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A Look Inside A Linux Alternative...

Posted By: Jon G

A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Tue Aug 18 2015 04:41 AM

A friend asked if I could give him a look at a Linux operating system. He's interested, but hesitant. Seemed reasonable. I remember being hesitant also...in fact I was forced to learn about this when I got a laptop computer which did not have a hard drive. (remember this version of Linux can run without a hard drive...just a CD disk and a USB drive is all you need) Having this laptop since 2009 has given me plenty of time to get comfortable with the operating system.

So I'll share this with you folks also. Please remember this is absolutely free. It is also fun, easy to use, virus-resistant and respectful of your privacy.

I am running the Puppy Linux TahrPup 6.0 on a Pentium 4 laptop. I added some extra ram, but this laptop isn't a dual core or quad core or anything special. In fact it is a computer which was going to the trash heap when I got it. When I boot up, it takes 1 minute for everything to load. The same time it takes Windows 7 to boot up on my computer. I see messages about what is happening while it is booting up:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20boot%20messages.jpg

When it is booted up, I see a nice desktop screen with neat little icons...just about like Windows:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20desktop%20screen.jpg

If I plug in a thumb drive, it recognizes it at once:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20recognizes%20my%20thumb%20drive.jpg

If I tell it to play a recorded tv show on that thumb drive, it does so:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20plays%20a%20recorded%20tv%20program.jpg

When I open the Pale Moon browser, here's what I see:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20Browser%20startup%20screen.jpg

And there are some other convenient links:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20Additional%20browser%20items.jpg

If I look at a favorite page, I might see the Stovebolt forum page:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20internet%20-%20Recognize%20this.jpg

Or I could do some email:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20My%20Yahoo%20email.jpg

Nothing is happening there at this time, but if I want to watch Australian Parliament, I can do that, too:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums...an%20watch%20Australian%20Parliament.jpg

Or I could listen to some radio choices:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20Or%20listen%20to%20radio%20stations.jpg

I might need to open a pdf file with images or create a pdf file:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20Open%20a%20pdf%20file%20with%20pics.jpg

Or I might need to create or open a MS Word document file:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums...0or%20create%20an%20MS%20Word%20file.jpg

Maybe I need to make an XL compatible spreadsheet? Like the word processor and everything else I have it is free and included in the system:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20Spreadsheet%20just%20like%20XL.jpg

The basic menu:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20the%20basic%20menu.jpg

Which expands to reveal all sorts of neat things you can do and the simple file manager:
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20Simple%20file%20manager.jpg

The file manager looks different than the Windows file manager, but it is more similar than you might think.

And when I'm through I can click on the start button to leave...just like Windows...
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/JonGoodman/Puppy%20Sign%20off%20choices.jpg

So, all in all not very scary stuff, eh? As I've said before I'm by no means a computer guru, but I'm happy to share anything I've learned. All you have to do is ask. I'd just suggest anyone considering continuing with Windows to ask themselves a few questions:
What do I want to use my computer for? That is, do I mainly want it to be an internet tool, an entertainment tool, a word processor and spreadsheet instrument and a communication device?
How much privacy and security do I want? How much do I want to spend on this?
Posted By: Tiny

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Tue Aug 18 2015 12:40 PM

I'll make this a sticky so folks can peruse this option for a while.
Posted By: Jon G

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Sat Aug 22 2015 04:42 PM

Thanks Tiny,
All this Windows 10 stuff has caused a real swirl of questions. I wish I had all the answers, but we probably need a 30 year old chap for that. What I have decided (based on what I've read and heard so far) is that Windows 10 -- like Windows 8 and 8.1 -- has been designed principally for newer devices like touch-screen and mobile gizmos. While it makes sense that would be the case in today's environment, I don't think all the people restoring old trucks are likely to be using those. Maybe some of you folks are more technologically advanced, but I expect several of us have the old style laptops and/or desktop computers...which honestly are just fine. I've also been told by more than a couple of people to expect some information gathering to occur while Windows 10 is being installed. I'm not in favor of that. Actually while I've been using Windows 7 on our main computer, I've decided to change that and go with a Linux alternative this weekend. I see no downside to it. I also plan to use DuckDuckGo as my search engine. I am sick and tired of being profiled and categorized. For any of you who watched "The Prisoner" (Patrick McGoohan circa 1968), I feel just like he did.

