Linux distro for a total beginner?


jeallen01

Link Posted 13/05/2016 - 19:07
Evening

Yup, I'm finally going to have to install some form of Linux distro on one of my PC's - and then learn how to use it!

First problem is obviously which distro because I've seen suggestions for quite a few of them but don't really know which one to choose so that I don't get so bogged down pee'd off and disheartened that I give up in short order.

I know, at least I think, that a few forum members run some form of Linux, and so I'm asking for your advice as to your suggestions on which to consider and which to avoid?

Thanks in advance.

John
K-3 II, K-3 and a K-70 from SRS (having now relegated the K-30 with the Hacked K-50 f/w to being a backup body) , & some Sigma and Pentax lenses (and a lot of old 35mm gear!)

Hammerlee

Link Posted 13/05/2016 - 19:44
Linux mint is a good place to start, also Zorin is a distro which aims to make itself attractive to Windows migrants. I personally think that Debian and Ubuntu based distros are more suited to first time users. You can always run a distro as a live system before installing to see if you like the distro and also to see if the desktop environment suits you. It is also worth looking at reviews first to find out how easy the distro is to install, the ones I have suggested are quite straight forward, others will want you to partition the hard drive manually which can be daunting for a first timer. Distrowatch is a good place to find all the operating systems you could ever need.

Good luck,

Lee
Last Edited by Hammerlee on 13/05/2016 - 19:46

jeallen01

Link Posted 13/05/2016 - 20:20
Lee

Thanks for the suggestions - Mint is a distinct possibility as I have read that is pretty good, but I will take a good luck at the other two that you suggested.

John
K-3 II, K-3 and a K-70 from SRS (having now relegated the K-30 with the Hacked K-50 f/w to being a backup body) , & some Sigma and Pentax lenses (and a lot of old 35mm gear!)

MattMatic

Link Posted 13/05/2016 - 20:52
Have used Mint - it's a nice distro. Great for old XP laptops! (Though some older laptops can only run 32-bit versions, and not always the latest version)
There's a choice of window managers. Cinnamon is a good place to start.

Have fun!
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)
Last Edited by MattMatic on 13/05/2016 - 20:55

jeallen01

Link Posted 13/05/2016 - 21:21
MattMatic wrote:
Have used Mint - it's a nice distro. Great for old XP laptops! (Though some older laptops can only run 32-bit versions, and not always the latest version)
There's a choice of window managers. Cinnamon is a good place to start.

Have fun!

Matt

Thanks, and I hope I will have fun in a good sense and not "fun" in the "bad" sense.

Now the next problem is to choose which machine to install on - could be an old Dell laptop that's currently running W7 Pro (32 bit) very well,[b] or [/b]a new Acer Veriton N2620G nettop Icore 3 that comes with W7 Pro - that's the most preferred option?

OTOH, it arrived today, but DOA because it seems to have had a "bad experience" on the way here with damage to the packaging - and so won't boot beyond the Acer spashscreen. I expect it will be going back next week to be fixed (I suspect just a displaced SATA connection to the disk, but we will see).

The Acer was bought to be the lounge media PC as I (hope I ?) can then use it to control a Linux-based satellite receiver that will connect to an array of sat dishes at the end of the garden - another of the hobbies that I am trying to get back to enjoying .

BTW, I would like to try to get it to dual boot Win 7 Pro and Linux (Mint?) with the latter as the default to minimise intervention at boot-up.

John
K-3 II, K-3 and a K-70 from SRS (having now relegated the K-30 with the Hacked K-50 f/w to being a backup body) , & some Sigma and Pentax lenses (and a lot of old 35mm gear!)
Last Edited by jeallen01 on 13/05/2016 - 21:24

geordie01

Link Posted 14/05/2016 - 07:21
I have mint which i downloaded onto a usb stick and run it on samsung nc10 net book which was running xp and it does the job i have not installed it on the machine yet.I tried a few versions and mint was the only one that worked ok the rest would not let me adjust the screen brightness. It does take a while to boot though..

Hammerlee

Link Posted 14/05/2016 - 08:39
As you say geordie01, Mint does seem to have better hardware recognition than many other distros. As far as boot time is concerned, the system will boot much quicker once installed on the hard drive, no more than 50 seconds on my 3 year old PC.

