Ready to try a new OS [Archive] - Glock Talk

PDA

View Full Version : Ready to try a new OS


sarge
12-21-2010, 02:59
My son is getting ready to start med school and he will need an updated laptop over what he has right now.

His current rig is a Dell laptop, I really don't know the specs but it is about 4 or 5 years old. Seems like it has a 60GB hdd and 512 MB ram. When I see him this weekend I can get more specs off the laptop.

His minimum requirements for med school include Core 3 processor, 4gb ram, etc, and the current rig comes up short.

Enough of the boring stuff...

My background: I know absolutely NOTHING about any OS besides Windows, currently running XP. I have been reading about linux and ubuntu. Since this will be an extra laptop, I will have time to play, learn, screw up and everything else that it involves. I'm not a tech genius, but I can research problems and try to figure stuff out.

Which OS would be a good one for an OS virgin to get?? I am guessing I will do a clean install, been reading on ubuntu's website and linux's website and it seems the more I read, the more confused I get. By clean install, I am assuming that when I install the new OS it will erase Windows, format the drive and install the new OS.

Here's what I'd like for my computer to do once I load the new OS. You can tell me if this is possible or not.

I want it to come on to a "home screen" just like XP did when I first bought that computer. I'd like to have a browser available so I can connect to the 'net. Web surfing and gmail is 99% of what I would do with this computer, it will be an extra that I will use from a second residence I have associated with work. I want it to connect to my wifi so I am not tied to a wire. I'd like to learn the system and then can decide whether I'd like to teach it to my wife and convert her HP laptop.

Thoughts or suggestions?

Patrick Graham
12-21-2010, 05:51
Why don't you just buy one of these and save yourself a lot of angst?

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15/pd?oc=dndogy1h&model_id=xps-15&

HerrGlock
12-21-2010, 06:00
My son is getting ready to start med school and he will need an updated laptop over what he has right now.

His current rig is a Dell laptop, I really don't know the specs but it is about 4 or 5 years old. Seems like it has a 60GB hdd and 512 MB ram. When I see him this weekend I can get more specs off the laptop.

His minimum requirements for med school include Core 3 processor, 4gb ram, etc, and the current rig comes up short.

Enough of the boring stuff...

My background: I know absolutely NOTHING about any OS besides Windows, currently running XP. I have been reading about linux and ubuntu. Since this will be an extra laptop, I will have time to play, learn, screw up and everything else that it involves. I'm not a tech genius, but I can research problems and try to figure stuff out.

Which OS would be a good one for an OS virgin to get?? I am guessing I will do a clean install, been reading on ubuntu's website and linux's website and it seems the more I read, the more confused I get. By clean install, I am assuming that when I install the new OS it will erase Windows, format the drive and install the new OS.

Here's what I'd like for my computer to do once I load the new OS. You can tell me if this is possible or not.

I want it to come on to a "home screen" just like XP did when I first bought that computer. I'd like to have a browser available so I can connect to the 'net. Web surfing and gmail is 99% of what I would do with this computer, it will be an extra that I will use from a second residence I have associated with work. I want it to connect to my wifi so I am not tied to a wire. I'd like to learn the system and then can decide whether I'd like to teach it to my wife and convert her HP laptop.

Thoughts or suggestions?


http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FedoraLiveCD
Or if you want to see the different desktops that are available immediately without having to fuss with them:
http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-options

http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

Play with them both while booted from the CD and see which one makes more sense to you then "Install to HD"

IndyGunFreak
12-21-2010, 06:53
My son is getting ready to start med school and he will need an updated laptop over what he has right now.

His current rig is a Dell laptop, I really don't know the specs but it is about 4 or 5 years old. Seems like it has a 60GB hdd and 512 MB ram. When I see him this weekend I can get more specs off the laptop.

His minimum requirements for med school include Core 3 processor, 4gb ram, etc, and the current rig comes up short.

Enough of the boring stuff...

My background: I know absolutely NOTHING about any OS besides Windows, currently running XP. I have been reading about linux and ubuntu. Since this will be an extra laptop, I will have time to play, learn, screw up and everything else that it involves. I'm not a tech genius, but I can research problems and try to figure stuff out.

