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Linux distro recommendation
Old 03-02-2015, 04:32 PM   #1
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Linux distro recommendation

It has been a long time since I played with Linux... sometime around the early 2000's and have forgotten more than I ever knew in the first place. I think it was Knoppix.

I have an old Acer laptop model 5315 with 1GB memory, that self destructed (Vista)... and no back up install CD. Since the only legal program that I had to replace it was an old XP upgrade, I installed that, but problems with drivers etc, it's not very satisfactory, so, with time on my hands ... how about giving Linux a try?

Apparently there are more than 50 different versions available. The question is: Which one would be best for a newbie?... Easy to install and easy to make the transition from Windows (that I understand) without having to go back to school.

Can an old dog learn new tricks?
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:00 PM   #2
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Of course an old dog can learn new tricks. So can a pup like you.

My choice would be Ubuntu but if you have a friend nearby who has a favorite distribution and is willing to help if necessary, you might have a look at that one.

Linux is (honest) easy-to-use and install but will require an adjustment in a longtime Windows user.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:00 PM   #3
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I have Linux Mint on two machines. One is Mate varsion the other is Cinnamon. Like them both. Both can be downloaded, burned to disc or USB stick. Either will run off the discs or USB, gives option to install on the desktop.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:03 PM   #4
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You want to search for a distro that is not too demanding of the limited resources (1 GB and Celeron processor?).

So, there is a version of Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, and the 32-bit version is targeted for 1GB machines. Linux Mint is a fork of this.

I used Kubuntu 14.04 LTS just recently, and it has the KDE desktop.

Easiest way to do this is download the .iso and burn a DVD or USB boot. These downloads are too large for a CD.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:05 PM   #5
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Probably an impossible question to answer. There are hundreds of distributions ( I used build my own in years past ).

Distrowatch has a searchable database you give a look at. DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD.

Many distro have a "live" CD version, you can download, burn and try it from the CD before installing .
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by target2019 View Post
You want to search for a distro that is not too demanding of the limited resources (1 GB and Celeron processor?).

So, there is a version of Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, and the 32-bit version is targeted for 1GB machines. Linux Mint is a fork of this.

I used Kubuntu 14.04 LTS just recently, and it has the KDE desktop.

Easiest way to do this is download the .iso and burn a DVD or USB boot. These downloads are too large for a CD.
+1 on Ubuntu LTS. That's what I use on my old machine and it works well.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:10 PM   #7
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Far as I know Puppy Linux is the lightest. I've been using the "slacko" version for logging into accounts from a live CD. There is a newer version now too.

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Old 03-02-2015, 05:10 PM   #8
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Suse is the windows like version, widely used, even in enterprise.


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Old 03-02-2015, 05:33 PM   #9
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I am on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Will move to 14.14.2 LTS (Long Term Support) shortly.
It just works.

For an older machine check out Ubuntu Mate, which is lighter.
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:19 PM   #10
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I'm using Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS. when I first started with linux several years ago, I tried two other flavors of linux, including SUSE linux and some other one I don't remember. Since then there have been many improvements and other distros available. I picked Ubuntu, and it has been fairly user friendly. And is always being improved.
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:42 PM   #11
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Years ago, I used Ubuntu and found it fairly easy to adjust to. Having said that, it was for fairly basic use. It looks like from most of the responses, it still is one of the leading systems.
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Old 03-02-2015, 07:15 PM   #12
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I use the Xubuntu variant of Ubuntu 14.04. Mint has gained in popularity, but it still seems that Ubuntu/Xubuntu might have a bit more 'mainstream' support.

Get Xubuntu « Xubuntu

I'd go with the 14.04 (I see it was updated to 14.04.2), as that has Long Term Support ( through ~ 2019).

I like Xubuntu as it allows me to set up the panels with quick access to everything I need. I think I made a video a while back, showing my set-up, I'll have to see if that is worthy of publishing...


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Old 03-02-2015, 09:55 PM   #13
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It probably depends on your intended usage. My only need was to run Kodi on a raspberry pi. I settled on OpenElec, which is a very basic, stripped down Linux distro, that only runs Kodi.


So, first determine what you're trying to do with it, then that'll help you identify which distro will work best.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:30 PM   #14
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Another Ubuntu user here (using it right now).
Its free, just download it, burn it to a cd and you can run it from the cd to try out before installing it. It will be extra slow due to the cd, but you will see how easy it is.

Then you can install it, or just install it without trying it out.

It is all Graphical windowing like "Windows" only better.

You can download it from: www.ubuntu.com You will want the desktop 32 bit version.

It comes with lots of useful (not bloatware) software installed, including an "Office" that works extremely well.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Another Ubuntu user here (using it right now).
Its free, just download it, burn it to a cd and you can run it from the cd to try out before installing it. It will be extra slow due to the cd, but you will see how easy it is.

Then you can install it, or just install it without trying it out.

It is all Graphical windowing like "Windows" only better.

You can download it from: www.ubuntu.com You will want the desktop 32 bit version.

It comes with lots of useful (not bloatware) software installed, including an "Office" that works extremely well.
Right! Just try it. I know we've put out a lot of gobbly gook, but Sunset has it right. Just go to ubuntu.com and try it.

On thing though, I had to burn a DVD not CD.

imoldernu, you seem to have good skills. You know what to do with an ISO, right? There are other options about putting small linuxes on USB drives, but I don't like them as much as just seeing what a full ubuntu deployment can do, even on old iron.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:25 AM   #16
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Thank you all.
Sometimes when asking a question here, I wonder if I should have just done my own research on Google... Since joining ER, I've learned that I get better results, from friends who have been there, done that.
Again... appreciate the time you take to share.

