Computer geeks who also speak layman's English: please help
  • I'm considering switching operating systems to Linux.

    I've just visited the Linux homepage. I'm not sure I have the answer, yet.

    1) How do I find out whether Finale and my web browser will work with the new operating system?
    2) Are there any drawbacks to Linux, especially for those of us who miss MS-DOS prompts?
    3) Will files created with Linux as the operating system have trouble being read by anyone else?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,687
    Finale does not work under Linux. There may be a workaround using a Windows VM (virtual machine) on Linux, but I don't know if that has been tried.
    Thanked by 1JonathanKK
  • Charles,

    Thank you for your speedy answer.

    Stupid question: what's a virtual machine?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 931
    It is when you run a different operating system via a software portal on a given set of hardware. A common instance is when people who have macs create a virtual windows machine via Parallels which actually has an entire windows computer running in a window within Mac OS.

    I’d humbly suggest that you’d already know if Linux was for you. It’s not for the faint of heart, and requires a decent amount of computing skill to at least get everything settled. There are various distros that are easier than others, but it won’t just be plugnplay.
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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,691
    What about Linux is attracting your interest? If you're interested in using some particular software that is commonly found on Linux systems, it may also be available in Windows or Mac versions as well.
  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    I have a couple computers that run Linux, one running the Linux Mint flavour, and the other Ubuntu. The former is probably the easiest to use for beginners because it resembles Windows functionality a lot.
    As for running Finale under Linux, I have never tried it, but you would need to download (free) Linux Wine as a subsystem, which allows many Windows programmes to run under Linux. It is not an emulator nor a virtual machine, but actually translates Windows api calls into Linux POSIX api calls. But it does not run all Windows programmes successfully, so one would need to try the particular edition of Finale. Some have managed to run older versions of Finale in Ubuntu and older versions of Wine, but not without some issues.
    But Linux itself has a marvelous music composition/notation programme called MuseScore, which is also available for Windows and Mac.
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  • It's Windows I want to flee, and since I have absolutely no interest in Apple (never been a fan!) Linux was the alternative a tech-minded friend of mine mentioned. I'm gradually going off-grid, as it were.

    Not for the faint of heart? If I get to learn how to talk to the computer properly (instead of point/click mouse work) I might be more eager to do this, not less.

    The Finale problem, on the other hand, makes me (slightly) less interested.

    As to knowing already, when one drinks enough foul water, one begins to take it as normal. If you've grown up on McDonalds and Burger King, the offer of filet mignon is (at first) off-putting. As people around here can attest, if you've grown up around Glory and Praise and altar girls and all that, the traditional form can seem overwhelmingly foreign at first (but one gets over that!)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,691
    Maybe the way to get started would be to try out some of the particular apps you'd use in a Linux system.

    You can install these apps on your Windows machine; they all can be used under Linux as well, and they're all available free:
    * e-mail program: Thunderbird (instead of Outlook)
    * web browser: Firefox, Opera, or Chrome (instead of Edge)
    * documents, spreadsheets and briefings: LibreOffice (instead of MS-Office)
    * image editing: GIMP (instead of Photoshop)
    * music editing: Musescore (instead of Finale)

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    You can install Linux alongside Windows on the same machine, and choose between them at boot up. So you could try out Linux that way (second step after chonak's first step).
    [ADDED] Linux magazines still come with DVDs stuck on them (here at any rate), and these will usually "Live boot". That is they will offer you the option of trying the distro, the flavour of Linux on the DVD, without installing. When you have finished and taken the DVD out, the machine will be exactly as it was before. Of course since you only have access to the software on the DVD, it will be slower than installed software.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 931
    ...a tech-minded friend of mine mentioned...

