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Hi I'm new to the forum and I am hoping that someone may have the solution to my problem. I should explain that my motivation for investigating Linux is that ...
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  1. #1
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    Still a work in progress?


    Hi
    I'm new to the forum and I am hoping that someone may have the solution to my problem.
    I should explain that my motivation for investigating Linux is that we have four computers in this house. Three run on Vista and one on XP media centre ed. All have 32bit OS but 64bit hardware. The Vista machines are so slow as to be intolerable, the XP machine, like all XP, is going out of support. Oddly enough, all of the hardware is reliable. I will not be paying four licence fees for W8 so want an alternative. My brother is a Linux loon. He is quite brilliant, but 99% nuts. For years he has been telling me to make the change to Linux. Every few years I look and then wander off again because Linux is still stuck in its teenage phase.

    This time I have loaded numerous types of Linux to a USB stick and tested each on the various machines. Some work better than others and some look better. This Mint Cinnamon looks best so far, sort of 1990s professional rather than a student project file launcher from the 1980s. However none work in anything but the very basics and all respond differently on the various hardware (there are only 3 sets of hardware as two of the machines are identical).
    Most versatile was Puppy Linux but it is the least attractive visually. None can see the network properly at all so I have not been able to get to connect with either the NAS drive or the network printer/scanner. Some won't play sound, some won't play video, I can only see what seems like random other PCs on the network.

    Now, I am a normal person. I want to use the facility a PC delivers. I donlt want to know how it does it. A bit like a TV, I want to switch it on and have it work, no messing. My wife is even less interested in what puts the picture on the screen. As a retired university tutor in political philosophy, she hs been consistent in the decades we have been together. Her maxim is, "if it needs instructions, it's a bad design". She never reads instructions and I doubt she knows what F1 does.

    I was hoping that, on the eve of 2014 and with the killing off of XP being heavily promoted, that the Linux community would be set to save the world from Microsoft. It is not. Unless one of you lot know where I can get a normal person, fully functioning Linux solution.

    NB, this has taken a lot of effort to type as so many of my keyboard keys don't work or do strange things and my touchpad is dead. Thanks Minty.

  2. #2
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    Oddly enough, all of the hardware is reliable.
    How would you expect someone to make a recommendation on what Linux might work on your machine when you post absolutely no information on what that hardware is?

    My brother is a Linux loon. He is quite brilliant
    Your ahead of the game here so, my question is why come to a forum of volunteer strangers when your brother is an expert? Why not get his help?

    Most versatile was Puppy Linux but it is the least attractive visually.
    I'd agree with that. The least attractive visually part may be just our opinion but it's also by design. Puppy Linux in its compressed form is about one fifth the size of a standard Linux distribution and even smaller than a compressed windows because the software to create pretty GUIs takes up a lot of space.

    Since you haven't posted any information on your hardware, there's really no way to respond to the problems you mention.

    I was hoping that, on the eve of 2014 and with the killing off of XP being heavily promoted, that the Linux community would be set to save the world from Microsoft.
    There really isn't much incentive for that except for some of the companies that make money from Linux. This is just one of many forums with members who volunteer their time to try to help people using Linux. I'm not any computer expert, do not work in the IT field and never have but have a fully functioning Linux. If you want a free operating system to do exactly what you want you will need to put some effort into it or pay somebody to do it (or ask your brother). If you had specific problems with sound or video you probably would have been able to get help with that by posting here or some other forum. If you posted some actual information on your hardware, someone might be willing to try to suggest something.

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    Hi yancek.

    1. The machines we have are two Toshiba laptops with deal core AMD 64bit processors 800Mhz, 4GB ram, slowish 120G disk model year 2008. Two HP desktops, a dual core 2.6GHz and a quad core 2.8, both with 4GB ram, one with integrated and one with separate Nvidia graphics. No games played so low level graphics, 1GB on one with HDMI output . Both have slowish 160G disks. The best machine, and by far the fastest, is the older 2.6Ghz that has XP. When I say faster, that's all relative. With the Vista machines you can go off and make a cup of tea, drink it and wash-up afterwards while they get started. We have a full CAT5e wired network through the house with a central comms cabinet housing LG NAS and also, in the office, a Brother network printer/scanner. There's a Samsung TV that connects too that I sometimes use to play video off the NAS but it has to transcode through a PC running a server. I use the XP machine to do that as it runs the best.

