Linux - any succesful and happy new converts?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by jhundt, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,313
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Having just sat through the latest 5-hour upgrade of Windows, which has once again destroyed my audio output, I am ready to jump ship.

    I have been reading all the advice about Linux for years, but it has always seemed too 'computery' for me. I just want something that turns on when I ask it to, and turns off when I tell it to.

    I am now interested in hearing from anyone with a similar level of technical non-proficiency, who has (recently) successfully switched to a Linux-based system. I would like to hear real-life first-hand reports of how that process went, and how satisfied you are with the change.

    If anyone wants to suggest Apple, please don't. That's not gonna work. I have to work with what I have and what I can afford.

    I use my Dell Latitude E6400 laptop mostly for internet, via Firefox; email via Thunderbird; and a lot of bookkeeping via Libre Office.

    No gaming, no photography or home recording.

    Can anyone share an experience?
     
    Toast likes this.
  2. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,032
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    Snfoilhat, scrimmer, KG7IL and 2 others like this.
  3. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    1,353
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    I recently switched my Windows 7 PC to Linux rather than upgrade to Windows 10. It went well. I downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu (Linux), burned it to DVD (all on my Windows computer). Then I restarted the computer, pressed F12 (or whatever key...it tells you on the screen as it's restarting) and changed the settings to boot from the DVD. This will give you the option to run Ubuntu right from the DVD (I suggest doing this first) or install Ubuntu to the hard drive.

    I've been using Linux on it now for a month. No problems. My usage is similar to yours...i.e. no home recording or gaming. Mostly email, web, watching Youtube, word processing, etc.
     
  4. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,210
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Location:
    My mom's basement.
    That's a pretty old laptop at this point and probably a better candidate for Linux than up to date Windows. If I recall, that's a 10 year old computer or maybe more. I had one of those in 2009ish.

    I've re-staged or reloaded many computers with Windows 10. Your saying 5 hours makes me think you're doing an in place upgrades or have a system with really old storage and slow memory. Maybe do a reset if not reformat. Always update manufacturer drivers and BIOS first.

    I use Linux all the time in my work but have stopped using it for a personal system. I have to spend too much time for some drivers or utilities in personal use and give up features I like and value with phones and peripherals. Still, it can be just the ticket to get life in an old computer.

    You better be doing a good job of backup if you rely on something that old but really, always.

    Good luck.
     
    jhundt likes this.
  5. Well Executed

    Well Executed TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    6
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    elementary OS (https://elementary.io ) is probably the best linux distro I know of for people that don't want it to be "computery". It is one of the most well designed and user-experience oriented projects I know of, and they DO try to make some of the Linux-y stuff more user-friendly.

    Also, Ubuntu, while a bit more intense, is also pretty usable out of the box, and has a lot of resources for learning.
     
    Honest Charley and FenderGuy53 like this.
  6. Mike H.

    Mike H. Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    1,265
    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I still primarily use Windows, but I have a couple of computers running Ubuntu. It does a great job on older hardware that runs slow.
     
    obi-john and FenderGuy53 like this.
  7. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,313
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    it struck me as amusing, hearing you describe my little computer as "that old".

    In the kitchen, I use - daily - a Henry Disston 'mezzaluna' knife that my mother was given by her mother when she married my father. That thing is approaching 100 years old, still works great.

    In my lunchbox I carry two little plastic bottles of tomato juice and apple juice. I refill them every day. They were left over from my cousin's special diet supplement, before she died; I thought they were useful, and I have been using them for 15 years now.

    Oh yeah, a 1968 Tele. A 1974 Yamaha. A 1955 Deluxe.

    These computers just aren't built to last, are they?
     
    Honest Charley and Flaneur like this.
  8. pemaleto

    pemaleto TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    50
    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Portugal
    Using Linux mint right now, have been for about 5 years, got fed up with windows. Couldn't be happier, installation without a hitch, didn't have to search for drivers, already had all the software (freeware) I needed.Only use windows 10 at work, and windows xp on an older machine to play some older video games like far cry and unreal tournament.
     
