New to Linux and Mint...

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Engine66
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New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Engine66 »

Hello,
I have a couple of questions regarding my new path in Linux and Mint.

1. I live in the USA and am not 100% sure which edition of Mint 8 I should install, "Main" or "International"?
I read in the Mint Reviews section, something about restrictions on some software distribution in the USA and am not sure where I fall in that?

2. Since I am new to Linux, should I get a Linux book to get a foundation on the OS, so as to get the most out of Mint? If so, which one? I know I can't find a book on Mint but maybe a book on Ubuntu or something? Or, should I just install Mint and work with it and utulize these forums and more or less, do it "hands on"?

Thanks,
Engine
Last edited by Engine66 on Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Midnighter
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Midnighter »

Hello Engine66. I'm from Australia, and many use Main, but I chose to grab and install Universal, and add whet I needed, stripping out unwanted locale and language packs. It's not difficult to add what is required, most is asked for by the syatem when you need it. Try to pklay an mp3 or avi and it will ask to install the required codecs, asking for your password to do so. If you just want everything off the bat, and not want to fiddle much, or not worried about silly laws, just install main. But Universal would be the safer choice in USA. Cheers. :)
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Helmut »

Hi engine66,
Im on a crappy internet connection in a hospital and just posted a reply that got lost to nowhere, so here's a really quick answer before the internet collapses again.

Point1: I agree with midnighter

Point2:
I suggest putting the .pdf Mint-Manual on your desktop for quick reference. You can download good books on Linux real easy. It is helpful and does make sense.
On the other hand, we Mint users are particularly proud of having a damn good software that can be used without needing a computer science degree first. An example: My sixteen year old daughter has had both Windows and Linux on her box since 2002. Linux has come a very long way since then. When Mint started, she was amongst the first users. Meanwhile I cannot recall her asking for any help about Mint, it is just so self explanitory.
Anyhow, there is always the forum for help. But do please read "read this before you post" and some other of the sticky posts in the newbie section. It will save you time and effort. Have fun!
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by FedoraRefugee »

To clarify point 1, in the US it is NOT illegal for YOU to have these codecs! It is only illegal to distribute them (without paying the royalties, or whatever). This means that Clem has to offer the limited ISO. But you will have no problems downloading and using the universal ISO. There is no point in installing all this stuff separately.

As far as point 2, you can certainly find MANY resources to learn Linux. Most important remember this; Linux is Linux! What you learn in Mint is applicable to any distro. There are specialized differences such as package management or rpm vs. deb, but for the most part the skills you learn will carry across the board through any distro.

I suggest you simply install Mint and start using it. Everyone is different in what they will want to know and do. If you are content just using your computer to surf the web and write a letter now and then you will not need to learn ANYTHING about Linux. Just use it. As you dig deeper you will need to learn more. Maybe you need software that is not available in a deb download? Then you learn to build from source, it is easy enough. The point is you conquer these things as they come up. You do not need a Ph. D. to use Linux, my 5 year old daughter uses Mint just fine. My 8 year old son is almost a guru himself. Learn by doing. If you get stuck someone here will gladly help you out.

Just do it! :D
Engine66
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Engine66 »

Point 1. What actually constitutes "distributing"? Are you talking about "mass distribution" or between friends and family? Which "proprietory" software is in question? By the way, I was under the impression that all software, including dvd playback programs were "open source" partners? I'm confused now.
Is it that if I wanted to "distribute" my copy of Mint, then I would have to make sure it didn't have certain proprietory software on it and the recipient of my copy would simply have to download their own proprietory software programs from the internet/source?
How does downloading an ISO of Mint from this site change this? Sorry if this sounds dumb but I really need to know exactly how this works and exactly my parameters before I install/use Mint.
What am I missing if I only get the "Universal" ISO?

Point 2. I initially intended to simply learn Linux to prepare for employment or hobby. Don't know yet. I've always wanted to incorporate FIrefox and it's email and other programs, etc.
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by vincent »

All software provided by Mint in the Universal edition is indeed free and open-source (free as in speech and beer), but in the Main edition, there are some things that are free but not open-sourced (so, free as in beer but not in speech). Take Adobe Flash Player, for example. It's free (in terms of money spent on it), but it's proprietary and distributing it without the author's permission in the U.S. is wading into murky legal waters. However, since Flash is widely used nowadays and the open-source equivalents of Flash aren't quite there yet, Flash is included in the main distribution of Linux Mint for user convenience and so that it works out of the box. Other restricted media codecs are included, so that new users won't panic when they can't play their favourite movie on Mint because it's formatted with a proprietary codec.

