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IndustryArena Forum > Business Practices > General Business Practices / Pricing > Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?
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  1. #1
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    Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    I am a pretty traditional windows user, and followed the path all the way from DOS 1.0 to Win 7 Pro. Along the way, I used various word processors, and over the years ended up with MS office up until 2003.

    I didn't like the office 2007 banner approach, so I stayed with 2003 until my daughter introduced me to LibreOffice. Since it works on Linux / Mac and Win, I tried it, and have been using it now for about 2 years.

    After MS introduced Win 8, I could kind of see the writing on the wall, that MS was going to increasingly push toward approaches that I might not care for all that much, and the big Win 10 push convinced me that it was time to make another shift. It might be ok for some people, but I can't imagine letting someone change my OS just when I am getting ready to go on a business trip, or have some other critical deadline.

    After watching some youtube videos, reading, and some testing, I am now using Linux Mint (Mate interface in you are curious).

    It behaves very much like Win 7 Pro, and getting it delivered to me, with a ton of S/W was less than $10.

    My business needs are perhaps more simple than some others, but so far it is rock solid, and I can load it on as many computers as I want. Savings compared to buying a new copy of Windows + Office for a spare computer I have with no OS discs is close to $600.

    I used 1/2 of the savings to buy an SSD, which made my boot time 15 seconds vs 90. It is like a new computer.

    Anyone else tried it ?

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    I lot of the software I develop for work runs on Linux and BSD servers. I still find the Linux GUIs clunky, like the slapped together collection of disparate widgets that they really are, but they're a lot more usable these days than they were even 5 years ago. Fortunately there's a Unix (BSD) variant out there that has a slick-as-slick-can-be GUI and a strict set of guidelines which help ensure that continuity of feel when you move from app to app. And, if you need it, there's the full shell setting behind it and all the app support you could hope for via the ports interface. Yep, I got a Mac

  3. #3
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    I agree with you that the Linux core is what makes apple mac software reliable.

    I also agree with you that a Mac is nothing more than apple's own user interface on top of Linux, which was a good strategy for them. My wife likes the apple user interface as well.

    For me personally, I really don't like the apple mac user interface at all. I am not criticizing it, but for me personally, it is not user friendly. The file manager functions are too far hidden and I never have any idea what is going to happen when I click on it. I am sure that this is in part due to my long history with a windows type interface. Apple also charges an enormous price mark up for its computers considering that virtually all consumer computers are either intel or amd boxes with very similar parts. They also are much harder to mechanically maintain (example hard drive swap) compared to an HP Pro type laptop.

    This is why I am suggesting the idea of using Linux Mint Mate as an alternative for Windows 7 pro users rather than going to Win 10. It might be possible, but I have never heard anyone suggest that they would recommend switching from windows to mac as a cost savings / ROI driven concept. Maybe it is, but I have never heard of it.

    Even on your mac though, you can save a lot of money by using LibreOffice rather than purchasing MS office, as it will work on Win, Mac, Linux Mint, and many other versions of Linux.

  4. #4
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    Forgive the pedantry, but Mac ain't Linux, it's a derivation of BSD (Darwin). BSD and Linux are different in many subtle ways. But I get ya.

    I grew up with Macs (Dad had a string of them for work in the higher education system) but moved to DOS then Windows as soon as I had my own machine. A few years ago I needed a media PC and landed on a Mac Mini because it was small and quiet. Heavily into photography at the time, I thought "Heck, let's give it a crack" and fired it up as a desktop machine with photographic tools as an experiment before I pressed it into service as a media box. A month later, I realised it hadn't crashed, hadn't needed a reboot, I'd gotten used to the different keyboard etc and was very happy with the GUI on top of the BSD underbelly. That machine never made it to the lounge room. The laptop it replaced now runs my CNC.

    I have a chuckle when I hear people talk about the cost of Apple computers:

    Purchase price: Fine, you can go out and buy a laptop with the same basic specs (RAM, HDD, screen etc) for a lot less. But, just like CNC machines, those cheap machines are made of crap components that barely meet spec, that die young and often come with bizarre driver issues. Make up a laptop with the same component set as a Macbook Pro and you'll find they are a little more expensive, but not all that much. Make up a desktop machine kitted up with the same componentry as a Mac Pro and there's nearly nothing in it.

    Life expectancy: I have a 2009 iMac which is still going strong and has survived four major OS releases without a burp. It gets a reboot once maybe once every six months when the mains drops out. It still performs well enough that I've no inclination to upgrade or replace it. I've never had a PC that even came close to that kind of useful lifetime.