    RedRock, Doug B, obi-john and 2 others like this.
  9. ricknbaker

    ricknbaker Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    993
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Location:
    Watford, UK

    You sure are right. Like my 76 Strat. And several pairs of underpants from that era that still work great.
     
  10. dotbot

    dotbot TDPRI Member

    Age:
    41
    Posts:
    28
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2019
    Location:
    VT
    I have been using Linux solely for the last 10+ years. I started with Ubuntu and have mostly been using it for all of that time. It's solid and user-friendly as linux distros go.

    For your use case, I can't see any downside to switching. And some considerable upsides: like when you get one of those calls from Microsoft tech support. :D

    I would also recommend doing the USB live session that someone else suggested and just try it out for a while. It will be a little sluggish due to having to read off the USB but should still give you a good idea of what you're up against.

    Dell is pretty linux-friendly and I've been using their laptops for that same time period. There were some shaky moments early on but I haven't had any issues for years.
     
    pemaleto likes this.
  11. hotpot

    hotpot Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,288
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Location:
    Lancashire UK
    I hear you about those infernal windows updates, Linux or Ubuntu are just much more civilised with updates that takes just a matter of a few minutes.

    I got rid of Win 10 on three desktops and installed Ubuntu & Linux over 5 years ago, I've never had a single problem whatsoever with either of these OS's.

    I had enough and changed the three desktops in the house to Ubuntu & one has the latest Linux Mint 19.1 'Tara'
    Hard to pick a winner between the tweo, both are excellent.
    These older desktops run like champs on these OS's
     
    RedRock likes this.
  12. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,034
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    No. No they are not. And when they are, operating systems aren't.

    You need to "try" linux out before you commit. Research popular distros, and learn to make a bootable "live" USB.

    Is your PC 34bit? That might narrow things down considerably.

    There are more than a few "non-techie" linux distros available. But the reality is that the linux core is not, nor has ever been, designed for non-techies. If you will be installing and trying out any software that is not already installed on your distro, get ready to spend time learning the UNIX directory model, and at least a perfunctory understanding of the command line. Don't let anyone lie to you and tell you this isn't the case. Sorry.

    Don't delete/replace your Windows operating system. And even if you do find you like some linux variant, consider a dual boot. If you don't know what bootmgr is, don't attempt a dual boot install. Have an IT pro do it.

    You've been warned. :twisted:
     
  13. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    3,083
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    If you know how to remove your current hard drive, and can afford a solid state drive, do so. Keep your old drive, put it in a caddy. It'll come in useful. The performance difference of a solid state drive over a spinning platter drive makes it worthwhile. The silence is eerie too.

    I switched to Linux when I did my Microsoft Windows 95 training. I'd played with a magazine cover distro ( Slakware ) and found it fairly easy, if a little obscure at times. I can count on the fingers of no hands the number of virii, trojans, worms and other malware I've had to deal with since.

    I use SuSE, which isn't everyone's taste, but I'm familiar with it, having been a SuSEr since 1998~99 or thereabouts. You will need a few command line tools every now and then, but you'll find the Internet can provide. Getting used to no 'C' drive, and not just unplugging things may take a while.

    Driver support is very good for all bar bleeding edge stuff. Audio is well supported, and most video codecs exist. Think of it as getting used to a manual car after driving an automatic. Similar enough, but slightly different.

    Your old hard drive can be booted in a virtual machine, such as Qemu or Virtual Box, or you can just read the contents like any other drive.
     
  14. MattyK-USA

    MattyK-USA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    1,107
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2018
    Location:
    Savannah GA
    Ubuntu and Lime are good first choices. SuSe is more capable, but not as beginner friendly. I do warn you that contrary to what some have said here, Linux is not going to run faster on your machine unless you find a minimal install that will not have feature parity with Windows / Mac. I'm sure it will run fine, but not faster. If you do anything with video rendering or gaming it will actually be slower. This is due to driver support and optimization for peripherals like your graphics card, not the operating system itself.

    FWIW I have been using various Linux distributions since Minix (the progenitor to Linux), and have compiled my own custom OS version of Slackware back when it was one of the leaders. Linux has become a very capable platform, but the days of it running much faster than Windows are long gone as more and more has been added to the OS.