Which OS would be a good one for an OS virgin to get?? I am guessing I will do a clean install, been reading on ubuntu's website and linux's website and it seems the more I read, the more confused I get. By clean install, I am assuming that when I install the new OS it will erase Windows, format the drive and install the new OS.

Here's what I'd like for my computer to do once I load the new OS. You can tell me if this is possible or not.

I want it to come on to a "home screen" just like XP did when I first bought that computer. I'd like to have a browser available so I can connect to the 'net. Web surfing and gmail is 99% of what I would do with this computer, it will be an extra that I will use from a second residence I have associated with work. I want it to connect to my wifi so I am not tied to a wire. I'd like to learn the system and then can decide whether I'd like to teach it to my wife and convert her HP laptop.

Thoughts or suggestions?

That should all be quite doable with Ubuntu(or any Linux distro for that matter). 512mb of Ram is gonna be pretty close to "minimum"... Honestly, a laptop w/ those specs, I would load up 'Lubuntu'. It's Ubuntu, but it has a much lighter GUI front(LXDE) than the normal Ubuntu GUI (Gnome). Lubuntu isn't quite as warm and fuzzy as Gnome.. but it works pretty well once you get the hang of it.

My Fedora days are behind me, but if I was gonna choose a RH based distro, it would be Fedora. I think the main thing you're going to want to do with RAM that low, is stay away from anything w/ the KDE desktop.

This is strictly about Lubuntu... As for your wireless.. There's about a 99% chance it is a Broadcom (most of those old Dells are)... so it should be pretty easy to get working. The easiest way to get it working, will be to tether yourself to a router for about 5min. Otherwise, you have to compile the driver and firmware, and all sorts of other nonsense. We really won't know about your wireless device, until you boot it however. Lubuntu is a Live CD, so you can boot it and try it before you do anything.

Direct Download link to the Lubuntu 10.10, 32bit ISO...
http://people.ubuntu.com/~gilir/lubuntu-10.10.iso

How to burn a bootable ISO (ISO Recorder works great if you don't already have a utility for this)
http://www.petri.co.il/how_to_write_iso_files_to_cd.htm

Lubuntu homepage - http://lubuntu.net

Lubuntu Screenshots -- http://lubuntu.net/screenshot

If you don't like Lubuntu, I'd try the straight Ubuntu install, but it's probably gonna be a little slower w/ 512b of Ram.

IndyGunFreak
12-21-2010, 07:00
Why don't you just buy one of these and save yourself a lot of angst?

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15/pd?oc=dndogy1h&model_id=xps-15&

Because $900 is a lot more than Free.

Ralff
12-21-2010, 07:30
I'd say Ubuntu is the most stream-lined and polished of the linux flavors. Just do what Herrglock said and play from CD. If you like it, install.

IndyGunFreak
12-21-2010, 07:37
I'd say Ubuntu is the most stream-lined and polished of the linux flavors. Just do what Herrglock said and play from CD. If you like it, install.

Biggest issue is... 512mb is generally below the requirements to run a live CD(or maybe it's right at)...

That's not to say it won't work, but it will be agonizingly slow.

IndyGunFreak
12-21-2010, 07:50
If it were me, I'd probably get on Ebay, and get the ram to 1gig for as cheap as possible... then install the normal Ubuntu. I'm guessing the RAM won't cost but $20-$30. The actual install of Ubuntu.. will probably run OK with 512mb of Ram.. it's not gonna blow the doors off of anything.. but neither will XP. The trick w/ that little ram, is getting the system installed.

If he wanted test it w/ the Live CD, then download the Alternate Install CD, he could do that. The Alt CD, would be quite easy on that machine.. since he won't have to partition the drive (assuming he doesn't want to dual boot with Windows). He can just tell the installer to auto-partition the entire drive, and it'll work out fine. If he goes this route however, he will definitely want to be hooked up to the router until he gets installed and can get his wireless going, as the Alt. CD downloads a lot of stuff from the internet while installing..

sarge
12-22-2010, 01:34
Thanks for the replies. Since it is still going to be a month or 2 at least before we get him a new laptop, I'll have time to up the RAM. I'll get to put my hands on it this weekend so I'll have a better idea what's actually in it then.