Will keep you up to date as the project rolls out! Thinking to use the laptop as a base for running PLEX, when I go to camp this summer and don't have TV access.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
... You know what to do with an ISO, right? There are other options about putting small linuxes on USB drives, but I don't like them as much as just seeing what a full ubuntu deployment can do, even on old iron.
This is probably a better question/comment for the Linux specific forums, but as a little aside...

I started trying out Linux ~ 2009, and at the time it worked well for me to install from a USB thumb drive. A bit later, they had a version that was 'persistent', so I could load it with a few extra programs and utilities, and customize the setup, have it remember my wi-fi network and password, and it was really handy for troubleshooting, or using it as an installer.

A few releases later, I had real troubles trying to get a USB thumb drive to work. I tried all sorts of things, but I have just conceded to using a DVD instead (the releases no longer fit on a CD, except for the mini-install, which then takes a long time to DL everything after it boots into a command line, and then you go through more hoops to get everything installed).

Anyone else have luck with USB thumb drives, specifically when set as 'persistent'?

-ERD50
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:54 AM   #18
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I've only dabbled a bit. There are so many distros around. IMO, the biggest adjustment is the package management of Linux vs Windows where you just download and install.

My latest dabbling was installing Linux Mint and playing around with the for a few days. There was a good write up on one of the Mint's help or info screens about the pros of package management. Among them safety as the source is open and peer reviewed vs something like Windows where you are assuming trust of the programmer(s).
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Adventures with Linux
Old 03-05-2015, 06:18 PM   #19
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Adventures with Linux

As Promised... a report on progress.

A work in progress...
Took forever to figure out how to download .iso as the old Acer was too slow, and froze @ 25mbs... final figures to get it on my other computer... Then... convert the .iso... which didn't work with my regular converter. Found one on Ubuntu forums... Next was the project to load Ubuntu 14.04 LTS from a thumb drive. Problem here was that XP wasn't a good install, and lots of stuff didn't work... Also... took forever to get the Acer bios to accept a USB load...

A great experience... Finally loaded as a trial, then a dual boot. So now, the next step was to load Chrome... OMG... Three hours and no closer.

Sheesh... seems like the forums just love to explain how to use the "Terminal" and then enter commands that are just plain obnoxious... and long...

I use Chrome sync to keep all my computers the same, so it's important to me. Every different forum gives a series of command to enable Chrome install, and none of them seem to agree.

So I like Linux... some of the things that didn't work with XP, work automatically with Linux... ie. Dual Monitors (didn't work with XP), and the network was automatic, where I had to use a bad adapter because XP doesn't update or recognize the driver.

I'm a babe in the woods as far as the simple drag and drop, links and the file system...

Time to play, and a bit of exercising the mind. Too cold to go outside, and too early to go back to the lake... soo... Lotsa fun
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:36 PM   #20
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Thanks for the update, a few Qs/comments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
... Next was the project to load Ubuntu 14.04 LTS from a thumb drive. Problem here was that XP wasn't a good install, and lots of stuff didn't work...
I'm confused here. When you load from the thumb drive, Windows is out of the picture (you boot right to the thumb drive Linux/installer), the state of XP (or even whether it is there or not) should have no effect.


Quote:
Also... took forever to get the Acer bios to accept a USB load...
Yes, BIOS has to be set to boot from USB, but again, you are just at the BIOS, not in XP. But there are lots of variations in BIOS I guess, but I've never had a problem.


Quote:
A great experience... Finally loaded as a trial, then a dual boot. ...
If XP is hosed (and it's unsupported anyhow), do yourself a favor and just wipe it and let Ubuntu take the whole drive. XP is just getting in the way and complicating things for you.


Quote:
So now, the next step was to load Chrome... OMG... Three hours and no closer.

.... I use Chrome sync to keep all my computers the same, so it's important to me. Every different forum gives a series of command to enable Chrome install, and none of them seem to agree.

Not sure why loading Chrome (the browser) should be an issue. The open-source version (Chromium, which is what I run) is in the "Ubuntu Software Center" - just a mouse click installation.

What’s the Difference Between Chromium and Chrome?

Quote:
While it’s not Google-branded, Chromium is still very Google-centric. It contains the same sync features found in Chrome, allowing you to log in with a Google account and sync your data.


Quote:
Sheesh... seems like the forums just love to explain how to use the "Terminal" and then enter commands that are just plain obnoxious... and long...
I guess I explained this in some other thread - I know the terminal commands seem odd, but you really shouldn't need them often (it's an indication you might be taking a more complicated path than needed, but not always), and they are used by forum contributors because it is (really) an easier way to communicate what to do. The commands are very stable, and easier to tell someone to cut & paste this line, than to say "Go to such and such place, go to the 'Advanced' tab, scroll down and click on 'Farm Animal Options", and then to 'Grumbly Goats setting', set it to '4' - oh, no 'Grumbly Goat' setting? OK, they changed that in the last release, it's in the 'Farm Animals' tab now, not the 'Advanced tab'..." and so on.


Quote:
So I like Linux... some of the things that didn't work with XP, work automatically with Linux... ie. Dual Monitors (didn't work with XP), and the network was automatic, where I had to use a bad adapter because XP doesn't update or recognize the driver.
While you might find there are some things not supported in Linux that you'll want/need, I'm amazed to find that it seems there are more things supported in Linux than a Mac or Windows (an old scanner, some old printers - no Win/Mac driver, but worked fine in Ubuntu). Plan to win some and lose some. But if this was an old machine with a bad/old XP, nothing is really lost, it's all gain.

-ERD50
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