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GUI Windows Linux

Ask Slashdot: the Best Linux Setup To Transition Windows Users? 448

First time accepted submitter Quantus347 writes "I am trying to convince a number of people to give Linux a chance, arguing that it has come a long way on the road of consumer usability. Can you, oh Wise Ones of Slashdot, recommend a Lunix setup that will be as similar as possible to a Windows environment (Windows 7 or XP). These people hate and fear change, and so will latch onto nearly any noticeable differences, so I'm thinking in terms of both front end functionality and the look of the interface. It would also be very important for them to have to go to the command line as little as possible during daily use (meaning as close to never as can be managed)."
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Ask Slashdot: the Best Linux Setup To Transition Windows Users?

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  • Ubuntu (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:14AM (#40789293)

    With great hardware support and a polished UI, Ubuntu seems to just work in any case I've implemented it.

    Can even go as far as to change out your themeing for an Aero/Win7/WinXP look and feel (Window Theme/Icon Set/Cursor Theme).

  • Zorin OS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ynot_82 ( 1023749 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:15AM (#40789303)

    Never used it, but it's designed for exactly this []

  • Re:my suggestion (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:20AM (#40789373)

    Not running as root by default is a Good Thing. As for running graphical administratory applications, that's what gksudo is for.

    I know that and I don't even use Linux much (I've got an Ubuntu server install running Apache that I prod every couple of weeks).

  • Re:Avoid Unity (Score:5, Informative)

    by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:24AM (#40789433) Homepage Journal

    Nobody much loves Unity, but Ubuntu 12.04 with either Gnome or KDE is pretty slick and easy to use.

  • Re:Should you? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:27AM (#40789457)

    I think Linux actually is easier to use than Windows, although 7 made a few improvements and borrowed some of the features. The ability to have a central facility that updates all your software without being tied to a single 'walled garden' repository is a huge plus as well.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:31AM (#40789501)

    Make sure you've found out what it is they do, and that you have apps lines up that can give them EVERYTHING they want. If you can't do that, then don't bother. I don't mean a program that "Does the same thing but maybe has some problems," or a program that "Is under active development and will totally support that real soon now." I mean applications that are either the same program, or otherwise 100% replacements for what they use now.

    One problem I find with a lot of "You should just switch to Linux," advocates is that they think severely compromising your workflow is going to be a-ok with users. That users should be willing to make big tradeoffs in what they can do or how they do it just for the amazing privilege of using Linux. That, of course, goes over like a ton of bricks with the users.

    For example it seems like if someone uses Photoshop and Illustrator it takes about 2 seconds before the knee-jerk "Use GIMP!" gets screamed. However what that says is that you aren't actually considering their use case, just finding a program that is nominally in the same area and deciding it is good enough. Not even close. For some people, GIMP is a fine Photoshop replacement. For others, not at all. GIMP is not at all on Photoshop's level so depending on what the person does it may not be an adequate replacement.

    So that is step one: Evaluate what they do, what programs they use and what they use them to do. Then see if you can find replacement software in Linux that does ALL of that. If you can, ok then you can move on to the next step of finding something to make the transition as easy as possible. If you can't, then pack it in and don't bother, because you cannot in fact offer them an easy change. Any change you offer would be one where they would have to make compromises. That's ok for someone who is interested in changing and willing to compromise, that's not ok for someone who is happy and you are trying to convince them change for its own sake is good.

  • KDE, OpenSuse? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pinkeen ( 1804300 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:32AM (#40789513) Homepage
    I would go with KDE, it's kind of similar (but way more powerful) to Windows in many ways. With a bit of tweaking (ie. double-click) you could make it pretty cosy for ex-MS users.

