Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

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hat_man
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Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by hat_man » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:31 pm

I would hate for my first post here to be in the wrong spot, but if it is I apologize.

That being said, to make a very long story short.....old laptop on it's last leg, slightly developmentally disabled son and technologically disabled wife have no interest in learning anything new so had to buy another PC for them. Me, I've been wanting to learn Linux (or at least try) for quite some time but was afraid to put two OS on the "family" machine. Now I have an old one to use as a learning tool.

After wading through quite a few Google searches I think have decided on Mint as my first attempt. It was a toss up between Mint and Ubuntu, but the more I read, the more I liked Mint. It seems like a good "entry level" OS and I had read some negativity about Ubuntu. It sounds like Mint is staying true to the concept of open-source and I like that idea. I don't have any experience with Linux but have worked PC's in general use. I do understand trucks though so let me equate this to a truck. PC/Mac/Linux are like brands (Chevy/Dodge/Ford). Fedora/Ubuntu/Mint are like models (Explorer/F-150/Ranger.) And as for as Mint is concerned, MATE/KDE/XFCE (Design Environments?) are like trim packages (Sport/Edge/XLT).

Like I said I have pretty much decided on Linux and Mint. I just can't decide on a trim package. I don't need flashy or fast. What I need is reliable and stable. A good reliable entry level 2 wheel drive, 4 cylinder, automatic transmission Ranger XLT. I looked at the screen shots of the different DE's (?) but not knowing how each one interacts with Mint in general I am still not sure of exactly what I was seeing. I like the way Mint resembles Windows as far as the desktop goes. That's the Graphic User Interface (GUI) right? As I become more familiar with Linux I'll think about learning more "involved" things. Like a 5-speed (using the Command line) and maybe some upgrades like newer tires and rims and paint (different DE's) and adding new and interesting options (software to do more things). Maybe someday in the distant future I can build my own Ford show truck or drag truck, but for now I just want an old reliable Ford Ranger. I was thinking MATE or KDE, but those may have been knee jerk reactions to understanding only part of what I was reading. Cinnamon seems to be a love it or hate it proposition. I'm just not sure I want to have my first attempt to be on the hate it side.

I am open to all suggestions and advice and am eager to get rid of the PC monkey that's been on my back for so long.
Last edited by killer de bug on Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: moved to chat as this is not strickly a support request

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Mr.October » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:26 pm

First of all, welcome here on the forums. Always good to have new people here so the group gets bigger and bigger.

When you write you have an old laptop to use for Linux, how old is old? Can you give some details about it: what brand and model, processor, amount of ram, videocard.
Thing is, at the end of your story you write you want to chose between KDE and XFCE. If the laptop is old then I would suggest XFCE because it runs better on older hardware. The DE is light, much lighter than KDE which is the flagship of DE's. I use it here on my computer but it is, in your language, a Corvette Stingray. Then it is great fun to use KDE because it simply looks amazing and works very well.

Please write your laptop details and then we can continue this discussion to see what will be best for you.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Pjotr » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:46 pm

When in doubt, select "flag ship" Cinnamon. :)

But it depends on the system specifications, as Mr.October already rightly remarked. What are they?
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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Ozo » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:04 pm

This is from a new guys perspective. Think 16 year old with new license. I am real happy with my Mint 17.3 "Rosa" Cinnamon. I like the way it looks and handles. It is user friendly and hardware/software seems to be compatible even though it is relatively new. The folks who hate Cinnamon are probably old timers who are used to the systems that they are familiar with. Looks are real important to me . This one look just like Windows. It is easy to use too. I have had mine for less than a week and every issue I had has been resolved with the help of the friendly folks here at Linux Mint. Yes, I had to get familiar with the terminal. There are videos on Youtube which show the systems off. Here is a Cinnamon vid which I think portrays Cinnamon off well;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyuREsU9uLw
Here is a screenshot of mine with an enlarged panel and Chrome browser. Click on the picture and hit F11 (fullscreen).
Cinnamint.png
Here is a picture of the menu but it is black not blue.
P1310025.JPG

GOOD LUCK! :D
Last edited by Ozo on Sat Jan 30, 2016 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Habitual » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:10 pm

TL:DR - Keep coming back, it works.
Welcome to LM!

