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Author Topic: Linux... that just works?
shriver
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Icon 1 posted May 31, 2005 20:42      Profile for shriver     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have used Linux for years now. I am always the first person to decry Windows in an attempt to convert my unsuspecting friends to the superior OS. Of course, I've never been very succesful, Linux just takes so much to get working. I recently ordered a stack of Ubuntu CDs that I duly handed out to all my roommates and then forgot about.

To my surprise, one of my roommates decided to try Ubuntu on the old laptop he just got from his father. Now I am excited, how ready for average usage is this new distro (that I have heard so much about, but rarely used)? I hovered quite closely nearby as he installed the OS. He had a few snafus in the install process because of a flaky CD Drive, but once the OS was installed, I was astonished. All the things that were previously ass-pains, Power Management, Wireless (WIRELESS!!), Hibernation, Digital Cameras, worked right out of the box. Software is a breeze to install/uninstall/upgrade. Jaw dropping.

Of course, nothing is ever that good. For patent restriction reasons, popular codecs such as MP3 are completely unsupported. That has got to be one of the most annoying things I have seen in a linux distro yet. And, for a novice, it's non-trivial to get it working.

Don't get me wrong, Ubuntu is by far the best (free) desktop system I have used. And who can argue with free CDs to piss your friends off with? It just seems so alienating to disable the ability to play such widely used formats.

Oh, and I think there is a good chance that Kyle might keep this Linux thing around for a while.

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csk

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Icon 1 posted May 31, 2005 20:51      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmm, funny you should post this now. I'm currently downloading a copy of Ubuntu over my home internet connection because my Dad was expressing interest in having a dual boot to Linux on his new computer. I run stock Debian, so it'll be interesting to see a newbie friendly distro in action. He already runs a bit of F/OSS already (OpenOffice for spreadsheets, Mozilla for web browsing and email), so the changeover won't be too much of an adjustment. I think it's awesome that Linux distros are getting more desktop useable for the average person.

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted May 31, 2005 21:12      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The newer RedHat products are fairly "just works" solutions, but I still like Debain (and Apt).

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 03:59      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
shriver ------I have to concur I have used many different distros and Live CD"s and Ubunto just seems to work as it should. I don't think it will be long before my wife asks that her pc be changed she seldom uses it because the iMac is right beside.

How about a quick LAN question, the pc seems to slow down the network here at our house, the Macs and Ubunto all get along but the windose se does not seem to be LAN friendly, I had read that the coverse was true.

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 05:14      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have been on Ubuntu since Oct. 04 (4.10) and am absolutely enamored with it. apt works great and MP3 support is quick to add. there are a lot of files and programs that can be had through the repositories. Though one of the headaches I have is building from source is a real pain.

Otherwise it has worked flawlessly. Off the CD works great and to add more functionality is relatively easy. And what I install has generally worked well(except an issue with the new Evolution and Exchange).

I used to be a RedHat fan until the Fedora releases. I would install and then repair what didn't install correctly. That is what lead me over to Ubuntu.

And if you are a KDE fan (Ubuntu uses Gnome) go to http://kubuntu.org they made a KDE specific version of Ubuntu.

edit: I may be laughed at for not wanting to build from source or do all those tweaks when I do a linux build. But I have to say, in my defense, that I use my systems for work and pleasure. And stuff that comes out of the box broken cost me time and enjoyment.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 05:17      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll be the first to decry any redhat based distribution along with Windows as worthless, unmanageable crap.

Any distro based on debian is the way to go imnsho. If you want super easy out of the box working software, go get xandros. They have a free version of it available as well as a purchase version that comes with crossover.

It's easier to use than Windows. Yes. You read that right.

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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 05:22      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by GameMaster:
The newer RedHat products are fairly "just works" solutions, but I still like Debain (and Apt).

