Things you need Windows for?

I am thinking about installing UM 16.04 on my dad’s computer. He’s using Windows 7 and he’s happy with it. I am not going to disturb his Windows 7 happiness, but I know Windows will not be an option in the future. Therefore I want to start this thread about things that require Windows.

I want to make a list and see if there is anything substantial on that list that requires Windows. Here we go:

Games: (my father is not a gamer)
MS Office: (my father is retired and LO does the job)
Cloud storage: Dropbox, MEGA and Insync are available on Linux so that works.
Online banking: This one I am not sure about, how about you?
Internet browsing and video streaming: Chrome handles everything I guess.

Have you moved your parents/siblings/friends/spouse etc. to Linux?
What is the biggest problem leaving Windows behind?

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Considering your list, I don’t see a problem moving your father to Linux. And Ubuntu-MATE is a good choice, considering how familiar the MATE desktop environment will quickly become to him.

Online banking is not a problem because it’s dealt with by the browser and it’s completely transversal to the operating system. As long as you set him up with Chrome, Firefox or any other browser following the Gecko or WebKit engines, he should be able to make use of any features available by the banks online presence.

Unless your father had some very specialized interests, I don’t think he will miss Windows. It’s a tough task to find today a field on which Windows offers a software set that isn’t matched by a similar and equally productive offer on Linux. By productive I mean real productive values, not those that are born simply of irrational personal preferences. That’s why, for instance, GIMP is as a powerful tool as Photoshop, if people are willing to see past their preferences and adapt to different workflows.

I’m a retired software developer. I’ve been a Microsoft customer since the late 80s and until 4 years ago. I have grown both myself and my career around Redmond products and the whole software ecosystem Microsoft created. Today I’m a teacher (not programming, thank goodness! But math and physics). You would think Linux couldn’t be an option for me. But in fact, I have yet to meet a challenge that I haven’t overcome. I can still program and develop my pet projects for both Linux and Windows on my Linux machine. I can prepare my classes with all sorts of multimedia materials. I can perform all sorts of administrative tasks both domestically and professionally. I can entertain myself with games, movies, music, reading and maintain my collections of old Arcade, DOS and ZXSpecrum games emulation. In addition I think that in the past 4 years I gained, from moving entirely to linux, not just because of the money I have saved since and the freedom it provided me, but also because I very likely became more computer literate in these 4 years than I had in the whole 30 years before that.

Your father will be alright.


[quote=“mrtribute, post:1, topic:8773”]
Online banking: This one I am not sure about, how about you?[/quote]I’ve found complete success for all my needs wrt internet banking. The banks, credit card companies, mortgage provider, and investment firms that I use have absolutely no issue with Ubuntu MATE + Fire Fox. I’ve also migrated budgeting and overview to Intuit’s Mint

[quote]Internet browsing and video streaming: Chrome handles everything I guess.[/quote]I’ve found the default Fire Fox included with Ubuntu MATE sufficient for me, I do have a Chromium version installed as a fail safe.

[quote]Have you moved your parents/siblings/friends/spouse etc. to Linux?[/quote]Two grandkids to Ubuntu MATE.

[quote]What is the biggest problem leaving Windows behind?[/quote]1. I’m an avid photographer and have not been satisfied with the options available for editing on Linux.
2. I digitize, & edit a huge collection of reel-to-reel tape music that I’ve not yet explored on Linux
3. I prepare my taxes with an installed application with no Linux version. Caveat they provide an online version but I’m not comfortable using it. TaxAct is ther version I use.


I need a Windows VM for my Canon LBP2900i Laser printer.

I also need a bare metal MS Windows, indirectly, because I am using Virgin Media as my high speed broadband ISP. They are currently throttling Linux connections. So, I only get a fraction of the advertised speeds. I get round this by connecting a scabby old Windows 7 notepad to my router and then share its internet connection, via ethernet cable, to my Linux machine. This way, my Linux machine gets the full advertised speeds because my Virgin Media router thinks it is only connected to a Windows machine,.


Mrtribute, I am happy to report that everything you have listed there is fine on Linux.


Thanks @marfig ! I think there is a lot of truth in that statement.

Interesting. Thanks @pfeiffep !

I guess interests/requirements like these are better served by a bigger platform like Windows.

My take is: For anything web-related, Linux should work just as well as Windows. This is probably the key-factor for most people.

This is a sad story. :anguished: I was also thinking of various lock-ins like that when I wrote the OP. Let’s hope this crazy ISP policy is the odd exception. I haven’t heard of anything similar. This sounds truly crazy.

Great. Thanks @stevecook172001 !

Despite my comment on GIMP, I have to agree that for heavy-duty photographers, Photoshop is still the reference tool. I could argue that for most purposes GIMP is an excellent alternative, but Photoshop makes so many photograph editing complex tasks so easy, that once professional-only abilities are today at the reach of any amateur or hobbyist photographer. And that is of tremendous value.

But if one is willing to ignore niche features, isn’t bound to professional standards, or uses raster editing software for illustration purposes rather than photography, GIMP remains a powerful professional-grade alternative.

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I’ve also been somewhat impressed with Darktable [touted to be an alternative to LightRoom] which is available in the SoftWare Boutique. I’m primarily an On1 Photo 10 user and rarely use PhotoShop

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[quote=“mrtribute, post:6, topic:8773”]
I guess interests/requirements like these are better served by a bigger platform like Windows.
[/quote]Or maybe personal time investment learning applications. I suspect if I were just starting with photography the Linux options would suite me just fine. I’ll probably dabble with the music aspect on Linux prior to making a decision.

#####I encourage the software manufacturers to adopt a Linux friendly approach FWIW!

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Could you use thisfor your audio recordings?

As for myself, I’ve not needed anything from Windows for the past 5 years. Today most people use their browsers for nearly everything they do on a computer, and Linux provides tools for quite a few other things.
I wouldn’t buy anything but HP Printers these days as they are well supported in Linux. They just released drivers for 3-4 new models for Ubuntu/Debian.
The one time I had a slight challenge was setting up a router that would have been easier on Windows, but I finally figured it out without Windows.
Linux has come far and again, most people could get by fine with just a browser and Linux has that covered :slight_smile:


I wouldn’t call it a problem so much as a minor inconvenience. I’ve recently moved my own system to Linux from Windows, and I’m having to re-set up some of my files. Primarily, I have shortcuts to files and folders inside of various data folders which I have to re-do in Linux, because those Windows shortcuts no longer work. It’s not really a big deal, but it’s the type of thing you don’t think about when you’re changing systems.

Other than that, most of my day to day functioning on my computer hasn’t changed too much since migrating to MATE. Every once in a while I’ll have something that I want to do, like a screen capture, and I’ll remember that my software for that was on Windows. However, finding alternatives for things like that has been pretty easy. Along those lines, I’ve found that software for a lot of things tends to be readily available for free in Linux, whereas decent options in Windows more times than not costs money. I’m not saying everything is perfect, but knowing what I know now, I can’t find any good reason that I would have needed to stay with Microsoft. Ubuntu MATE in particular seems to be very well suited to those of us leaving the Windows platform behind.


[quote=“linuxfan, post:10, topic:8773”]
Could you use thisfor your audio recordings?
[/quote]Thanks for the tip - I’ll give it a whirl

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The only thing I need Windows for anymore is my income taxes, and that is only once a year. I don’t trust that process to any of the online offerings. That can be done from a VM install of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 with Classic Shell installed. Other than that I don’t need windows for anything. If LibreOffice won’t work for certain MS Office collaborations, I use Microsoft Office Online which is free for Linux users. There is a deb install available at Sourceforge allowing it integration into the menu. It will run through the default browser. The last package update was July 2014, but it still works fine with current Debian based systems including Ubuntu. It is available at the following link.


Briefly examining that statement; You basically said If you’re not a professional, and intend to use a raster editor for very little compared to a professional, GIMP can be a professional tool.

I am sorry, I will not ascribe to that line of thinking. Even as a GIMP user I long for some features from Photoshop that are kind of in GIMP, but not really there.

GIMP is an easier tool for somebody getting into the trade, but many people won’t take you seriously if you’re accredited as a “GIMP Expert”, because the professional space relies on Photoshop bar-none, not some amateur tool anybody can download for free, gosh, the industry can’t cope with freedom of choice!

But seriously, GIMP lacks in some areas, and professionals use a “Professional tool” because everybody else uses it, and until GIMP becomes on-par with Photoshop down to keystrokes nobody vetted in the trade will take it seriously.

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Not really. But close. I’m saying that GIMP can be used as a professional tool, by professionals, providing they understand they will be outside the industry standards. Particularly, but not necessarily only, if they use GIMP as an illustration tool.

