Which applications do you use when you work on Windows and Linux? This page is for people who use Windows and are moving to Linux or are just looking at another operating system. Everything is explained, the what, why, where, where, how.
There are some selection criteria you would use when choosing applications. I list some next. Most are irrelevant for regular desktop and notebook computers. When you use Linux and Windows side by side, either permanently or during a conversion, the important thing is to use the same applications on both operating systems for the same task.
When you are converting from Windows to Linux, you first convert to applications that run on both operating systems then you convert to Linux. On Windows you can convert one application at time over a few years then convert to Linux in one short jump.
Operating systems are a layer of software between you and the computer hardware plus there are lots of different types of hardware, leading to lots of different operating systems. Technical people call the operating system the OS and they refer to complicated version numbers. You do not have to know the version numbers unless you are asking for support. Use the latest version of everything to get the most features then stay with the same version until you need a new feature.
32 bit or 64 bit?
32 bit means the software is written for computers from last century. 64 bit is this century. Small computers, the ones in your phone, printer, and most low cost computers use 32 bit. Your Web server will be 64 bit. Desktop computers changed from 32 bit to 64 bit a few years ago and notebook computers might change over the next few years. The key deciding factor is memory. You hear about memory in gigabytes, GB. If you have 4GB of memory or less, there is no advantage in using 64 bit software. In 98 percent of cases, if you have more than 4GB of memory, you can use a 64 bit OS then use 32 bit applications with the 64 bit OS. The 32/64 question might be important for the operating system but is not important for your applications. Forget the 32/64 question for applications outside of your Web server.
Windows or Linux?
It does not matter if you use Linux or Windows (except Vista) for a task. When you compare the best Windows application to the best Linux equivalent, they both perform at the same speed when performing the same work. Speed differences are almost always due to something unrelated to the operating system. The main reason for choosing Linux is the easy licensing. The management of a large number of proprietary licenses costs you far more in lost work hours than the actual license fees.
Do you use 7, Vista, XP, 2000, NT, 98, CE, the list is endless. USB does not work prior to Windows 2000. The CE and other special versions are only for smartphones and other specialised devices. That leaves Windows 7, Vista, and Windows XP. Vista has awful performance and a lot of people converted back to the older XP. USB 3.0 is on the way and Microsoft are going to restrict USB 3.0 support to Vista and Windows 7. You can use XP for now and soon as you buy something that uses USB 3.0, you upgrade to Windows 7.
The big difference in recent versions of Windows is the home/pro split. The Pro versions give you the security they inherit from NT while the home versions give you nothing. Always pay the extra bit for the secure version and use the security features.
Linux or Unix or what?
Unix is the older operating system and has a lot of versions including Mac OS X. Linux is new and already has more versions and features.
You get a lot of differences in Linux due to the file system used to store stuff on disk. Ubuntu is the easiest Linux to install on a desktop while Debian, CentOS, and others give you different installation options.
None of the Linux or Unix versions give you the flexible security of the Windows NT/Pro versions and you only need the extra flexibility if you have several people sharing a computer.
|Desktop publishing||Microsoft Publisher||Scribus||Scribus|
|File transfer (FTP)||Filezilla||Filezilla||Filezilla|
|Spreadsheet||Excel||OpenOffice Calc||OpenOffice Calc|
|Video player||Windows media player||VLC||VLC|
|Word processing||Microsoft Word||OpenOffice Writer||OpenOffice Writer|
There is a program named Cygwin that runs Linux/Unix programs under Windows and a program named Wine that runs Windows applications under Linux. Both are more trouble than they are worth. Cygwin runs only a primitive version of Linux that you would never use if you are used to Windows. Wine often needs Windows installed to provide service modules.
VMware and similar programs let you run Windows and Linux side by side on the same machine while you are converting from one to the other. Trying to run both side by side forever is a waste of time, brain cells, and money.
Some applications rejected and the reasons why.
imgSeek is an image organiser but the search feature requires a good knowledge of the image you want to find.
Picasa is an image organiser that is not open source and only runs in native mode in Windows. Google did a Microsoft in that they purchased Picasa from someone else then did nothing useful with it.
XnView is an image organiser free for non commercial use which is a pain when you start making money from images.