The Linux Alternative

 

With the demise of MS Windows XP on April 8, 2014, there is an alternative to moving on to the next version of MS Windows. That is using Linux.

Linux, today, is equal to MS Windows for most common uses and it is free. But in terms of this forum, there is one obvious downside to Linux, which is the lack of GPS software that runs under Linux. I suppose somewhere there is GPS software that is Linux based. But I am unaware of it. I get around this limitation by having a dual-boot option for my computer.

So if you don't know what to do with your Windows XP computer or any other version of MS Windows, give Linux a thought. You may like it.

One place to start looking is LinxQuestions.org.
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

One thing that can be done

One thing that can be done is to dual boot XP and Linux. That would allow the GPS software to work since there is no Linux alternative to the software.

But thanks for the reminder about Linux. I should put it on my netbook and set the netbook to dual boot.

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"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." --Douglas Adams

On the other hand, just

On the other hand, just because XP is "dead" only means that it will not be supported via maintenance fixes by MS and does not mean that your current machine running XP should be dumped in favor of something else. It will continue to function.

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I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

What does end of support mean?

From the Microsoft webapge:
What does it mean if my version of Windows is no longer supported?

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/help/what-does-en...
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Yes, XP will continue to function. But, if you wish to "upgrade", consider Linux as an alternative to the current version of MS Windows. You may like Linux.

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

@KenSny: My netbook isn't my

@KenSny: My netbook isn't my primary machine, so I can afford to make changes. However, while XP will continue to function, it will become increasingly insecure. People still on XP should upgrade, period.

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"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." --Douglas Adams

try drinking WINE

a lot of Windoz programs will run under WINE on Linux.
I have not been there yet so I can't comment about it.

Yes, I agree in principal.

@Strephon_Alkhalikoi Yes, I agree in principal.

But upgrading XP to anything other than Vista is not possible (if staying with MS). If by upgrading you mean "installing" a new OS than yes, they should consider W7. I can't recommend W8 or W8.1 to my users.

I recently upgraded 1 XP (at SP3) laptop to a clean license of Vista and then to a clean license of W7 32-bit. Mainly to get to a secure (if such a thing is possible) version 11 of IE. And on a 2009 3gb memory HP laptop it works better than I expected. And the user is VERY happy that all his programs, etc. did not need to be reinstalled. Of course some programs are running in compatibility XP-SP3 mode.

BTW: If a private user is attempting this remember:
Each MS version license must be clean (not used anywhere else). If you keep track of how many times you use a Vista license and then upgrade it to W7, you can deal with the MS-phone method to reuse the Vista license for another upgrade of XP.

YMMV

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I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

Why?

KenSny wrote:

I recently upgraded 1 XP (at SP3) laptop ... Mainly to get to a secure version 11 of IE.

Why not just use Firefox? Outside of closed systems it is quite rare to find something that doesn't function correctly on Firefox or Chrome.

Because Firefox, and Google

Because Firefox, and Google Chrome for that matter, continually break addons and toolbars without notification when they frequently version update. We don't consider that a stable environment. And constantly running around fixing them is not cost effective.

For a single user environment, then Firefox might be a decent alternative. But Google Chrome, no.

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I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

Still running XP?

(Warning -- mild rant brought on from dealing with this situation)

Someone still running XP? Why?

Some are barnacles, holding on tenaciously, highly resistant to change.

But that MAY be for a reason.

Moving to Win 7? One of the first steps is to gather the installation materials for the apps you're running under XP. Oh, the floppy disks the main app that runs on this system came on? Has anyone seen those floppies? For years? Yet the software runs, and the software runs the process/tool/whatever that the business uses or even relies upon.

(Whether this is a good business strategy is a different question.)

But there are many, many instances of this -- a business process supported by obsolete software probably running on obsolete hardware, but damn, its running, it does the job, and it's paid for. Leave it alone!

As for security? Make sure it's behind a good hardware firewall, and has a very restrictive set of rules associated with it. Like no outside internet access! And access internally only to devices that need to access them! If that thing only needs NTP access to keep the clock accurate, the firewall rules should insure that's the only thing it can do! Give it its own VLAN and tie it down!

The Ethernet-connected printers in the office can't access the outside world. Why should they? Software updates? Their manufacturers abandoned them years ago, and if something does come up, I'll install it.

But what about... Hey, a machine running a mission-critical program, or merely a business-important program is a *production machine* -- and you don't do things like web surfing or e-mail on a production machine. You run that one program or suite of programs, and that is all. Do your net surfing, e-mail, and fooling around on some other machine.

Lock it down. Back it up. Maintain it as best you can and run it until the wheels fall off.

Oh, and if you are relying on something you can't rebuild from scratch, you *do* need to work on that problem as well.

