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Author Topic: Best Open Source Alternatives  (Read 1637 times)
bb113
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June 30, 2012, 08:29:39 PM
 #1

I am getting a new computer soon and currently use windows xp and various proprietary software (mostly microsoft and adobe). I would like to take this opportunity to start afresh. Currently, my most commonly used programs are:

1) photoshop
2) illustrator
3) acrobat
4) excel
5) word
6) powerpoint
7) firefox (although this has been getting more and more buggy for me)
Cool R
9) Tversity (for streaming to a 360)

What is the best linux distro for a user like me and what software alternatives are best? For example I have tried gimp before and found it far inferior to photoshop.
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June 30, 2012, 10:25:37 PM
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Well, I like the following:

1) Linux Distro: Linux Peppermint Two (b/c it's fast, lightweight, and very user friendly). This would run fine on your current comp most likely - in fact you should try it on your current computer since you might decide you don't need a new one. Personally, I think it's best to start with a lightweight distro and add what you need. I've also tried Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Crunchbang, and Bodhi, but I like Peppermint Two better than these. Also, if you are going to mine on this comp, Peppermint Two is a version of Ubuntu 11.04, which runs great with CGminer (last I checked anyway). Google "linux distro watch" to see a list of distros and their relative popularity. 

2) MS Office Alternative: Libre Office (I recommend 3.4 over the most recent 3.5, which has this really annoying GUI feature for header & footers that slows things down).

3) Browser: Google Chrome (Peppermint Two comes with Google Chromium, which is fine). I prefer this over Firefox, but you can get Firefox for linux too. 

4) Photoshop/illustrator: Try Gimp? Not sure this will cover everything you need though.

5) Look at Crossover - it costs $50, but it allows you to run a bunch of Windows software. It's a paid version of Wine, which I've also tried, but personally I think it's best to just pay the $50 and save yourself some hassle. I have an old copy of MS Office running with this. Tversity is known not to run on it though, so idk about that.

Good luck!

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June 30, 2012, 10:35:23 PM
 #3

I like gentoo or linux mint, gentoo is a little too complex for a noobie but it is good, and linux mint is very lightweight and I like it for a quick boot.

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bb113
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June 30, 2012, 10:55:55 PM
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I've used fedora (so have some linux experience... setting up a network printer took like 2 weeks...) but then that computer went to shit for unrelated reasons. I am getting a new computer since I have begun dealing with large databases and photoshop files (in the GBs) and my current dell really is an un-upgradable pos (250 watt powersupply with weird form factor, etc).

How is the Libre Office spreadsheet support for "macros" or whatever scripting? Ditto on gimp. As part of a workflow, I have been writing simple scripts ( I am a noob at this) to tie together many of these programs using a combo of javascript, visual basic, and batch. Should these scripts work under crossover or Wine?
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July 01, 2012, 12:57:45 AM
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I've used fedora (so have some linux experience... setting up a network printer took like 2 weeks...) but then that computer went to shit for unrelated reasons. I am getting a new computer since I have begun dealing with large databases and photoshop files (in the GBs) and my current dell really is an un-upgradable pos (250 watt powersupply with weird form factor, etc).

How is the Libre Office spreadsheet support for "macros" or whatever scripting? Ditto on gimp. As part of a workflow, I have been writing simple scripts ( I am a noob at this) to tie together many of these programs using a combo of javascript, visual basic, and batch. Should these scripts work under crossover or Wine?

Sorry, no experience with any of that. Google "crossover" and check their website. They might have info on scripting, but I don't know. For native linux programs, though, you should be able to come up with something similar, but of course there will be a learning curve to say the least figuring it out.

I would also consider going with Windows 7. I installed it for the first time on one of my rigs a few weeks back, and I must say I'm quite impressed with it. Much better than XP IMO. My guess is that it's going to be a lot easier to port everything you want over to Windows 7 than linux.
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July 01, 2012, 04:41:28 AM
 #6

I use to use linux from ubuntu 4.04 or 4.10 all the way through upto ubuntu 9.10, ubuntu fell apart after 9.10. I went to linux mint and liked it a lot but I still prefer win7 over any other OS, and use only win7 now. I pretty much know all of the OS's except mac < :s x.x. The os by the original creator of open office Oracle Solaris, sucks, I forget who makes it.

If you change over to linux
get use to
Code:
sudo
su

and typing your PW constantly to do admin stuff which is everything, even running firestarter, you have to enter your pw.


But atm, I'd recommend linux mint as first linux distro then after you get use to it, you can give red hat a try which is much more difficult, imo.

But basically, almost any program for windows, there are alternatives in linux, just have to search and find them.


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July 01, 2012, 05:04:01 AM
 #7

just edit the sudoer file that is the right way to do it.

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bb113
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July 03, 2012, 03:48:56 AM
 #8

Ok, I will probably get windows 7 and then also check out linux mint or peppermint as a second partition.
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July 03, 2012, 03:52:51 AM
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Ok, I will probably get windows 7 and then also check out linux mint or peppermint as a second partition.
7? might as well go for 8 even though its in beta. I really enjoy it personally.
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July 03, 2012, 03:58:25 AM
 #10

Man, if you start off with windows8, I believe you will freak out and because of win8, you would decide to hate win7 as well.




I would never recommend win8 to anyone, even my worst enemies.

What you can do is, get a virtualmachine then test out win8 on your windows7 machine. Win8 is a clusterfook. One point, they removed the startmenu and the code to add a 3rd app start menu. They screwed it up bad, it should have been named Microsoft Windows Mobile Touchscreen OS. This is just a warning.
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July 03, 2012, 05:23:27 AM
 #11

Windows 8 is bad, just get mac or make a hackintosh and be cool like me, FreeBSD FTW

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July 03, 2012, 09:08:16 AM
 #12

A good place to find alternative programs is alternativeto.net

My direct response to your list:
1) photoshop Gimp
2) illustrator Inkscape
3) acrobat ePDFView
4) excel 5) word 6) powerpoint Libre Office
7) firefox Firefox or Chrome
Cool R Statistic? It's cross platform.
9) Tversity Honestly don't know.


Ok, I will probably get windows 7 and then also check out linux mint or peppermint as a second partition.
Linux Mint is user friendly, I recommend it.
bb113
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July 06, 2012, 04:16:23 AM
 #13

I should say that I commonly find myself being annoyed by "user friendly" features so that is not necessarily a selling point for me. I am more interested in Linux because it allows customization. If I am already going to have a win7 partition for when I just need to get something done, my linux partition would be for doing the things that are a hassle in windows. One thing I've noticed from using windows 7 elsewhere is that it breaks alot of my scripts by demanding permissions before running a script from within a script. Using linux, there is a way to turn off this behavior, correct?:


If you change over to linux
get use to
Code:
sudo
su

and typing your PW constantly to do admin stuff which is everything, even running firestarter, you have to enter your pw.
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July 06, 2012, 05:52:02 AM
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One thing I've noticed from using windows 7 elsewhere is that it breaks alot of my scripts by demanding permissions before running a script from within a script. Using linux, there is a way to turn off this behavior, correct?:


If you change over to linux
get use to
Code:
sudo
su

and typing your PW constantly to do admin stuff which is everything, even running firestarter, you have to enter your pw.

Sudo does not require your password if you have already entered it recently (within the last 15 minutes, by default). This makes it a lot less annoying if you need to do several things which require root privileges.

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July 06, 2012, 06:35:46 AM
 #15

I'd try Ubuntu. I know it's not cool, but the forums were active last time I looked which increases your chances of getting questions answered if you have problems.

  • Photoshop alternative: Try Gimpshop. It's set up to be familiar to users of photoshop, seems to be better for them than Gimp.
  • Acrobat alternative: Foxit reader. Also seems to have fewer security flaws last I looked.
  • Excel and word alternatives: You could try Open Office but I find it as slow as Microsoft office. Instead I like Gnumeric for spreadsheets and any notepad app with cut/copy/paste/undo for writing - you can always prettify it once you get to work
  • Firefox alternative: Chrome is the least buggy and fastest browser for me.
  • R is already open source, cross platform and runs on Ubuntu well. There are some packages that only run on Linux, so there are some advantages there.
  • Fork out $100 for a WDTV and forget about software streaming, which never works as well as I'd like. The WDTV plays anything, and just pops up as an extra network drive. You can stream or copy movies to it wirelessly. I'm a cheap bastard, but I've never regretted buying a WDTV three or four years ago. No problems since.


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July 06, 2012, 01:53:54 PM
 #16

  • Photoshop alternative: Try Gimpshop. It's set up to be familiar to users of photoshop, seems to be better for them than Gimp.



Note that the new Gimp in the current Ubuntu has single window mode (ala every other painting program) under Windows -> Single-Window mode
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July 06, 2012, 02:39:49 PM
 #17

1) photoshop
2) illustrator
3) acrobat
4) excel
5) word
6) powerpoint
7) firefox (although this has been getting more and more buggy for me)
Cool R
9) Tversity (for streaming to a 360)
For an OS, I love Ubuntu. True, it has tried to do too many things lately, but far superior to winxx. IMO.

1. Gimp. I heard what you said, but gimp can do about anything, it is just idiosyncratic and sometimes counterintuitive.
2. That's for vector graphics right? like old school clipart? Gimp then.
4,5,6. Libre Office. If you need full, professional editing tools it may be a little weak. But for 99% of jobs it's fine. It is all I use professionally.
7. Firefox. Just make sure you don't get a branded version with tool bars and crap.
8. I don't know what that is.
9. I also don't know what that is.

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July 06, 2012, 03:14:11 PM
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I'll answer #9 since most people are skipping it.

Tversity does on the fly transcoding of your media and streams it to your Xbox. What you are looking for is a DLNA compliant linux package. A quick search comes up with uShare, Twonky, MiniDLNA, and PS3 Media Server (don't worry about PS3 in the name, it works with the Xbox just fine).

For my setup, I used MiniDLNA (https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/MiniDLNA) for over a year and was very happy with it.

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July 06, 2012, 06:10:19 PM
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I should say that I commonly find myself being annoyed by "user friendly" features so that is not necessarily a selling point for me. I am more interested in Linux because it allows customization. If I am already going to have a win7 partition for when I just need to get something done, my linux partition would be for doing the things that are a hassle in windows. One thing I've noticed from using windows 7 elsewhere is that it breaks alot of my scripts by demanding permissions before running a script from within a script. Using linux, there is a way to turn off this behavior, correct?:


If you change over to linux
get use to
Code:
sudo
su

and typing your PW constantly to do admin stuff which is everything, even running firestarter, you have to enter your pw.

Ok, I will probably get windows 7 and then also check out linux mint or peppermint as a second partition.

 Huh
bb113
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July 06, 2012, 09:57:49 PM
 #20

I should say that I commonly find myself being annoyed by "user friendly" features so that is not necessarily a selling point for me. I am more interested in Linux because it allows customization. If I am already going to have a win7 partition for when I just need to get something done, my linux partition would be for doing the things that are a hassle in windows. One thing I've noticed from using windows 7 elsewhere is that it breaks alot of my scripts by demanding permissions before running a script from within a script. Using linux, there is a way to turn off this behavior, correct?:


If you change over to linux
get use to
Code:
sudo
su

and typing your PW constantly to do admin stuff which is everything, even running firestarter, you have to enter your pw.

Ok, I will probably get windows 7 and then also check out linux mint or peppermint as a second partition.

 Huh

Think about it, does someone really want to learn the idiosyncrasies of 9 new programs at once? I haven't heard anyone raving about how the open source software is superior, it is just cheaper and supposedly more customizable. I think the smartest thing is to have windows to allow me to keep doing what I am doing (for the most part), then also have linux to use when windows won't cut it and for experimentation/learning.

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