Which is unfortunate. That is only a result of the echo chamber that tech industries tend to congregate on. It’s unfortunate not because Photoshop is a bad tool. Only because the industry tied itself to a single tool.

But that also means you don’t have to. If you look a bit over the web you’ll find plenty of examples of professional use of GIMP, from web illustration, to art and drawing, even some studios that use GIMP for photo retouching. Not everyone in the industry is a major outlet and not everyone in the industry requires anything more than a tool like GIMP or Blender to do their work. It’s really a matter of how the business positions itself and the nature of its employees.

In fact, looking at GIMP toolset, I’d wager that if we took an honest look at a representative slice of the SMS businesses in the design industry, the fact they use Photoshop can be constructed as overkill.

As you say, some people laugh at anyone doing serious work on GIMP. But the joke really is on the ones laughing. Not always, I agree. But often, when cartoons series have been drawn on GIMP, when web design companies work with GIMP, when even small marketing companies can fulfil their contracts with GIMP. I’m often reminded of similar cases on other industries, like making a billion dollar 3D game of java, or a strategy masterpiece on Macromedia Director (now Adobe Director).


Hi mrtribute, I think a normal user has 80% of applications used in windows in linux.
I led since 2008 using Ubuntu and not use Windows for anything, (I only have problems with the bluray). I have Windows XP on another partition.

You can do almost everything, the problem is if your father put time and effort into learning, most people who do not switch to Linux is not wanting to learn, feel comfortable with your operating system or because they have applications that use Windows and Linux does not have,

I teach the use of Linux to my daughters, if they need Apps, I will seek, and they learn it.

Demanding users stay with Windows, they do not look, they already have,

in exchange of…

to make the change, it is better to use the same apps that use Linux on Windows, Libreoffice, VLC, Skype, Firefox, Chrome after change is easier.



I agree. I tend to use cross-platform programs both in Windows and Linux. My father also uses Linux compatible programs.

I don’t use Windows a lot anymore. There are a few nice Windows-only programs like Connectify (creating hotspots), Freemake Video Converter (Handbrake is more advanced) and Odrive (the best cloud client I have tried, it uses 0 byte placeholders).

I really like open source, but if MS wasn’t such an untrustworthy company I would probably use Windows more. I feel MS pretty much killed the Windows platform.

Speaking of software like Skype, there are some programs that have official Linux system packages that has not been updated, so in Windows you get the latest version, while in other systems you get the latest version then, which becomes the cut-rate version when new features are added that only works in the Windows binary.

Skype is a perfect example of this, mainly because it’s a Microsoft application now so Skype is now pretty much only for Windows. Discord, less so because while their official Linux build is far and away to come (they keep saying soonTM), there is an official beta build that runs mostly the same.

This goes beyond just chat apps that force you to use the web browser or an alternative program for their servers because an official version is not available, this also applies to a lot of utilities, and libraries. I can tell you right now that DirectX 12 is impossible at the moment because CodeWeavers and others behind Wine are still just perfecting DX10. Some games that rely on Microsoft .NET and XNA don’t work. Wine in general is a complete faff versus running Windows applications in a Windows VM, at which point users then ask, Why should I run Windows in a VM if I could just run Linux in a VM to do my web browsing with? (Sandboxie for Windows is a better option for application isolation, that’s why.)

I tire of beating that drum. And until Microsoft fully embrace the Linux ecosystem and let their precious babies see with their eyes any Linux platform, less people who presently code only for Windows will take the entire Linux ecosystem seriously, despite the fact that as of now, it is way more secure and shows confidence in the FOSS movement that’s slowly been gaining more steam over the years.

Without that Development backing (because it not only makes little financial sense to code for a set of free systems that may have functional disparity between one another, but also developers get locked into exclusivity contracts to make more currency), then Linux et al will never be on par. And that’s just sad.

This isn’t concern trolling, before people think that. I use Ubuntu MATE, I’ve written countless guides on doing certain things within it, I’ve proven myself an outstanding community member with some probably-unorthodox thoughts here or there, but it just feels awful to be an apologist instead of an advocate where Linux is lacking.

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For Skype there is now a new Linux alpha which has been rewritten based on Electron and thus shares most of the code with the web-based Skype.
It should eventually reach feature parity with the Windows version, but Microsoft is still in the midst of rebuilding Skype based on Azure instead of the old P2P architecture, so this may take a while.
At least they are finally moving after years of silence…

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This App is called Ring, I think this is a good substitute for Skype,
you have several operating systems and is open source,

look here and look the Major Partners