I'm sure five years from now there will still be a lot of systems running XP. This is not necessarily a good thing, but I believe it to be true.

I also believe that we will see enormous classes of XP-based dedicated systems nailed to the wall in the next year.

(End of rant -- for now)

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Nuvi 2460, 680, DATUM Tymserve 2100, Trimble Thunderbolt, Ham radio, Macintosh, Linux, Windows

@ k6rtm: Standing up

@ k6rtm: Standing up clapping!

Finally someone else understands a "real world" of small business, etc. No cutting edge technology ever made a small business prosper. Tried, tested, and backups, make it all run forever (almost).

One of the reasons I took the upgrade path I did for this user was that he DID NOT have all the installation disks for everything installed on the XP system. Thankfully we did not need them as the upgrade path was clean. Although I did sweat a lot because one of the programs with no installation disk was of course on of the most important for him.

We do intend to slowly migrate all to W7, but business comes first. If it ain't broke don't touch it.

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I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

What End of Support means to me

Nothing.

The last time that I accepted "support" from Microsoft was back in XP service pack 1, I had bought a new notebook. It immediately informed me that I should accept "security updates". I disabled automatic updates, wanting to see how the notebook behaved before I let any changes be made. At the same tome I was starting to be interested in Knoppix and had downloaded and burnt the Knoppix CD. Knoppix booted and ran well on the notebook.

After a month or so I decided that it was time to let the laptop accept the Microsoft "security updates". I ran the update process and accepted a number of patches.

Windows seemed to be about the same after the process. But there was a big change, my laptop could no longer correctly run Knoppix (Linux). And since it was running off of a CD I was pretty damn sure that Knoppix had not changed. (And I verified this by burning a new copy, as well as confirming the MD5 checksum of both CDs that would no longer work.) The problem was that Knoppix could no longer access the Internet through the wired Ethernet connection in the laptop, even though Windows could.

After a lot of work I tracked the problem to the Microsoft "security update" making a change to the configuration EEROM on the NIC that affected the start up configuration (all modern NICs have EErom memory, it is how they program unique MAC codes into each NIC). Microsoft had changed the NIC hardware in my laptop so that it would no longer work correctly for software that used the configuration parameters in the NIC, and also was not using these configuration parameters themselves. It became clear that Microsoft's idea of a "security update" was to break my hardware so the it would no longer run Linux but could still run XP.

I have not accepted a Microsoft "security update" since then. Using a good firewall (not the damn Microsoft "firewall") and good security practices, you can keep your system far more secure that you can by trusting Microsoft. Microsoft is actually the only malicious software that has ever managed to harm any of my systems, they will not get a chance to do it again.

VirtualBox rather than dual boot

Strephon_Alkhalikoi wrote:

One thing that can be done is to dual boot XP and Linux. That would allow the GPS software to work since there is no Linux alternative to the software.

But thanks for the reminder about Linux. I should put it on my netbook and set the netbook to dual boot.

You could also use VirtualBox. That's how I update my Garmin through my Linux computer. It runs a virtual installation of Windows (currently Windows7 for me) or any other operating system you install.

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Garmin dezl560 LMT

For me with my netbook,

For me with my netbook, anything I do to it is tinkering. I barely look at it anymore since I got an Android tablet. But, I'm not sure Virtualbox would properly work with my Griffin iMic. That piece of hardware is critical for transferring rare cassettes and records to digital formats. It also will not function on Vista or later due to changes to the audio subsystems in Vista. Then there is the performance penalty involved in virtualizing. On a device with only 1GB of RAM and a slow Atom processor, dual-booting is a better option.

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"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." --Douglas Adams

But it'd be so much easier...

if only the Garmin Devs started looking into the building of an update app for our Unix boxes. They already do a Mac version, so why no Linux release ? I actually had to purchase a separate netbook for the chore of executing my lifetime updates, they would not even run on my Virtual machine any more (OK, it was an XP box, but as up to date as I could make it...).

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Ain't nuthin' never just right to do the things you wanna do when you wanna do them, so you best just go ahead and do them anyway ! (Rancid Crabtree, from Pat F McManus fame)

Chrome

KenSny wrote:

Because Firefox, and Google Chrome for that matter, continually break addons and toolbars without notification when they frequently version update. We don't consider that a stable environment. And constantly running around fixing them is not cost effective.

For a single user environment, then Firefox might be a decent alternative. But Google Chrome, no.

Why is Chrome not suitable for a single user enviornment?

dobs108 smile

IMO Google doesn't care if

IMO Google doesn't care if they break things when they update Chrome. And it takes them forever to fix a problem. With Chrome 33 all apps or addons MUST be from the Google store or you can not install them.

Firefox is almost as bad, but I have seen instances where a problem is resolved quickly.

