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Author Topic: linux adventure part 2  (Read 1092 times)

November 05, 2018, 10:51:50 PM
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brynn

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Hi Friends,
Well, after an extended interruption, I'm finally getting back to this project - switching over to Linux.  I didn't want to mine up the old topic, but this is where it started:  https://forum.inkscapecommunity.com/index.php?topic=426.0

The other day, I looked up some links I was given earlier.  Starting here:  https://lifehacker.com/5774997/getting-started-with-linux-how-to-install-linux-on-your-computer, I read at the top about the 5 best live CDs and DVDs.  But I don't have a cd/dvd drive.  So I went down to the Live USB Method section and followed this link to make the bootable USB:  http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/.

I made the bootable USB drive, and then followed instructions to boot to the usb drive (which didn't actually work, and I had to call Dell tech support to sort that out).  Anyway, I finally booted to the USB drive.

Unfortunately, I didn't get what I thought I was getting.  Whatever is on the usb allows me to install Linux.  But I'm not ready to install it yet.  When I do, I suspect I'll want to partition the hard drive - which looks like it might be an adventure all by itself. 

What I wanted, and what I thought I was getting, was the entire linux os on the usb.  I wanted to be able to see what the os looks like and how it works, and practice setting up the system with a browser and Inkscape and Libre Office and everything else, figure out what kind of....what's it called "environment"....I mean the xfce or cinnamon or there's a lot of them apparently.

Did I misunderstand something?  I thought there was going to be a way to use a linux os from a flash drive, and practice, and experiment, and figure out exactly which distro I want.  Then when I have it all figured out, I would actually install it.

Is there any such thing?  Or did I just misunderstand?
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November 05, 2018, 11:31:40 PM
Reply #1

Lazur

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Hi.

I vaguely recall it is possible but have no experience myself. On the other hand I had problems installing the first linux os I wanted -ubuntustudio. Turned out it wasn't compatible with the cpu? Or rather the problem was sitting in front of the screen...

November 06, 2018, 07:08:26 AM
Reply #2

Moini

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What OS did you put on the stick? Does it have a live mode?

November 07, 2018, 09:39:30 AM
Reply #3

brynn

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Using that Unetbootin program, the most current version available for Linux Mint was 17.  I figured I could just upgrade after I had it opened.

I don't remember seeing a Live option or Live mode anywhere.  But I'll go back and review the Unetbootin.  There was a choice there that I didn't understand (and I don't remember what it was now).  So I'll look at it again.  And I'll also boot to the the flash drive again.  There were 3 different options for how to install it, and an option about partitioning.  And then there was an "Advanced" option, which I did not look at, because, well, why?  I'm about as un-advanced as I could be!

It's a big pain having to change the boot sequence!  So the faster I can make a decision, the faster I can get it installed.  I just don't want to install something until I can narrow down all the options.

Thanks!
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November 07, 2018, 02:27:04 PM
Reply #4

brynn

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Ok, from the Unetbootin program, I downloaded "Linux Mint 17.2_Live_x64".  All the options have the word "Live" in them.  So that must mean there's some live operating system on it, right?  So I'll try to boot it again, and see if I can find something that says Live, that I don't have to install.  It doesn't make sense to me that it would be under that "Advanced" option that I saw.  But who knows.  I'll look around again.
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November 07, 2018, 02:42:12 PM
Reply #5

Moini

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Booting the stick should just give you a Linux environment. If you dismiss all the options and don't opt to install anything, there's probably already a Linux Mint behind.

November 07, 2018, 05:53:55 PM
Reply #6

brynn

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Well that's what I was expecting, but it's not what I have.

It starts with a 6 or 7 page....I don't know, I've heard it called a "wizard" before.  It takes you through many different options before it finishes whatever it's supposed to do.  You know, the first window you choose the language,  there's the Next button and the Back button.  The next window makes sure this or that (which is needed for whatever it is) is enabled.  And the 3rd window was giving me options for installing it.  That's where I cancelled out of the process.  I didn't see any buttons such as "Skip".

But I will try again, and try to go through them all without making something happen.

Thanks again.
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November 08, 2018, 04:55:48 AM
Reply #7

Moini

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Just close the wizard, if that's possible.

