What are your top tips for a Newbie?

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby widget on Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:57 pm

midnight gypsy wrote:
r0berto wrote:
deanom wrote:Hi
I'm thinking of trying Mint for the first time, and have no experience of using any Linux distros. What are your top tips for me BEFORE my DVD arrives?
Possible topics:
Installation
Connecting to the Internet
Problem Solving
Please note that technical instructions will need to be pretty basic.
Thanks

Deano
Lincolnshire
England


I've been using Linux off and on since Red Hat 1.0 back in the mid 90's. What I can say is: DON'T BE AFRAID TO BREAK YOUR MACHINE! It's how you will learn. I can't stress that enough. Read, research, and read some more. Know your video card, and be prepared to try a couple of different drivers. Same for Wifi. If possible, have a hardwire ethernet connection available in case things break, and you can't get on the internet. GUI is nice, BUT LEARN TO LOVE THE COMMAND LINE! Learn useful command line tools like vi, nano, grep, etc. It will save your bacon when you find you have to recover your system. Heck, it's just plain easier in general anyway. Oh yeah, and compile a custom kernel at least once. It's truly geek zen.

Don't get caught up in the political fanboyism of KDE/Gnome/etc. Find one that works for you aesthetically and stick with it. Learn it inside out. They each have their upsides and downsides, and at the end of the day, it's still just a computer. A tool that is an extension of its user. (Why does that sound TRON-ish?)

Find the people here who are genuinely interested in helping and ask questions.

Oh yeah, and welcome to Mint!


So true, When I was introduce to linux. I couldn't even spell the word computer.. Actually I hated them. I was force to buy an use one. A friend of mine, who kept pushing linux( Mandrake 8). Finally said, You can keep getting viruses with Windows. Or you can learn what your computer is doing and why. He also said... Worst case if you screw up " REINSTALL".... It was these words that made me brave enough to click on everything.. Just to see and learn. Because of his advice and words. He now calls me. When he has a problem. So click and tweak away bud... You'll learn.... Merry Christmas....... Russ

Ha! That was the way I learned on MS even. Best way.

With Linux you can actually fix things besides break them though, Kind of neat.

It really is liberating to do one good large install (on 2 partitions) and then another small install to learn with. Do unto it before doing unto the "main" install and you avoid reinstallation of the one you actually use. If you can dig up 8-10 gigs it is enough for a dedicated screw up install.
Dell XPS 420 Core2 Quad Q 6600, audigy5.1, Radeon HD 6450 - currently 4 320Gb HDD, Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby sunewbie on Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:42 am

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby chakramint on Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:53 am

Dual-booting is a must for newbs--it's akin to hitting 2 birds w/ one stone compared to straight install.
1) backup your data and make sure you still have the Windows recovery DVD.
2) search the web for 'how to dual boot Linux w/ WinXP/Vista/7' and have at it.

Thanks to Linux, my computer is now "portable" in the sense that I learned to create a separate partition for my personal stuff which are backed up to a separate USB Hard drive so that "my computer" can be replicated on countless other machines--no longer have to tie to the C:\ drive.

**the worst that can happen is you have to reinstall Windows, printer, office suite, and a few other programs.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby widget on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:39 am

While dual booting is a great idea I would not recommend doing it with an MS product. I say this from personal experience.

We did, I admit, have MS on here after Linux was installed. This is because I had trouble getting my internal hardware modem (dialup USR 5610c) recognized by Ubuntu. Took 2 weeks.

I installed Ubuntu on a second drive and switched drives. When I got on line with Ubuntu I pulled the MS drive. This makes the learning curve a lot faster.

The main "excuse" for keeping MS on your box, besides needing a security hole for comfort, is to be a backup in case you screw your Linux install. This is rather silly on the face of it. Lets see, I just installed a more reliable OS so I better keep this botched together security hazard on here for backup. This makes no sense at all.

Format your HDD after making sure you know that Linux will work with your hardware. This is what Live CDs are for. Make 2 partitions, A primary partition for your / (root) paritition, Make the rest of the drive one extended partition.

Way at the end of it put your /swap partition. Right up next to /swap put in a very small second / partition and a small /home partition (5gig for / and 10 for /home).

This will leave, probably a lot of empty space between your first / and your second / partitions. This is the /home partition for your first /.

Install on your large / and large /home. Do a second install on your small / and /home. Set up the small one first. If you don't screw it up set up the large one.

Do it all this way. Always do new things on the small install first. That is the one you don't USE. It is there to learn on. The other, larger install is your backup and MAIN OS.

Gee, just like the so called backup MS OS's people claim to have. These are the folks that never actually learn to use Linux. You can probably pick them out on any forum fairly easily.