    KDE is very polished now, no show-stopping or other annoying bugs. Personally - I use Arch, but thats not viable for someone who is not a power user.
    You should search for a distro that has KDE by default (as the main DE), because offshoots like kubuntu have pretty poor integration and many features are broken. Taking this into consideration I think that OpenSuse would be a good choice.
  • by RudyHartmann ( 1032120 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:38AM (#40789591)
    There are a few things we would need to remember about asking people to change. They are going to be naturally resistant to it and they will complain when they have to use effort to accomplish change. I would choose Linux Mint 13 KDE. Why? (1) It works right out of the box. (2) KDE's appearance is very much like Windows (3) KDE is very easy to customize (4) There is enough eye candy to impress, but not overwhelm (5) Mint is likely to continue in business for the foreseeable future I do not work for or have any financial interest in any Linux company either. But Mint 13 Cinnamon also has many of these same attributes. I just think KDE does it better.
  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:43AM (#40789653)

    I support both.. (and both for servers too) You have apparently never had to support a bunch of linux users. They just get the job done. No malware, no antivirus, no calls saying "I was on the web yesterday, and installed something, and now everything is slow and I think things are broken". Never had an issues with some custom vb macro for excel an intern wrote 6 years ago won't work on the new version of their spreadsheet tool...

    What kinds of users issues do you have to deal with in Linux that make it more difficult than Windows? if nothing else, being able to SSH directly into their computers is much, much nicer than walking your co-worker through connecting up to some remote desktop web site like LogMeIn Pro.

    Perhaps the difficulty you have in supporting linux users is related to your unfamiliarity with linux? I think both are much easier to support than Mac's, but that might be because the last mac I used was in 1990.

  • Re:Ubuntu Precise (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:44AM (#40789687)

    This is correct.

    Precise 12.04 is not bug-free, but it's solid, fast even on several-year-old-hardware that wasn't top of the line even then, easy to learn, and requires minimal or no adjustments once you get it the way you like it. the fact that it will be actively supported for many years is a bonus. it's not perfect, but then nothing is. it's good enough.

    for a new linux user, coming from MS or Apple OSes, unity -makes sense-, and has the level of professional polish they expect.

    posting AC because I'm tired of getting downmodded by hardcore linux fanboys who think if you didn't compile it yourself, you should get out of their sandbox, and if you say you actually like unity you must have something wrong with you.

  • Re:Avoid Unity (Score:5, Informative)

    by atomicxblue ( 1077017 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:56AM (#40789829)
    Mint supports Nvidia. I'm using a GeForce GTX 460 with the 295.49 driver. They have done much better keeping up with the latest driver versions than Ubuntu proper .
  • Re:Avoid Unity (Score:1, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:58AM (#40789859) Homepage

    This guys is throwing up one of those "hybrid-laptops". He's found his corner case and he's going to troll it for everything it's worth.

  • Re:Avoid Unity (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aaden42 ( 198257 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:10AM (#40789995) Homepage

    I'm not sure that dismissing a hybrid integrated / discreet video laptop as a "corner case" is entirely fair. Quite a few laptops have been made in that configuration, and it does make a pretty tremendous improvement in battery life to use the lesser GPU when you don't need the extra power of the discreet chip.

    I'd personally say any case where Linux is left unable to use performance or battery life increasing features of a laptop is a pretty bad situation. Certainly for me to sell Mom & Dad on, "Here's your new OS! It kind of looks the same, but your battery only lasts half as long." Yeah Not gonna fly...

  • Re:Avoid Unity (Score:1, Informative)

    by Torvac ( 691504 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:12AM (#40790021)
    seriously, mint is broken. word of mouth is what they have there, i too was fooled into trying it.
  • Re:Avoid Unity (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrSenile ( 759314 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:28AM (#40790201)

    The intel graphics driver is notorious for hanging when you do a lot of 3D rendering.

    If you have an nvidia card, my suggestion is grabbing the binary driver from '' for Linux and installing it.

    It has a runtime installer that will automatically update your xwindow configuration.

    So you basically download it, run/install it, then restart your Xwindow environment and you should be golden.

  • Re:Avoid Unity (Score:2, Informative)

    by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) * <slashdot@jawth e s> on Friday July 27, 2012 @10:57AM (#40790541) Homepage Journal

    You are talking about NVidia Optimus [] which is not and never will be supported on Linux. The little run-in Linus had with NVidia is about this. I have one of these laptops (Dell XPS 15 L502x), and I simply blacklisted the NVidia card and let run everything on Intel. Works fine from what I see, but I don't actually use that laptop all that much.

    Basically this is a case of "caveat emptor", and I plead guitly too. I read "NVidea", said: "great linux support" without doing any research and... well. that's about it. My mistake. Luckily it was only a 525€ mistake and the laptop is pretty damn fine for the rest. Just no 3D.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie