Re: FC3 vs. Windows 2000
From: Temlakos (temlakos_at_gmail.com)
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 14:55:56 -0500 To: For users of Fedora Core releases <firstname.lastname@example.org>
STYMA, ROBERT E (ROBERT) wrote:
> Dear Fedora Advocates,
> My brother in law will be returning from Iraq
> in another couple of months and one of the things
> I am doing for him is to build him a computer. He
> is not technically adept and his computer activity
> is pretty much limited to looking at his email
> on yahoo and a little web surfing. Sometimes he
> prints an email or two.
> I am vacillating on building an FC3 machine or a W2k
First, Windows 2000 is obsolete even by Microsoft standards. They will
sell you a Windows XP license, which costs much more. Worse yet, Windows
XP is very resource-hungry in comparison to any distribution of Linux,
or even in comparison to Windows 2000.
Second, having plug-ins for every kind of multimedia file one might
encounter is highly over-rated. True enough, the Musical Instrument
Digital Interface (MIDI) still has not been ported to Linux. Equally
true, much of the sound content on the Web is in the form of MP3 files,
and MP3 is not an open-source protocol. (Actually, however, RealPlayer
10 for Linux will play MP3's without a hitch, since RealPlayer paid the
freight for an MP3 license.) But your friend has to ask himself whether
"a little Web surfing" will necessarily include every kind of sound file
Third, you can get plug-ins for Mozilla and Firefox very easily--at
Mozilla's own site, or from the FreshRPMS, Dag, Dries, and AT
repositories. (You can also point to the Livna repository, but its apps
aren't built from the same source code as those on the others, so Livna
doesn't mix well with the others.)
All of which is to say that you're better off going with Fedora Core and
Now I wouldn't so much say /no/ need for anti-virus software. Instead I
would suggest that you install ClamAV, the open-source anti-virus
solution for GNU/Linux and similar platforms. I use it myself. Of
course, Linux is a lot easier to secure from viruses than MS Windows
ever will be. You can get ClamAV from any of the popular repositories.
You can obtain the Java Runtime Environment directly from Sun
Microsystems, or from a Fedora-compatible repo. The first alternative
would let you get the latest version.
As for codecs to play most Windows-compatible multimedia files: Install
mplayer, or the Linux Movie Player, and then follow this link:
It has a link to download an RPM that will install all the codecs you
need. Then again, there's another link somewhere out there that has a
tar-ball for installing those codecs--more on tar-balls below.
The best thing to do, then, is:
1. Install FC3.
2. Configure Firefox for Web pages and Thunderbird for e-mail.
3. Search Google on the following key words: dag, dries, freshrpms,
at-stable, livna, gstreamer, and fedora.us. Most of these repos will
give you specific lines to configure the file yum.conf and the file
sources in etc/sysconfig/rhn, so that you can use up2date and/or yum to
keep your applications up to date, and use yum to find new packages. (Go
to http://fedoranews.org/tchung/gyum/fc3/ and learn how to get a
Graphical User Interface front-end for yum, written especially for Fedora.)
All of these repos offer apt, the package-transfer system developed
originally for Debian and then rewritten for RPM packages for the
Conectiva distribution and now available for all RPM-based distros.
Apt works with a GUI-based front-end called Synaptic that lets you see
at a glance which packages are available in the repositories you set
up--but yum will let you set the machine up to fetch and install updates
/automatically/ either every morning when you start up, or every night
if you leave the machine on 24x7.
And to answer your basic question: Yes, you /can/ obtain plug-ins and
other applications in a small number of places. The days where you had
to chase all over the Net to find all the apps you need are long gone.
So you install an additional package-management system, either yum or
apt, and configure a few repositories for yum or apt to search for new
packages and updates.
Then you can fetch just about anything you need, either from the
repositories or directly from some of the developers.
In the extreme cases, you can fetch the tar-balls and build your extra
applications right on the system. Advantage: as long as you have the gcc
compiler family and the linker (gmake), you can build anything, and when
you do, you get a custom build for your hardware. Disadvantage:
time-consuming and a slightly steeper learning curve.
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