Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby uebermann » Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:35 pm

Call it a hobby OS if you want, thats fine with me. However, Linux distros are doing what Apple pretty much flat out refuses to do and what Microsoft is too inept to do: Lightweight OS that runs well on older hardware.

Our case is we have a bunch of tablet PCs that were made circa 2005-2007 and as such, have pretty old hardware in them. Core2Duo 1.06-1.50ghz processors. 4gb ddr2 max. 40GB HDDs. Our case isn't as uncommon as you might think though. Hospitals, banks, and even convenience stores are using old computers. Why? Because the computers still work just fine for what they need it for. They aren't gaming on these computers - they are running custom software built for mostly Windows XP that barely taxes the system. Everything is working fine - why mess with success?

We don't need a blazing fast $3000 Toughbook. A $700 iPad won't work with what we need. And its largely the same for these other companies that are affected by the XP dilemma.

I've been looking for an alternative to Windows XP for the past 6 months - on and off - and have finally decided I'm going to go with Linux over anything else. Why? Firstly, we don't need a super-sleek, fancy, bulky, OS that sucks up resources like there's no tomorrow. Win8 offers us nothing but bloat and problems and has especially poor driver/WACOM support. Windows 7 isn't too bad but still rather bulky and we aren't going to use the vast majority of crap on it so its still going to cost us time as it doesn't run as efficient as XP on our tablets. Not to mention - still uses more resources than needed.

When looking for an OS that can function perfectly fine, run the apps we need, and work reliably, there's pretty much only one solution and its Linux. I don't know what MS (and Apple) have against the older market other than their thoughts that if they make a new OS that you have to update your system for, you'll just go ahead and update your system. It isn't that easy for a lot of rather large companies (such as banks and hospitals), not to mention the costs involved in such a change. Those old systems will probably have to be completely replaced which takes a lot of time and money to do, not to mention all of the changes in software and having to pay software companies to make a new, custom version of the software to work on the new OS.

Now, in some cases, virtualization does work and simply a configuration change in Win7/Win8 can be done. But not always and not always do Windows 7/8 support older hardware, which is just plain stupid. I have a digital camera that I bought in 2003 that works FINE with Windows XP, however it does not work in any Windows version after. It already worked in XP, why wouldn't it work in 7? Again, upgrades. If your camera stops working, you'll just go out and buy a new one, right?

These guys have to get past this thinking if they want to remain relevant. Well, lets be honest, its really only MS that needs to do this. Apple doesn't need to and doesn't have enough market share in the workplace to even need to worry about doing this. Plus, its not exactly cool and trendy to have software out there that would work on an 8 yr old computer and that would hurt their "cool guy" image. I'm not knocking them, its just not their market and makes no sense for them to try and get into it.

Anyways, I've seen more posts on Linux forums in the past 2 weeks from Linux newbies trying Linux distros on their old computers and it will probably continue to go up now that support for XP is offically done. Some people will be scared and just get a new computer. But others (especially the younger crowd) are more savvy and not afraid of change. Very recently, a software company I work with formatted some old laptops they had, put Lubuntu on it, and offered them free to college kids in town there. They all went super quick. I have no doubt most of those kids are going to keep Lubuntu on there because those laptops can do everything they need to for school work and will only be lacking Netflix, which isn't a huge loss anyways.

I did see where England is paying MS for another year of personal XP support as their healthcare system uses XP, so Microsoft is willing to support XP still and put patches out for it, but only for those willing to pony up the cash up front. It'll be interesting to see what everyone switches over to here in the next few months. Linux is still going to be a "hobby OS" for a while, but its gaining ground in homes and the more people can see what it can do, the more are going to wonder why in the hell they didn't switch sooner. Windows 8 and computer sales are likely to get a big boost, but I think the hate for Windows 8 is going to just increase until 8.1u1 launches. MS could just simply dominate in every aspect if they weren't so damn stupid. I'd have gladly paid $50 for a Windows Lite for each of our tablets as it would have saved me a great deal of time going through Linux distros to find the right one. Instead, MS gets nothing.
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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby exploited » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:11 pm

For a long time, I've been saying that Linux is the future of personal computing. I've been wrong more than once when I say what I'm going to say below, so that is something to keep in mind.

