Skip to comments.Linux is easier to install than XP
Posted on 07/23/2008 5:54:47 AM PDT by twntaipan
When you buy a new PC today, unless you hunt down a Linux system or you buy a Mac, you're pretty much stuck with Vista. Sad, but true.
So, when I had to get a new PC in a hurry, after one of my PCs went to the big bit-ranch in the sky with a fried motherboard, the one I bought, a Dell Inspiron 530S from my local Best Buy came pre-infected with Vista Home Premium. Big deal. It took me less than an hour to install Linux Mint 5 Elyssa R1 on it.
As expected, everything on this 2.4GHz Intel Core2 Duo Processor E4600-powered PC ran perfectly with Mint. But, then it struck me, everyone is talking about having to buy Vista systems and then 'downgrading' them to XP Pro, how hard really is it to do that.? Since I had left half the 500BG SATA hard drive unpartitioned, I decided to install XP SP3 on it to see how much, if any, trouble I'd run into. The answer: a lot.
First, thanks to my Microsoft TechNet membership I could download an XP disk image, which included all the patches up to and including SP3. Many people aren't going to be that lucky. They'll need to install XP and then download perhaps hundreds of megabytes of patches. Boy, doesn't that sound like a lot of fun?
If you don't have a MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) or TechNet membership, there are two ways to approach this problem. The first is to manually slipstream the patches into an XP installation CD. You can find a good set of instructions on how to do this in Slipstreaming Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Create Bootable CD. While the article is for SP2, the same technique works for XP SP3 as well.
The other way is use nLite. This is a program that allows you to customize Windows XP and 2000. While it's primarily so that you can set up Windows without components you don't want, such as Internet Explorer 6, Outlook Express, MSN Explorer, or Messenger, you can also use it to create fully patched-up boot/installation CDs. I highly recommend it.
This time I didn't need to use either one. I simply put in my newly burned XP SP3 CD and went through the usual XP installation routine. Within an hour, I was booting XP.
If this had been Linux my work would have been done. With XP, I soon discovered my job was just beginning. I soon found that XP couldn't recognize my graphics sub-system, a totally ordinary Integrated Intel GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 3100; the audio system, the Realtek HD Audio chipset, or, most annoying of all, the Intel 10/100Mbps Ethernet port. How can an operating system in 2008 not recognize an Ethernet port?
Well, XP doesn't.
Fortunately, Dell includes a CD with the full range of Windows drivers on it. With it, I was able to install the drivers for all the equipment without much trouble. Within another hour, I finally had a working XP SP3 system.
That wasn't so bad was it? Well, here's my problem, except for Dell, I don't know of any vendors who ship their PCs with driver disks anymore. The usual vendor answer for when you have a driver problem is for you to go online, search down the right driver, download, and install it. Except, of course, had that been my only course of action, I would have been up the creek without a paddle because XP wasn't capable of letting me talk to my network.
Mint, on the other hand, let me point out, had no trouble with any of my hardware. Thus Ubuntu-based Linux recognized the equipment, it set it up and let me get to work. It was Windows that proved to be a pain in the rump.
Greg Kroah-Hartman, a prominent Linux developer, is right. Linux Journal recently reported that he recently told an audience at the Ottawa Linux Symposium that "Linux supports more different types of devices than any other operating system ever has in the history of computing."
Linux isn't perfect that way, as Kroah-Hartman would be the first to admit. Based on what I experienced, though, Linux is much better than Windows at supporting modern hardware.
We have this illusion, that's just because Windows works on the systems it comes pre-installed on, that Windows has great built-in driver support. No, it doesn't. Once you move to installing Windows on a new system, you'll quickly find that Linux, not Windows, has the better built-in hardware support.
Yes, that's right. Linux, not Windows, is easier to install on a new PC. Just something to think about as you get ready to strip Vista off your new computer.
It wasn't the reinstall. I was able to print from the Administrator account after installation. No problem. But I could not print when switching to my Restricted account. Again, it would spool, but no print.