Mint is a great way to ease yourself into the Linux world. The best way to learn stuff is really to try, hands-on, instead of just reading books and books of info that you'll probably forget without actually putting what you learn into practice. ;)
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conslie
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by conslie »

I'm new, in the US, and the main edition was fine. There are versions for different CPU's, so ask if you are uncertain. The CD is a "LiveCD" which means you can give it a trial and play with without any changes being made to your computer's hard drive. Reads from the CD are slower than from a HD, of course, so there is a performance hit. The main edition includes Firefox and Thunderbird as will as much more, so you will be able to do just about anything that you normally do once it is running from the CD. but anything you add or save will be gone when you restart the computer and run Mint from the LiveCD again, unless you save it somewhere other than RAM.

Linux is open source, as are most applications writen for it, but proprietary programs can be written to run within Linux, and some stuff like some codecs are available without charge to the machines on the condition that the downloader does not copy and pass them around, while commercial operations and other large networks might be expected to pay.
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by tower »

Hi, Engin66, if you have a bad internet connection then maybe downloading isn't the best way of getting Mint, look under the download section of the website and you will find you can buy a CD or have a look in the computer magazine section of the local store, they may have Linux Mint on a cover DVD
Engine66
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Engine66 »

So, let me see if I have this right. Even though I live in the USA, I can download/purchase a copy of "Main" ed. and use it to my hearts content as long as I don't attempt to distribute it to others? That means my copy or "extra copies" probably.
So, if I want to share my love of Mint with others, I can just simply take them through the same process to obtain their very own copy via download/purchase from this site, thus obtaining their very own and everyone including Uncle Sam is happy?
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by FedoraRefugee »

Engine66 wrote:So, let me see if I have this right. Even though I live in the USA, I can download/purchase a copy of "Main" ed. and use it to my hearts content as long as I don't attempt to distribute it to others? That means my copy or "extra copies" probably.
So, if I want to share my love of Mint with others, I can just simply take them through the same process to obtain their very own copy via download/purchase from this site, thus obtaining their very own and everyone including Uncle Sam is happy?
As Vincent said, it really is murky. Do not depend on any of us for legal advice, the only way you can be certain is to look up the applicable laws yourself.

That said...If any of the owners of the codecs, such as Adobe, were to make an issue of it they would concentrate on the distribution, not the users, whom they would have a hard time finding in the first place. Remember it is a free download and there is no record except your IP address. I would not sweat it. :D

I am not sure if the powers that be at Mint would actually send you the main edition in the US or not. But as it stands the lead developer of Mint is in Europe and basically untouchable by American law. To the best of my knowledge this issue has never been pursued and no distro has ever been taken to court over this.

As far as you distributing copies of Mint...I would not worry about that either. Not unless you made a major name for yourself and distributed tens of thousands of copies...But I do not see anyone trying to squeeze blood from a rock by picking on some guy for passing out ten CDs, let alone even knowing you exist.

I am a Christian and I go out of my way to always be on the moral high ground. Most would probably laugh at the extents I go to. This situation does not bother me. I am reasonably assured that my take is correct and my downloading and using the main version in the US is legally fine. All the codecs that are used are freely available from their separate manufacturers anyway. As far as actually burning and distributing the ISO to others I am not so certain. I have given a few discs away over the years, but always on a first name, friends and family basis. If I were to seriously think about selling preinstalled computers or widely distributing the ISO then I would give it some more thought considering my values. However, even at that I am sure you would not be bothered if you chose to do so.
Engine66
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Engine66 »

Thanks for exlaining everything. I agree that it's a good idea for me to look things up myself on the applicable laws and such, to know for certain. I find a lot of that reading a bit boring but am always glad to know.
After that, I'll decide if I should get the "Main" or "Universal" edition, although I may just download the "Universal" anyway, as it would give me the opportunity to look for the apps I really want and customize to taste. This will also serve as more education for me, as I'll learn more about the different apps out there and how/where to find them, etc.
Two more things.
1. Is the "Universal" edition free to distribute?
2. Is the Mint 8 "Live CD" the "Universal" edition?

Thanks again,
Engine66
Last edited by Engine66 on Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
tower
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by tower »

I seem to have got my thread mixed?!
Last edited by tower on Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by tower »

But as it stands the lead developer of Mint is in Europe and basically untouchable by American law.
Not really. The Gary McKinnon case proves that the law allows British citizens to be extradited
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_McKinnon

I will say no more on this topic because this forum is not the place for such a discussion but as a British citizen it is one that I have very strong views on!
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by FedoraRefugee »

tower wrote:
But as it stands the lead developer of Mint is in Europe and basically untouchable by American law.
Not really. The Gary McKinnon case proves that the law allows British citizens to be extradited
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_McKinnon

I will say no more on this topic because this forum is not the place for such a discussion but as a British citizen it is one that I have very strong views on!
Yes, that is fairly recent. I have heard about that. Of course the British government made the ruling.

But the precedent is there of course. Especially when the two countries are close allies.

