Question for LINUX Gurus / Geeks!

I have an old pc I never use running currently on Windows 10 Pro / Enterprise. Which I’ll have to wipe clean as has a works set up giving access to our network.

The specks are i7 49770, RAM 16GO, disk SSD 512GO.

Can any of you LINUX Guru’s /Geeks give me any guidance to which Linux distro & bits ‘n’ bobs would be & give me the best interface / easiest to use, without spend days coding (not my forte nor ambition).

Also any advice on anti-virus software /malware for Linux.

I would also like to use some Windows based programs. Looking on the internet I may need to have a virtual Window set up ? Can you do this without installing Windows? If so how?

The Windows-based programs I’d maybe need to use are AutoDesk, Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection, so… AutoCAD / Revit / Inventor etc. I will have no need for MS Office or any others.

I’d primarily want this pc for streaming the up & coming Autumn rugby games also iplayer, itv hub etc through a VPN but may need to run a few Window based programs like AutoDesk suit AutoCad / Revit if my other pc has problems.

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It is really try and see which one you like best, Linux mint and Ubuntu are two I like, or if you want a more pc like distro pclinuxos is good.
You can install windows within a virtual machine using Virtualbox, VMware, or Linux’s built-in KVM the same as you can do with Linux on windows, or you can use Wine which is an open-source “Windows compatibility layer” that can run Windows programs directly on your Linux desktop.

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Running Autodesk /Autocad will probably require you to have at least a virtual machine running some kind of Windows OS, as I’m not sure you’ll get very far with Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator).

VPN support is either built into most Linux distributions or is fairly easy to install and setup, especially on the current desktops (Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, etc).

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For example, WineHQ lists the latest iterations of the Autocad software as “garbage” in terms of getting it up and running on Linux using wine.

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A good specced machine like that will take any current Linux OS with ease these days. Not sure whether there is an iPlayer compatible program, or whether you’ll be able to watch videos on ITVhub, as they might rely on proprietary streams which are only currently supported on WindowsOS. Seems to me that you might end up doing a lot of research for a not very tangible result.

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iPlayer and ITVhub both work on Linux.

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Good to know, I don’t use or have a need for them currently so have only memories of when they weren’t functional.

I would go for Ubuntu (perhaps the more stable 18.04 LTS version). The advantage of Ubuntu is the ability to download the image to either a DVD or live USB and run it on the PC before wiping the old OS to see what you think and trial a few things (like LibreCAD (free software) which may be able to import an AutoCAD drawing). This will give you confidence about what you are proposing. Additionally, (although not something I would personally encourage but others might) you could install Ubuntu alongside Windows allowing you to select which operating system you want to run when you fire the machine up.
A few references for you to consider…


Ah, late to the party I’m afraid :slight_smile:

I’d second (or is that third, or even fourth) the recommendation for Ubuntu or Linux Mint as “beginner friendly” distributions although I’m a Fedora man personally. However the rapid release and short support cycle is not for everyone. For times that I don’t want something that is almost out of fashion before you install it I go for Centos.

As for the occasional Windows app - I’ve never had that much luck with WINE, even where apps run “flawlessly” it is not the same as having the application installed on Windows - either the fonts are wrong or the only stable version is the 32-bit one which doesn’t like big data sets or something else crops up.

Setting up windows 10 in a virtual machine, however, is pretty painless and, for the most part, gives you a 100% functional Windows installation. Also if you have valid Windows installation keys from Windows 7 or later you can still install it for free (Google “windows 10 media creation tool”).


Thanks for all the replies.
It looks to me that I’m embarking on a steep learning curve & I’m opening a large can of worms where AutoDesk programs are concerned.

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Older versions/variants of AutoCAD did apparently stagger along in Windows emulation on UNIX / Linux installations. However I would suggest you should look at the minimum systems requirements for later versions, even your elderly PC might not be adequate.
Alternatives and some discussion of 2D drafting alternatives are at

Older versions of AutoCAD were also run by Cardiff Uni from a server in multiple sessions via Citrix terminals, but I seem to remember each terminal needed a graphics card.
As with most suppliers Autodesk stopped recommending AutoCAD for architectural use over a decade ago, and have since promoted their increasingly clunky “BIM” software Revit (a number of leading architecture practices recently sent an enormously critical open letter to the Autodesk CEO).
I have been exploring Freecad, because it seems to me to be developing the most promising open source 3D parametric BIM. However for current architectural work on a retirement budget I have a copy of SketchUp pro. The 2D from 3D modelled output is very clunky (via Layout) but trying to emulate traditional 2d technical drawings from 3D modelling appears to me to be a transitional phase more for the comfort of traditionalists than addressing how best to communicate using 3D!
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i7 49770, RAM 16GO, disk SSD 512GO, will run AutoCAD in Windows emulation on Linux without any problems.

I agree - don’t see many problems there.

I presume that Warren meant either an i7-4790 or maybe an i7-4770, both perfectly capable CPUs which will support virtualisation; the only thing that might be a little tight is just 512G for everything but a 1TB SSD will only set you back ~ 100€ and you can use LVM to add it to the 512G to give a 1.5TB total (or, if feeling impecunious add another 512GB drive for about 70€)

There are  some limitations to the platform - only DDR3 SDRAM and you are not able to use the faster (and vastly more convenient) NVMe drives but N°1 son has a 4790K in his PC (overclocked a bit to 4.6GHz all cores) and it does OK for him (though I think I’ll let him upgrade to the i7-8700K I have kicking around at Christmas).

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I upgraded to 20.04.1 LTS today - no problems so far.

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Linux will be a pleasure to use, you will forget about windows real soon! You can choose which source you want to use, no more pushed updates and the updates are fast to install!

Thanks for the input John,
I think I just keep the old pc for discovering/playing about with Linux & streaming rugby games. Autodesk software on Linux looks like a can of worms & more trouble than it’s worth.
I can sympathize with some architectural companies having to update to modern practices if they want to apply to tender offers. ( BIM models & data integration are prerequisites in most major new build projects in France now). If they don’t they’ll die. Most older Architects still work with 2D / 3D Cad then outsource the 3D modelling & data integration to BIM specialists. Some are catching up using Revit, Archicad, Bentley, etc.
I’ve had a look at Freecad on Youtube & from what I’ve seen looks fun, though I haven’t gone as far as finding the database which I presume it must have, but from what I have seen it wouldn’t cut the mustard with architects or MEP engineers.

Revit views to AutoCad is a bit clunky I agree, most of my Cad programs are in French but when I need to convert a Revit view to 2D Cad the 2D Cad file layers are always converted to English?
How best to communicate with other models in different formats in 3D & data is another can of worms & for me that includes ifc files!
Thanks again for your input.

Thanks to all of you,
I will install Linux on my old pc (at first using a USB bootable memory stick, then take it from there).
I don’t really need any Cad programs on the old pc but thought it could come in handy if my others suffer from a Windows updated (this has happened in the past rendering AutoCad un-usable & needing a re-master of the whole machine). I have a couple of HP Z books with all the punch & upgradable if need be.
Thanks again.


I love putting a new set of strings on my guitar - it’s like having a whole new guitar.
Doing a Ubuntu upgrade is much the same kind of experience!

@Geof_Cox did you do an upgrade or vanilla installation of 20.04?


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