    2. You edited my sentence about my brother. He's nuts as well as brilliant. He also lives in Aus and I live in England, bit of a problem, can't pop round there and the time difference is a bit tricky too. I note that everytime I talk to him about about Linux he has moved on to another type. Right now he's promoting Knoppix but he wasn't last time we spoke. Knoppix and that was one of the least successful Linux I tried. A few years back he was recommending Debian or was it Unbuntu. Tried Unbuntu, disappointing, kept freezing one, no network, no sound on any, strange keyboard behaviour. My brother is like a Linux missionary and just won't stop trying to convert people. His capacity to explain things is limited because he just hates MS and every conversation turns into a rant.

    My original question wasn't about solving a specific issue with the a specific Linux on a specific type of hardware, it was if anyone had knowledge of and could point me to a Linux version devloped for people who don't have the depth of knowledge of a committed enthusiast. I seem to have upset you and I'm sorry about that. Look at it like this. Most people just drive their cars, a few like to service their's too but me, I'd rather not. It's the same with PCs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timedout View Post
    Hi
    Every few years I look and then wander off again because Linux is still stuck in its teenage phase.
    Computers are used for many things, seen and unseen. Linux is a mature operating system modeled on UNIX systems. Its development and stability has not been driven by the desktop market though it functions very well as such. Some distros have been made to look like MS desktops and some like Macs. I think it's a mistake but I suppose the hope was that people would start to use them who would not otherwise. The UNIX system is a better designed operating system. Undoubtedly that is why Apple changed their OS to it. The windowing portion of a UNIX system is separate from the actually OS which allows a high level of customization.

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=linux...w=1600&bih=790

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    Hi Gregm, thanks for your reply.

    My interpretation of you comment is that the Linux OS is mature and works but the user interface side, the windows (really need a better word) as such are another matter.

    I can see that where I am coming form is very different to the regular Linux user. I was trying to find one Linux I could install on all four PCs that would do the things we need. This is not the first time I have been through this exercise but each time Linux has moved on. After spending a series of days testing different Linux types on the 3 different sets of hardware I was left frustrated. I recognise it's free but I still have not found one that works in the vital areas straight off. Networking is vital and I'm sure that I am not alone in that.

    What I can see though is the speed. There must be many millions of people, like me with older machines that are on the point of scrapping them to buy new in the hope it will be faster. Linux boots in less than a minute on my slowest machine running off a USB stick. Now, that's less time than it takes my kettle to boil so it is faster by several degrees of magnitude when compared to Vista. Think of all the older machines in the world that could be saved from landfill if everyone with XP and Vista went to Linux. To convince them though, it will have to be right first time. I have not found one yet so my question remains, do you know of one?

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    Linux networking is excellent. If you've had problems in the past you've likely needed to do a little reading before doing the installation.

    Personally I prefer a simple desktop environment and for me xfce (default in Xubuntu) works very well. It is also suitable for older machines because it is lightweight. Some Linux distros should be ignored by new and casual users. Environments such as Ubuntu on the other hand are very easy in install and setup. It isn't MS and doesn't work that way so a person should read up on the installation procedure for the distro being installed and check compatibility with your hardware.

    There are things to be learned. It may turn out that a driver needed for a card your computer uses has to be downloaded from somewhere. Laptop power management support isn't what it could be, in part because manufacturers have tended to ignore standards in favor of supporting MS. It can be frustrating but it can also be fun. On the flip side, when I'm forced to work on MS or OSX I findmyself frustrated by the cruft they put in the way of actually getting some work done.