Under Fedora Core 2 I was able to rip CDs and burn CD-Rs pretty easily, but I'd done some funky stuff mixing package repositories and versions, and managing to upgrade to new releases most of the way.

So, I finally reformatted and installed Debian. Now I can't rip or burn CDs (haven't quite figured out why yet), but all my installed packages are straight! [Razz]

To be fair, I traded a bunch of niggling little problems (most likely due to my monkeying around) with a couple big ones (probably something I haven't got configured correctly). [Roll Eyes]

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 05:24      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by supaboy:
quote:
Originally posted by GameMaster:
The newer RedHat products are fairly "just works" solutions, but I still like Debain (and Apt).

Under Fedora Core 2 I was able to rip CDs and burn CD-Rs pretty easily, but I'd done some funky stuff mixing package repositories and versions, and managing to upgrade to new releases most of the way.

So, I finally reformatted and installed Debian. Now I can't rip or burn CDs (haven't quite figured out why yet), but all my installed packages are straight! [Razz]

To be fair, I traded a bunch of niggling little problems (most likely due to my monkeying around) with a couple big ones (probably something I haven't got configured correctly). [Roll Eyes]

apt-get install cdparanoia to rip
apt-get install cdrecord to burn

man cdparanoia and /usr/share/doc/cdrecord/README.atapi are your friend.

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Laivincolmo
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 09:01      Profile for Laivincolmo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have been a user of Ubuntu for a while now, and I have to agree with the ease of use that it provides. After spending months trying to install different forms of linux on some older hardware, putting Ubuntu on my laptop seemed a breeze in comparison.

The website : http://ubuntuguide.org/ has been of extreme value on new installations I've done. It provides an easy guide to installing many common needs. I hope that helps somebody out there.

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csk

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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2005 17:26      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
apt-get install cdparanoia to rip
apt-get install cdrecord to burn

man cdparanoia and /usr/share/doc/cdrecord/README.atapi are your friend.

Even better, install abcde, and run it from the command line. It's just a simple script, but it does CDDB, tagging, MP3 and/or OGG output, etc. There are some unofficial repositories floating around somewhere for lame, too, which are handy for the MP3 encoding thing.

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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 06:55      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, I'll try those out!

I'd been using grip and xcdroast on FC2 and installed the same when I switched to Debian (so cdparanoia and cdrecord are already installed). I like grip because it allowed me to rip CDs and fix the FreeDB info as fast as my drive would go while the ogg encoding happened in the background.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 07:37      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by csk:
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
apt-get install cdparanoia to rip
apt-get install cdrecord to burn

man cdparanoia and /usr/share/doc/cdrecord/README.atapi are your friend.

Even better, install abcde, and run it from the command line. It's just a simple script, but it does CDDB, tagging, MP3 and/or OGG output, etc. There are some unofficial repositories floating around somewhere for lame, too, which are handy for the MP3 encoding thing.
I figured he only wanted to rip the songs for burning, and not encoding into mp3 -- if that were the case, he'd be adding two needless steps in encoding and decoding a wav to mp3 and back to burn, and in the process, would lose some quality, since mp3 is a lossy encoding format..
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Tom- geeking around

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Icon 12 posted June 02, 2005 10:30      Profile for Tom- geeking around   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Guys... Just install Windows XP!
All your problems will vanish... Why not choose the OS that works out of the box- guaranteed?

/me runs...

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 11:28      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tom- geeking around:
Guys... Just install Windows XP!
All your problems will vanish... Why not choose the OS that works out of the box- guaranteed?

/me runs...

It doesn't work outta the box -- it just plain doesn't work, period. Unless you call endless reboots for installing tiny peices of software, blue screens of death because it couldn't cope with some smaller error, memory leaks abound and well the limited peice of *cough*software*cough* that is windows a "working slution.

