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November 11, 2007
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I'd heard of Linux before, and had even installed in on an old machine.  But when I booted into it, I ended up with a command prompt that wouldn't take any of my old DOS commands.  I gave up on it.  Recently though, I'd heard some good things about Ubuntu and decided to try it out.  Ultimately, I wondered if it would help with my fractal rendering by eliminating a lot of the bloat-ware in memory that is commonly called Windows.  I have to say that I was a pretty shocked at the outcome.

I downloaded a free copy of the latest version of Ubuntu and burned it on a CD.  When I booted to it, I was fairly surprised at how intuitive the graphic interface was.  At that point, I decided it was worth installing it on my laptop in a dual-boot mode so that I could choose to boot into Windows or Ubuntu.  After shrinking my primary partition and installing Ubuntu on the leftover space, I looked in the software repository and told it to install Wine (a program that allows you to run Windows applications), browsed to my Windows folder for Apophysis, and was pleasantly surprised again at the fact that it ran right away.  The initial launch time was a tad bit longer, but it ran like a charm.  The big test came when I loaded up a flame and told it to render.  In native Windows Vista, the most memory I could squeeze out of my 1GB of RAM for a render was 490MB.  Usually though, I have some other processes running and the figure is about 350MB.  When I loaded the same flame up in Apophysis running on Ubuntu though, I had 765MB free...and that is with a chat application and Gmail alert program running in my system tray as well.  

What this means is that when I render my fractals in a large resolution for sale on ShutterStock (submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=1…, I rarely have to resort to multiple strips.  This saves a tremendous amount of time.  I haven't actually run any speed tests, but I would not be surprised if the rendering time was faster as well.  

Anyway, the bottom line is that if you have a couple gig of free hard drive space and only a gig (or less) of RAM, you should probably check out Ubuntu.  It's free, and the  hour or two that it takes you to set it up could very well be recouped by the time savings in your first renders.  The whole process of downloading the Ubuntu CD, re-partitioning my hard drive, and installing Ubuntu and Wine only took about 45 minutes.  The total cost, including time, was 45 minutes.  Definitely fit my budget.

If anyone wants more detailed step-by-step instructions on what went into this, let me know.
D.

PS.  I just hit a milestone on ShutterStock (submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=1… my first 21 days, I've sold over 200 images and am guaranteed a first check of at least $75.  I'm thrilled!  If you haven't checked out ShutterStock (submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=1…, you should.  It is free for artists/photographers to join, they'll take just about anything that is categorized properly and isn't noisy, and the earnings add up fairly quickly.  
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:icondjeaton3162:
djeaton3162 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Did you try to right-click on it and tell it to open in Wine? Some of the linux distributions I've played with seemed to require that.
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:iconbaba49:
baba49 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It now works on double click but it takes so very very long that when I tried it first I gave up too soon. Now only export flame doesn't work because Apo doesn't find flam3.
I am really determined to get this to work after I have spent so much time on the set up :D
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:icondjeaton3162:
djeaton3162 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It launches in about 30-45 seconds for me. Once it is launched though, it acts just as quickly as if I were running it on Windows.
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:iconbaba49:
baba49 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was not as lucky as you with the Ubuntu experiment so far but I hope to have everything up and running again soon. I free some space on my harddisk now fixed the CD Rom that I can boot from DVD and install Ubuntu under DOS. Hopefully then everything will be faster. If not I'll give up :D
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:iconrozrr:
Rozrr Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
I have just joined Shutterstock. Looks worth a go. Thanks Daniel.
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:icondjeaton3162:
djeaton3162 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just sent you a note with some helpful tips. If anyone else is interested, let me know.
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:iconbryancdonaldson:
BryanCDonaldson Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007
I'm a 17+ year Windows user and I was wondering...would it be worth my time to invest in a cheaper system just to tinker with Linux?

I wouldn't mind trying it out, but there are so many versions and there's so much more to learn...lots weighing in on that. But if I could get a rendering machine that's Linux based, what specs would you recommend?

I'm not looking to spend a grand or anything...but a few hundred, maybe.
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:icondjeaton3162:
djeaton3162 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The Ubuntu CD that you download is bootable, so you can try it out without changing your current system at all. If you like it, you can easily shrink you Windows partition (it's in your Drive Manager settings) and install Ubuntu in the free space. When you boot then, you are given a menu option to boot into Ubuntu or into Windows. Works great. As far as specs for a second machine, I'm not sure what would work better for Linux over Windows. I think you'd still be better off with as much RAM and as fast a processor as possible, and I'd go for dual-core 64-bit processor. The 64-bit won't make your renders run faster (at least under Windows), but it will allow you to do other things without a render in the background slowing you down.
D.
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:iconbryancdonaldson:
BryanCDonaldson Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007
Yeah, I run a monstrous machine at home. I'll have to get the specs, but it's a beast. I don't think I could duplicate it just for a side-PC.
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:iconstitcherladyxx:
StitcherLadyxx Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My husband is the computer geek, I'm going to run this by him lol. Lots of backing up to do before we'd try this. Congratulations, Daniel, on your milestone at SS. :) :heart:
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