November 08, 2018, 05:16:30 AM
Reply #8

brynn

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Yay, I found it!  I don't know why it didn't show up last time.  Maybe because I was on the 3rd page of that process before I hit Quit.  But this time, I hit Quit on the first page, and the Linux Mint desktop popped right up.

The first thing I did was try to set up an internet connection, but it doesn't seem to be working.  Would that be disabled for using the live usb drive?  I found the little connections icon in the system tray, and opened a Network Connections window.  Clicked Add button, created a wifi connection using my SSID and password, and using the same security settings (WPA 2, I think).  Saved it.  But from there, I don't see how to connect.  I tried double-clicking on the new item in the list of connections, tried right-click but no context menu.  I don't see a Connect button anywhere.  If it's not disabled for the usb drive, then I'll just call tech support for my ISP.

Should I install a security system before I go online?  I've had the general impression that Linux systems are not targetted by the malware and malicious activity, but I guess I heard that about 15 years ago.  So maybe it's changed?  I'm not sure if I could actually go online without a security system.  It seems like I would feel naked, you know?  Haha  I mean, at least I should have a firewall, right?  I mean, you can be targetted directly, whether you have a browser open or not, right?

Hhm, maybe there's some internal security?  Could Linux Mint have its own firewall?  That'll be at the top of my list, next time I boot, to look for security options.

It turns out I have Linux Mint 17.2, 64-bit, Cinnamon.  And Cinnamon is the environment, right?  I'm not sure how I got it, but I'd like to try some others. But I couldn't find any way to change it from Cinnamon to something else, and because of the way it shows up in the system info, I'm guessing it gets installed with the os, and that there's no way to change it without installing the os again.

There are very few theme options available from what I can tell (essentially 3), although it looks like there is a way to download more themes.  But is there any way to change the environment, without reinstalling the os?

Thanks for your help, Moini.  Once I start making decisions about what to install, I'll switch over to a forum for whatever system I choose.  But for the moment I'm kind of a ship without a harbor.

As usual, you posted while I was typing  :-D
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November 08, 2018, 06:33:49 AM
Reply #9

Moini

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Don't know about the Wifi. Do you have cable network, too? I would try that until the other thing can be resolved. This is just for playing around, so I wouldn't invest too much into that right now.

Current Linux Mint is 19, you may want to use an up-to-date ISO file. Is 17 still supported, even?...

No additional security systems required.

Try Mate or Xfce if you need other configuration options. Or even KDE or Gnome. Or pantheon, if you want less ;-)

November 08, 2018, 07:51:59 AM
Reply #10

brynn

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Try Mate or Xfce if you need other configuration options. Or even KDE or Gnome. Or pantheon, if you want less ;-)

Yes, I want to try others!  But I can't figure out how.  Do I have to reinstall the os, to be able to change?

I have no idea if 17 is supported.  That's just the most current one they had.  I didn't download an ISO file, because that route looked more complicated.  So I just installed the most current of what they offered.  I guess I can upgrade it, but I also guess I would need to be able to go online, to get it.  No, I don't have cable.  But I'll call my ISP and ask for help.
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November 08, 2018, 08:09:47 AM
Reply #11

brynn

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Oh man!  I just booted back to the usb drive again.  But all the changes I had made were reverted back to defaults!  The wifi connection which I had configured was gone.  Not even the wallpaper image I chose was there.  Is there some process I need to do, to save my changes?  Geez, if it wasn't going to save changes, why didn't it ask if I wanted to save changes, before I shut down?

I guess it's time for a break.  I'll pick it up again this weekend  :)

Thanks again for your help!
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November 08, 2018, 03:14:38 PM
Reply #12

Moini

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Yes, it is expected that everything reverts. It's not writable, the whole system just runs in RAM and is fixed on the stick. It's how these ISOs work. Take a look around, then try something else. For Linux Mint, see

https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3597
https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3598
https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3599

for their three main desktops (downloadable ISO files).
Yes, you will need to put the ISO files on your USB drive(s).

Don't use that really outdated version from 2014 or 2015. Doing a multiple upgrade (from 17 to 17.1, to 17.2, to 17.3 to 18, 18.1, 18.2, 18.3, 19 and soon 19.1) isn't something I'd recommend... Just start with the current version.

