My Linux Experience

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My Linux Experience

Postby LagerDrinker on Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:50 pm

Hi Everyone,

I recently built a new PC and initially installed windows 7, 30 day trial from Microsoft, rather than my old rather dodgy copy :lol:

As the authentication deadline loomed I thought I would have another go at Linux, having previously tried unsuccessfully years ago. I am not the most patient of people and although I am not a complete PC dummy, am prepared to read forums, ask questions etc, I can get frustrated and just give up and go back to what I know.

The latest experience went along these lines,

Read loads of reviews and forums, and finally decided on Mint Cinnamon after download a few versions and running them on live cd.

All went really well, very impressed with the install procedure and the fact that everything seemed to work 'out of the box'. I liked the look, the speed, the software bundled with the install. All in all i thought, Yeah, I'm no longer a slave to Microsoft.

I then noticed something not brilliant with the graphics. I'm not talking proper gaming here, just Candy Crush Saga on facebook ;-)

The movement was jerky, especially when a few of the squares blew up at once. So my first step was to search for and install the AMD catalyst software. Didnt help much. I had a go with GLXGEARS and was getting only a few hundred FPS. I changed some settings in the catalyst control panel and got the FPS rate up to a decent number but still the same on Candy Crush.

So my next step was to try and update flash player. According to the Flash page mine was out of date the when I checked for updates through the OS it told me I was up to date. Now this is where my patience ran thin. I looked at forums and how to do it site, but could I get flash to update? NO is the simple answer. With Win 7 I just click a link, download, run download, hey presto, updated. With the Linux I was presented with three different download options, with three different methods of installation, none of which I could get to work. All of them involved going into terminal and entering instructions, no click and sit back. it was after 2 hours of frustration that I'm sad to say I gave up and went back to my dodgy windows. :(

I guess what I'm asking after all this waffle is,

Does anyone have any ideas on the jerky graphics,
Is trying to update things always so hard, is it the same for all Linux distros or just Mint?
Was I doing something wrong and there is actually a more user friendly way of installing things?

I know my post may seem kind of negative towards Linux, it isn't meant to. I really WOULD like to move to Linux and be able to stop using dodgy or ridiculously expensive software, but I also cannot spend whole weekends tring to get things to work.

Please help a frustrated Linux wannabe :)

thanks,

James
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Re: My Linux Experience

Postby bigj231 on Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:17 pm

Adobe cut flash support on Linux. That's part of the reason I won't be buying any more of their commercial software, or using Adobe Reader. You can install chrome/chromium and use the pepper API flash. There are plenty of tutorials around if you search. I haven't had as many issues with chrome's flash as I did with Adobe's flash.

Also, downloading packages and stuff off the internet is not the proper way to install software on Linux. The Software Manager should have all the applications you'll want, and what isn't in there is in Synaptic or through third party repositories. You don't have to worry about keeping individual packages up to date since your system does it for you.

If you don't ever want to spend time fixing stuff, then Linux might not be for you. I would suggest Apple products. If you don't mind putting in the time to set everything up and learn how to use the system, the Linux is great. Once you get it setup how you want it, you will most likely have fewer problems than with a Windows system.

(INCOMING WALL OF TEXT/RANT)
In my experience, Linux setup is very front-loaded. You have to do lots of work to set it up, but then you don't have to mess with it aside from periodic updates. Conversely, Windows tends to develop issues as you install and remove software, and you are required to fix them as they come up. Once you have it how you want it (on a windows system) everything is out of date and you have to reinstall everything. Not to mention that Windows systems tend to slow down as they age, requiring a complete reinstall to get back to the original snappiness. Linux systems do not degrade in the same way that Windows systems do. Not to mention that Linux systems are inherently more secure (I.e. they respect file permissions instead of completely ignoring them) and they don't require their users to run as a super user for mundane tasks (again, once properly setup). Also, Linux systems have superior hardware compatibility out of the box (advanced graphics drivers are an exception).
I could go on, but this should suffice for now.

