* Linux

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Johnr65
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Linux

Post by Johnr65 » 07 Jun 2021 08:28

Does anyone use Linux instead of Windows? Is it better or worse than Windows for FH7?
:?:

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Re: Linux

Post by Valkrider » 07 Jun 2021 08:38

There are a couple of ways of using FH on Linux, with an emulator such as Wine or with a Virtual Machine. see Family Historian on Mac, Linux, iOS, Android etc

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Johnr65
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Re: Linux

Post by Johnr65 » 07 Jun 2021 08:50

Doesn't look too good Colin, seems to make matters worse especially FH7?

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Re: Linux

Post by Mark1834 » 07 Jun 2021 08:54

I've got a Linux box under my desk (Mint 20) with FH6 installed under Wine. It's really just for play and experiment rather than any serious work.

I think it is unlikely that an app could ever be "better" running under Wine or an emulator than in its native environment, but that is subjective and you may have such an aversion to Windows that it is worth putting up with the inevitable compromises. My own approach is to use Windows for things that run best in Windows, and Linux for things that run best in Linux, via a twin input monitor and a USB switch for peripherals.

CP support for Linux and Mac can probably best be described as "best endeavours". It is clearly not a core market for them, but they support it as far as they can with their limited resources.
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Re: Linux

Post by Johnr65 » 07 Jun 2021 09:25

Can you run Windows and Linux side by side then Mark or do you need another pc?

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Re: Linux

Post by Valkrider » 07 Jun 2021 09:28

You can run Windows and Linux on the same box either dual boot or with a Virtual Machine such as Virtual Box. FH v7.0.4 improved things with regard to Crossover, there are still issues with tables in Rich Text but imho that is manageable

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Re: Linux

Post by mjashby » 07 Jun 2021 09:40

FH7 does work on Linux systems with, I would estimate, around 95% functionality. This of course involves using Wine to create a functional Family Historian app; and possibly a front end GUI application such as Winetricks, PlayOnLinux, Q4Wine, Bottles Crossover for Linux etc. if you prefer to avoid a totally command line experience.

In my experience a native Wine installation together with Winetricks and Q4Wine has produced a better end product than the Crossover for Linux application.

The most significant issues I've found to date:

- The internal Web Browser doesn't work with Wine, even after applying the latest FH7 Update (7.0.6) which corrects that problem in Windows installtions.
- There are substantial issues with Rich Text notes, some of which seem to be limited on-screen display, which seem to print/export to RTF correctly, but Rich Text Tables are largely unusable as Tables can't be satisfactorily edited or adjusted in FH once they are created.
- Haven't tested many Plugins so far, but would anticipate potential problems with any that require internet access or use Rich Text features.

In short, running FH7 on Linux mostly works. It offers a better experience than running it on MacOS (using Wine), but obviously less effective than running natively on a full Windows 10 installation (whether on real hardware or in a virtual machine).

Mervyn

FH7 and AS installed on MX Linux (a Debian derivative):
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MX Linux.jpg
MX Linux (with Wine Version 6.x)
MX Linux.jpg (262.29 KiB) Viewed 4280 times

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Re: Linux

Post by Mark1834 » 07 Jun 2021 09:55

I've never found dual boot fully satisfactory, so prefer to have a second dedicated PC. But remember Linux runs on just about anything, so it's a common use for an old PC after upgrading. I did spend £30 to replace the old mechanical hard disk with a 250 GB SSD, and that transformed performance. Linux on basic hardware feels similar to Windows on an i5 with plenty of RAM.
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Re: Linux

Post by mjashby » 07 Jun 2021 10:19

Mark,

Agreed, most Linux based OSs are much less resource hungry than Windows. The image above came from a Linux Virtual Machine running on an 8 year old MacBook Pro with an allocation of 2 CPU cores and 2GB RAM, which represents a pretty low-level hardware setup by modern standards, but it runs FH together with Ancestral resources and other apps at least as fast as a native Windows installation on an i7 HP Spectre with 16GB RAM (apart from the limitations already mentioned). One reason I tend to experiment/test with Virtual Machines is the ability to share data storage locations on the host machine relatively easily, which keeps the size of VMs under control and also limits data duplication.

Mervyn

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Re: Linux

Post by Johnr65 » 07 Jun 2021 13:50

What is a virtual machine?

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Valkrider
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Re: Linux

Post by Valkrider » 07 Jun 2021 14:34

It allows you to run one operating system on another.

See Running Family Historian on a Virtual Machine

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Re: Linux

Post by tatewise » 07 Jun 2021 14:44

To expand that a bit further, a Virtual Machine still requires a licensed copy of the OS.
So if a Virtual Machine is running in Unix you need a licensed copy of Windows to run Windows in the Virtual Machine.
In that case, the Windows environment should be the same as Windows running on a bare PC.
Some Virtual Machines are free and some must be bought. You must always pay for the Windows licence.

Conversely, an emulator imitates one OS while running on another OS.
So a Windows emulator such as WINE running in Unix does NOT need a licensed copy of Windows, but the emulated Windows environment does not usually support all aspects of Windows, which is why some FH features don't work.
However, Unix and WINE are free.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Linux

Post by Johnr65 » 07 Jun 2021 15:03

Hi Mike, does the Windows licence that I have already got to run Win 10 enough for a VM or do I have to buy another one?

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Re: Linux

Post by Mark1834 » 07 Jun 2021 15:12

To clarify for those not familiar with the arcane world of Operating Systems...

Unix was a computer Operating System originally developed in the 1970s. Although not part of the original specification, a key feature of Unix was its portability, meaning it could run on many different types of hardware. Many modern non-Microsoft Operating Systems are derived from Unix, but are not actually Unix.

MacOS, and therefore iOS, are derived from Unix, but are proprietary to Apple.
Linux is free and open-source software with many different flavours (Ubuntu, Debian, etc), but based on Unix.
Android, which powers 85% of the world's mobile phones, is based on Linux, but often sold with proprietary add-ons.

"Unix-like" is a term that is not formally defined, but is generally taken to mean this family of Operating Systems that share a common heritage.
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Re: Linux

Post by Mark1834 » 07 Jun 2021 15:14

I'm not Mike, but one Windows licence = one installation. You can generally transfer the license to a VM (unless it is a restricted OEM version), but you cannot create a second installation. You need a separate paid for licence for each VM. There are some exceptions to this, but they are for short term testing purposes, not long term use. I'm sure one of our VM specialists can elucidate further on this if you want to pursue that option.
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Re: Linux

Post by tatewise » 07 Jun 2021 16:01

John, as Mark has said, it depends on what type of Windows 10 licence you obtained and how you intend to use it.
There are two popular types of licence: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Retail.

You probably have an OEM licence if:
1) You obtained Windows 10 by upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 that was bought with a new PC.
2) You bought Windows 10 integral with a new PC.
That type of licence is restricted to the PC you bought and cannot be used elsewhere.

If you bought Windows 10 separately from your PC then it is probably a single user Retail licence.
That allows Windows 10 to be installed on any machine but only one at a time.
i.e. You cannot install that copy of Windows 10 on your PC and in a Virtual Machine on a separate Unix PC.

You may read that Windows 10 will run on any system without activating a licence and apart from nag messages works OK.
However, I believe that is in violation of the terms of the licence and would not be condoned by the FHUG.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Linux

Post by Johnr65 » 07 Jun 2021 16:55

Seems best to me then to stick with Windows even though it's updates usually cause problems. Thank you all for your advice and knowledge.
:D :D

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Re: Linux

Post by BakerJL75 » 19 Feb 2022 14:46

I've enjoyed reading this and have some questions. I have an older laptop that runs Win10 poorly. I need to take another stab at figuring out why but am doubtful of my success. I suspect it is because it's running Win10 on 8 Gb of memory and I don't want to put more money into a laptop I already dislike. As far as genealogy I only use it very occasionally, so I don't think the FH7 limitations would bother me. If I use a virtual machine (already have the license) it seems like since I'd be running the virtual machine as well as Windows it wouldn't be any faster. Would Linux with an emulator speed it up? Appreciate any advice if a virtual machine or an emulator would help my speed issues.
Thanks,
Jackie

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Re: Linux

Post by tatewise » 19 Feb 2022 15:43

I doubt if 8 GB of RAM is causing Win 10 to run slowly. It is more likely the CPU or Hard Drive performance.
My old desktop runs Win 10 slightly sluggishly on only 3 GB RAM, but adding an SSD helped significantly.

Have you used Task Manager to review where your laptop is performance limited?
Is it CPU, or Memory, or Disk that is approaching 100%?
Is the disk drive nearly full, which will compromise performance?

I suspect you are correct in thinking Linux with a virtual machine running Windows 10 will not perform well.

Linux with an emulator is a better bet, but reviewing your current Windows resource limits may suggest a cheap solution.
Sometimes reinstalling Windows 10 or even simply a PC 'Restart' will improve performance.
( 'Restart' is better than 'Shutdown' unless you have disabled Fast Start. )
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Linux

Post by mjashby » 19 Feb 2022 16:19

Jackie,

If you are considering trying a 'Virtual' installation of a Linux operating system then the memory available can affect performance, but so can the CPU which also has to be shared between the 'Host' Operating System (Windows 10) and any Guest operating system such as a Linux distribution. particularly when software applications are being run on the Host and Guest at the same time. In theory, 8Gb RAM should be adequate to run a Windows 10 Host and many of the available Linux distributions as a Guest providing you are careful about running CPU & Memory intensive processes on the Host PC (or Guest) whilst using a Virtual Machine, e.g. Windows 10 Updates and Web browsing with multiple TABs open, especially when using Chrome-based browsers which can be very 'resource hungry'.

Personally, I have run several Linux distributions as guests (mostly Debian-based) and most appear happy running multiple applications, including FH7 running on Wine; and I have noticed no difference in performance from a 'normal' installation, although not all FH7 features fully work; and there can also be issues with some plugins as they are, understandably, normally only tested on a full Windows installation. In my tests the main 'feature' that doesn't work at all is the use of Tables in the Rich Text Notes Windows.

Essentially, when considering the use of virtual machines, the one thing that has to be considered is what 'spare' capacity the Host machine can reliably provide to a second operating system without impacting on performance. Most of the newer Linux (and Windows) versions I have used as 'Guests' have been 'content' with an allocation of 2CPU 'Cores', 2GB RAM and 128MB VDU Memory, which implies that a preferred Host PC need would probably need to have a Quad-Core CPU and a minimum of 8Gb RAM and, of course, sufficient Hard Drive/SSD space to install and run two 64-bit Operating systems in parallel, plus some care not to overload the Host system whilst running a virtual machine.

Not sure what you mean by an 'emulator', but presume you meant 'Wine' or one of the Wine Management applications, such as Crossover, if you are considering Linux as an alternative/addition to Windows 10 'main system'.

Hope that helps with some of your questions.

Mervyn

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Re: Linux

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Feb 2022 18:25

My 8-year-old very basic laptop (Celeron CPU, 4 GB RAM) was a real pig to use, and took literally hours to update once a month. As a "kill or cure", I bought a 250 GB SSD for £25 off Amazon, and did a fresh install of just W10, Office 365, basic utilities, and FH7.

It's transformed it beyond all recognition! In use, it doesn't feel any different to my desktop PC for those basic tasks. If you are happy opening the case (or have a tame friend or relative to do it for you), then I would recommend a similar solution.
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Re: Linux

Post by BakerJL75 » 22 Feb 2022 15:50

The hard drive has plenty of space. I'll check task manager again, but the times that I've looked it hasn't helped. I've also reinstalled to no avail. It will be better for a short time and then slow again. I may try a SSD drive since that seems to have given good results for some folks. They aren't that expensive and I can do it myself. I don't have a lot on it, and nothing that needs backed up so the reinstall should be quick. Thanks everyone!
Thanks,
Jackie

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Re: Linux

Post by tatewise » 22 Feb 2022 16:17

Jackie, the things I look for in Task Manager (apart from high CPU or Memory or Disk Utilisation on the Performance tab) is Processes that are CPU hogs. Sometimes they are expected, such as when performing Windows Updates, but otherwise CPU Utilisation should be less than 5% when idling. From time to time I discover a CPU hog and usually a Google search provides a workaround.

It was high Disk Utilisation greater than 80% for long periods that suggested an SSD solution that worked.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Linux

Post by JP Ford » 26 Mar 2022 07:16

BakerJL75 wrote:
19 Feb 2022 14:46
I have an older laptop that runs Win10 poorly... Would Linux with an emulator speed it up? Appreciate any advice if a virtual machine or an emulator would help my speed issues.
Linux on your laptop would likely transform it into a completely different machine (see caveats below). The resource demand is significantly lower than windows. Running a VM (virtual machine) under Linux is easy with something like Oracle Virtualbox. I run only Linux (KDE) on my desktop and laptop - it's been my primary OS for the last decade. On my laptop (Asus/8GB RAM/SSD), I can run multiple VMs at the same time. The biggest limitation is my available RAM. I can run a Windows 10 VM on that laptop with 4GB RAM. It not a speedy Win10, but it works okay. A Windows 7 VM works better with 4GB RAM.

On my primary Linux desktop (64GB RAM), I run numerous Windows VMs at the same time. I currently do 90% of my genealogy in a Windows 10 VM under Linux on my desktop. It runs on 8GBRAM and a 60GB VM hard drive. Both Windows 7 & 10 run like beasts under Linux on my desktop. They have little impact on my Linux system and run both FH (with numerous plugins) and Roots Magic flawlessly. I haven't run into any features that I cannot use in a Windows VM.

CAVEATS:
  1. Modern Linux has great hardware compatibility, but some systems, esp. laptops, have proprietary hardware that requires proprietary drivers. This more often than not means that some brand-specific [Fn] key combinations may not work. Sometimes these are easily ignored, but YMMV. On my Asus laptop, some of the special [Fn] keys aren't supported, but everything I need works (volume, display brightness, etc. Do a web search for "[your laptop model] and Linux" to benefit from those who went before you.
  2. With VMs, you will be limited by the total RAM in your host. In a VM or on its own, Windows 10 very much wants 8GB minimum to function well. If you only have 8GB in your laptop, you can't allocate all of it to a VM, so your stuck. Windows 7 runs much better on less.
  3. Your choice of Linux distribution and desktop has an impact; Ubuntu Linux requires more resources than other distros like Linux Mint or KDE. The desktop design of Ubuntu uses the Gnome3 desktop, which is a departure from the "desktop" concept that most windows users are comfortable with. Some Linux distributions are easier for a Windows user to transition to.
  4. When considering Linux, don't get caught up on the fear-mongering myth of "the terminal". Modern linux doesn't require new users to understand or even use the terminal. I know Windows-to-Linux converts who've never opened a terminal window in years of Linux use.
If you get to the point that you want to move to using Linux, feel free to reach out to me. I'm an old IT hack with years of Microsoft and Linux management.
Researching SORRELL and SORELLE families and associated lines.
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Re: Linux

Post by tatewise » 26 Mar 2022 11:40

If I understand correctly, and to summarise...
  • To run Windows effectively in Linux within a Virtual Machine needs more RAM than running the same Windows version natively on the same hardware. So there is little if any benefit and you still need a Windows licence.
  • Beware that there have been, and may still be, issues running FH V7 and also AS V7 in Windows 7.
  • Using an emulator such as Wine or Crossover in Linux may run faster and does not need a Windows licence, but there are issues with some FH V7 and AS V7 features and it is more technically challenging to install and set up.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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