November 10, 2018, 12:07:22 PM
Reply #13

brynn

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Oohh, ok.  I had the idea that it was possible to use the usb drive for potentially months and months, and it would be just like if it was installed, although I knew it wasn't recommended for long term (years).  That's why I thought I could just upgrade it.  I thought I would just customize it little by little, just like it was installed, and learning along the way, for a few months.  And by then I would know enough to make decisions on what to install.

You mean it's not possible to upgrade from 17.2 to current, except by going one version at a time?  Like if I had it installed somewhere, but I skipped a couple of new versions,  I couldn't just download the current version and upgrade in one step?

Well, if these live cd or usb systems are just for looking at, then it doesn't make sense to upgrade it at all.  It sounds like I better just erase what I have, and use the ISO option.

So each time I want to try a different environment, then I need to download a different ISO file?  Are they really very different?  From what I can tell with what I have now, I can't really identify which part is Cinnamon, or what it would look like either without it or with something else.  It really doesn't look much different from windows, from what I've seen so far (although of course I know it's very different, under the surface).

Honestly, it would be helpful if the community could make a decision, and say "Beginners, start here!  Install so and so, and grow from there!"

Ok then, Plan B, it is!

Thanks again for your help  :D
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November 11, 2018, 10:37:58 AM
Reply #14

Moini

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Linux is all about choice. So you need to find what you like, and choose that. Some distros have default desktops, like Ubuntu now uses Gnome (that looks a bit like Unity, which is discontinued - fortunately, in my opinion.)

November 12, 2018, 02:29:58 PM
Reply #15

brynn

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Well,

"Beginners, start here!  Install so and so, and grow from there!"

doesn't preclude choice.  It just allows beginners to get started without spending what looks like could take weeks or even months to look at several options.  You know it takes almost an hour to download one ISO file!  And if I need to actually compare 2 or more (I mean switch back and forth, rather than look at one and move on to the next), I'll have to get a whole separate USB drive for each one.

If Linux wants to attract Windows users, it needs to make it easier to choose.  Put some kind of just "test models" together, so that I don't have to install entire operating systems.  Put 4 or 5 test models on one drive, so we can just look at each one, easily switching between them without accessing the computer's boot menu before and after each test.

Honestly, if Windows 10 weren't absolutely deplorable, this selection process would send me right back to Windows.  Now I don't care about the cloud anymore, because it's better than doing all this work to find out which Linux system I want.  If I thought Windows 11 (or whatever they're going to call it) would be better than 10, I would just wait for it.  But it will probably be worse, if the trend continues.  Windows XP was the best, and it's gone downhill from there.

So for now, I'll keep trying to find a Linux system.  But if this gets any harder.....yikes, it might have to be a Mac!
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November 13, 2018, 08:23:18 AM
Reply #16

brynn

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Ok, yesterday I made the USB drive for Linux Mint 19 MATE 64.  I looked at it today, but can't tell any significant difference from Cinnamon.  Just a different wallpaper, some icons are different, and maybe a different font.  So rather than spend more hours to download other environments, I decided to search for articles which explain the difference.  From what I've read, the differences are mostly technical.....well, at least they are too technical for me to understand or care.

Based on what I've read, one article says KDE is good for ex-Windows users in transition.  (Another says the same of Cinnamon.)  But I can't find a Linux Mint 19 64-bit with KDE.  I found this page, but it doesn't look like there is a KDE for Linux Mint.  It looks like it only has Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.  https://community.linuxmint.com/iso

Oh wait.  A slightly different search produces this article:  https://linuxhint.com/install_kde_linux_mint_19/  So that explains it.

Well, I want to try Ubuntu anyway, so maybe next I'll try Kubuntu, which as far as I understand is Ubuntu with KDE desktop.

Uh-oh....  Now I read that Plasma is KDE's answer for Aero.  I hated Aero.  I hope I can get KDE without Plasma....  Well, it does say "highly customizable"....but I didn't find any way to customize Aero into something I liked.  I was only happy when I disabled it.  Well, maybe it's not exactly the same.  We'll see.

