Last week, I wrote of my experiences installing the Ubuntu Linux operating system on my second computer.
The whole experience was pretty quick and painless and I was most impressed with how civilised and house-trained it is. The feeling you get is that the system is solid and reliable with very little unnecessary flashiness which, to my mind, just eats up computing resources and offers little benefit.
It is obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into the design of the interface and it is laden with thoughtful little touches to make life easier. A nice feature is that it keeps an eye out for when you plug in a disc or memory stick, and displays it on your desktop as an icon, so that you can access it quickly when you need it.My preliminary impression is that things happen pretty snappily under Ubuntu and that the oft-stated maxim that Linux will perform better than Windows on the same hardware, seems quite true. The machine boots up and is ready for work in a fraction over a minute compared to the three to four minutes that it takes my more powerful Windows XP-powered PC.
I have been switching between the new and the old machines quite a lot over the past few days and, in an aside, I’m continually amazed how the silent the old one, a Fujitsu Siemens, is when compared to the new one. Living with the new machine is like having a helicopter permanently taking off in the office, wheras you barely know the old computer is on.
I must see if anything can be done but, anyhow, back to Ubuntu, which is looking pretty promising but, strangely, will likely be harder for the experienced users to get grips with, if only because they will have to unlearn the habits of years.
There will be plenty of new software packages to learn and treasured old programs, whose idiosyncracies have been leaned over years will have to abandoned, when the expeienced user goes over to Linux.
Or maybe not.
I have discovered that there is a Linux program called Wine, which allows you to run Windows programs on Linux machines. From what I read on the Internet, many Windows programs will work just fine on Wine; reminding me of quite a few people I know!
I decided to try it out and found and installed it with the package manager. I then downloaded my favourite Windows image viewer Faststone, and installed it on the Ubuntu machine by right-clicking on the file, and selecting the Open with Wine Windows Program Loader option on the pop-up menu.
Faststone now appears as an option under the Wine section of the applications menu and seems to be working properly. I have also managed to use Steganos LockNote, which I use to keep a list of my many passwords, and that has also worked very well.
There is no telling if your favourite programs will run under Wine but, the online Linux community being what it is, someone out there is bound to have already tried to see if it will, and documented their experiences. If you can’t find any information on the program you want to run, there is always the option of trying it out, and seeing what happens.
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