Oh, And I'd also like to suggest you read "In The Begining there was the Command Line"

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shriver
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 12:35      Profile for shriver     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by GameMaster:
Oh, And I'd also like to suggest you read "In The Begining there was the Command Line"

Excellent essay. Neal Stephensen is very insightful. Even though it is now several years old, I had to go out and buy a hard copy of it to keep on my bookshelf and read every once in a while. He makes so many excellent points about operating systems and their interfaces. I especially like that metaphors he uses, UNIX as the Hole-Hawg of OSes.

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 13:29      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well I just installed Xandros 3.0.1 on an old Duron 800MHz box and I was very impressed.

Put in CD, answer about 4 questions, hit enter - wait while it installs, restart - run through the set up wizard - job done.

It recognised and configured the video card, sound card, network ports, CD/DVD and modem first try with no problems... Something 4-5 attempts with FreeBSD still couldn't manage correctly...

So Linux that just works... Xandros.

Yes all you hardcore Linux geeks will laugh at this here Linux virgin for choosing a "girly" distro but it did JUST WORK straight off the torrented CD and I was very pleased after my disappointment with FreeBSD (yes I got FreeBSD running but never got the video or sound or modem working right...)

Pity the poor old Duron uses about 90% of the time disk swapping just to run the OS but hell, at least my Geek curiosity is now satisfied...

Is Linux ready for the desktop of the average Joe? Well if Xandros is anything to go by it isn't far off... I used the free open distribution which only comes with a very basic set of software (Firefox, Thunderbird, KMail, Open Office, etc.) The paid for versions come with a big load of FOSS, and "crossover office" that allows the running of some Windows software such as Office, Photoshop, etc. (Is this some sort of WINE affair?)

I'd like to learn more about Linux - like how to install new software packages but I don't really have the time to go digging for info...

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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 14:07      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
I figured he only wanted to rip the songs for burning, and not encoding into mp3

Oh, no! Everything gets ogg encoded. I got my Rio Karma specifically because it supports Ogg Vorbis (Free! And good enough for my ears) files, and the Java-based Rio Music Manager Lite software (available from the Karma's built-in web server) works on Linux. I have 15GB of music on there, all from my own CDs.

But I still make audio CDs to play in the car that doesn't have an auxiliary input for the stereo.

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Tom- geeking around

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Icon 12 posted June 02, 2005 14:42      Profile for Tom- geeking around   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know what you mean though, and you could start a decade of discussing about this Mac vs. Windows thing.

But have you tried Windows XP?

It is NOT the Windows you would expect as a Macintosh user (bear in mind, I am one!).
It is really very stable and doesn't crash. My iBook actually crashes more often than my Windows machine (and I only use standard software with my iBook such as iPhoto, Mail, ICQ and Microsoft Office)-- anyways, either OS crashing (windows and my Jaguar) is something very rare! In fact, I cant remember when which machine crashed the last time.

Reboots.. yeah.- thats true. Not so often with XP. Umm.. Maybe this has been changed, but I didn't count fewer restarts with Jaguar when doing my installs. And a Windows machine boots considerably faster than Macs...

Anyways- I feel that macintosh is more into style (form over function???) and simplicity, but not into in-depth and die-hard custom-configurability as Microsoft is.

Thats why I own both- but given Mac's very high price for a machine that is somewhere near a P4 Windows computer, and very few software releases.--- I only own an iBook and a Dell desktop..
Getting the best outta both.

I love both- so a pleaaaasse dont feel personally offended. I was just sharing my experiences and impressions from both worlds. After all- as a consumer- we are up to decide which OS does our job best.

Thomas

--------------------
Everything I say espressis onley my own op1ni0n, and shall not reprisent the openion of othar Austrians.
Pizza and ginormous jugs is what I need!

Whoever finds typos or spelling mistakes in my posts may keep them.

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 18:08      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Originally posted by Tom- geeking around:
I know what you mean though, and you could start a decade of discussing about this Mac vs. Windows thing.
It's not about PC or Mac, it's about how well linux runs on either of them.

