10 Easy Steps to Make Your Linux Useable

What about the functionality?
Quiet often people drop Linux because it is a tad harder to get going.. but with a good guide and strength of heart and an iron-will (kidding!) you can get it working.

4) Get the Players and the Codecs.
Without a doubt the best way to get that movie or song playing ASAP is to drop whatever program you are using and switch to mplayer. It may not look like much and it’s not as powerful as Xine (Totem), but it’s the most straight-forward player out there. And no player on Linux, Mac, or Windows is complete without a decent set of codecs, so check these out.

5) NTFS.
This is where most people lose heart. Don’t switch to FAT32.. Please! When it comes to NTFS, forget all the different packages and patches out there, forget recompiling the kernel and everything else they taught you, you only have two options. The first (what I use) is Captive-NTFS, the first and original NTFS read-write program out there.

It’s not as efficient as we would like (erm… not efficient at all) but the latest version is very straight-forward: run the RPM or build the source, run captive-install-acquire and mount the drive; unfortunately Captive-NTFS is no longer being developed (if you want to adopt it, its available!) Another (better) option if you are willing to fork over the dough is Paragon NTFS Linux, which is a (much) more efficient and still actively developed software that does the same thing. If you *only* want to read from an NTFS, Linux-NTFS is the way to go.

6) Wine.
No guide about functionality on Linux is complete without a reference to Wine, the free framework that makes Windows programs run on Linux In our opinion only recently has Wine become a viable alternative, an actual reliable framework that can be used to run the apps you need. It is nowhere near complete, but it supports a wide variety of programs and installers at the moment.

It isn’t pretty (think Windows 3.1 GUI) but it gets the job done. Cedega is a better (commercial) framework, built on Wine, but expanded and more compatible.. But it’s not free. And it defeats the purpose of open-source: it takes and never gives back to the community.

4 thoughts on “10 Easy Steps to Make Your Linux Useable

  1. "Don’t believe a word they say, the days of CLI-Only workstations and green-and-black screens are long over." not true. On fonts – I prefer DejaVu and its ancestor Bitstream Vera to all Microsoft fonts. If you love Arial, have a look at helvetica. NTFS and Wine : these have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with usability. they do help Windows users feel at home, though. You say most distributions are Debian- or RHEL based. This is wrong, as RHEL is based on Fedora. This is an understandible misconceotion, as the term "Red Hat-based" is very common; The former Red Hat Linux  is now Fedora, and RHEL for the Enterprise. SUSE and Mandriva, for instance, are based on early Red Hat Linux versions. All in all, you do make multiple valid points and this article is probably interesting for fresh newbies coming from the Blue Screen Empire of Microsoft. 

  2. @freezombie:
    I’m sure Novell would love to know that you think SuSE is based on Fedora. Although Fedora is now the testbed for all things RedHat, it is not the ‘basis’ of RHEL which is developped in parallel.

    Some distros are in fact based on Fedora or RedHat Enterprise (like scientific linux, white box linux, mandrake, etc.) but most started over from scratch and went in different directions (Debian, Slackware, Fedora, SuSE, etc.) Ubuntu for example is based on Debian, not Fedora.

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