Is Ubuntu for dummies too?

Asked by Slogan on 2007-10-04

I've been doing alot of reading on Ubuntu and it seems installing and running the program wouldn't be TOO difficult but I'm still wondering about a few things:

1. Will I still be able to run Microsoft Office 2000, AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger, and LimeWire?
2. Will I be able to buy computer games or software to install if they only run on Windows or Mac? If not, what requirements should I look for when I'm buying software?
3. What program in Ubuntu would take the place of Windows Media Player?
4. I'm not a computer wiz at all, just basic knowledge, so would a computer illiterate person like me be able to handle Ubuntu or would it require a person to be advanced?
5. I have 512 MB of RAM and only 48% of hard disk used, could my computer handle a dual boot of Windows XP and Ubuntu?

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Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) said : #1

1. short answer - no. Those are windows apps and only run in windows. Longer answer - you could try and set up wine to run windows apps in Linux but I wouldn't bother. There is a linux app that will do each of the things those on your list do. Just get to know them. Office tools and IM are installed by default and there is a linux version of limewire (it might have a different name - can't remember as I don't use it much). There are some lists of equivalents out there but I can't find the one I'm looking for. This one should get you started though:

2. short answer - no. Longer answer - see #1. Look for apps that run on Linux. In general you won't buy these. They are available for download and automatic install via the package manager tool. In ubuntu it's call synaptic package manager. Open it and search for whatever you want. Tons of stuff.

3. I don't use media players much but in general linux apps are single purpose so you would use an audio player for music, a video player for video and so on. These are installed by default too. Look under the sound and video sub-menu. If you don't find what you want there are many many others you can freely and safely install with just a couple clicks. See the above list link.

4. It's hard to know what you mean by basic knowledge but if you don't feel comfortable installing your own operating system then find someone who can do it for you or at least help. Find your closest LoCo team and send an email to their list. There is probably someone willing to help or maybe they have an install party coming up.

5. 48% of how much? Ubuntu only needs 2-3 GB to install but it really needs at least 10GB to be useful - to have space for installing apps, adding music and so on. 512MB of memory is enough. If you find that it seems too slow for you there are lighter weight versions (namely xubuntu) but on anything less than 4 or 5 years old ubuntu should run fine.

All Yours (sjy22kr) said : #2

Yes, it is for complete dummies(for example my daughter(8 and 4 years old). But it is little longer for my wife to adapt it.

1. Yes and No.
   You can install them on ubuntu with the program called 'wine'. Check out Wine Home site. (
   In MS office 2000 case, it can be installed under the wine and pretty well run on it. But you can not properly use Visual Basic Script.
   I recommend you to use alternative program.
   Offce 2000 -> (and others)
   AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger -> Pindgin (and others)
   LimeWire -> FrostWire (and others)
2. Games -> Check out wine homesite
   The program mentioned previously can be from the install CD or at least from the Internet. I have not heard of somebody who is going to buy software for Ubuntu.
   (Maybe some Games for linux, but there are lots of games for Ubuntu for free, Checkout
3. Xine and Mplayer, Plez google for those keywords. And it can be installed from internet (command 'apt-get' or GUI 'synaptic')
4. As I said, the less you know about the windows, the sooner you can get used to ubunt. My wife cannot change the appearance of the Ubuntu, But my daughters do.(even everyday, sound, background, ...)
   I happed to come across with the book titled Dummies for Ubuntu Linux(but not sure exact title). Plez search it on Amazon.
5. From my experience, you have got at least 20GB for Ubuntu only.

adamdoyle (adamdoyle1) said : #3

Actually installing ubuntu is in fact easier to install than windows (very simple, i actually watched my mom do it herself the other day lmao ). As far as running programs such as Microsoft Office, Yahoo instant Messenger etc, it is possible to do it all . For an office suite i just use open office , its free , user friendly, and comes with Ubuntu. For a new user like yourself i would recommend installing automatix on your system until you get comfortable with Ubuntu. All you will have to do is put a check on the programs you want installed and this program will install it for you; and by looking over the list it already has options to install a program that will allow you to install and run MS Office , Msn Messenger, a Yahoo Messenger client , and Limewire (Frostwire). After you get comfortable with Ubuntu you can just install these programs (along with others through Synaptic Manager (Program used to install apps). As far as something that could replace Media player there are many options such as Rhythmbox, Amorak , vlc , and the list goes on . . And yes , dual booting with xp is possible with the amount of space that you have . All in all Ubuntu is really easy to use , theres always ppl in the community that can help you along the way ... hope this helps !~

Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) said : #4

Nothing against automatix as I think that was a great project but I think with feisty and even more so with gutsy it doesn't add much. Ubuntu devs have also written about how it can be risky to use. Learning to use the package manager (synaptic) is important and it's easy enough to use. Most of the apps that automatix installs are available in the repositories. For an even easier way to install use the add/remove tool in the apps menu. It's also just a check and click apply to install. Even things like flash and mp3 support are easy to install that way.

As for easy to install, my 10 year old daughter installed it with only confirmation from me that she was doing things right. That said, you are still installing an operating system and if things don't go as planned it can be frustrating. That's when it's nice to have a point of contact for help - especially live help (IRC, phone call with a friend, or someone with you). I walked my mom through the install over the phone.

Slogan (off2write) said : #5

Thanks to you all. You're very quick in answering questions as well as helpful

gacroft (gacroft) said : #6

Are ubuntu servers doing maintenance ? I want to download another music player because rhythmbox won't play my internet radio sites. Any comments ?

@ garcroft

Please don't append a new question on a already answered or marked as solved question.
Please make new question from here:
you will get better chance to get right answer on a fresh tagged "open" question.
Solved or answered questions are usually not read from answering people.

Thank you

gacroft (gacroft) said : #8

Thanks. Hopefully, I can find out what's happening.

--- On Sat, 2/7/09, marcobra <email address hidden> wrote:

From: marcobra <email address hidden>
Subject: Re: [Question #14468]: Is Ubuntu for dummies too?
To: <email address hidden>
Date: Saturday, February 7, 2009, 10:46 PM

Question #14468 on Ubuntu changed:

marcobra posted a new comment:
@ garcroft

Please don't append a new question on a already answered or marked as
solved question.
Please make new question from here:
you will get better chance to get right answer on a fresh tagged
"open" question.
Solved or answered questions are usually not read from answering people.

Thank you

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