Using Linux thus far…

* Virus, Adware, Spyware, etc.
So far the main difference between using Windows XP and Linux has been that there has been no need to install antivirus, antispyware or antiadware (popup) programs. Granted, because I always stayed very up to date with Windows updates and the latest (free) antivirus (NOD32 or AVGFree), spyware (SpyBot Search and Destroy) and adware (Lavasoft AdAware), I never had a virus or adware pop-up invasion. But other people do, and there have been reports of people even throwing away their entire computer to get a new one. These are the folks that would benefit most from a switch to Linux, I think.

* Finding and installing new programs
Another difference is the ease of looking for new programs, installing them and removing programs you don’t like or don’t use. I mentioned this before, but it’s basically as simple as two clicks to see a huge searchable list of hundreds programs (separated by category), then you tick the boxes of the programs you want (or untick the programs you want to remove), click ‘OK’ and the machine removes or installs the programs as needed. No restarting, nothing, and you can go on and browse the web or whatever while that’s going on.

* Multiple desktops
Having multiple desktops is a nice thing to have as well. At the bottom right of the screen (by default) are two ‘micro screens’ that show the placement of windows on your desktop. Say you are working on a graphics program to edit photos, an FTP program to upload the photos, and an HTML editor to put the photos on your website. (Fully-featured versions of these programs are available for free for Linux, by the way. And for most people, they’re competitive against programs like Photoshop, CuteFTP and Dreamweaver, too. For free.) All three of those programs would be open in their own windows, on what you could call a ‘work’ desktop. On *another* desktop, you could be doing system stuff like running a terminal window (more on that later), checking email, and browsing the web. Of course, as with the graphics and web editors, you get a fully-featured email program and a great

* Problems?
I wouldn’t call them ‘problems’, more ‘settling in’ and getting things exactly the way I want them…

The main issue: playing Flash video (FOR 64-BIT SYSTEM *ONLY*) – this was merely annoying, because I couldn’t view YouTube videos or Flash-embedded videos on other websites. This was solved recently by a user on UbuntuForums.org going by the name of ‘Kilz’, who wrote a script that solved all the 64-bit & Firefox problems. For normal 32-bit computers the hassle isn’t a major one, simply run a few lines of code as directed on the Ubuntu Feisty Guide online. 64-bit support for Ubuntu may be slower than 32-bit but it’s nowhere near as slow as for Windows!
The even bigger issue: not installing graphics drivers. This was almost a showstopper, because Firefox (which uses a lot of memory) was crashing on me constantly when I was opening or closing a few windows. I tried alternatives like SwiftFox, Epiphany and SwiftWeasel, but they would crash also. I posted about the problem on the Ubuntu Forums and was reminded that I should have installed the latest drivers for my video card. Silly me, I should have known to do that! After installing the Envy program, job’s a good ‘un, no problems since.

Minor issues include figuring out how to navigate the directory structure in the terminal (or console), and also setting file/folder permissions so I could move loads of files from old hard drives into my personal directory on a new hard drive.

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