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#1 2012-03-19 00:54:17

linuxguy0481
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Registered: 2009-06-12
Posts: 10

I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Actually both my wife and I are both online students. I'm so tired of Windows 7. I want to be free from the chains of Windows. I know Wine won't run all my programs but they are getting better. I was looking into getting VMWare Workstation 8 or VirtualBox. I know there is VMWare player that is free. But I can afford to pay for VMWare workstation. I  just hope it's a fast virtual environment. I'm not a new user to Linux either. Been running it since OpenSuse 9 a long time ago. But it has been a dual boot setup. I'm ready to venture out and use Arch Linux.


So I was wondering if anyone else here is running Arch Linux full time and also a student. Have you run into any issues? If so how did you solve it? Hopefully when I do this. I can convert some friends and family.

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#2 2012-03-19 01:00:52

Gullible Jones
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Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 4,863

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Not to dis Arch, but I would recommend something like Debian Stable for uni. You don't want breakage. Ever. Arch is pretty good about not breaking, but cannot guarantee lack of breakage to the same degree as Debian.

(Debian does ship with a grossly outdated version of Wine, but if you can run Windows in VMWare or Virtualbox, that should be a nonissue. I think.)

Edit: oh right online campus, duh. In that case you might run into problems with Windows-only webinars and stuff. I would recommend keeping a Windows partition for course stuff, even if Windows is annoying to work with.

(I'm not kidding about webinars; last one I was involved with used a combination of Java, Flash, ActiveX, and a proprietary interactive media player, and wouldn't work unless UAC was completely disabled. That was in a corporate environment, not uni, but still.)

Edit 2: Not trying to dash your hopes, mind; I don't know the circumstances, and maybe everything would work perfectly with Linux. But unfortunately that is sometimes not the case.

Last edited by Gullible Jones (2012-03-19 01:05:51)

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#3 2012-03-19 01:08:41

/dev/zero
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

linuxguy0481 wrote:

So I was wondering if anyone else here is running Arch Linux full time and also a student. Have you run into any issues? If so how did you solve it? Hopefully when I do this. I can convert some friends and family.

It depends on what you're studying. In maths & stats, theoretical physics, and computer science, everyone uses some flavour of Unix - Macs are popular, but Linux is common enough too. We stick our undergrads on Windows machines, but most of the software they use is cross-platform, eg Matlab, R.

Engineering can be touch and go. They often seem happy enough using Windows, but will be flexible so long as your choice of OS doesn't stop you from using their proprietary software packages of choice. If you need to use SolidEdge and the like, forget about Linux. In the biological sciences and medicine, I think everyone uses Windows and you will be expected to as well.

I'm less sure about the humanities, including Law. I think they are less tied down to particular varieties of proprietary software, but on the other hand may be totally clueless that such a thing as Linux even exists. These factors can work for you and against you.


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#4 2012-03-19 01:17:51

linuxguy0481
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Registered: 2009-06-12
Posts: 10

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Well my wife is studying Psychology with an emphasis on Child Development. I'm studying Computer Science/Information Technology. I'm so early in the coursework that I will decide if I like propramming more or a network  administration.

In regards to the earlier post I really don't want to run Debian. I love everything I have read about Arch Linux. The bleeding edge, how fast it is, the rolling releases, etc. I'm actually leaning more towards running a Virtual environment until Wine gets better. Maybe next year perhaps? I just want the virtual environment to be fast and not have delays when I open programs, run the programs.

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#5 2012-03-19 01:23:08

Jristz
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From: America/Santiago
Registered: 2011-06-11
Posts: 921

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Other option is run windows in a Virtualmachina and try to avoyd using them
but in this case you need set the share folder for you sistem and the virtualhost

I recommend Debian Testing; Why: I so Less frecuent but exist ocation where they have a breckage in a package and for a environment this isnot good: imagine upgrade your software and pa-kaf-badabum a breackage and you not have the form to downgrade, what you make in this case?


