I'm new and am looking for advice

Hello, I’m new to the forum, and not currently a Linux user. My current system runs on Windows 7 (64bit) with 12 gB RAM and a fast processor. Unfortunately I am not in any way a computer expert, but I am an accomplished user. Most of my work is graphics manipulation and generation, but I also do audio and video editing from time to time. Since I moved to W7, however, a lot of my software no longer runs and I am faced with expensive upgrades for replacement, which I can’t afford due to the downturn of work following the ‘credit’ crunch. I have contemplated installing Linux on a dual boot basis, but I am reluctant to rush ahead without advice. It is a long time since I used command based systems, and I don’t really want to return to them. Is Linux as accessible as windows, and is it straightforward to use? Also, would I be able to use my windows software, including (and especially) the software that won’t work under 7? If I do istall Linux, would I have to reinstall all my existing software, or would it be relatively straightforward to access the software as installed via Linix? I’m sorry if this all sounds very elementary and stupid, but since I earn a large part of my living using the software I already have, I can’t really afford to spend too long shifting stuff around. Any help would be very gratefully received.

Linux “these days”, as far as user interface and ease of use is just as straight forward as Windows to use, and is far from being a command line (only) system… you may get an idea from the screenshots here:
http://linux.co.uk/index.php/pages/page1/intro-to-linux-on-the-desktop/
(forums only tend to give out commands as answers to specific questions, not because most issues couldn’t be “fixed” within the GUI, but because it’s easier and leaves less room for “interpretation”)

As for “Will it run my Windows software”… this is a bit difficult to answer without knowing which Windows software you are referring to… the correct answer would be “Linux doesn’t run Windows software”, BUT, there is a Linux application called WINE (think of it as an emulator, even though WINE is a recursive acronym for Wine Is Not an Emulator)) which can run some Windows software with varying degrees of success, or you could load Windows in a Virtual Machine (although you could also do this in Win7… run XP as a VM inside Win7, but remember running XP as a VM still requires a license for XP)… for more info, see here:
http://linuxforums.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions/can-i-run-windows-programs-in-linux/
and

Would you have to reinstall your software…
Linux comes as different “distributions”… think of it as the Linux core, and a load of pre-installed applications including Office apps, Graphics apps, media players, internet apps etc. (this is not to say you can’t install more software… you can, and there is tons of software available… check out sourceforge.net who currently list more than 260,000 apps most of which are for Linux, and free.

You might also want to take a look at Linux Alternatives to Windows Applications

Some distributions are preloaded with software that makes them a “general puprose” distribution, such as Ubuntu… others are targeted at a particular “audience” like openArtist but they can all install other additional software, effectively turning them into each other, if you see what I mean.

For a list of Linux distributions, and links to reviews etc. see here:

(but as a starting point I would say go for Ubuntu, if for no other reason than you will find help/support easier to come by)

In a dual-boot system, any applications that WILL run in WINE, shouldn’t have to be reinstalled, as Linux will be able to “see” the Windows partitions. (though some may require a little work on your part to get working properly)

To see how well specific Windows software will run in WINE (or if will run at all)… look it up in the WineHQ App Database

One last thing… if you decide to “go for it” make sure you get a 64bit version… 32bit is limited to 4gb RAM (same as Windows) unless you specifically use a PAE aware kernel.

Get a LiveCD distribution and you can “test drive” (from the CDROM it without making ANY changes to your hard drive.
or create a LiveUSB memory stick, and you will be able to install software and save files and configuration changes (to the stick), again without altering your hard drive in any way… this will allow you to decide if Linux is “for you”, before committing it to your hard drive… just be aware LiveCD’s and LiveUSB’s are much slower than a hard drive installation.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask :slight_smile: