back to article Fresh bit o' Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say...

The Linux distribution Q4OS sounds like textspeak from a teenager from 1997, but it has potential, and it's not a bad option for Linux newbies. Screenshot of Q4OS Click to enlarge The Linux OS is flexible. If one Linux distro is an unfriendly fit, you can replace it with another one that has a more appealing options list …

"The chooser tool is easy to use, even for n00bs. Just click on the Run Command utility in the main menu. That opens a command line where you simply enter: >altdeski and then click the RUN button."

That's great and all, but you've already alienated 98%* of non-techies by making it even as difficult as that. Most people want a computer that you turn on, looks nice enough and does the common, simple stuff really easily.

*citation needed

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"Most people want a computer that you turn on, looks nice enough and does the common, simple stuff really easily."

That seems to be what it does. Any fancy stuff takes extra effort, as is usual in life.

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Trollface

Alienation...

This is the interwebs, whatever you do will alienate lots of people.

Heck you do not even need to do anything to alienate lots of people off.

See what you did, I'm Alienated by my own comment!

I hope you have a nice day... Sir.

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Anonymous Coward

Um....

Why are you asking for a citation on your own comment, Solarflare?

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"That's great and all, but you've already alienated 98% of non-techies by making it even as difficult as that."

Those who would find typing a one word command are unlikely to want to exercise that choice. The screen-shot on the Q4OS site shows that they've taken trouble to make the menu look post-W2K Windows-like so Windows migrants aren't likely to want to change much anyway.

I must download it to take a closer look; think it will become my standard distro for upgrading family from Windows from now on. I might even move SWMBO's new laptop over to it, away from standard Debian Stretch with its fashionably flat and ugly KDE 5 styling.

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Re: Um....

"Why are you asking for a citation on your own comment, Solarflare?"

Because I am freely admitting that I pulled the statistic out of my arse. I may be a hack, but I am an honest one.

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To ease the transition for former Windows users, there's also a Windows-alike theme/skin for it, called XPQ4:

http://dailylinuxuser.com/2016/11/make-q4os-look-like-windows-with-xpq4.html

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Which is why Apple and Microsoft make billions by locking in the 'noobs' of course.

I agree with you and I wonder why they deemed it acceptable to make this job use a command shell when a single would do. The fact they didn't seems to indicate they still don't fully understand why the 'noobs' are content to waste a small fortune over their lifetimes on the 'big two'.

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@Solarflare: There's a GUI for that, I think.

Q4OS: Control panel | Settings | Look switcher.

Can't vouch for its operation, never used that feature. There are a lot of customization options, themes and window-trimmings and whatnot, all gathered under the Control Panel applet.

Coincidentally, I've been running Q4OS on a 32-bit Toshiba laptop, originally Vista, for a year or so. It has seen many, many distros walk across its hard drive before Q4OS. The distro in hand is pretty much as reviewed, fast and trouble-free. The desktop is much like a generic Windows, pre-8.0 mashup, if one imagines such a thing. Chrome, Firefox, VLC, Libre Office, and multimedia codecs are installed if you so choose. IIRC, the install took 10 or 15 minutes to first boot.

The only niggle is that Google has quit updating 32-bit Chrome, so you get warnings there, but it's not an OS issue.

There's been an effort to make Q4OS Windows-user friendly: Control Panel, My Computer, Start button, taskbar at the bottom, notifications lower right corner. Desktop icons if you want them. But of course there's no C:\ drive... ;)

I've been on Linux and Mac at home for many years now, but I think the classic Windows desktop GUI remains an ergonomic choice. Not just because it is familiar, but because it's a sensible way to organize applications. And, as many have said, applications are what we use. The desktop GUI just enables them.

The Q4OS team appears to be targeting the business market. The OS is free, but customization-and-support options can be had for a price. I hope they make a commercial go of it. It seems a very sensible distro.

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As a fan of Debian Linux, I agree. Buttons and icons all the way

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@ the first commenter

So you rushed out a comment, eager to be the first, we've all done it and sometimes it shows.

The article says, in the bit that you quoted, "The chooser tool is easy to use, even for n00bs". You are assuming, if your comment is to have any sense, that the user has to select the chooser tool. You are mistaken, the user doesn't have to bother with the chooser tool or even know that it exists.

For your information, my unjustified, unproven and maybe even erroneous opinion is that you can alienate some pc users all of the time, you can alienate all pc users some of the time, but you can't alienate all of the pc users all of the time (unless you are Microsoft).

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Re: Um....

I always thought that 87% of all statistics are actually pulled out of ones arse.

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Unhappy

desktop installation chooser tool instal other supported desktops..and repeat..often as you want"

And to think it's only taken 20+ years for a Linux distro to acquire that capability.

