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Hello all. I poked around here a few years ago when I was curious about Linux... I didn't have the spare time or spare computer to really get into it. ...
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    Linux newbie - What distro is right for me?


    Hello all. I poked around here a few years ago when I was curious about Linux... I didn't have the spare time or spare computer to really get into it. However I now find myself with both, and an idea of what I'd like to use it for.

    Alright then, here it goes. I'm interested in having a dedicated computer (a Compaq Presario R3370US laptop to be exact) act as a sort of server to do a few things...
    1) I hook up the household printers and use the laptop as a glorified print server
    2) To play around with Linux
    3) I have an idea for an Arduino sensor project thing which involves the Arduino periodically taking some sensor readings, and then uploading them to a central SQL server. From there I can use MS Access or MS Excel (or similar programs) to query the server, load data, and act as "front-ends" to the SQL database.

    Right now I have narrowed my choices down to Debian, Ubuntu (desktop and server), and Lubuntu. Any recommendations as to what might work best for me? Thanks!

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    Linux Mint is really good for beginners.

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    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    Personal Taste on these threads always come in to play. So I will just post a install how to for your model.

    How to install Debian GNU/Linux on a Compaq Presario R3370US notebook with AMD64 processor

    It is a older Debian install how to since the kernel in it is

    Lets install the latest kernel. I prefer 2.6.9-10-amd64-k8 to 2.6.11.
    But it/what I am posting, is just to give you a general idea of how to install Debian on that unit.

    Edit: otherwise I suggest you download some live isos and make a live usb (if the laptop is capable of usb boot in bios) and test what makes you happy.
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    That's a fantastic guide. Thank you! Only one problem: the DVD drive is dead and the BIOS does not support USB boot. I guess I'll need to use Unetbootin in frugal mode?

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    Just Joined! RobKendrick's Avatar
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    I've found that, in some systems, even if the BIOS is not capable of booting to USB, you can disconnect the primary hard drive and it will boot to the USB drive instead. Mind you, this can be inconvenient if you're trying to install to an IDE drive (most SATA systems seem to support booting to USB already), but it could be helpful if you want to just test distros Live.

    Have you checked to see if there's a BIOS update for your system?

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    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trek186 View Post
    That's a fantastic guide. Thank you! Only one problem: the DVD drive is dead and the BIOS does not support USB boot. I guess I'll need to use Unetbootin in frugal mode?
    Unetbootin is a no go if bios won't boot from usb. Simplest solution. Pull hardrive from laptop and install Linux while hard drive is attached to another computer since the DVD drive is dead also.

    Second solution if your laptop has a floppy drive and can boot from it. Make a PLOP floppy disk (I have done this and it works booting usb when bios does not support booting usb). Make the Unetbootin live usb. Boot the Floppy disk first. Pick usb from menu. Boot unetbootin Pendrive.

    Throwing this out just for Grins.
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    Just Joined! RobKendrick's Avatar
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    Thanks, Roky!

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    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Good solid advice from Roky, also note that in the long run if you intend to keep using Linux you will want/need a CD/DVD drive to play with other distros in the future or get another machine that at least supports USB boot. Good luck.
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    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    You could also get an external cd/dvd drive that connects by usb. Newegg has models starting at $30. I bought mine on EBAY for $10 used.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MASONTX View Post
    You could also get an external cd/dvd drive that connects by usb. Newegg has models starting at $30. I bought mine on EBAY for $10 used.
    Well the problem is that the laptop is sufficiently old that even updating the BIOS (which I have already done) will not add support for USB boot. So while a good idea, using an external USB optical drive (which I have a couple of) just is not viable with what I have. I could go to eBay and buy a new internal optical drive, but I'm not sure its all that worth it with a computer this old especially when I am on a tight budget at the moment.

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