As for where to set security forget control panel, the XP Users thing is junk. Right click My Computer, Manage, then youll find the NT style User and Groups that actually gets the work done. Remember XP was before MS decided security was important for non-servers so they didnt make it easy.
Been there, done that. It brings up a Computer Management screen. What's listed is: 1) System Tools: Event Viewer, Shared Folders, Performance Logs and Alerts, Device Manager; 2) Storage: Removable Storage, Disk Degragmenter, Disk Management; 3) Services and Applications: Services, WMI Control, Indexing Service System. Nowhere is there anything, even under these areas, that pertains to Users/Groups. Nothing.
It probably will work but theres some goofy setting somewhere. Was the restricted account local to the laptop or part of the network?
Local to the laptop.
Im not going to nail anybody for flying as admin, for one thing Im lazy and do it too, its just good to remember that its not safe and when something bad happens you shouldnt be surprised, and dont come around b#$%^ing and moaning about crappy Windows security afterwards.
I understand. But keep in mind, your usual PC buyer will be totally clueless about security. Much more so than you or even I. I'm both hardware and software firewalled and running anti-virus software. I run Ad-Ware, and have Spybot running in the background. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've had few to no problems for quite some time.
I decided to look into changing accounts so I gave it a try. Well, I'm back to running as Administrator. There may be a threat, but it's a heck of a lot easier and hassle free from a user standpoint. And I can assure you, well over 95% of the PC public is likely doing the same.
Boy, you had to bring up Terminal, didn't you. Terminal and Sudo were my two main bugaboos with Linux. I think I've said that upthread so I won't go into it again here. Boy was that a pain, though.
I agree with that mostly. For me, the bye bye to windows happened when I could finally convert AVI etc. to DVD files and burn discs that would play on standalone DVD players. Ubuntu does everything else I need.
The problem is not so simple. I recently bought a machine for my mom to use Linux on (she wanted it for some reason). My computer science brother could not get Suse on it to run properly. Because Ubuntu only made DVD installation disks, that was not possible because the machine only had a CD drive.
My mother could def get XP on there on her own.
I suspect many of us who’ve tried Linux have Windows based applications they missed GREATLY. I went through the throws of trying to run Windows apps in Linux. Simple apps worked alright. But others were a pain or didn’t work. And I bought software to do that with. No, not VMWare. I didn’t have the cash to throw at that one; especially for what little I’d need it for.
But it taught me a lesson. Windows is not perfect by a long shot. But it works, although yes there are issues. It’s been decades though since I’ve been involved with it. So it’s like an old pair of sneakers that’s seen better days, and may look kinda cruddy and let is a little puddle at times. But they’re still more comfortable than that new pair I tried last month.
Flexibility and working the way YOU want to is part of the appeal.
It is but I have the spare time to tinker.
Look I’m not telling you it’s a good thing, I’m just saying why they do it. That’s how the business works, that’s how the business has worked for a long time, and there’s no reason to think the business is going to run any differently in our lifetimes.
You’ve got home edition. Forgot how different they are. That’s probably why you can’t hit the network printer properly. Home edition has tons of limitations on network access, especially on the restricted account.
I know the vast majority of Windows users are running in admin. That’s the problem. You can use all those defensive measures, and I run many myself, but in the end running as admin is like having sex with crack hos, you can limit your vulnerability with condoms and AV software, but you can’t yourself 100% safe. You and I are one exposure to a new virus that’s not in the database of our AV tools yet away from major trouble. Never forget the lessons of iloveyou, most successful virus in history, estimated at hitting 10% of the computers connected to the net at the time, every last infected computer was because somebody with admin privileges double clicked on the wrong exe. We the users are a significant part of the Windows security problem.
I last checked it out a few months ago. It’s looking somewhat better, but it’s still looking like FS 2000. I’m not meaning to put it down, but I’m after eye candy, and FSX and X-plane both have it. Eventually I will dual-boot, or VM one OS into the other, or something. I miss Linux having used it for only 6 months or so. THEN, I’ll probably get Flight Gear along side the others.
Hell guy, last time I really played around with FS, it was on a 4.77MHz PC with a green monochrome screen. And we used FS back then to test the compatibility of hardware.