    Service/Support: The iMac did have a hard disk failure. I grumbled (lots) about the Apple price at the time for an out of warranty replacement, but did it. Three months later they announced a recall and refunded it anyway. This was when the machine was three years old, well out of any warranty. Try getting that out of Dell, Asus, HP or any of the other "big" PC manufacturers.

    Design: A minor consideration maybe, but Apple make machines that are beautifully constructed, hang together well and (I find) an absolute pleasure to use/carry/setup/tear down from a mechanical perspective.

    Though the purchase price of a SIEG lathe may be appealing compared to a Mitsumi and they have the same swing, bed length, blah blah blah: which way would you go? And it's the same with a computer. Although your initial investment may be more for a given spec, in the lifetime of the computer the Apple hardware seems to end up being cheaper. And I have several clients who have gone down the Mac road with that realisation. A few of them even buy Macs then wipe OSX off and install Windows because that's what they need to run their stuff, but they still want the quality hardware.

    Damn. Reading through all that and it would appear I've become one of those guys. Bloody apple fanboi

    If you already have the hardware, though, and you don't have anything you absolutely must run on Windows (even then if you install virtualbox or vmware), I agree. It's worth a look at switching to Mint or any other of your preferred Linux flavours. And yes to LibreOffice, OpenOffice or NeoOffice too - as long as you don't have to regularly exchange those documents with MS Office users because the interchange can go spectacularly wrong.

  5. #5
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    My "go to" laptop in the last 6 months has been a Mint laptop that had Windows 8 on it. Someone was going to toss it because they lost the Win8 disks and could not resurrect it. I stuck a Mint disk in it and in about 20 minutes, I was online with Firefox and enjoying Libre.

    We as users really did have a good run with XP and the longevity of our software purchases, but when Windows 8 came out, I found that most of the cad/cam programs I had invested in, some actually quite expensive, no longer worked or even installed. While some of those newer programs were nice, I decided to go back to my roots... some of the earlier favorites of mine, to see what would happen if I tried to run them on Mint.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my old 2D Cad favorites, Autosketch worked just fine under Wine. Moi3d works fine after a fix of sorts to some funky font problem, Corel 8 works, Vcarve Pro v8 works, NCPlot works and even Ezilathe ! I have a mill, a lathe, a router, a small engraver, a plasma cutter and a vinyl cutter. I really do not need much more regards software.

    Now, I do jump into my programs that still run under WIn7 now and then because I have yet to try to run some of the other programs I still hope will work. But, I spend an awful lot of time very happy in my little Mint world. Screw those idiots with their planned obsolescence ! I have had enough.

    No more constant updates (my windows 8 and 10 PC's are really annoying in this regard), no more constant Java and flash updates, no more bothersome adware crap.... I like it. I can only hope that others finally get fed up with windows constantly forcing you to update your whole world when they come out with an OS. Hopefully we will get some more Cad/Cam programs to choose from that are native Linux.

    I'm not totally knew to Linux as I tend numerous Linux servers at work (actually, I do not tend.. they never give me any problems!). At home, I have a MythTV PC for personal DVR, and I am going to be setting up a PC with Zone Minder Surveillance on it soon so I can function with out the windows based ISpy program.

    Stick with it... I fire up a windows 10 machine these days and seem to only get annoyed because it wants to update something.
    Chris L

  6. #6
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    I wonder how much hardware has to do with any of the issues you mention.

    I built a new PC with Windows 8 pro a little over a year ago.

    It frequently goes for months without seeing any updates, and I've never seen any software that didn't run on it.

    Nobody is forcing anyone to upgrade their windows. You can easily disable the Windows 10 update messages if you choose, and happily continue running whatever version of windows you prefer.

    Yes, with quality hardware, and similar specs, the cost can get close to mac prices. But with a Windows machine built with quality components, you can easily get 7-8 years out of your PC, if you don't need cutting edge performance all the time. I spent about $2500 on hardware, but have a PC that will still be perfectly acceptable for CAD/CAM work 5 years from now.
    Gerry

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    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  7. #7
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    Ger21 - It will be increasingly difficult for users of older versions of windows to avoid being upgraded to win 10. MS is getting increasingly aggressive about it, and if someone uses the auto update functionality at all, by the end of 2016, most likely your computer will be on win 10.