I think we are seeing the beginning of the open source (primarily Linux and BSD) revolution. With so many specialized devices, Linux is incredibly powerful - you can make it do whatever the hell you want, modify it to be something completely different, serve a singular purpose or many purposes, all while keeping the bones of the operating system the same. It works on phones, tablets, PCs, microwaves, supercomputers, servers, spacecraft, whatever. Playstation, Android, SteamBox - all of this runs on a derivative of these operating systems. The server market has been cornered by Linux and BSD forever, but now we are starting to see (heavily modified) Linux distros appearing consumer-side. And it is only going to expand, especially given that it is used so extensively by people in India and China, one an engineering, the other a manufacturing superpower, with growing markets and tons of potential.

So, if it can get the proper amount of capital, I think it's only a matter of time before Linux becomes one of the big players in computing. It just needs to be commercialized, and that is starting to really happen in a big way. The next step is getting the gamers, and guess what? The best game distribution company in the world is onboard 100%. So now is make-or-break time.
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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby phosphide » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:02 am

Depending on which distribution you use, Linux will probably eat the batteries of the older hardware like crazy.
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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby phosphide » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:03 am

exploited wrote:So, if it can get the proper amount of capital, I think it's only a matter of time before Linux becomes one of the big players in computing. It just needs to be commercialized, and that is starting to really happen in a big way.

I'd argue that Red Hat has already done that. Granted they are not free however.
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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby Philly » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:12 am

I have an older laptop. It's not super fast but it's basically in good condition. What I want to do with it is keep it on the window sill by my bed so when I'm feeling lazy and need to do work or just surf the net at home I can just grab this thing without getting out of bed, but use this old one rather than my good one since I don't wanna risk dropping or damaging that one.

It surfs the web fine, like PCF for example once I initially load the page. I can click from thread to thread and it loads reasonably fast but if I open a new tab it takes like 3 minutes for the page to initially come up. Also, YouTube always lags and chops which is unpleasant.

Should I convert to Linux?
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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby exploited » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:15 am

Philly2 wrote:I have an older laptop. It's not super fast but it's basically in good condition. What I want to do with it is keep it on the window sill by my bed so when I'm feeling lazy and need to do work or just surf the net at home I can just grab this thing without getting out of bed, but use this old one rather than my good one since I don't wanna risk dropping or damaging that one.

It surfs the web fine, like PCF for example once I initially load the page. I can click from thread to thread and it loads reasonably fast but if I open a new tab it takes like 3 minutes for the page to initially come up. Also, YouTube always lags and chops which is unpleasant.

Should I convert to Linux?


An older version. Maybe like Ubuntu 9.1 or something. The newer ones have lots of fancy GUI elements that'll slow an old computer down.

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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby Philly » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:16 am

exploited wrote:
Philly2 wrote:I have an older laptop. It's not super fast but it's basically in good condition. What I want to do with it is keep it on the window sill by my bed so when I'm feeling lazy and need to do work or just surf the net at home I can just grab this thing without getting out of bed, but use this old one rather than my good one since I don't wanna risk dropping or damaging that one.

It surfs the web fine, like PCF for example once I initially load the page. I can click from thread to thread and it loads reasonably fast but if I open a new tab it takes like 3 minutes for the page to initially come up. Also, YouTube always lags and chops which is unpleasant.

Should I convert to Linux?


An older version. Maybe like Ubuntu 9.1 or something. The newer ones have lots of fancy GUI elements that'll slow an old computer down.


So if I wanted to do this I just download and install? If I don't like it would it be easy to switch back?
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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby exploited » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:19 am

Do this:

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/ ... on-windows

Once you've done this, have your computer boot from USB first, and it'll take care of the rest.

This will let you try it out without installing it to your hard drive. It'll run much slower this way but you'll be able to see if you like it. You can find the Ubuntu 9.1 ISO on many sites, or even torrent it, but just make sure you get it from someplace reputable.

If you don't like it, shut down the computer, remove the USB and you're back to Windows.
Last edited by exploited on Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby The Dharma Bum » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:20 am

if you are concerned about security you should have stuck with XP

later versions of windows and linux are backdoored
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Re: Linux, the "hobby" OS, going to be our workhorse

Postby exploited » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:28 am

The Dharma Bum wrote:if you are concerned about security you should have stuck with XP

later versions of windows and linux are backdoored


Oh? Link?

Everything I've read is that the NSA approached Linus and he refused. And considering that the source code is completely available for free online, I highly, highly doubt there is a backdoor.

Why do you make this shit up?
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