Ok, off to find Ubuntu ISO files....  :vw:
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November 13, 2018, 04:56:55 PM
Reply #17

Moini

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KDE has just been renamed to Plasma on of the recent versions, you won't get an older version anymore. Ubuntu uses Gnome per default ;-)

And yes, for a user, the most evident difference is how it looks, and how much about the looks one can change, and how many cool graphical effects it has.

You can install any desktop on most distros. However, the amount of settings that are available, and how well they integrate, can differ. If it's officially bundled, then you know it will work well.

Downloading an ISO file takes about 2 minutes for me... You can download a couple over night, then you won't have to wait.

November 13, 2018, 06:12:33 PM
Reply #18

brynn

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2 minutes?  You  must have a really fast internet connection!

You mean leave the computer turned on and connected to the internet, all night and unattended?  I'd have to alter my power settings, I guess.  I have it set to turn off after no activity for something like 30 to 45 minutes (I don't remember exactly).  Not unless it would see the ongoing download as activity.  I always thought it meant using the keyboard as "activity", but maybe the download would keep it open?

Well anyway, I'm getting there.  I have Ubuntu installed on the usb now, and ready to look at tomorrow.  I guess it must have gnome desktop.  Then I'll try Kubunto.  And if I don't discover something else that needs looking at or trying, I can make a decision.  When you're used to not having a choice, a choice among 4 is plenty!  Then I can figure out how to partition the drive, or whatever needs to be done.

As far as I can tell so far, most of the "choice" is about technical issues which I might or might not learn about later, but I certainly don't know about now.  That's why I think it would not damage Linux's reputation for providing choice, to steer beginners in a certain direction and let them grow from there.  I'd be surprised, maybe even shocked if any beginner understands anything I've read so far about different distros or desktop environments.

Thanks again for your help!
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November 14, 2018, 05:50:19 AM
Reply #19

Moini

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There are https://distrochooser.de/ and https://distrowatch.com/ .

But there is no 'Linux' as a common entitiy. What you're looking for is like asking for Inkscape, Dia, Gimp, Krita, Tuxpaint, Darktable, RawTherapee, LibreOffice Draw and LibreCAD to create a website together that informs users about which graphics program will be most useful for their needs (with the difference that these actually really address different needs, and are not mostly about taste).

November 20, 2018, 03:52:40 AM
Reply #20

brynn

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Ok.  Tried Ubuntu and Kubuntu.  Still unable to see any real differences from Linux Mint with Cinnamon or MATE.  With Kubuntu, I was quickly able to get online, and tried searching and installing some new things - one was called Look and something, and the other called Desktop Theme.  There were a lot of Look and something options, and not nearly as many Desktop Themes.  I really couldn't figure out what the difference was between those 2 features.  All either one seems to do is switch between white and dark gray backgrounds.

For a community which values choice, I'm mystified.  Doesn't anyone want something else?  I mean, I'm sure you've all seen screenshots of my system theme (which I recently changed).  From Windows XP to Windows 7, we have almost unlimited choice for configuring how our display looks.  Windows 10 takes away probably 80 to 90% of those choices.  But for the Linux distros, it seems we really only have 2 choices - white or gray.

How hard would it be for someone to create their own theme?  Or at least modify an existing one?  I wouldn't be afraid to open an existing file or files, and change all the #ffffff or #4d4d4d, to something else (for example).

The other big thing for me, that I can't seem to change is the scrollbars.  They're all razor thin, for me.  Some almost literally that thin, which I can hardly use!  And there doesn't seem to be any way to move in steps.  In Windows, there's an up button and a down button, so you can fine tune your position a step at a time, if you need to.  I don't remember the Linux Mint scrollbars, but Ubuntu and Kubuntu didn't seem to have any buttons

I thought there might be some themes with accessibility features, which might have wider scrollbars, but I didn't see any.  Sigh!!  Maybe I'll have to try some others.  I didn't try Linux Mint with Xfce, so maybe I'll start that download.
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November 20, 2018, 03:12:25 PM
Reply #21

brynn

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 :yay: Yay!  Happy dance!!  :yay:

Made my choice -- Linux Mint with Xfce! 

And I found an Appearance (I think) option that provides the buttons on the scrollbar.  Still too narrow for me, but one step at a time.  I never did find any themes yet, but I might be able to get by with existing options.  Found a medium gray background for dialogs, instead of white or dark gray.

