Microsoft Windows, I do *NOT* want to wake up to this!

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Sooner Boomer

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Since I am planning to install Linux on an old machine for use in my workshop (for programming model trains and possibly running a 3D printer - someday)
What kind of programming do you do for model trains?
 

caheaton

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In response to Peartree (John), the other poster is correct. If you computer is mainstream hardware it should and install without problems. However, there are some features that set it apart from windows. first, not all of your installed apps will appear in your "toolbar", to see those you need to browse through the directory (starting in File system or computer) to /usr/share/applications there you will find shortcuts to your installed applications. Also make sure you give yourself a shortcut to Terminal. Linux is much more reliant on the command line than modern incarnations of Windows.

If you're not familiar with Linux, I'd suggest getting a basic beginners book to help assist you with some of the basics. (And many terminal commands differ a bit from DOS and Windows, though they're similar...cp instead of copy, ls instead of dir, etc).
 

tokind

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Since I am planning to install Linux on an old machine for use in my workshop (for programming model trains and possibly running a 3D printer - someday) can you elaborate on what kind of tinkering might be required "under the hood"? I am/was an electrical engineer, so tinkering at most levels doesn't worry me, but I'm curious what it might entail, what learning curves I might face, and how time consuming they might be.
  1. Learn to use Vi (VIM) from the command line
  2. Google
Linux is not intimidating or hard to use. If you want a challenge, try FreeBSD. I think it was Steve Ballmer who said "Linux is only free if you don't value your time". Um, so yes you will run into things that require some effort to learn about and sort out. If you have zero interest in computing then Windows. Of course you never really own that computer: Microsoft does. This is true even on Windows Server.

Also note: Apple OS is derived from Mach BSD. It is essentially open source once you get behind the snazzy GUI.

Server Jockey note: Uptime on Windows systems is measured in days, Linux servers in months, BSD servers in years.
 

Peartree

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What kind of programming do you do for model trains?
Digitally equipped and controlled equipment (locomotives, switches, lights, sound effects, and other things) all use various chips allowing Digital Command and Control (DCC). The range of functions that can be programmed into these chips (acceleration rate, deceleration rate, braking, sound files, speed range, top speed, etc.) can be a lot of stuff for your average locomotive. If you own multiples of a particular locomotive and desire to run them together, you want, as much as possible, to match many of these programmable functions but still want to tweak them to account for individual manufacturing variability. All these things *can* be programmed with a handheld digital throttle but doing so can be both tedious and difficult.

But, software exists (JMRI - Java Model Railroad Interface)) that allows all these variables to be seen on a computer screen a page at a time instead of one line, one variable, at a time. This seems to be a better route for those comfortable with computers. I'm not there yet, but since I have an old computer, it's something I'd like to try.

Also worth noting, JMRI can do a lot more stuff for those who really dig into it. It can create routing orders for "operation days" on a large layout and, I think, even automate some operations. I don't know that I'll ever get that far.
 

CalebJ

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  1. Learn to use Vi (VIM) from the command line
  2. Google
Linux is not intimidating or hard to use. If you want a challenge, try FreeBSD. I think it was Steve Ballmer who said "Linux is only free if you don't value your time". Um, so yes you will run into things that require some effort to learn about and sort out. If you have zero interest in computing then Windows. Of course you never really own that computer: Microsoft does. This is true even on Windows Server.

Also note: Apple OS is derived from Mach BSD. It is essentially open source once you get behind the snazzy GUI.

Server Jockey note: Uptime on Windows systems is measured in days, Linux servers in months, BSD servers in years.
Why vi? I've never understood the draw to that when there were more intuitive text based editors available these days.
 

heada

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Why vi? I've never understood the draw to that when there were more intuitive text based editors available these days.
I was going to comment about this but got lazy and moved on.

I learned vi on an HP-UX box 25-ish years ago. Very powerful and use it nearly daily still now (really vim, vi itself hasn't been on a Linux system in over a decade). If you learn vi, there is almost nothing you can't do when manipulating text and datasets. vi is not something a person who is just learning Linux should really attempt. There are lots of easier editors out there now like nano. Most how-tos even prompt you to use nano when editing files.

:%s/(ctl-x)(ctl-m)//g

Anyone who knows vi knows what that does and why it is so very important for text files that have been moved from Windows to Linux. If you don't know vi, that looks like total gibberish. Learning vi is not for a newbie but the power behind vi for daily admin work can't be replaced.
 
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CalebJ

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I definitely get it for dealing with small installs that don't have things like nano built in. And if you worked on it in the early days and are instinctively comfortable with the shortcuts available it can be powerful. Just seems like a weird thing to suggest as a near requirement when transitioning to Linux at this point.
 