However, I think there is a basic difference here. As a non-American Clem is not obligated to follow our laws. As much as our government might like to believe, it simply cannot control the world. There is a difference between a hacker who breaks into the US military computer system, which is a case of national security, especially in this age of terrorism, and someone passing out ISOs with a few codecs on them, codecs which are free as in beer anyway.

Engine 66, yes, the universal distribution would contain no proprietary code of any kind. (Though MS might still try and claim that some FOSS code is stolen from them! :roll: :lol: ) You are more than free to distribute it anywhere you would like! You will not be able to play most DVDs, mp3s, and though I am not certain on this having never used it, I imagine video drivers and maybe even some wireless drivers will need to be manually installed.

No, the live CD is not the universal edition. There is only one universal edition ISO and it is labeled as such here:

http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

It is a live DVD which weighs in at 1GB.

I also want to point out Clem's language here:
This edition aims to provide the same features as the Main Edition without including proprietary software, patented technologies or support for restricted formats. If you're a magazine, a reseller or a distributor in Japan or in the USA then choose this edition.
If you are just some dude passing out a few discs to friends and neighbors then I do not believe you have any concerns using the main edition.
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Midnighter »

Both Main and universal are "Live" discs, but Universal is too large for cd, so needs a dvd. All the language packs add up. :)
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Engine66 »

I think to stay comfortable and keep it less confusing, I will just get the Universal and manually install my own stuff. I may entertain "multi=media" down the road but until then, my initial focus is to have a solid workstation environment with the necessary software programs to support it, like browsing/email and office-ware that would cross=platform with Windows, like "Open Office" for example. Also, I would need to be able to hook up to a printer.
How does this sound so far?

Thanks again,
Engine66
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by FedoraRefugee »

Engine66 wrote:I think to stay comfortable and keep it less confusing, I will just get the Universal and manually install my own stuff. I may entertain "multi=media" down the road but until then, my initial focus is to have a solid workstation environment with the necessary software programs to support it, like browsing/email and office-ware that would cross=platform with Windows, like "Open Office" for example. Also, I would need to be able to hook up to a printer.
How does this sound so far?

Thanks again,
Engine66
Like a plan! :D
Engine66
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by Engine66 »

Thanks so much for all the help everyone! As I said in my previous post, I'll initially create a "workstation" environment but would like your advice on my ideas here.
I intend to install Firefox for the browser and would like to check out Thunderbird for email but am wondering if it's compatible w/other email clients, like yahoo, hotmail or gmail or just use gmail via Firefox? I would also like to use Open Office for productivity.
I would like to create a Linux workstation that's compatible w/Windows clients where possible.
If anyone finds these choices good or have alternatives, then please let me know.
Also, I do wonder how connecing to a printer will work out?
And, what if I would like to listen to my favorite classical cd whilst working? The music would either be a "commercial music disc(cd ROM)" I purchased a while ago or perhaps an "mp3" recording I burned in Windows, using Rhapsody?
Are there Linux compatible "players" that I can find/install myself? I like music whilst I work. :wink:

Thanks much,
Engine66
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by conslie »

You'll get the best help by posting each question in as a separate new topic, since people who have some interest, skills and experience in each will be more likely to read that thread.

Your question about mail servers is answered here: http://webmail.mozdev.org/

(edit out extraneous word)
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Re: New to Linux and Mint...

Post by vincent »

I'll try to answer some of your questions at best as I can.

Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice.org are all installed by default, so you don't have to worry about installing them. If you're worried about compatibility, I assure you that Firefox is an extremely versatile and compatible browser...heck, pretty much any browser is more compatible and obeys standards than Internet Explorer (compare its abysmal Acid3 score to Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera and you'll get my point). If you use webmail services, I recommend using them in a browser, as that was what they were designed for, really, but if you insist on using webmail with a desktop mail client like Thunderbird, this may help you: http://webmail.mozdev.org/.

OpenOffice.org is also an excellent tool for productivity, and if you've ever used Microsoft Office 2003, you should feel right at home with it. Word = Writer, Excel = Calc, Powerpoint = Impress, and so on...just take a look at the OOo tools and experiment with them yourself. There are a few components that are missing, like Outlook (that's why you have Thunderbird), and some things just aren't the same (e.g. macros), but for the most part, they should suit your needs and if they don't, take a look at the OOo website for a whole slew of extensions: http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/ (My list of favourite OOo extensions: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/9-must-hav ... xtensions/).

Linux compatibility with Windows can be challenging at times to setup, from what I've heard, and I have no experience with this, so I'll leave it up to someone who knows about this to address that issue. As for your printer, plug it in and see if it works. If it doesn't, start hunting for drivers. (If you want us to help you in more detail, please tell us more about your printer, i.e. brand, model, etc.)

The main edition of Mint comes with all common codecs pre-installed, so your mp3 files should work without a hitch. Just insert that CD, and fire up Rhythmbox to play it.
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