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  • #31
    Bob P, you should maybe try making an XP virtual machine to run TurboTax.

    I've been using VirtualBox a lot lately. I just got a new machine at work with Win7, but I had already made an XP virtual machine preinstalled with all of my weird obsolete software that I need for embedded development. The changeover was seamless, and it runs pretty fast. VirtualBox can intercept all the USB programming/debugging dongles I use, and pass them through to the virtual machine. As a bonus, I can run the exact same VM on my Mac laptop if I need to go and debug stuff in the field.

    For another project, we are collaborating with a team who use Linux, so I just made another VM with the same Linux distro they use on their embedded hardware. I'm designing a USB data acquisition card for them, and I'll test it using VirtualBox's USB capability.

    Oh and VirtualBox is free.
    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by Steve Conner View Post
      Bob P, you should maybe try making an XP virtual machine to run TurboTax.
      virtualization is a good idea. i've been tinkering with virt-manager on linux for quite some time. first there was that hurdle with USB device recognition, then with securely virtualizing network connections. now it's sound. one thing that's always bothered me is that sound always seems to be b0rked in the linux virtual machines. so the path of least resistance has been to leave a win box up and running, so i don't have to fight with a b0rken OS every time I need to do my taxes.

      Do you get full support for sound in virtualbox?

      I have to admit, after seeing what Oracle did with Solaris, I can't say that I trust them to maintain open source solutions.
      "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

      "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

      Comment


      • #33
        Sound support: Playback works fine, to the extent that I can happily edit audio in Sound Forge on my Mac. I haven't dared to try recording. Since I moved to Win7 as the host, I get error messages saying that it couldn't find "PCM_In" or "PCM_Mic", which don't exactly fill me with confidence.

        If you have a USB soundcard, you could always pass it through to the guest OS, which should take the host OS out of the picture completely. My best audio interface is Firewire, so I'm sort of lost there.

        I think the free version of Virtualbox is a taster designed to get you interested in enterprise deployments of it, which will cost a fine fee.
        "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

        Comment


        • #34
          I tried downloading GNU-Cash yesterday.
          I'm no book keeper, but I didn't see much for taxes.
          It used up quite a bit of Drive, so I removed it.
          All of thoseReal Tax programs seem to be Windoz only, maybe some Mac.
          All the Debian, Ubuntu based (APT-GET) systems seem to have more options than the other Linux Systems.
          Can someone explain the Virtual Box Concept? I know nothing about it.
          Also does anyone use the Wine? I've not used any of that either.
          T


          "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
          Terry

          Comment


          • #35
            Big Tee, the idea is to create another virtual computer inside your real one, so you can run two OSs at once. This used to be slow and clunky, but modern hardware is so powerful that you can't tell the difference between the virtual machine and the real one. In some situations the virtual machine can even be faster.

            So, at work I run Win7 as my host OS and that lets me join the corporate network (it's secured so only authorised computers can connect) use MS Office 2013, MS Project, Outlook, surf the net and so on.

            But inside it I run a stripped down copy of XP or Linux to get my software development work done. These guest OSs don't need to access the Internet, so they can run without virus checkers, web browsers etc, which makes them smaller and faster. Also, if they get corrupted for whatever reason, I can restore their virtual hard disks to a known good state. Unlike "System Restore", this really works. I can also move the virtual machines to any other computer running VirtualBox.

            I have a dual monitor setup, and it works nicely with one OS on each.

            Wine is a little different. Instead of creating a whole new machine, it's just a library that converts the Windows functions into the corresponding X-Windows ones. So when your Windows program wants to pop up a dialog box, it might call the MessageBox function. That wouldn't normally exist in *nix, so Wine provides it, and translates it into a call to whatever the equivalent function is in *nix.
            "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

            Comment


            • #36
              The only reason I still have my main computer running Win 7(which actually works very well) is Adobe products such as Photoshop CS6, Premiere Pro CS6, InDesign and DreamWeaver CS6. Wine works with earlier versions of Photoshop but there were enough compatibility issues that I gave up on Wine. Virtual Box is much more flexible and faster, allows full access to ports etc but the down side is you still are running an install of Windows. For some applications, Wine is well tuned and allows you to stay in your Linux OS but less popular Windows programs are not well supported.