Mike Haberer

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I'll say it again - Ubuntu Linux - It's free, clean, streamlined, continually updated, fast as hell, you never have to worry about a virus, and you don't wake up to stupid pictures on your screen.

You can use it out of the box, or learn more about it and it is twice as powerful as windows.

It is a tool, not a "Yay we're Microsoft, look at us" platform.
If you use Excel extensively, Linux is a non-starter. I track everything on Excel, have dozens of spreadsheets and many would not convert to Openoffice or Google Sheets do to the complexities. Running Windows under Unix to run Excel is just adding complexity. I'm a former IT guy, can handle the minutiae of Linux if I had to, but being retired, the last thing I want to do is spend my time troubleshooting tech bullshit. Life is too short. If my Windows laptop gets too old and creaky, I'll just buy a new one. I spend a lot more on rocket motors per year that what a new laptop would cost. YMMV.
 

Blast it Tom!

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I miss VMS...
That's hilarious! Sideline "Cool story bro" (I hope): When I was in college the second time around (1985-1987), I had research account (10,000 "blocks" of storage vs. a student's 500 blocks, whatever that was, but it wasn't much). The "kids" - normal college-age students - were impressed. But they were mystified as to why the VAX didn't like me. I think, corresponding to the .login on unix, it was $LOGIN on the VAX, and under the daily news banner one rec'd on login, I had entered some command to write out various messages like "Tom, you are a stupid human programmer and I have NO intention of cooperating with you! Love, the VAX." and they just had no idea why it said that or who was messing with me.

But prior to that, when I'd first returned to college and got the research job, I had my FORTRAN programming assignment and went to the computer lab and saw all these monitors (terminals) and asked where I could find a keypunch machine. The attendant looked at me incredulous. "Why do you want a keypunch? I think there still may be one or two in the science building..." And I explained and he said, "Just do it on the VAX." To which I replied "Cool. What's a VAX?" Good times...

I wonder what the next disruption will be. It's a real love tolerate/hate with Micro$oft and me; as one said above, your personal computer is no longer personal. But my for flight simulators, and so much other stuff, it's just to easy. There is no time... I used to be decent with unix, but that was 30+ years ago...
 

Blast it Tom!

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If you use Excel extensively, Linux is a non-starter. I track everything on Excel, have dozens of spreadsheets and many would not convert to Openoffice or Google Sheets do to the complexities. Running Windows under Unix to run Excel is just adding complexity. I'm a former IT guy, can handle the minutiae of Linux if I had to, but being retired, the last thing I want to do is spend my time troubleshooting tech bullshit. Life is too short. If my Windows laptop gets too old and creaky, I'll just buy a new one. I spend a lot more on rocket motors per year that what a new laptop would cost. YMMV.
Corel may make a Unix version of their Wordperfect/Quatro office suite. I'm not sure. But Quatro would import Excel pretty well.
 

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Windows 11 out soon. CentOS now upstream instead of downstream. Rocky Linux?
 

NeilMedHat

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I'll say it again - Ubuntu Linux - It's free, clean, streamlined, continually updated, fast as hell, you never have to worry about a virus, and you don't wake up to stupid pictures on your screen.

You can use it out of the box, or learn more about it and it is twice as powerful as windows.

It is a tool, not a "Yay we're Microsoft, look at us" platform.
I use Linux Debian for my internet machine and Win7 for my workstation. Problem is the ney MB upgrades dont work with Win7 so have to hunt old motherboards. Been wanting to upgrade my system and finding parts is the problem now.
The new win11 coming out sounds like a nightmare with new "security" features.
 

heada

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I use Linux Debian for my internet machine and Win7 for my workstation. Problem is the ney MB upgrades dont work with Win7 so have to hunt old motherboards. Been wanting to upgrade my system and finding parts is the problem now.
The new win11 coming out sounds like a nightmare with new "security" features.
Get a new system and build it with Linux. Then install a virtualization layer (VMWare, ProxMox, etc) and install your old Win7 on a VM. There are even P2V tools that will migrate a working Win7 physical system to a Win7 VM so you don't lose all your apps/configs. Use PCIe pass-through to pass your critical hardware, like the GPU, directly to the VM so you don't see any loss of performance/abilities. VNC remote console lets you take total control of the VM from any client. New CPUs, GPUs, NVMe storage, fast ram, etc make that VM so fast compared to 10 year old hardware that you'll never look back. You now also have snapshot based backups, ability to have multiple VMs running on a single box, etc.

Where there is a will to keep old stuff running, there is a way.
 