    It is precisely because they are "tech-minded" that they recommended it. It's a bit like saying to someone who has driven automatic transmission their entire life, "stick shifts are great!". They certainly have their fans, but don't expect to just hop in the new car and go without good practice. Same with Linux. A buddy of mine is heavy into linux, but he codes for a living and has had to do an awful lot to get it all running the way he wants. To me at least, it's not worth the hassle for most things. (And macs aren't that bad.) "It's not for the faint of heart" was my polite way of saying, "if you're asking some of these basic questions here, Linux probably isn't for you."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,223
    I am soon installing a new computer and Microsoft has ended support for my 2010 Office Suite. Chonak, I have started using those free apps and am debating whether to spend money on a new purchase of, or subscription to, the current version of Office. Those "freebies" seem to work fine.
  • Serviam,

    Thank you for your polite way. [I'm sure Chonak also appreciates that you didn't take me to the woodshed, so he has less to delete.]

    The fact that my friend is tech-minded isn't what makes it appealing to me. That it's not Apple or Microsoft, and that it's open source appeal to me. MS-DOS prompting (if that's really it) is an extra added bonus, a reason for me to try it.

    IF Finale doesn't work on Linux, that's a drawback, and I have to face the question: to use something else, to abandon music writing altogether, or to avoid Linux for this reason.

    I appreciate the image of a stick shift. (I've always been a fan, and used to drive one, but minivans don't come with a stick shift, so I've had to not drive one for some years now. Might get back to one now that were in the grand-children phase.)
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    I have not installed MS Office on either of my last two computers.
    2) Are there any drawbacks to Linux, especially for those of us who miss MS-DOS prompts?
    The command line is much more commonly used in Linux than Windows. But that is a sign of geeks at work!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,223
    You can install Linux alongside Windows on the same machine, and choose between them at boot up. So you could try out Linux that way (second step after chonak's first step).


    I recently saw an ad for a thumb drive that contains a Linux operating system. Just plug it in on your Windows machine. I don't remember it costing very much.
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  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,687
    For Linux users, it's my understanding that MuseScore is a pretty good alternative to Finale.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    A perspective for Mac in contrast to other platforms... spend your time playing the violin as opposed to building it.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 931
    Chris, thank you for taking my comment with grace and in the spirit in which it was intended. I certainly don’t want to discourage you. The fact that it is an open platform is indeed a feather in its cap.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    Although… the reality is that for all of the obnoxious things done by the software companies, the reality is that their programs are leaps and bounds better, even if one can get good results with GIMP, Scribus, etc. Why? They are constantly being tinkered, whereas GIMP and Scribus depend on volunteers.

    Some programs might get better, more frequent updates, but it's a pretty big deal that GIMP is so hard to use and so infrequently fixed. Ditto Scribus; there's simply no replacing Adobe's CC suite without a lot of hassle, even though I don't have an income that justifies paying for a product that I'd use infrequently. I also dislike the subscription model, but there's no way around that. Either use these products, or use the free and open-source alternatives…

    Francis is right about macOS; now, my complaint is that RAW images are rather difficult to process. The software that I used on Windows doesn't have a macOS version, and everything else is an uphill battle, unless I just cough up the money for Lightroom.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,223
    For Linux users, it's my understanding that MuseScore is a pretty good alternative to Finale.


    I have both and after using MuseScore, I wonder why I spent the money on Finale.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    leaps and bounds better? Well for professional work, if you shell out thousands, yes. But the free consumer level products are just as good as, say MS Office, and have been for most of this century.
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  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    But the free consumer level products are just as good as, say MS Office, and have been for most of this century.


    Well, I specifically named Adobe products and their free and open-source counterparts, which I use because I can't justify the subscriptions, but they are decidedly inferior products even though one can get quite nice and pleasing results in such a way that one winds up learning the principles just as much as how to manipulate buttons.

    But at what cost? It's true that the Adobe suite is expensive, but the learning curve for Scribus is also extraordinarily high. One might rightly say "why bother" even if they don't like Adobe, even if they support free and open-source software in lieu of InDesign and similar products, and so on.