    I honestly have not had any significant issues with my laptop and windows 7 pro, I just didn't want to move to win 10.

    Cost wise, LibreOffice is a no brainer for a small office user. As far as compatability with MS office, I am sure that there is something that will not work exactly the same way, but I can tell you that I get word / excel / ppt files sent to me all of the time by quite large companies and it all seems to work. They don't seem to have any problems with my files either. LibreOffice 5 was a significant improvement over prior versions.

  8. #8
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    I disagree. You can disable the upgrade messages now, and the free upgrades end in June I think.
    If you disable the messages, you'll never be prompted to upgrade again.

    I use open office, which works fine for my needs.
    Gerry

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    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  9. #9
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    I wonder how much hardware has to do with any of the issues you mention.
    To be fair, I am a network admin over a small company with perhaps 50 total PC's. Every new windows PC deployment literally takes hours of time overall with too numerous to count reboots between just bringing the basic machine up to date. Then you have to install those basics like a decent browser and Office App.

    On the other hand, You can completely re-install Mint in 20 minutes, which includes a decent browser and Office app. If it is a PC repair, a few minutes restoring necessary profiles and your done in less than 30.

    I now run 4 Linux servers at work and they just run..... Some have been on for years with no sign of slowdown or problem. At work too, there are the constants required to remain PCI compliant. Adobe Flash updates, Java Updates, PDF program updates and the like flow like a rampant river. And WHY is that ? Simply and solely because of the loopholes routinely found in the windows operating system by and thru the use of those programs.

    Trust me when I say, the last thing I want to see when I get home at night is some stupid update to protect myself because of the holes in windows. And Windows 8 and above force this on you in a surprise fashion during boot up... a very slow bootup.

    And I am not a windows basher by any means, I NEED windows for a lot of things simply because there is no alternative program I can enjoy using. I am often curious why program developers continue to desire to "keep up" with the MS world of continuous change though.

    I did a Windows 8 laptop to windows 10 a few weeks ago... well actually, I could not get to the windows "store" (it was completely broken and nothing would fix it). so, I did a fresh windows 8 install, had to move to 8.1 to get to 10, then did a 10 upgrade and it took over TWO FULL DAYS on my little 5mbps connection at home. That's just crazy. Was it worth it ? No.


    I'm just starting to enjoy the easy route in life at home and hope that we see more Linux cad/cam based developments in the next few years.
    Chris L

  10. #10
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    Mint covers most of my needs, the cnc's are on other linux but may move those to Mint as well.
    Windows 7 for the odd bit of software and Fusion 360 which also runs on Mac.
    I'm too cheap to buy a real Mac but maybe a Hackintosh ? Then goodbye Microsoft.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    I've been a Linux user for over 8 years, but I'm new to CNC.
    I support issues with Windows and associated software all day at work. At home I run Linux exclusively. My daily use computer is a 2007 Dell Latitude D630 running the latest Mint (Mate). I played around with Ubuntu since about 2005 but made the switch permanent when the product key sticker wore off my laptop and I needed to reimage it and would have been forced to buy a new license.
    I run XP in a VM on my desktop (home built i7) also Mint, Mate. I use XP for an old HP scanner. I just like the original software that came with it and it only runs on XP.
    I have another desktop with LinuxCNC loaded on it, but since the CAD/CAM world seems to be almost entirely Windows-based, I may end up running Win7 in another VM once I decide which software I am going to go with.
    I'm happy to help any Linux newbies out there.

  12. #12
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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    Are you saying that you could have a Mint machine running W7 under a VM and run Mach3 on that?????? Sufferers want to know!
    Can you also run AutoSketch 10 in W7 under a VM under Mint?????

    Cheers
    Roger

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    As tempted as I've been to try over the years, I've never bothered. A cheap old laptop is the dedicated machine controller, it does nothing else. Given that it boots into Mach3, the O/S on the host is kind of irrelevant.

    On the other hand, I do use Mach3 in simulate mode under a Fusion VM on my Mac to verify GCode before I throw it onto a USB stick to sneaker-net down to the workshop.

    Still, with an ethernet or USB external motion controller like the U300ETH taking care of the timing etc and using the standard VM drivers (as opposed to some PCI card) I don't see any reason why it wouldn't drive the machine as well as a simulation.

