35PM PST

While programming skills are not required there are simple problems you can dismiss on many machines with a command on a command line. Just last week some one told me that "Oh, you're a programmer" as I typed in the IPCONFIG command to see what was going on.

Back on topic, you can use whatever you choose but be sure you are ready to research your problems when they occur. I can't count how many dive in and expected ZERO TROUBLES. Zero troubles seem to happen only when we leave the machines off. (at least machine trouble.)

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Nov 26, 2008 5:05AM PST

Thanks for the article!

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try ubuntu
Jan 11, 2009 11:41PM PST

this is a good simple version

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Jan 12, 2009 12:20AM PST

Thanks for the advice! I've heard of Ubuntu before, and CNET had a review for it in the "Operating System" reviews, under "Software," but now they only reviewed/are reviewing Windows and Macintosh. I've heard of it being the best distribution of Linux, and of it being nice for those new at Linux.

I'm also trying to research other operating systems, such as PC-BSD; maybe RISC, though it looks very user-unfriendly and ugly; and ZETA, though the company that owned it stopped distributing and funding it. I'm definitely leaning more towards Linux and PC-BSD out of all of those.

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More than Ubuntu out there!
Jan 12, 2009 8:52AM PST

Ubuntu is the best marketed LInux, but in my opinion, it's harder than necessary. Ubuntu users still have to learn the command line for things.

I'm a big PCLinuxOS fan, and I'm running the 2007 version. When I found this distro, it was the first I'd tried that required NO command line use, found every bit of hardware, and installed in about 20 minutes start to finish. It just worked. As a windows user, this was what I was looking for. I don't want to program, commandline su, or any of that. I want to turn it on and use it. PCLinuxOS is all that. I'm anxiously waiting for the 2009 version to come out soon, it'll be the one to have.

While waiting, I've tried:
Suse11.1 (weird fonts, difficult to find things, but otherwise okay. Never got my display right, ever),
Mandriva (pretty good),
Puppy (fast but not the most user-friendly),
TinyMe(stripped down version of PCLinuxOS and quite good),
Mepis (pretty good)
DAmn Small Linux (hated it)
Fedora 10 (quite good)
... and a couple others. I've not gone back to Ubuntu because I've had too much troublet
rying to do simple things, like play a stupid DVD, and hook up the wireless. These things should have been out-of-the-box ready to rock and weren't.

NONE of these are as simple and user friendly as PCLinuxOS. I keep trying them, then going back to a two year old distro. It's that good.

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Jan 13, 2009 1:00AM PST

I've heard of more besides just Ubuntu. What about Red Hat?

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Jan 18, 2009 3:03AM PST

Would you happen to have ever tried out PC-BSD, RISC, or ZETA?

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Oh yeah
Jan 26, 2009 9:59AM PST

I forgot to add AmigaOS, Haiku, OS/2, or ReactOS.

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Jan 26, 2009 10:09AM PST

Nope. I just downloaded and installed Debian and stuck to it. Grin

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No - it's a fully-built operating system
Jan 12, 2009 3:43PM PST

Kernel = It's just the part of the operating system that deals directly with both the hardware AND the software. You don't need to know anything about this.

SCO = Company that started a lawsuit against Novell, but failed. You don't need to know anything about this.

x86 = Processors speak different languages. X86 is the language spoken by Intel, AMD and VIA processors. Unless you're NOT using a Windows-compatible PC, then you don't need to know anything about this either.

Think of some of the terms used in Windows and think about how Linux users might get confused by them - UAC? Driver? Ribbon? In computing, everything has its own jargon, and there is some Linux jargon that you will need to learn. None of the jargon you've mentioned is Linux-specific - for instance, Windows has a kernel.

To answer your question anyway, if you can use Windows without having to be a programmer, then you can use Linux without having to be a programmer.

Why not just download a Linux live CD, which allows you to run Linux from CD or from a USB drive? It won't touch your hard disk unless you tell it to. That way you'll be able to see what Linux is really like, rather than trying to infer it from articles.

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Yeah I know...
Jan 18, 2009 3:01AM PST

... that kernals aren't just for Linux, I was just giving examples of the kind of computer language that I don't understand.

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If you don't understand them ...
Jan 27, 2009 10:47PM PST

and your purpose is to learn them, you'll have to install them yourself. Or buy a second-hand one with the OS of your choice already installed by the previous owner. Or hire somebody to install it for you.

But did you know Dell sells regular PC's with Ubuntu or other versions of Linux (Red Hat or Linux) already installed. That might be what you're looking for. Have a look at:


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Jan 20, 2009 1:32AM PST

x86 = 32-bit
x64 = 64-bit
kernel = what connects hardware to apps, etc. Very important.

You do not need to know a lot about programming if you switch to Linux. The only thing you do need to know are the basic terminal commands.
If you are a beginner I suggest downloading and installing Ubuntu. It's a very user friendly Linux distribution and you do not need the terminal as much.. compared to the other distributions.

Google up some websites that show the essential commands for the Linux terminal.
I've been using Linux for 6+ months and after using the terminal and reviewing the commands, you get used to them and it's no biggy.

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Jan 27, 2009 12:22PM PST

The monikers 32 and 64 refer to the address bit space. Longer adresses require more powerful CPUs to translate.
ARM, SPARC, PPC are three other 32bit address space CPUs.
SPARC, PPC are two other 64bit address space CPUs.
The kernel is a bit more complex. It loads and unloads modules. It regulates.
Anyway, keep pushing on learning linux/unix.

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To Kees:
Jan 27, 2009 10:33PM PST

He wants to have a gaming PC purely for Linux.

He doesn't want to dual boot. He doesn't want to use anything Windows or anything Mac.

What I'm saying is legit. Without using anything that goes back to Windows you just can't play on a Linux machine. One way or another you'll be using Windows, whether you like it or not.

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Re: gaming PC
Jan 27, 2009 10:39PM PST

A gaming PC using anything else than Windows seems like nonsense, indeed. I fully agree.


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