What I believe I'll do is disconnect the hard drive in our desktop, install one of the lightweight Linux programs on a small spare hard drive I have and see how I like using it day to day for everything. I may keep a list of my likes/dislikes and post those.

For anyone curious, I've mentioned you can try one of the Linux products without using your hard drive or upsetting it. If anyone here doesn't get that concept or wants instructions on how to do it or just wants to see proof, please let me know.
Posted By: just-a-hacker

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Fri Oct 16 2015 06:46 PM

that is pretty awesome, nice to have an alternative to windows

We still run IBM Risc at work, bulletproof
they tried to sell us a windows based system which was refused
Posted By: TheLukePhone

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 21 2015 01:43 AM

I'm also a fan of "darn Small Linux", which is incredibly light weight, and runs very well on extremely low powered devices.

On the flipside, a very decent computer can be had for under $100, and will come with Windows preinstalled.

If you are just looking for something other than windows (to each their own), then there are many different Linux distributions (also called Distros) out there to choose from. Most will allow you to download and burn to a cd/dvd, which you can then boot up and test it out, without having to install to your computer.
Posted By: John Milliman

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Mar 08 2017 12:56 AM

FWIW, I just reimaged our old notebook with Ubuntu. Pretty simple and I like it.
Posted By: Volfandt

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Mar 08 2017 02:23 AM

Good write up. I have a desktop that is a prime candidate for a Linux OS install.
Posted By: Allen Lane

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Mar 08 2017 02:38 AM

Ok you computer nerds, just keep us up and running please!
Posted By: f18delta

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Aug 23 2017 04:15 PM

Here's my issue with Windows 10:

They control the updates. And these updates are not optional. While this might not seem to be a big deal at first, it means that if there's an issue with an update, everyone gets that same issue. At one point in my IT career, I remember having either a corrupted device driver and a driver that wasn't tested enough causing the computer to not boot. Along with driver issues, there are DLL issues that also caused the computer to need some extensive recovery of that DLL so the computer would work again. Unless Microsoft has developed a way to test every combination of users computer components and the software that uses them, I can't say that I trust the forced update system.
Posted By: Sedgewick

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Mon Nov 20 2017 04:55 AM

Got to agree with you Allen. Just keep them running because I do not have a clue what they are talking about.
Posted By: Jon G

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Thu Jun 28 2018 10:27 PM

I cleaned up my photobucket pictures and some of them were the ones which this post connected to. But if anyone out there is interested in this operating system, please let me know. I've never had a problem with it, can access anything online, can do word processing, printing, spreadsheets and all that, can install (if I want) any Microsoft program (like Office, etc), don't need to be slowed down with a virus program/virus scans and nobody bothers me with updates. Oh, and it is free. Totally free. A friend of mine told me if I were to update to a solid state drive the system would fly along at much greater speed but those things need to come down in price a bit more for me to get one.
Jon
Posted By: Xena

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Sun Sep 30 2018 08:44 PM

One question I have is whether the Windows file system (specifically data files such as documents pictures etc.) on the computer hard drive is accessible once the pc has booted using the Linux sofware. To put it another way, is the Windows drive visible to Linux?

Depending on the pc I am running windows XP 64 bit, 7 32 bit and 8 64 bit.

Thanks
Xena
Posted By: Jon G

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Mon Oct 08 2018 01:09 PM

Hi Xena,
Sorry for the slow reply. Just saw your question. The Linux system uses a different type of file system...most use SFS or Squash File System but it is very efficient once you know how it works. It is a read only system which operates with file compression for greater ease of use. The Windows drive (being different) will be visible to Linux, however unless you're using a program like WINE (stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator) Windows applications, software, programs, etc won't be usable. WINE makes Puppy Linux and other Linux programs zip along with MS programs just fine. I'm using MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc plus other add-on programs. Any file (like a MS Word doc file or pdf) is saved quickly and can be swapped to any computer running Windows. The Linux stuff isn't difficult to familiarize oneself with...if an aged Texican (with pretty limited computer skills) can do it, I would suppose anyone can. I hope this helps.
Posted By: Xena

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Mon Oct 08 2018 07:38 PM

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your knowledgeable input. Your answer has inspired be to go boldly forth into the Linux universe and see what develops....