SteveF

Link Posted 14/05/2016 - 11:00
Hi, I've been looking into a Linux distro for my netbook (currently on XP) but one concern I have is the availability of printer drivers - any thoughts/suggestions would help. Thanks

layingback

Link Posted 14/05/2016 - 11:19
Hi, Don't often post here, but think I can be of assistance here ...

Ubuntu Mate without question! The newest distro, with by far the fastest growing adoption rate of any. It is the lightest distro (meaning it puts little demand on the hardware - so will run quickly even on the oldest device), widest range of hardware support out-of-the-box, closest to Windows and MacOS in look/feel (even has themes which replicate Windows, MacOS and others), and is the only distro with a complete 'Welcome' system for new-to-Linux users to help them install the apps they need right up front.

I dragged my wife kicking and screaming from XP recently, and it has transformed her old Core Duo system, and the learning curve was not a problem ( outside of Photoshop -> darktable that is )

Most importantly it has a very active and supportive community and forum https://ubuntu-mate.community/.

It was developed by an experienced Arch and Mate maintainer specifically to support Windows XP exiles (explicitly his various friends and relatives) and was designed to minimise the direct support required. It has the same desktop metaphor as Windows/MacOS and replicates the earlier v10 of Ubuntu, but is entirely modern under the surface.

Full disclosure, I was an early adopter and beta tester 18 months ago, but the reason I recommend it is the level of support. Submit an issue and it will get considered quickly, and you will get feedback. All the bugs I submitted during beta got addressed - even ones that were upstream in mainline Ubuntu, Debian of Mate. Some took over a year but I was kept informed throughout - which is unique. I've been using Linux desktop exclusively since Windows 2000 support was withdrawn and can honestly say that Ubuntu Mate (pronounced /ma-tay/ after the S. America drink) has the fewest compromises of any distro.

Note if you have a Radeon graphics card you may want to avoid the latest kernals (4.4.x) because of a conflict with their driver. But this should hopefully get resolved soon.

You do want to install the 64-bit version (AMD64 vs i386) because darktable - the open source equivalent to Lightroom - runs more effectively in 64bit. (darktable is in the Ubuntu repositories too - another reason to go with an Ubuntu distro.)

PM me if you need further questions answered or help with Ubuntu Mate - or you know where I usually hang out

Suggestion, grab a download for a USB stick and try it out. With USB (versus a Live CD) you can try installing printer drivers and the like to check out everything before you actually install. And it runs much faster than from a CD/DVD.
My PENTAX Page

jeallen01

Link Posted 14/05/2016 - 20:22
layingback

Thank you very much.

That looks like very good advice indeed - I will take a look at Mate!

John
K-3 II, K-3 and a K-70 from SRS (having now relegated the K-30 with the Hacked K-50 f/w to being a backup body) , & some Sigma and Pentax lenses (and a lot of old 35mm gear!)

broadstairs

Link Posted 14/05/2016 - 20:44
I must admit that as a quite long time Linux user I avoid any *buntu distro like the plague. I just don't like the way it dumbs down everything to the very lowest level. I also avoid Gnome desktop like the plague, personal view but sorry I hate it.

I would try any other distro which has a 'live' version which can be booted from a usb stick or dvd. I would also use KDE as the desktop unless using any older hardware ( stuff which cannot run XP or Windows 7 well) as it is the most like windows, otherwise XFCE or LXDE perhaps if you have really old hardware. The most likely issue with hardware compatibility is likely to be printers especially if you have an older one, and then take a look at Turboprint if you cannot find a good driver - its commercial software but not expensive and works well (no I'm not associated in any way) I use it because it works! I have converted my wife from Windows 7 to Linux with KDE and honestly she has no real idea its not Windows (apart from the fact I told her but she hadn't noticed before), it looks identical. Once used to Linux (and it is easy and no you dont have to use the command line for anything these days unless you want to) if you really need windows because of some special hardware then run Virtualbox to run Windows as a virtual machine under Linux!

Stuart

dcweather

Link Posted 01/06/2016 - 15:37
geordie01 wrote:
I have mint which i downloaded onto a usb stick and run it on samsung nc10 net book which was running xp and it does the job i have not installed it on the machine yet.I tried a few versions and mint was the only one that worked ok the rest would not let me adjust the screen brightness. It does take a while to boot though..

Yes I did exactly that and on the same Samsung Laptop. Works great. I set it up to dual boot to XP or Mint but Mint has resurrected an old machine and made it useable again and its fun.
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