Some Computer Hints


In this section I give some hints about my experience of migrating my home computer from Windows (7) to (Ubuntu Desktop) Linux. After having used various versions of Microsoft Windows for quarter century, in March of 2019 I decided that the latest version of Windows was too complex, very bloated, and actually a waste of hardware resources to run.

My aging notebook computer, which I had bought in 2011 and used for more than eight years was running 64-bit Windows 7. I was happy with it, however, there were two problems: The notebook was showing some signs of hardware failures and Windows 7 was not going to be supported by Microsoft after 2020. I decided to do a hardware and software replacement in March of 2019. Doing a hardware and software replacement at the same time has some advantages. While your old computer, operating system, and applications are running, you prepare and test a new computer, with a new operating system, and new applications.

Although, primarily, I was a Windows user in the past, I had also used Linux for more than 20 years. Also, being a UNIX system administrator for more than 20 years, I was quite accustomed to using and administering UNIX-like systems from command line. Actually, while doing some tasks (like batch processing and scripting), I was much more comfortable with UNIX-like environments, so I had installed and used Cygwin in almost any Windows computer I had used in the last 20 years.

For the last several years, I had also installed and used all the recent versions of Ubuntu Desktop under a virtual environment. Being a regular user of Ubuntu Desktop—even under a virtualized environment—allowed me to research for and test applications and environments similar to the ones I was using under Windows. The only missing part of such an experience is on what will happen with actual hardware (e.g., video and audio interfaces, network cards) and peripherals (e.g., USB devices, printers, scanners, external disks) if you run Ubuntu Desktop on a real computer.

Doing the migration on a new computer allowed me to spend some time by trying to use Ubuntu only. In case something very fatal to this migration happened, I had always the option of abandoning Ubuntu and switching to Windows 10—something I really did not want to happen. However, to eliminate such a disaster, you have two very powerful tools at hand:

  1. Assume you have an application that has no close alternative in Linux. You can always run your Windows application in a Linux environment (with various levels of success) under Wine.
  2. Assume you have a hardware (e.g. a specific optical scanner model) that is not supported in Linux. You can install an old version of Windows in a virtual machine under VirtualBox and try to use your hardware there.