    Having only user support is not a plus; now, it's true that Microsoft and Apple farm a lot of support off to volunteers, but you're not necessarily totally on your own if the software doesn't run correctly. Also, if we do want to talk about LibreOffice, it does seem to be regularly maintained and updated, but they took two full years to go from version 6 to 7; in contrast, Scribus and GIMP aren't even onto version 3 after almost two decades and are either missing features or have made them mindbogglingly more complicated than their paid equivalents. Scribus for instance deals with kerning and tracking of letters in a very bizarre way, which makes it very hard to set type evenly across a whole line.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,691
    Yes, the commercial apps often have specific features that the free apps don't have. If you want or need those features, that's a reason to buy them.

    But if you want to get away from subscription charges and dependency on Apple or Microsoft, then running open-source apps will probably be a good step toward meeting those goals.

    Whether to install Linux becomes another question. Linux or any operating system gives you a bunch of technical services to handle your computer's input and output processing, its file storage, its use of services on the network, its ability to run multiple applications. Most users don't care how those things get done, as long as they function correctly, so there's not much reason to switch from one OS to another. It certainly doesn't make your life simpler. If you have particular technical goals in mind, such as setting up multiple machines in an office, or building a file server for shared use, setting up your own web server or e-mail server -- then it makes sense to consider installing Linux.
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  • Felicia
    Posts: 67
    I use Windows 10 for my day job because my employer (a large university library) requires it. We also have dedicated IT staff.

    At home, I have an HP laptop I bought back in 2008 or 2009. Two years ago the hard drive went bad, and I replaced it. However, Windows 7 was the latest version of Windows I could run on its hardware, and MS support for that version ceased in 2020. (I was told by techs that I could try Windows 8, but it would probably be s-l-o-w.) So, I partitioned the hard drive and loaded my old Windows OS on one partition, mainly so I can use (Finale (!), and loaded Linux Mint (Cinnamon) on the other partition for other applications. I use the LibreOffice applications for most of what I do (word processing, spreadsheets, database, etc.). I was really glad that Linux enabled me to continue using my old computer, since I didn't have the $$ right then to purchase a new one.

    What others have said about Linux requiring more hands-on involvement is pretty true--it is much less out-of-the box than Windows. Nevertheless, I find it works fine for Word documents and spreadsheets, and I can open these files and edit them in either OS. The presentation programs are a different story. Although LibreOffice Impress (Linux) will let you open and edit a PowerPoint file, PowerPoint does not return the favor with slides created in Impress.

    I have trouble running Zoom on my old machine, but I think that may due more to the old hardware than to Linux.
  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    I do not want to bring back an old war, but Francis' comment about playing a violin on a Mac rather than building it is absurd. I couple years ago I got a Mac laptop, and after the excitement of a few months, it has been picking up dust for almost 2 years. I find the Mac GUI 20 years out of date in terms of its user functionality, quite un-intuitive for a long time computer user who thinks he thinks and works logically, and something a kid would use with its childish desktop graphics. I am not saying Windows 10 is much better, but it is better once one installs some desktop addons such as Open Shell for the Start menu to bring it closer to the classic Windows 7 look which I think was one of the most intuitive and efficient Windows desktops ever before Microsoft started messing around with touch screen GUI interfaces. Linux, however, has an upper hand on both since one can choose the GUI preferred from a number, such as KDE, Cinnamon (Mint), or even Xfce.
    But all said, it is really the programmes that one needs to run on a computer that should be the criterion, and when all is said, Windows by far exceeds the other two combined in available quality programmes, even open source. It is probably why Macs allow Windows to boot on their proprietary and needlessly expensive machines. Wine for Linux (for running Windows apps almost natively) is constantly being updated, but it still has issues with some apps, particularly sophisticated games.
  • Francis,

    Would you give a Stradivarius to a toddler?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    Would you give a Stradivarius to a toddler?

    If the toddler showed promise, why not? ... I would be in the room every time the toddler played it as I would be a hands on instructor.

    However, I am lost on how this applies to our discussion.

    (my parents purchased a Steinway for me when I was eight... does that count for anything?)