Funny how things have changed.
So you're comparing a 1.0 release of free and open software that runs on multiple platforms to a 2000 release of software put out by a corporation with Billion$ in R&D at their disposal?!
Damn those FG guys are good!
Here's what I did: I've been running cross platform applications for some time now on the old Windows 2000 machine (OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.). Just last week the thing finally died. I swapped in a machine I'd previously set up running PCLinuxOS (I've never liked Ubuntu), running the same apps. The family barely noticed the change.
Is this PC connected to a peer network? Is it connected to a PC with XP Home Edition? If so, how serious was getting the PC's to handshake?
I'll look into PCLinuxOS. But would appreciate any input you have on the above, if possible.
True enough I suppose but SP3 has cut down those myriad large patches. I also use Acronis and was using the AutoPatcher until MS realized it was making them look bad so they cracked down on its author/keeper.
I don’t have XP home. I have one machine with XP pro corporate that I don’t turn on very often (only use it for games and MS flight simulator), two computers running PCLinuxOS (my current favorite distro), and two wireless laptops running linux (Asus EEEpc’s), all connected to my home network. Also have a NAS disk for backups and archive. I’m pretty sure they can all talk to each other (I grabbed some files off the windows computer from one of the linux computers last night), and they all for sure have no problem with the NAS. I’ll have to take a closer look tonight, but I don’t think there’s any problem, and I certainly didn’t have to do any extra configuration.
If you were able to access the Windows PC (XP Pro) from the Linux PC, then you should be alright. But for me, it may be a different issue mine being XP Home.
I’m not going to convert the machine in the basement from Windows 2000 to Linux because I use it for copying music from tapes and a turntable. I’ve tried that with Ubuntu and Audacity (the music editor I use) doesn’t work under the circumstances (It doesn’t recognize the signal).
A buddy has some old PC’s he’s trying to unload so I’ll check with him. But first I want to check into hardware requirements for PCLinuxOS; especially RAM requirements. His PC’s may not fit the bill.
Putting my LP's into digital format is the whole reason I got into linux in the first place! I was tired of trying demo (crippled) windows versions of music recorders/editors, and I was too broke to buy one. So I got wind of some open source programs that worked on linux (also free), and away I went. I bought a preamp to hook my turntable to the soundcard inputs, and finally settled on Audacity for recording/editing, and GWC (Gnome Wave Cleaner) for removing pops and noise. I think I was using something like Mandrake 7.2 at the time, so it was a bit of a chore to get it all working. Nowadays I imagine it would be a lot easier, although like I said before, Ubuntu has always given me problems.
It was in Ubuntu that I was having problems. Audacity would work fine on Windows 2000. But when I tried the Linux version it would not recognize signals through Line In or any other source. I could never get it configured. So I went back to Windows 2000. I then tried Ubuntu as a dual boot on my laptop. I had other issues so now I’m back to Windows XP.
The laptop is in my office. The W2000 PC is down in the basement on a table that also holds my diskette player and turntable. Those are linked to a switch so I can record off either one. (Yes, I did try removing the switch when trying to get Linux to record). The two PC’s are networked. I have a Linksys wireless router attached to my laptop, and a Linksys wireless USB router on the Windows 2000 PC. No problem in Windows networking. But I wasn’t able to get the two to handshake in Linux.
BTW, the Windows version of Audacity has a pop/click cleaner.
But it works quite well.
I have updated a web page where you can get the script.
Be warned--I seem to not have the instructions anymore beyond what is on that page.
Let me know if you figure it out based on the instructions I have posted. If I can update these instructions, I will.
I'll give it a try tonight.
If you have any updated information for any of the distributions on there, let me know and I'll update the page.
You can very easily make sudo passwordless for your username. It’s not always the best thing security-wise (still more secure than XP or vista with it’s nag feature turned off), but it’s certainly easy to do and would remove the annoyance factor for you.
Really, mostly with *buntu, all you have to do is search your problem on the forums and follow the instructions you get. It ain’t rocket science.
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