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Crewp » Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:05 pm

Welcome to the world of Linux Mint, as mentioned above, a lot depends on system resources and taste. Cinnamon and KDE use a lot of resources, Mate and Xfce less. The thing about Linux is, it is up to you, and what your PC can handle, don't be afraid to experiment. Enjoy.
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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by all41 » Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:14 pm

hat_man
Welcome aboard--this forum is an excellent learning tool.
Enjoy your new found freedom

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by cholq » Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:24 pm

to continue with your truck analogy... take one for a test drive.

load one of the various Mint ISOs on a USB stick and try it out. You don't even have to install it, you can just run a live session and see if you like it. If you don't, or if it is just a little too slow, try a different ISO for one of the other desktops. You don't have to commit to installing it until you've actually decided that you like it.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by hat_man » Sat Jan 30, 2016 10:14 pm

Thanks for the replies. The machine isn't too very old. I think my son was using it while I was working out of town for 6 months. He can be a little "aggressive" when things don't go his way. The machine crashed and the technologically disabled wife gave it to a relative to fix. Guy swore it needed a new HD after wiping the old one and not being able to fix it. Now it is so horribly slow. Can't even have two pages open and scroll through an article without it hesitating. Almost like a bad video "buffering" it's way to the end. It could still be a hardware problem but it did give me an excuse to have a machine to play with. It's an Acer machine. Came pre-loaded with Win7, AMD Dual Core Processor and AMD Radeon graphics. 4G RAM and the old HD was 250G I think. What he put in here now (I'm actually using it but it's not happy) I really don't know. I can actually feel the dang HD spinning up under the touch pad. Man is it loud. Wife and son like the new machine (Dell nicely loaded with all the usual M$ bloatware and Win10).

I'll have to think about loading a version on a jump drive and giving it a go. I hope this info helps. Any other thoughts?

p.s. Mr. October....Can't do a Stingray. Not a big fan of the Bowties. Kind of an old Blue Oval fan. You must have meant Mustang.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Mr.October » Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:17 am

hat_man wrote:
p.s. Mr. October....Can't do a Stingray. Not a big fan of the Bowties. Kind of an old Blue Oval fan. You must have meant Mustang.
Sorry, I really did mean Corvette Stingray
69chev34599-1.jpg
As "cholq" wrote already use usb-sticks to find out which version you like best and which one works best on your computer.
Mint comes in live-dvd versions which you can run without installing them. Okay it runs slower than normal because the OS entirely runs of the DVD (or USB stick which is faster) but you get a nice impression of what it is like.
When you have a dual core I would not use the KDE version, maybe not even Cinnamon but that you have to try for yourself. Mate and XFCE will run just fine.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by hat_man » Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:18 pm

I read the opening about no questions being stupid, but sometimes I just feel silly.

What are the reasons that Cinnamon and KDE might not be good choices for a dual core machine? I'm not going to run Win* and Mint on the same machine or even have them loaded on the same machine. The "old" one is going to be strictly Mint. I Don''t know if that makes any difference anyhow. XFCE looks to be about as simple as it gets and maybe that's where I should start. Any thoughts on that?

If it's not too involved.....What are the differences in something like XFCE (simple) and say KDE (powerful?). I'm only using the letter designations you folks will know what I'm trying to ask. I have no clue what they mean. Debian, Gnome,Unity.......not a clue either. I need to find a "History of Linux" and start reading.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Pjotr » Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:32 pm

hat_man wrote:I read the opening about no questions being stupid, but sometimes I just feel silly.

What are the reasons that Cinnamon and KDE might not be good choices for a dual core machine? I'm not going to run Win* and Mint on the same machine or even have them loaded on the same machine. The "old" one is going to be strictly Mint. I Don''t know if that makes any difference anyhow. XFCE looks to be about as simple as it gets and maybe that's where I should start. Any thoughts on that?

If it's not too involved.....What are the differences in something like XFCE (simple) and say KDE (powerful?). I'm only using the letter designations you folks will know what I'm trying to ask. I have no clue what they mean. Debian, Gnome,Unity.......not a clue either. I need to find a "History of Linux" and start reading.
Some info (with screenshots): https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/mint
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Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Ozo » Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:26 pm

hat_man wrote: What he put in here now (I'm actually using it but it's not happy) I really don't know. I can actually feel the dang HD spinning up under the touch pad. Man is it loud.
You can get a blazing fast (think nitrous) 120 GB solid state drive for just $40 and load your Linux on that and give that old drive to your relative for Christmas next year. Better to have a v8 than that 4 banger. :mrgreen:

I will look up a replacement for you if you give me the model # of your Acer laptop. I am not sure what size your laptop uses. If it was a V8 with a blower you could just cut a hole in the hood. :roll: O, and that ssd is totally silent (no glass packs) as well as cool running.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by hat_man » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:32 pm