Thanks again
Xena
Posted By: Gord&Fran

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Mon Oct 08 2018 08:14 PM

I have been using Linux for many years now. For beginners, I recommend Linux Mint. The disk image comes with with pretty well everything you need including Libre Office.
Posted By: Xena

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Tue Oct 09 2018 03:48 AM

Gord,
Thanks for the info. I have stuck my toes in the water and gone to the mint website and have decided on Mint 19 Cinnamon 64 and 32 bit installations.

I have decided to take the cowards way out and order the live installation disks for both the 32 and 64 bit systems and set them up as a dual boot system on my PC's (I have 3, running 3 different versions of Windows). I just seems it will be much quicker than downloading and installing a torrent download program and then using it to download, verify and install the Mint OS. The Win 7 has a virtual XP mode emulator box that may enable me to run Linux from within the Windows desktop environment. Time will tell.

Sure am glad I have an uncomplicated, 52 year old badass truck to work on, and a 69 year old tractor to ride on when I need to take a break from modern technology!

Thanks again for your input.
Xena
Posted By: Jon G

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Tue Oct 09 2018 04:27 PM

Hi Xena,
Mint is another of the many Ubuntu copy/variants--out of France if I remember correctly. It seems to be gaining support with the younger crowd and that often is a good message. I haven't tried it, but I probably should. There are so many of these newer distros around now that if you get on any of their email lists it is starting to seem like a popularity/please donate contest.

One note: SoftMaker Free Office now has versions for Linux. SoftMaker GmbH (Germany) has been around since the early 90s, I've used it since around 2011 and I consider their Free Office to be the best of the MS imitator options by a long stretch. They also have flexi-pdf which allows you to create and modify pdf files, but I'm not sure they give this away free yet, although if you do any technical writing or work with pdf files the cost (around $30) is well worth it. Good luck with the changes.
Posted By: Xena

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Tue Oct 09 2018 04:58 PM

Hi Jon,

I have been using both Free Office and FlexiPDF for a couple months, since finding it on the internet, in my windows environment and I am truly impressed with both products. The Flexi PDF program in particular has a great number of options that are not usually available without paying big bucks, and me being a natural born cheapskate, I truly do appreciate the still free downloads that are available. I am absolutely installing it into my Linux partition, especially after reading that Libre can be a bit unpredictable at times

One disappointment I have encountered is that the HP laptop I wanted to install Mint 32 bit on is not up to the task as far as hardware is concerned, specifically, not enough RAM to fun Mint efficiently. The minimum is 3GB and the pc HD ZD7000 running Win 7 has a max memory capability of 2GB. Mint will run on 2GB but not well.

Thanks for the well wishes, I will probably need all the help I can get by the time the install is successful!
Xena
Posted By: Jon G

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Tue Oct 09 2018 08:36 PM

Hi Xena,

That has been my experience for certain, although some friends seem to like Libre. Glad to hear you have been using Free Office. A natural born cheapskate? I've been told I'm so tight I squeak when I walk.

One reason I suggested the Puppy Linux os to folks here is that it was designed to run on limited and old machines...as opposed to Ubuntu which is in my opinion approaching Windows in the bloat factor. My laptop (which has only 2 GB) scoots along pretty well with only that much RAM. It is a Pentium 4. Puppy is written to put as much of the system into the RAM as possible (in order to make it run faster--and it does run faster when it doesn't have to look for things on the hard drive). This only becomes a problem when you're trying to surf on sites which by their nature are memory-hungry. But honestly I am usually ok on even those sites. As I said the TahrPup is my favorite of the many Puppy versions that have come along. For years I used one called Bruno Puppy, but TahrPup impresses me as one of their best. Some of the very early versions are tiny...meaning they can run on 1 GB or less, however some of those haven't been updated too much.

I'm happy to try to help. Just let me know either here or via PM.
Posted By: Gord&Fran

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 10 2018 02:20 AM

You should be OK with Mint. Up until last year, I was running v17.3 on an Acer Aspire Netbook with Atom processor and 1 GB RAM. The Acer is now retired and I'm currently using a Lenovo N23.

Anyway, just plug the install media in (disk or jump drive) and start it up. Linux will run off the media without installing it. This way you can compare distributions to see what you like. I see that on distrowatch, that Manjaro is currently the most popular distro moving Mint into 2nd place. 1G RAM is recommended for Manjaro and it's not based on Ubuntu. Might give it a try on the old Acer.

