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Need advice Distro needed, no gaming needed.

Discussion in 'Random Nonsense' started by cloasters, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    You guys are the best! I'm still confused as to what might be the best (the term "Distro" seems like it may be extinct) kind of Linux to use. Way back in days of olde Gnome presented you with one very dull colored box with no clue what to do with it. I think I figured out three basic things to do with that drab, ugly box. But I didn't understand WHAT I was doing, so I thankfully found KDE. I too am uneasy about the Plasma 5 "improvement," I don't like it out of pure reflex.

    I never used the Debian package retrieval system. Is a brand of Linux with this feature (not Debian itself) a real plus? Debian has set to work improving their security, I like this a lot. Security may be a non-existent dream in all of personal computing, yet Linux sure seems to do it far better than really more popular OS's.

    For an unknown reason Wal-Mart refuses my very worthy credit cards, buttheads. Let me Amazon up a small handful of Flash Drives. Way back when I always bought a Linux flavor on CD-ROMs, I wanted to support the people working their rears off on it.

    Seriously thinking about building a standard architecture brand new box for Linux. I want to have SSD exclusively, how large a capacity is required for serious (more than one brand of) Linux. Please?

    You are all fantastic help, thank you very much! ThundrRd, I'm far, far, far less knowledgeable than I need to be to have a Topic of my own. Seiously!
  2. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all very much for your help!
    Apologies but I have more questions. Linux Mint 17.2 with Cinnamon looks like a real winner. If I understand correctly, Debian packages are no sweat with this distro? If you want to use 12 Gb of Memory in your box, is a 64-bit version a must? And this flavor of Mint does NOT use systemd? Is this a plus? I seem to recall trepidation about systemd?
  3. Daerandin

    Daerandin Active Member

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    You need to use a 64-bit version to utilize more than 4 Gb of memory. When it comes to systemd, there is a lot of differing opinions regarding it. As you have already seen some of the guys here despise it, but there are others that find it very useful (like me). But even me have some gripes with it, for instance the binary log files. However, for a regular user there really is no difference. Systemd has enough traction in the Linux community that most of the big distros have already started to use it, or will start using it soon, but there are of course exceptions.

    From my own biased point of view on systemd: I've been using it for well over 2 years and I don't find it problematic in any way. Writing service files for it is not difficult, and managing services is also quite easy. It is very different from the older traditional init systems, and naturally a lot of people prefer what they are used to. Some people even forked Debian because they were unhappy with Debian's move to systemd. In my opinion, it really boils down to personal preference.

    I personally not very experienced with Debian based distributions. You can use .deb files in Linux Mint, but I am unsure if it could lead to issues if you take a .deb package made for Debian and try to install it on your Linux Mint system. I think it would be fine in most cases, but if the .deb package have a specific version dependency then it might not be able to install or run. If you plan on installing most software from the Software Center in Linux Mint, then this is something you generally don't need to worry about.

    Don't worry too much about picking the "right" distro now. I am going to recommend Linux Mint as well since it installs a lot of useful software by default. And keep in mind that since all distros provide Live ISO's, this means you can boot up anything and try out the desktop without actually installing anything on your computer.
    booman likes this.
  4. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the advice, Daerandin! I couldn't remember if using a 64-bit OS with more than 4 Gb of Memory was required for only MS products.
  5. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    I should mention that you can actually use more than 4GB in 32bit environment, all you need to do is use -pae kernel. Random tutorial on how to enable it. However... I don't want to complicate things further for cloasters, but if he goes the pae road I'll be happy to help. (although there's not much to it besides... using a different kernel)

    Agreed on your systemd remark, and not worrying about systemd.
  6. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    In Mint I have been able to install most programs and packages with "Software Manger" or "Synaptics Package Manager"
    But in the event of a download online, like a game, graphics program, or some kind of productivity application... I've been able to install all of them:
    • zip
    • tar
    • gz.tar
    • deb
    • bin
    • .sh
    Any .DEB file will be a simple double-click and the software installer will take over. Totally simple.
    Compressed files like zip, tar, gz.tar can be extracted with a double-click as well.
    Some installers require the Terminal to extract and install them.
    Normally if a double-click doesn't install them, I'll open the Terminal, chmod +x the file and then execute it to install.

    The rare installer like Overgrowth require a bash command to install it. That is the only game I've had this problem.
    Mint has been a great experience for someone like me who mostly used Windows and is used to right-clicking a lot and double-clicking to install/launch something.