Thank you Pjotr for the link. After reading it it looks like it's down to a choice between Cinnamon and XFCE. KDE looks to be a rather advanced DE and way above my head and skill level. Not a good learning tool. XFCE looks to be the simplest, but I really do like the look of Cinnamon. But from what Mr. October was saying Cinnamon might not be a good choice for a dual core machine. What thoughts do you all have on the dual core situation? If it only has to do with running both Win* and Mint on the same machine then that might make my mind up. This is going to be a Mint only machine. If there are other reasons, I would like to learn about them and then that will make the decision easier. If dual core and Cinnamon aren't very compatible for a super beginner like me then XFCE is definitely my choice. Mate looks like it is becoming somewhat obsolete (at least from Pjotr's link) and not something I really want to explore. I know......just download a version and give it a try, but the OCD in me just won't let me do it until I've explored all the options and eliminated the ones I don't want.

As a side note......this is the only site I have found that this handicapped machine actually runs well on. Very smooth. No stalling out. Scroll without hesitation. If this is in any way because of how the website is built (Linux based?) then absolutely count me in.

Thanks

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by LinuxJim » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:47 pm

hat_man wrote:If dual core and Cinnamon aren't very compatible for a super beginner like me then XFCE is definitely my choice.
From what you've described, I think your machine is up to the task for any Linux desktop, including KDE. Dual core is not an issue. 4GB RAM is plenty for most things. Radeon graphics will handle the eye candy pretty well.

The machine is fine, so it's really up to personal choice, and XFCE is a good one. Nothing says you have to choose just one, either...

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by helloimustbegoing » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:18 pm

I'm curious why you've discounted MATE. I am fairly new myself and have used both XFCE and MATE. I much prefer MATE over XFCE. Most everything is customizable, including the "looks," so don't let those screenshots scare you away from MATE. (I don't see anything obsolete looking about the MATE screenshot; can you elaborate?)

EDIT:
Okay, I've read Pjotr's writeup on it; maybe that's it? Pjotr, can you elaborate on this?
Its reliance on the "old" Gnome 2 means, however, that it's nowadays not very advanced any more and lacks certain modern features. Furthermore, as its Gnome 2-code base is largely abandoned and no longer in development, Mate is likely to lose usability in the coming years.

But it seems that the developers are working on a transition to a modern code base, so Mate might have a long-term future after all...

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... fce-or-KDE

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by majpooper » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:40 pm

Welcome aboard Hat. I know this is a Linux Mint forum but I will share with you that I have installed lubuntu on a really old desktop a seven year old HP laptop that sounds kinda like what you have. I even put in on an old MacMini. lubuntu is derived from Unbuntu, obviously as Mint is. the "l" standa for light and it is - very light actually and the old junk that I put it on runs amazingly well. Just a thought. All the linux distros are free - typically easy to install - so I say try a few out and see what works best for you.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by killer de bug » Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:07 pm

helloimustbegoing wrote: Okay, I've read Pjotr's writeup on it; maybe that's it? Pjotr, can you elaborate on this?
MATE is fully supported and currently under development. It is being ported to newer libraries. It received a lot of new features coming from Cinnamon less than 6 months ago. Now with Mint team forking some apps, compatibility issues will be even less likely.

MATE has a future.
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by Pjotr » Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:55 pm

killer de bug wrote:MATE has a future.
Yes, that has become likely, indeed. I'll rewrite that section of my web page a bit. :)
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Re: Hello, I'm hat_man and I'm a PC-aholic

Post by austin.texas » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:37 pm

All models of Mint are built on the same chassis imported from Ubuntu.
Mint offers customization in the form of 4 trim packages -
xfce - a simpler, but effective, desktop - a SmartCar
Mate - a step up (in my opinion) - still not too complex.
Cinnamon - about like going for a Dodge Charger SRT8 - loaded.
KDE - Hummer H1 - can be stripped for performance.
Hummer.jpg
Hummer.jpg (12.11 KiB) Viewed 771 times
In choosing, there are 2 things that are fairly different in different desktops - the file managers and , to an extent, the main menu. My preference is the Nemo file manager in Cinnamon. The file manager in KDE (Dolphin) is also excellent.

The reason Mate and xfce are recommended for older machines is that Cinnamon and KDE use 3D acceleration, and so make heavier demands on the graphics card.
Last edited by austin.texas on Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mint 18.2 Cinnamon, Quad core AMD A8-3870 with Radeon HD Graphics 6550D, 8GB DDR3, Ralink RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI
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