              What really impresses me more than any other feature is how wide a range of hardware now runs out of the box on Ubuntu. It has been quite a few versions back that the last time I ran into a wireless adapter driver issue, webcam or scanner issue. In an office environment where there are not too many multimedia external devices or games, it would be hard to find a hardware device that was not supported out of the box plain vanilla Ubuntu. I am using Ubuntu 12.10 on my dual boot laptop, plus a couple others to play with including Mint.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Steve Conner View Post
                So, at work I run Win7 as my host OS and that lets me join the corporate network (it's secured so only authorised computers can connect) use MS Office 2013, MS Project, Outlook, surf the net and so on.

                But inside it I run a stripped down copy of XP or Linux to get my software development work done. These guest OSs don't need to access the Internet, so they can run without virus checkers, web browsers etc, which makes them smaller and faster. Also, if they get corrupted for whatever reason, I can restore their virtual hard disks to a known good state. Unlike "System Restore", this really works. I can also move the virtual machines to any other computer running VirtualBox.
                VirtualBox sounds really cool- it is free software evidently from Oracle (not just some hacker in his basement.) I keep putting off doing a dual boot Win/Linux thing but I learned here that it isn't very fast switching back and forth. (Probably take close to 5 minutes with a loaded Win 7 install.)

                Thanks!

                Steve Ahola

                Here is a link to the Virtual Box download page:

                https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

                BTW can you explain more about the virtual hard drive?
                The Blue Guitar
                www.blueguitar.org
                Some recordings:
                https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
                .

                Comment


                • #38
                  When you're making your virtual machine, you have to set it up with some virtual hard drives, so it has something to boot off. As far as the guest OS is concerned, these appear like real hard drives connected to IDE or SATA controllers. To the host OS they are just large ".vhd" files. Luckily, these files only get as big as the space you've actually used on the virtual disk. At any time, you can "snapshot" them: the currently used .vhd files are frozen and a new set are created that will store any future changes. You can then ask for a rollback at which point VirtualBox just deletes the new files and goes back to using the old ones.

                  Typically, if you wanted to install an OS in VirtualBox, here's what you would do:

                  Create a new virtual machine. VirtualBox suggests settings for popular guest OSs such as XP or Linux. The suggested settings seemed to work fine for me.

                  If you have a physical install CD (like XP) then put it in your CD drive and tell VirtualBox to attach the CD drive to your virtual machine. Start the virtual machine, and it will boot off the CD and run the XP installer. This will detect the virtual machine's virtual hard drive, format it and install itself.

                  If you downloaded an ISO image of an install CD or DVD (Ubuntu etc) then it works just the same except VirtualBox can mount the ISO directly. To the virtual machine it looks like a CD or DVD drive with a disk in it.

                  The virtual hard disk files are no good for communication between the host and guest OSs. But VirtualBox also supports "shared folders". A directory in the host filesystem can be mounted as a network drive in the guest OS.

                  Note: I used VirtualBox as an example, but the process is pretty much the same with VMWare.
                  Last edited by Steve Conner; 03-07-2013, 11:42 AM.
                  "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by km6xz View Post
                    The only reason I still have my main computer running Win 7(which actually works very well) is Adobe products such as Photoshop CS6, Premiere Pro CS6, InDesign and DreamWeaver CS6. Wine works with earlier versions of Photoshop but there were enough compatibility issues that I gave up on Wine. Virtual Box is much more flexible and faster, allows full access to ports etc but the down side is you still are running an install of Windows. For some applications, Wine is well tuned and allows you to stay in your Linux OS but less popular Windows programs are not well supported.

                    What really impresses me more than any other feature is how wide a range of hardware now runs out of the box on Ubuntu. It has been quite a few versions back that the last time I ran into a wireless adapter driver issue, webcam or scanner issue. In an office environment where there are not too many multimedia external devices or games, it would be hard to find a hardware device that was not supported out of the box plain vanilla Ubuntu. I am using Ubuntu 12.10 on my dual boot laptop, plus a couple others to play with including Mint.
                    If you haven't tried this one, you owe it to yourself to load it on something.
                    Either try it on a DVD, or stick it on a USB.
                    It is the best version I've tried with the Gnome Desktop.
                    Distribution Release: Linux Caixa Mágica 19 (DistroWatch.com News)
                    It is the only Ubuntu base I've found that has the 3.6 Gnome desktop.
                    It has all the codecs, and is a pretty full system, w/LibreOffice.
                    I alternate between Mint 14 with Mate desktop, and the Caixa with Gnome.
                    T