Ez2cDave

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Problem is the newMB upgrades dont work with Win7 so have to hunt old motherboards.
I have 4 backup motherboards, brand new in the box, plus 2 processors . . . Gotta plan ahead or the technology will be gone.

Dave F.
 

Mike Haberer

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Corel may make a Unix version of their Wordperfect/Quatro office suite. I'm not sure. But Quatro would import Excel pretty well.
Like I said. I'm retired, I don't want to learn a different spreadsheet product; not worth my time, which is my most valuable commodity. Young whipper-snappers don't get that (yet) 😉. I mean, after learning VisiCalc, then Lotus 1-2-3, a 3D (cubic) spreadsheet (that was really cool) and Excel, a 5th spreadsheet is just not in the cards. I want to fly rockets, not dick around with computers and software.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Like I said. I'm retired, I don't want to learn a different spreadsheet product; not worth my time, which is my most valuable commodity. Young whipper-snappers don't get that (yet) 😉. I mean, after learning VisiCalc, then Lotus 1-2-3, a 3D (cubic) spreadsheet (that was really cool) and Excel, a 5th spreadsheet is just not in the cards. I want to fly rockets, not dick around with computers and software.
Oh, I hear you. I'm about to retire. And I remember all of those speadsheets, except for the cubic one... I dunno, Micro$oft just gets under my skin, not because it's tough to use, just something about the whole vibe. I had an add-on menu for my home machine and Microsoft blocked me from using it. I had to buy a new printer, even though I loved my old one and there was nothing wrong with it, simply because they didn't write a driver for it in Windows 10. And don't even get me started on Micro$oft "Word". WordPerfect is so much better.

Now maybe some of y'all know how to get around driver issues, but much like Mike, that's a level I don't want to have to deal with. And it ticks me royally that they have that power. So unless I become a registry hacker or something, they have too much power over my computer...
 

Mike Haberer

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they (Microsoft) have too much power over my computer...
...which pales compared to what Apple does to you. Don't get me started. The bottom line is whatever tech you use, it has issues. It often comes down to personal preference about which issues you can live with or know how to deal with vs. not. I've been a Windows user since 1983. BOOM! I'll deal with the devil I know...

Final point, Microsoft doesn't write drivers for Windows unless it's for their own code. It's the hardware component vendors that have to write the drivers and do the updates. They aren't going to do that forever, it's cost prohibitive. I wouldn't update drivers for Windows 7 either, it's an unsupported product. Windows, being an open system architecture, drove a lot innovation quickly for many years as 3rd parties invested in the architecture. Its the price to be paid for more rapid advancement of the tech.

So, stop bellyaching and do something positive. Negativity is just plain bad karma...
 

Blast it Tom!

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I like bellyaching! As an official Olde Codger™, I've earned the right! ;)

Funny, though someone at Epson lied to me - they said Microsoft didn't include the driver for my printer in Windows 10! And yes, as with you, Windows is the devil I know...
 

John Kemker

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Why vi? I've never understood the draw to that when there were more intuitive text based editors available these days.
My take on why vi:

No matter what UNIX-like operating system you find yourself using, chances are you'll find vi or a vi clone (like vim). I, personally, have run vi or vim on all sorts of computers and operating systems:

1) BSD 4.2 on a VAX 11/750 (it's where I learned vi and UNIX back in the 80s)
2) VAX/VMS on VAX 6000 series, 3000 series, MicroVAXen, etc.
3) OpenVMS on Alpha/AXP systems
4) Digital UNIX on Alpha/AXP
5) AIX on IBM RS/6000s
6) HP/UX on various HP machines
7) Solaris on TONS of different Sun Microsystems machines, from desktops to big Enterprise 35000 servers.
8) SUSE Linux on IBM mainframes
9) Windows machines from 3.0 to Win10, including everything in between.

Haven't been able to do that with nano. EMACS comes close, but EMACS is freakin' HUGE and is a performance killer. (We had to tell the developers they couldn't run EMACS on production servers, as it tanked performance. We didn't just tell them, we proved it to them with hard data. Had to go to the CIO to get them to stop. They started using vi shortly thereafter. Nary a problem with performance.)

There are some files in /etc that expect the EOF to look a particular way. (Forget the details ATM.) Some editors tend to mess that up. Vi always ends the file the right way and you have no problems. Took over a week to figure that out at one point.

For me, it was the first full-screen editor I learned. I tend to "think" in vi. I'll install VIM on any non-Linux/UNIX machine as one of my first tasks, even work laptops.
 

mooffle

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Am I the only one still supporting non-unix mac os?
 
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