New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

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XP-refugee
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New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by XP-refugee » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:07 am

tldr: It's beautifully boring. And possibly with a big future with XP refugees.

The vicissitudes of existence washed me up on a shore with only MS XP PCs available. And it began to seem just a matter of time before Something Bad would Happen with XP being used by a large chunk of the world's computers and increasingly without support for security, antivirus programs or even up-todate browsers.
Having listened to some 19 years of well intentioned but mis-guided people claiming that everyone can run Linux on their PC and wasting some 40 hours testing their claims over the last 18 years I wasn't at confident that running Linux on my desktop would be viable. However I knew that much of my work was in browsers, and I have been using Open Office variants for a long time. And then I was also hopeful that Linux would have advanced in user friendliness - well some flavours at least, if the claims I was reading weren't the deluded dreams of people who needed to get out more.

So I pulled out the worst speced laptop I had (ASUS AJ6 with 1 Gb of ram and a T2300 processor) and put Linux Mint on it.
And hot doggity doo it works. Well, pretty much. It does have long pauses when I open lots of tabs. And Firefox occasionally grovels apologetically and whines that it it has disgraced itself by having to close down. But usually it gets a smile back on it's little face and goes back to browsing.
So I thought, "This is great but it needs a bigger collar so it can breath", so I ordered a T7200 cpu and 4 GB of Ram of ebay for $25 in banana republic Australian dollars. The cpu slotted right in and things seem somewhat faster sometimes but the ram hasn't arrived on the slow-boat yet and so things still seize-up in a ischemic-insufficiency induced stand-still.

With my new friend startpage I have been able to find solutions to every software puzzle I've had:
Connecting my Kobo.
Putting CyanogenMod onto an old phone.
Putting Firefox into the startup folder.
Scanning photos - a rather bizarrly simple experience without all the gimcrackery that Windows injects.
Well not every puzzle - Burning CDs goes nowhere good - but lets see what some ram does.

Those little "$ sudo app get" recipes that are found in forums and linux blogs are really helpful. A necessity actually.

Now to the downside:
I fear that advertisers think that I have become staid and unexciting, I'm not getting offers of Russian, Ukrainian or Muslim brides, nor casino opportunities, Billy's long cold fingers no longer seem to appear in my trouser pockets.
And computing in general has become much less exciting. To the extent that I think I should really be doing much less of it.

The only silliness that I've come across so far is that apps/programs do not have stable names. Was it Sound-Juicer and Sound Juicer. Searching for one doesn't show the other. Etc. This would appear to be something that could be fixed.

And I noticed that, except for CD burning, I didn't have windows popping up out of nowhere and asking difficult or inane questions.
Have any of you tried to get a computer working for your low IT-skilled elders?
Those pop-up windows really mess them up.
So I got out the better HP 100 laptop, threw a $90 bunch of bananas at it in the shape of a new functioning HDD, put on Linux Mint, and set it up for a low IT-skilled elder, with news, weather, youtube, email tabs set to launch with the computer.
So far that is working well. A long hdmi cable gives a giant TV monitor if needed. And I don't get phone calls saying, "What should I do with these boxes that are on the front of the screen?".

With global XP users forming a group only some 30% smaller than global Mac users there seems a possibility for Linux Mint to grow its market share as XP users are squeezed by non-availability of essentials, (or perceived essentials at any case).
While Linux has come a long way from 1998 when I first wasted time on it there are un-necessary obstacles to low IT-skilled new users. Sensible app naming practices, search aliases even, and more, and more accurate, recipes would have made my adoption into the Linux family even easier. Those Linux blog writers and forum contributors do a great job already - but they could sometimes remember that some of their audience is even lower skilled than they can remember ever being.

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michael louwe
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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by michael louwe » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:00 am

@ XP-refugee, .......
XP-refugee wrote:So I pulled out the worst speced laptop I had (ASUS A6J with 1 Gb of ram and a T2300 processor) and put Linux Mint on it.
.
Fyi, such a low-specced and old-2006 laptop should be running Linux Mint 17.0 Xfce(supported till April 2019), and not LM Cinnamon. You can also try running it on LM 18.0 Xfce, which is supported till 2021.

In general, old computers are more compatible with old OS, especially in terms of peripheral device drivers availability in the Linux kernel.

For Win XP-era computers, please refer to ... https://fossbytes.com/best-lightweight-linux-distros/

Even though most modern OS have backward-compatibility with old technology(eg Legacy BIOS) and old hardware devices(eg IDE/PATA HDD), this may be limited to about 12 years old.
... It is always better to run a modern OS on recent or new computers running recent or new processors, and not on very old computers/processors, eg LM 18.3 or Win 10 on Dell XPS 15 with Kabylake processors.