From what I was reading, the ubuntu was actually the better looking of the 2. I'll probably do the CD first and see how things turn out and go from there. Like I said, this will be for me to play with as much as anything.

Thanks for the info and links.

sarge
12-22-2010, 01:38
Why don't you just buy one of these and save yourself a lot of angst?

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15/pd?oc=dndogy1h&model_id=xps-15&

When we get ready to purchase him a new laptop for med school, I'm going to compare the Dell's and the HP's that are sold at Sam's. Going to look at a minimum of 4GB ram, 500 GB hd, 17" screen. This one is comparable in price to the HPs' at Sams.

IndyGunFreak
12-22-2010, 02:16
Thanks for the replies. Since it is still going to be a month or 2 at least before we get him a new laptop, I'll have time to up the RAM. I'll get to put my hands on it this weekend so I'll have a better idea what's actually in it then.

From what I was reading, the ubuntu was actually the better looking of the 2. I'll probably do the CD first and see how things turn out and go from there. Like I said, this will be for me to play with as much as anything.

Thanks for the info and links.

Ubuntu and Fedora use the same GUI front (Gnome) so they should *look* fairly similar. If you were looking at the "KDE" versions (ie.. there will be a "K" menu).... I'd personally look another direction than Ubuntu(or Kubuntu)... KDE is a massive resource hog. I find Kubuntu to be FAR slower than Ubuntu. Don't have a lot of experience w/ the KDE version of Fedora.

If you do go w/ KDE, you need to definitely up your RAM, no question.

TheBigCroaker
12-24-2010, 05:36
Ubuntu; use firefox browser.
Suggest dual book (Ubuntu/Windows), just in case one of them screws up. Also, my daughter a college student, and has gone back from Ubuntu to Windows because she says some things technical she needs to access for school are only in Windows format???
You can set up to load either Ubuntu or Windows automatically when you turn computer on; and giving yourself a number of seconds to choose the non-default OS when you book.
Ubuntu, like windows, can be set to open a specific home page or a number of them) automatically on bootup.
Ubuntu is free; provides timely updates and security fixes, and is LOTS less prone to viruses, spyware, etc.

MySiK26
12-24-2010, 07:41
Ubuntu; use firefox browser.
Suggest dual book (Ubuntu/Windows), just in case one of them screws up. Also, my daughter a college student, and has gone back from Ubuntu to Windows because she says some things technical she needs to access for school are only in Windows format???
You can set up to load either Ubuntu or Windows automatically when you turn computer on; and giving yourself a number of seconds to choose the non-default OS when you book.
Ubuntu, like windows, can be set to open a specific home page or a number of them) automatically on bootup.
Ubuntu is free; provides timely updates and security fixes, and is LOTS less prone to viruses, spyware, etc.

I've been using Google Chrome more and more. I like it more than firefox and 10X more than (:upeyes:) IE

I find it to run smoother and much quicker.

IndyGunFreak
12-24-2010, 08:13
I've been using Google Chrome more and more. I like it more than firefox and 10X more than (:upeyes:) IE

I find it to run smoother and much quicker.

I agree... I am really hooked on Chrome. I was a Firefox fan for years, and always used it. Used Chrome a few times early in its development, and it was still a bit buggy, so I went back to Firefox... Probably 3-4mo ago, I started using Chrome full time, and it is fantastic. I don't know if it's actually faster, but it certainly "feels" lighter and faster.

solomansousana
12-24-2010, 13:16
Why don't you just buy one of these and save yourself a lot of angst?