    As for the expense of a Mac, my computers last ten years or so, are very durable and never fail. Does that count toward transparency of fiddling with the technology or paying too much money?

    The Mac is a great right brain computer... very fast at creative... music comp, graphic design, web design, video, audio production, and other useful apps. So if you are a left brain user (as I suspect Ted may be) Mac might not be the best choice for the geekier side of computing. I can't say, but it has been a while since I have looked at a Windows machine.
  • Francis,

    You asked if I would rather play the violin or build it. Lacking the skill to build it, I would rather have a skilled violinist play it rather than bring my meager talent to bear on it.

    Stradivarius is probably a bad example, though, since I don't know if they are wildly overpriced -- as, I understand from many Apple enthusiasts, most Apple products are.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    Well, YOU are the operator... correct? So YOU are going to have to either get left brain and build the machine (install an OS, learn the apps, etc) or you can get a Mac and buy the apps that will service your end goal. The time you spend building the machine might better be used composing a Mass. I suppose it all comes down to ones priorities.

    What I am saying is that you can spend a considerable and even an excessive amount of time learning operating systems, tweaking software and hardware, in essence a lot of effort “building the machine and your knowledge base to use it”. What is your end goal when you sit down to a computer? That may determine your choice.

    The TIME I save (alone) more than pays for a Mac over and over with its polished structure and easy to use applications.

    If you need someone else to play your strad, I am certainly available for hire!
  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    Chris:
    You may find this informative:

    https://cos.reisinformatica.com/blog/10-reasons-why-linux-is-better-than-macos-or-windows

    Also this:

    https://forum.makemusic.com/default.aspx?f=5&m=410894

    It seems that if you are using third party VSTs with Finale, you may encounter problems.

    I would suggest you download and install Linux Mint and the Linux Wine subsystem, and try to see if it will run your version of Finale properly. The Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop version resembles the Windows desktop the most, so you may want to install that one.

    The best way to do this is to install on a spare hard drive. (I have a stack of them from upgrading my computers to SSDs). Otherwise you can install it to co-exist with your existing Windows system through dual boot. Here is a guide:

    https://itsfoss.com/install-linux-mint/

    Installing Linux Wine is more involved, and you will need to use the Linux terminal for this (similar to the Mac Console or Windows Command Prompt). Following these steps closely, you should have no problems:

    https://linuxhint.com/installing_wine_linux_mint/

    The only issue is whether you should install the 32 bit or 64 bit of this software. If you are running Windows 10 it is 64 bit, so install 64 bit Linux and Wine.

    Good luck!

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    I'm installing Wine at dinner time.
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  • Liam
    Posts: 4,358
    Like this?
  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    Francis:"The Mac is a great right brain computer...", "The TIME I save (alone) more than pays for a Mac over and over with its polished structure and easy to use applications."

    What utter nonsense. The complexity of an app and its logically ordered intuitive layout determines how easy it is to use, not the OS. As for right brain-left brain, both are needed to work together. Creativity without logical reasoning produces much of the ugliness in today's modern art and music.
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  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 980
    I use a Windows computer at work (the programs our company uses are only available in a Windows version). At home, I use a Mac. If you buy a Windows machine, you will be replacing it 4-6 years down the road. If you buy a Mac, you will be replacing it 8-10 years down the road. Macs come with a word processor (Pages), a spreadsheet (Numbers), and a presentation application (Keynote) that can read and write Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.

    I find I update the Mac much less often than the Windows computer at work, and when Apple comes out with a major upgrade to its operating system, it is free.

    Like Linux, Apple's MacOS, is Unix based.

    @Ted - At least Apple doesn't completely change the way their programs work every few years. In 2006, Microsoft completely redid the Office interface and I'm still not used to the changes. IMHO, 'Logically ordered intuitive layout' is an oxymoron. To be proficient in Microsoft Office requires hundreds of hours and reference books that make the LU look normal-sized. To be proficient in the Mac equivalents require tens of hours and an online book of a few dozen pages.