When a device is about 10 years old, the owners should already be budgeting for a new device, eg car, computer, TV, etc.
... OTOH, M$, Apple and the OEMs want to shorten this device replacement cycle to about 4 years, ie Planned Obsolescence, so as to increase their profit$.

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Pjotr » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:38 am

For burning optical disks, use Xfburn. Best little burning app I know; very reliable and stable.

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install xfburn
Furthermore, apply these safe speed tweaks:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/3
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

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Artim
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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Artim » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:40 am

I second the Linux Mint Xfce motion. I just "inherited" a hand-me-down-computer with similar specs and it flies along really fast on Xfce Mint 18.

Your other, older computer might run better on Linux Lite which also uses the Xfce desktop.

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Appoloin » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:41 am

Pjotr wrote:For burning optical disks, use Xfburn. Best little burning app I know; very reliable and stable.

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install xfburn
Furthermore, apply these safe speed tweaks:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/3
Updating Cdrtools might help. If you need burning software with more functionality try K3b

The History of Cdrtools
http://cdrtools.sourceforge.net/private/cdrecord.html

XP-refugee
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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by XP-refugee » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:14 am

Thanks to you all for your suggestions about other Linux versions that are probably more suitable and burning software.

I'll see how this one on LM Mate 18.3 goes once it has 4 GB of ram.

"Flying" does sound very attractive.
And the thought of trying different versions doesn't fill me with dread as much as it used to.

Thanks very much for those speed tweaks. Yay for cookbook computing. The page looks like a really good way to get some familiarity with using the terminal. (If other former XP users turn up they'll probably also be looking for better versions and speed tweaks for their old machines.)

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by x17Wolf » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:23 pm

XP-refugee wrote: Have any of you tried to get a computer working for your low IT-skilled elders?
Those pop-up windows really mess them up.
I absolutely agree! That was the reason to gave my mother (84 years old at that time) an Linux Ubuntu 10.04.03 LTS Version. At that Time I was living and working in China while my mother was living in Germany. I was fed up by the Question my mother rose like "What is an update?"..
Also the machine was too old for the new features in the internet. So a new/old laptop should be handed over to my mothers hand. An old lady who has no clue about IT. So I have chosen an Lenovo/IBM Laptop with UBUNTU 10 and... No questions from my mother any more, the machine did what it should do - working.
The trick was: I did not tell my mother that is a Linux machine. I tried to make the desktop looking as before on XP.
Finally she found out that it was not Windows any more, but what it was she didn't know. I told her later (one year ago) but at that time she was already get used to the handling of the new system.
And the machine is still working till today :)

That's my experience.

Have fun

XP-refugee
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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by XP-refugee » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:27 am

I want to remind you helpful and knowledgeable people here about the fear that many XP users will have when you suggest changing to other versions of Linux to them.

I'm not saying don't to do it.

Rather that many of us XP users have not changed OS in 16 years - and have resisted all previous attempts to get us to change.
Changing OS's is something we don't take lightly - for some XP users it will probably really be a case of "from my cold dead hands". And others who do arrive here won't be that far away from maintaining the death-grip.

If it helps: Think of the Linux community as the occupants of Frankenfurter's castle. And us XP refugees as very inhibited, prim and proper people whose old wreck of a car has broken down near-by and so we have sought shelter from the raging storm. It'll take some time before we're ready to join in Frank-N-Furter singing "I'm Going Home" even though clearly it is a wonderful thing.

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by michael louwe » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:10 am

@ XP-refugee, .......

Many software and hardware are dropping support for or do not support Win XP, eg the Chrome and Firefox browsers, SSDs, etc. It is inevitable that Win XP will really reach EOL eventually, just like Win 3.1 and Win 95 did. In another 5 years, the same thing will happen to Win 7.
... Similarly, 16bit software, floppy-discs, CRT monitors and PS2 keyboards are mostly obsolete.

Installing windows XP on newer Intel machines (as of 2016) is no longer practical, or even possible. ...
https://confluence.cornell.edu/display/ ... since+2016

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by XP-refugee » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:06 am

... Many software and hardware are dropping support for or do not support Win XP, eg the Chrome and Firefox browsers, SSDs, etc. ...
This, as they say, is my lived experience.
As I wrote in the OP, "... XP being used by a large chunk of the world's computers and increasingly without support for security, antivirus programs or even up-todate browsers."
This is the objective basis of why I'm here.

What I am pointing at is that many people who finally manage to change their OS to say LM Mate 18.3 after 14 - 16 years on XP will probably find the idea of changing again to a different Linux version somewhat threatening.
They might need to feel much more secure in their ability to work in the Linux framework before they'll understand that you are offering very good advice.

For you changing Linux versions might be analogous to changing the radio station playing in the car.
For them changing Linux versions may seem like a roadside re-build of the engine and transmission on a 40 degree Celsius day.