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15/pd?oc=dndogy1h&model_id=xps-15&

BINGO. I just this past week got hold of a Dell XPS with;

Intel i5 processor
6gb ram
500gb hdd
1080p screen
ATI 1gb video card
Intel 6820 a/b/g/n 3g wifi
Windows 7 64bit

Got it in the Dell outlet, BNIB, never used but with a slight scratch on the hood. Got it 2 days later, inside the box was the Windows 7 recovery CD, Roxio burn CD, Norton NIS 2011 CD, MS Works 9 CD and the best thing? Total price was $699 simply because of a few scratches. Now I can give my nephew my Dell Studio that I just purchased a couple months back from the outlet.
NIS 2011

Pity410
12-25-2010, 11:45
I am no expert on Linux by any means. But I have tried a few different distros. The ones that I liked the most were KDE based. I never knew that KDE was a resource hog. I really liked kubuntu and PCLinux2009. There is a PCLinusx2010 out now, but I haven't tried it.

zackwatt
12-25-2010, 12:30
Ubuntu!!!!

I'm using it right now.

IndyGunFreak
12-25-2010, 17:38
I am no expert on Linux by any means. But I have tried a few different distros. The ones that I liked the most were KDE based. I never knew that KDE was a resource hog. I really liked kubuntu and PCLinux2009. There is a PCLinusx2010 out now, but I haven't tried it.

If you used a couple of Gnome based distros, You'd see just how sluggish KDE is.

JK-linux
12-25-2010, 18:21
I'll just echo what's been said already... do yourself a favor and snag some additional RAM for your Linux laptop. An upgrade to 2 or even 4 GB is $50 to $100 these days. It will save you a goodly amount of time and frustration during installation, initial updates, etc...

I've had good luck with SUSE Linux of the 11.x releases. It's pretty tame on resources and has quite a bit of corporate sponsorship for it's various packages. Along those lines, the Google Chrome OS is a VERY stripped down version of SUSE (even says created using SUSE Devkit in the lower right of the screen). Anyhow, I have a small installation of it running and it is very quick and uses a pretty small pool of resources. The only drawback is that it is somewhat Windows-like and hides things or automatically does things that you may wish to do yourself. It has a sufficient group of packages that come with it (Open Office, Chrome, etc...) so you don't NEED anything off the bat. But you will eventually. Anyhow, I throw it out there as an option if SUSE isn't your thing. SUSE will run with any of the major desktops (XFCE, LXDE, Gnome and KDE). You could install all 4 if you wanted to and then boot to each different desktop to see which one you like best and feels most responsive. After that, just delete the rest and you are set.

GIockGuy24
12-25-2010, 18:28
For the most part both Gnome and KDE use about the same amount of resources. You really to monitor the CPU and memory usage to see it. Sometimes Gnomes is even a bit heavier. The sluggish look or lack of it is due to tweaking done to the interface. Compared to Windows most of the big Linux desktops "look" to react slowly. KDE set about making a more modern, more functional version from 3 (or 3.5) to version 4. Gnome on the other hand decided to make the clicking on icons "react" faster or at least look that way. (Gnome is still working on version 3 which will be similar in function to KDE 4) Another thing Gnome was knocked for was the browser was heavy and slow compared to the KDE browser. The Gnome browser was based on Firefox so most of the versions of Linux that were Gnome based chose the more familiar Firefox instead on the Gnome browser since they were the same. Well Gnome finally changed it's own browser to be lightweight and fast but since Firefox became the standard the newer Gnome browser is rarely included. There is lightweight version of KDE sometimes available called "KDE-lite" but it's not common and not much lighter.

I like LXDE in Knoppix but the Ubuntu version seems awkward and a bit lacking. Note that if you instal KDE on a Gnome based Linux it won't be tweaked and is usually the generic version. The latest Ubuntu 10.10 has made Xubuntu work with all Gnome libraries, extensions and add-ons. It now looks and functions exactly like Gnome but uses the lighter weight XFCE desktop. I use Xubuntu 10.10 with XFCE with 256 MB of memory on one PC and with 384 MB of memory on another PC. I think 192 MB is the minimum required.

Try Xubuntu and you can have the Gnome experience with speedier results.

I haven't tried the latest version of Lubuntu but I didn't care for the earlier version I did try. I do like LXDE in Knoppix though and there is a new version of Knoppix just released.