    I'm using Mint 17.2 at work right now and VirtualBox to run Windows 7 for proprietary software. I have 8GB of Memory and using Mint 64-bit is great because I can allocate 4GB for the VirtualBox and Windows 7 runs perfectly!

    If it wasn't for these really old proprietary software, I would use Mint for everything.
  7. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    I despise systemd because it seems to me like a solution in search of a problem, and suborns way more of the system than IMO any init service has a right to.

    That said, from your perspective it really shouldn't make any difference, and I would let the presence or absence of systemd be a criterion in your decisions.

    A 64-bit version isn't a necessity, but if you go with 32-bit, you'll have to use a PAE kernel to access the RAM beyond 4GB, which brings some of its own issues. Be aware though, that being on a 64-bit system doesn't mean you can only run 64-bit software. Pretty much every 64-bit distro out there supports running 32-bit apps; in fact you have to try really REALLY hard to get a system that will NOT run 32-bit apps. My advice would be to just run a 64-bit system and don't worry about it. Odds are, other than having access to the full memory range you'll never notice the difference.
  8. Gizmo

    Gizmo Chief Site Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, my Fedora lappy has 16 GB, primarily so that I can run 2 Windows 7 VMs for the proprietary stuff, each with 4GB, and still have a nice Linux environment for my other stuff.

    Having the 3200x1800 laptop display and the 3840x2160 desktop display also means I have lots of screen real-estate for the VMs, and still be able to have other stuff up. Only problem is that stuff gets mighty small (pixel size) if you aren't careful, especially as your eyes get older......:confused:
  9. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    You guys are the best, thank you so much for your help! 64-bit Mint looks good from here, so I'll order the ISO. Any point in also ordering a library CD-ROM with it?
    Personally, I want MS to be history. Completely. What a bunch of serious crooks, Win 10 for free? What, the needle they slip into your neck to constantly monitor your blood is "free?" I exaggerate only slightly.
  10. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Nope, no CD necessary unless you are trying to install on a really really really really old computer. :D
    I've had to use CD ROM for old servers, but even 8-year-old Dell servers will boot to USB.
    Let us know which disto you try first and how it goes.
    Make sure you DON'T install it on your hard drive. Just play around with browsing the internet, install a few packages, updates, etc
    When you use the Universal USB Tool it will ask you if you want "persistance"
    This is basically extra space on the USB Flash Drive so you can add stuff to Linux on the Flash Drive.
    I would leave at least an extra GIG free space
    This way you can install some packages, programs and make changes.

    Strangely, I've had problems with persistence on some Live Disc Flash Drives. Sometimes the changes won't keep, sometimes they will. Not totally sure about that.

    The best way to trial Linux is to pop in a spare hard drive and just install it completely.
    Then you have full reign and full performance.

    In any case, its really fun learning a new operating system and a really flexible one! There is so much you can do!
    If you break something, just re-install or post the problem here.
  11. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    In days of old you could run the Distro from a CD-ROM without installing the OS on your HDD. I take it that that's no longer true? Thank you for your patience booman!
  12. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    No problem to burn it to a DVD and run it from there, George, same as before.

    For 64-bit Linux Mint:
    http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=172

    Download the .iso file and burn it to a DVD, it's a 1.4G download. Then boot your machine with the DVD.

    If you like what you see, there are options to install to your hard disk.
  13. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Thank you ThunderRd! Argh, can't find my small pile of blank DVD's. It's always something! Or another something.
  14. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Turns out that I first went with Linux more like 12 or 13 years ago. I tried Red Hat, Mandrake and other forgotten distributions before I went with SuSE. It looks like Linux has changed a LOT since then. What I barely remember from ages ago is rather useless. Unfortunately starting from scratch again is totally new, at least as far as trying to grab an ISO of Mint on a thumb drive goes. I wish it was as simple as it's painted to be, but I think that youse guys may have likely forgotten some of the intricate steps that are needed along the way.