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Pjotr » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:30 am

XP-refugee wrote:For you changing Linux versions might be analogous to changing the radio station playing in the car.
For them changing Linux versions may seem like a roadside re-build of the engine and transmission on a 40 degree Celsius day.
The differences in the Linux Mint editions, as far as average use is concerned, are rather small.... :)

A comparison (with screenshots of the desktops):
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/mint
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Moem » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:54 am

XP-refugee wrote:What I am pointing at is that many people who finally manage to change their OS to say LM Mate 18.3 after 14 - 16 years on XP will probably find the idea of changing again to a different Linux version somewhat threatening.
I'm not sure I agree. After all, it's something they just did: installing Linux. That was the big jump, and they know they managed it once, and can probably manage it again.
At least, that's how I felt, two years ago.
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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Pierre » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:23 am

so, I've helped a few Folks, move from Ye Old Faithful - - to some thing more modern:
- some to the World of Windows-10 :roll: but, that's what they wanted.
and had to "hold their hand" for some time, as This is Seriously Different . . .
- some more 'enlightened' Folks, who have seen / played with some of my PCs
over to "something that is a Tad More Secure". 8)
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and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by XP-refugee » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:04 pm

At least, that's how I felt, two years ago.
I'll predict that there is, and will be, a wide range of confidence amongst those who have successfully moved from XP to Linux.
I took me some 18 years of trying and failing before I got here. I've got ?40 hours of experiencing attempted moves to Linux as a complete waste of time pushing against the idea of changing to a different Linux version.
So my latest effort was a success? But maybe I just got lucky and my next attempt will be like all those other failures?

I spent New Years Eve putting a new OS on a phone. It took me about 7 hours on the night after I'd done about 6 hours reading and searching previously.
Whilst a repeat would be doubtless quicker I won't be messing with phones again unless I have to.

If there are versions of Linux that are as easy to install as LM Mate 18.3 was for me and which are very suitable for old computers that are currently running on XP then the best time to steer XP leavers towards a good version/distro is probably before they've taken the plunge and installed a specific Linux version.
Clearly some XP refugees are and will be quite up to changing to some other Linux distro/version soon after getting Linux working.
Others will be shaken and need many months of Linux running smoothly before they feel secure enough to voluntarily change version/distro.
It's not that they can't be guided - just that some will need to be guided very gently.

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Moem » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:16 pm

XP-refugee wrote:If there are versions of Linux that are as easy to install as LM Mate 18.3 was for me and which are very suitable for old computers that are currently running on XP then the best time to steer XP leavers towards a good version/distro is probably before they've taken the plunge and installed a specific Linux version.
Oh sure. It's just that most of them are not yet posting here in that stage, so there's not a whole lot we can do, as a Mint forum.
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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by MartyMint » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:21 pm

XP-refugee wrote:
If it helps: Think of the Linux community as the occupants of Frankenfurter's castle.
There's a light...



...over at Clement Lefebvre's place...

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by BG405 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:36 pm

+1 for the K3b recommendation. It's the best I've seen so far and hasn't let me down. This, along with Kdenlive for video work if you need it, is a very good (in fact, superior IMHO) alternative to the functionality of Nero etc. & is great for CD ripping too.

As for installation, once everything is set up the system can be upgraded to later versions without all the headache of setting everything up, although some do prefer a clean installation of new versions. It's also easier for less tech-savvy users to recover from a disaster with Timeshift being included in Mint 18.3.
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Acer D255E 2GB - Manjaro KDE, LM17.3 KDE 32
Toshiba NB305 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Dell PII 350 64MB - Puppy 4.3 & Win98-SE

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by XP-refugee » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:02 am

Thanks to Pjotr for the tweaking guide links. Even with only 1Gb of ram things worked better.

And then the 4Gb of DDR2 ram arrived from China.
But only 3GBof it is visible/usable due, not to the 32 bit OS limitation but, to a chipset limit which reserves the space over3 Gb for "other things". (I checked by trying the live 64GB version of LM Mate 18.3. I suspect michael louwe's post containing worrying thoughts about other versions helped set me up to take a braver stance and not cower in the face of strange technology. And Moem's modelling of a positive approach to the horrors of software probably helped too.)

But with 3GB of ram I can burn CDs no problems. And open +30 browser tabs with videos playing in some of them while listening to a CD on Rhythmbox.
This is more responsive than I remember XP ever being.

I struck a lean patch trying to transcode ten audio files (provided cheerfully by youtube-dl) - everything I tried either didn't have a GUI, wanted me to do the tracks one at a time, or name them manually or apparently gave me no control over the output format, or just didn't want to play.

Then I tried Clementine - now there is a program that makes transcoding audio as easy and as biddable as I want it to be.

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Re: New user evaluates Linux after one month on Mint

Post by Rayser » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:28 am

I have a Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon with my I3-2330m working fine.

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