Well, I suppose that this is somekind of signature, no?

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#6 2012-03-19 01:40:47

Trilby
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

/dev/zero wrote:

In the biological sciences and medicine, I think everyone uses Windows and you will be expected to as well.

More macs here it seems.

I refuse.  And I get away with it because I am far more productive on my 'mysterious odd looking computer' than any of them are on their shiny new machines paying their dues to the cat-o'-the-month club operating system.

If you're interested in arch, I say dive in.  I'm running it as my sole OS on 3 computers (and have helped a friend get it set up on his computer too).  It takes a little attention, but I haven't had any substantial problems.  I do run that other more popular OS in virtualbox and it runs pretty smoothly - certainly enough to get to any os-restricted webinars.  I have it primarily for netflix and it streams their video perfectly.  Just for fun I tried one of the 'big cats' in virtual box too.  I can't say that one runs very well.

EDIT: hardware note: my vbox runs well on my ~7yr stock-harware iMac.  So nothing fancy is needed.  It feels a little weird though, running WinXP in a virtual box in Linux on a Mac.  It reminds me of those crazy TurDucKens people make on Thanksgiving (US-centric reference).

Last edited by Trilby (2012-03-19 01:45:04)


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#7 2012-03-19 02:58:21

Misfit138
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From: USA
Registered: 2006-11-27
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Trilby wrote:

..I refuse.  And I get away with it because I am far more productive on my 'mysterious odd looking computer' than any of them are on their shiny new machines..

Out of curiosity, what odd-looking computer are you using?

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#8 2012-03-19 07:54:15

Awebb
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

If you tell us more about that online study of yours, we can tell you if it'll work. Things like what kind of files you need to open and what kind of software you need to use. But, of course, the better approach would be to be brave and try Arch and then return with questions if something can't be done.

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#9 2012-03-19 10:45:01

oldtimeyjunk
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Gullible Jones wrote:

Not to dis Arch, but I would recommend something like Debian Stable for uni. You don't want breakage. Ever. Arch is pretty good about not breaking, but cannot guarantee lack of breakage to the same degree as Debian.

The problem with Debian and other pre-built distros is that, if something goes wrong, it's hard to find the problem. With Arch, it's pretty easy since you know a lot more about the internal trickery.


"... being a Linux user is sort of like living in a house inhabited by a large family of carpenters and architects. Every morning when you wake up, the house is a little different. Maybe there is a new turret, or some walls have moved. Or perhaps someone has temporarily removed the floor under your bed." - Unix for Dummies, 2nd Edition

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#10 2012-03-19 10:56:45

examon
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Registered: 2011-05-07
Posts: 208

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

I'm fulltime student and I'm using Arch, no dualboot.
I was using only Win XP in virtualbox when I needed to code in C#.

When you are CS student you can use linux box all the time without any dualboot or whatever... also I feel much better with Arch then Debian, It's really rare for me to brake something (I run Pacman -Syu every day), but If I do I can repair it really fast and If I don't I just ask at forums so it's really np.

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#11 2012-03-19 11:51:46

Trilby
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Misfit138 wrote:

Out of curiosity, what odd-looking computer are you using?

It's not an odd looking computer - but this is the reaction people have when they look at the screen and see a console or terminal.  I've actually had the reaction "Oh my god!  What's wrong with your computer."


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#12 2012-03-19 14:30:38

lswest
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From: Munich, Germany
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Trilby wrote:
Misfit138 wrote:

Out of curiosity, what odd-looking computer are you using?

It's not an odd looking computer - but this is the reaction people have when they look at the screen and see a console or terminal.  I've actually had the reaction "Oh my god!  What's wrong with your computer."

Tell me about it...

On the topic of this thread:

I run Arch on my laptop (no dual boot), and I dual boot Arch and Windows on my PC.  I'm studying computer sciences (admittedly, not online), and I have yet to have any issues with it.  I'm also doing the Game Theory course (offered by Stanford using coursera), and haven't run into any issues on Arch yet.  My recommendation is this:  Minimize your windows partition to free up space for Arch, install it, configure it, and then use it for a week or so.  If you can do everything you need to do, you're good and can get rid of Windows and expand Arch to take up that space.  Otherwise you can simply boot Windows if you run into issues.  Seems to be the most secure route to go for.


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#13 2012-03-19 15:28:07

JohannesSM64
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

I'm so tired of Windows 7. I want to be free from the chains of Windows.

I wonder, what are these "chains of Windows"?

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#14 2012-03-19 15:56:39

Bellum
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Registered: 2011-08-24
Posts: 230

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Something about church architecture? They have these long chains of windows all over the place.

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#15 2012-03-19 16:07:26

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,475
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

linuxguy0481 wrote:

So I was wondering if anyone else here is running Arch Linux full time and also a student. Have you run into any issues?

My experience with my online university as a Software Engineering major is:

  • All of my classes used a forum. This was easily accessable in Linux (and even Haiku).

  • Some of my classes used a live video / presentation classroom based on Java. This worked pretty well in Arch Linux.

  • One class had a similar setup, but used Microsoft Silverlight instead of Java. I was able to get Mono to "work", but it was quite clunky.

  • LibreOffice worked fine when I needed access to Word documents. I submitted most of my work in either plain text or LaTeX / PDF.

I think it's important to talk to the people that are in charge of the "distribution" of the online classes, to learn about what technology they use. Even so, this isn't a guarantee that some class is going to do something funny and require something Windows / Mac only.

One more thing: while in the middle of taking a course, I didn't install any upgrades to any Arch Linux packages that were critical to my class, such as Java.

linuxguy0481 wrote:

I was looking into getting VMWare Workstation 8 or VirtualBox.

I didn't start using VirtualBox to run other operating systems in Arch Linux until after my time with the university. If I'd known about it, I probably would have setup a Windows XP or 7 installation in VirtualBox. I think it would have worked fine.

Summary: Using only Arch Linux as an online student worked pretty well for me, could have been better.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my experience.

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#16 2012-03-19 16:24:52

ANOKNUSA
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Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

I've been using Arch for about a year-and-a-half, and have been a student the whole time.  I've taken five courses online, and haven't had any connection problems that stood in my way.  Of course, I'm a history major, so I'm not sure that helps you at all.  The only issue I've run into isn't Arch-related: some of the online interfaces I've used don't like the Firefox "Pentadactyl" plugin. 

The big question, I suppose, is: what sort of software are you required to use, and how important is it for something not to break?  I've had a few moments when my system crapped out on me within 24 hours of an assignment being due; however, since these were all a result of my own screwing around, I learned to just not play with sensitive stuff when a big deadline was coming up.  Incidentally, I've never turned in an assignment late due to an Arch crash of any kind.

Trilby wrote:

It's not an odd looking computer - but this is the reaction people have when they look at the screen and see a console or terminal.  I've actually had the reaction "Oh my god!  What's wrong with your computer."

OT: My mother frequently warns me that I'm going to irreparably damage my computer by using anything but Windows on it.  When she sees me working with a CLI, she usually assumes something's wrong. roll  She's the sort who believes an OEM install of Windows is the optimal setting for any computer, and should never be altered (she's not too computer-savvy; she refuses to fill more than ~15% of her 500-gig HDD for fear that it will "slow her computer down").  My friends are also confused by such things as music players that don't mimic iTunes.  It just doesn't click with some people that the number of good programs exceeds single digits, or that there's really no objective standard for "great" software, or if you didn't pay a large sum of money for it you're not necessarily gonna lose in the end.  Nor do they understand that I did pay a good sum of money for hardware specifically to run this software with the fewest possible problems.

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#17 2012-03-19 21:10:36

mythus
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From: MS Gulf Coast
Registered: 2008-05-15
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

My wife has arch linux on her laptop, which she uses for her online college courses.

For the most part, LibreOffice does the job. However there are those few pesky courses that require Microsoft Office 2010 (and not a version lower!). She tried submitting a file in doc form for such a class once, but they knew it was not written in Office 2010, gave her a 0 on it, and suggested she drop out. Of course, she did not. Instead, she got Windows 7 running on VirtualBox - seemless mode, and put Office 2010 - which she only uses for those select courses because like me, she hates using Windows.

Over all, we have seen that it works fine. However: Her sister had to watch online class videos for her classes that required silverlight, and monolight wasn't cutting it. Luckily, this is achievable through Virtual Box, but (at least for her) it was slow.


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#18 2012-03-19 23:02:23

Misfit138
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From: USA
Registered: 2006-11-27
Posts: 4,170

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

Trilby wrote:
Misfit138 wrote:

Out of curiosity, what odd-looking computer are you using?

It's not an odd looking computer - but this is the reaction people have when they look at the screen and see a console or terminal.  I've actually had the reaction "Oh my god!  What's wrong with your computer."

Heh, I see.
At first I was picturing a bastardized-cyberpunk looking magnesium-cased Panasonic TOUGHBOOK running Ratpoison, or some such thing.

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#19 2012-03-20 10:22:17

Blµb
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Registered: 2008-02-10
Posts: 223

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

mythus wrote:

My wife has arch linux on her laptop, which she uses for her online college courses.

For the most part, LibreOffice does the job. However there are those few pesky courses that require Microsoft Office 2010 (and not a version lower!). She tried submitting a file in doc form for such a class once, but they knew it was not written in Office 2010, gave her a 0 on it, and suggested she drop out. Of course, she did not. Instead, she got Windows 7 running on VirtualBox - seemless mode, and put Office 2010 - which she only uses for those select courses because like me, she hates using Windows.

Over all, we have seen that it works fine. However: Her sister had to watch online class videos for her classes that required silverlight, and monolight wasn't cutting it. Luckily, this is achievable through Virtual Box, but (at least for her) it was slow.

Was it solely due to the fact that she wasn't using office 2010? If so, she shouldn't accept 0 points. That's just wrong. At the uni here, if some professor would do that, they'd probably get fired... If a specific program is required which is not free, then they always make sure that there's *some* way for the students to access it for free during that course. This is of course problematic when you're studying in an online university, but for simple things like Office, even a VNC-based solution would work...


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#20 2012-03-20 23:26:05

cfr
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From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 5,662

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

@mythus,

I was also about to say that that is outrageous. I would very much like to know the university and subject or country and subject but I understand you might not wish to say. If they really gave a zero purely because they could tell it was not done in Office 2010, that's reprehensible. The only exception I could think of would be a course on the use of specific computer software where the assignment was designed to test students skills with Office 2010 specifically. That would be an odd uni course, but...

To the OP,

You should find out your university's policy on support for different OSs. This is really important for online study. If you are on campus, you can always use a computer lab if you have to to get something particular done. If you are halfway around the world, that's not an option. Universities vary wildly in their support for different OSs. Some require students to have machines which meet certain standards and which are equipped with Windows. Others actively support cross-platform solutions. Others officially support Windows, sort of support Mac and do "best effort" support for Linux. I have also been on campuses where the support for non-Windows was non-existent to the point that the campus didn't actually recognise the possible existence of non-Windows machines. This was good and bad. On the negative side, none of the packs MS makes available to help Mac/Unix users connect to Windows servers were installed. None. On the positive side, all network security checked for was Windows. Plug a Mac laptop in and you had immediate access to the web, printers etc. even before you'd been issued with a computer account. Plug a Windows laptop in and it demanded a username and password.

Psychology is likely to require the use of specific statistics packages. You would need to know which. You also need to bear in mind that the software in use in three, four or more years time won't necessarily be what's used now. Stuff can change quite quickly. Even new versions and updates can block access. So even if you don't update your software, the university may update server software in ways which make it difficult for you to access the information you need.

Last edited by cfr (2012-03-20 23:26:28)


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#21 2012-03-21 10:04:07

mythus
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From: MS Gulf Coast
Registered: 2008-05-15
Posts: 509
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

cfr, Blµb:

Believe you me, we complained, all the way up to the appropriate Dean about it. The response was simple, "You were told in the class sylubus to use Microsoft Office 2010 for this course. The book store sells it for cheap ($50.00), and the computer labs are always available as well as are local libraries." So yeah, it was a sucky situation. But we dealt with it and she passed the class with a high B regardless.

The course was Desktop Publishing. Unlike the current course that she has to take right now (Microcomputer Applications, which really should read Microsoft Applications), it shouldn't have been office suite specific IMO. Especially since we showed them that the same quality work was achievable in LibreOffice. Heck, I use LO for my book writing and DTP work all the time... But yeah, that teacher was an old not-so-nice-name-for-a-female-canine, and I personally think the school is subsidized with MS Office sales. The fact that these MS Office forcing classes are requirements for her major (accounting) is something I'll never understand. After all, her accounting instructors use LO Calc to make the spreadsheet templates. It is always been just one class per semester that has required MS Office: Desktop Publishing, Microcomputer Applications, and some other class that I can't recall that was basically making business letters, memos, and minutes but required Office 2010 *shakes head*.

Since this is regarding my wife, I do not think it would be fare to say which school this is. But it is in the US, in a place that despite the growing use and acceptance of Linux and Mac's, most don't see how a computer can function without Windows.


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#22 2012-03-21 12:03:29

Iranon
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Registered: 2011-06-11
Posts: 146

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

It's likely that there's a deal between the institution and Microsoft - reduced license fees for their products (not only that sold to students), for strongly discouraging/disallowing anything else.
The aim probably isn't to generate revenue from the students, but to familiarise future professionals with MS products and hope they won't want to learn anything else.

Quite common in various guises... student discounts, leaning on universities to make courses mandatory that focus on the company's technology, even looking the other way when it comes to piracy.
Adobe for example would rather students pirate their programs than work with free software.... they'll get paying customers eventually and it means their proprietary technology is still seen as the standard, and if virtually no professionals work with it anyway it's unlikely that the free alternatives will bother to incorporate features that only matter for professional use.

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#23 2012-03-21 18:13:20

Janarto
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From: Paris
Registered: 2008-09-23
Posts: 80

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

I'm doing my phd since 4 years and my main laptop runs arch , with a virtualised windows XP for some statistical software and excel that I need.
I'm writing papers and presentations with beamer and latex and increasingly doing stats with R.
I'm also sharing quite a lot of basic text and spreadsheet thru google doc.
I didn't suffer from any breakages, but i'm carefull to check the situation befire any update.
More importantly, for important academic work BACK UP your files, locally and remotelly, on a regular basis !

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#24 2012-03-21 19:31:20

/dev/zero
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From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2011-10-20
Posts: 1,176
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Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

mythus wrote:

Believe you me, we complained, all the way up to the appropriate Dean about it. The response was simple, "You were told in the class sylubus to use Microsoft Office 2010 for this course. The book store sells it for cheap ($50.00), and the computer labs are always available as well as are local libraries."

I would consider legal action. Tertiary institutions are bound to provide you with the best educational experience they can, including basing assessments only on equitable measures of competence. Your software of choice does not fall in this category.


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#25 2012-03-21 21:25:41

nomilieu
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Registered: 2010-07-03
Posts: 133

Re: I'm a online university student. Can I replace Windows 7 with Arch?

So what, they knew it wasn't made using 2010 because it wasn't in the fancy new file format, or because it didn't render correctly in 2010?

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