But have you tried Windows XP?
Yes, unfortunatly, I have.

It is NOT the Windows you would expect as a Macintosh user (bear in mind, I am one!).
Mac != Linux.

Speaking software only:
Windows = o.k. quality (it runs most of the time but is prone to break down every now and again), lots of software choices, and some hand holding.

Mac = classy, stylish, more stable, but most problems require it go back to the dealer if something does go wrong (which doesn't typically). Easy to use, little to no need for hand holding.

Linux = Freedom, free (as in beer) and stable. Not so user friendly (but is imporoving) and simply wrote by average joes for average joes with open source so if you don't like something, change it.

It is really very stable and doesn't crash.
As much as other WinDOZE machines. But remember that uptime is just the penis size of geeks... lets look at something a bit more real world. I get a new USB Device with windows and Linux, using a sunny day case in both instances.

Being a windows device it comes with drivers and special software. I have to reboot (dispite the fact that I'm trying to mutitask and now isn't a good time) after the driver is installed. It comes back up, and I start working while I start installing the new software (dispite the fact that install program says not use other programs while it's running), and I have to reboot again. I try the new software that came with the thing, and it sucks -- I download a shareware softeare package that does the same thing, only better, and I install it.

With linux, I throw away the software that came with it (as it's gotta be windows software, does me no good). I apt-get the modules for my kernel.
I go to where it saved and I:
./configure
make
make install
I run insmod and/or modprobe on the driver.
I apt-get install a program (maybe another configure && make && make install that uses the new device, and without reboot I'm ready to go. If I don't like the driver or the software, I open a text edior and change the software to do exsactly what I want it to do.

My iBook actually crashes more often than my Windows machine (and I only use standard software with my iBook such as iPhoto, Mail,
alright.

ICQ
That's not "standard" and depending on the ICQ client not very secure either.

and Microsoft Office)
There's your problem!!! [Big Grin]

-- anyways, either OS crashing (windows and my Jaguar) is something very rare! In fact, I cant remember when which machine crashed the last time.
I can only think of three times there was a problem that made any of the linux distros I've seen kernel panic or freeze... Two of which ended up being hardware failure (due to old parts in one case, and due to over heating in another).

Reboots.. yeah.- thats true. Not so often with XP.
See above.

Umm.. Maybe this has been changed, but I didn't count fewer restarts with Jaguar when doing my installs.
Except the kernel upgrades, I've never restarted a Linux box for software upgrade.

And a Windows machine boots considerably faster than Macs...
And Linux faster than MS, in fact there are projects to use Linux as a MS boot loader for just that reason.

Anyways- I feel that macintosh is more into style (form over function???) and simplicity,
Yes, it is. But also perfection in function. Microsoft believes in "good enough" and Apple's drive to prefect it's software almost drove it to bankruptcy. Linux, on the other hand is stability over anything, then function, then form... But that is changing as people push for Linux on the desktop.

but not into in-depth and die-hard custom-configurability as Microsoft is.
confugurability? I can't recompile command.com unless I violated the law to decompile it. Linux is the most configurable thing their is... which drives lots of people away, too many choices.

Thats why I own both- but given Mac's very high price for a machine that is somewhere near a P4 Windows computer,
Windows didn't make the P4, Intel did. Mac built the Mac. Mac is primarily a hardware company, first and foremost. M$ is a software company. Comparing the price of Mac to a P4 is unfair to pin onto Windows Vrs Mac argument.

BTW, compare the price of Windows with Jaguar, and then remember that Linux is free.

and very few software releases.
Linux has MANY software releases, most of them, free (beer and speech). check out sourceforge.net sometime.

--- I only own an iBook and a Dell desktop..
Getting the best outta both.

No, your not. Dual boot the Dell with Linux, and then maybe we'll consider you getting SOMETHING outta either of them. [Big Grin]

I love both- so a pleaaaasse dont feel personally offended.
I'm not.