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    A two year old thread but have become a Linux Mint user because of my decision to use LinuxCNC and some Mesa ethernet hardware. I have to say my most used PC is the sub AUD $300 Chromebook I'm writing this on. But I have to say I really like Mint and now hate Win10 as I've never forgiven it for obsoleting a perfectly good $5000 scanner.. I'm sorry guys, but Mach 3 is a dead in the water dinosaur so forget about trying to use it on a VM. You are far better off importing your M3 config into LinuxCNC. Photo processing and CAD remain the only applications I need Windows for...
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RCaffin View Post
    Can you also run AutoSketch 10 in W7 under a VM under Mint?????

    Cheers
    Roger
    I can't speak for version 10, but my Autosketch version 9 runs under Wine. The only things I have noticed are at start up and shut down, and neither is serious.

    When I start up, I always get the "register program now" window, which I can simply cancel out of. It seems that the "never register" setting is not changed in whatever Wine uses as the windows registry. I have the feeling this might be easily solved.... but so is just cancelling it.

    The second is closing the entire program without closing the drawing or drawings opened. Another no big deal... I just close the drawings first, then close the program. Failure to do so just kicks up some kind of Wine error, allowing you to crash the program.

    I wonder how many years of Autosketch use we will have left ? Short of it not having one or two of the newest drawing "features", I've always thought it was close to being one of the very best kept secrets out there for 2d drawing. Yet, version 10 is the last version they made, and that is what ?.... 3-4 years old already ?
    Chris L

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    my Autosketch version 9 runs under Wine.
    WHEEE! Does it really!

    When I start up, I always get the "register program now" window, which I can simply cancel out of.
    Huh - I get that with AS properly (legally) installed on W7 as well. Nothing new. Ignore. Maybe I'll do something about it one day - maybe.

    close the drawings first, then close the program.
    Not a problem at all.

    I wonder how many years of Autosketch use we will have left ?
    If it runs under WINE, then I suggest maybe 10 - 20 years. I see no reason to discard it.

    it was close to being one of the very best kept secrets out there for 2d drawing. Yet, version 10 is the last version they made, and that is what ?.... 3-4 years old already ?
    Utterly intuitive, isn't it? I agree.
    Did you know it was written by a bunch of Russians, in Russia, and that AutocCad bought it. Why, I don't know, as they try very hard to ignore it.
    Yeah, so V10 (which I use) is several years old. So What?

    The amazing thing about Autosketch is that I can teach it to someone in 10 - 15 minutes. Compare that with just about every other program out there. I found AutoCad was more like 6 months.


    I'm sorry guys, but Mach 3 is a dead in the water dinosaur
    Ho Ho Ho. Try telling the tens of thousands of Mach3 users - some of them making a living with it. Most likely you will just get ignored. After all, it still runs, doesn't it?

    so forget about trying to use it on a VM.
    Ah now, that's the interesting question, isn't it? To be sure, if you want to use the original LPT driver, you need WXP. Art F did some amazing things with that driver, pre-empting Windows no less. He has my admiration.
    BUT if you want to use an external engine through an Ethernet connection ... it remains to be seen. Once you get rid of the LPT bit, the rest is just an ordinary clock-driven program. With a good CPU and WINE, it may be possible. Would someone please try it?????

    Cheers
    Roger

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    >>> Did you know it was written by a bunch of Russians, in Russia, and that AutocCad bought it. Why, I don't know, as they try very hard to ignore it.

    Somewhere I had read they "acquired it".... I assume they did in order to have an under $200 option. I think the highest price I had seen on it was somewhere around $129, and lowest around $30. Quite the deal if you ask me.

    To me, it's only flaws are that they made one or two typically used dialog boxes immediately active for input (fields used to insert a length or radius, etc.), but others that should have the same ability, you have to click on. At least they allow you to click on the edge to highlight the existing data.

    The one other single feature that would have been fabulous is an "automated" ABOUT point. One where you click on/near the snap point and it already knew what to snap to when dragging. Still, this is not a deal breaker... as you and I both understand, this little program is/was one of the very best 2D cad programs available (and I have played with practically all of them).

    In Windows, I always used a right mouse button gestures program to call up certain routine tools. There was no way a regular autocad drawer could draw as fast as one can in sketch when it comes to the daily small stuff.


    >>>The amazing thing about Autosketch is that I can teach it to someone in 10 - 15 minutes.
    I hear you there !
    Chris L

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    Re: Windows vs Linux Mint - Possible Strategic Advantage ?

    Life has shown that Linux was never able to compete with Windows. By the way, the latest technological news can be read on this site http://latesttech.org

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