That ability, to be able to back out of things and not commit to something forever (without a shedload of grief to fix it) is something normal human beings users find quite attractive.

A bit more like that and maybe (just maybe) Linux might start to get some traction.

User Interface Design.

No one likes to do it.

Everyone user hates people who don't do it.

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Linux

To ease the transition for former Windows users, there's also a Windows-alike theme/skin for it, called XPQ4:

Ohh! I can have so much fun with this! Thanks very much for the info!

[wanders off rubbing hands together with glee while sporting a suspiciously evil grin]

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Re: Um....

No problem: everyone knows that 79% of statistics are made up!

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FAIL

Re: desktop installation chooser tool instal other supported desktops...

But John Smith 19 -- Microsoft still doesn't enable other desktop GUIs. Ya see any Gnome as an option? Ya see a Mac app doc as an option? Ya see any flexibility without invoking third-party fixes like Classic Shell?

Linux gots all dat things.

WTF, bro?

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This is something MS Windows does too, so I am not sure it is bad. But is it documented? That seems to be the common problem.

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Re: Um....

Do you have the sigma for that measurement?

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Devil

...as if.

Barring the occasional tool that I use the same way under Windows, I haven't used Linux in that way since pretty much forever.

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Devil

The usual obvious trollish nonsense...

> And to think it's only taken 20+ years for a Linux distro to acquire that capability.

You mean like using the GUI frontend for the package manager and selecting options from a drop down menu in login manager. That stuff predates Ubuntu.

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"Windows Vista"

I still get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I see that phrase.

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Stop

Re: "Windows Vista"

Remember those "Vista Ready" stickers. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows Vista"

All too well. At the time I worked for the company that printed them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows Vista"

I'm sick of people knocking Vista, it was an amazing operating system, the only one that was remotely close to it's awesomeness is Windows ME but both are seminal* to the development of Windows 10.

* I use this word in it's second meaning "relating to or denoting semen" as it's w*nk.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows Vista"

"Vista Ready" stickers.

Yeah, I ripped one off the computer of a mate and stuck it onto my waste bin. My Facebook pic of the feat got a lot of likes, at the time ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows Vista"

I get it when I hear Windows8, 8.1 or 8.2 (AKA 10)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows Vista"

I get it when somebody mentions that Linux and OSx are fellow nix derivatives and are therefore somehow philosophically equivalent. Oh no, one is open and free, the other totally isn't!

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Re: "Windows Vista"

""Windows Vista"

I still get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I see that phrase."

Vista had a rough start, but it evolved into a decent, usable product, after which it was further developed into the popular Windows 7.

Windows 10, on the other hand, keeps getting worse with every force-fed release. It gets harder and harder to avoid the stupid UWP stuff, and the new features they insist on adding to justify WaaS are mostly silly little things that seem as if their main purpose is to pad the "this is what you're getting" changelog. The things people have actually been asking for are notably absent in each release that comes along.

The entire point of the half and half 8 and 10 releases was to sell Windows phones, but now that ambition is over... and yet Windows 10 users on the PC get more and more phone stuff thrown at them each release. They don't know when to quit... Apple rejected the "one UI to rule them all" idea from the start, and Canonical abandoned it recently, but MS keeps on charging ahead with the same idiotic plan. Now there's three different UI styles in Windows 10; Win32, UWP, and Fluent. It's just a jumble of whatever flavor of the month Microsoft is obsessed with for the moment, to be cast aside for the new shiny at any moment (yanking the rug out from under all the third-party devs MS is trying to woo time and time again).

I am nostalgic for the days when the likes of Vista was the example of a bad Windows version. Compared to what we face now, I'd much rather have Vista.

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OK, I think I just found something to do with that old laptop that's sitting in the cupboard, doing nothing... :)

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nice to see...

A new distro that is NOT based on Ubuntu.

This gets a thumbs up from me for using Debian.

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Headmaster

Re: nice to see...

"This gets a thumbs up from me for using Debian."

A pedant speaks: Ubuntu is also based on Debian.

I have to agree, however. Ubuntu does seem to specialise in taking features from Debian and slightly damaging them.

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Re: nice to see...

I find anything Ubuntu touches turns to crap after a few months. I've never reliably ran an Ubuntu-based system for longer than 6 months.

My laptop however, the daily driver, has ran Debian happily for 2 years without issue or complaint. And you tend to find (excluding Ubuntu) Debian-based distros tend to run and work a hell of a lot better.

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Re: nice to see...

That is exactly the same thing I experience hence my post.

It seems that there might be a bit too much NIH going on in Ubuntuland.