    My Lenovo box won't accept a second HDD so I've decided to build a Standard Architecture machine. Time for a new machine anyway, four years is enough. If I can't get Mint on a thumb drive I'll buy it on a CD-ROM. There's nothing wrong with paying for a distro, it's not a crime. I'm trying to run Mint, if I can't I actually think I can afford to build a spiffy new box. Yay! Thank you again for all of your assistance and encouragement!
  15. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    I bet this guide will help... its a bit old but you will probably remember it ;)
    I still use this process to install Mint on a USB drive in Windows today
    AOA Mint 13 USB Installation

    Ironically I have found that Mint will create a bootable USB drive with Linux in 5 steps.
    1. Download the ISO
    2. Right-Click the ISO
    3. Select "Make Bootable USB Stick"
    4. Select USB Stick
    5. Click Write
    Obviously you need to have Mint installed so this doesn't help you, but once you get it installed, its that easy to try another distro.
  16. ThunderRd

    ThunderRd Irreverent Query Chairman Staff Member

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    @George
    Are you saying you were unsuccessful burning the .iso to a DVD?
  17. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    I or I should say mostly my friend Mr C managed to get Mint 17.3 Cinnamon onto a Flash drive. Holy crap, it was difficult. I misunderstood the steps you so kindly provided. Like installing the universal USB file to the thumb drive first(I did install the HP Flash drive tool first on the Flash drive. Did 1 thing right, yay!) --- instead of DLing Mint to my HDD, THEN using the uUSB program to put the ISO onto a thumb drive. The universal USB program was extremely difficult to use correctly, presenting us with red and blank "boxes" where we needed green and fill able boxes. So, three and a half hours of missteps later it's on a 64 Gb thumb drive. TTBMK, that is.

    Now my store bought box won't let me get into its BIOS in order to boot from the Flash drive. May be I'll find a way. I have to say that I remember olde Linux as being easier. Up to date Linux has not become easier, afaik. Then again, I used to simply partition my HDD and use store bought CD-Roms to install the Distributions, I never ran Linux from a CD or Flash drive before. LILO, may it RIP worked great and when it didn't it was easy to fix. Complain, complain. I don't know why I'm reluctant to partition my present 2Tb HDD. Probably 'cause I don't trust this Lenovo to act right.

    At any rate, I'll soon buy Mint on CD-ROMs. And I really am building a standard architecture machine, already have the PSU. Unfortunately it's what used to be called a PC Power and Cooling Silencer 600, nowadays a "Firepower yada 600 Silencer." I hope against hope that it's as good as the old ones, OCZ no longer owns the trademark. I'm concerned about how to get a case that fits this slightly longer than standard PSU, and I don't want to have to install it in the bottom of the new case, improper internal heat flow.

    You're the best booman, thank you very much for your help!
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  18. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    I can't find my old stack of blank CD-ROM's, it's been too long. And I'm pretty sure they were made in Japan, too. When it made a diff. I've cheapoed out of buying new ones. Maybe they'd be easier to burn a Mint ISO to? Easier than a SanDicsk, oops, SanDisk Flash drive?

    Thank you for the assistance, ThunderRd!
  19. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Yeah, that tutorial needs to be updated... I didn't realize it was so confusing, then again, the version of Universal USB Installer was probably really old at this point.

    These are the basic steps I use to get Linux Mint on a USB flash drive in Windows 7:
    1. Download Mint ISO to Desktop
    2. Use HP Format Tool to erase/format USB Drive
    3. Double-click Universal USB Installer
    4. Browse to desktop
    5. Select ISO
    6. Select Mint from the menu
    7. Click Install
    I never format with the Universal USB Installer, I always leave that option unchecked.
    I normally leave 1 Gig of persistance just-in-case.

    Thats about it. Done it so many times that its pretty easy.
    But like I said, Mint has simplified the process even more.
    Maybe I should just mail you a flash drive with Mint on it?

    As long as the Lenovo sees the flash drive you should be able to press an F Key to select Boot devices.
    Dell's usually use F12
    Then you select your USB drive and let Mint boot
    If its an old laptop, then you can press Tab at the Mint screen and select: Start In Compatibility Mode
  20. cloasters

    cloasters Well-Known Member

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    Whew, thought I couldn't post. Forgot that I'm running NOSCRIPT 2.6.9.36, which makes online life APITA. But it's secure! Except when you need to bypass it, which is way too often.
    Thank you booman, you're a huge help! I've tried a lot of F Keys, and I'll try F12 as soon as I reboot. If this wunnerful Lenovo box refuses to let the Flash drive boot it, I'll buy Mint on CD-ROM. That should boot no prob.
    Thank you all again, you are a great help!

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