Pete2919 wrote:Bare bones was perhaps the wrong choice of words, as a lot of members have said what many of us really want is some choices on installation. A choice of browser, perhaps SoftMaker or Kingsoft Office as an alternative to Libre Office, and so on.
But I have found a flaw in my own argument. Apparently Ubuntu is built in the same manner as Windows, the "Base Package" of software in Ubuntu is used by the operating system and removing any part of that package can make the system unstable. If this assertion is right then creating a lightweight installation would probably cause numerous unexpected problems making the exercise far more complicated than it might seem at first. All the complaint of Ubuntu being unstable may be in part due to users customizing the system and unwittingly removing critical files as they do so.
Probably the safest policy for a "noobe" like me is to simply install the alternative programs I want and leave the rest to gather dust.
A speck of helpful information for "noobe" as you say (and I was a "noobe" once you know
Okay, maybe a bit more than a speck...
In the case of Linux Mint (or any distro for that matter), you can actually remove any of the 3rd party applications without affecting the the stability of the system one bit. By 3rd party applications I mean things like:
Pretty much everything you find in the "Graphics", "Internet", "Office and Sound" and "Video" menu entries you can remove safely but only
as long as you remove just
the applications and not the configurations you won't have a problem (as in selecting "Mark for removal"
in Synaptic and not "Mark for complete removal"
for example). However, don't just do a wholesale removal. Remove one application at a time whether you have a replacement for it or just want to get rid of it. If you want to replace an application then do so before moving on to the next application.
If you find you've removed something that you want to reinstall again then you simply reinstall it. The "configuration" files left behind for a particular application will return it to the same settings as when you removed them. So, if you had set up Firefox to your liking but decided remove it and replace it with Midori and later wanted Firefox back, your Firefox settings and profile will still be there once you reinstall.
You cannot remove system applications like the file manager ("Nemo" in Cinnamon or "Caja" in MATE) as these are responsible for controlling the desktop as well as being a file manager. So, if you're not absolutely sure that the application you want to remove is a 3rd party application, don't remove it.
You may have to tweak associations a bit if you replace a 3rd party app for another but that's easy. For instance, if you replace Libreoffice with Kingsoft and the system doesn't automatically change the file associations, then you can just right-click on any office document file, select "Properties" and under the "Open with" tab, choose the application you want to open the file with and set it as default. The system will then remember your choice from then on.
For a person just switching from Windows to any Linux distro (or even switching from Windows to a Mac), even one as user friendly as Linux Mint, there's a bit of a learning curve and the learning is pretty much mandatory and can be very enjoyable too. Using a Linux distro means you now own your OS and can pretty much make it the way you want it. Yes, there are some things you don't want to change if you're new to Linux but these are things you really don't want to change anyway.
And if you need help, the Linux Mint forums are the place to ask for it.
"Humph. Choice, it is the quintessential Linux delusion, simultaneously the source of it's greatest strength, and it's greatest weakness." (All apologies to The Architect)