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    Go to distrowatch.com and use their search function. Check the boxes for beginner and old computer, and they will give you a list of distributions that should work on your hardware, and don't require advanced linux skills. When you have a list, work from the more popular (highest ranked) ones on down, and try different live distro's until you find one that you like. I prefer Lubuntu, others like Mint or Zorin, or some other flavor. The only way to tell what works for you, is to try several.
    While you are at distrowatch.com, look at the top 100 on the right side of the page, and down a bit. These are the 100 most downloaded distro's, in order, and is a good indicator of what other people have found to work for them.
    Registered Linux user #526930

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    Hi.

    Welcome to the forum.

    I sense that this is the most important theme for you:
    Quote Originally Posted by Timedout
    Now, I am a normal person. I want to use the facility a PC delivers. I donlt want to know how it does it. A bit like a TV, I want to switch it on and have it work, no messing. My wife is even less interested in what puts the picture on the screen. As a retired university tutor in political philosophy, she hs been consistent in the decades we have been together. Her maxim is, "if it needs instructions, it's a bad design". She never reads instructions and I doubt she knows what F1 does.

    ...

    My original question wasn't about solving a specific issue with the a specific Linux on a specific type of hardware, it was if anyone had knowledge of and could point me to a Linux version devloped for people who don't have the depth of knowledge of a committed enthusiast. I seem to have upset you and I'm sorry about that. Look at it like this. Most people just drive their cars, a few like to service their's too but me, I'd rather not. It's the same with PCs.
    I think a glimmer of a solution is:
    Quote Originally Posted by gregm
    The UNIX system is a better designed operating system. Undoubtedly that is why Apple changed their OS to it.
    Bite the bullet. Visit your local Apple store. Tell them your desires. Take some money out of retirement. If you need applications that only run on MS WIndows, there are good solutions (e.g. Fusion). All that will mesh well with your iPhone, iPad, iPod, iLife. (I could see them suggesting a laptop each for you and your wife and a Mac Mini for backup, for example, all connected with either WiFi or your exisiting network, but I digress.)

    Good luck, and we hope to hear from you only once more about how happy you are with your new view of computing as a support to your work and entertainment, as opposed to being the focus, and you being immersed in issues for which you have neither understanding nor interest.

    Best iWishes ... cheers, drl
    Welcome - get the most out of the forum by reading forum basics and guidelines: click here.
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    We look forward to helping you with the challenge of the other 10%.
    ( Mn, 2.6.n, AMD-64 3000+, ASUS A8V Deluxe, 1 GB, SATA + IDE, Matrox G400 AGP )

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    There are quite a few members here who are also from Australia but, if your brother is 'nuts' I guess that would complicate things. Knoppix is a poor choice to install on a hard drive and that is explained on their site. It was designed to be used as a Live CD so I wouldn't consider it in your case. The biggest factors are processor, RAM and graphics cards.

    There are quite a few people who like your brother either are Linux fanatics or hate microsoft. I don't like microsoft for their business practices but rarely get into discussions about it. If you want real fanatics, try an Apple forum.

    You've tried and Mint which was designed to entice windows users and since you didn't like it, the new distribution claiming to be the most friendly to former windows users is Zorin which was mentioned above. Just google 'Zorin OS' and you should be taken to their site. You would probably be better off getting the release 6.4 rather than the newest as the 6.4 version will have longer support for updates. They also have a 'lite' version which might be better on your older machines.

    It ends up being a matter of taste or choice. The advantage is that you can download and burn to a CD/DVD for the cost of the CD/DVD or you can install virtual software like VirtualBox for free and test them in that, not even the cost of a CD.

  11. #10
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    Hello there! Welcome aboard!
    Honestly, the suggestions about Mint and Zorin would be the ones that top my list for new Linux users who don't necessarily want to learn all of the ins and outs of Linux. Both are stable systems, and are easy enough to manage once you get the hang of not doing things 'the Windows way'. The learning curve is really quite minimal with them, especially Mint.
    I would say give it another shot. Maybe use a LiveUSB or LiveDVD of it for a few days to really get into the swing of it, then you can decide it Mint is right for you.

    yancek also mentioned VirtualBox, which is a great way to install and use Linux without risking your current system and saved data.
    Jay

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