IndyGunFreak
12-25-2010, 18:55
I disagree completely... KDE4 is a hog. KDE 3-3.5... I just didn't like. I can boot the same hardware w/ KDE4, and Gnome 2.x, and you'll see a considerable difference. Xubuntu... It used to be light, but now, it's just like a different Gnome interface. Lxde is really good, and I like it.

I believe the final release date for Gnome 3, is about 18yrs from now.. subject to delay of course... :) (It's been delayed a lot).

IGF

GIockGuy24
12-25-2010, 19:27
My old computers won't run Gnome but they'll run XFCE. The generic version of XFCE looks nothing like Gnome. It looks like the Sun Solaris desktop interface. The Xubuntu version is modified to look like Gnome but until the latest 10.10 version it wasn't quite as functional. Now it even works with a lot Gnome things besides just looking like Gnome. All versions of Ubuntu are are slower than the base Debian, Fedora or Gentoo. Ubuntu adds every module available into the kernel to make it "easier" to add certain packages later if desired. The downside is that really drags down the system and Ubuntu adds modules for really obscure thing too. Ubuntu was originally designed for people in the world that didn't have internet access and could add packages from CD's. The newest version of Knoppix uses LXDE and works well and is suppose to be compatible with Debian packages. It comes with a lot of popular packages already though.

faber
12-25-2010, 22:29
ubuntu.

IndyGunFreak
12-26-2010, 08:44
My old computers won't run Gnome but they'll run XFCE. The generic version of XFCE looks nothing like Gnome. It looks like the Sun Solaris desktop interface. The Xubuntu version is modified to look like Gnome but until the latest 10.10 version it wasn't quite as functional. Now it even works with a lot Gnome things besides just looking like Gnome. All versions of Ubuntu are are slower than the base Debian, Fedora or Gentoo. Ubuntu adds every module available into the kernel to make it "easier" to add certain packages later if desired. The downside is that really drags down the system and Ubuntu adds modules for really obscure thing too. Ubuntu was originally designed for people in the world that didn't have internet access and could add packages from CD's. The newest version of Knoppix uses LXDE and works well and is suppose to be compatible with Debian packages. It comes with a lot of popular packages already though.

"Looks" are really irrelevant.. it's just window dressing. Like you said, they've included a majority of the Gnome libraries into XFCE. This is what has narrowed the gap(significantly) between Gnome and XFCE on Ubuntu.. and why if someone can't run Ubuntu, Xubuntu isn't really a good choice anymore. You're better off going for Lubuntu.

Yeah, Ubuntu's kernels are getting very bloated. It still runs extremely well. Given it's popularity, it really has to "just work" with lots of different hardware.. and the kernel's bloat is a result of that. The price to pay I guess. I always recommend starting w/ Ubuntu for it's ease of use.. use it daily for a period of time(6mo-1year) then switch to Debian. You'll be plenty familiar w/ the OS, and it's more or less Ubuntu w/o the bloat.

We agree on LXDE for sure... It's awesome. I've actually been thinking of trying it on a rather ancient laptop I have running Crunchbang Linux. That laptop runs Crunchbang so well though, I'm inclined to just leave well enough alone. Lubuntu is what Xubuntu "used" to be...

IndyGunFreak
12-26-2010, 08:48
Ubuntu; use firefox browser.
Suggest dual book (Ubuntu/Windows), just in case one of them screws up. Also, my daughter a college student, and has gone back from Ubuntu to Windows because she says some things technical she needs to access for school are only in Windows format???
You can set up to load either Ubuntu or Windows automatically when you turn computer on; and giving yourself a number of seconds to choose the non-default OS when you book.
Ubuntu, like windows, can be set to open a specific home page or a number of them) automatically on bootup.
Ubuntu is free; provides timely updates and security fixes, and is LOTS less prone to viruses, spyware, etc.

Dual booting is always a good idea, but it sounds like this is just an old laptop that will no longer be used since he's buying his son a new one for school... so dual booting probably isn't necessary.