They are the ones talking about how easy it is to set up MS but have never actually installed it. They also have no idea how to use the "rescue partition" that comes with MS for when the boot sector goes bad and have to call someone to tell them what to do and then take it to someone to straighten out. That person will not use the "rescue partition". They will us a Linux recovery disk and use "testdisk" (or another Linux tool) to fix that boot sector.

Just ditch it and learn to use an OS you can actually fix. Start with 2 because you will probably screw it up before you learn how not to. You can install that small install as many times as you like and never hurt your MAIN at all.

Took me a week to learn that. Reinstalled my supposed main 5 times (slow learner drunk on the ability to actually mess with the system). Dual booted with Ubuntu. Still am using the /home partition from that first Ubuntu install. / is now Debian testing but that is just another advantage of 2 partitions.
Dell XPS 420 Core2 Quad Q 6600, audigy5.1, Radeon HD 6450 - currently 4 320Gb HDD, Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby chakramint on Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:13 pm

Assuming that, as of Dec. 2011, newbs are 95% (if not 100%) Windows converts, then dual booting is the best recommendation simply bc you want them to have Windows to fall back on (when wifi card, printer, etc not functioning). Also, the key knowledge to gain is the concept of partitioning (again, very safe to assume that 80+% Windows users are unaware of). Hitting two birds w/ one stone is better than one bird.
As for partitioning, for newbs, this is the best setup--in order:
8gb "/"; 2-4gb swap (for suspend/hibernate); the rest for "/home"
With this setup, you could simply install diff distros over Mint install (i.e. only need to format "/").
E.g. my laptop has WinXP and Mint 10.
My desktop has WinXP/7 and Mint 11 then later I installed Chakra 2011.12 over Mint 11 only needing to format "/" so all my settings from Firefox/Opera carried over to Chakra.

As long as the newbs have their recovery Windows Dvds and other software dvds and backed up all their personal data, then there's nothing to lose but some reinstall times.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby widget on Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:53 pm

chakramint wrote:Assuming that, as of Dec. 2011, newbs are 95% (if not 100%) Windows converts, then dual booting is the best recommendation simply bc you want them to have Windows to fall back on (when wifi card, printer, etc not functioning). Also, the key knowledge to gain is the concept of partitioning (again, very safe to assume that 80+% Windows users are unaware of). Hitting two birds w/ one stone is better than one bird.
As for partitioning, for newbs, this is the best setup--in order:
8gb "/"; 2-4gb swap (for suspend/hibernate); the rest for "/home"
With this setup, you could simply install diff distros over Mint install (i.e. only need to format "/").
E.g. my laptop has WinXP and Mint 10.
My desktop has WinXP/7 and Mint 11 then later I installed Chakra 2011.12 over Mint 11 only needing to format "/" so all my settings from Firefox/Opera carried over to Chakra.

As long as the newbs have their recovery Windows Dvds and other software dvds and backed up all their personal data, then there's nothing to lose but some reinstall times.

If said noob has run the Linux OS with the Live CD in Live session, The bugger will work unless the noob screws it up.

This is why the noob dual boots with the 2 copies of the same Linux OS. The noob then does nothing to the install that he/she uses without trying the "improvement" first on the other install.

You can't do that dual booting with MS.

When you dual boot with MS you are doing two things.
1>Making your learning curve many times longer than it needs to be.
2>"Backing Up" a stable system with a piece of crap.

Neither of these make any sense what so ever.
Dell XPS 420 Core2 Quad Q 6600, audigy5.1, Radeon HD 6450 - currently 4 320Gb HDD, Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby chakramint on Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:57 pm

"Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun."

Am I the only Linux-convert that has no need/desire/passion to bash MS? (granted I wouldn't buy another MS product directly, but would buy a computer pre-loaded with Windows, of course).

I know, I know, to make new friends you have to say something agreeable, the default one being "MS Windows is a piece of crap."
This is tip #2 for newbies.
(side note: not having to defrag and scan for viruses/spywares is the joy of Linux computing)
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby widget on Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:52 pm

chakramint wrote:"Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun."

Am I the only Linux-convert that has no need/desire/passion to bash MS? (granted I wouldn't buy another MS product directly, but would buy a computer pre-loaded with Windows, of course).

I know, I know, to make new friends you have to say something agreeable, the default one being "MS Windows is a piece of crap."
This is tip #2 for newbies.
(side note: not having to defrag and scan for viruses/spywares is the joy of Linux computing)

Actually, having started using MS when it came on a floppy as MSDos and then the big improvement to MSDos with DosShell (became Windows Explorer), I think I know quite a bit about MS. MS has basically been on a downhill slide since they decided that a desktop gui was more important than a functioning OS.

