Migration from Windows to Linux

   Applications give the computer purpose in our lives. Without them, we have this bright shiny Operating system which has potential but since it can't be configured, or do much more than sit there what good would it be. For the system to be useful we need two levels of applications. The first level handles tasks specific to controlling the system, while the second level allows us to use the computer to help use do our work.

        Microsoft Windows system:

     Besides the Operating system, every version contains a host of system applications which cover everything from changing the appearance of the desktop to setting up the interfaces to devices and features of the system. As for regular user applications there are few such as:
    - Internet Explorer Web Browser (changed in Windows 7)
    - Outlook Express Web Mail Client (removed in Windows 7)
    - Notepad simple text file editor
    - Wordpad for formatted text editing
    - Calculator for quick simple calculations (chngd in Windows 7)
    - a few games like solitaire  (varies by version)

    Real working Applications generally are supplied by hardware manufacturers such as Scanner, Printer, Camera, WebCam, Digital Camera, etc. to highlite their products features in hope that you will buy their full featured packages. Or they may be Commercial applications like Microsoft Office, CorelDraw, AutoCad, Adobe Acrobat, etc which are for sale. In addition, there are a host of downloadable applications for free, trial, & or purchase that encompass everything you might imagine.

        Linux System:    (many different distributions)

     Besides the Operating system, every version contains a host of system applications which cover everything from system management, security, network control, user management, and much more. If Linux is set-up with an xWindows system then there are a series of system applications designed to work with each desktop style installed. Thusly, you have console routines, and the possibility of GUI routines for each of: Gnome, KDE, CDE, and a host of other desktops. Each distribution may have one or many desktop styles and there is also downloadable desktop styles if none of the stock ones suit you. Along with a long list of these applications, most distributions come with many real working applications and the ability to download more that didn't get supplied with the installation media. There is also no shortage of Commercial applications for trial & or purchase. You can expect to find in any distribution;
      - Two or more Web Browsers
      - Two or more Web Mail Clients
      - Many types of text editor
      - Several formatted text editors
      - Novelties
      - Many Games (card, action, arcade, strategy)
      - One or more Office suites (wordprocess,
      spreadsheet, database,  presentation, graphics)
      - Data backup, archival, restoring
      - Multimedia players, makers, converters
     - Image, picture, graphics show, edit, organize, etc.
      - CD/DVD play & or creators
      - Chat, Instant Message, Telephony applications
      - Programming Languages
      - Network servers
   and the list goes on and on...


Migrating from Windows to Linux in the past has been a scary concept. In Windows, applications handle an entire project from beginning to end. For example, to prepare a document you would open a word processor such as MS-Word, design your document and select save or print or use the fax or email plug-in. Linux of the past was quite different. Where you might compose a document with an emacs editor, you would 'pipe' it to a formatter and then 'pipe that result to a script which you would have prepared in advance to handle the faxing or emailing or printing. The formatter gave the ability to use enhancements not originally with-in the emacs editor.

     The script approach meant that while initial preparation of how you want the document handled took some time and savvy, the result was incredible! Today you can still use this Job-Control approach under Linux but more and more applications are becoming very close if not the same as their windows counterparts. An important difference in the Linux multi-user multi tasking environment where the device drivers are owned by the Linux kernel instead of a specific application, you can utilize such devices like camera's, modems, scanners, WebCams, CDROMS, cdr/w drives etc with any application and even share them with any user on your network.