I wouldn't mind having a look at Cinnamon again, but I only have one usb drive, and I don't want to erase, download, and install it again.  Because I'd have to erase that, and reinstall xfce on the usb, before I can install on the hard drive.

Now to figure out how to partition my drive.  Instructions on MS Support don't work.  I found other instructions that looks like will work, not from MS, but I might call Dell tech support, just to be safe, since I'm sooooo far out of my comfort zone.

It looks like there's another option called "dual boot".  But most of the advice I got in the other topic suggested the partition.  It just sounds safer to have a separate partition, rather than sharing the same partition.  Although it's probably less convenient.

Anyway, one step at a time.  And I'm halfway to finally having something installed!
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November 20, 2018, 05:00:41 PM
Reply #22

Moini

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They will always be on different partitions. Dual boot just means that you can select which OS to boot after you pressed the On/Off button of your laptop. You can't have Win and Linux on the same partition. They even use different file systems.

It may be necessary to change a partition's size, to fit the Linux in. It will need about 30 GB (but if you have 50 for it, that would be better). I'd put my data files (documents, photos, etc.) into a third, separate partition, so you can access those from both Win and Linux. Make sure to use a file system for that partition that both OSs can read, e.g. fat32.

November 20, 2018, 09:51:49 PM
Reply #23

brynn

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Well, some of the articles are a little confusing.  They refer to "making room" in your windows system partition for Linux, and I guess I thought that meant they were sharing the partition.  Some of the instructions don't specifically say they are making a new partition.  But I guess they must be.

It sounds like it's going to be somewhat of a pain to switch from one partition to another.  So why put all my files and images on another separate partition? 

It looks like I have plenty of room.  I think I'll be able to put the Linux system on a 200 gb partition, and still have 150 gb of free space on the Windows partition.  And that's not to mention an existing "recovery" partition of approx 14 gb (9 gb used, 5 gb free).  I don't really know exactly what it is - whether I've had some previous crash with a recovery, or if it's there just in case I need a recovery.

This is one way where it's going to be a pain having both systems on one computer.  Eventually there will be some files on one system that aren't on the other.  But I can't face the prospect of switching cold from Windows to Linux.  I'll have to have them both until either this computer dies, or I feel competent enough to leave Windows.

Oh ok, I finally found an article for installing Linux Mint on a windows system.  There must be 15 or 20 articles for installing Ubuntu, but so far, only 3 for Linux Mint ( and I think 2 of them are the same....).  I wonder what you would do if you wanted a diffferent distro?  Oh I see, this is the part I stumbled on before.

Ok, so after I create a new partition, these instructions lead you to break that one up into 3 more partitions.  But it doesn't say why.  It doesn't say what each of the 3 is for.  Do you know, Moini?  They say to make one for root, one for swap, and one for home.

Hhmm, it seems I need to make some kind of boot recovery drive before I go on, as well....  And I'll either have to memorize that article, or write it all down.  I don't have a printer, and I can't keep Windows open while I install Linux.
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November 21, 2018, 10:01:08 AM
Reply #24

Moini

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You will still have the live system available to you during installation, so you will have access to the internet from there. If something goes wrong, you can always boot into that live system. Make sure you know a couple of your passwords, so you'll be able to access the things that are important to you, no matter what.

Make sure to make a full-disk backup, and that you have written down how to restore that, before you proceed.

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Eventually there will be some files on one system that aren't on the other.

Exactly, that's why I would suggest to keep your data on an independent partition. A partition is just a 'drive', and you will be able to access that data drive from both Linux and Windows. Drives can be auto-mounted, so they will always be available to you after startup, if you tell your computer to do that.

A separate home partition isn't really needed, but you can make one, it won't hurt, either - maybe it's safer, or encryption will be easier. Swap is where the system saves information that do not fit into RAM. In old times, this was when the computer got slower during operation, and you could hear the hard disk work a lot. Many people also do no longer create swap partitions, as modern computers usually have enough RAM.

I'd probably allocate more space to the data partition than I would to the Linux system (well, that's what I do, actually, 55 GB for system, 500 or so for data (but had to move my emails to the data partition). But then, I don't have my home partition on a separate disk, which could also be a replacement for a data partition.

Guess this doesn't help... except for the backup and the internet access info.