                    "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                    Terry

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      On your recommendation I created a USB image of Caixa Magica and tried it. I have come to like Unity so I am not angry at Ubuntu like so many are, but Gnone 3.6 is really nice, slick and polished. I'll play with it for a while and show it to some in the office and if there is general agreement to switch I'll switch all 28 desktops after our tour season is over at the end of September. I can't make a big change now because we are in the peak of summer booking and general panic would sweep the office if anything looked different.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by km6xz View Post
                        On your recommendation I created a USB image of Caixa Magica and tried it. I have come to like Unity so I am not angry at Ubuntu like so many are, but Gnone 3.6 is really nice, slick and polished. I'll play with it for a while and show it to some in the office and if there is general agreement to switch I'll switch all 28 desktops after our tour season is over at the end of September. I can't make a big change now because we are in the peak of summer booking and general panic would sweep the office if anything looked different.
                        Cool.
                        I really liked Ubuntu, except for the Left closing desktop.
                        I never could get used to the X being on the top left.
                        All the others the X is on the right like windows.
                        That is why I fell in love with Mint, you can make the desktop look just like XP classic, with the benefits of Linux.
                        For just web surfing I kindof prefer the Gnome with it all at the top.
                        Once you break the mind set of windoz, I don't think I can ever go back!
                        T


                        "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                        Terry

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          So is the main difference between the various flavors of Linux mainly cosmetic, dealing with the desktop and user interface since they all have the same engine (right?) Or does it have to do with support of peripherals, codecs and shit like that which is more operational than cosmetic.
                          FWIW one of my big complaints about Windows 7 is how it works with my Logitech trackball- very erratic and jumpy. It works much more smoothly with WinXP. Another complaint is the user interface in Windows Explorer and how it deals with searches on your hard drive. So the user interface is important to me...) In terms of stability Win 7 might be better than WinXP but I find that it handicaps so many of the things I do on a daily basis that might not be important to other people like moving files around and organizing them as well as extensive editing and processing of audio files.

                          Steve Ahola
                          The Blue Guitar
                          www.blueguitar.org
                          Some recordings:
                          https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
                          .

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Steve A. View Post
                            So is the main difference between the various flavors of Linux mainly cosmetic, dealing with the desktop and user interface since they all have the same engine (right?) Or does it have to do with support of peripherals, codecs and shit like that which is more operational than cosmetic.
                            FWIW one of my big complaints about Windows 7 is how it works with my Logitech trackball- very erratic and jumpy. It works much more smoothly with WinXP. Another complaint is the user interface in Windows Explorer and how it deals with searches on your hard drive. So the user interface is important to me...) In terms of stability Win 7 might be better than WinXP but I find that it handicaps so many of the things I do on a daily basis that might not be important to other people like moving files around and organizing them as well as extensive editing and processing of audio files.

                            Steve Ahola
                            Your pretty close.
                            What I recommend you try is to burn a DVD.
                            Then boot up temporarily on the DVD, and just see how your system runs on it.
                            I do that all the time, I load different ones to see how they work on my hardware.
                            First you need to know if you have 32 bit, or 64 bit system.
                            A 64 bit system will run on 32 bit, but not the other way around.
                            I stick with the 64bit on my stuff, because I have newer hardware and the 64 bit is faster.
                            The one I would recommend is Mint 14 32 bit.
                            http://www.mirrorservice.org/sites/w...-dvd-32bit.iso
                            Download to a folder, then burn the iso to a DVD.
                            Then when you boot your system, make sure the system will boot from CD before the hard drive.
                            Give it a spin.


                            "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                            Terry

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Steve A. View Post
                              So is the main difference between the various flavors of Linux mainly cosmetic, dealing with the desktop and user interface since they all have the same engine (right?) Or does it have to do with support of peripherals, codecs and shit like that which is more operational than cosmetic.
                              Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is a qualified yes. The superficial variations are mostly cosmetic, but the different flavors of linux (aka "distributions") will differ in terms of things like:

                              - what kernel version they use
                              - what display manager they're using
                              - what software is supported by the distribution
                              - which versions of software are supported in each release

                              The kernel is the basic "engine" of the operating system.
                              The display manager is the "skin" that's used to provide the GUI in the windowing environment. Two popular windows-like GUIs are KDE and Gnome.

                              There's a site called "distrowatch.org" that maintains tables of the variations of all of these thigns between different linux distributions and the different version updates, or "releases" within each "distribution" (brand). It's very helpful when it comes to making decisions about what "flavor" of linux might work best for you.

                              I wouldn't go so far as to say that all versions of linux are equal. Making the wrong choice could be a frustrating experience that would cause a lot of hardship for you. So doing some research is definitely required.


