Linux OS

From: Gordon JC Pearce <>
Date: Sun Oct 17 08:06:29 2004

There's a non-Linux question at the bottom, to keep everyone reading and
to at least *pretend* to be on-topic...

Jim Isbell wrote:
> I have been ready for 20 years to dump "Uncle Bill" but every time I
> try to switch to Linux I run into problems that seem insurmountable.

I'm trying to go the other way - there are a few things I need to run
under Windows that don't work in Linux. I've never really used Windows,
except recently at work, and I know next-to-nothing about it.

> I can't do that. There are programs I need and I cannot just take a
> chance that "maybe it will work" My main concerns are Adobe PDF
> creator, Adobe Photo Shop, Netscape, and particularly Easy Office 2001
> which contains all my data in Easy Spreadsheet files that are not
> compatible with Excel (even though they are supposed to be).

Depends what you want to do. There are many, many ways to create PDFs
in Linux (and indeed *any* of the free Unix-a-likes). Most programs
expect to be able to print stuff to a PostScript printer, and from there
it's a fairly trivial matter to convert to PDF. For most applications
Gimp, though not really as good as Photoshop, is good enough for most
applications. My girlfriend uses it exclusively for photo-editing, and
she works in a large photo-processing environment. Apparently it beats
the proprietary software that is specifically designed for their printer
on all fronts. Netscape is just Netscape, there have always been Linux
versions. Mozilla has kind of replaced it by now. If you're not using
Mozilla Firefox as your web browser (especially in Windows), then you'd
better have a good reason why. Easy Office I've never heard of. If you
use a lot of macros, I would expect you'd need to re-write these. Open
Office is more MS Office compatible than MS Office - it will open stuff
that doesn't work between different MS Office versions (even the
notorious Office 97).

> I don't want to have to go out and buy an all new set of apps. That
> makes the relatively low price of Lindows immaterial. And besides, all
> my files would likely be incompatible so I lose all my old data unless I
> keep two machines. Also, I use Netscape for browser and E Mail and I
> have tons of mail files and bookmarks that I would have to figure out
> how to get over to Lindows...Unless Netscape will run under Lindows. ????

As I said, Netscape originated as a Unix browser, so you shouldn't have
a problem there. At the very worst, you can use an IMAP mail server,
copy your mail across, then copy it back into a different environment.
I've done this to get around proprietary mailbox formats before, and it
works (but it's not pretty). Most distributions of Linux come with a
ton of applications, and you can always download more. Commercial
software in Linux tends to be restricted to highly specialised servers
and games, so don't worry about paying for stuff.

> I know there are free apps that can do word processing and spreadsheets
> and photo processing, but they appear to be "stripped down" versions.

Open Office is actually a little bit too "full featured" for my tastes.
  Gimp does pretty near everything you want in photo processing. It
doesn't support CMYK separation, so print is going to be less than
ideal. If you're not using four-plate litho, you needn't worry.

> I can network the old and new computers ( I already have the LAN in
> operation with two MS OS computers on it) then I could download all my
> files and programs into the new computer....IF I COULD BE SURE that they
> would work with the Lindows OS. Spending $49 to try what might be a
> failure is NOT an option.

Download one of the many thousands of free distributions of Linux and
try that, then. Someone else suggested Knoppix - this is good, because
its hardware detection works wonderfully. It runs from the CD, which
means you need quite a lot of RAM, and even then a lot of apps are slow
to start up. Bear in mind that you are looking at a woefully slow
version of Linux, with all possible goodies turned on. You can turn off
a lot of stuff that you don't need - one of my desktop machines is a
P200MMX running Linux, and it's considerably faster than the P3-500
running Windows 2000 at work.

Now for the on-list-topic but irrelevant to this discussion question!
I'll post this as a separate question too, so it doesn't screw up
threaded mail readers.

On the PDP8/S, when you look at the serial registers (for AC, say), do
they act as shift registers, bumping the number through one flip-flop at
a time (so a 1 that starts in AC0 will eventually be shunted through to
AC11), or are all the flip-flop inputs wired together, so the serial
data gets gated into each bit in turn?

Received on Sun Oct 17 2004 - 08:06:29 BST

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