To sum up, Adobe cut flash support on Linux. That's why your flash stuff doesn't work well. To install stuff, first look in the package manager. Those packages are much less likely to break your system than the ones you download from the internet. You will occasionally have to use the command line. Don't like it? Don't use Linux. I find it much faster and easier to copy/move files between distant directories using the terminal than a graphical environment.
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Re: My Linux Experience

Postby LagerDrinker on Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:18 pm

Hi Bigj, thanks for the reply.

A lot of the things you mention in your (INCOMING WALL OF TEXT/RANT) are the reasons I would like to move to Linux, I know all the plus sides and as I said earlier I was initially more than pleased.

It's not that I don't ever want to spend time fixing stuff and I'm not against installing things through the terminal, I guess I'm kind of looking for an ideal world, where there are the the benefits of Linux with the simplicity of use of Windows.

As it would seem from what you say that the actual problem I was experiencing wouldn't have been cured by updating flash, the hours of frustration may well have been wasted anyway.

You say in your post....

Also, Linux systems have superior hardware compatibility out of the box (advanced graphics drivers are an exception).
I could go on, but this should suffice for now......

does this mean that decent graphics drivers are not available, or you just need to know where to look? ;-)

I'm thinking the way forward maybe to go for a dual boot system, see if I can get to grips properly with Linux and then make the switch rather than jumping straight in. I should probably have done that to start with but didn't as I didn't want to wear out my shiny new SSD ;-) by installing and uninstalling stuff on it. Yeah I know, it will be years before that happens, and installing win 7 twice and linux once has made it work harder than a dual boot from the start, but it's sometimes easy to be persuaded by horror stories on the net, but hey ho, live and learn.

Anyway, thanks again and stand by for many more pleas for help when I decide to re install Mint :) :) :)
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Re: My Linux Experience

Postby DrHu on Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:25 pm

With Win 7 I just click a link, download, run download, hey presto, updated. With the Linux I was presented with three different download options, with three different methods of installation, none of which I could get to work. All of them involved going into terminal and entering instructions, no click and sit back

Don't get that!
  • The defacto method for a desktop OS such as (windows, Linux, Apple) is to use the desktop tools provided, and software manager or synaptic (if you want a different GUI) to install applications from the OS supplier's repositories is all that is needed
  • If you stick with the sofware manager selectiopns, you should hardly ever run into any problems
  • This is exactly the same as windows web site for system and application updates, Apple I assume is similar..

Of course using a terminal, you will see more information being displayed during an install of a package (as provided by the vendor of that distribution --> their repositories..)
--and if you know what you are looking for, the terminal process is simply quicker (even as the terminal application apt runs quicker without a GUI ovcerhead)
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Re: My Linux Experience

Postby LagerDrinker on Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:39 pm

Thanks for the reply DrHu,

the point I was trying to make with updating flash player was,

To update in windows I just had to go to the adobe site, select the update for windows, download, click the file an away it went.

For the Linux version there was a choice of YUM, tar.gx, rpm and apt, all of which then required all sort of 'special voodoo' to get them to do anything, none of which I managed ;-)

as stated earlier by bigj it would seem that even if I had managed it wouldn't have helped with my particular issue.

It all comes down to impatience, I wanted a fully working, no problems system in a Saturday afternoon. It didn't happen and in frustration I threw all my toys outta the pram and went back to windows.

As I say, I think I need to dual boot, give it some time to see if I can get things as I want them and then make the conversion full time.
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Re: My Linux Experience

Postby bigj231 on Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:32 pm

Dual boot is a wonderful idea, IMO. I don't since I don't have the disk space for it. Another viable option if you don't feel comfortable installing is to use a virtual machine. The performance won't be as good, but it will be much easier to test out different distributions. *offtopic* If you really want to learn your way around the Linux command line and file system, install Gentoo from a minimal iso. Do it in a virtual machine so that you can pause it and do something else when you get tired of it. *end offtopic*

What I meant about the graphics drivers is that the AMD and nVidia open source drivers usually don't provide the full performance of the chip, but the closed source ones are more difficult to setup. At least the AMD ones are anyway. If you don't have a laptop, everything is usually pretty smooth. It's the stupid little problems with wireless networking or graphics that tend to frustrate people. AMD's less than stellar driver support doesn't help things either, but that is true of all platforms and is a different topic for another time and place.