I was just sharing my experiences and impressions from both worlds. After all- as a consumer- we are up to decide which OS does our job best.
Mac isn't just an OS, it's a platform. Windows is just an OS that runs on one platform. Linux is an OS that has been ported to many platforms (including x86 (intel) and Mac).

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 18:14      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Two points to make in regards to the above posts, which I am currently too lazy to properly quote.

A) having to reboot due to tiny software installations is not microsoft's fault. I hate microsoft and windows as much as the next zealot, but that one you can't blame on microsoft -- it's not their fault programmers are taking the easy way out than writing a little extra code ot do things properly..

B) Yes, crossover is a wine thing.. it's basically hte corporate version of wine. Written based on the same code base as wine, but more support, commercially available, etc, etc, etc.

Oh, and Serenak, I told ya so, [Wink]

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2005 18:32      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
A) having to reboot due to tiny software installations is not microsoft's fault. I hate microsoft and windows as much as the next zealot, but that one you can't blame on microsoft -- it's not their fault programmers are taking the easy way out than writing a little extra code ot do things properly..
M$ also does this quite a bit even with Office and such.

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted June 03, 2005 01:30      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Told me what DNM?

Linux is good? Yes I was quite impressed with Xandros install but the box hasn't got the guts to really road test it (it took over 5 mins to open Open Office.....)

Not up to OS X standards but at least as good as Winblows (and nicer looking IMHO). Course I'd like to learn enough about Linux/BSD to actually be able to really "stress test" it by understanding all this apt get make stuff

Totally unrelated but I am still amazed at how an AMD Duron 800MHz (and other suchlike older kit) can run soooooo poorly (yes it is short on RAM) that my old 266 G3 can put it to shame..... Even running Win98 it grinds along (is that why I like my Macs so much - I've got old sub 100MHz machines that are still bearable to use....) If that is the MHz myth in action I'll take my "slow" 2GHz Mac over a 3GHz x86 box any day....

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted June 03, 2005 03:38      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Told ya Xandros was great. [Wink]
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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted June 03, 2005 06:15      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Serenak:
Totally unrelated but I am still amazed at how an AMD Duron 800MHz (and other suchlike older kit) can run soooooo poorly (yes it is short on RAM) that my old 266 G3 can put it to shame.

My Linux box at home is a 750MHz Athlon with less than 300MB of RAM, while my work laptop is a 2.8GHz P4 running XP on 512MB of memory. The Linux box has a fat SATA hard drive connected to an Adaptec interface card, while the laptop makes do with its 5,400rpm drive.

In any contest of compute speed (encoding audio files ripped from CD, for example) the P4 crushes the ancient Athlon. However, anything that utilizes the disk channel (that is, using the computer in a normal way, opening and closing apps and files) feels just as fast on the slow machine. Even just opening up The GIMP (same version on both), the Linux box doesn't break a sweat, while the laptop chugs away like it's pushing a wheelbarrow of bricks uphill.

So, what you perceive as system speed and responsiveness is going to be an aggregate of disk, CPU, memory, and the code itself and the type of work its doing.

I don't have a Macintosh, however, so I can't comment on the usability of them no matter how fast or slow. I had to defend the Athlon's honor, though. [Big Grin]

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted June 04, 2005 04:04      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Supaboy:

Yes I know all that, I just am endlessly disappointed that no matter what I do the Intel/Amd boxes I have toyed with seem unable to match much older/"slower" rated Macs...

I admit that I know Macs and have OS's back to the year Dot (and software to match) so I can put machines to "contemporary" level SW that won't "overstretch" their abilities... Obviously I am less knowledgable with Intel/AMD/Windows and have a much smaller pool of SW to call on. However I can put up a 90MHz PM7200 or 266MHz G3 that makes this 800MHz Duron look like a snail..

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

Posts: 1922 | From: Suffolk England | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged


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