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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 931
    To be honest, I’ve always found the debate among various OS diehards to be a rather funny one… windows and Mac have vastly more in common than they have differences… And almost all major programs that are worth having are on both platforms and are essentially identical save for the shape of the red X up in the corner... obviously there are programs here and there that are only on one OS or the other, but by and large programs are developed for both platforms and if they aren’t there’s usually something that is equivalent to it by another developer with nearly identical functionality (Autohotkey vs keyboard maestro). I have Macs at home and I used to work all day on Windows machines… I’ve never had any difficulty switching between the two and I really don’t understand what causes people to struggle.
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  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 980
    People struggle with the unfamiliar. I use both and have no problem going back and forth. I do l like the reliability of the Mac, though. Although that comes from Apple controlling everything from production to software. Microsoft has to create an operating system that works with hundreds of computer manufacturers. Apple only has to create an operating system that works for products from one company (Apple).
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    well, things wind up being very different on Apple, but I think that if you grew up with Windows as I did, you can switch back, like for work, without much trouble.

    That said, Pages, a few small problems or bespoke personal needs aside, blows Word out of the water for most daily tasks. I'm not sure yet that I like how it handles footnotes, but Word is strange about the presentation too. In fact, most of my complaints relate to things that Word mishandles as well, and I think that I'd agree about the time spent to make Word function, though I'd add that one can make good documents. However, and this is a big however, Microsoft doesn't properly support Open Type features, which ultimately limits Word's capabilities.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    Ted... You are on!

    would you accept a challenge on right brain creativity (original music composition, web page design and marketing, advertising, print design, facebook ad, video and audio production) to be delivered in 40 hours working time?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,358
    If an Operating System were likened to a Christian denomination (alternatively, a Christian sacred music genre), which one would be which?
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    @Liam

    Mac, of course, is the Mega Church... everyone has it, it is slick, and appeals to the masses.
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  • MarkB
    Posts: 671
    Being ecologically conscious, I prefer Windows OS to MacOS because Windows features a Recycle Bin instead of Apple's Trash Can. Just wanted to virtue signal here.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,546
    Being ecologically conscious, I prefer Windows OS to MacOS because Windows features a Recycle Bin instead of Apple's Trash Can. Just wanted to virtue signal here.


    Recycle? Bhahahahahahaha!... I can barely recycle my laundry much less my trash.
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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,691
    If an Operating System were likened to a Christian denomination (alternatively, a Christian sacred music genre), which one would be which?

    This question was addressed twenty-seven years ago by Umberto Eco, who opined on the subject in 1994, when the main options offered to the public were MS-DOS, which required typing text commands into the computer, and the Mac, with its graphical approach. At the time Windows was Microsoft's attempt to play catch-up; it was only an add-on to MS-DOS.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20000920055523/http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_mac_vs_pc.html
  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    bhcordova:
    MS updates frequently Windows mostly because it has so many security attacks against it, being so widely used. It has to be constantly ahead of the clever hackers around the world. I cringe at what would happen if all these hackers decided to exploit Macs.
    Before I got the Mac laptop I put in storage a couple years ago, I had obtained an older Mac laptop, only to find out its Mac OS was no longer upgradeable for that model about a year later, so I donated it away. I have upgraded not a few Intel and AMD laptops older than 10 years now adequately running Windows 10 by changing their clunker hard drives to SSDs, and if possible adding more RAM, giving the laptops a new life for another few years. I tried doing that to a Mac laptop and it took me half a day but finally only with hacking tools....not worth my time and effort. In short, Apple does not want its affluent client base to upgrade but to buy expensive new Apple equipment.
    It is true that the Mac OS is founded on Linux. But then why buy expensive Apple equipment when you can run Linux itself on much cheaper and older machines? Owning something Apple, it seems, is still a status symbol. As a matter of fact there are several Linux desktops that can make a Linux machine into a lookalike Mac OS desktop if that is so important for the user (eg. Elementary OS, Backslash Linux, etc.). There was once a Pear OS that made Linux look and work almost identically to a Mac, but it was bought by a mysterious company and was quickly closed down. Having been mostly open source it has been resurrected now as the Pear OS 8. Incidentally, there are also hacks which can make a Windows desktop look more like a Mac. Android, also based on Linux, is at the tops now for OS market share, and there are even different versions of it for the PC.