                              If you want something that is stable that doesn't change all the time, the gold standard is RedHat. With RedHat you have to pay for support. There are free distributions that are essentially re-branded versions of RedHat. These are called CentOS and Scientific Linux. CentOS is basically a free version of RedHat, and Scientific Linux is another free version of RedHat that's maintained by the nuclear research people at CERN. Scientific Linux has become a worldwide standard for scientific computing environments where people want to rely upon a free OS that is stable and doesn't have to be changed/revised/updated all the time. RedHat, CentOS and Scientific are very compatible with old hardware. Compared to the leading-edge distributions: they will all have older versions of the free software; they will have older versions of the kernel; they are more stable and are less likely to be plagued by development bugs. But the older kernels may not support the latest hardware devices, and the older software may not have the latest features that you might want. The support life for these distributions is measured in years. That means that when you perform an installation, the OS will be maintained/supported for a period of years and you shouldn't be forced into putting a new OS on your box for a LONG time.

                              This means that if your computing environment is based on older hardware (ie: you're not worried about using brand-new cutting-edge hardware that requires the most current driver support), then one of these more "stable" distributions might be good for you.

                              Compare that to the newer leading edge distributions. They tend to offer more current kernels, which means more recent hardware drivers are built-in. They tend to offer more current software, which means more bells and whistles are available for you. But they are more prone to having transient bugs that appear in the newer software, and you'll be required to perform updates frequently so that you have the latest updates to the OS (and bug fixes) on your system. The leading edge distros also have a very short support lifespan, which is typically measured in months instead of years. If you want "bleeding edge" instead of leading edge, one option is Fedora. It's basically the "beta testing" version of leading edge linux that's published by the RedHat people. It tends to offer the most leading-edge features and fastest product development of any of the linux distributions because RedHat has paid developers working on RedHat and Fedora. The pace of development is fast, bugs come and go fast, and the distribution has a short lifespan, with a new version coming out every 6 months. If you want to run cutting edge hardware, you might want Fedora.

                              Personally, I run CentOS or Scientific on machines that I deploy as servers because these systems offer the most consistent/non-changing software configuration interfaces and provide the best ease of administration over the long haul. My focus on these boxes is stability, where I plan to build the system with the intent that it will run for years without needing any maintenance or updates.

                              I build a new desktop PC every year or so, and with rapidly changing hardware requirements, I need to keep a leading-edge distribution installed to provide compatibility with the latest hardware. For my personal and hobbyist use I've found that Fedora is the most up to date and offers the best new hardware compatibility. As an example, I built an octo-core AMD box using a brand-new ASUS USB 3.0 motherboard around thanksgiving. It has the new UEFI type of BIOS, and at the time Fedora was the ONLY linux distribution that could even recognize/boot the motherboard. Every other linux distribution that I tried at the time failed to boot.

                              I had been a user of Ubuntu (Kubuntu) for the desktop, and Ubuntu Server for server builds, for a period of years prior to moving to CentOS and Fedora. But I won't go near any of the debian-based distributions any more. I severed all ties with Ubuntu when I found that the distribution refused to fix bugs in their "Long Term Support" release; instead of providing long term support they demanded that users migrate to "short term support" releases to obtain bug-fixes. At that time I also documented some spyware behavior that was built into Ubuntu Server, so I walked away from Ubuntu (actually, I ran away as fast as I could) and I've never looked back.

                              I hope this helps you find your way through the maze that is linux. Good luck.
                              "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

                              "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                I Agree with most of what Bob says.
                                Red hat used to be the number one downloaded Linux.
                                It and other versions of red hat are mainly used for Servers.
                                The number one downloaded Linux Desktop by a wide margin is Linux Mint.
                                The reason, is it works, and is very easy to load and use.
                                Mint with the Mate desktop, can be configured to look just like XP Classic.
                                That is what I have loaded for my wife, and she migrated from XP to mint without a hitch.
                                Mint runs on Ubuntu, and there is by far more software available for Ubuntu based Linux, than any other.
                                Mint 14 is Downloaded 3745 times a day. There is a reason for this, it works and people like it.
                                Fedora that is the open source version of Red Hat is downloaded 1614 times a day.
                                Mint and Ubuntu is by far the most user friendly, and is IMO a better choice for new Crossover Linux Users.
                                But, feel free to try whatever you like.
                                In the last 6 months, I've tried probably 50 different Distros, and Mint is by far the easiest to load & use, and has more software choices.
                                Here is distro watch.
                                DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD.
                                Look halfway down the page on the right side.
                                It lists the top 100 downloaded Linux Distros, and how many times a day they are downloaded.
                                T
                                Last edited by big_teee; 03-14-2013, 11:22 PM.


                                "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                                Terry

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