    Have fun!
     
  15. scampos

    scampos TDPRI Member

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2017
    Location:
    Brasil
    I am a heavy Linux user, use it exclusively since the 90s. Let me make a few suggestions.

    Linux Mint is better than Ubuntu for older computers, it is faster. I switched from Ubuntu to Mint and never regretted it. In fact, Mint is a special version of Ubuntu with a few things "lightened up".

    With a Dell, do boot up on a USB drive and use it for a while. It will be slower, of course, but some Dell notebooks have a stability problem with the wifi drivers, and by using it for a while you'll see if you are lucky or not. Given the age of your computer I don't think it will be a problem.

    Other than that, click install after you tried it. Be sure to copy your files to an external drive before you install it, or you may lose those files.

    Welcome to the "bright" side of the force. May the source be with you... :)
     
    RiverDog likes this.
  16. tvas22

    tvas22 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    29
    Posts:
    84
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Location:
    UK
    Most of the major Linux distros will be pretty friendly to you, as most will come with Libre office and Firefox preinstalled and ready to go. A lot will come with thunderbird or similar too.

    Look into lite distros if your computer is on the older side. Linux mint with a ‘lighter’ desktop like XFCE would be a great starting point for someone coming over from windows, I’d be surprised if it actually felt that different to you at all.
     
  17. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,379
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Location:
    Near Athens GA USA
    Although I use Windows (7 and 10) on my main computers, I use Linux on my Raspberry Pi as well as on web servers at work. I don't care so much for the retro, command line, aspects of it but the GUI's have become pretty usable. Since you aren't doing anything that requires you stick with Windows, switching to Linux wouldn't be a big deal for you.

    As for upgrading Windows, I have an older HP laptop that I have to keep on Windows 7 due to drivers not being available. That's the big issue with Windows, the drivers and how slow companies are about upgrading them, if they do them at all. Until recently, we had production line servers still running on XP because the PLC vendors took forever to get Windows 7 drivers done. Who knows when they'll get the Windows 10 ones done.
     
  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,458
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    You are already most of the way converted to the Linux life: Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice. You just need to try out Gimp and Inkscape and you'll have most of the primary user software experience taken care of. Add in Audacious and you can do some multitrack music recording ;)

    This is a good rundown of the major distros...
    https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major

    I have run Linux as my main OS since 2006 when I got fed up with yet another BSOD. .. Came across this one Linux distro called "Slax Kill Biill Edition" (the movie had been out around that time), and the theme fit my thinking after the BSODs. The live CD seemed really interesting. I ended up putting an old hard drive in my main computer and installed Kubuntu. The suggestion about putting a solid state drive in your pc to install to is a very good one. Then you access old files as you need them and if you have withdrawal for Windows you can swap hard drives and be back.

    Later when my oldest was six, I had him install regular Ubuntu and he only needed to ask me what a Partition was, other than that and he was on the Internet and running games. He wanted a computer and I was curious how he'd do getting that running. So it's pretty easy. A lot easier than installing Windows from scratch. Or the gyrations you need to do if you upgrade any broken hardware on a Windows machine to get it to accept and verify.

    When installing, I'd suggest using the LXDE GUI as it's the lightest weight display manager available on the major distributions. I am typing this on an at least ten year old Dell D630 running Debian and LXDE.


    .
     
  19. scampos

    scampos TDPRI Member

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2017
    Location:
    Brasil
    Actually the do last, and keep doing the same thing for years and years. The problem is that our expectations change, we always want more color, more movement, more flashy things, and don't settle for old software

    I don't agree with that. Its been years since I last had to install software that was not in my distro. I see very little reason to go to the command line these days as well.

    This is solid advice.
     
  20. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Holic

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    627
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2018
    Location:
    Washington, UK
    I've used various versions of Linux from 'Live' CD's. Just download, copy to CD & then boot from the CD.
    My main PC is Win 10, but I have an old netbook that ran Win XP. When support for XP ran out I removed the HD, installed a larger one & installed Lubuntu (Ubuntu Lite). It works like a dream. It's suitable for netbooks/ laptops with 'lower' processing power.
     
    Whatizitman likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.