    My favourite for operability and functionality over the years, though, is still OS/2 Warp which at the time was way ahead of its competitors, and slick. With IBM's bungling and Bill Gates' cunning business tactics it has vanished, although there is a bit of a comeback for it as Arca OS 5, but it is only 32bit.

    As for Microsoft Office, I do not use it but use instead LibreOffice. One of the factors to consider is that with the smaller user base for Macs, Microsoft is putting in less investment in the Mac version. Already, the Mac Office 365 version is lacking in a lot of features that the Windows version has. Adding features usually mean a change in approach for the user to using it. I wonder how long Microsoft can continue supporting its Office for Mac with a constantly falling market share, and should probably turn its attention more to its Android version.


  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,691
    It is true that the Mac OS is founded on Linux.

    Not exactly. Both Mac OS X and Linux are founded on Unix: Linux by way of imitation, and OS X by incorporating code from Unix (which was a product of Bell Labs, and hence under copyright protection). Because Linux provides an effective imitation-Unix environment, much software written for Linux can easily be offered in a version for OS X, and vice versa.
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  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    Francis:
    It is not only about saving time, but about producing quality work from ideas that need to be developed first. I am not asking Mac users to switch to Windows or Linux. If one is happy with what one has, then there is no need to change. So if you like what you have and find it adequate, keep going.

    The original question was whether it was possible to run Finale on Linux for whatever reason. And I found that yes it may be possible with the Windows version, but I have not investigated running Finale for Mac on Linux.

    As for myself I have several Windows and Linux machines running, and a Mac in storage because I have no use for it. Because I do a lot of video production and post production, including sound editing, I need to use the Windows machines whose hardware I have optimised for this purpose, something difficult to do with a Mac, by the way. I have found that the high end AMD CPUs (Ryzen 7) are very good for this (they are basically for gamers) and you only have Macs based on Intel CPUs and limited hardware expandability (I use high end AMD/ATI video graphics cards with lots of memory and large capacity nvme SSD hard drives that connect directly to the PCIe bus accessed by the CPU). Also, there are no Mac or Linux versions of VMix and Vegas Pro both professional video tools which I use constantly. At one point I used to use Adobe's Premier, which I am told, by the way, runs faster on Windows than on the Mac, but not anymore since I found the original Sony Vegas more flexible and intuitive and can work with 4k videos.

  • quilisma
    Posts: 135
    Running Ubuntu since more than 10yrs. For me Windows Vista was the low point causing me to dump MS. Never looked back.
    Using MuseScore, TeXworks with Gregorio, Rosegarden for Midi.

    I see that Finale has been tested under Wine: Link
    ...so you should be able to get it working.

    It's true that greater IT knowledge will certainly help you when starting out with Linux. But the forums are really helpful, if you can manage to filter out the garbage.
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  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 980
    My favourite for operability and functionality over the years, though, is still OS/2 Warp which at the time was way ahead of its competitors, and slick. With IBM's bungling and Bill Gates' cunning business tactics it has vanished, although there is a bit of a comeback for it as Arca OS 5, but it is only 32bit.


    Ted, my favorite was Commodore DOS.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,223
    I remember being told at the time, "why would anyone need more than 64 KB?"
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,699
    CharlesW - Was that an Apple II salesman?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,223
    I have heard it attributed to Bill Gates, but I remember reading it somewhere.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,769
    I was working at a non-profit in the late 90s where somebody donated what had been when new a very nice DOS machine with a hard drive! that had "all the storage you would ever need" per the accompanying materials. Its size: 10 MB. We laughed even then.