MS is crap is not a default statement, it is the default reason that folks have for going to something different.
Dell XPS 420 Core2 Quad Q 6600, audigy5.1, Radeon HD 6450 - currently 4 320Gb HDD, Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby seppalta on Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:12 am

If you are brand new to Linux, including just windoze or mac users, then do NOT install a distro that is LESS than a year old. A new release has the usual birthing-bugs and not much literature to get help.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby widget on Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:26 pm

seppalta wrote:If you are brand new to Linux, including just windoze or mac users, then do NOT install a distro that is LESS than a year old. A new release has the usual birthing-bugs and not much literature to get help.

Wow, I never thought about that at all. That is an excellent point.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby Jix on Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:19 pm

Top tip? Don't give up!
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby timber on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:13 pm

Install /home on a separate partition ...
... this way if/when something goes wrong it's as simple as reinstalling the OS to easily get back to your previous configuration.
[Think of the "root partition" as the behind the scenes portion (until you learn more you shouldn't need to mess with it) while your "/home partition" is where you keep your stuff. Hidden files on your /home partition contain the configuration (e.g. Browser, E-mail client, installed software etc)]
Reading about using Gparted ... this will help you learn about setting up and using partitions on your hard drive during your install.
I like my hard drive set up to use three partitions:
1) / ... otherwise know as your "root" partition (10 Gb or so should be plenty big)
2) /home ... your "home" for Documents, Music, Pictures etc (10 Gb or so should be big enough, larger if you store tons of high res photos and videos)
3) swap ... used in conjunction with your computer's "ram" to store files during use (4 Gb or so should be plenty) ... swap partition is/can be set up automatically but it's nice to make a place for it on your hard drive.

As others have said here, read as much as you can and don't be afraid to ask questions.
Enjoy the process, when you learn something new, pat yourself on the back, ya done good.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby webguy64 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:04 pm

Before installing it on a laptop, make sure Mint goes well with your wifi card. Otherwise it just screws your whole computer up.
I dual booted XP and Mint, deleted both and installed XP again and now my laptop can't connect wirelessly!
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby BucolicBuffalo on Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:09 am

The clock. You know, that digital clock applet down in the right corner. You have just downloaded Mint 12 LXDE and you are trying to figure out how to customize your installation. Hopefully you used the search function and it brought you to this post before you tried scanning page after page of backslapping, and "don't go back to windoze" posts.

Go to this page for the basic information. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/LX ... pplet_time

Half way down the page is the list of formats to customize the digital clock so it actually displays in the 12 hour format nearly all of us use every day.

What you need to do is right-click on the clock display and select "Digital Clock Settings"

This format in the first field sets the clock to 12 hour with am/pm, and the date in d/m/y. %I:%M %p %d %b %Y

Close the applet and you are done. Yes, this seemingly simple task can be a real pain when you may have learned to do it differently in other Linux distributions.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby TheGrepper on Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:13 pm

midnight gypsy wrote:
r0berto wrote:
deanom wrote:Hi
I'm thinking of trying Mint for the first time, and have no experience of using any Linux distros. What are your top tips for me BEFORE my DVD arrives?
Possible topics:
Installation
Connecting to the Internet
Problem Solving
Please note that technical instructions will need to be pretty basic.
Thanks

Deano
Lincolnshire
England


I've been using Linux off and on since Red Hat 1.0 back in the mid 90's. What I can say is: DON'T BE AFRAID TO BREAK YOUR MACHINE! It's how you will learn. I can't stress that enough. Read, research, and read some more. Know your video card, and be prepared to try a couple of different drivers. Same for Wifi. If possible, have a hardwire ethernet connection available in case things break, and you can't get on the internet. GUI is nice, BUT LEARN TO LOVE THE COMMAND LINE! Learn handheld vacuum useful command line tools like vi, nano, grep, etc. It will save your bacon when you find you have to recover your system. Heck, it's just plain easier in general anyway. Oh yeah, and compile a custom kernel at least once. It's truly geek zen.

Don't get caught up in the political fanboyism of KDE/Gnome/etc. Find one that works for you aesthetically and stick with it. Learn it inside out. They each have their upsides and downsides, and at the end of the day, it's still just a computer. A tool that is an extension of its user. (Why does that sound TRON-ish?)

Find the people here who are genuinely interested in helping and ask questions.

Oh yeah, and welcome to Mint!


