Re: Help configuring a consumer Linux workstation
From: ray (ray_at_zianet.com)
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 17:05:55 -0700
On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 12:29:19 -0800, jared wrote:
> I have used Unix professionally since 1988 and Linux off and on since
> 1992. I have finally reached a level of disgust with the Xtremely
> Porous monopolistic operating system and am going to change over my
> home workstations, except for my daughter (unless I can persuade the
> school district to change as well :-( ). I am trying to decide
> between the Mac OS or a Linux distro. I think what I am really asking
> is how consumer-productized Linux has become, since I would be asking a
> very non-technical user to change as well.
> We buy hardware to run software, of course, so these are s my basic
> requirements - pretty vanilla, for a Windows box:
> Personal accounting
gnucash or kmymoney
> Business accounting
there are also a couple of commercial financial packages - I'd check them
- a quick search should find them
> MS format-compatible Office suite
OpenOffice works pretty well - it occasionally encounters a MS Word doc
with complex formatting that it has trouble with - AbiWord handles those.
I've found the OO presentation program easier to use than PowerPoint, and
it handles PP files well. I prefer to use gnumeric rather than the OO
spreadsheet, but that's just my preference.
> Mail client that imports Outlook .pst files
> Good photograph management (not a pro, or even a hobbyist - strictly
> consumer side)
I've seen several referred to.
> Securable against viruses, spyware, etc. - preferably set-and-forget
> Ability to run a streaming music service
> A plus would be the ability to host Win2K or XP as a guest OS - though
> that is not a hard requirement, I can just pick up an extra hard drive
> for a laptop and configure it/swap it for occasional use.
You can easily dual boot from one drive if you desire.
> Now these requirements look on the surface like a slam-dunk for a Linux
> distro except:
> * I haven't found a good business accounting package yet to compare to
> Peachtree or Quickbooks or MYOB.
> * The only comprehensive photo editing app I've found is the GIMP,
> which I would absolutely not ask my semi-technophobic spouse to use.
> Is there a better solution? Are there easy-to-learn-and-use apps for
> photo album management?
What sort of operations does you spouse typically perform in terms of
photo editing - the Gimp is certainly not the only show in town, although
I find it quick and easy to use, but then I've never dabbled with Adobe.
> * I haven't read of any of the WINE flavors supporting streaming
> services (I am partial to RealRhapsody for listening and Itunes for
> burning). Has this been done?
I prefer to steer clear of wine and crossover office - if you HAVE to run
MS apps, run MS - just keep it off the internet.
> Then there is the question of which distro (I've flip-flopped back and
> forth over the years between Slackware, Debian, Mandrake, RH and SUSE).
> I would much rather contribute $$ (or labor, if there's something I
> can do) to an open source development team than get into a maintenance
> contract - so that eliminates the rapidly commercializing SUSE/Ximian
> product as well as RH (is Fedora worth a look? I haven't tried it yet
> as it seems a bit bloated, as was its RH progenitor). Debian's stable
> tree is good, but very conservative in areas like adopting a new kernel
> version. Slackware is a great product (I prefer Vector, a
> Slack-derived distro), but there is not enough LSB momentum to get
> vendors like Oracle supporting it (oh yeah, I'm a DBA for a living and
> want to run Oracle at home). It seems like I would have to purchase
> VMware and run a guest version of the monopolistic OS, which would have
> to be networked - so why bother switching?) I am not looking to get
> down to a Gentoo-like approach (I have a family, so not all that much
> free time). I would even consider pablum like Xandros if it would
> solve the streaming service problem.
www.distrowatch.com will help you sort things out - I'd suggest you look
at Ubuntu (easily installed, 'Debian with regular updates') or Mandrake.
> The Mac OS, OTOH, while it costs a little more, handily meets all of
> the core requirements except for the streaming service; but I cannot
> see a way to do so without Virtual PC 6, which has its own constraints.
> I have trouble believing no one has been able to do this on either Mac
> OS X or a Linux distro. I am not a technical neophyte, but I have
> become a bit frustrated trying to figure this out and am hoping someone
> who has gone down this road might be kind enough to share some wisdom.
> Kind regards,
I've not done anything with 'streaming services'. We have a three node
home network - all Linux. My wife has learned to use what she needs -
mostly e-mail, browser, and office software. BTW what does your daughter
need to do with respect to school that is so heavily MS dependant? Is it a
proprietary software app?