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Thursday, March 01, 2007
  Time to Try out Linux?
Why do I run Windows XP on my Home PC?

What do I really use my Home PC for?

Could I do all of that better, easier, faster, if I was running Linux instead?

Here's a list of the stuff I use my home PC for and point-by-point whether Linux can do it or not...

Work Stuff

- First off now that I'm only 20 minutes from the office, it's not as big of a deal for me to have a completely 100% functioning Work PC at home, but certainly it would be frustrating to have to go into the office because I couldn't do something at home... That said, here's what I need on my home PC in order to work.

E-Mail - Certainly I can't run Microsoft Outlook in Linux, but with Exchange 2003 Outlook Web Access, that would give me 90% of what I would need.
Office Applications - I've just taken a quick look at Google Docs & Spreadsheets, it's Google's attempt to provide Office Productivity applications over the web, (lookout Microsoft), anyhow, this could potentially be used to edit Word docs and Excel spreadsheets, there is also the Open Office suite of desktop apps... but how about products like Visio, MS Project, etc... I don't use these as often, but I think I'd have a tougher time finding a way to natively work with these formats on a Linux box.

VPN - I'm not sure about this one - I imagine it must be doable, but I've never done it before, establish an L2TP or PPTP connection from a Linux box... Will have to try it I guess...
Remote Desktop - In order to connect to servers to perform administration/troubleshooting, etc. I know this exists as I've used it with a quick test install of Ubuntu I did once.

Home Stuff
Internet Surfing - By far the activity most performed on my home PC - 'Surfing the Weeb', so Firefox would be the beast, with the Google Toolbar installed, I'm sure I'd be a very happy camper in the Linux world.

Downloading Music & Videos - I mostly use BitTorrent, and I'm sure there are perfectly good BitTorrent clients for Linux, but how about other P2P clients? I've no idea... I use Soulseek and LimeWire, I don't know if these are available, but as long as there is some other decent P2P apps I'm sure I'd be happy.

Burning CDs and DVDs - I use Nero currently, but as long as I can make Audio CD's and burn Data & ISO's to CD's and DVD's, I'm happy, will have to find an app to do this though.

Managing iPod - There isn't a native version of iTunes for Linux, somewhat suprising, you wouldn't think Apple would want to give someone a reason to keep Windows, but I suppose they'd prefer to to go Mac right? That being said, iTunes isn't actually required for an iPod, as long as there is an app that will download podcasts for me and synch w/ the iPod, I'm a happy camper.

Managing RAZr Mobile Phone - This isn't really a bigger, I could certainly install this app on another PC, but it's nice to be able to pull pictures off of the RAZr, load up wallpaper/ringtones/etc.

Listening to Music - Yes, Linux can play MP3's.

Acting as a Store for Media Files accessed by XBOX - XBOX can access the files via FTP, Linux can also run as an SMB Server, so no problem here.

Games - For the most part just Spider Solitaire, pathetic eh? I have an XBOX so who needs PC Games? Not an issue.

Image Viewing / Editing - I've done a bit of playing around with Windows Movie Maker which is pretty wild, perhaps there is something decent in this regard for Linux, but I would imagine it's not as polished... Photo Editing won't be an issue, there's some great Linux software - Gimp, etc, that can do that...

... Ok, so it appears that I'd probably have to spend in the neighborhood of 20-30 hours doing the install then researching and trying out a variety of the 'best of breed' tools for Linux in order to replace my Windows desktop, so perhaps the question would be then, Why? Why bother? Why go through all of the effort simply to CHANGE?

Pros - Most if not ALL of the software would be legitamate, free or Open Source software, no licenses to pay for, no software piracy.
- Learn more about Linux and Linux applications, good to know from a support perspective
- Supposedly better performance, better stability, better security, although I'm reasonably satisfied with the performance, stability and security of my existing setup (So, it's a Maybe?)

Cons - Time, a lot of time to do the install/config/tweaking
- Relearning a bunch of new apps that essentially just do what I can already do.

I think what I might do is to try out a new version of the UBUNTU installer which integrates with the Windows XP Bootloader, and then loads up a virtual disk image off the HD, so sort of a weird combination of a LiveCD, and VMWare in a way, anyhow, maybe I'll try this on one of my spare machines, and try to get some of the questions above answered before taking the plunge and migrating over my primary PC.... Comments?



 
Comments:
How pathetic is this, commenting on my own blog, oh, and being the ONLY ONE commenting on my own blog! HA!

Here's an article with suggestions on some software to solve some of the key HOME requirements...

http://www.degreetutor.com/library/research-tools/top10programsforlinuxnerds
 
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