So true, When I was introduce to linux. I couldn't even spell the word computer.. Actually I hated them. I was force to buy an use one. A friend of mine, who kept pushing linux( Mandrake 8). Finally said, You can keep getting viruses with Windows. Or you can learn what your computer is doing and why. He also said... Worst case if you screw up " REINSTALL".... It was these words that made me brave enough to click on everything.. Just to see and learn. Because of his advice and words. He now calls me. When he has a problem. So click and tweak away bud... You'll learn.... Merry Christmas....... Russ





I'm finding the same thing, buddy of mine convinced me to install Mint and I'm just kinda experimenting randomly.

I admit that I still have a 2nd computer with Windows 7 on it "just in case". It's more as a backup and a bit of reassurance that I won't be without a computer, even if I do horrible things to the linux box.

So far so good though, haven't managed to break it beyond repair and I'm even getting a little comfortable with the command line.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby Louie928 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:27 am

I have been using Linux for four or five years. I'm not a guru by any means, but I can get around in Linux ok. I tried a few distros the time I was starting, Ubuntu, Suse, probably Mint, Fedora, and Mandriva. I eventually settled on Mandriva. Mandriva (the company) has been going through some tough times recently so I thought I'd look around and see how other distros worked if Mandriva went away. The last upgrade to Mandriva 2011.0 didn't go so smooth for me. A friend of mine uses Mint so I gave that a try. Here are my impressions and some of the things I learned. I downloaded the non-free .iso file and burned that to a DVD. I installed it on a spare hard drive that is identical to the one Mandriva is on so the comparison would be apples to apples. The installation went without a problem and I chose the default options where available. I really like the clean look of Mint. It boots up quickly and reliably. No hangs or crashes. I read the user guide. An icon to load it is presented on the Welcome screen (a nice touch) to get familiar. I felt the user guide could be more explicit in informing a new user how to get the different Gnome desktops. It took me a while to find that I had to log out, click the gear icon on the log in screen to choose the different desktop. I had selected automatic logon during installation so I never was presented with the log in box unless I logged out first. My first recommendation would be to select the "Mate" desktop. The others have very limited menu choices. The System Tools menu is most disappointing because many needed items are missing and those that are there have limited options for changing configuration. An example is that Mint did identify my local network printer, but no option to load the necesary printer driver so the printer didn't work. I was able to get the printer to work by bringing up Firefox and going to "Localhost:631". That gets you to the CUPS site and the correct printer driver can be installed and configured from there using intuitive menus. The user guide is silent on this. The "Mate" desktop does give you greater number of choices with the System Tools having more useful applets. The printer configuration choice, in "Administration, Printing" lets you select from many printer drivers and set up the printer the way you want. Even with Mate, there is no GUI applet to manage users and groups. You can go to the terminal command line and use "adduser". That works, but probably scary for a beginner. Or, go to the terminal, enter "su" and your password to act as root. Then enter, "sudo apt-get install gnome-system-tools" (no quotes) to install a GUI that easily lets you manage users and groups from winthin "Administration". Why do you need to worry about users and groups? You might want to try VirtualBox to run Windows from within Mint. You need to add yourself to the vboxusers group to be able to use all the features of VirtualBox. Mint recognized my home network, and internet connection, and configured itself to work without any intervention from me.

Bottom line is that Mint is very attractive, easy to install, system updates went without a hitch. If all you want to do is basic things it'll do it right out of the box. If you want to do more, such as getting your printer to work, you may need to dig a little deeper. Fortunately, the forum is great with quick response, and looking through the existing topics will probably get you the answer without even having to post a question. For me at this time, I'll stick with Mandriva PowerPak. It is just too easy to use and the "control panel" is more powerful for configuration although Mint Mate is close.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby outfieldgrass on Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:49 pm

My tip is to have patience and keep trying distro's until you find one that fits what you are looking for. I spent almost a month before I settled on two that I liked and finally on Linux Mint as a full time OS. Takes a lot of patience though. Stick with it and its worth it.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby nathanjh13 on Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:40 am

I made this one page visual guide to desktop environments. I think/hope it's correct.

download/file.php?id=9843

Might help new users.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby johnl1 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:32 pm

Being a newbie myself, my top tip is before you do anything, back up your important data, especialy the work you have just spent hours working on.
I know this tip is blatantly obvious, but you will be suprised the amount of people, myself included, who have wasted lots of their precious time by failing to do this.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Postby Halzen on Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:33 pm

I have two tips for newbies:

1. Learn to Google, learn to Wiki, and learn to forum. You are never going to be the first person to run into a problem. I've been tinkering with Linux since 2009, and I still need to Google things now and then.

2. Don't be afraid of the terminal or other command-line interfaces. GUI is nice, but terminal commands often get things done more quickly and more accurately. I haven't used a GUI to install or update packages in quite some time.
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