A number of people in my LUG have gone back to Debian in recent years and found that they are enjoying a far more stable environment.

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Re: nice to see...

It seems that there might be a bit too much NIH going on in Ubuntuland.

YES! Now I finally know what they're shouting!

Anyone got a shrubbery?

:)

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Re: nice to see...Ubuntu bashing???

found that they are enjoying a far more stable environment.

Urgh, I wish people wouldn't throw 'stable' around without thought. If they are using the 'Stable' branch of Debian, of course they are!!

Debian 'cooks' it's releases a Hell of a lot longer than Ubuntu, which pumps another out every six months on the dot.

I find Archlinux pretty danm stable, but the software gets updated daily, so it's not that stable.

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Re: nice to see...

A number of people in my LUG have gone back to Debian in recent years

My own take on the matter is that I tried Debian in the days before Ubuntu and was put off Linux for several years. This as a complete and utter noob, long-term RiscOS user who was trying to find something to use that was a: not Windows (because I like to be contrary) and b: not Mac OS (because I'm not made of money).

Ubuntu gave the idea of an easy-to-set-up and easy-to-use Linux distribution something of a kick up the backside, and while it may have gone a bit weird in recent years I would say that it has made other distributions - Debian-based or otherwise - buck up their ideas. I'd put Raspbian and Mint into the "good influencers" class too.

That said, outside of my Pis (and I have several dozen between home and work) I tend to use OpenSuse. A decent 32-bit OS might make me revive my EeePC, which was latterly running 32 bit Mint, but was retired from frontline use about a year ago.

M.

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Devil

Re: nice to see...

> I find anything Ubuntu touches turns to crap after a few months. I've never reliably ran an Ubuntu-based system for longer than 6 months.

You must tell us how you manage that. The rest of us haven't figured it out yet.

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Re: nice to see...

That said, outside of my Pis (and I have several dozen between home and work) I tend to use OpenSuse. A decent 32-bit OS might make me revive my EeePC, which was latterly running 32 bit Mint, but was retired from frontline use about a year ago.

I've used OpenSuse for years, in fact from when it was just SuSE Linux, I think the first version I installed was 6.2. Always liked it, have tried Slackware, Red Hat/Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint and several others, now it's easy to try something new, just stick it in a VM, back in the day I had an old PC I'd try a new distro on. Always gone back to Suse (OpenSuse as is now), easy to install easy to change and YaST is a brilliant "Control Panel" that works with or without the GUI

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Begs the usual question...

Can it run Crysis (given sufficient hardware)?

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Re: Begs the usual question...

The usual question is a hardware-based (unfunny, partly due to how often it is rehashed) joke. So it is even less funny than usual in this context.

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Re: Begs the usual question...

Who says it's funny. I use the question in all seriousness since it pretty much determines whether I actually use this software or not? For those of us with sizable Steam collections (most of which are Windows-ONLY), it becomes a make-or-break decision.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Begs the usual question...

It's a fork of a fork of a fork that's forked on the Desktop e.g.:

"Replace Vista! Yeah! Vista sucked! I used to play Red Alert 2 on Vista. How do I install Red Alert 2?. Huh, what's that? Whine? Huh? I don't know man .."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Begs the usual question...

"Can it run Crysis (given sufficient hardware)?"

Yes, the sufficient hardware can be formatted and upgraded to Windows 10!

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Linux

Re: Begs the usual question...Crysis on Linux

It may be technically possible to use a virtual machine on Linux running Windows with 'PCIe pass-thru' mode where the host Linux system uses an on-board Intel GPU but a hypervisor provides real GPU access to a VM running Windows then it can use the native Windows graphics drivers.

Here is a link with more technical implementation details but using another distro called archlinux and the QEMU hypervisor -

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PCI_passthrough_via_OVMF

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Devil

Re: Begs the usual question...

Yeah. Sure. An old cast off PC is just the PERFECT thing to run Steam on.

This reminds me of when I had my old Macs and I heard Civ was coming back to MacOS. Unfortunately, none of my Macs had the juice to run the dang thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Another way is like windows: everything is tied to an impenetrable, monolithic lump of unnecessarily mingled code that only creates problems without solving anything.

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"everything is tied to an impenetrable, monolithic lump of unnecessarily mingled code that only creates problems without solving anything."

It needs to be hybridised with Devuan.

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"It needs to be hybridised with Devuan."

This looks interesting: http://www.q4os.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=1592

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There's also EXE Linux, which is essentially Devuan with the Trinity Desktop Environment:

http://exegnulinux.net/

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Anonymous Coward

"Another way is like windows: everything is tied to an impenetrable, monolithic lump of unnecessarily mingled code"

Actually Windows these days is extremely modular. Far more so than say Linux!

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