You can certainly use Chrome if you want, but I haven't recommended it since version 32 which was a disaster.

At any rate, this thread was about using Linux instead of the non-supported XP. What I was trying to respond to is that Linux is not a viable alternative to what I see in the small business arena. So I'll stop hijacking the thread.

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I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

don't make me laugh

IE and stability? Don't make me laugh. In company I work for we have to use IE to access SharePoint database, because Firefox has limited capability there. We are using bar codes, printed from other Microsoft database system on documents. Those codes should be scanned to speed up process of entering and accessing data. But there is a problem. It worked until recent upgrade to newest IE. If version is 8 or newer bar codes are printed with nice dihtering, and are unreadable to bar code scanner. Support team still doesn't know why this problem exist. As well as Microsoft. So don't tell me about "compatibility" in IE, as Firefox doesn't have this problem, regardless of version.

This same problem is with documents that are moved between different versions of MS Office. Older document are opening much better in Libre or Open Office than in newest version of Word or Excel

KenSny wrote:

Because Firefox, and Google Chrome for that matter, continually break addons and toolbars without notification when they frequently version update. We don't consider that a stable environment. And constantly running around fixing them is not cost effective.

For a single user environment, then Firefox might be a decent alternative. But Google Chrome, no.

I'll just get a new computer

There's a good chance that any computer that is still running XP, is probably getting a bit old and tired anyway.

I'll just get a new laptop, to replace my desktop.

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NUVI2555LMT, NUVI350

Linux is a good alternative

Linux is a good alternative for those unable to or unwilling to plunk down cash for a new computer.

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"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." --Douglas Adams

Linux is a Great Alternative

I agree, Linux is a great free alternative to aging hardware and aging operating systems. Linux has way smaller system requirements to operate well, so you can squeeze many more years out of your old laptops and desktops by using Linux than you could ever get continuing to operate them as a Windows machine.

Proprietary Browsers and Abomination

grzesja wrote:

... In [the] company I work for we have to use IE to access SharePoint database, because Firefox has limited capability there.

I don't think this is a Firefox limitation, simply another proprietary dirty-trick by Microsoft. At the company I used to work for, when new versions of IE explorer were released our access to various services on the companies intra-net crashed and our IT staff had to scramble to fix them. Browsers utilizing proprietary code and restricting the users ability to access internet services are an abomination.

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Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

@Steve R.

That's what I meant by "limited capability". The only way for Microsoft to force users into using IE is making software incompatible with any other browser. But it still doesn't mean that IE is "incredibly stable" when Firefox "sucks with any new version" as KenSny it saying. I don't think there is any major browser out there, that makes so difficult to upgrade as IE. Practically every upgrade to newer version of IE in corporate environment is a disaster. So much for "stability".

Agreed

Strephon_Alkhalikoi wrote:

.... Then there is the performance penalty involved in virtualizing. On a device with only 1GB of RAM and a slow Atom processor, dual-booting is a better option.

I agree, you have to have the resources to spare when virtualizing. My laptop has an i7 and 8GB of RAM so it's never been a problem for me. I kind of take that for granted sometimes.

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Garmin dezl560 LMT

Virtualizing -- Running one computer inside another one

Resource is the key for virtualization. It is essential running multiple OS in one computer, 1 or more OS inside another one. To be practical, the computer running virtualization must have enough resource to meet twice the suggested requirement of the higher demand OS and plus some more to spare. At any moment, dual boot is always better, and less troublesome. But, there is time that virtualization is necessary evil.

@machinegundoctor: The

@machinegundoctor: The netbook is a secondary machine. My primary machine, up until its graphics chip committed seppuku, had both Linux and Windows 98 virtual machines running on it. Not at the same time though.

The Win98 machine Is for some old games I have that won't run on anything newer. I simply haven't bothered to install my copy of VMWare to run it on my primary machine's replacement.

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"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." --Douglas Adams

LOL

Strephon_Alkhalikoi wrote:

until its graphics chip committed seppuku

LOL that's about the funniest way of putting that I've ever heard!

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Garmin dezl560 LMT

Damn...

marinegundoctor wrote:
Strephon_Alkhalikoi wrote:

.... Then there is the performance penalty involved in virtualizing. On a device with only 1GB of RAM and a slow Atom processor, dual-booting is a better option.

I agree, you have to have the resources to spare when virtualizing. My laptop has an i7 and 8GB of RAM so it's never been a problem for me. I kind of take that for granted sometimes.

Your laptop has more brawn than my home server...

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Striving to make the NYC Metro area project the best.

Weighs an MFT

camerabob wrote:

Your laptop has more brawn than my home server...

LOL, yeah it weighs about as much too I would guess. It's kind of a lot to lug around but it's sure nice to look at.

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Garmin dezl560 LMT