new to linux

By aeronautica ยท 7 replies
May 9, 2004
  1. first off, I don't know much about linux, however I am beginning to search for alternative to the windows operating systems...what are some of the main differences in how linux works vs. windows 9x/ME/XP/etc. also, can programs made for windows (games, AIM, etc) work on linux - is some sort of windows emulator required? how about using my ISP on linux? is the set-up for internet access/email etc much different? keep in mind that I've never worked with linux before, so some of the questions may not be relevent.....also, could anyone maybe grab a sceenshot of their comp running linux and post it for me? thanks
  2. me(who else?)

    me(who else?) TS Rookie Posts: 387

    One of the main differences between Linux and Windows is that Linux is open source. The kernel code is free for anybody to modify, which allows for you to compile compatibility into the kernel (for things like NTFS). Also, they use different file-systems. Linux uses ext2 or ext3, where Windows uses FAT32 or NTFS. Linux has partial NTFS support, but it can read and write Fat32.

    Linux, of course, is free, which is always nice. Most software for Linux is also freeware, or is cheaper then Windows software (e.g. Red Hat 9 comes with OpenOffice, for free, while Microsoft Office, which has the same features, cost a fairly hefty price).

    You will need a Windows emulator like WINE to run Linux programs under Linux, but even then, you won't be able to use directX (I think). I had a really hard time using WINE. You also might consider using software like Bochs, which will emulate an entire computer, which you can install Windows onto for gaming + such.

    I have cable internet and have never encountered a problem using my network cards (both wireless and wired). Unless you have some crappy WinModem, Linux should be capable of using Dial-Up.
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Basically, there isn't much of a difference. You can get the basic things done, ie. e-mail, web browsing, word processing, watching movies, listening to music and so on.

    It's a bit like comparing different cars - they have different dashboards, interiors, engines, but they all have a steering wheel and pedals.

    Operating systems have different looking desktops, icons, settings in different places, but mostly they are used with a keyboard and a mouse, by interacting with icons and windows.

    You can learn to use them easily as long as you don't stick with the idea that there is only one particular way of doing things and it has to look just like this and that. In other words, texts can be written with other apps than MS Word, e-mails can be handled with other apps than Outlook Express, and so on.

    Free your mind ;)
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Actually WINE is needed to run Windows programs under Linux, Linux can run it's own programs just fine :p

    With WINE, you just have to test whether your program works in it or not. It may run fine or fail miserably. There is a database of WINE-runnable programs at

    There are specialised WINE versions that are tweaked to run certain types of Windows apps like Crossover Office to run MS Office under Linux (I suppose that is for those who have a lethal allergy against OpenOffice) and Crossover Plugin to use IE plugins in Linux (this is really good - you get Shockwave Flash and Quicktime).

    For most Windows programs there are valid alternatives for Linux and you don't need to use an emulator at all. For example for AIM you gan download the AIM Unix version or use Gaim or Ayttm that are pretty standard and come with most Linux flavours.

    If you don't know what Linux app to look for then look at this table:

    You can look at some of our Linux desktops in the "What does youre desktop look like" thread in the General Discussion forum.
  5. me(who else?)

    me(who else?) TS Rookie Posts: 387

    My bad.... speaking of Windows emulators, are there emulators to run Linux programs under windows?
  6. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Note that both of these don't run native Linux apps. They just allow you to run special versions of Linux programs made to run under MinGW/Cygwin. If you want to run true Linux under Windows you have to use a PC emulator like Bochs or VMWare.
  8. me(who else?)

    me(who else?) TS Rookie Posts: 387

    Don't tak about Bochs, that was three months wasted.
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