BTW, Mint was developed in Ireland. I suppose Mint--> Green --> Ireland...
Posted By: Gord&Fran

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 10 2018 02:30 AM

Also, you don't need a BitTorrent client to download Linux. There are plenty of servers that allow anonymous access so you can download the iso file. These can be used for system updates too.

distrowatch is hepful: DistroWatch
Posted By: Xena

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 10 2018 07:59 AM

Thanks Jon, I will probably at some point will want to ask a question or two. I am quickly learning that the difference between Windows and Linux, or even Linux and Linux can be daunting it you let it, so my attitude at this point is: what the hell lets see what happens....

I already have the iso for Mint 19 64 bit and plan on looking at 32 bit alternatives for the laptops. While I was at a friends house today getting the mint ISO copy I ended up buying a HP Pavilloin HPE with Windows 10 Professional, MS Office 2010 suite installed,a 4 core Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, BLU -Ray / DVD burner, 2TB hard drive, 24" HDMI HD monitor , and wireless mouse and keyboard from her at the fire sale price of $250. I was so excited that I stopped and bought a Linksys Wi-Fi router for my satellite internet modem.

That probably explains why I am writing forum responses at almost 4 AM but its all set up and integrated into my home network......

Mint should run with joy on this one. I am doing a dual boot install but not until I get some sleep....lol


Gord thanks for your input as well. Based on your observations I am going to run the 32 bit install on the laptop and hope for some help from the Leprechauns
Posted By: Jon G

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 10 2018 11:56 AM

That's a great deal on the HP Pavillion, Xena. The best I have is an older Intel dual core, but for what I do it is ok. Any operating system should run fine on the HP. Please let me know what you find and how Mint works for you.
Posted By: Gord&Fran

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 10 2018 06:00 PM

Just for fun, I installed Manjaro on the old Acer. I'm impressed how well it works on that thing. Pretty complete distro. However, I will stick with Mint as there is a lot of support for it. You want to get any security patches ASAP.
Posted By: Jon G

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 17 2018 02:58 AM

Well, Xena all the Linux systems I've seen are fairly watertight. I mean, basically it comes down to a matter of permission and all. Microsoft thinks it is cool to get into your system and make changes, tweaks, etc and Microsoft naturally and from the get-go enables users with all sorts of authority and everything. They give you the gun, the bullets and let you decide what to do next. Linux tends to keep the handcuffs on users a bit more and it must be said it takes a lot of effort to execute a dangerous file. In Windows a couple of innocent witless clicks and you can have the whole thing unraveling irreversibly in a few seconds. In a Linux environment you'd have to be (a) pretty doggone drunk and (b) pretty hell-bent on ignoring a boat load of warnings before you got into that kind of trouble. Besides Linux has what...5% of the market? Something like that. So it is sort of like trying to pick the pockets of homeless tent dwellers and I'd imagine few hackers spend much of their time on it. Unless they're not very good at hacking and in that case I can assure you they won't be able to outsmart the people writing Linux.

As for installing, yes...burn the ISO onto a DVD. If you need that ISO file conversion program please let me know. Most of the distros are straightforward. Also let me know if you need any info on WINE. I think it is pretty well known now and probably is already threaded into Mint, but it is useful if you have any MS programs you want to use.

Windows 10 isn't the worst thing but it isn't the best either. Some people like it. Others just use it because prior versions are ending their support life and all.
Posted By: Gord&Fran

Re: A Look Inside A Linux Alternative... - Wed Oct 17 2018 03:56 AM

We have been discussing Linux advantages. I should probably point out a couple of things that have caused me a little bit of grief. (and the workarounds)

1. I have a Logitech Harmony remote for my TV, A/V receiver, etc. Logitech's software only works on Windows or OS X. It didn't work with WinXP running in a VirtualBox machine. Now, to update my remote, I have to borrow my wife's hackintosh. (annoying that Logitech HAD cloud based software, but they discontinued it; a really big step backward IMO)

2. The income tax software I had been using for years would only work with Windows. I was able to run it successfully in a VirtualBox environment, but a couple of years ago the software company decided that they would no longer provide WinXP support. I didn't want to build a Win7 or Win8 virtual machine just for one piece of software, so I switched to a cloud based application instead.
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