Also, if you ever do download packages for Mint/Ubuntu, get the APT or .deb files. Just make sure they aren't already in the package manager unless you have a specific reason to avoid the ones in the package manager. You will know when you need to get them somewhere else.

To end this post, after using Mint for a few years, I'm comfortable with it as my only operating system. I've gotten to the point where I can completely reinstall a system in under 2 hours and can fix most minor issues without having to search for a solution. My #1 recommendation is to make a separate /home partition. You may ask yourself now "Why would I ever need that?" but I assure you, you will thank me later. #2 is be conscious of your hardware choice. There's a reason that this is an Intel laptop instead of AMD, and that it was a closeout model. (Also, if you have the money, buy a SSD. >20 second boots are excruciatingly slow for me now.)

ONE LAST THING I SWEAR: If you haven't installed windows yet, partition the disks using GParted (in Mint), install Windows, then install Mint. It's easiest and fastest that way.
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Re: My Linux Experience

Postby LagerDrinker on Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:12 pm

Right, I have taken the plunge again. Binned windows and installed mint. My system consists of......

AMD FX-6300 cpu, asus M5A97 r2.0 MB, 8Gb RAM, 60G SSD, 160G HDD, PowerColor HD 6450 Go! Greeen 2GB DDR3 graphics card.

I have formatted my discs as follows....

SSD

ssd.png
ssd.png (52.17 KiB) Viewed 487 times


HDD

hdd.png
hdd.png (51.04 KiB) Viewed 487 times


Any comments on whether I've got that bit about right would be appreciated.

Now for what caused me to lose patience in the first place, lumpy graphics on facebook games. (trivial I know but we all have our secret pleasures ;-) )

What should be my first steps, should I D/L and install the latest drivers for Linux from the Radeaon site??
What should I be using for Flash? The adobe plugin or is there something better?
Any help would be gladly received.

Also does anyone have any tips for a good book for a Linux beginner, I have just downloaded this to my phone to read but was wondering if there are better publications......

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Title/bo ... tAodyWgAyQ


Thanks for any help guys

James
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Re: My Linux Experience

Postby mockturtl on Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:52 pm

LagerDrinker wrote:What should I be using for Flash? The adobe plugin or is there something better?
Adobe discontinued Flash on Linux at 11.2, but they have a partnership with Google. So the only way to get the latest is to use Chrome. (You want the .deb file -- think of it like a Windows .msi or .exe installer.)

It sounds like Candy Crush uses Flash's hardware acceleration, so getting the latest graphics drivers could help. (This could be a circus, for the same reason: they're not open source.)

The normal mode of installing software in Linux is to use built-in tools that download it from a central "repository" of curated (for security and stability) programs and libraries. Hence, "distro" -- the infrastructure for collecting, compiling, maintaining, verifying, and making available ("distribution") over the web. You could do all that yourself, but you'd never have any free time.

Those built-in tools ("pacakge manager") install, remove, and upgrade all your software for you. (This is possible because it's open source, or its license allows redistribution, or the vendor -- you trust them, right? -- took the time to set up a proper repository.) In this respect, the OS encompasses everything you can install, not just default programs and low-level "guts."

Contrast with Windows, which only knows how to update itself. Programs count on you to get check for new versions at their website, or else sneak annoying upgrade reminders into the taskbar.

The downside is headaches with hardware and proprietary drivers. They're getting fewer all the time, but it's a bad day when your new sound or video or network won't act right. I'm a fan of a script called "sgfxi" that takes care of nvidia drivers for me.

Was I doing something wrong and there is actually a more user friendly way of installing things?
Most things. Thunderbird and Pidgin and VLC and Dropbox and LibreOffice and Shotwell and Clementine... and even Steam, now... but Flash isn't one of them.

Any comments on whether I've got that bit about right would be appreciated.
You'll never need a 32 GB root. I'd suggest 8 for a normal user, or 10 with multiple desktop environments (most of it will be /usr and /opt). But /home should be as large as possible, and on its own partition.

I can't comment on the merits of putting /boot and /usr on separate partitions with an SSD.

You might find it convenient for dual-booting or network shares to dedicate yet another partition, ntfs formatted, to data. (music, movies, books, ...)
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